A Lover of Books

Archive for the category “Guest Blog Posts”

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/

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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

The Globeflower Agenc

 

Blog Blitz – ‘A Garden in Cornwall’ by Laura Briggs

Happy publication day to Laura Briggs whose new novella, ‘A Garden in Cornwall’, the twelfth and final novella in the A Wedding in Cornwall series is out today.

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz which was organised by the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I have a guest post for all of you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

With their lives exactly what they’ve always dreamed, Matt and Julianne await the arrival of the third member of their family — but their happiness is threatened when their landlady Mathilda announces her intention to sell their beloved Rosemoor Cottage for an impossible value. Devastated, Julianne struggles to accept the cold reality of her and Matt making their home elsewhere.

Matt’s life has taken a new turn as he finally puts aside his academic work to pursue his gardening hobby as a career: his first new job as a landscape designer involves neglected Penwill Hall’s ‘lost’ garden — one with a truly romantic Cornish past. But the task of restoring its legendary beauty from nearly seventy years ago proves difficult among the ruins lost in weeds and wilderness.

With notions of secret gardens and wartime stories echoing in her thoughts, Julianne is determined to help Matt and the estate’s new owner after the discovery of a hidden mural in the hall itself, depicting a breathtaking garden that may well be the lost one. Her efforts to uncover the past lead her to a curmudgeonly local gardener who just may hold the knowledge that would restore the ‘lost garden’ to its former glory. Will Julianne’s quest help her find a way to deal with losing the home she loves?

Hellos and farewells abound as Dinah returns to lend a helping hand at Cliffs House and Julianne relives her favourite memories of her and Matt’s beloved cottage in Book Twelve — the final instalment in the bestselling series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL.

‘A Garden in Cornwall’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2IUC9AY

Amazon US – http://smarturl.it/agardenincornwall

 

Guest Post

I would like to thank Sonya for inviting me to share about my writing with all her readers at A Lover of Books!

Two years ago when I penned the novella called A Wedding in Cornwall, I had no idea how readers would respond. After all, I’m an American author whose never set foot on Cornish land in her life and has mostly the internet and PBS airings of Poldark and Doc Martin to help them picture its beauty as a literary setting. But those breathtaking cliffs and images of water breaking on the rocky shore were just too good to resist. So in the end, my heroine, an American wedding planner named Julianne, took the leap ‘across the Pond’ to work at a beautiful Cornish manor house…and twelve novellas later, I’m happy to say it has been a fantastic experience.

Readers in the UK have overwhelmed me with their support for Julianne’s world. Overlooking the cultural inaccuracies (and I fear there are many, many of them), they have embraced its tiny fictional village and its characters, returning again and again for each new adventure. From a holiday ball to a baking competition, a royal wedding, and even a talent show, they have followed Julianne and her friends with a level of enthusiasm I never anticipated. Their reviews are a joy to read, especially those who know and love Cornwall and feel the series has a special meaning for them as a result. One reader even remarked that it inspired them to revisit that very county after many years—a truly lovely sentiment to hear as an author hoping to pay tribute to the place they’re writing about.

Now, as the story draws to a close with the bittersweet A Garden in Cornwall, I look forward to sharing new projects, including another Cornish-based romance series for 2019. A different heroine discovering Cornwall under very different circumstances than Julianne, but I very much hope that readers will enjoy these new characters and adventures.  I’ll be releasing details on Book One and the series as a whole throughout the year, including title and cover reveal, story synopsis, and special excerpts from the manuscript’s rough draft. I’m very excited for readers to meet these new characters (especially the dreamy hero!) over the next few months.

And I’m not forgetting those who enjoy the excitement of the wedding planning world. In fact, this summer will launch the first book in a new wedding-themed series I’m writing for the UK publisher Bookouture. I can’t wait for readers to meet its trio of plucky heroines as they navigate their own romantic troubles while making sure their client has a picture-perfect big day.

To be notified of all my new book releases, readers should be sure to follow my Amazon author page here: http://author.to/briggsauthorpage

 

Giveaway

Win an e-copy of A Garden In Cornwall (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click on the link to enter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949487/?

 

About Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – May 2018

It’s time for Lynne Milford’s monthly guest post.  I really look forward to receiving her posts and this month’s is really interesting.

 

What I do when I’m not writing

When Sonya offered me this opportunity I asked a friend what she, as a reader, would want to know about writers. She replied ‘what you do with your spare time?’. I laughed and said ‘Writing’. And it’s true, I do spend a lot of my free time writing. But once I’d thought about it, I do other things as well. So, here’s how I spend my time when I’m not writing (although whatever I’m doing I’m probably also still thinking about writing or feeling guilty for not writing).

Exercise

This is a tough one for writers because we spend a lot of time sitting in a chair. Add into that my day job – which involves sitting down at a computer – and I recently ended up in a whole lot of trouble. My favourite exercises are running and Pilates. The former helps me blow of a bit of steam, the latter helps my poor sore chair body. By strengthening and stretching out my muscles at Pilates I keep my body mobile and protect it from the aches and pains associated with spending time sitting down. Going running helps clear your head and (hopefully) balances the effect of snacking while buried in your writing.

Cooking/baking

I make no bones – I love food. I also find cooking and baking relaxing. In fact, I broke my recent writing blockage by making scones. There’s something creative and yet distracting about cooking that appeals to my brain. The only problem being that I have to eat what I’ve baked or cooked and that’s where the running also comes in!

Watching TV

I could lie to you and say this is in the name of research. I spend a lot of time watching crime drama or thrillers so I am learning about plot and structure. But really I find it to be good down time. Watching TV doesn’t need as much brain power as reading does and it’s a break away from my phone/tablet/laptop. Generally speaking my telly watching is quite targeted. Most of what I watch is recorded so I can watch when it’s convenient for me. This means if I do decide to write in the evenings I don’t miss out on anything.

Reading

I should really include this in writing activities but I find reading very relaxing. Yes up to a point this is research for writing – reading other people’s work helps you learn how to write – but with a really good book you find that you’re not analysing you’re just reading. My favourite book for that is Tell No One by Harlan Coven. What could be better than losing yourself in a different world and with different people.

Going on holiday

Ok this only happens a couple of times a year but a week or two away from home, preferably somewhere hot and sunny, is great for recharging the batteries. It’s a chance to exercise, read and chill out while letting someone else cook your dinner and bring you a beer. It gets me away from work, and mostly from writing as well. The first couple of days are usually affected by guilt for not writing, but after that I start to unwind and forget about anything but relaxing (and where I’m going to have dinner – see, obsessed with food!).

And of course into all these things – and the most important – is spending time with my boyfriend. I couldn’t manage without him and he doesn’t mind too much when writing takes over.

So that’s what my life revolves around on a regular basis. I don’t always manage to fit them all in, after all writing takes priority especially at weekends, but they’re my way of stepping away from the fictional world and into the real one.

 

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/

 

Guest Post by Ninja Book Box

I am absolutely delighted to have Ninja Book Box on my blog today talking about their subscription boxes and how it all started.  There’s also a special offer for all of you at the bottom of the post.

 

How I Made it My Job to Read (and browse Etsy)

It’s 2016 and I am anxious. An introverted book blogger, book swap organiser and retail worker, about to hit ‘submit’ on my first Kickstarter project. Thinking through the project as I go along, my only experience of the industry I’m about to enter is from several years of blogging for fun…

Over the last year or so there’s been an explosion of subscription boxes based here in the UK. The attraction of a good subscription box is in the element of surprise and discovery and this is enhanced further when it’s a subscription box entirely dedicated to independently published books (for more on what I mean by independent publishers see here). During 2016 I got interested in finding out more about publishers outside the big 5 and decided that every book I bought either had to be purchased from an independent bookshop or published by an independent publisher, or both. At the time I was running an international book swap which led to me receiving parcels including some of the indie books I’d been adding to my wishlist. It made me think how great it would be if there was a book subscription box to help me do this on a regular basis, since indie books aren’t always easy to recognise or find in many bookshops. I started to explore the options but at the time couldn’t find any solely for independently published books or that weren’t specific to one genre. I’ve always used books to explore the world, learn new things and push the boundaries, so from the start I was looking for a multi-genre offering which did just that.

After lots of thought, and a couple of twitter polls to gauge the bookish community’s response to the concept (I highly recommend twitter polls to test the waters when you have ideas that seem mad), I decided to start working on a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to launch a quarterly book subscription box. Having run a creative business in the not too distant past, I’ve always been passionate about the importance of supporting independent designers and makers. Working for yourself, especially making things that require a lot of effort and skill, can be really hard and from the beginning I wanted to use the box as a place to showcase the beautiful work of small businesses.

Thanks to the support of the bookish community, our Kickstarter was fully funded in a couple of days and the reality of creating the boxes began! I’ve learned so much since starting Ninja Book Box but the most important is that building relationships and supporting others is absolutely vital. The bookish community I was already part of enabled our launch and the community we’ve built up since then has kept us going.

So far we’ve worked with a range of indie publishers to include both new and backlist books from a range of genres in our boxes, with the idea of bringing people things they wouldn’t otherwise hear about. We read through each quarter’s book a couple of times to pick out a theme, and pair it with gifts that we source or custom-order which build on elements of the book and theme to teach new skills or explore an experience associated with the world of the story. We work hard to make the boxes an oasis of calm and fun in the middle of a busy week, and have added a monthly indie book club with an option to subscribe to increase the number of great independently published books we’re bringing people.

Our May box, themed ‘Conspiracy by Candlelight’ is now available and we’re happy to offer readers of this blog 10% off a single purchase box and any of our other books and gifts. Just head to our shop and use code LoverofBooks at the checkout!

 

Links

Website – www.ninjabookbox.com

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/ninjabookbox

Twitter and Instagram – @ninjabookbox

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – April 2018

Lynne Milford (aka LM Milford) won my Twitter competition last year to feature on my blog for twelve months.  Her debut novel, ‘A Deadly Rejection’ sounds really good and I am still enjoying learning all about it.  This month Lynne is talking about writing a series.

 

Why you should write a series

The definition of a series is probably quite fluid. It could be over a short period of time with a definite beginning and end – like Broadchurch – or over a longer term with the same characters but different plots – like Midsomer Murders. Whichever way you choose to do it, it takes some long-term planning.

When I was a very green writer, scribbling away desperately on my first novel, I envisaged vaguely that it could be a series. I had no firm plans about how to accomplish this (crazy, isn’t it?) apart from that I’d go about it slightly differently. Instead of the series being led by the main character, the link for the series would be that it all happened in Allensbury with a different main character for each book. The police officers would remain the same, because the series is set in the same town, but I wanted a different protagonist to keep things fresh. One of the police officers has his own novella, but in theory that sits outside the series.

However, when I had Book One structurally edited, it was suggested that the protagonists would make good series characters. This pulled me up short, because clearly it wasn’t something I’d considered before.

If I was going to turn the books into a series, there were a few questions I had to ask myself:

  • Are the main characters strong enough to carry a series? If not, then I needed to beef them up, or come up with some new ones.
  • Is it realistic that they could come across so many murders without people asking questions? I read somewhere that you shouldn’t have a journalist as a main character because their motivation, as reporting on the story, wouldn’t be strong enough. This is another piece of advice that I ignored and gave him a damn good reason to investigate.
  • Do you have enough legitimate plot ideas to turn into a series? You need to make sure every book is believable or you’ll lose the readers. I’d say you need to think up at least four ideas before you start working on a series, and have a skeleton plan for each of them to make sure they’re sustainable.

At first I decided that I’d stick with my original plan and change the protagonist for Book Two, but when A Deadly Rejection was published I got some positive feedback about Dan, the news reporter who leads the story. I decided that if people really like Dan then he needs to continue. His job means that he will constantly come up against crimes and have a legitimate reason to want to solve them. He’s also ably supported by Emma, the crime reporter, who can also become the protagonist if necessary. In fact, that will happen in the next book in the series – titled at present Book Three.

I already had Book Two written from start to finish, with Dan only playing a cameo role. It took a lot of thinking and replotting to get the book to a point where he would convincingly fit in as the lead character. I was concerned that it may look like he’d been shoehorned in, but early feedback from beta readers suggests that, in the main, the story works. There is still work to do on the book and it’ll soon go off to my professional editor for her feedback. I’m fairly confident that she’ll be happy with it, but I’m sure there’ll also be plenty of suggestions to make the book better.

At present I have plans for another two Allensbury novels – they’ll be badged as the Allensbury Mysteries once I have more than one, and there are also 2-3 novellas to come as part of the series. However, once I’ve finished those I’ll be considering whether to continue to come up with Allensbury-related ideas or whether to strike out and try something new. All I can promise is that there’ll be more murder and mayhem, and that it’ll be another series.

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/

Guest Post by Sheila Myers

I am delighted to welcome Sheila Myers back to my blog.  Her latest novel, ‘The Night is Done’, the third book in the Durant Family Saga was published in paperback and as an eBook last year.

Sheila has written a wonderful guest post about research which I really hope you enjoy reading.

 

Enough Already! When do Historical Fiction Authors Climb out of the Research Rabbit Hole?

By Sheila Myers

 

I was recently interviewed on the History Author Show podcast about the Durant Family Saga, and the interviewer asked me a question that had me stumped:

If you could fill any gap about this fascinating family after three novels, what would you choose?

Of course, there’s more I could have uncovered about the Durants to extend my trilogy into a series. I had been receiving emails from extended family members who were reading my books and blog, offering me tidbits of information, leads to follow, contact information of descendants with interesting histories of their own. But for me, enough was enough. I’d spent five years of my life researching this famous family from the Gilded Age. I had traveled to several libraries and museums on the east coast of the U.S., visited the Isle of Wight in England, and all on my own dime.

At some point authors of historical fiction rely on conjecture, the lens we use to offer our interpretation of events given the information we have on hand. Indeed, at the end of the trilogy, I have one of the narrators, a historian, remark:

I’m sure that in the future, someone will come along and find gaps in my research. It’s the historian’s curse. Our job is to sift through the tall tales and determine what’s worth including and what’s best left as fodder for others to chew on. The truth is found in the abyss of the unknown.

If my readers believe it’s me, the author saying these words, they aren’t far off. I put myself in the head of the narrator, a historian, tracking down and interviewing an elderly member of the Durant family, and by the time I was done writing the last book in the trilogy, it was how I felt. But still… there’s one piece of information waiting for somebody to get their hands on: a civil court case between William and his wife Janet, thrown out by the judge in 1898. News reports at the time included juicy testimonials from servants and friends about cruelty and adultery (the only two ways to obtain a divorce back then). The record is ensconced in an uncatalogued collection at the New York University Library. I tried, but I couldn’t get access, which was unfortunate because it was a precursor to the divorce case between two of my main characters. (I was able to find the final case and unseal it after 100 years of sitting in a Manhattan Court old records division).

Historical fiction is fascinating because we read it to discover history in an interesting, entertaining fashion. Authors of this genre are all too aware that some research could take up a lifetime and if we wait for all the facts to be known, the stories would never get written. This is especially true as libraries and museums digitize their collections making them more accessible to the public.

For example, Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY is now digitizing the biographies of the 560,000 people buried there (there is a saying that there are more dead than live people in Brooklyn because of all of the cemeteries). Since 2009, the staff and volunteers at Green Wood have been digitizing the archives: family trees, last will and testaments, and family correspondence. In fact, the characters of my story, the Durant family, have a mausoleum at Green Wood. I took a picture of the Durant mausoleum on a visit to Green Wood and used it for my cover of the last book in the Durant Family Saga trilogy titled: The Night is Done. The title is from a Kipling poem called The Dawn Wind:

At two o’clock in the morning, if you open your window and listen,
You will hear the feet of the Wind that is going to call the sun.
And the trees in the shadow rustle and the trees in the moonlight glisten,
And though it is deep, dark night, you feel that the night is done.   

And when I finally hit ‘the end’ on the last book in the trilogy, so was I.

 

~~~~~

 

Book Blurb

William and Ella Durant, heirs to a bygone fortune, are recounting the events that led to the Durant family downfall during the Gilded Age. In 1931 William returns to visit the estate he once possessed in the Adirondacks to speak with the current owner, copper magnate Harold Hochschild, who is writing a history of the region and wants to include a biography of William. Simultaneously, Ella is visiting with an old family friend and former lover, Poultney Bigelow, journalist with Harpers Magazine, who talks her into telling her own story. William recounts the height of his glory, after his father’s death in 1885 when he takes control of the Adirondack railroad assets, travels the world in his yacht and dines with future kings. However, his fortune takes a turn during the Financial Panic of 1893 and amid accusations of adultery and cruelty. Ella’s tale begins when she returned from living abroad to launch a lawsuit against her brother for her fair share of the Durant inheritance. The court provides a stage for the siblings to tear each other’s reputation apart: William for his devious business practices and failure to steward the Durant land holdings, and Ella for her unconventional lifestyle. Based on actual events, and historic figures, The Night is Done is a tale about the life altering power of revenge, greed and passion.

‘The Night is Done’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Done-Durant-Family-Saga-ebook/dp/B074WG1QTG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1523183149&sr=1-5 

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Night-Done-Durant-Family-Saga-ebook/dp/B074WG1QTG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523250881&sr=1-1&keywords=the+night+is+done+by+sheila+myers

 

About Sheila Myers

Sheila Myers is an Associate Professor at a community college in Upstate NY. Her Durant Family Saga is available at all major online retailers. Visit her website for more information.

 

Links

Amazon Page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sheila-Myers/e/B00K2YTA0A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1523250997&sr=1-5

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SheilaMMyers

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sheila.myers.526

 

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