Guest Post

#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!

 

 

For more information on Aria visit them at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#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!

 

XBTBanner1

#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!

 

#GuestPost
Implant (Gardener and Reilly Crime Series #3)
by Ray Clark @T1LOM @UrbaneBooks
#Lovebooksgrouptours #IMPLANT

#GuestPost Implant (Gardener and Reilly Crime Series #3) by Ray Clark @T1LOM @UrbaneBooks #Lovebooksgrouptours #IMPLANTTitle: Implant

Author: Ray Clark

Series: Gardener and Reilly Crime Series #3

Published by Urbane Publications on August 9, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 376

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?

Implant is the perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.

 

And now a little word from Ray Clark:

Whenever I am invited to do a book talk I always open using the same format for my audience. I try to ascertain how many of them are readers and how many are writers. I then ask the question: what do you feel is the most important part of a book? The answers are varied and interesting. I eventually answer the question myself, which is always two fold.

            As a reader, without doubt the most important part of the book for me is the protagonist, the main character. He or she has to be three-dimensional and give me a very good reason to keep turning the page. It has to be a character who lights up the text whenever he appears because you basically have no idea what he or she is going to do or say. Thomas Harris is a man who proves that point very well. He created, in Hannibal Lecter, a complete and utter – yet extremely intelligent – monster. A man who actually enjoys torturing and eating people, who is guilty of the most heinous crimes. Yet, when we see the man about to meet his demise in the book, Hannibal, as Mason Verger is going to feed Lecter to the pigs, we feel sorry for him. His hands and feet are bound and he’s been hoisted up on to a lifting device so that he can be lowered slowly into the pen. That way, both the pigs and Verger can devour every second – as does the reader. The power of that writing and the emotion it creates is, for me, sheer genius.

            As a writer, it has to be first and foremost, your research. For me, from a writing point of view, good research, sparingly used is what will keep people returning to your work time and again. You have to show the reader that you know what you are talking about – even if you don’t. Research can be used in a variety of ways: to intensify a plot, or to build up a really believable character. For me it’s almost always the most fun part of the book. When I wrote the cross genre novel, Seven Secrets, set against the background of the NYMR, I was so absorbed in the research about the stations and the line itself, that the writing became secondary, but it’s what I believe made the book so easy to write in the end. I love researching novels: it’s a bit like opening a well-wrapped present: you never know what you are going to find when you finally open the box.

Another interesting bit of research I became involved in was for a book entitled, The Priest’s Hole (later re-released as Resurrection). For years I’d wanted to write something about Ouija Boards. My concern was that I felt everything might already have been done. So I postponed writing about them until I could find the right vehicle. Whilst researching something completely different one day, I was studying an article on ancient wisdom and secret sects, and became embroiled in Druidism, reading about a battle that took place on the island of Anglesey in A.D. 61, when it was believed that the Roman’s came ashore, and in a pretty fierce battle, wiped out the last of the Druid’s in the UK. One phrase in that article became the vehicle for the book, which led me to researching the Ouija Board more seriously. Perhaps the most fascinating this I discovered was that the boards and the spirits are not always bad. The English writer Sax Rohmer, most famous for the Fu-Manchu series of books once paid a visit to a talking board (as they were known) when he was a struggling writer who had achieved little or no success. The board spelled out the word, C-H-I-N-A-M-A-N. The rest is history. I’m afraid nothing good happens to the people who stumble across my Ouija Board.

 

 

This novel is available now.

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

                             

 

 

Thank you to Ray Clark for being featured on my blog today!

 

About Ray Clark

The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark's first work in 1995 - Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray's short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole, and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.

 

#GuestPost #Giveaway
Just by Jenny Morton Potts
@jmortonpotts @rararesources

#GuestPost #Giveaway Just by Jenny Morton Potts @jmortonpotts @rararesources

 

 

TitleJust

 

Author: Jenny Morton Potts

 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense

 

Publication Date: June 18, 2018

 

 

Synopsis:

How far would you go to save a life?

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea. 

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

 

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

 

And now Jenny Morton Potts with:

 

One sunny day in Carcassonne, I found a lovely old book…

I had to go into hospital suddenly whilst ‘on holiday’. I use the quote marks because the ‘holiday’ takes place in a house we have owned and spent eleven years renovating, in Gascony. There is always a million things on the job list and the idea of ‘holiday’ is accurate only in that we are away from home.

When I got out of hospital, which was a violent and terrible affair, I was so relieved, I could have cried in the street. Out of that painful prison, I wanted to look to the sky, face tipped up to the sunshine, and shout, Reprieve! Liberty!But I am British and not given to such shows of emotion in public. And besides, my partner would have disowned me.

With a few hours to spare before the flight home, we shuffled along the cobbles of Carcassonne (have you been? You must!) very slowly. The beautiful château ramparts were in the near distance, calling. I was determined to get there. I wanted to dine in a fabulous restaurant, to taste my freedom, to drink my own health. As we inched along the pavement, we came to an antiques shop. Behind the shop’s enormous window, all kinds of unnecessary purchases glittered and shone. Could I get six crystal 19thcentury Savoie glasses home safely in my luggage? No. Did I need them? No. Did I deserve them? Yes. Could I afford them? No. But we went into the shop. Tinkle, tinkle, the bell went over the door to the treasure trove. Parfait!

Almost straight away, I saw my heart’s desire. A sumptuous, burgundy leather-bound book. I have wanted an old Victor Hugo book for some time, scrolling through auction sites and itching to feel the books in my eager mitts, to sniff them in my reading chair. Now I picked up the red leather tome and gasped (yes, I gasped) with delight. It was by Hugo. It surely had to be mine, no matter what the price. I turned to my partner, introducing a meaningful furrow to my brow; a furrow which said, ‘Darling, you know what I’ve just been through. Life is short, so very very short, n’est ce pas?’.

I tried to recover my practical wits and, cleared my face of expression. I asked the sales assistant how much the book cost. I did not react when he replied. But in my head, I was saying, ‘Did he just say fifteen euros?’ I put the book down and continued browsing. But when another customer caused the door bell to tinkle upon entering, I swooped down on MY book and paid for it.

Oh the name of the novel? Yes, it was – and is – ‘L’Homme qui Rit’, which means ‘The Man who Laughs’. (Or I suppose it could be ‘The Man who is Laughing’. Funny how we have different ways of using verbs in the present tense in English, like ‘I laugh, I am laughing, I do laugh’ when the other Latin languages do not. Anyway…)

 

 

It was only after buying my gorgeous book that I realised this title is the origin for the cheese triangles, ‘La Vache qui Rit’, as in ‘The Laughing Cow’. Of course I’m not certain of this theory but you’d think, wouldn’t you. Perhaps Hugo would be pleased. I don’t know. He didn’t exude much in the sense of humour department in his writing, but then how could he amongst those epic angst ridden books. And I don’t know how he felt about cheese. If he hated cheese (does anyone French hate cheese?), he might be unhappy and if he loved cheese, he might be a bit sniffy about the lowly (get it?) contemporary brand.

So, what is the book about? I don’t know. I haven’t started it yet. And I’m in no hurry. I’m still busy gazing at it. I think though that soon, I will move to the next stage. Perhaps next week, or month, I’ll sniff the red leather.

 

Giveaway:

Win  5 x e-copies of Just by Jenny Morton Potts (Open Internationally)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

 

About Jenny Morton Potts

Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

 

Thank you to Jenny Morton Potts for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost
Songs of Innocence by Anne Coates
@Anne_Coates1 @LoveBooksGroup

Synopsis:

“Gripping and original, Anne Coates delivers the most thrilling Hannah Weybridge investigation yet” – Hugh Fraser, bestselling author of the Rina Walker thriller series

A woman’s body is found in a lake. Is it a sad case of suicide or something more sinister? Hannah Weybridge, still reeling from her friend’s horrific murder and the attempts on her own life, doesn’t want to get involved, but reluctantly agrees to look into the matter for the family.

The past however still stalks her steps, and a hidden danger accompanies her every move.

The third in the bestselling Hannah Weybridge thriller series, Songs of Innocence provides Hannah with her toughest and deadliest assignment yet…

 

————–

 

And now:

Choosing a Title by Anne Coates

 

There’s often a wonderful sense of freedom and excitement that comes with selecting titles but if the author is considering a series there may be some constraints. For my Hannah Weybridge thrillers published by Urbane, I wanted titles to encapsulate the story in a creative and perhaps off-beat way.

Dancers in the Windis a reference to a verse in Dryden’s poem “Fortune”:

I can enjoy her while she’s kind;

But when she dances in the wind,

And shakes her wings, and will not stay,

I puff the prostitute away.”

One of the central characters is a prostitute and several are killed during the narrative, so that verse seemed pertinent to me. “Dances” is changed to “Dancers” and my title was created.

For the sequel, which begins with the murder of Hannah’s close friend, I worked on various connotations. I tried out various combinations of words from Death and Dispossession to Ambassadors for the Dead. Some 12 titles competed for the crown.

I was eventually inspired by Andrew Marvell’s poem, “In Mourning” – in particular the last verse:

I yet my silent judgement keep,

Disputing not what they believe:

But sure as oft as Women Weep

It is to be suppos’d they grieve.”

The words “silent judgement” resonated with me, leading to title number 13 – Death’s Silent Judgementwhich was published in May 2017.

Before deciding on these I made sure there were no other books with the same title by searching for books on Amazon and other websites. It’s amazing how often authors (or publishers) come up with the same title and confusion can arise sometimes with one author benefiting from the popularity of another.

For my third Hannah Weybridge thriller, I was stumped for a title. There are various facets of the narrative that I’d have liked to include but they didn’t necessarily sit well together.  I wanted to continue the poetic essence of the previous titles so again I turned to my favourite poets for inspiration.

For book three I was also looking for some local inspiration. On a wall of a house by the children’s playground is a mural depicting William Blake’s visionof angels in an oak tree in Peckham Park. Peckham Pond is where the first body is discovered… You can see where this is leading. I found my well-thumbed edition of Blake’s poetry and read until I found this verse in “On Another’s Sorrow”:

Can I seen another’s woe,

And not be in sorrow too?

Can I see another’s grief,

And not seek for kind relief?”

For me this summed up Hannah’s feelings and motivation when she is asked by the family of the drowned girl to investigate her death. Hannah is still in shock from her friend’s brutal murder a few months before and the repercussions in her own life. Her own grief made her more receptive to the family’s plea to her to help prove that it wasn’t suicide but murder. Of all the permutations for titles I came up with, Matthew Smith, the publishing Director at Urbane Publications, preferred Songs of Innocence.

When Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications asked me for the title of the next Hannah Weybridge thriller to be published next year, I had to confess I didn’t have one. So it’s currently Hannah Weybridge 4 and I’m back to reading poetry.

© Anne Coates, 2018

 

About the Author:

Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Instilled and inspired by her mother and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library, and she feels still grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.

After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London to stay. During her career she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator. The birth of her daughter, Olivia inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in two collections by Endeavour Press (2015).

The sometimes strange places Anne visited as a journalist often made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… The Hannah Weybridge series currently consists of three books, all published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018).

Anne Coates lives in London with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining.

WEBSITETWITTER /  FACEBOOK / PARENTING WEBSITE TWITTER

 

This novel is available now.

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

 

 

Thank you to Anne Coates for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

 

#BlogTour #Excerpt #Giveaway
Can Dreams Come True? by Krysten Lindsay Hager
@KrystenLindsay @NeverlandBT

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?

 

Excerpt:

Andrew sat back and nodded. “Well, Dimitri got the song, you know? He understood what I was looking for—a relationship where two people understand each other on a spiritual level. You know, where their souls connect. Make sense?” 

“Yeah, is that what you have with your girlfriend?” I asked hoping it didn’t look like I as phishing for info on who he was dating. 

He shook his head. “Nah, I’ve never had anything like that before. But it’s the ultimate idea though, you know? How about you?”

“No, never,” I said and then I felt guilt wash over me. “I mean, I’ve had deep connections with people—just not what you’re talking about or what Dimitri said—the whole deep mystical thing.” 

Andrew stared at me and I felt like he was looking into my soul. “Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to get that connection with anybody. Or you think you’re halfway there and they say they get you, but then something happens and you know they weren’t as deep into it as you were—or at least as deep as you were hoping. That’s the inspiration for next song I’m working on. It’s about when you want to believe so badly that you have a soul connection, then something happens and you realize it was just another superficial relationship. That’s the title: Just Another Superficial Relationship.” 

“Wow, I can’t wait to hear it.” 

“I can sing you the chorus if you want,” he said. 

Holding my breath, I tried to be cool and not squeal with delight that my favorite singer was about to not only sing for me, but let me hear an unreleased song. This was like a dream come true and it made me question if I hadn’t indeed fallen into the water and hit my head on some rocks, and was now either dreaming this in a coma somewhere or this was my own personal version of heaven. I felt guilty for inwardly gushing over Andrew when I had a boyfriend. But this wasn’t about me being interested in going out with Andrew. It would never happen anyway. This was just me meeting my crush who happened to be a singer, who I felt understood my feelings more than anyone else. 

Andrew sang the chorus and a warmth washed over me. The song was perfect—the yearning, the longing—I had experienced all of it myself. It was like he had taken all my innermost thoughts and somehow put them into words. 

“Amazing,” I said. My whole body was warm as my mind raced. Was I actually sitting here with him and having him trust me enough to share a new song? This was beyond anything I had dreamt of happening today.

 

About Krysten Lindsay Hager:

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for children/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton.

WEBSITE / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM AMAZON BIO / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST

 

 

International Giveaway:

 

£5 (or equivalent in dollars) Amazon gift card

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Krysten Lindsay Hager for allowing me to be part of the blog tour today! It was truly an honour!

 

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

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Giveaway
The Curse of Time by M. J. Mallon
@Marjorie_Mallon @NeverlandBT

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.

 

 

About Marjorie Mallon:

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much-loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

WEBSITE / COLLABORATIVE BLOG / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM GOODREADS / FACEBOOK / TUMBLR

 

 

And now Marjorie Mallon:

 

My motto is to do what you love! Stay true to your heart’s desires, remain young at heart, and inspire others to do so, even if the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

Recently, I had a conversation with my eldest daughter which really struck a chord with me. She is working in South Korea teaching English as a Foreign Language, following her dream to travel, teach and live abroad. I so admire her adventurous spirit. During this conversation she mentioned that studying English Literature at degree level had almost killed her love of reading. Can you imagine? How could this be? The course had been so analytical that it had dissected the pleasurable aspect of reading; emotion had been hung, drawn and quartered. Reading and writing should be about expressing our deepest emotions and passions. There have been countless occasions when I have cried when reading a book. The emotional response should be paramount, whether we respond by laughing, crying, exclaiming, or screwing up our faces in horror or disgust.

I am so thrilled to say my daughter has now re-discovered her love of reading. Thank heavens! A love of creativity is both a popular pastime and a career choice in my family. My youngest daughter Georgina is a keen photographer, following in her great uncle’s and her grandfather’s footsteps. (They ran the successful photographic business Ingram & Co in Edinburgh before the Second World War.)

Georgina’s wonderful photographic portrait of Elise Hackney, portraying my main character, Amelina. Interview with my character: https://mjmallon.com/2017/08/20/mj-interviews-amelina-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone-sundayblogshare/

Samantha Murdoch, https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com kindly gave me permission to use her son Alex’s photography to promote my black cat character Shadow:

And here’s a close up of the wonderful Bloodstone crystal photography which appears on the spine of my paperback, via Samantha too.

Dr John C Taylor OBE gave me permission to use his wonderful images of The Corpus Christi Chronopage in my book. http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

 

When I read I enter a precious world, the domain of the author’s imagination. What a wonder and privilege it is to enter that realm. It has been a delight to read extensively and to review too. To date I have written over a hundred reviews. Now that I am a debut author the boot is on the other foot. Not, that I was ever a hard-nosed reviewer! It is the strangest experience reading reviews written about my book! Some of which fill me full of delight, some less so. But, that is the price an author pays. Not everyone will love an author’s book, whether their current novel is a bestseller or not. Even best-selling books are blighted by reviews which tumble mercilessly below four stars! Reading is and always should be a personal and subjective affair.

Recently, I received a review which said: ‘Enjoyable novel’ ‘This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up.’ Another reviewer remarked that: ‘This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story.’

Readers’ opinions will differ and that’s what makes reading and writing so unique, special and wonderful. I urge you to support a debut author by reading and reviewing The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone. It is (as one reviewer states,) ‘a clear labour of love.’

 

International Giveaway:

 

A £35 Amazon Gift Card

(or equivalent to £35 for an International winner either by gift card or if not possible and if it’s  not possible the cash equivalent.)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Marjorie Mallon for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

 

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

%d bloggers like this: