Guest Post

#BlogTour #GuestPost
They Shoot Corpses, Don’t They?
by CS McLean @seasick_stu
@LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksGroupTours

#BlogTour #GuestPost They Shoot Corpses, Don’t They? by CS McLean @seasick_stu @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksGroupToursTitle: They Shoot Corpses, Don't They?

Author: CS McLean

Published by CS McLean on April 28, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 224

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An original blend of hardboiled crime fiction and horror –  Zombie Noir.

Pat O’Hare is the only (living) private detective in Farrelton, a crime-ridden city still recovering from the ravages of an undead uprising.  Pat is hired to find the missing granddaughter of a rich industrialist.  But, what starts out as simple enough job turns into a fight for survival as he finds himself pulled into a deadly mystery where nobody can be trusted.  Helped only by a trigger happy ex-cop and a washed up boxer with a pathological fear of trees, Pat has to use every trick in the book just to stay alive.

Caught between corrupt police, gun-wielding hitmen and a ruthless crime lord, Pat soon learns that the zombies are not the most dangerous creatures in town.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

And now CS McLean with:

 

TO RETREAT OR NOT TO RETREAT?

There are few things that split writers as widely as the subject of writing retreats.  For some – like Stephen King – they are to be avoided, partly because they give the impression that writing is something ‘special’ rather than an everyday activity.  For others, they are an ideal environment to boost your writing.

So, how did they become so controversial?  Well, I think it is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.  People that think retreats are a waste of time find them to be just that.  And those that expect them to be worthwhile get the most out of them.

I can only speak from my own experience. Having visited Moniack Mhor in the Highlands for a number of courses and retreats, I have always found them incredibly productive, and have always returned buzzing with energy for my next project.

One of the criticisms is that you focus all of your writing into a short period of time.  I’ve never found it to be that way.  I’ve always found that a writing retreat gives me an energy boost that lasts for a long time after I leave.  Also, in my day job I don’t know any writers.  If I tell someone I’m struggling with my main character’s story arc they look at me like my head just exploded.  So, to be surrounded by other writers who know what you are going through, it’s a treat, something that makes me feel like I’m actually a real human being instead of just some sad individual tapping at a keyboard while my cat looks on in judgement.

I do write most days.  I write wherever and whenever I can.  And I definitely don’t sit around waiting for the muse to come knocking. But, to have a period of a few days when you can focus your energy on your writing and nothing else, I can only say that it works for me.

Writing retreats are not for everyone.  But, if you are so inclined, I’ve found them to be a real source of inspiration.

 

About CS McLean

Stuart McLean (aka CS McLean) is a writer currently living in St Albans. He studied Chemistry at the University of Hertfordshire – although, this was back in the days when the Premiership was still called Division One and Hatfield was still a Polytechnic.

He was shortlisted for the first Margery Allingham short story competition, and was twice shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland short story competition.

Stuart was a finalist in the 2016 Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect competition, in which he pitched his brand of zombie noir to a largely bewildered group of panellists. He was also chosen as one of the 2018 Bloody Scotland Crime in the Spotlight authors, a platform to highlight new and emerging crime writers.

When not writing, Stuart likes to play various musical instruments, all very badly; guitar, ukulele, trumpet and harmonica. But, not at the same time.

 

Thank you to CS McLean for being featured on my blog today!

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost
The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh #Barbara Lamplugh
@UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh #Barbara Lamplugh @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupToursTitle: The Red Gene

Author: Barbara Lamplugh

Published by Urbane Publications on April 18, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 360

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Rose, a young English nurse with humanitarian ideals, decides to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, she is little prepared for the experiences that await her.

Working on one front after another, witness to all the horrors of war, she falls in love with a Republican fighter, Miguel. In 1939 as defeat becomes inevitable, Rose is faced with a decision that will change her life and leave her with lasting scars.

Interspersed with Rose’s story is that of Consuelo, a girl growing up in a staunchly Catholic family on the other side of the ideological divide. Never quite belonging, treated unkindly, she discovers at a young age that she was adopted but her attempts to learn more about her origins are largely thwarted.

It falls to the third generation, to Consuelo’s daughter Marisol, born in the year of Franco’s death and growing up in a rapidly changing Spain, to investigate the dark secrets of her family and find the answers that have until now eluded her mother.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

And now Barbara Lamplugh with:

 

FACT TO FICTION

I didn’t really think about writing fiction until I had children. My first two books were travel narratives, the first describing my overland journey by truck to Kathmandu in 1974, the second an account of my 1975 trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway and by boat to Japan. It was soon after I returned from that second trip that we decided to start a family, which obviously meant letting go of any ideas for more extensive travels – at least for the foreseeable future. But it didn’t mean goodbye to writing. I could conquer my addiction to travel (becoming a mother brought its own rewards) but I saw no reason to go cold turkey on my recently acquired addiction to writing. It would just have to be a different kind of writing.

I wrote my first novel while I was pregnant and carried on writing fiction throughout the years of bringing up my children. I love creating characters and a story, which fiction allows me to do. It involves the imagination in a way that travel writing doesn’t yet I can still use my descriptive, travel writing skills to build a setting that is both vivid and authentic. It seemed only logical to set my novels in Britain where the culture was familiar. After all, I’d been immersed in it all my life, absorbed it from birth.As it happened, none of those six novels was published – whether from bad luck, lack of persistence or because I was still honing my skills – but they served to keep my creativity alive and taught me some useful lessons.

When I moved to Spain in 1999, my previous travel writing experience came into its own again. I found work as a features writer for the English magazine Living Spainand also wrote occasional pieces for The Guardian. At the same time, I continued to write fiction. It took a few years but there came a point when I began to feel sufficiently connected with the culture of my adopted city and country to locate my writing as well as my life there. Secrets of the Pomegranate, my first published novel, was set in Granada, though the three main protagonists were English by birth. To write from the perspective of Spanish characters, whether historical or contemporary, presented a much greater challenge. It felt imperative that what I wrote should be authentic enough to convince Spanish as well as native English readers. But did I have the necessary in-depth understanding of the Spanish mind-set and culture, contemporary and historical? After all, I was an outsider here too.

In writing The Red Gene, I took on this challenge. After years living in a country, you get the flavour, the feel of how people think and speak, an insider’s familiarity with the culture. It’s more than just the landscape, the customs and habits, the daily routines; it’s something much more fluid and difficult to define, the psyche of a nation, shaped by its history. Of course, each of us is unique, the differences between individuals huge: it’s important to avoid generalisations and stereotypes. And perhaps I’m being a little arrogant in thinking that I’ve managed to capture this, even after twenty years. What I do know is that I now feel out of touch with life in my birth country. I’m not sure I could write convincingly any more of contemporary life in Britain. Cultures don’t stand still and some of the cultural references familiar to my family and British friends no longer mean much to me.

As I became more absorbed in my new country and learnt more about its recent history, had conversations with – in particular – older Spaniards, the story of The Red Gene began to form in my mind and eventually became compelling.

 

About Barbara Lamplugh

Barbara Lamplugh was born and grew up in London. An experienced traveller, she described her journeys in 'Kathmandu by Truck' and 'Trans-Siberia by Rail' published by Roger Lascelles. In 1999, spurred by the challenge of living in a different culture, she headed for Granada in Spain, where she still lives, inspired by views of hills and the Alhambra from her sunny terrace. A regular features writer for the magazine 'Living Spain', she has also written for 'The Guardian', 'The Times' and published her first novel Secrets of the Pomegranate in 2015.

 

Thank you to Barbara Lamplugh for being featured on my blog today!

 

#GuestPost #Excerpt
Postcard From Paris by Holly Willow
@HWAuthor

#GuestPost #Excerpt Postcard From Paris by Holly Willow @HWAuthorTitle: Postcard From Paris

Author: Holly Willow

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 327

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Paris is always a good idea…

When Poppy finds a postcard from Paris, sent by an aunt she didn’t know existed, she books a flight to France to investigate. Just days after arriving in Paris, she accidentally lands herself a job thanks to a case of mistaken identity. To complicate matters further, she soon starts to fall for her new boss. Falling in love with your boss is never a good idea and she knows it. But when he makes her an offer she can’t refuse, her heart just might win the battle against reason and logic.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

Excerpt:

In the past, I avoided shopping for clothes until I couldn’t put it off any longer. My sisters were huge believers in retail therapy. I had yet to experience the therapeutic effects of shopping. I felt as though that was about to change. Paris was already having an effect on me.  

I grabbed Selma’s spare keys from the hook she had mentioned in her note and made sure that the door was locked before hurrying down the stairs. I kept my eyes on my feet so I wouldn’t miss one of the narrow treads. That was why I didn’t realize there was an obstruction at the foot of the stairs on the second-floor landing. I had no idea there was something in my way until I barreled right into it at full speed.

The collision made me lose my balance. I was about to keel over the banister when the obstruction sprouted arms and pulled me back to safety. This arm-sprouting obstruction turned out to be a man. A very tall man with quick reflexes and a strong grip. His dark hair had threads of silver running through it and his eyes were a hypnotic shade of gray. Wolf eyes, I thought. The expression in those eyes suggested that he wasn’t in a good mood. This man, who had saved me from almost certain death or at least grievous bodily harm, was scowling at me much like Callum the artist had the previous day. It was a little disconcerting. Men in Paris appeared to take an instant disliking to me.

“Sorry,” I said, looking up at my savior. I wasn’t used to looking up at people. I was taller than many women and just as tall as most of the men I met. “I didn’t see you.”

“You’re late,” he declared with unconcealed irritation.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t let it happen again,” he replied. Clearly, he mistook my question for an apology. “You were supposed to be here three hours ago.”

“Three hours ago,” I parroted in confusion.

“I made it very clear to the agency that I need someone punctual.” He bored his wolf eyes into mine. “I fired the last assistant they sent me because she couldn’t tell the time. And the one before her couldn’t speak English. You speak English, right?”

“Yes, I do,” I said. “I’m American.”

“So am I.”

His scowl deepened, which struck me as odd since it was imperative that his assistant could speak English. Of course, I wasn’t his assistant, but he didn’t know that. He was making an ass out of himself by making assumptions.    

Despite his irate expression, he was a good-looking man. If I was honest, he was the walking definition of rugged handsomeness with his strong features and chiseled, stubble-covered jaw. Judging a person by their looks wasn’t my style. I wasn’t often impressed by a man just because he had the kind of face that you couldn’t help ogling. But this man was undeniably attractive. It was an unavoidable fact that was staring me right in the face. I could only have escaped this fact if I was blind.   

Just as I was about to tell him that I wasn’t the person he was waiting for, he spun around and stormed into his apartment. I was going to have to follow him. I was tempted to continue down the stairs but he had saved me from tumbling over the banister and plunging to my death. Even though he had the personality of an ogre, I thought that I owed it to him to let him know I wasn’t the assistant from the agency. 

With a niggling sense of apprehension, I crossed the threshold and entered his apartment. It appeared to have the exact same layout as Selma’s apartment upstairs but his place was as tidy as hers was cluttered. His decorating style would have appealed to my mother. The hallway didn’t have a single piece of furniture, not even a coat rack, and the living room beyond boasted nothing but a black leather couch and a glass-topped coffee table.  

The man was nowhere in sight. At a loss, I came to a halt in the middle of the living room. I knew that the door on the right would take me to the kitchen and that the one on the left opened into the corridor leading to the bedrooms and bathroom. Which door was the irritated ogre hiding behind?

My question was answered two seconds later.

“Are you coming?” he called from somewhere down the corridor.

The irritation in his voice was loud and clear as church bells on a Sunday morning. 

Starting to get a little irritated myself, I followed the direction his voice had come from. I found him in the room that was my bedroom in Selma’s apartment. Down here, the room was utilized as a home office. Bookshelves lined the walls and a large glass-topped desk with chrome legs, which matched the coffee table in the living room, stood by the window. The chair behind the desk was, like his couch, clad in black leather. It was such an eyesore that I knew it had to be one of those ergonomic designs. Half a dozen tall stacks of paper covered by handwritten notations of some sort sat on the desk, crowding a laptop computer that looked like it was a relic from the early nineties.   

“Um,” I said, searching for the right words to explain the case of mistaken identity.

“I need you to type my handwritten pages into the computer and print them out when you’re done,” he growled without as much as a glance at me. He was now busy glaring at the laptop. “And I need you to be punctual. I expect you to be here at ten o’clock in the morning from Monday to Friday. You will leave at two o’clock in the afternoon. Make sure you leave at two o’clock exactly. I don’t want you around here after two. Is that clear?”   

“Um,” I repeated.  

It wasn’t like me to let the cat catch my tongue. His utter boorishness had thrown me. He was an utter boor. There was no other way to describe him. Except handsome.  He was a handsome utter boor.

“You can type, right?” He looked up and directed his critical gaze at me. “Punctual. English-speaking. Computer literate. These are the only skills I’m looking for in an assistant. I have been very specific with the agency. Very specific. But they sent me two useless girls in a row. And the three before them quit for no good reasons.”  

“I can type,” I said.

“Good,” he replied before I managed to get another word out of my mouth. “You can type. You can speak English. If you can learn to tell the time and remember that I’m on the second floor, not the third or fourth, then we won’t have any problems.”

I should have stopped him right there and then. I should have spoken up. I should have said, “Goodbye and good luck finding an assistant who will tolerate you for more than a day.” But I didn’t. Something stopped me. Perhaps it was the scent of a challenge. I had never been able to resist a challenge.

Five assistants had failed to complete the task of turning the veritable mountain of handwritten pages into neat printouts. I could be the one out of six assistants to conquer the Mount Everest of transcribing. Except I wasn’t an assistant. Still, the challenge called to me.

 

 

And now a note from Holly:

Postcard From Paris, as the title suggests, is set in Paris. My mother took me to Paris for the first time when I was five years old. I’ve been irrevocably in love with the city ever since that first visit. The architecture, the history, the ever-present air of romance, not to mention the food, never fails to thrill and enthrall me. Paris is entirely to blame/credit for Postcard From Paris.

The main character in the story, Boston born and bred Poppy Parker, gets thrown for a loop when the promotion she has been promised for two years is given to someone else. Meanwhile, her fiancé accepts a job offer in Hong Kong without consulting her and postpones their wedding. So when she finds a postcard from Paris with a message written by an aunt she didn’t know existed, she can’t think of a reason to not book a seat on the next flight to France.

Poppy has worn the dutiful daughter and supportive sister hat for as long as she can remember, the loyal employee hat for her entire professional career, and the patient fiancée hat since she started dating the man she is supposed to marry, a man who is already married to his job. It’s time for her to try some new hats on for size. In the process, she uncovers long-buried family secrets and a chance at true love if she is brave enough to take it.

Postcard From Paris was the first full-length novel I wrote. Soon after I finished it, I started working on Love By Chance and One Little Lie. They’re all complete stand-alone stories but they share a theme: finding out what you want in life and working up the courage to try and make it happen. Oh, and there’s romance too of course. 

 

About Holly Willow

Holly Willow has lived her life on the move since her early childhood. She grew up in stables in the Middle East and South East Asia, surrounded by horses, philandering polo players, and wonderfully oversharing expatriate housewives. Currently, she's bouncing around Europe. Growing up, if she wasn’t on horseback, she had her nose in a book. Characters in novels were her best friends. And ultimately she started creating her own.

 

Thank you to Holly Willow for being featured on my blog today!

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Giveaway
The Talisman – Molly’s Story by Eliza J. Scott
@ElizaJScott1 @rararesources

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Giveaway The Talisman – Molly’s Story by Eliza J. Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Giveaway The Talisman – Molly’s Story by Eliza J. Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesourcesTitle: The Talisman - Molly's Story

Author: Eliza J. Scott

Series: Life on the Moors #2

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 325

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Molly’s dream of taking over her childhood home at Withrin Hill Farm with husband Pip and their three children has finally come true. And, as they settle into the stunning Georgian farmhouse, with their plans to diversify into glamping nicely taking shape, the family couldn’t be happier.
But tragedy suddenly strikes, and Molly’s world is turned upside down.

Heartbroken and devastated, she struggles to face each day. True to form, her fiercely loyal best friends, Kitty and Violet, rally round offering love and support, but Molly doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to smile again. Until the day a tall, dark stranger with twinkly eyes arrives…

Follow Molly’s story in book 2 of the Life on the Moors Series set in Lytell Stangdale, a picture-perfect village in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors, where life is anything but quiet.

A heart-warming story of love, friendship and hope.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

And now Eliza J. Scott with:

 

What I’ve Learnt Since Publishing My First Book

Hi there, What’s Better Than Books, it’s great to be on your wonderful blog and thank you for taking part in the Blog Tour for The Talisman – Molly’s Story. I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt since I published my first book – The Letter – Kitty’s Story – in June last year, so here goes:

One of the first things I realised after all of the publication day excitement had settled down, and I was ready to work on the outline I had for The Talisman, was that I would have to be more disciplined with myself in how I organised my time – something I regularly find myself rather short of. Unless my husband can help out, I have to take my daughter to school which is a 1½ hour round-trip, sometimes twice a day, so this can take a huge chunk out of my writing window.

Of course, it’s not just writing I have to squeeze into these precious hours, but I also have to manage my social media platforms, occasionally prepare blog posts and also market my book. Though, I have to say, I’ve met so many wonderful people on Twitter, and being a natural chatter-box, I find I can spend a considerable chunk of my time on there! Not that I’m complaining, the book community is so friendly, supportive and inclusive, and I’ve got to know lots of great people through it.

Since my time has become so precious, I’ve realised that I work better if I set myself targets, which I put into lists, so I can tick things off as I do them; it gives a sense of achievement and makes me feel much more organised. It seems to take the feeling of pressure off, too.

Marketing is something that I’ve learnt such a lot about since last June – and continue to do so. At first, I thought that being an indie-author was just about writing a book, publishing it and then sitting back, waiting for sales. Duh! How wrong was I? It didn’t take me long to realise that indie authors need to be constantly proactive in finding successful ways of advertising their books to potential readers, and then keep up with the changes that take place along the way. It certainly keeps you on your toes!

While I was preparing to publish the paperback of The Letter – Kitty’s Story, my old laptop was becoming so slow and lethargic. Everything seemed to take forever to get done on it – even the simple task of starting it up, took forever, which was incredibly frustrating. After just about tearing my hair out, I decided to take the plunge and treat myself to an Apple MacBook Air, and I can honestly say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. This change also meant that I could download Vellum, the book formatting programme (0nly available for Macs), which, oh my goodness, is such a joy to use and has saved me heaps of precious time. And, here’s a little fact for you: I discovered that it was actually developed by two colleagues (both called Brad) who used to work for Pixar. With their skills, it explains why it’s so awesome!

So, there you are, I really feel I’ve learnt a lot since The Letter – Kitty’s Story hit the virtual shelves on Amazon last year, and can only imagine what I’ll learn after The Talisman – Molly’s Story is published.

Eliza Jxxx

 

About Eliza J. Scott

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.

 

Thank you to Eliza J. Scott for being featured on my blog today!

 

Giveaway:

Win The Letter – Kitty’s Story, chocolate and a clutch bag (Open Internationally)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Start by Graham Morgan #GrahamMorgan
@FledglingPress #LoveBooksGroupTours

#BlogTour #GuestPost Start by Graham Morgan #GrahamMorgan @FledglingPress  #LoveBooksGroupToursTitle: Start

Author: Graham Morgan

Published by Fledgling Press on October 10, 2018

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 256

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health, and helped to write the Scottish Mental Health (2003) Care and Treatment Act. This is the Act under which he is now detained. 
Graham’s story addresses key issues around mental illness, a topic which is very much in the public sphere at the moment. However, it addresses mental illness from a perspective that is not heard frequently: that of those whose illness is so severe that they are subject to the Mental Health Act.
Graham’s is a positive story rooted in the natural world that Graham values greatly, which shows that, even with considerable barriers, people can work and lead responsible and independent lives; albeit with support from friends and mental health professionals. Graham does not gloss over or glamorise mental illness, instead he tries to show, despite the devastating impact mental illness can have both on those with the illness and those that are close to them, that people can live full and positive lives. A final chapter, bringing the reader up to date some years after Graham has been detained again, shows him living a fulfilling and productive life with his new family, coping with the symptoms that he still struggles to accept are an illness, and preparing to address the United Nations later in the year in his new role working with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.  

 

And now Graham Morgan with:

 

Inspiration for Start

When I was getting help from writerly friends as I wrote START, I had the occasional bit of advice about the chapters I included about Wendy; a slight “We know you love her, but you don’t need to make it too saccharine, too gushy and cloying!” And I do know that this was good advice but Wendy was the main inspiration for the most important chapters of the book and remains one of the main reasons why my life is currently such a good one.

I had lived a difficult life for a number of years which included a terrible break up of my marriage and estrangement from my son and had become used to admissions to hospital when I only wanted to die. Meeting Wendy, finding out that I could love again and be loved in turn woke me up, gave me a balance and an energy that was wonderful and also gave me a chance to get closer and closer to my family, made me aware of what people close to me have gone through by keeping me in their life for so many years.

At one point I was inspired by recording my story of what it was like to lose contact with my son, my possessions, my friends. I thought a man’s side of how people can treat each other at such times may be important but as time went by, I tempered this, took out some of the more blatant examples of what happened. I listened to people who said that I was not adding to the story, was maybe motivated by bitterness and anger, began to consider my own behaviour at that time and adapted what I was prepared to say publicly.

I remember a long walk to Lochinver on a hot summer’s afternoon, plagued by clegs and midges but delighted by the land, the sky, the hills, trees and rivers around me; slowly trusting the people I was walking with, with my worries about what I could say when telling my story, when it involves other people who may be more private than me. At that point I found some sort of slight resolution to the need to tell my version of whatever that truth might be. I began to believe that I have a right to tell some of my tale, but maybe not all of it. Which is partly why none of the people I talk of in the book have their real names recorded, apart from Wendy, and why some of the more shameful things people did were not in the final version of the book.

Lastly, apart from the wonderful inspiration and peace that living in the Highlands and latterly in Argyle, by the Clyde, has given me; has been the joy I have had in living with and working with so many people who experience mental illness. In this book I rarely say too much of their stories; maybe that will come in another book. This one is more my story, but their daily experiences, which are often similar to mine, weave themselves throughout it. I have spent my life trying to help my friends and colleagues and acquaintances speak out and bear witness to the gross injustices so many of us experience and those extreme ways of being and feeling or, for that matter, not feeling, that are so hard to describe and which I would so much love to be recorded.

I hesitate to define it properly; I want as much to record the indignity that trauma and mental illness causes; the terrible agonising loneliness and alienation that can come from the experience of mental distress and the reaction of our society to that distress. But also, in contrast, the joy and comradeship that has come when we have joined together as a community to make a difference both for ourselves and others who will experience mental illness in the future. To say that inspires me is an understatement; nearly all my friends have experienced mental illness, nearly all my working life has been working in partnership with them; their willingness to still see the good in other people, despite what has been done to them and what they have experienced in the way of sorrow and sadness, daily invigorates and inspires me.

 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

About Graham Morgan

Graham was born in 1963 in York. He went to university as an angst-ridden student and was quickly admitted to one of the old mental asylums, prompting the work he has done for most of his life: helping people with mental illness speak up about their lives and their rights. He has
mainly worked in Scotland, where he has lived for the last thirty years, twenty of them in the Highlands. In the course of this work he has been awarded an MBE, made Joint Service User Contributor of the Year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and, lately, has spoken at the UN about
his and other peoples’ experiences of detention. He has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and has been compulsorily treated under a CTO for the last ten years. He currently lives in Argyll with his partner and her young twins. Start is his first book.

 

Thank you to Graham Morgan for being featured on my blog today!

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost
The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison
@AnitaSDavison @aria_fiction

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison @AnitaSDavison @aria_fictionTitle: The Bloomsbury Affair

Author: Anita Davison

Series: A Flora Maguire Mystery #5

Published by Aria on November 20, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 333

 

 

 

Synopsis:

1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.

So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.

Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.

Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.

 

And now Anita Davison with:

 

The Positives and Negatives of Writing a Historical Series

When I began writing about Flora Maguire, my amateur sleuth, I intended it to be a standalone story. However once published, I received e-mails from readers asking me questions like: What happened to Flora’s mother? Will she ever see Bunny again? What is Edward like as a grown up? etc.

When I was contracted to write Books 2 to 5, I began to wonder if my characters’ pasts were interesting enough to impact on their futures? Apart from the unique mystery at the core of each book, how could I develop the characters so they were worth reading about in themselves?

I implied in the first book that Flora’s mother, Lily Maguire disappeared mysteriously when Flora was a child. An incident in her early childhood related to her mother haunted Flora, giving her unexplained dreams.  I carried this theme into the next story, and although some aspects were covered, what happened to Lily wasn’t fully explained.  I didn’t want to drag out the mystery too long, so the full story was revealed in Book 4, giving closure for both the reader and Flora herself.

A disadvantage of an accidental series, is that I gave one major character an upper-middle class nickname, which seemed a good idea at the time, but after four books, I began to regret it, although it was too late to change. Some of my readers love the name, while others find it puerile and annoying – but I’m stuck with it.

One of the challenges which face me in each successive novel, is to make sure the information I included in a later book doesn’t contradict an earlier one. Eye colour and appearance is straightforward, but things like personal idiosyncrasies need to be dealt with. Flora had a nervous habit of chewing the base of her thumb which she acquired as a child; a reaction to her nightmares about what happened to her mother. Later on, when her questions are answered and her nightmares stop, she doesn’t do it anymore. It occurred to me recently that I have rationalised this to myself, but maybe I should have explained it to the reader as well?

Also, if a character’s childhood was portrayed as happy and secure in Book 1, introducing some new trauma as a reason for not entering a lift, or a graveyard jars with the reader as they were unaware of this. Bunny is a self-contained, loving man with a progressive attitude to women. I discovered there were many more like him too, but to suddenly make him into a wife controlling misogynist would anger some of my readers who adore him; especially the ones who point out if he is missed from more than one chapter!

Technology did not change as quickly in the early 20thCentury as it does now. For instance, telephones were few and far between right up until after WW1, so I cannot have everyone calling each other all the time.  Fingerprints were in the very early stages of being used in criminal cases, first used to convict someone in 1902, so weren’t universally searched for or used.  Identification of blood groups, X-Rays and the use of motor cars were all in their infancy Most people still used horse-drawn vehicles and women who ate in public on their own were rare enough to be remarked open, even criticised. All this, while suffragists were marching on Parliament, but weren’t yet smashing windows in Downing Street. Getting the historical timeline right is imperative – as inaccuracies can spoil a good story.

In a murder mystery series, the focus is on the mystery itself, so the history of the characters takes second place. However, I’m aware readers like to read about those characters. How their careers progress, their relationships with parents, husband, how many children they have etc. I enjoy aging my characters, some by popular demand, for instance the thirteen-year-old boy who made an appearance in Book 1 reappears in a later book as a young man. Flora also had a child of her own, one who might even get to talk back if the series continues.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links!

                              

 

 

About Anita Davison

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

 

Thank you to Anita Davison for being featured on my blog today!

 

 

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#GuestPost
The Savage Shore by David Hewson
@david_hewson @severnhouse #LoveBooksGroup

#GuestPost The Savage Shore by David Hewson @david_hewson @severnhouse #LoveBooksGroupTitle: The Savage Shore

Author: David Hewson

Published by Severn House on July 31, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Roman police detective Nic Costa has been sent undercover to Italy’s beautiful, remote Calabrian coast to bring in the head of the feared mob, the ‘Ndrangheta, who has offered to turn state witness for reasons of his own.

Hoping to reel in the biggest prize the state police have seen in years, the infamous Butcher of Palermo, Costa and his team are aware the stakes are high. But the constant deception is taking its toll. Out of their depth in a lawless part of Italy where they are the outcasts, not the men in the hills, with their shotguns and rough justice, the detectives find themselves pitched as much against one another as the mob. As the tension rises, it’s clear the operation is not going to plan. Is Nic Costa getting too close to the enemy for comfort – and is there a traitor among them …?

 

And now David Hewson with:

 

Savage Shore: The Crime Gang

Most of the Nic Costa stories take place in Rome, a city the world knows well, even people who’ve never been there. We have a picture of it from TV, from other books, and from our consciousness of its considerable role in Western civilisation.

But when I decided to bring Costa and his colleagues out of hibernation after a nearly ten-year gap I felt I needed to mix things around a little. One more Roman story wasn’t good enough. I wanted to jolt them – and myself – into dealing with somewhere new.

That turned out to be a part of Italy few people know, even native Italians. Calabria is the toe of Italy, a wild, largely rural region dominated at the southern tip by a vast mountain known as Aspromonte. It overlooks the Strait of Messina, with Etna clearly visible on a good day, smoke winding out of the summit. The land is rugged, inhospitable in parts, and the area pretty much lacking in the spectacular sights that draw millions of visitors to other parts of the country.

Why choose this as a location? Because The Savage Shore is, in part, about what happens to places that the rest of a nation ignores. It lies in the southern half of the country known as the Mezzogiorno, the poorest part of Italy far removed from the riches of the north. Over the years this neglect has seen the rise of organised crime which has come, in some ways, to represent a kind of alternative government or society in place of the authority that should be there from elsewhere.

While most people regard organised crime in Italy as being the work of ‘the Mafia’, matters on the ground are rather more complicated. There are, in fact, three different native Italian mobs, each based on a geographical location. The true Mafia, or Cosa Nostra, hail from Sicily. The second is based in Naples and is called the Camorra. The third, possibly larger and more powerful but less well-known than the others, began in Calabria and is known as the ’Ndrangheta, a name it takes from the Greek dialect of the area, which means roughly ‘the honourable men’.

Few people have heard of the ‘Ndrangheta but they are huge and their tentacles spread around the world – from large property holdings in Brussels to busy public markets in Australia. They are also far more reticent and less flashy than their peers in Naples and Palermo, though equally violent when pushed.

The setup for the book is simple. One of the local leaders of an ’Ndrangheta gang, a shadowy figure known only as ‘Lo Spettro’, the ghost, has intimated to the police that he’s willing to surrender himself and turn state witness to rat on his peers. Nic Costa and his colleagues have been sent undercover to the Calabrian coast to try to engineer his perilous escape from his own gang, which would surely murder him if he knew what was on his mind.

In order to do that, Lo Spettro demands that Costa himself masquerade as a rookie gangster inside the local mob, living in the hills in an abandoned village they used as a crime base, and posing as a man willing to undertake any violent act required of him in order to smuggle the gang lord out to safety.

So in a way this is also a book about people pretending to be something they’re not, and how damaging that pretence can be in the end. Not just for the police who are trying to hide their real feelings and identity, but a crime lord on the brink as well.

 

 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

About David Hewson

David Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, The Sunday Times and the Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent.

 

Thank you to David Hewson for being featured on my blog today!

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Secrets In Our Scars by Rebecca Trogner
@RTrogner @XpressoReads

#BlogTour #GuestPostSecrets In Our Scars by Rebecca Trogner @RTrogner @XpressoReads

#BlogTour #GuestPostSecrets In Our Scars by Rebecca Trogner @RTrogner @XpressoReadsTitle: Secrets In Our Scars

Author: Rebecca Trogner

Published by Rebecca Trogner on February 7, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 337

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A sexy romance. A twisted mystery. One mistake can change everything.

On a sweltering summer day, Daisy Aldridge knocks on the wrong door. Yanked inside. Trapped and pressed against her only means of escape she spirals into a panic. Years ago she suffered an assault. Alone and afraid, she kept it hidden and dealt with the emotional aftermath in her own way.

But this time she’s not alone. She’s helped by a man who seems vaguely familiar. Roy Blackwood is massive, muscled, powerful, and controlled. She tells herself she wants nothing to do with him.

Roy sees through her resistance. He wants her. Needs her. He promises to find the identity of her birth parents and unveil the person who leaves her anonymous gifts. And most important of all, earn the love and trust of Daisy Aldridge..

A standalone, full-length romance.

 

 

 

And now Rebecca Trogner with:

 

How I Chose The Title

The book title usually comes to me midway through the writing process. I’ve never gone through editing and still not known the title. There’s always a first, right? 

Thank goodness for book-loving friends because they went above and beyond in being my sounding board. 

At first, I was going to call it Daisy. Simple and descriptive since the main character is named Daisy. I was afraid it might sound like a children’s book. My next idea was Daisy Obscura. I thought the word obscura would counteract the word daisy. It would sound mysterious. Nope, none of my friends liked the title. Almost everyone thought it sounded like a photography book. 

Okay, not going to be deterred here. Carry on and all that nonsense. 

I remember waking up in the middle of the night with the idea Tiny Cuts. Daisy cuts herself. Perfect. Interesting. I still like it. The cover art was a problem with this title. How would you represent that?

The Education of Daisy was my worst idea. Everyone thought it sounded like a porn movie. I still giggle thinking about it. My mind was running along the path of Educating Rita.

I’ve always liked the simplicity of a one-word title. I toyed with Broken, Ravaged, Succumbed, and Redeemed. I could fill a binder with the emails and texts going back and forth. Luckily, none were picked.

Finally, out of sheer desperation, I used a demographic service. These can be wonderful because you can see what hits well with certain age groups. As my friends had predicted, Tiny Cuts and Daisy Obscura did not do well. I pulled some of the comments.

Tiny Cuts:

Makes me think of slow pain acquired over years 

My all-time favorite was, Meh on it

Sound fishy to me. Is it about sushi?

Daisy Obscura:

Just sounds boring

What the hell does that mean?

Too hard.

Finally, as I was reading for the last edit round I thought about the essence of this book. Daisy and Roy both have emotional and physical scars. Almost everyone in this book has secrets. And the title Secrets in Our Scars was born. Though I still like Tiny Cuts. What do you think?

 

About Rebecca Trogner

Rebecca Trogner started writing her first novel after watching True Blood. Of course it was about vampires and thus The Last Keepers Daughter was born. The next, The Last Guardian Rises, continued the series. Her latest book, Secrets In Our Scars, is a contemporary romance and a lot spicier. She's working on her fourth book with the help of her rescued animal pets.

 

GIVEAWAY!

One (1) $25 Amazon Gift Card (Tour-wide, International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Rebecca Trogner for being featured on my blog today!

 

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#BlogTour #GuestPost
Silencing Anna by Sadie Mitchell
@sadiedmitchell @rararesources

#BlogTour #GuestPost Silencing Anna by Sadie Mitchell @sadiedmitchell @rararesourcesTitle: Silencing Anna

Author: Sadie Mitchell

Published by 3P Publishing on July 6, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 460

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Voices surround Anna as she lies on her hospital bed, but she cannot answer them. Her voice has been taken, along with her mobility and her sight. She can hear the nurses chattering and her family that come to visit. Her mum cries a lot and her dad struggles to deal with what he sees. Life used to be good for Anna, but life can change in a heartbeat, as she knows so well. 

And then there are the people we think we know. When the smile hides the anger. When the beauty hides the beast.

Only Anna knows the truth, but Anna cannot speak.

 

And now Sadie Mitchell with:

 

Hope and Healing

I had done it, I had left my abusive partner.  My friends were proud, my family was proud and everything was going to be okay, or so I was told. 

I didn’t feel okay.  I felt broken.  I felt stupid and foolish.  I felt guilty. My children had suffered – pulled from the home they loved, into a new bigger better house for a few months – only to be pulled from there just as soon as they had settled in.  Now we were renting a tiny little cottage and we had fuck all to put in it.  Nice one Sadie.

To top it all off, I still loved my ex.  Every night I dreamt that we were back together, only to wake with the crushing disappointment that we weren’t because he was an abuser and the reality was, he was never going to change.  It was horrible, especially as I only managed a few hours sleep a night, if that. 

So I found us a cottage that I could barely afford and I started over.  The letting agent must’ve thought I was crazy, walking behind him from room to room sobbing as I went.  

‘Do you like it?’ he asked, trying not to look at me, ‘no, but I’ll take it,’ I replied.

I collected the keys on an uncharacteristically sunny day.  My wonderful friend came with me and together we brought a few bags and boxes to start the process of moving.  I remember choking back the tears.  Swallowing hard.  I didn’t want to move here, I wanted to rewind and find that my partner was who I had believed him to be at the start.  I wanted the caring man who loved me, not the controlling monster who hurt me, but here I was, traipsing up my new path with my arms laden with boxes, swallowing the tears.  Then, just as we were almost done, I stood on a loose thread that was hanging from the bottom of my jeans.  I had been meaning to cut it off but hadn’t got around to it. I tumbled over the threshold of the cottage, box in my arms, unable to put my hands out to break my fall and landed face first onto the collapsing box, its contents strewn across the floor.  My friend rushed to help me, and we sat on the floor as she held me like a child.  The floodgates had opened, and I was sobbing like a child.

‘It’s going to be okay,’ she promised. ‘You are strong,’ she reminded me. ‘I will help you,’ she said. And then I noticed how beautiful and light the room was.  The early spring sun shone brightly, and I just knew that my friend was right.  I had done the right thing. Abuse is not love.  Walking on eggshells is not love, name calling is not love, bruises are not love, but my friend helping me up from my knees and being there for me, rooting for me and listening to me, that is love.  And that moment, sitting in the early spring sunshine, with my friend beside me, I knew that things really would get better.  I felt the first feelings of hope and healing right there and then, and I knew that everything would be okay.

 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

          

 

 

About Sadie Mitchell

This is Sadie’s first novel. She has three children and and a rabbit. She works in healthcare. When she’s not writing or working most of her life seems to involve picking up toys and finding things she’d forgotten she has.

 

Thank you to Sadie Mitchell for being featured on my blog today!

 

#GuestPost
What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone
@DeborahStone_ @matadorbooks
#Lovebooksgrouptours

#GuestPost What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone @DeborahStone_  @matadorbooks #LovebooksgrouptoursTitle: What's Left Unsaid

Author: Deborah Stone

Published by Matador on July 19, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Women's Fiction

Pages: 208

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.

Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.

As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.

 

 

And now Deborah Stone with:

 

Why I Wrote What’s Left Unsaid Now

I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but I’ve left it late-ish in life, partly because I was doing other things, like working and bringing up my children and partly because I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about. Whilst I still work as a consultant, my boys are men now (well, most of the time!) and I decided that if I was ever going to write my novel, I had better get on with it.

The plus side of writing when you’re that bit older is that you have more life experience to draw on…you’ve met more people, loved, lost, understood real happiness and profound sadness and heard a lot of stories. It took me a long time to get inspired and to develop the themes I wanted to explore, but slowly I realised that I wanted to investigate the impact of trauma on people as children and how it shapes their later behaviour as adults. Annie, the grandmother in my novel, is evacuated at the age of five and stays with a woman who mistreats her. On her return, she suffers a nervous breakdown. This actually happened to my mother. Although my own mother has never spoken to me about her trauma in detail, the image of such a small child away from her parents, frightened and utterly alone has always haunted me, especially once I had had my own children. I piled further trauma on Annie in the novel -which isn’t grounded in truth – but helped me to explore why she might reject her own child later on and what other behavioural problems she might develop in order to manage her demons. In turn, this allowed me to move onto the next generation and explore the impact that Annie’s behaviour has on her daughter, Sasha, who is forced to cope unsupported with many other trials of her own.

 

 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

 

About Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone read English Literature at Durham University. She lives in North London with her husband, two sons and her dog.

 

Thank you to Deborah Stone for being featured on my blog today!

 

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