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Archive for the tag “trilogy”

Blog Tour – ‘The Orphan Daughter’ by Sheila Riley ~ @BoldwoodBooks @1sheilariley

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Orphan Daughter’, the first book in the Reckoner’s Row series, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 5th September 2019 by Boldwood Books and is also available as an audiobook and audio CD.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I have an extract from ‘The Orphan Daughter’ for you all.  First though here is what the book is about.


Book Blurb

Winter, Liverpool 1947.

Evie Kilgaren is a fighter. Abandoned by her mother and with her father long gone, she is left to raise her siblings in dockside Liverpool, as they battle against the coldest winter on record. But she is determined to make a life for herself and create a happy home for what’s left of her family.

Desperate for work, Evie takes a job at the Tram Tavern under the kindly watch of pub landlady, and pillar of the community, Connie Sharp. But Connie has problems of her own when her quiet life of spinsterhood is upturned with the arrival of a mysterious undercover detective from out of town.

When melting ice reveals a body in the canal, things take a turn for the worst for the residents of Reckoner’s Row. Who could be responsible for such a brutal attack? And can Evie keep her family safe before they strike again?

A gritty, historical family drama full of laughter and tears from the author of Annie Groves’ bestsellers including Child of the Mersey and Christmas on the Mersey. Perfect for fans of Lyn Andrews, Katie Flynn and Nadine Dorries.





Nineteen-year-old Evie Kilgaren gathered her mane of honey-coloured hair into a loop of knicker elastic before taking a vase of heavy-scented lilies and freesias into the kitchen. The flowers were barely faded when she rescued them from the churchyard bin that morning.

Placing them in the centre of the table, she hoped their heady scent would mask the smell of damp that riddled every dwelling in the row of terraced houses opposite the canal and add a bit of joy to the place.

‘Who’s dead?’ her mother, Rene, asked. Her scornful retort was proof she had already been at the gin and Evie’s heart sank. She had wanted today to be special. Surely her dead father’s birthday warranted a few flowers. Even if they were knockoffs from the church – at least she had made an effort, which was more than her mother had.

‘I got them for Dad’s…’ Evie was silenced by the warning flash in her mother’s dark eyes. A warning she had seen many times before. Rene gave a hefty sniff, her eyes squinting to focus, her brow wrinkled, and her olive skin flushed. Evie knew that when her mother had drunk enough ‘mother’s ruin’, she could be the life and soul of any party or, by contrast, one over could make her contrary and argumentative.

‘I thought they’d look nice on the table,’ Evie answered lightly, quickly changing her answer to try and keep the peace. She should have known better than to mention her father in front of Leo Darnel, who’d moved in as their lodger six months ago and taken no time at all getting his feet under her mother’s eiderdown. ‘I found a vase in…’ Her voice trailed off. Her mother wasn’t listening. As usual, she’d disappeared into the parlour to darken her finely shaped eyebrows with soot from the unlit grate – make-up was still on ration – dolling herself up for her shift behind the bar of the Tram Tavern. The tavern was barely a stone’s throw away on the other side of the narrow alleyway running alongside their house, so why her mother felt the need to dress to the nines was anybody’s guess.

Out of the corner of her eye, Evie noticed a sudden movement from their lodger, who was standing near the range, which she had black-leaded that morning. Leo Darnel didn’t like her and that was fine, because she didn’t like him either.

He was a jumped-up spiv who tried to pass himself off as a respectable businessman. Respectable? He didn’t know the meaning of the word, she thought, her eyes taking in the polished leather Chesterfield suite that cluttered the room and seemed out of place in a small backstreet terraced house.

‘None of your utility stuff,’ he’d said, pushing out his blubbery chest like a strutting pigeon. All the time he had a wonky eye on the bedroom door. He would do anything to keep her mother sweet and made it obvious every chance he got to show Evie she was in the way.

He’d been very quiet for the last few minutes, Evie realised. That wasn’t like Darnel . He was up to something, she could tell. He hadn’t interrupted with a sarcastic comment as he usually did when she and her mother were having a tit-for-tat. His self-satisfied smirk stretched mean across thin lips as he hunched inside a crisp white shirt and peered at her.

His beady eyes looked her up and down as he chewed a spent matchstick at the corner of his mouth before turning back to the grate. His piggy eyes were engrossed in the rising flames of something he had thrown onto the fire. Her attention darted to the blaze casting dancing flares of light across the room.

‘No!’ Evie heard the gasp of horror and disbelief coming from her own lips. How could he be so callous? How could he? As he stepped back with arms outstretched like he was showing off a new sofa, Evie could see exactly what he had done.

‘You burned them!’ Evie cried, hurrying over to the range, pushing Darnel out of her way and grabbing the brass fire tongs from the companion set on the hearth, desperate to save at least some of the valuable night-school work.

Two years of concentrated learning to prove she was just as good as all the rest – reduced to ashes in moments. Thrusting the tongs into the flames again and again was hopeless Her valuable notes disintegrated.

‘Mam, look! Look what he’s done!’ Her blue eyes blazed as hotly as the flames licking up the chimney.

‘You are not the only one who can crawl out of the gutter? Mr High-and-mighty!’ Evie was breathless when her burst of anger erupted, watching the flames envelope her books, turning the curling pages to ash. She balled her work-worn hands, roughly red through cleaning up after other people and pummelled his chest. Why? She caught his mocking eyes turn to flint before being dealt a quick backhander that made her head spin.

Her nostrils, which only moments before had been filled with the sweet fragrance of summer freesias and Mansion polish, were now congested with blood as traitorous tears rolled down her cheek. Evie dashed them away with the pad of her hand, ashamed and angry because he was privy to her vulnerability. Her pale blue eyes dashed from the range to her mother, who was now standing in the doorway shaking painted nails.


‘The Orphan Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-



About Sheila Riley

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years.  She still lives in Liverpool.



Sheila’s Own website: http://my-writing-ladder.blogspot.com/

Sheila’s Profile on our website – https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/sheila-riley/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/1sheilariley


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.



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


Guest Post by M. Jonathan Lee

Author Picture

A couple of years ago I read M. Jonathan Lee’s debut novel, ‘The Radio’.  Since then the next two books in the trilogy have been published, both of which I am still looking forward to reading.

My review of ‘The Radio’ can be found here:-


It’s an absolute pleasure to have Jonathan on my blog today with a very interesting guest post and one which I’m sure other writers can relate to.


“It must be brilliant being a writer, Jonathan…”


The death of a writer through writer’s block.

The number of times I’ve heard this. I have no idea. It could be fifty, it could be a hundred. I don’t know. What I do know though is that I agree with this statement. Most of the time.

I’ve been fortunate, through a series of what may be called lucky breaks (coming second in the Novel Prize 2012; meeting and befriending Sunday Times best seller, Milly Johnson; somehow forcing my way into being a regular panellist on BBC comedy show, Live-ish) I have managed to get to a stage where I am a (near) full time writer.

I still need to spend half my week doing my ‘day job’ – accountancy – to feed my wife and five kids. And, at the end of last year, I took a brave step and quit my full time job where I have been working for near fifteen years. The other half of the week is for writing.




You see “it must be brilliant being a writer”. If you actually write. And I haven’t now, for nearly six months. Nothing. Not a word. And it’s becoming scary. Really scary.

My last two novels were a doddle. In fact, my #5 best seller on Amazon, A Tiny Feeling of Fear, took no more than four months from start to finish. And that was writing late at night, looking after five kids and holding down a day job. But, the problem you see was that was in the first person.

Now though, I am in the midst of a real severe case of writer’s block. I have three stories that live in my head. They are all in the third person. I know how the stories work from start to finish. I know the characters, plot and exactly what happens. I like all three of them. But yet, I cannot begin any of them. I don’t know why. I simply can’t.

I have now got to the stage where I have persuaded myself that I no longer have the ability to write. I half-watch TV dramas and films and actually try to work out how I would explain what has happened on the screen. And guess what. I can’t do it. The words aren’t forming, third person is no longer working.

I know somehow I’ll pull it ‘round. I’m reading colossal amounts just to try and work out how sentences are formed again. It’s almost like I’ve awoken from some kind of coma.

And so, is it “brilliant being a writer?” Er, yeah. I suppose. When I am one.

I’d advise you look out for my fourth novel though, it’ll be either called: “George the Dog Hanger”; “Future. You. Now.” or “There’s more to life than life.”

I guarantee it’ll be good.

Because once I get through this stage I’ll write like I’ve never done before.

In the meantime, anybody who has any advice at all to get me through this current stage – please do write to me. I need all the help I can get!

(Note: Drugs/Coffee/ProPlus/Red Bull and frontal lobotomies have already been discounted).

M. Jonathan Lee


About M. Jonathan Lee

M Jonathan Lee is an award-winning British author. His debut novel, The Radio was nationally shortlisted in The Novel Prize 2012. He has had three novels published, and has signed a four book deal with SoloP Publishing. He is committed to raising awareness on mental health issues following the death of his brother and is a regular contributor to the BBC. He lives in a little mining town in the North of England with his little family of seven. He also has two cats and a dog.


Twitter – @j0n4th4n_lee

Guest Post by Sheila Myers

Sheila Myers is the author of two novels: Ephemeral Summer (2014) and Imaginary Brightness: a Durant Family Saga (2015). She is currently working on the second in the trilogy for the Durant family saga which will be out in 2016. Myers is an Associate Professor at a community college in upstate New York where she teaches environmental science.

Sheila has written a very interesting guest post for my blog about the use of diaries for historical fiction.


What Diaries Don’t Reveal Can Be Just as Important as What they Do

I’ve been reading other people’s diaries. They’re dead so I doubt they mind. Yes, reading the thoughts and daily activities of people that lived over a century ago has become one of my passions as I conduct research for my historical fiction.

What I’ve learned from the process of reading diaries, both published and unpublished, is I can find out about familial relationships and events by what is not written, as much as from what is written in them. Small clues start to pop out and build up to the point where I find patterns that lead me to speculate. For example, I’ve been reading the summer camp diaries of two families closely connected to one of my main characters in the family saga I am writing. In both, I found patterns where my character, William, is conspicuously absent during the summer months.

Diaries left behind by his in-laws mention he was in New York City for weeks one summer in 1895. Just a passing mention: Mr. Durant is in New York City for the month of August. This was the summer that he separated from his wife. And then three years later, in 1898, the year they were finally divorced, he is absent again. Reading through the diaries of one of his good friends whom he hunted with on a regular basis, I found that there is very little mention of William in 1898, only his mother, who lived at the time in their summer home. Again, he stayed in New York City.

For the sake of propriety, neither author of the diaries mention why William stayed away from his summer home in the Adirondacks those summers. I’d have to conjecture. Was he ashamed? Mired in lawyer fees and unable to vacation? Didn’t want to run into his ex-wife or children? Who really knows?

Most of the diaries I have read reveal day-to-day activities of the people writing them, but some of these lead me to research other larger-world events. One example is a small paper clipping cut out and glued to the diary about the yellow haze that was hanging over the Adirondack Mountains for days. The diary entry mentions that the ladies’ skirts were covered in ash on the boat ride back from church one Sunday. When I looked up the date of the newspaper clipping (1885) I came across numerous articles about the forest fires that were ravaging the northern forests and causing air quality problems as far away as New York City. The haze was so thick in New York City at one point boats could not navigate in the harbour.

Small tidbits about the people revealed in diaries can help shape a character in my writing. In one passage, the diarist relates how one of the locals still believes the earth is flat and that the oceans have an outlet (nobody has discovered them yet). What a great character to write about. If he believes this still in 1898, what else could I have him talking about in dialogue?

And then there are scenes A small three sentence passage in a diary can become a 2,000 word scene in fiction. I found one notebook from a guide in the Adirondacks and in it he talks about a conversation he had with one of my characters. In this discussion, Dr. Durant (who was one of the men responsible for building the transcontinental railroad line) tells a tale of paying the Pawnee Indians $25.00 each for the scalps of Sioux Indians. Again, this small tidbit of information is steeped in historical relevance; it is up to me to place it into context in the story with a scene.


To learn more about Sheila Myer’s work and research visit her website – http://www.wwdurantstory.com/


Blog Tour – ‘Searching for Steven’ by Jessica Redland

Blog Tour Poster

‘Searching for Steven’ was published as an eBook on the 3rd June 2015 by So Vain Books and is also out in paperback.  This is Jessica Redland’s debut novel and the first book in a trilogy.  I am one of the lucky bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate ‘Searching for Steven’ and today I am reviewing it.

After a failed relationship Sarah Peterson is offered a wonderful opportunity by her Auntie Kay.  Sarah loves floristry and so decides to take her aunt up on her offer of taking over the business, which means leaving London and returning to her childhood home in Whitsborough Bay, North Yorkshire.  It is whilst she is packing with the help of her friends that Sarah comes across a tape of a clairvoyance reading she had twelve years ago which had mysteriously gone missing.  Listening to it Sarah discovers that all the predictions apart from one seem to have come true.  Apparently she is about to meet the man of her dreams and his name will be Steven.

Suddenly there seem to be Stevens everywhere and Sarah finds herself wondering if any of them could be The One.  Her friend Clare thinks the tape is a load of nonsense but persuades Sarah to try online dating to see if she can find The Steven on there.  Things get tricky for Sarah when she finds herself attracted to a rather handsome web designer who unfortunately isn’t called Steven.

Will this search lead to Sarah finding her destiny?  You’ll have to read this book to find out.

I found ‘Searching for Steven’ to be such an enjoyable read and hard to put down.  I absolutely loved Jessica Redland’s writing style.

I really liked Sarah and warmed to her straightaway.  Her friend Clare was sceptic about the reading but there was no denying that things had come true and I didn’t blame Sarah for trying to find her Steven at all.  I personally wouldn’t have tried so hard to find him though as I believe that if it’s meant to happen it will.

Aside from trying to sort out her love life, Sarah did wonders with the shop having been given the chance to start the business again from scratch.  Through Jessica’s wonderful descriptions I could actually picture the florist and what it looked like.

‘Searching for Steven’ is a lovely story about following your heart and taking chances and is a reminder that life is too short.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.

I give this book 5 out of 5.


‘Searching for Steven’ is available to buy on Amazon:-



Interview with Ben Seims

Ben Seims

Ben Seims lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and their three teenaged boys. He works full time as a cardiac nurse and is currently an officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is his first full length novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Ben very kindly answered some questions for me.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘After Day One’ please?

I wanted to write a series of books that take place in a broken America around 2096. Areas all over the world are the middle of a rebuilding stage, and in places like the Free (formerly the Pacific Northwest) things seem pretty bleak. It is a story about a lost, rough and tumble man who ends up having to save a twin boy and girl, and then try to get them someplace where they’re safe. All the while they are being hunted by groups of unknown entities that for some reason believe the twins have incredible powers. The more he tries to get rid of them the farther down the rabbit hole he ends up going with them. I love underdog stories. I love it when all the odds are stacked against the heroes. I love it when they never get a break, but somehow they pull off the impossible. That is really the underlying plot of the story. It isn’t a highly complicated trilogy; just a feel good read that I hope keeps everyone turning the page.


What made you decide to write this book?

It’s a story I’ve been kicking around for about six years. My brother died in 2011, and we had been working on ideas together. My life kind of fell apart for while and I started writing again. I guess that’s when I really put together the first outline. I kept writing and pretty soon I had a first draft and was sending it to booktrope.


When can we expect the second book in the trilogy?

Most likely this time next year. I’ve learned that the timeline for this kind of stuff is pretty flexible, and the whole thing takes about a year. I’ve submitted it to my editor at booktrope, Cindy Wyckoff (who I love) so the process is started, and that is always exciting.


Did you have to do any research for your novel?

I research science and technology constantly. I read about twenty articles each day. I take that information and use my imagination to try and figure out where that science and tech might go and then expand on it in my writing. I have a pretty extensive military background and have had the opportunity to have worked with some pretty high-speed operators, so a lot of the tactics and military tech is run through them. I had to do a ton of research on military aircraft and ships (mostly for the second book) to make sure that the descriptions and functionalities were up to snuff. I love Greek and Roman history, so much of my back story for the fall of the major world powers, and then the rebuilding that takes place is based on post Roman society.


Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I have so many ideas. I’ve been writing shorts and posting them on my website. It’s an urban fantasy novella series I’m working on about a guy who hunts down eaters; cannibalistic souls that inhabit human bodies and prey on humans to eat. His handler is an Auror named Bam who is trapped inside a five-pound yorkie.


Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at the dining room table around five in the morning when everyone is asleep. I am working on a better place and time, but it works for now.


Describe a day in your life.

That’s pretty long. I usually wake up around 0430, make my coffee and a shake, down some water, take my vitamins and then get started writing. I triage write; first I work on proof revisions for ADO, then I work on revisions for Fractured Days (book two), then I work on extra’s like the story above, blog posts, or my monthly newsletter. The boys are usually awake by six thirty; we have breakfast, I finish writing, and we are usually out of the house by seven thirty, heading to school and work. I work from eight to four thirty. During that time I use my breaks to do any last many editing, tweet, update my flipboard, and catch up on emails. I work out at my local crossfit box from five to six, and then head home for dinner and catching up with the family. I write about an hour in the evening before calling it a night around ten or eleven.


Can you tell me what it’s like working as a cardiac nurse please?

It’s pretty awesome. I work in a mixed radiology lab. We do heart catheterizations, interventional cardiology (placing stents and ballooning open blocked coronary arteries) pace makers, internal defibrillators, and then lots of peripheral vascular and arterial repair. It can be pretty high paced sometimes. When someone is having a heart attack and actively trying to die, we go in and try to open up the clog arteries in their heart with balloons and stents to save them. It can get pretty hairy, especially when we’re doing CPR off and on the whole time.



Website – http://blseims.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ben_seims

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/110552439600742306602/posts


Interview with Larry Weiner


Larry Weiner is the author of ‘Paradise Rot’ (Book One) and ‘Once Again, With Blood’ (Book Two). Larry earned a degree in film from CSULA and was an award-winning art director.  He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two kids and a gaggle of animals.

Larry kindly answered some questions for me.


Your trilogy is currently being re-released.  Can you tell me a bit about your books please?

Its Shaun of the Dead meets The Firm, except instead of being stuck in an illegal situation with the mob; you’re doing dirty work for zombies. I really like my book blurb so here it is (is that cheating?)

Kyle Brightman—late of the advertising industry and soon-to-be-late of the 5th floor psych ward—has a job offer he can’t refuse. A new resort in the Caribbean is looking for an art director. Kyle soon finds himself on the Isle of St. Agrippina working alongside a beautiful copywriter with an icy handshake. Questions arise: Why does the resort management team sport spray-on tans in the Bahamas? How can the resort offer such cheap vacation packages? What does one do with vats of Astroglide? To get the answers, Kyle must first navigate a series of wildly unpredictable events with a cast of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including a seductress jungle assassin, her partially paralyzed talking Chihuahua, an Ivy League Rastafarian seaplane captain, Kyle’s ex-psych ward roommate, a former Haliburton mercenary, and a French tavern owner with a fondness for goats, all set to the greatest hits of the 70’s. Pablo Cruise never felt so right.


How long did they take you to write?

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“Paradise Rot,” the first in the trilogy went through numerous rewrites – about a year.

Book 2

“Once Again, With Blood,” came next and took about six months from first draft to publishing. “The last, “Hindu Sex Aliens,” now has a second draft complete and is now headed to beta reader phase (wife, friends – people who won’t have a problem telling me something sucks) I had to wrestle with this one since it was wrapping up the trilogy. About 6 months as well.


Where did you get your ideas from?

I’d worked in advertising as an art director for 15 years. It was fun for a while then I began to feel as if I were being held captive to do the work for people I found increasingly obnoxious. I’d always been a fan of books and movies that take an average citizen and toss them into an extraordinary situation. I also wanted to play with genres, which in this case were zombies and vampires and aliens.

As for ideas in general – there’s such so much out there to learn about and fantasize about – such as a company that shoots the ashes of rich and famous people into space! It exists!


Are you planning to write any other books?

I’m planning to write many more. Right now I’m interested in Polymaths – people who excel at more than one thing. The lead singer for Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, has a 4 octave range, is a world class fencer, flies jumbo jets (his band’s touring jet) and is a distiller.


Has you work been influenced by any authors?

Sure. Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen, Hunter S. Thompson, Christopher Moore. I’m also greatly influenced by film. Directors such as Scorsese, Tarantino – storytellers. I have a degree in film, so I have the 3-act structure drilled into me.


Would you like to see your books made into a film?

I would love to see my books made into an original series on HBO or Netflix. Take time with the story and let the situations unfold at their own pace – plus more than two storylines.


Were you ever given any good advice about writing?

There’s so much advice out there to take! You really need a filter. I still revisit Stephen King’s 20 rules for writing. I read a lot of writer interviews about everything from plot to what kind of desk they write on. I live on an island chockablock full of writers such as Jonathan Evison, Claire Dederer, Rebecca Wells, David Guterson – so I’m making the rounds of buying them coffee and grilling them. AT least it’s my intention. I just met Jonathan Evison, who said, “Get me your book to read!” His novel, “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” has just been made into a movie – great book.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a record collector so I go on vinyl safaris. I’m also a hockey Dad for my two kids so I do a lot of driving. Big film buff and reader and a fan of binge watching – right now it’s Orphan Black.



Larry Weiner’s website – http://www.larrynweiner.com/

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

Twitter – @LarryNWeiner

Guest Post by Peter Davey

Love and Friendship

Today I would like to welcome Peter Davey to my blog.  He has written a guest post about his novel, ‘Love and Friendship’.



First of all, I’m extremely grateful to Sonya for allowing me the opportunity to do what writers love doing best – talking about their own work.

My novel ‘Love and Friendship’ (or l’Amour et l’Amitié – the French title sounds so much better!) is part of a trilogy of short novels entitled La Récherche – ‘The Search’ – about ordinary people searching for different things in their lives – mostly ways to fill spiritual and emotional voids and find some sort of ultimate fulfilment. The others are ‘Simone, Simone’ and ‘Marielle’ and I’ve now translated them all into English.

This one, the longest, concerns a close friendship between two thirty-something women living in Paris. Laura is the constant, reliable one – the mother of two small children and wife of Robert – a successful but nonetheless frustrated composer.  Her friend Genevieve is beautiful, impulsive and incurably romantic and has always relied on Laura to be her support and confidante through the emotional roller-coaster of her life. But then something happens to put their friendship under severe strain and force them both to question and re-evaluate it.

It has been suggested to me that for a man to write a novel in which both principal characters are women is a challenge best avoided. I didn’t think of it like that. I simply had an idea – based loosely on characters and events in my own life – and got on with developing it. Plots are hard enough to come by, after all, and when they do pop into your head you can’t afford to just pass them up.  What came to fascinate me while writing the novel, however, was the different ways in which male and female sexuality is viewed in society both by men and by women. Genevieve is passionate and highly sexed and has worked her way through a good many men but not because her attitude to sex is “easy” – on the contrary, she is engaged in a deeply serious search for the love of her life, her true soul mate.  This is not how the rest of the world views her progress, however.  She has already been rejected by her strict Catholic parents and, in the course of the novel, Laura herself comes to question her friend’s true motives and morality – and, ultimately, her own.

Unfortunately ‘Love and Friendship’ is currently available only as an Amazon ebook. I am trying to find someone to publish the whole trilogy in one cover but that is another search which goes on! I’m always delighted to receive feedback, though – both bad and good!

Interview with Bekki Pate

The Willow Tree

Bekki Pate has just had her debut novel, ‘The Willow Tree’ published by Britain’s Next Bestseller.  She kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


Congratulations on having your debut novel published.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

The novel is a dark, gory horror story that centres around several protagonists including a man on the hunt for his missing girlfriend, a young girl who loses her memory, and the demon that follows her. It is also about friendship and love, involving the young girl and the people she meets on her journey to finding out who she is. It is full of twists, and ends on a cliffhanger that I have already been told is really frustrating for the readers as now they have to wait for the next book!


What made you want to pen your first novel?

I have always loved writing, and as a child I loved scary stories such as the Goosebumps and Shivers series, which heavily influenced my earlier work when I was around eight! As a lover of books, I just wanted to write something that I would love to read, and I think I have accomplished that.


How long did it take you to write?

The whole trilogy took me around seven years, but this one has taken the longest as I have changed it so many times!


Where did you get your ideas from?

I love Stephen King and Richard Laymon, so I think I have been influenced by their way of storytelling, but I usually just ask myself “what scares me?” and I go with that.


What exactly does Britain’s Next Bestseller do to help those wanting to publish a book?

Once they accept your manuscript onto their database (you first have to submit a few chapters and synopsis, and then the whole book, and if they like that then you get onto their website) you have a few months to try and obtain 250 pre-orders so it became a campaign of pestering my friends and family, co-workers etc, to pre-order the book. This is harder to do than it sounds – not all authors hit their target.


Are you planning to write more novels?

I have written another two novels that follow directly on from this one, and after this I will probably be taking a break for a bit as I am expecting my first child which is really exciting 🙂 But it has made me a bit exhausted and less motivated to write recently.


Who are your favourite authors and did any of them inspire you?  

I love Stephen King, Sarah Waters, Richard Laymon, Elizabeth Kostova – I think all books I read inspire me in some way (unless they were really bad!) so I think I take something from each of them and carry that on to shape my own work. Every writer has their own voice, but they also have the voices of all the other writers whose work they admire.


Where do you do most of your writing?

Usually anywhere I can – at my desk in the spare room, on the sofa, in a cafe etc. – I don’t mind where I am too much as long as it is relatively quiet and I can sit comfortably.


‘The Willow Tree’ is available to buy on Amazon:-


Cover Reveal – ‘Heart Search: Betrayal’ by Carlie M A Cullen


Carlie M A Cullen is launching the final book in the Heart Search trilogy on the 7th February 2015 and today is the day you all get to feast your eyes on the cover.


Blurb for Heart Search: Betrayal

One bite started it all . . .

Joshua, Remy, and the twins are settled in their new life. However, life doesn’t always run smoothly. An argument between Becky and her twin causes unforeseen circumstances, an admission by Samir almost costs him his life, and the traitor provides critical information to Liam. But who is it?

As Jakki’s visions begin to focus on the turncoat’s activities, a member of the coven disappears, and others find themselves endangered.

And when Liam’s coven attacks, who will endure?

Fate continues to toy with mortals and immortals alike, and as more hearts descend into darkness, can they overcome the dangers they face and survive?


About Carlie M A Cullen


Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing.

She has always written in some form or another, but started to write novels in 2011. Her first book was published by Myrddin Publishing in 2012. She writes in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a principal editor for Eagle Eye Editors.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. They have published four anthologies so far, two for adults and two for children, all of which raise money for a local hospice.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.



Website: http://carliemacullen.com

Twitter: @carlie2011c

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

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=240655941&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B009MWVL5A

About.me: http://about.me/CarlieCullen

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/CarlieCullen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550466.Carlie_M_A_Cullen


Heart Search, book one: Lost: http://smarturl.it/HeartSearch-Lost

Heart Search, book two: Found: http://smarturl.it/HeartSearch-Found

‘Upside Down’ by Lia Riley

Upside Down

Lia Riley writes off beat New Adult Romance.  ‘Upside Down’ was published by Piatkus as an ebook on the 5th August 2014 and it is the first book in the Off the Map trilogy.  I was sent a copy to review.

Natalia Stolfi is twenty-one years old and lives in Santa Cruz, California.  Lately things have been very hard for her.  Natalia suffers from OCD and panic attacks, plus she has been trying to deal with a recent loss.  But she knows it is time for her to say goodbye to all those painful memories and sort herself out.  So Natalia decides to go on a six month trip to Melbourne.  There she will make out that she is an exchange student with absolutely no worries.  But will she succeed?

Bran Lockhart has had the worst year of his life.  After a failed relationship he returns to Melbourne to try and piece his life back together.  He doesn’t believe in love anymore.  However, he unexpectedly meets Talia and realises that he really wants to be with her.  Are they meant to be together or will they go their own separate ways?

I’ve never read a New Adult Romance novel before and although ‘Upside Down’ sounded interesting I didn’t really know how I would get on with it.  As it turns out I finished the book within a couple of days.  I didn’t get into the story fully until after the first few chapters and then I found it hard to put down.  I liked the writing style and it was interesting to learn what some of the words meant in Australia.  For instance ‘thongs’ means flip-flops and not underwear.  This story also had a wide range of characters.

I felt sorry for Talia and what she had been through.  She went away in the hope of forgetting her past and curing herself of her OCD only to discover that it wasn’t all that simple.  Her trip away and the experiences she had made her a much stronger person though and it helped her shape her future.

I am now looking forward to reading the next book as it will be interesting to find out how Talia’s life progresses.

I give this book 4 out of 5.


‘Sideswiped’, the second book in this trilogy is due to be published on the 7th October 2014.

‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin

The Passage

I would like to say thank you to Lovereading.co.uk for very kindly getting a copy of ‘The Passage’ sent to me, even though they already had the required number of reviewers.  I have a copy of ‘The Twelve’ which is the follow up to review and really needed to read this book first.

‘The Passage’ is the first in a trilogy by Justin Cronin.  At nearly 1000 pages long it looks like a daunting read.  But believe me, it isn’t!  Divided into eleven parts, this book takes you on an epic journey full of shocks and surprises.

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and has been abandoned by her mother.  Little does Amy imagine that she will become the most important person in the world.  Anthony Carter is a prisoner on Death Row who is waiting to be executed for murder.  FBI agent Brad Wolgast can feel that something out of this world is about to happen, but he doesn’t know what.  Unaware of each other’s existence the three of them are about to be linked together.

After a military experiment goes badly wrong, America finds itself hit by a major vampire epidemic in which many states are destroyed and masses of people are killed by the virals.  Amy and several survivors embark on a very dangerous and courageous journey together, fighting these creatures along the way.

I thought this book was truly amazing and I felt as if I was in another world when reading it.  I never once lost interest in the story.  There were so many characters throughout, each with their own story to tell.  A brilliantly written book, ‘The Passage’ will keep you reading for hours.  It is horror at its best!

I give this book 5 out of 5.

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