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Archive for the tag “eBook”

Extract from ‘The Secret Mother’ by Shalini Boland

‘The Secret Mother’ is being published as an eBook on the 9th November 2017 by Bookouture.  As a special treat they are giving readers the chance to read an exclusive extract from the book.  Isn’t that just lovely of them?

I am just one of a number of bloggers who is hosting this extract.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

~~~~~

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am.  I literally could not put it down!!!!  The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going  I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant  and an end I didn’t see coming.  This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!! ’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but  this one blew me away. I am totally in shock  and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while.  A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word .’  Stacey Harrell, Goodreads

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author…  massive five stars  from me.’  Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club , 5 stars

‘The  ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down .’  For the Love of Books , 5 stars

‘The plot is  gripping  and once you’ve started reading,  you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end .’  Bits About Books , 5 Stars

… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me .’ Ajoobacats Blog , 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up,  you won’t be able to put it down! ’  Bookishly Ever After , 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has  more twists and turns than a fairground ride .’  Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club , 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the  jaw dropping  moment happened!…  unputdownable! ’  Goodreads Reviewer , 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the  twists and turns … an outstanding  explosive  read!’  Mello and June , 5 Stars

‘Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was  fast paced and intriguing .’  Goodreads reviewer , 5 stars

 

Extract

Chapter One

The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.

It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.

Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.

Almost home.

My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.

At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.

Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?

I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.

Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.

Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.

He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.

‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.

I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’

‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.

‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’

‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.

‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’

His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.

‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’

‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.

‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.

‘The angel.’

I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’

‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’

‘The angel?’

He nods.

I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’

‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’

I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.

‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.

Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’

‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’

I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’

‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’

My heart squeezes at his politeness.

‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’

‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’

He grins and slides off the stool.

What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.

He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.

‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’

‘Oh, okay.’

‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’

He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.

‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.

‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’

‘What? Now?’

‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’

‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’

‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?

‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.

‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’

His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’

‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’

My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?

I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.

‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.

‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’

He eagerly does as I ask.

‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’

He stares at the pans in the drawer.

‘Harry?’ I prompt.

‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.

‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’

No reply.

‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’

‘No.’

‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’

He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.

‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.

He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’

I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’

‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.

‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’

He nods vigorously and sniffs.

I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?

And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.

I don’t have a child. Not any more.

~~~~~

Did the extract leave you wanting to read more?  ‘The Secret Mother’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

 

About Shalini Boland

Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

THE SECRET MOTHER (published by Bookouture) is now available to pre-order!

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Follow Shalini Boland on:-

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

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

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Cover Reveal – ‘No Bodies’ by Robert Crouch

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘No Bodies’ by Robert Crouch, the second book in the Kent Fisher series which is out as an eBook on the 19th October 2017.  I love this cover and I think it’s my favourite of the two so far.  There will of course be a blog tour taking place next month so keep a look out for that.  In the meantime here’s what ‘No Bodies’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Why would environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, show any interest in finding Daphne Witherington, the missing wife of a longstanding family friend?

The police believe she ran off with Colin Miller, a rather dubious caterer, and Kent has problems of his own when a young girl who visits his animal sanctuary is rushed to hospital.

When enquiries into Colin Miller reveal a second missing wife, Kent picks up a trail that went cold over a year ago. But he’s struggling to find a connection between the women, even when he discovers a third missing wife.

Is there a killer on the loose in Downland?

With no motive, no connection and no bodies, Kent may never uncover the truth.

 

‘No Bodies’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AmUKtoNBRC

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AmUStoNBRC

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch

Earlier this month I took part in the cover reveal for ‘No Accident’.  You can see it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/cover-reveal-no-accident-by-robert-crouch/

I am delighted to be closing the blog tour celebrating the re-release of ‘No Accident’. This tour was arranged by the lovely Caroline Vincent of Bits About Books. Read on for my review.

‘No Accident’ is set in and around the beautiful South Downs of East Sussex and takes place over four days. Kent Fisher is an environmental health officer working for his local Council. He loves watching detective programmes on TV and he doesn’t believe that anything happens by accident. So when he is notified of a fatal work accident at Tombstone Adventure Park, Kent goes and investigates despite the fact that he has a restraining order against him. Whilst there he clashes with the owner, Miles Birchill who has his own reasons to stop the investigation.

Kent is determined to prove that this was no accident before anyone else is killed. Unfortunately, things aren’t made easy for him and he is in for some rather unpleasant surprises.

Having read the blurb for ‘No Accident’ this book really appealed to me. It just seemed so different. An environmental health officer investigating a suspicious death, how wonderful! I also really like the fact that the author has used some of his own experiences for this story. South Downs where this book is mostly set sounded lovely too.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘No Accident’. It was so good that I found myself standing at the bus stop after getting off the bus so that I could finish the end of a chapter before going home. It all got very exciting especially towards the end. I warmed to Kent Fisher straightaway. There was so much I liked about him including how he cared about animals, his ability to smell a rat a mile off and the way he went about solving the mystery. Oh, and I mustn’t forget his wonderful sense of humour and sarcasm. I loved reading about Kent’s little dog, Columbo, named after the TV detective. He sounded absolutely adorable and I really hope that he features in the rest of the series.

There were some real shockers throughout this story. In the space of just a few hours Kent’s world changed for good. I’m not sure I could have coped with what was thrown at him had I been in his situation, but Kent carried on regardless. He was determined to reveal the truth and he certainly wasn’t going to give up. Perhaps Kent could open his own Private Detective business one day?

‘No Bodies’, the second book in the Kent Fisher Mystery series is out this October. I am so glad that I have been introduced to this series and I will definitely be following it.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘No Accident’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accident-Kent-Fisher-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B0747S2YMP/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504030357&sr=1-2&keywords=no+accident

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Broken Bones’ by Angela Marsons

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘Broken Bones’ by Angela Marsons.  This is the seventh D.I. Kim Stone book and it is being published as an eBook on the 3rd November 2017 by Bookouture.  I really love the cover and have been hearing lots of good things about this series.  I guess that’s seven more books to add to my pile.  Read on to find out all about ‘Broken Bones’.

 

Book Blurb

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

 

About Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and now Broken Bones. Her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books – Blood Lines and Dead Souls – reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

 

Links

‘Broken Bones’ is available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2wwkvci

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/WriteAngie

Website – http://angelamarsons-books.com/

 

Interview with Natalie Kleinman

I would like to introduce you all to Natalie Kleinman whose novel, ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ was published as an eBook on the 21st June 2017 by HQ Digital.  I interviewed Natalie and asked her all about her latest book.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ please?

After her husband cheats on her one time too many, Holly leaves London and starts again in the beautiful village of Cuffingham. A talented artist, she is able, with the help of a legacy from her parents, to open a small gallery in the high street. She’s doing well, is spotted by an American dealer and whisked off to the States for an exhibition. Back in England Holly gets a puppy, the adorable Tubs, but still something is missing from her life. And then there’s Adam, the gorgeous vet with whom she has a less than satisfactory relationship. Will they ever recover from the scrap of their first meeting?

 

How long did it take you to write?

About six months from first draft to first edit. Then another edit. Then ano…

 

Where did you get the idea for your book from?

It began as the germ of an idea. A cheating husband. A girl who has the courage to start again. And an area I lost my heart to years ago in which to set her story. Aside from that I’m a bit of a panster so from that point on it took me where it would. That first draft is as much a journey of discovery for me as I hope the finished article is for my readers.

 

Have you ever visited the Cotswolds and if so, how would you sell it to someone thinking about going on holiday there?

Many times and I wouldn’t have to sell it. It sells itself. Glorious honey coloured stone buildings. Quaint villages and hamlets. English market towns. Rolling countryside. Magnificent country houses. Does it for me.

 

Did you find that your characters spoke to you whilst you were writing?

Always, to the extent that two demanded I change their names because they were definitely not happy with the ones I’d given them, particularly my hero. He was right. The first one didn’t fit. And Holly’s inner thoughts became private conversations between the two of us. I found myself willing her on. Even some of the minor characters are real to me. I can clearly picture Betty and Donald and their farm.

 

What would you do if you met any of the characters from your book for real?

Greet them like the old friends they are.

 

What was the publishing process like for you?

A wonderful experience. My manuscript was submitted on 30th January and accepted on 15th February. My editors at HQ Digital were incredibly helpful and quick to reply to any queries. In no time, it seemed, I was given a publication date, then a cover reveal (I love it) and before I could blink it was up on Amazon and on its way.

 

How did you feel on the day your book was published?

Excited, euphoric and a bit stunned by the promotion side of things.

 

Are there more books coming?

The next one is in the planning stage, sort of. I don’t do a meticulous plan (remember, I said above I’m a panster) but I’ve written an outline and the whole story is in my head, though not the details of course. A couple of chapters done and already I’m finding out about my characters. One is particularly appealing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Has social media been useful to you?

Immensely. It’s not my favourite thing but I appreciate its importance. How can readers buy a book they don’t even know exists?

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write a book?

Write it – but remember that writing is a craft, to be learned like any other. Now-famous authors who experienced instant fame had probably been writing for many years before their overnight success. There will be highs and lows but if it’s in you it will find a way out. Above all, engage with other writers. Join a group or a creative writing school. And depending on your favoured genre, look to the romantic, crime historical associations and become a member. The help you will receive will be priceless. On a personal level I can’t recommend The Romantic Novelists Association too highly.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time?

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Georgette Heyer. Lee Child. Georgette Heyer.  Harlan Coben. Georgette Heyer…

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for one month and are only allowed to have two books with you.  What would they be?

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It’s like a comfort blanket. And Escape to the Cotswolds so my characters, who have become my friends, can hold my hand until I’m rescued.

 

Thanks for answering my questions, Natalie.  Your book sounds wonderful and I wish you every success with it.

 

About Natalie Kleinman

Natalie, a born and bred Londoner, has a not-so-secret wish to live in the area she so enjoys writing about. While this isn’t practical at the moment she stills allows herself to dream of honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint villages and rippling brooks. Maybe one day.

A late-comer to writing, she has two published novels and many short stories to her name. She attributes her success to a determination to improving her craft, attending any and every writing event she can. All that and a weekly attendance at The Write Place Creative School in Dartford where cream cakes are frequently on the agenda.

Natalie lives with her husband in Blackheath, south-east London – except when she’s tripping off to The Cotswolds in the name of research. Somebody has to do it!

 

Links

Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

 

Guest Post by Dianne Noble

Dianne Noble’s new book, ‘Oppression’ was published as an eBook on the 14th June 2017 by Tirgearr Publishing.  The lovely Dianne is back on my blog with another wonderful guest post which I hope you all enjoy reading.

 

Oppression

The first time I saw Egypt I was seven years old and sitting on the deck of the troopship Dunera with my head buried in Enid Blyton’s Ring-o-Bells Mystery. I looked up as we docked in Port Said to see the gully gully man coming aboard. He was an Egyptian magician who fascinated everyone, young and old alike, and he accentuated the other world atmosphere of this exotic country. As we sailed down the Suez Canal – much narrower than I expected – Lawrence of Arabia figures seated on camels appeared on the desert banks. I can truly say Egypt was the first place interesting enough to get my head out of a book.

Three years later, in December 1957, the Canal had been closed and we flew back from Singapore in an RAF Hermes plane. The journey took almost three days, stopping in several countries to re-fuel and de-ice the wings. This time there were no hot and vibrant sights and I didn’t see Egypt again until I reached my early forties, when I travelled by train from Cairo to Aswan, glued to the windows as we passed by villages which looked like they’d come straight from the pages of the Bible. The Pyramids fascinated me, the River Nile, the Temple of Karnak at Luxor, the people, everything. My lifelong love affair with Egypt had begun and I’ve been back many times. The last time, I visited the City of the Dead in Cairo, a vast necropolis which features in Oppression and houses many poor people who would otherwise be on the streets.

This novel is the story of Beth who prevents the abduction of a young girl in a North Yorkshire town, but is powerless to stop her subsequent forced marriage. In time to come Beth travels to Egypt to search for the girl, Layla, and finds her living in the City of the Dead. Oppression is the tale of two very different women, both of whom are oppressed in their lives, and how they triumph despite the odds.

 

About Dianne Noble

I was born into a service family and brought up in Singapore in the 1950s, before it gained its independence, then Cyprus when the Turkish Navy sailed to the island for the first time to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and we had to travel everywhere in a military convoy. I went on to marry a Civil Engineer and moved to the Arabian Gulf in the 1970s at the time of the construction boom. A hedonistic lifestyle with too much alcohol and partying which saw the demise of my, and many others’, marriages.

Since then, with sons grown and flown, I have continued to wander all over the world, keeping extensive journals of my experiences. Fifteen different schools and an employment history which includes The British Embassy Bahrain, radio presenter, café proprietor on Penzance seafront, and a goods picker in an Argos warehouse (complete with steel toe-capped boots) have resulted in rich seams to mine for inspiration.

I’ve always written, from editing the school magazine to short stories and letters to magazines, but it was only on retirement that I had the time for a novel. My writing is atmospheric, steeped in the smells, sights and sounds of exotic locations. I live – when not travelling – in a small, Leicestershire village. My favourite destinations – so far – have been India, Egypt and Russia, with Guatemala a close third.

 

Links

You can purchase ‘Oppression’ from:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071KY8BJ8

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KY8BJ8

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/721501

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/oppression/id1231926575?mt=1

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/oppression-4

 

Website: www.dianneanoble.com

Twitter: @dianneanoble1

Facebook: facebook.com/dianneanoble

 

Blog Tour – ‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ by Paul Mathews

‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ was published on the 28th June 2017 as an eBook.  I originally took part in the cover reveal post for this book and you can read what it’s all about here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/cover-reveal-we-have-lost-the-coffee-by-paul-mathews/

I am one of a number of bloggers taking part in the blog tour celebrating ‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ and today it’s my turn along with the blogs Jessica’s Reading Room and Books From Dusk Till Dawn.  I have a guest post about publication day which I hope you’ll all enjoy.

~~~~~

So, your book is being published!

Woo hoo!!

The Day Before

For the first two novels, I secretly published them a day early. Then I purchased and read them, as a final check – so, the day before official publication, I was actually reading the books. On both occasions, I ended up making some last-minute edits, which was all very hectic. But this time round, it will be very different.

Firstly, I’m making We Have Lost the Coffee available for pre-order (at a discount price) and the final version must be uploaded to Amazon at least three days before publication day. That means I can focus on drafting and scheduling social media posts in the days before.

Secondly, due to a quirk of timing, the audiobook for my second novel, We Have Lost the Pelicans, is launching the day before We Have Lost The Coffee goes live. So, I’ll do a bit of publicity for that, as well.

On the Day

On the day itself, there are no balloons, party poppers or champagne corks being popped. It’s less excitement and more trepidation as you finally let go of your baby after months of careful nurturing.

For me, it will be a long day in front of the computer. For example, I’ll check my sales figures for books one and two, as well as my Amazon US ads, like I do every day when I’m at home. Then I’ll launch into Facebook and Twitter posts. My mailing list is only small at the moment, but I’ll alert subscribers.

There are lots of other things to do: updating Twitter and Facebook profiles with details of the new book; tweaking the book’s blurb (an ongoing process in a novel’s first few weeks); refreshing my website; and updating Amazon author profiles (annoyingly, you have to do this separately for each site). I also have a Facebook party lined up in the evening. I’m not entirely sure what that involves, as someone is organising it for me. But hopefully, it won’t just be me and my Mum …!

My wife will be at work during the day but I’ll have my trusty, four-legged feline assistant Lulu with me – she’ll doze off on the sofa while I’m doing all the hard work. I’ll probably have a drink in the evening, or go for a meal, or just crash out on the sofa in front of the TV. Probably the latter!

 

About Paul Mathews

Paul Mathews is a 40-something British guy who’s given up his 9-to-5 job in London to become a full-time comedy novelist. Why did he make this bold step? Well, he’d had enough of crazy managers and uncooperative printers. So one afternoon, after nearly 20 years working at the heart of the British Government, he shut down his computer, deleted all his emails and escaped the office – never to return. (Okay, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as that, but he is a fiction writer, so please cut him a little slack.)

His two decades working as a Government press officer gave him an invaluable insight into all the key elements of modern government: bureaucracy, bungling, buffoonery, buck-passing and other things that don’t begin with the letter ‘b’ – such as politicians with huge egos and very little talent. He’s now putting that knowledge to use by writing about a British Government of the future – where, believe it or not, the politicians are even bigger idiots than the current lot.

Before becoming a PR guy, he was an accountant. But he doesn’t like to talk about that. And going back further, he went to Cambridge University and studied philosophy. Despite thousands of hours of thoughtful contemplation, he still hasn’t worked out how that happened. The highlight of his university years was receiving a £300 travel grant to visit Prague and ‘study philosophy’. It was a trip which ignited his love of Eastern Europe where he spends a lot of time writing and drinking black beer.

Other interests include wearing sunglasses and having his photograph taken. Visit his website for more info on this (allegedly) humorous man: http://www.iamthe.website

 

‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072MJXKNL/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496861102&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=we+have+lost+the+coffee+by+paul+matthews

 

Cover Reveal – ‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ by Paul Mathews

I am delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal.  ‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ is being published on the 28th June 2017 as an eBook.  Here’s what the book is all about:-

 

Book Blurb

London, 2045. Three months into the Coffee Wars and Britain’s caffeine supplies are at critical levels. Brits are drinking even more tea than usual, keeping a stiff upper lip and praying for an end to it all.

A secret Government coffee stockpile could save the day … but then mysteriously disappears overnight.

One man is asked to unravel the missing-coffee mystery. His name is Pond. Howie Pond. And he’s in desperate need of a triple espresso. Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is hunting royal fugitive Emma Windsor on the streets of the capital.

Can Howie save the British Republic from caffeine-starved chaos? Will the runaway royal be found? And just what will desperate coffee drinkers do for their next caffeine fix? Find out, in Paul Mathews’ latest comedy-thriller set in the Britain of the future…

‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ is packed with dry British humour, political satire, dozens of comedy characters and enough coffee jokes to keep you awake all night. It’s full of crazy action and adventure in London, and beyond, and is guaranteed to set your pulse racing faster than a quadruple espresso.

So, join Howie, Britt and friends – as well as some enemies – as you travel forward in time to 2040s London.

 

You can pre-order ‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072MJXKNL/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496861102&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=we+have+lost+the+coffee+by+paul+matthews

 

Blog Tour – ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton

It’s my turn on this blog tour celebrating ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton which is being published as an eBook on the 8th June 2017.   I have an extract for you all, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows.

When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is.

As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?

 

Extract

Chapter 1

October 21, 9:21 p.m.

Tanya O’Neal’s bare feet padded the cold moist earth as she struggled to find a way out of the hole located in her captor’s shed. His real name she didn’t know; just his online profile: CtryGeek23. It had been two days since she’d decided to flee the demeaning abuse from her uncle to be with the man she thought was sweet, kind and wanted to be with her. I’m sorry, Mom.

Now she was going to be the next to die. Did she have a chance in hell of getting out? Why would he kill her friend and keep her alive? She just wanted out before he came back again. Pain vibrated through her body as she dug at the dirt wall, trying to climb out only to keep falling back in.

She stepped away from the wall and wiped her hands on the poodle skirt and oversize sweater CtryGeek23 had given her. Even with the heat from the wood stove, Tanya fought to stay warm. She looked down at the dark stain on the sleeve and wondered if another person had worn the sweater. Like another victim?

Still groggy from being drugged, Tanya rubbed her swollen eyes and lifted her head to try to look out of the dimly lit hole. Not able to see much, she stepped back, stumbling over the lifeless body of her friend. Sam.

Within seconds she was back on her feet, scanning the shed. Dim evening light shined through two windows above, catching the black seat attached to a red tractor in its path. A cluttered workbench sat on the other side of the tractor.

Heavy footsteps moved around outside, coming closer.

Tanya’s breath caught in her throat.

The door to the shed flew open and in walked the older man who’d made her dress up in clothes from the fifties and listen to stories while he worked around in the shed. “Remember my little story I told you about?”

“Yes,” Tanya said in a low whisper.

CtryGeek23 lowered a ladder into the hole and adjusted it to a longer length. “You can come out now,” he said positioning the ladder.

Tanya hesitated. His face resembled stone. It was like looking at a shaped mask, but hidden underneath was the same expression of anger he’d worn as he stabbed her friend over and over.

Her hands trembled as she reached for the ladder, placed her feet on the cold rungs and ascended. If he was going to get rid of her wouldn’t he come down into the hole and do to her what he did to Sam? Maybe he was going to let her go because she’d listened to his story, unlike her friend, who’d refused.

As she reached the top of the ladder, he turned around, retrieved some rags from the workbench and tossed them onto the drop cloth lying near the door. CtryGeek23 faced her and ran his fingers along her cheek. “So pretty. So innocent. You remind me of the woman in my story. The skirt looks good on you don’t you think? Go ahead, twirl around for me.”

Hot tears streaked Tanya’s face as she did what he wanted. When she was done, she stared up at CtryGeek23, trying to look past him at the shed door. She wanted to swoop around him and try to claim her freedom. But she’d seen his quick movements when he went after Sam when she tried to escape. And look what happened to her.

“I’m going to ask you a question.”

“A question?”

“Let’s pretend you’re my girlfriend.” He grabbed her hand and pulled Tanya toward him. “Would you promise to marry me knowing what you do now?”

Marry you? Was he talking about the story he told me? What am I supposed to say? Yes.

Farm machinery sounded in the distance.

“Yes,” Tanya said, trying to pull out of his grasp.

CtryGeek23’s grip tightened.

Tanya’s knees buckled.

Quick breaths escaped from his mouth, filling the space between them with a spicy aroma. “Your eyes tell me something different.”

Without warning, CtryGeek23 hoisted a knife speckled with blood and sliced open Tanya’s sweater.

Shocked, she threw up her hands as he raised the knife again, blocking the strike.

CtryGeek23 cursed, threw Tanya down on the drop cloth. She screamed as she scrambled towards the door.

Running footsteps passed her by as CtryGeek23 lunged for the door, flipped the hasp over and snapped the padlock shut.

 

11:39 p.m.

The pounding in Detective Collin Blanchette’s ears elevated as he closed the folder on the cold case file and looked at the photo of his daughter, Celine, attached to the unsolved case from six months ago.

It had been three weeks since he’d decided to take another crack at it, hoping he’d find another case that resembled his daughter’s murder. Some of the best guys he knew had worked the case, but the leads had dried up. It was as if the cold-hearted bastard had taken extra care to cover his tracks so that he wouldn’t be found.

Usually, a perp will leave something behind, no matter how small but not this one. Now it was time to find him.

Collin’s desk phone rang and he picked it up on the first ring. “Homicide.”

“Do you have anything on that drug dealer that was killed over on Riley Street?”

A late-night call from the assistant district attorney meant she was sniffing around trying to see if the police were doing their job. “I know you’re busy huddled at your desk waiting for the next defendant, but Riley Street isn’t my only case.”

“Do you have anything or not?”

“No one in the neighborhood is talking.”

“I don’t believe that. Everybody talks to you. Or maybe there’s a six-month-old case pulling at your heart strings that’s keeping you from doing your job.”

“Guess I’ve lost my touch, because the tweekers aren’t desperate enough to pass up their fix for a place to sleep,” Collin said.

“What about your informants? I know you have at least two and they aren’t registered to you.”

Silence lingered on the phone. Although Ibee was right about having informants on the side, he had his reasons and she knew it.

“Dammit, I’m due for a comp after what you did to bust up the Surace case a while back. That case was my shot to make me look good to the voters.”

“That Surace case was a long time ago and what you were doing was wrong.” Collin cupped his hand over the receiver and lowered his voice. “Don’t forget, I’ve got enough stuff on you to make that guy you were going to send to prison for a murder he didn’t commit look like a saint.” He slammed the phone down.

“Whoa, buddy,” Kevin said, knocking on Collin’s office door. “Who pissed you off this time?” He stepped in and closed the door.

Collin looked up and forced a smile for his old partner and sergeant. Kevin Owen sported a military-style haircut laced with silver streaks, broad shoulders, and a little paunch that protruded slightly over his belt. “The one person that can fill my tolerance filter in less than ten seconds just by opening her mouth.”

Sarge pulled up a chair and took a seat across from Collin. He leaned back and stared at his friend. “I think there are only two people who can handle our A.D.A. Your daughter and her partner.” A flicker of concern danced in his eyes.

Collin nodded and pondered the real reason why Kevin was here on his day off. It reminded him of the times they used to ride together. Tomorrow they were getting together for coffee so they could plan one more day to play golf before the weather started getting cold. Why couldn’t it wait until then? “What’s wrong, Kev?”

Heavy rain pelted the window overlooking the parking lot.

“One of the guys saw your wife having lunch with You Know Who.”

“Does this person have proof?” Collin asked.

“Several people have proof. The officer was celebrating his birthday at McGinley’s with his family where they took pics and shared them online. I just wanted to tell you before someone else did. And after everything you’ve been through with her…”

Collin stood, yanked his coat of his chair and stormed out of the office. “Damn you, Deena.”

 

Giveaway

Like the sound of this book?  You’re in luck then as there is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  Yes, two lucky people will win 1 of 2 x signed eBook copies of ‘Promised Lies’.  To enter, click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Marguerite Ashton

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Buying Links

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

Amazon.com:-

https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Note’ by Andrew Barrett

Having thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Barrett’s last book, ‘Ledston Luck’, I was thrilled when I found out that he was publishing a short story and jumped at the chance of taking part in the blog tour. ‘The Note’ was released as an eBook on the 5th May.

Eddie Collins is at a murder scene. It’s raining, it’s late and he’s feeling uncomfortable. He feels like he is being watched but when he turns around no one is there.

Back at the office Eddie finds a death threat on his desk amongst his paperwork. Scary! He can’t think who could have sent it to him but he’s about to find out.

I don’t often read short stories but I so needed to know what Eddie Collins was getting up to. I really like the way Andrew Barrett writes and this book definitely did not disappoint. It was an exciting and gripping read and for a short story there was a lot to it. In ‘The Note’ you get to learn a little bit more about Eddie Collins and what he went through in the past. So descriptive is this story I could actually feel the atmosphere in Eddie Collin’s house. This is spine tingling stuff.

Eddie Collins as a character is great. He doesn’t take any nonsense from work colleagues and he stands his ground. I’m sure a lot of us wish we could be like that.  Perhaps Eddie could give us some lessons.

I really hope that Andrew Barrett writes more short stories as I think Eddie Collins has a lot more to reveal.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Links

‘The Note’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Note-Eddie-Collins-short-story-ebook/dp/B071RTLBZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494267964&sr=1-1&keywords=the+note+by+andrew+barrett

Website – http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Facebook – AndrewBarrett.author

Twitter – @AndrewBarrettUK

 

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