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Archive for the tag “The First Lie”

Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon

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

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The Stalker’s Guide to French Wine

by Virginia King

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not your demographic.”

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

“Promising.”

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

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

***

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

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

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

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The Second Path - book cover

Book Blurb

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

Only her subconscious knows.

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

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

Searching for home.

 

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Download Your FREE Ghost Story

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

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Giveaway of The First Lie

The First Lie - book cover

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

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

 

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About Virginia King

Author Picture

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

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

 

Links

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

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/selkiemoonbooks

 

Retail Links

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

 

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Virginia King’s Mythical Clue Giveaway

The First Lie - Book Cover

Virginia King is running a Mythical Clue Giveaway.  Read on to find out more.

 

The First Lie

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over in Hawaii. But her refuge begins to unravel and soon she’s running from something else entirely. A voice in a dream says: Someone is trying to kill you. Not that Selkie’s psychic, no way. But the threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a ghostly stalker. Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the clues become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running.

But is she running from her past? Or her future?

 

Mythical Clue Giveaway!

Like to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie?

Just read to the end of the extract and answer the question that follows, by clicking on the link to Rafflecopter.

Winner drawn at the end of November. Good Luck!

 

Prologue

February 1979

It happens on a beach.

A little girl is splashing in the shallows. Falling over, getting up again. Squealing. A woman in a sundress watches from under a hat, while a woman in a swimsuit plays with the toddler.

Suddenly a big wave comes from nowhere and pulls the child away from the shore. It tumbles her over and over and she waves her little arms and legs at the sky.

The woman in the swimsuit laughs. “You’re a mermaid.”

But the other woman is screaming. “What are you doing? She’s drowning.”

“It’s just a wave. It’s saying hello.”

The woman in the sundress rushes into the water and pulls the child back from the grasp of the sea. “Look at her, she’s crying. She’s coughing up sand.”

“That’s what happens at the beach.”

“She could have drowned.”

“The gods called her Selkie because she’s a mermaid.”

“You and your stupid fairytales. She isn’t safe with you. She isn’t safe.”

 

Chapter 1

I’m falling off a cliff towards the rocks and the sea, when these words ring in my ears.

Someone is trying to kill you.

They reverberate like a call to prayer. Clear. Insistent. Almost musical.

The meaning rattles me to consciousness and I sit up with a start. But as I wait in the semi-dark for the words to repeat themselves, there’s only an aching silence. As if they never happened. Except their shape has left a shadow on the wall of my mind and my body has started to tremble.

I reach for my bathrobe and wrap myself against the sudden chill, wishing I wasn’t alone. It’s a familiar feeling. All by myself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Without a life raft.

Unless Wanda crept back after midnight, but across the room her bed lies untouched. No telltale lump under the covers. And no whirring of her blender from the kitchen. She’s stayed out all night again. It usually makes her the perfect flatmate.

Of course I’ve had bad dreams before. Often the same one. I’m trapped underwater, tangled in something so my arms don’t work, and wake up to find it’s only the sheets. But never anything like this.

Because it wasn’t just a dream. It was a message. Seeping into my brain. Someone. Is. Trying. To. Kill. You. As graphic as stumbling across a gravestone in a churchyard inscribed with my name and today’s date.

For the first time I notice the quality of the silence. Complete. The bedside clock isn’t ticking. The water pipes aren’t clunking. Even the whispering sea is absent. I pull the robe a little closer and focus on the steady movement of my chest. I’m not dead yet.

And the message makes no sense. Who would want to kill me? After only three months I’m still a stranger here, and there aren’t many murders in this part of the world. It’s why people come to Hawaii. To play it sunny and safe. And anyway, I’m not the kind of woman to inspire that kind of violence. Although my ex would disagree. Andrew still can’t believe I’ve swapped opposite corners of the ring for opposite sides of the globe.

Where did the message come from? The remnants of the dream? But it sounded like . . . a disembodied voice. With that thought an invisible presence seems to fill the space.

Something . . . spoke to me.

My eyes scan the walls and dozens of eyes stare back. Wanda’s artworks, fashioned from dead fish. In garish colours with painted lips. They might ooze an excess of character but they don’t speak. Although with Wanda’s gift for hocus-pocus it wouldn’t surprise me.

Any other possible culprits? A naked shop dummy sits on a chair at the end of Wanda’s bed, her plastic legs akimbo. Doris. For the first few weeks I kept jumping out of my skin every time I caught sight of her. Wanda has dressed her in a Hula skirt and peppered her torso with nails, like a woman in a Dali painting. She drapes her with anything from net bags to headbands to leis. Today Doris is wearing a straw hat even though she doesn’t have a head. No head, no voice, right?

The room is a tribute to Wanda’s eye for other people’s trash, and my few belongings barely make an impression on the menagerie. A large Buddha head with four faces forever contemplating his split personality. Two fairies shadow-dancing on an art-deco tray. A parrot made from nuts and bolts poised on his own perch. In childhood these creatures might have spoken to me, but my stepmother, Stella, banished imaginary friends long ago.

On the ledge above my bed my Shona sculpture is just a head and shoulders. I brought her with me when I took off from Sydney with two business suits and not much else. A chunk of black and silver rock from Zimbabwe, her profile is as enigmatic as ever. And as silent. But she’s no whisperer. If Shona had a warning for me she’d come right out with it.

The presence is still here. A kind of touchless stroking against my bare skin. Seductive but unnerving. It’s making me as rigid as Doris but my eyes keep darting back to the slash of early-morning light spilling through the bathroom doorway. Is it coming from there?

When I was a child I used to feel things like this, invisible things. Stella made me stand in the bathroom until they were gone. I’m still a bit afraid of bathrooms, their cold unwelcoming surfaces gleaming my wild-eyed stare back at me. So it’s all I can do to get off the bed and tiptoe towards the doorway.

There are no doors to hide an intruder. And no shower curtain over the bath. When I start hyperventilating about Janet Leigh in Psycho, I tell myself to get a grip. No-one would bother breaking in here. The address might be Waikiki, but that’s where the glamour ends.

The sun through the window bathes me in light and I scan the empty bathroom with relief. Only my imagination playing tricks. But that’s when I see it. In the mirror at the end of the bath.

A face.

It’s a woman, just her face, but I’m sure she’s naked and reclining in the tub. She’s looking straight at me as if she’s been waiting, her eyes so piercing they latch onto mine and won’t release me, even when I try to pull away. For a long breathless moment our gazes are locked together and I’m lost in the depths of an emotion I can’t name. Then she lets go and the recoil spins me towards a window full of light. Now I’m blinking at the bath. Empty. Still empty. And when I spin back to the mirror she’s gone.

It takes me a few seconds to come to my senses because it feels like I’ve been doused by some unbearable sorrow. Then I’m back in my body, splashing my face at the basin, stumbling back to the bedroom and flopping on the bed.

The bedside clock begins to tick, its rhythmic beat counting the seconds like a metronome. The hands are showing six. They haven’t moved since the message woke me – surely at least five minutes ago. And the sun doesn’t rise this early, not in February. Does that mean the last five minutes didn’t happen?

It doesn’t matter how early it is, I’m phoning Wanda. She’s the one who put that stupid mirror there. After a dream, she insisted that the bath needed to see the sky.

“How can it see?” I asked as she propped the mirror with great ceremony against the wall at the end of the bath. “Bathtubs . . . don’t have eyes.”

“We’re talking spiritual eyes. Put yourself in her place, staring at a blank wall all day. Soul-destroying. Like being paralysed. But if we put this mirror opposite the window, see? The sky’s reflected and she’s reconnecting.”

“Reconnecting with what?”

“Her wild nature.”

There’s a lot of that kind of talk around here. Wanda thinks everything’s got a spirit, every rock and insect, even our old ball-and-claw bath.

“Let’s ask her for hotter showers,” I said. Just one of the reasons this flat is cheap.

“Out of her control. She’s the vessel, that’s why she’s female. She receives. Contains. Transforms. The mirror’s special too. It reflects female energy.”

Its silver frame is curved like a woman. Narrow at the waist, wide at the bust and hips.

“But we’ll notice a difference in other ways,” Wanda said. “After a bath, we’ll be radiant.”

It all seemed like a bit of fun. I’ve been waiting for Wanda to give the bath a name and paint its toenails red. But now because of that mirror I’ve looked into the eyes of . . . a woman who wasn’t there.

Confusion drives me outside onto the walkway where dawn is breaking and the air is fresh. As my fingers fumble with the phone, it feels good to inhale. If Wanda’s in bed with her new man it can’t be helped.

No answer. I leave an agitated message and start pacing.

I’ve got to get dressed and go to the office but that means going back inside. I close my eyes and try to calm my breathing but the woman’s face appears. This time it’s just the memory, her gaze caught in freeze-frame, and one of Stella’s phrases gallops up the long tunnel from childhood: “It’ll cause you trouble, your imagination. Just like your mother. If you can’t touch it, it’s a figment, and figments can carry you away.” My stepmother has a way of creeping up on me, just like she did when I was a child. I might have left her on the other side of the world but she’s still living inside my head.

My phone rings. “Sorry I couldn’t pick up, Selkie. Up to my armpits in mullet.” Wanda’s at the docks judging by the hubbub. “Hang on.”

Now she’s talking to someone and a man is laughing. One of her fishermen, no doubt.

They give them to her – dead fish – because she’s an art student. (Her long legs and short shorts have nothing to do with it.) She presses the corpses into squares of soft resin, adding shells to make borders. When the moulds harden she paints them and sells them at the markets as Art.

“OK. They’re in the cooler getting acquainted. Something must be up if you’re calling this early.”

“It’s that mirror.” My voice is croaky. “The one at the end of the bath.”

“You didn’t break it, did you?” Pause. “Oh my God, you saw something.”

“A face. I saw a face. A woman . . . who wasn’t there.”

Spoken out loud it sounds delusional but Wanda is taking it seriously. “OK, keep breathing. Let’s eliminate the temporal. It wasn’t . . . your own face.”

“I do know what I look like, Wanda. Even in the mornings. And I wasn’t peering into the mirror. I was standing in the doorway, looking at it from the side.”

“So it could have been at the window. That’s the angle. Sometimes kids climb up trying to get a look at one of us under the shower.”

It’s the first I’ve heard of it, but it wasn’t a kid. “It was definitely a woman. And she wasn’t at the window, she was in the bath. Until she wasn’t.”

“OK.” She thinks for a moment. “What do you want me to do, call in an exorcist?”

“Hell, no. Just move the bloody thing.” Into a dumpster on the other side of the island.

“You can move it. Turn the mirror to the wall and it loses its power.”

“No way. And I’m stuck outside in my bathrobe. How am I going to get to work?”

“If she disappeared she’s gone for now. It’s safe to take a shower.”

“I’m not going near that bath.”

“OK. Go into the bedroom and throw on some clothes. You can do that. And meet me in an hour. At your office.”

Holding my breath, I open the front door and rush inside, but the air feels clear as if the presence is long gone. I toss off my bathrobe and pull on my red suit and heels. Hair and makeup would mean looking in another mirror so I throw a few things into my tote bag and slam the front door. Not quite my usual transformation to corporate warrior.

 

Question:

Why does Selkie leave her flat without doing her hair and makeup?

For a chance to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie, answer the above question and enter the raffle here.

 

Can’t wait for the prizes?

If you’re hooked and want to buy The First Lie now for the special price of US $2.99, then if you win a copy I’ll gift you the next book in the series The Second Path instead 🙂 (Read an extract)  Also follow Selkie Moon on Facebook for monthly giveaways & paranormal humour.

Buy the book:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery/dp/0992487021/

 

One Cover Poll, Two Authors and a World of Fairy Tales

The First Lie - Book Cover

Short Blurb

When Selkie Moon escapes her life in Sydney to start over in Hawaii, she triggers a series of events so bizarre that she’s forced to delve into the murky depth of the past and face the shocking truth about herself.

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When A Lover of Books hosted a cover poll earlier in the year for the psychological mystery/thriller The First Lie, one of the two winners was Kendra Olson. Kendra’s winning comment was: I chose the cover with the water and reflection of two different faces. I found this image both disturbing and intriguing, which is how I expect to feel when reading a psychological mystery/thriller. Good luck!

Author Virginia King sent Kendra her ebook prize of The First Lie and got on with the final drafts of The Second Path, the next book in the Selkie Moon Mystery Series.

From Virginia: When you give away a book you’re always hoping the winner will love it and perhaps write a review but I was blown away when Kendra sent me the following email:

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for an amazing and wonderful read. I genuinely enjoyed The First Lie, A Selkie Moon Mystery. Your characters and storyline meant that I could not put it down until I finished it, and when I did I wished that I had the second book in the series so I could keep reading. It has been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a novel that much. I loved how you combined the mythological and an element of supernatural mystery with the psychological unknown. I’ve read a bit of Freud and felt that your depiction of someone at the brink was particularly apt, and frightening. Selkie was so well drawn that I could easily put myself in her shoes. 

The symbolism of fairy tales has been a passion of mine for a long time – the way the magical elements reveal the mystery behind modern life – and the Selkie Moon mysteries are heavily influenced by psychology and mythology. In The First Lie, Selkie gets tangled up in Celtic and Hawaiian mythology as she unravels the mystery of her own history. It turns out that Kendra is an author too and she also draws inspiration from fairy tales in her own writing.

 

From Kendra: I’ve always loved fairy tales and their ability to transform the everyday into the magical. For anyone who has ever visited a remote place of natural beauty and suddenly come across a wild animal alone, you’ll know the strange, almost mystical, feeling you get of being ‘at one’ with nature. It’s both frightening and amazing at the same time.

My novel, The Forest King’s Daughter, is set in nineteenth century rural Sweden and is about a young woman named Ingrid who emigrates to America, and the events that propel her towards making that decision. Swedish folklore is filled with tales of mischievous tomte (elves), witches and other creatures which play a role in the culture to this day. This is why Ingrid’s story is told through the lens of a fairy tale which her father tells her.

The story itself was inspired by my imagining what life may have been like for my great-grandmother who emigrated from Sweden to America in 1891 alongside many other young women of her generation. In 2011, I took a trip to Sweden and met my relatives there. They took me to see the house my grandmother had lived in, deep in the Swedish forest. I was enchanted by the beauty of the area; with its deep thickets, secret clearings and unfamiliar wildlife.

I’ve always enjoyed reading, and grew up in a house filled with books. From reading I made the natural jump to writing my own stories. Writing allows me to visit new places I might not otherwise have the chance to—both in my imagination and through research. As Katherine Mansfield once said: ‘Would you not like to try all sorts of lives—one is so very small—but that is the satisfaction of writing—one can impersonate so many people.’

TFKD cover

Short Blurb

An epic, coming-of-age journey told through the lens of a Swedish fairy tale. Set initially in 19th century Sweden and ending in the American state of Minnesota, The Forest King’s Daughter tells the story of Ingrid, a teenager, who lives with her family in rural Värmland.

Ingrid has finished her schooling but when she becomes friends with the new schoolteacher, the village church is angry and her parents forbid their meeting.

Ingrid’s desire to stand up for what she believes in leads her far from her home. While this is the story of a single young woman, it is also the story of hundreds of women like her who emigrated to America in the 19th century.

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What’s next for Virginia and Kendra?

The cover poll has led to a long-distance e-friendship between the two authors.

Virginia has just published The Second Path, where Selkie Moon unravels a labyrinth of clues inspired by a French fairy tale (cover reveal coming soon).  She’s already “composting” ideas for Book Three in the series and has a mad idea to involve readers in this wild mythical process. Email her if you’d like to know more: selkiemoonmystery@gmail.com

Follow Selkie Moon’s mysteries, read an extract and download the free guide Messing with Mythology: http://www.selkiemoon.com/

Follow the series on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selkiemoonmysteries

Buy the books for the discount price of £1.99 or US $2.99:

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/Virginia-King/e/B00K2N9AGK/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-King/e/B00K2N9AGK

 

Kendra has just finished her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and is working on a new novel. She blogs about her writing journey at: https://kendraolson.wordpress.com/

Follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kendraolsonwriting

Buy her book for £3.99 or US $6.28:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forest-Kings-Daughter-Kendra-Olson-ebook/dp/B00UBTSNBI/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Forest-Kings-Daughter-Kendra-Olson-ebook/dp/B00UBTSNBI/

#iBooks https://itun.es/gb/N5Fh6.l

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A few words from me……

When Virginia King first contacted me regarding doing a cover poll for her on my blog, I was more than happy to do so.  Little did I know that this would lead to a long-distance e-friendship between her and Kendra Olson.  This just makes me so happy.

I have since then posted a few things for Virginia on here and I am so pleased to have had the privilege of getting to know such a lovely author.  Virginia very kindly sent me a paperback copy of ‘The First Lie’ all the way from Australia with a beautiful message inside it.  A wonderful lady with such a kind heart.

 

Mystical Mystery Bundle – 21st to 30th April 2015

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Mystical Mystery Series Book Bundle

Three Award-winning Authors – Book Giveaway and Sale

Discover a touch of the mystical and an innovative take on mystery from an international trio of authors.  Australian Virginia King, American Amber Foxx and British Marion Eaton – all B.R.A.G. Medallion winners – have teamed up for a giveaway and over a week of discounts from April 21 – 30.

 

Win a Paperback of Each Book

Enter the drawing below to win a paperback copy of the first book in each author’s series.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eb0a35092/

Buy each e-book during the sale for only US $1.99 (adjusted for other currencies)

 

The First Lie – Virginia King

Selkie Moon Mystery Series, Book One

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run.  In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over again in Hawaii.  But her refuge begins to unravel and she’s running from something else entirely.  A voice in a dream says that someone is trying to kill her.  Not that she’s psychic, no way. But the messages and threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious stalker.  Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the events become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running.  But is she running from her past?  Or her future?

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

Buy the ebook for US $1.99:

http://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

http//www.amazon.co.uk/First-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-Series-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

 

The Calling – Amber Foxx 

The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions – access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again.

The Mae Martin Series

No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

Website & buy the ebook for US $1.99:

https://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com/buy-books-retail-links/
 

 

When the Clocks Stopped – Marion Eaton

The Mysterious Marsh Series, Book One

When lawyer Hazel Dawkins decides to write some wills while she waits for the birth of her first child, she unwittingly triggers dramatic consequences. Mysteriously, she encounters Annie, a woman whose tempestuous life took place more than two centuries earlier when Romney Marsh was a violent place, dominated by smugglers.  Soon that past collides with the present, and Hazel finds herself pitted against an evil that has stalked the marsh for centuries.  As her destiny intertwines with Annie’s in the shifting time-scape, Hazel confronts a terrifying challenge that parallels history – and could even change it. If she survives.

Website: http://www.marioneaton.com/

Buy the ebook for US $1.99: amzn.to/17THZ83

 

The raffle is open to all countries.  It starts from April 21 – April 26, with the extra days after the winner is announced to give readers the chance to buy the ebooks at a discount.

Guest Post by Virginia King

Virginia_King_Author_Portrait

The lovely Virginia King is back on my blog with a guest post.

 

Getting Inside her Head

How a Group of Real Women Became One Feisty Heroine

Reviewers are describing Selkie Moon as a character they can relate to – “charming, spirited, intelligent” as well as “enchantingly honest” with “a fine sense of humour”.  In ‘The First Lie’, Selkie’s got to dig deep to “take on the challenges that are literally haunting her steps.”  One reviewer says: “King gives the reader a perfect story on a silver platter that ties us tightly to the fate of this remarkable woman.”

As the creator of Selkie Moon, I’m delighted that readers are finding her fascinating and real.  I’d like to say she’s just like me, but for a start she’s thirty-four and I’m “somewhat older” 🙂  Here’s a glimpse into how I created her.

 

Food, Wine, Secrets

To make Selkie a multi-layered character, I needed to get into the heads of more than one modern woman.  I invited a group of thirty-something singles to have lunch with me.  I plied then with food and wine and got out my notebook!

They talked about their lives.  I got insights into different careers – from life coaching to copywriting.  They explained the challenges of short-term contracts and a freelance life.  I learnt about the meaning of ‘friends with benefits’ and the need to use your ‘gaydar’ with potential lovers.  We talked about the biological clock and their desires around career and children.

“If Selkie meets a guy she likes,” Emma told me, “she’ll definitely google him before dating him.  She doesn’t want any surprises.”

“She’ll have at least one gay friend,” Sally said. “Someone she confides in.”

 

Soul Mates Suck

“I’ve changed my profile on RSVP,” Kate shared, “to cut out the men looking for their soul mate.”  She pulled a face. “You’d be surprised how many arrange to meet you and when you walk up you can tell they’re waiting for lights to flash and an orchestra to play or they’re out of there.  I put ‘forget the fireworks and the violins’ on my profile and my responses dropped by fifty percent.”

 

Committed to Non-Commitment

As the afternoon wore on secrets were revealed.  Jules lived with a guy on and off and he was the one who wanted more.  “I was the girl who didn’t commit.  Life was frivolous and fun.  No strings.  I found out later that he married someone just like me – she even looks like me.  I’d treated his love way too casually.  I was … afraid.”

 

Not Passion, Control

Prue told us about her ex.  “I didn’t have any concept of emotional abuse until I met Ben.  I was smart, with a great job and a flat, and he was in a band, penniless and couch surfing.  I know now that he knew the only way he’d keep me was to control me.  He was ‘into me’ big time – telling me what to wear, getting insanely jealous over nothing, putting me down in a twisted way.  He systematically isolated me from my family and friends until I lost all my confidence.”  It was only when Ben went on tour with his band, that Prue suddenly saw his ‘passion’ for what it was.  “While he was around I believed it,” she said.

 

A Scream across the Table

The wine was doing the trick.  “I was so lonely one night,” Rosie said, “I actually took JJ back to my flat.”  “Oh God,” Sally screamed. “I’ve slept with him.  I didn’t want anyone to know.”  We dissolved in tears of laughter.

 

A Woman under Pressure

These real women gave me the background to make Selkie Moon a complex character.  If you read ‘The First Lie’ you’ll recognise snippets from that lunch.  It’s the qualities of her relationships that interweave to create this multi-dimensional story about a modern woman under pressure to unravel a frightening psychological mystery – to find out the truth about herself.  I’m very grateful to my lunch partners for their generosity and honesty.  Selkie is ‘real’ because of them.

 

 

About Virginia King 

Virginia King lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. She’s been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, a producer of audio-books, a writer of 50+ children’s books, a writing workshop presenter and an award-winning publisher. “The First Lie” is her debut novel for adults, the first mystery in the Selkie Moon series.

In The First Lie, Virginia combines her love of psychological mystery/thrillers with her fascination for mythology and fairy tales.  Her writing process is to work without a plot and let the book evolve and gain depth from the ideas and serendipitous happenings that turn up along the way.  She believes that if the writer is surprised by the twists and turns in the story, the reader will be too.  Book Two in the series will be published in early 2015.

‘The First Lie’ Cover Poll – Thank You from Virginia King

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Last month I did a poll for Virginia King to see which book cover people preferred.  To see the original post please click on the link below:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/the-first-lie-by-virginia-king-cover-poll-competition/

The overall winner was the second cover (above).  I also ran a competition in which one person who commented would win an ebook copy of ‘The First Lie’.  Virginia has written a thank you post for everyone who took part in the poll.

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A warm thank you to everyone who voted in the cover poll for The First Lie – and a very special thank you to Sonya at A Lover of Books for hosting and managing the poll.  Sonya continues to support authors like me in very practical ways.

The quality of the responses to the cover poll was very high, so I have chosen two winners to receive a copy of the ebook (see below).  Authors really need honest feedback from readers and other authors about such elements as book covers, because they are so important in attracting new readers.  A quality cover is the first indication that the book is well-written and worth investing time and money in.  I’ve written a little about my cover journeys below.

 

Does the Cover Tell a Story?

I love the old cover of The First Lie, which is a section from a painting called Watching by artist Lindena Robb (http://www.lindena-robb.com.au).  Some voters noted the quality of this image as a work of art – I agree.  I thought it would be a winner at attracting readers.  But when The First Lie hit the bestseller list in Psychic Suspense and there was no spike in new sales, I wondered if the cover was the problem.  The First Lie has a lot of positive reviews but if readers don’t click on the cover they won’t get to read them.  I got feedback from book reviewers that this cover doesn’t “tell a story”, so doesn’t invite the reader to explore further – and get to the book description and reviews.  Boo hoo!

Reflecting the Genre without Being Clichéd

The new cover is the result of an exhaustive design process by Julia Kuris at Designerbility (http://www.designerbility.com.au).  The First Lie is a psychological mystery/thriller with a touch of the mythical, set in Hawaii.  Julia took note of many of the elements in the book and its genre and produced nine cover concepts – an awesome choice!  We rejected some as too YA and others as not mystical enough or too clichéd.  Others didn’t communicate the island setting.  By gauging the WOW response from readers and feedback from my editor, I selected the concept that has become the new cover.  Thank you to people who commented that it might be a little clichéd.  It’s difficult to place a book firmly in its genre and keep the image fresh.  The limited colour palette catches the eye and, as other voters noted, it reflects the psychological and mystical elements in the book, as well as the setting.  Julia was also working with a series “look” in mind – she’s creating concepts for Book Two at the moment.  Exciting!

 

Winners

I’ve chosen Paul and Kendra to win an ebook copy of The First Lie.  Their comments reflect thoughtful consideration of the issues I’ve grappled with.  Many thanks.

 

Paul

I think the second cover, which I voted for, is the most commercial. i.e. most likely to entice people to buy. But I still like the original cover for its own sake and think it is the most interesting artistically.

Kendra

I chose the second cover because of the water and reflection of two different faces. I found this image both disturbing and intriguing, which is how I expect to feel when reading a psychological mystery/thriller. Good luck!

 

‘The First Lie’ is available from Amazon.

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

Amazon UK: http//www.amazon.co.uk/First-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-Series-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

 

Website:  Virginia blogs about writing and book matters at http://www.selkiemoon.com/

You can also follow Virginia and Selkie Moon:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/selkiemoonbooks

‘The First Lie’ by Virginia King – Cover Poll / Competition

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or

The_First_Lie_Medium-Large

Virginia King is the author of ‘The First Lie’.

Book Blurb

What if the truth was hidden where you’d never ever find it?

When Selkie Moon reclaims the name her mother gave her, she unwittingly triggers a series of events so bizarre, she’s forced to delve into the murky depths of the past and face the shocking truth about herself.

 

Poll and Competition 

‘The First Lie’ is a multi-layered psychological/mystery thriller.  As you can see above two covers have been designed for this book, the second one being the new one.  Virginia King would love to know peoples opinions of the covers.  Which cover image best reflects this genre and would make you click on it to find out more?

Vote in my poll below:-

 

Virginia King is offering a copy of her book (ebook) to one lucky person.  To enter this competition just leave a comment below about the covers, i.e. the designs, why you prefer the one you do etc.  Virginia will then pick a winner.

This competition is open worldwide and it closes on the 25th February 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

 

Visit Virginia’s website – http://www.selkiemoon.com

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