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Archive for July, 2017

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for “Hit” by P.S. Bridge, I am delighted to be able to share a guest post with you written by the author about research and inspiration for this thriller.

Description:

PS Bridge-01

 

A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world.
Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is
assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when
a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed
for assault and suspected of his wife’s murder, King must leave his legal career behind and
go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and
hold them to account. Mark King’s brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a
sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their
connection to him and the Al-Azidid case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the
mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why
he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King’s side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who
killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.

You can buy a copy via Amazon


Guest Post: Research and Inspiration for ‘Hit’

The idea for ‘Hit’ has really been with me since my early career in the legal and financial industry. I used to wonder what would happen if one of the figures I worked with, those advocates of truth and justice, suddenly went rogue, and how they would handle it.

The character of Mark King was an amalgamation of a few legal figures I have encountered in my life. One in particular was an army reservist and always wanted to be a sniper but the personality of Mark King was several people all rolled into one.

In order for me to set Mark King on the path to becoming a hitman, I had to give him a reason to give up what he was doing, something that would fuel his desire for justice, and what better way than to have his wife murdered by professional killers and, being the kind of character he was, he wouldn’t let that go.

Initially, it was to be a TV series which no one was really interested in, until my partner suggested I turn it into a book. When I completed it, I initially wrote an ending in which Mark lives happily ever after, but try as I may, I couldn’t make it sound convincing, and so it grew into the second book in the series ‘Hitback’. Before much longer, I had planned 5 books, which again turned into what is now a series of 21 books!

When I created the character and his quest for justice, I realised it wouldn’t be confined to just one place, one country, and so I needed some locations. Having never really travelled abroad, I had no physical experience of locations as settings so I turned to the internet. An ex-major client of mine early on in my career was a shipping company and revisiting that part of my life gave me the inspiration for sending Mark King on a mission chasing illegal weapons imports, with one of the main ports my ex-client used, being Holtenau in Germany. I spent a long time researching the port, and, because of its size, it was perfect.

I also wanted things to be difficult for Mark King. It made no sense to have a hero who has it easy all the time and he had to get caught up with the authorities at some point. I couldn’t have him running about Europe killing people without gaining some sort of attention, so the character of Detlev ‘The Wolf’ Kastner was born. Head of the Germany secret intelligence service, he had to be hard and cold but closed off. I wanted him to be almost like a Nazi general, but the reader is never quite sure whether he is with the mysterious Invictus Advoca or not. Again, more research online was needed and, because of having some international clients both as a civil servant and in the legal and financial sector, I had some characters in mind to base Kastner on.

I had always wanted to write a big battle scene, but I wanted to place Mark King as the underdog against a large force of highly trained militia. I wanted a location which was heavily fortified but that was accessible from the air, so it had to be an island. I did some online research and came across an article another ex-client of mine had written about Spain. It was perfect, an uninhabited islet in the Balearic Islands, Spain, located in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of Majorca. As it was uninhabited, and one had a castle, I decided this would be a fantastic setting for my large battle scene. However, Mark King could not stand entirely alone there, and so the character of El Toro ‘The Bull’ was born. An ex-military man and ex-member of Invictus Advoca, he needed to be experienced on the battle field, but older and now living in peace. The idea of him living on one of these islands wasn’t possible without a reason, so I made him the live-in curator and tour guide of the castle.

As I progressed through the book, Mark needed more than just professional killers to contend with. Someone had to have hired them and needed a reason to hire them, so being a massive fan of stories about organisations such as the Knights Templar, the Freemasons and occult power groups, I decided on creating an organisation which operated in the shadows, had a massive amount of financial resources and firepower at its disposal. Conducting research on such organisations, be they fictional, theoretical or actual, I found the same criteria in each of them. They usually had a military reach, and so could have resources such as militia, bounty hunters, and weapons. Next I looked at finances and how they would afford all these things and so I decided that my organisation would have links to pharmaceutical companies, weapons manufacturers, arms dealers, and world governments. As the series progresses, you will see more and more of this organisation come to light. I also wanted the organisation to have been around for decades and have a mysterious occultist type name and so I played around with Latin, until I came up with a title which I thought sounded powerful. The Unconquered Calling was the ‘working title’ for the organisation but once it was translated into Latin, it read ‘Invictus Advoca’. The Advoca part worked really well seeing as my main character and hero was an advocate and this provided me with an opportunity to link Invictus Advoca, to Mark himself.

Not only would Mark come to the attention of this mysterious secretive society, but also a young agent also intent on putting Azidi behind bars. It stood to reason that overseas intelligence agencies would eventually notice Mark King and so MI6 Agent Nathanial Williams was born. Not only is he after Azidi, but he also wants Mark King too. The two men cross paths but Williams just can’t seem to get Mark. It was fun creating an MI6 agent because I wanted to avoid the Bond type of agent and make it more realistic.

From the research perspective of the military side of things, it wouldn’t have been enough just to research guns and weapons online, I had to have more to add depth to the book. I was lucky enough to have grown up with a few friends who started off their lives in the Army cadets and some of them remained in the army and still serve now. The first thing I needed to do was to speak to those who had served in hostile environments and get some first-hand accounts of the use of weapons and how they behaved on the battle field. I spoke at great length with them, but due to sensitive information, they could only tell me so much before I had to elaborate on the rest myself by research.

All of the bad guys in the book are based on actual people I grew up around. After my father’s death when I was 4, my mother and I moved to a council estate and there were some pretty unsavoury characters there. My best friend and I had kept a log over 20 years of all the goings on there and so I delved into this to find inspiration for characters. For example, the characters of Hix and Vose, the two hired hitmen disguised as gardeners, were 2 older lads who gave me and my best friend a pretty rough time. They were perfect for the story and so I built up a collection of bad guys based on my experiences living there. It was the perfect environment to really get a look at the criminal lifestyle and how they behaved and a long time was spent on the phone to my best friend who now lives in Ireland with his young family asking ‘do you remember when this happened, what did so-and-so do and say?’ It was actually great fun and encouraged me to revisit some more traumatic events we experienced back then.

I think every writer has their own way to research and seek inspiration. For me, sometimes ideas come to me in the middle of the night, other times it’s when I listen to music, especially pieces I hear for the first time, and in my mind I build a scene around that piece. If I can, I’ll download or YouTube the piece and listen to it over and over whilst writing the scene. For characters, sometimes I’ll sit in a coffee shop or on the beach, or in the parks or shopping precinct and listen to people’s conversations. The comedian Benny Hill was a great friend of my parents and he used to come around to our house to see us. One of the things my mum said he used for inspiration for sketches was to listen to people’s conversations in the street and use them as the basis for his next sketch. For me, finding different personality types out in public was a great way to find new characters. So really as my partner says, no one is really safe from becoming a character in one of my books!

The main inspiration when I changed Hit from a TV script to a book was my mum. Sadly she never lived to see it as a fully-fledged book but during her chemotherapy sessions, she would ask me to read parts of it and offer critique and suggestions, often saying ‘you can’t say that, he wouldn’t behave that way!’ It took her mind off the pain and sickness. After her death last year, I couldn’t touch the book for a long time, but gradually, the way my mum faced Cancer with bravery and dignity and an outright refusal to give up, became my inspiration and a part of Mark King’s character. I always feel that a large part of my mum is in this book, and it will always remain special to me.

 

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , this week the book being featured is ‘Hampstead Fever’ by Carol Cooper and she’s kindly taken the time out to join me for a quick author feature too.


Book Feature:

Published: 30 June 2016

Description:

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In a London heatwave, emotions reach boiling point…

Ex-con Dan has it all. The perfect job and a new baby with his dream woman. So why is he still an outsider?

Laure had baby Jack late in life. It’s only natural she’s a little over-protective. Motherhood is terrifying.

After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?

Karen’s love life is reduced to casual sex with the football coach. As a divorcee with four kids, romance is on her to-do list, just below the laundry.

Doctor Geoff’s relationship with actress Daisy is bound to be a bit dramatic. But why all the mystery?

A slice of contemporary multi-cultural London life to make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

‘Hampstead Fever’ is the first book by Carol Cooper that I have read, it’s actually the sequel to ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ but I managed to read it fine without having read the previous novel.  There are mentions to events from ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ which might be less confusing for readers if they have read the books in order but it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of reading.

The reader meets a varied cast of characters as they struggle their way through a heatwave in London, I won’t go into the who’s who of the book as it’s already clear from the book description who the major players are and what their issue is.  Through these characters the reader is faced with many themes including adultery, life changing illness and it’s aftermath, breakdown of relationships and motherhood.  I should mention there is also a fair bit of sex in this, and a little raunchy at times, so perhaps not the book to buy grandma for her 80th birthday.

The author’s medical background shines through in her writing, which I found interesting and felt it added an ethos of compassion and understanding.  The dark humour that is woven throughout the writing is superb and really appealed to me.

A quick and enjoyable read that was a lovely change of pace to my usual crime and psychological thrillers, and makes a good summer read!

You can buy a copy of “Hampstead Fever” via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:Carol Cooper

 

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. She has a string of non-fiction books to her name, all traditionally published, on topics such as child health, twins, and general practice. In 2013, she made her fiction debut with One Night at the Jacaranda, which she self-published under her imprint Hardwick Press. This year, Carol’s latest self-published novel Hampstead Fever was picked for a prestigious promotion in WH Smith travel bookshops around the UK. More fiction is in the pipeline.

 

What is your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, the best thing is that writing is completely portable. An author can write almost anywhere in the world. There aren’t many occupations you can say that about. I might be in my apartment in Hampstead, North London, or by the river in Cambridge, which is my second home. All I need is a head full of ideas. In fact the plot for my first novel, One Night at the Jacaranda, came to me while I was on a plane heading for my father’ funeral.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Self-promotion! It would be great if all you needed for success to come knocking at the door was to write a good book and wait for people to discover it, but that just isn’t so. These days all authors need to promote themselves and their work, whether they’re self-published or with one of the Big Five. The snag is that it can feel a bit icky to shout about yourself. It’s not terribly British, is it?

If you could have written any book, what would it be and why?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. This delightful novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story. It brilliantly evokes growing up in the 1970s. Reading it, I could feel all the confusion of childhood, plus the blistering heat of the summer of 1976. Cannon’s prose is so fresh that, no matter how mundane a situation is, it never feels hackneyed. That’s the mark of great writing, and it’s the reason I love the book.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

There’s rarely an idle moment. I write on health for The Sun newspaper, teach medical students at Imperial College, and still see the occasional patient. I’m also involved with several charities which are close to my heart, like the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, and Action on Pre-Eclampsia. When I get some down time, I like to garden, by which I mean pottering around my tiny patio, and of course I love reading novels.

Do you have a set routine for writing, or any rituals you have to observe?

I’m not sure you’d call it a routine, but I always produce my first efforts with pencil and paper. I find the ideas flow more easily that way. Transferring the scribbles onto computer is how a very rough draft gets turned into something marginally more coherent. The pencil must be super sharp, so I have a battery-operated sharpener. I used to write to music, especially anything by The Beatles, but these days I prefer silence. I get distracted more easily than I used to, so sometimes I get up early to finish a piece of writing. But, on the whole, I write whenever there’s time.

 

A huge thank you to Carol for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Carol and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter @DrCarolCooper
Blog Pills & Pillow-Talk
Website DrCarolCooper.com

 

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I am so incredibly excited to be part of the cover reveal for Robert Bryndza’s latest thriller “Cold Blood”.  This is the fifth book in the Detective Erika Foster series and I’m sure fans of this series will be delighted to hear that their favourite detective is back with a case that’s utterly heart-stopping!

 

Cover Reveal

Just look at that cover, and if that’s not enough to grab your attention….here’s the blurb too!

COLD BLOOD by ROBERT BRYNDZA 

(Detective Erika Foster Book 5)

Available from 20th September

 

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

 

You can preorder via Amazon in the UK and the US

 

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Matt Hilton’s “Marked For Death”, I am delighted to be able to share a guest post with you written by Matt about where the inspiration came for his fantastic character Joe Hunter.

 

Description:

Marked for Death by Matt Hilton

Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date.

It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.

But things go wrong.

Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…

Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.

From the bars of Miami Beach to car chases and superyacht grenade battles, bestseller Matt Hilton dials up the intensity in this rip-roaring, set-piece filled thriller perfect for fans of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Stephen Leather.

You can buy a copy via Amazon


Guest Post: Copping Out

When readers learn I was a police constable before turning my hand full-time to writing crime fiction, they often make the assumption that I must write police procedurals. It’s a fair mistake. I’d spent eighteen years in the private security industry, and then four as a constable in Cumbria in northern England. They say you should write what you know, after all, so I was well placed to write about police officers, but I chose to take a different direction altogether. In fact I chose to throw convention to the wind and write about Joe Hunter, an anti-hero of sorts, an uncompromising vigilante, and not only that but throw him out of the UK and land him in heaps of trouble across the pond in the USA. Also, rather than give Hunter a police background, I decided early on to make him an ex-soldier, one who’d spent his adult life taking on terrorists and organised crime syndicates. It wasn’t (and isn’t) that I have anything against the British crime fiction convention of having Detective Inspector Whatchamacallit as the protagonist, only that I felt that the market was very full of similar characters at the time, and not only that but written by authors that were doing a far better job than I could have. It wasn’t that I was copping out – if you’ll pardon the awful pun – just that I had different stories to tell.

I wish I could say that sending Hunter off to the USA was a clever marketing strategy on my behalf, where I would also snag a US publisher, as well as one based in the UK. The truth is, I hadn’t given that a thought – albeit that was what happened. My reasons for sending Hunter across the Atlantic was because I was an avid reader of American-style thrillers, and they were the type of books I liked to read most (write what you know). Other advice often given to aspiring authors is to write the book you want to read, and that was what I did. My first Hunter book – Dead Men’s Dust – was written without me having ever set foot on US soil. Everything I poured into the book was based on what I’d read in books, or seen on TV or in Hollywood movies. I guess that to me America was still a kind of fantasy or mythological land where I could imagine Hunter’s intense adventures taking place. It is a vast continent, with diverse cultures and settings, a frozen north, a semi-tropical south and everything in between, all different kinds of arenas in which I could place Hunter as he conducted his personal mission to take on the world’s bad guys.

Writing Dead Men’s Dust for me was somewhat cathartic. After spending a long shift, sometimes being spat on and verbally abused, the last thing I wanted to write was about my day job. I wanted to escape reality and did so by making Hunter slightly larger than life and throwing him into situations where he wasn’t constrained by rules and regulations. I’ve been asked if when I was a constable there were times when I’d have liked to have taken off the gloves: the short answer is yes. But to do so would have been career suicide. So instead I allowed Hunter to work off my frustration for me. I let him off his leash and took some pleasure from his actions by proxy. That isn’t to say Hunter is a brute or thug. Quite the opposite. He’s a good man doing bad things to terrible people. He stands up for the innocent and downtrodden, and metes out the only kind of justice brutal thugs understand. I don’t advocate violence, or vigilantism, but, well, y’know…sometimes you have to make a stand.

I’d say that the Hunter books are best defined as action thrillers, or crime thrillers if you prefer. Crime plays a central role in Hunter’s adventures, but not so much as a “who done it?”, as “how are we going to survive this?”. I was heavily influenced as a youth by the so-called men’s action books of the 1970’s. I have tried to update the action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled nature of those books in a modern setting. If you’re looking for a cerebral, thoughtful read, then Hunter won’t be for you, but if all you want is to kick back and enjoy a fun, wild ride, then he probably will. Often my books are compared to those of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series – sometimes good, sometimes bad – and though I think Hunter bears little resemblance to Reacher, they do inhabit a similar world, and genre. Through eleven books and a bunch of short stories in the series, with the twelfth – MARKED FOR DEATH published on 17th July 2017 – Hunter has worked for his friend Rink’s PI agency, but rarely as an investigator per se. He has been a protector and avenger. For me, Marked For Death is possibly his most explosive outing to date, where having interjected in what appears to be a domestic dispute Hunter stumbles into something far more sinister and life threatening. Although it is the twelfth book in the series, it is largely standalone, a great place for new readers to meet Hunter for the first time. I hope they enjoy making his acquaintance, and that my regular readers are happy to be in his company once more.

 

www.matthiltonbooks.com website

https://twitter.com/MHiltonauthor  @MHiltonauthor Twitter

www.facebook.com/MattHiltonAuthor Facebook

www.facebook.com/MattHiltonBooks official author page at Facebook

 

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Marked for Death Blog Tour Final (1)

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Hello and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Malcolm Hollingdrake’s latest crime thriller featuring DCI Bennett!  It’s a huge honour to take part in this tour and I am delighted to be able to share a fantastic guest post written by Malcolm.

Description:

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Following his recovery from a personal and professional trauma, Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett has been declared medically fit to resume his police duties. He returns to discover a complex case involving the art world.

Soon Bennett unearths a dark side of the industry where greed, ambition and dubious practices thrive and, where there is money to be made, violence and murder are never far away.

Working their way through a maze of galleries, museums and the internet, Bennett’s team struggles to make sense of the evidence.

Can Bennett tell the difference between what is real and what is fake?

 

You can buy a copy of Dying Art via:

Amazon

About the Author:

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.
Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.

 


Guest Post:

Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett stared at the strange face that gurned back from the misted bathroom mirror; it was far from the face he knew. He deliberately closed his eyes but only one obeyed his order, the right eye continued to study the reflected disfigurement. It had to be said that the toothpaste liberally spread round his lop-sided lips and the fact that it continued its path to drip from stubble on his chin, didn’t enhance his appearance. Three days ago he had been fine. It had been a long day, yes, nothing abnormal in that, followed by a few relaxing drinks in the Black Swan and one or two night-caps once home and this was what he had awoken to.

“Bloody Bell’s pissing, poxy palsy,” he groaned in a strong, Yorkshire accent. “Great!”

 

It seems but a moment ago that I set the ball rolling with this opening paragraph of ‘Only the Dead’ the first in the DCI Cyril Bennett Crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, but on reflection it has been quite a trek!

For one thing it was titled, ‘Keen as Mustard’, and it was self-published on Amazon. I had sent the manuscript to a number of agents and publishers but received the usual, ‘Thanks but no thanks’, response. Not one to give up too soon I wrote the next Bennett book, again self-published and titled, ‘Just above Hades’. I designed both covers. Again I eagerly sent book two out, like Noah sending the dove from the ark. Nothing!

The third book in the series had a working title of, ‘Inked’ and this too was optimistically sent out to a number of publishers but alas nothing. I probably should have given up, thrown in the towel at this stage but I enjoyed the process of writing, creating a parallel fictitious world that was mine. It sounds selfish and personal but the characters I had created had become part of the fabric of my life; I just couldn’t let them go. It was then that serendipity played its hand.  A number of things happened that I’ve detailed before in other posts and as if by magic I had a contact…Bloodhound Books to whom I sent manuscript three.

It’s funny that throughout history there are people who see what others miss and this can certainly be said of Betsy Reavley and Fred Freeman. Somehow they saw something in my writing that was worthy of a more in-depth look, what their expert eyes saw, I know not, but they believed the story to be worthy of a commitment and so it was that they offered me a contract for that book, book three which became, ‘Flesh Evidence’. They then realised that I had self-published books one and two and accepted those plus one other; I suddenly had a four book deal; I had the makings of a series.

From being totally dejected to being ecstatically excited took but a matter of days. It’s funny what effect those few words, We’d like to offer you a contract, can have on an individual. So what happened? Well, the first three books did really very well and book four ended series one. Now you have the beginning of the second DCI Cyril Bennett Crime series set in the beautiful surroundings of Harrogate. ‘Dying Art’ brings together two of my passions, my writing and my love of Northern art. To think that this has happened only since August, 2016. I feel proud to have five books published.

To get this far I have had a great deal of support. My wife, Debbie, never lost faith in my ability to tell a story, friends who have committed time, the bloggers, without whom I’d be nothing and the enthusiasm of the readers. Their support of the Bennett series has been both amazing and humbling. Their positive comments and reviews have generated an even keener appetite to create more of these books. I thank you! My sincere thanks, as always, to Bloodhound Books for their belief in me when nobody else did. There are two other people I must name and thank, Helen Claire who saw something in my work at the same time as Bloodhound. I hope you like your character in the book, Helen, and Caroline Vincent who has been a guiding light and true inspiration.

I would like to leave you with book five, ‘Dying Art’ and hope that you enjoy this latest DCI Bennett case whilst I continue writing book six.


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BLOG TOUR (5)

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Happy Friday, and for those lucky people heading to Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, I hope it’s a fantastic Friday (I’m only slightly jealous….)!

There’s no Celebrating Indie Publishing today as I’m having a day or two off.  There are some scheduled posts coming up over the next few days & I’ll be dotting about on social media.

See you all in a few days 🙂

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Published: 7 July 2017

 

Description:

With high tide comes murder…

When her beloved London theatre closes for renovations, costume maker Guinevere is excited to start a job at Cornisea castle, a centuries-old keep on a small tidal island off the coast of Cornwall. Imagine a whole summer full of stories of hidden treasures, fab food and long walks with her perky dachshund Dolly.

But when a re-enactment of a medieval trial in the castle dungeons ends in real-life murder, and accusations threaten the castle’s future, Guinevere and Dolly dig deep into the island community’s best-kept secrets to unmask the killer and save their Cornish summer.

The first book in the Cornish Castle Mystery series with the second instalment RUBIES IN THE ROSES coming August 2017!

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard someone mention that “cosy crime” would be a big hit this year I wondered what new detectives we would meet and whether they would be a patch on the investigators of yesteryear when it came to detecting crime.  Here Vivian Conroy excels, and presents readers with a well written crime story that encapsulates the essence of cosy crime.

Guinevere and her delightful Dachshund Dolly are marvellous characters, Guinevere is a very likeable character that readers will take an instant liking towards.  The plot is interesting and well thought out, with plenty to keep the reader guessing as they try to piece together all the clues to solve the mystery.
Superb descriptions of the setting of Cornisea really make the place come alive from the pages, I felt like I was there and able to see the sights.  Likewise, the characters really come to life through the skilled writing making this a delightful and enticing read.

I’m trying desperately not to say too much about the plot, I think this is the sort of book that hints would give away too much and spoil it for others, but it’s well written and paced just right for an enjoyable and exciting read.
Fans of Conroy’s previous books which feature Lady Alkmene Callender should hopefully enjoy this book, and I would say that fans of cosy crime in general would enjoy this one!

Now to wait patiently to read Rubies in the Roses ……

You can buy a copy of Death Plays a Part via Amazon

 

My thanks to Vivian Conroy and HQ Digital for the opportunity to read this book and take part in the blog tour.

Death Plays a Part - Banner

 

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cover

Published 13 July 2017

 

Description:

The magical new summer novel by the author of Little Flower Shop by the Sea

One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.

But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious ‘Welcome House’? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?

My Thoughts & Review:

I must confess that this is the first book written by Ali McNamara that I’ve read, I do own a couple but they never seem to make it up to the top of the reading pile sadly.  But after reading “The Summer of Serendipity” I’ve rescued the other books, bought a few more and will be slowly losing myself in the wonderful world that McNamara creates for her readers.

The plot is full of mystery and intrigue, our leading lady Serendipity (Ren) is on a mission in Ballykiltara to find the perfect retirement home for a client with her assistant Kiki.  The dynamic duo eventually find the perfect house but cannot find out who owns the property to make an offer to purchase it.  The more they ask locals about The Welcome House, the more complex the mystery becomes.  No one knows for sure who owns the house, some saying that the house has always been there since the time of the monks and Viking invaders, some saying it’s a place of sanctuary for travellers, a shelter with food that asks nothing more of people to replace what they have used (if they can).  With so much folklore surrounding The Welcome House Ren and Kiki look to the local priest for help, but instead of shining light on their mystery, Father Duffy imparts wisdom onto Ren that makes things more complicated.  And if that wasn’t enough for Ren to struggle to get her head round, there’s also a wee romantic interest for her in the shape of the brooding and handsome hotel manager,  Finn.

The setting of Ballykiltara is so exquisitely described that you cannot help but imagine the hotel, the wonderful woodland walks, The Welcome House or even just the general tranquillity of it all.  Ali McNamara’s writing transports her readers to the settings she writes about, and has them invested in the characters being written about.  The way that relationships develop through the book is interesting, seeing the ups and downs of friendships makes this feel realistic as well as makes the characters stand out.  The way that they come to life from the pages is another reason to love this book, Kiki is a fantastic character, so lovely and endearing.  Her muddling of words just makes her even more appealing and she works well as a contrast to Ren.  Ren, whilst a friendly and cheery person has secrets she keeps locked away and sometimes forgets to take her business hat off.  Finn, well what can I say about the dishy hotel manager?  His charm and impish ways are so well written that I could almost see him as I read (swoon!).

This book has almost everything you need for a holiday read (whether it’s a staycation or far flung destination), it’s humorous, it’s magical and it’s so full of delightful charm that you can’t help but enjoy it!

You can buy a copy of The Summer of Serendipity via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown Book Group for the opportunity to read this book and to take part in the blog tour.

 

Follow the blog tour:

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is “Seeking Eden” by Beverly Harvey and I’m shining a light on Sophie Jonas-Hill as she takes part in my author feature….I say light, it’s more like a wee torch, but it’s the thought that counts eh?!


Book Feature:

Published: 6 July 2017

Description:

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’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’
Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man. But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press. But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first read the description of this book I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, it sounds like women’s fiction but with an added edge.  The plot begins with a break in at the home of the central character Kate, which is the catalyst for her and her husband Neil, moving to the idyllic newly built estate outside London in Eden Hill.

The move to the their new home means that Neil finds the lengthy commute to London tiresome and soon takes up the offer of a sofa to sleep on from a friend in London, leaving Kate to her own devices in a strange new location.  Initially withdrawn, Kate is lonely and misses the hubub of City life, misses her friends but soon joins the local gym and takes on a dog for company.

The reader is then introduced to a varied cast of characters, Lisa who was once married to a football star, Ben an ageing pop star who happens to be Kate’s ex boyfriend, and Martin and Jan Bevan who own the local carpet shop.  Each of these characters has their own intricately woven tale that culminates in a plot rich with detail and the theme of people taking stock of life once they near 50.  The plot is intriguing, I found I was keen to read on to find out what was going to happen next with Kate, and strangely, I felt at times I was more interested in the parallel storyline of Martin and Jan.  Seeing how Martin struggled with what appeared to be a midlife crisis whilst supporting his wife who was suffering from crippling depression made for interesting and enlightening reading.

There were times that that this book read like a synopsis of the latest episode of a soap opera, this character gossiping about that one, who was doing what with whom, and so on, but on the whole the writing is good and the story flows well.
Whilst there are some serious issues written into the plot, there are also ample light hearted moments to offset this, making it quite a well rounded read and quite a good book for packing in your suitcase for your summer holidays!

 

You can buy a copy of “Seeking Eden” directly from directly from Urbane Publications here, or alternatively via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:

sophie-jonas-hillbw-200x300

I’ve always written and told stories, for as long as I can remember. My first self published work at the age of seven, fully illustrated in felt pen and crayon. I continued with a series of insightful ‘When I grow up I want to be an author’, essays, and an attempt at a ‘Bonk-buster’ series of supernatural thrillers written from a position of utter ignorance on all topics, until I was distracted by Art college. A never ending, or never finished, fantasy epic kept me going through my twenties, but it was motherhood in my thirties which concentrated my mind enough to actually finish a novel. It’s amazing what a bit of life experience and the sudden curtailing of your free time can do to concentrate the mind.

After that I began giving myself permission to take my writing seriously enough to spend time on it and actually listen to critiques. The writing festival in York proved invaluable, and time and disappointment got me to the point of producing something readable, which I was lucky enough to have read by Urbane publications.

If you make or write anything, the number one question you get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ In answer to that question, it’s an easy process which combines working on your craft every hour you can for as long as possible – hard graft – reading as much as you can of everyone else’s work – stealing – and inspiration, which is just one of those things that just happens. The inspiration for ‘Nemesister’ comes from a dark episode of family history, and a moment from a dream; an image of a man standing in the doorway of what I knew was an abandoned shack, which was gone as soon as it came and yet lingered, the way some dreams do.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Writing. I know that sounds a bit simplistic, but writing, the act of it, chance to have these words and people and ideas come tumbling out onto the page is one of the best feelings ever. I have always written, from when I can remember being able to write, though as I’m dyslexic and old enough to come from a time when that was just labeled as stupid, my early writing was quixotic to say the least. But that didn’t matter, I have always told stories inside my head and on paper, then on an old sticky typewriter and finally a lap top, and the chance to have other people read them is just amazing.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Right now it would have probably been ‘The Power’ by Namoi Alderman, simply because it is such an audacious idea, and because it’s so simple and yet so thoroughly realised. It say so much about where we are now, like all good Sci-fi, and yet is a really good read too, never letting its central ideas become polemic.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Well, apart from being a mum to two kids, one still a baby, I am a tutor for Kent Adult Education, where I devise and run a huge range of arts based workshops. This means that when I’m not teaching them, I’m building up pintrest boards and creating samples work out new ideas. So yes, while I’m working out the twisted excesses of the human psyche, I’m also making pom-pom chandeliers, needle felt animals and steam-punk dolls’ houses.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I wish I did! I have to snatch time to write at the moment, as my son is only one year old, so I tend to write when I can and where I can. I try and make myself write at least 500 words a day no matter what, and I have a rule of never reading anything I’ve written until I’ve done a first draft. Write, don’t think is my maxim – thinking is for tomorrow.

 

A huge thank you to Sophie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, and I have to say I love the idea of making needle felt animals whilst your mind is on considerably less innocent things.  I’ll definitely be sure to head over to Pinterest later for ideas of fun things to create with my mini monster.
If you would like to know more about Sophie and her book check out her website .

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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The Other Twin cover

Published 1st August 2017

Description:

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved?

And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?
Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?

Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as the truth…

You can buy your copy of The Other Twin via:

Amazon

Wordery

The Book Depository


Praise for The Other Twin

‘If your sister died under suspicious circumstances, how far would you go to uncover the truth? The Other Twin crackles with tension as Poppy’s search for answers leads only to more questions, her grief palpable and real as she learns her sister India’s deepest secrets. Hays’ impressive debut is a complex, twisty, disorienting tale that truly keeps readers guessing until the very end’
Karen Dionne

‘A cracker of a debut! I couldn’t put it down’
Paula Daly

‘The writing shines from every page of this twisted tale … debuts don’t come sharper than this’
Ruth Dugdall

‘This chilling claustrophobic tale set in Brighton introduces an original, fresh new voice in crime fiction’
Cal Moriarty

‘Wonderfully layered and gripping, I had to take breaks just to catch my breath’
Jendella Benson

“A fresh and raw thrill-ride through Brighton’s underbelly. What an enjoyable read!”
Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Slick and compulsive’
Random Things through My Letterbox

‘A propulsive, inventive and purely addictive psychological thriller for the social media age’
Crime by the Book

‘Delightfully disorientating’
Chapter in My Life

‘This will stay with me forever’
Emma the Little Bookworm

‘A whirlwind of secrets and emotional turmoil’
Cheryl M-M

‘Rolls along at a heart-pounding pace!’
Ronnie Turner

‘A contemporary thriller with a heart of darkness … terrific’
Live & Deadly

‘Blinding, surprising and simply magnificent’
Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles

 

About the Author:

Lucy Hay author photo

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

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