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Archive for June, 2018

I do love Fridays, especially when there’s the promise of good books and sunshine…well up here with the way the weather goes, it may be summer but the sun sometimes forgets to make an appearance!  Today I am delighted to share a review of a book that is part of a superb series, the “Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty” series set in Canada.  The Language of Secrets is written by Ausma Zehanat Khan and has the sort of writing that will move a reader, haunt them and undoubtedly keep them hooked until the very final word!

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** My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

AN UNDERCOVER INFORMANT HAS BEEN MURDERED… BUT WHOSE SIDE WAS HE ON?

TORONTO: A local terrorist cell is planning an attack on New Year’s Day. For months, Mohsin Dar has been undercover, feeding information back to Canada’s national security team. Now he’s dead.

Detective Esa Khattak, compromised by his friendship with the murdered agent, sends his partner Rachel Getty into the unsuspecting cell. As Rachel delves deeper into the unfamiliar world of Islam and the group’s circle of trust, she discovers Mohsin’s murder may not be politically motivated after all. Now she’s the only one who can stop the most devastating attack the country has ever faced.

The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.

My Thoughts & Review:

The Language of Secrets is the second book in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series, a series that I discovered last year and was immediately beguiled by it.  This series is one that challenges the reader’s perceptions and provides superbly intelligent writing that gives pause for thought.

For those new to this series, I would recommend picking up a copy of The Unquiet Dead, the back story of Khattak and Getty makes much more sense once you’ve read the first book and of course, when writing is as good as this then why deprive yourself?
There’s a wonderful connection between these two characters, and having watched it develop and grow since the first book in the series, it was fantastic to see how it evolved and how their working relationship grew.  The details of Getty’s personal life add another layer to her character and I really found it enjoyable to spend more time getting to know more about her after the events of the previous book.
Each of the characters in this book brings their own baggage to the plot which makes for a book that comes alive in your hands and reads like a film reel running through your head.

Khan has a genuine talent when writing topics that require sensitivity, her confidence never seems to waver when dealing with topics that others may shy away from.  She neither sensationalises or belittles the themes woven into her books and for this I am very grateful.  There were some aspects of the plot that I found so genuinely interesting and fascinating that I went to find out more when I finished reading, and once again I found the cultural details in the narrative really interesting and felt they added an authenticity to the book.
The tension woven throughout is absolutely perfect, it slowly creeps up on the reader, building steadily to the point that it will be almost impossible to put the book down.

An astounding addition to the Khattak and Getty series and one I would heartily recommend!

You can buy a copy of The Language of Secrets via:

Amazon UK
No Exit Press (The Publisher)

 

 

 

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Today I am excited to bring you a fab book that has been loved in this house by more than just me, Percy the Pigeon has fast become a favourite bedtime story in this house.  Percy the Pigeon was published by Britain’s Next Bestseller on 19th May 2017 and is available to buy from Amazon now!

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** Thanks to David at Britain’s Next Bestseller for our copy of this book **

Description:

‘Percy the Pigeon was greedy, he loved to eat and eat. His whole body was round and chubby, from his head right down to his feet.’

Percy the Pigeon is a charming book, suitable for all age ranges and anyone who loves stories with a moral. The younger children and toddlers will enjoy the bright colouring of the pictures and the simple flow of the rhyming pattern. The older children who understand the value of friendship and the importance of sharing will appreciate the classic ideas and traditional storytelling.

For lovers of Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Superworm’ and Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, Katie Budge’s debut book will make every bed time a perfect goodnight.

Our Thoughts & Review:

Percy the Pigeon isn’t the nicest of pigeons and as my small bookworm has decided, he’s “mean and naughty”.  He’s a very hungry pigeon that eats anything in sight and doesn’t care what his friends think, he just wants to eat ALL THE FOOD!  But upon realising the error of his ways, he sets out to win back his friends and build bridges.

In a charming tale, young and old readers are equally delighted by the tale that reminds them of the importance of friendship and sharing.  The language used is understandable for young readers, and they can follow the story easily.  Delightful illustrations compliment the rhyming tale perfectly and make this a very enjoyable read.  It’s also a great way to talk about the idea of sharing with smaller children, the notion that Percy and his friends fall out because he doesn’t share is a good conversation starter with youngsters.

This has fast become a much loved book at bedtime, regularly there is a request for Percy’s story and when we see a plump pigeon when we’re out and about my wee one often asks if it might be Percy.

Very highly recommended by me and my small bookworm!

You can buy a copy of Percy the Pigeon via:

Amazon UK

 

 

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Today I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Jackie Baldwin’s latest novel, Perfect Dead.  It’s an honour to be part of the buzz around publication and even more of an honour to share an extract with you from the book.  Before you get the chance to have a sneaky look at chapter one, lets find out a little more about the book.

 

Description:

Perfect Dead - high-res - Copy (1)

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest, DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective,’ a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

 

Extract – from chapter one:

 

7th January 2013

DI Frank Farrell glanced across at Mhairi as the police car slid and bumped its way along an icy farm track towards a small stonewashed cottage. It was 10.10 a.m. and the sky was bright with a pale wintery sun. A young police officer who worked out of Kirkcudbright stood in front of the blue and white tape and walked towards them as they parked alongside the SOCO van.

Farrell exited the car with a feeling of dread in his stomach. In his time as a practising Catholic priest, suicides, in particular, always had a profound effect on him. The thought that someone might be driven to die at their own hand was unfathomable.

‘SOCO nearly done in there, PC McGhie?’

‘Yes, sir, they reckon it’s fairly cut and dried. The police surgeon is in there too. Didn’t exactly have to look for a pulse. Blood and brains everywhere.’

Farrell quelled him with a look.

‘Do we know the name of the deceased yet?’

‘Monro Stevenson, according to the opened mail, sir.’

Silently, Mhairi and Farrell suited up in their protective plastic coveralls and overshoes. Even if it was suicide, care had to be taken not to contaminate the scene, just in case.

‘Right, let’s get this over with,’ said Farrell.

He opened the door and entered with Mhairi.

A middle-aged man in a tweed jacket and cords was packing away his stethoscope in a brown leather satchel in the hall. He straightened up as they approached. Farrell noticed that he had an unhealthy greyish tinge to his face and that his hands were shaking.

‘Morning, Doctor. DI Farrell and DC McLeod.’

‘Dr Allison. Cause appears to be suicide. A terrible business,’ he said. ‘A patient of mine, as it turns out. He was only twenty-seven.’

‘It must be difficult when you know the deceased,’ said Mhairi.

‘Yes, if only he had come to me. I could have got him some help. Anything to avoid this,’ he said, gesturing towards the other room.

‘Any chance you can give us an indication of the time of death?’ asked Farrell.

‘Well, as you know, my role here is restricted to pronouncing life extinct. However, given that rigor is at its peak, I would hazard a guess, strictly off the record, that he died somewhere around fifteen hours ago. However, you’ll need to wait for the preliminary findings from the pathologist for any degree of certainty.’

‘Thanks, Doctor,’ said Farrell. ‘I appreciate the heads-up.’

The doctor turned to leave. Farrell approached the two experienced Scene of Crime officers, Janet White and Phil Tait, who were gathering their stuff together at the rear of the hall.

‘Janet, what have you got for us?’

‘It looks like a suicide,’ she said. ‘Gun placed in the mouth and trigger pulled. We lifted prints from the gun. Gunshot residue on the right hand of the deceased matches that scenario.’

‘There’s a note,’ Phil said. ‘It’s in a sealed envelope. We’ll get you a copy once we’ve done the necessary checks back at the station. We’ve also removed the gun for ballistics analysis.’

‘What was it?’

‘A PPK 380 mm. We recovered the bullet from the wall behind the chair.’

‘How on earth did he get hold of one of those in this neck of the woods?’

‘Your guess is as good as mine,’ shrugged Phil.

‘A suicide note,’ said Mhairi. ‘That means it’s unlikely to be a murder?’

‘Unless he was coerced, or it was staged,’ said Farrell.

I don’t know about you, but that has me really keen to read more!

 

 

About the Author:

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, she now practices in Dumfries as a hypnotherapist which is where her novels are set. Married, with two grown up children, she has filled her empty nest with Golden Retrievers. She can often be found in a forest walking the dogs, covered in mud and with twigs in her hair.

Perfect Dead Blog Tour graphic final

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As we’re almost half way through the year I figured that it might be a good time to round up some of the great indie books that I’ve featured so far, and some of the great authors who have given their time to take part in the author interviews.

Links to each of the book features and author features are below, alternatively if you want to use the search function at the top of the page just type in the name of the book or author to bring up the relevant page.

The books that have featured:

Book Feature Links:

Goblin – Ever Dundas
The Wreck of The Argyll – John K. Fulton
Blue Night – Simone Buchholz
The Trouble Boys – E.R. Fallon
Last Orders – Caimh McDonnell
Never Rest – Jon Richter
Spanish Crossings – John Simmons
Rose Gold – David Barker
Bermuda – Robert Enright
The Story Collector – Evie Gaughan
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – Cherry Radford
Rebellious Spirits – Ruth Ball
Ten Year Stretch – Various
The Soldier’s Home – George Costigan
Burnout – Claire MacLeary

 

The authors who have taken part in author features, either alongside a book feature or alone:

 

Author Feature Links:

E.R. Fallon
Derek Farrell
Heather Osborne
Jon Richter
Steve Catto
Mark Tilbury
David Barker
Evie Gaughan
Cherry Radford
Anne Stormont
George Costigan

As always, I am forever grateful to the authors, publishers, and publicists for taking part in my Celebrating Indie Publishing feature.  I’m also deeply grateful to you, the reader for joining me each Friday and sharing my love of indie publishing, joining in, commenting, sharing posts and buying some of these wonderful books.

Without each of the fantastic people mentioned above, none of this would be possible!

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Gunnar Staalesen’s Big Sister today, and so excited that I can share a really great post with you written by the author, which I have to admit has my stomach rumbling!

But before the guest post, lets look at what Big Sister is about and where you can get a copy.

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Description:

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

You can buy a copy of Big Sister via:

Amazon UK
Kobo
Waterstones

 

Are you hungry?

What does a private detective eat?

One of my Norwegian crime-writer colleagues, Jon Michelet (The Frozen Woman), who died this year, told me an anecdote once. One of his books was translated into Spanish, and when he was looking through it, he found that one of the chapters was much longer than it had been in the original version. He asked the translator why, and the translator replied: ‘I thought there was too little eating in this book, so I put in a good meal for your detective.’

This gave me some food for thought (excuse the pun). There are a lot of things private detectives never or very seldom do in books. They seldom go to the toilet. Do they brush their teeth sometimes? When do have they time to do the dishes? And before they do – when or what do they eat?

Of all of these activities, I think eating is the most interesting. Does my hero, Varg Veum, ever eat?

Yes, he does, from time to time – but not in every book, I am afraid. As he lives alone throughout the whole series, he has to fix his dinner himself. I know that he follows in the footsteps of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in this regard (as well as many others), so scrambled eggs are always a good solution. As a Norwegian he will always have some smoked or dried meat in his fridge that he can add to the eggs. In my newest book he serves himself some smoked herring with potatoes, sour cream, beetroots and spring onions, which is a dish the writer also enjoys. As with ale and aquavit, the writer and his hero share similar tastes.

A real private detective should, of course, prefer a bloody beef steak with a lot of fried onions and mashed potatoes. Varg Veum would not say no to such a meal, but when I ask him what his preferred dish is, it happens to be the same as my own: bacalao. Bacalao is in fact a Spanish and / or Portuguese word that means cod. Fresh cod is delicious when you get it directly from the Artic Sea in January or February, but when Norwegians speak about bacalao, they are talking about a very special form of cod: in Norwegian klippfisk, originally fish dried on the cliffs and sprinkled with salt. When you buy it from the fishmonger’s, you have to put it in water for at least twenty-four hours before you can prepare the meal. Then you chop it up and cook it with onions, potatoes, olive oil, tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, olives, perhaps some red pepper, perhaps garlic, and other flavourings of your choice – I myself like to add at least oregano. I have a recipe that I call ‘Varg Veum’s bacalao’, which is very popular among my friends and family. In one of the books Varg Veum goes to Ålesund, one of the important bacalao cities in Norway, on the west coast, north of Bergen. He is served bacalao at a local restaurant there, a meal he remembers as one of his best ever!

It is not a big mystery: a man has to eat to live. A private detective has to eat to solve mysteries. Bon appetite, Varg! I share my meal with you.

 

Gunnar Staalesen

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** My thanks to Lina at Black and White Publishing for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point. She’s unsure of her future, of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. Events are threatening to run out of control, and this new investigation will test her to the limit.

An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare.

As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking and abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At their head is Handyside, a brutal gangland boss who’s fought hard and dirty to control his territory. But there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on one another in a desperate race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.

Grace must pit her wits against Handyside, knowing he’ll stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. She knows, too, that one wrong move could end in tragedy.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the moment I finished reading Evidence of Death I was eagerly anticipating reading the next installment if the Detective Grace Macallan series, and Peter Ritchie didn’t disappoint!

When we last encountered Grace Macallan she had just survived a bomb blast that could have killed her and the baby she didn’t know she was carrying.
The aftermath of events of her last case left emotional and psychological scars, but the birth of her son has brought her a contentment that she never knew she wanted or needed.  Despite this, Grace feels a yearning for something more, and a phonecall with news of an undercover officer having gone missing and a young woman washing up barely alive in Berwickshire is all that it takes to pull her back in.
Determined to make a decision about her future once and for all, Grace agrees to take on this case, not realising just who she will be up against and just how dangerous it will be.

As with each of the books in this series, Ritchie takes his readers on a whirlwind journey into the dark underworld, and in this case the world of people trafficking, drugs and violence.
Cleverly, Ritchie has created a character that readers will connect with and take a liking to, and the more trouble that surrounds Macallan, the more exciting the book becomes.  The danger posed by the various groups in this book makes this such a tense read, and the way that it all ties together is clever.

The action in this book is fast paced and at times does make you squirm but it works well within the bounds of the plot.  Dialogue is realistic and the added touches of slang/dialect give a wonderful authenticity to the exchanges that take place.

Another brilliant book in the series and one I would highly recommend.

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** My thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this book **

 

Description:

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

My Thoughts & Review:

I have long been a fan of the Logan McRae series that Stuart MacBride writes and make no apology for my excitement when a new book is announced.  It’s was safe to assume that the moment I heard about The Blood Road I shouted to friends to share the excitement and preorder a copy before I’d seen the cover or read the blurb!

After the ending of In The Cold Dark Ground, readers were left on the edges of their seats in anticipation of what would happen next with the much loved police officer, wondering whether he would cross to the dark side and join “the rubber heelers”aka Professional Standards.
Despite his move to a new department, McRae is still his usual inquisitive self and is soon questioning why he is present at a road accident until the identity of the deceased is revealed as DI “Ding Dong” Bell, who died two years ago.  The investigation into Bell’s apparent suicide and the events afterwards leads Police Scotland on a journey into darkness that will forever change the lives of those involved.

MacBride has the ability to take readers to the edge of their comfort zones with darkness whilst peppering his writing with humour and and dialogue that delights readers, his characters are superbly three dimensional, in some cases relatable, but nothing, and I mean nothing can take the excitement away when you discover one of your favourite characters makes a return in one of MacBride’s novels – Tufty!
The subject matter of this latest offering is dark, and at times unsettling but MacBride uses suggestion to create an air of menace and sinister chill that will leech from the pages and leave readers reeling.

As always, these books can be read without having read the series, there is ample detail to give a grounding of the backstories of the characters and their connections but I would recommend reading the series.  The books have continued to get better and better since Cold Granite in 2005 and I cannot wait to see what MacBride has lined up next!

You can buy a copy of The Blood Road via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

 

About the Author:

SM

Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton, near Glasgow and moved to Aberdeen at the age of two. After dropping out of university to work offshore he went to work for himself as a graphic designer, eventually becoming studio manager for a nationwide marketing company. He gave it all up to have a go at becoming an actor, until it became clear to him that he was never going to be good enough to make a decent living out of it.

Whilst progressing through a whole new career in the IT sector, ending up as project manager for a global IT company, Stuart also wrote in his spare time. He is now the No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series and the Ash Henderson series.

His novels have won him the CWA Dagger in the Library, the Barry Award for Best Debut Novel, and Best Breakthrough Author at the ITV3 Crime Thriller awards. In 2012 Stuart was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Hall of Fame.

Stuart’s other works include Halfhead, a near-future thriller, Sawbones, a novella aimed at adult emergent readers, and several short stories.

He lives in the north-east of Scotland with his wife, Fiona and cats Grendel, Gherkin, Onion, and Beetroot, some hens, horses, and a vast collection of assorted weeds..

Social Media links:
Twitter
Facebook
Website

 

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Welcome to another Friday, and a post to celebrate another great book from a brilliant indie publisher.  Today’s book is the magnificent The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan which was published Urbane Publications on 14th June 2018.


Book Feature:

thestorycollector-667x1024Description:

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Every now and again a book comes along that utterly captures your attention, takes your breath away and roots itself deeply in your heart….
I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered a rare handful of these books, Rose McGinty’s Electric Souk, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, and William Ryan’s The Constant Soldier instantly spring to mind, but it’s fair to say that Evie Gaughan’s The Story Collector will be joining them.

This is a beautifully written tale that captures the heart and imagination of readers as it deftly weaves together two stories from different timelines that pull a range of emotion from the audience.  Readers first encounter a hint of mysticism, folklore and sadness from the opening pages, setting the tone perfectly for what lies ahead.

The two lead female characters in this book are not dissimilar in their struggles – both trying to find their place in the world and rebuilding after heartbreaking loss.  2010 sees the reader meet Sarah Harper, an American woman on a slow spiral of self destruction.  Life hasn’t worked out fairly for her, events have robber her of joy and happiness, her marriage has broken down and she seeks solace in alcohol.
Alcohol being the catalyst for a journey that takes her hundreds of miles from home, where she discovers a diary written by Anna, a young Irish woman in 1910.
Anna is an eighteen year old woman who lives in Thornwood Village, surrounded by tales of fairies, superstition and folklore, tales that the villagers are fiercely proud of.  An American scholar, Harold Griffin-Kraus, arrives in the village with the desire to hear the tales and collect them for publishing and soon takes Anna on as his assistant.  Their joint explorations of folklore and myth are beautifully and hauntingly captured through Gaughan’s awe inspiring writing.  The tales, whilst “otherworldly” are entrancing and having an interest in mythology and folklore, I found these utterly beguiling, wanting to read more.

Clever use of diary entries give narration from Anna’s perspective and breaks up Sarah’s story, slowly giving readers a heartbreaking tale from both of the main characters.  Only when the time is right does Gaughan reveal the full extent of the tragedy that befell her characters and by doing so, ensures that readers have become invested in her wonderfully crafted creations.

The exploration of emotion and human nature is beautifully written, at times the decisions made by the characters may not be fully understandable.  But when faced with the facts of what they have encountered, you soon begin to see that the decisions, actions etc are those of a fragile and damaged person, trying to do “the right thing”, without any concrete idea what the right course may be.  The evocative and descriptive writing is magical!  I found that I could see the grandeur of Thornwood House, the cramped but homely cottage of the Butler family, the warmth of Anna’s love for Betsy the family cow, but also the vivid rawness of Sarah’s emotional state.
Initially I struggled to connect with Sarah, something about this character felt hard and unreachable but the more I read, the greater my understanding became.  I found that I needed to know what went so wrong in her life, I want to find out more about her and I wanted her to stop and take a moment to just ‘be’.

An absolutely enchanting story that captures the heart of readers and transports them.

You can buy a copy of The Story Collector via:

Amazon UK


Author Feature:

evie-goodreads

Evie Gaughan is the author of The Heirloom, a fusion of historical and contemporary fiction set in Ireland and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, a magical story about a French boulangerie.  Her third novel, The Story Collector, will be published by Urbane Publications in June 2018.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic, to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, Evie developed a love of storytelling and all things historical. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

Evie is also an artist and has been known to hold the odd exhibit of her works in her native Galway.

 

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

Escaping into my imagination and creating something tangible out of nothing.  Seeing my manuscript make the journey from my head, to my laptop and ultimately to a book that I can hold in my hands.  I don’t think any author takes that process for granted, because from the moment that little idea pops into your head, you’re never really sure if it’s going to make it.

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

Aside from the crippling self-doubt??  I suppose, it’s having to fight to be taken seriously.  I think when people hear that you are a writer, but they haven’t heard of your books, they assume you’re delusional!  Lots of people are writers, it’s not some sacred vocation, we don’t wear robes (well, not all the time!)  So yes, that can get a bit tiring.

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

Oh my God, this is tough!  Actually, I’m going to give myself a get-out clause and choose a non-fiction book.  I wish I had written The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It’s like a bible for creative types and has inspired millions of people around the world to pursue a more creative life.  I don’t know if I would be a writer today, had I not read that book – so yes, I would love to have written something that helps others find their inner spark!

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

Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to switch off properly!  Do any of us?  But when I do, I like the simple things in life like being in nature, being with people I love.

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

If being disorganised is a routine, then yes!  My favourite place to write is in my attic (when it’s warm enough).  I feel high above the world up there, so I put on some music and try to escape into the world I’m creating.  I’m not so much disciplined as dedicated.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

I’m slowly piecing together the beginnings of my fourth novel, which I’m hoping will be a bit like Cloud Atlas but not as confusing!

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

Read what makes you happy – life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?


The Story Collector begins in 1910, in a small lrish village called Thornwood, where a young American scholar undertakes a study to prove the existence of fairies.  He hires a local girl, Anna Butler, to help with his research, but before he can finish his work, he is thrown into prison and charged with murder.  One hundred years later, a young American woman arrives by chance in the same village, uncovering the true story that has been kept hidden for a century.

The Story Collector is a novel full of folklore and superstition.  It explores the unseen world that lies just beyond our fingertips, the fluttering of wings against the windowpane, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.

If you love stories that find magic in the everyday, then this one is for you!

 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://eviegaughan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/evgaughan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evgaughan/

 

 

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There are some brilliant sounding books out there in the world at the moment, and I’m kicking myself for not having enough time to read them all!  Today I am thrilled to share a guest post by Seth Lynch about his writing process, and I have to say I am amazed, and a little exhausted just thinking about it!

A Dead American In Paris cover

Description:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

Seth’s books can be purchased directly from the publisher, Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

 

Guest Post:

After writing my first complete novel, A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), I wanted to keep on writing. I settled on a simple plan, write daily and don’t look back until the end. It is pretty liberating, but I was writing with absolutely no plan at all. I had a few vague notions, a scene or two that I wanted to include, but nothing else. So I ended up with a first draft that was not only badly written (who cares, it’s a first draft) but the crime didn’t make sense, the solution didn’t make sense and a lot of the characters were wooden. Rather than solve these problems I ignored them and wrote Salazar #3 using the same method. No prizes for guessing that the result was pretty much the same.

I eventually decided to re-write Salazar #3 without Salazar. This meant developing Chief-Inspector Belmont from a secondary role into the main character. I gave Belmont his own team, a boss who doesn’t like him, a wife with some dubious sexual morals and a lover she shares with her husband. I added in a back story for Belmont and a side story to complement the main theme. The finished book contained about 10% of the original Salazar #3 draft. I renamed it The Paris Ripper and it’s available through Fahrenheit Press.

I then went back to Salazar #2, A Dead American in Paris. Belmont makes his first appearance in this book but I now knew him and his team. I started the novel again with the original draft as a guide. I’d say about a quarter of the first draft remains and the book is a lot better for losing the other three-quarters. But writing an entire novel only to use it as a synopsis is not an efficient way to work.

I still like the idea of just sitting down and writing but it’s a lot easier if you know where you’re going first. I’ve written another novel since A Dead American which, hopefully, should be out via Fahrenheit later in the year. I wouldn’t say that I planned it all out in advance, but I did have a sketched outline before I began. When I came back to re-work that first draft I could concentrate on improving the text and not cutting way whole chapters while desperately filling in the plot holes.

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1), The Paris Ripper and A Dead American in Pairs (Salazar #2) are all available through Fahrenheit Press. The Paris Ripper is a standalone book but the events occur after those of A Dead American.

 

About the Author:

seth lynch

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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

 

Dead American Paris

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Today I am delighted to share a short review of a set of short stories as part of the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected.

Box Set Cover

** My thanks to Rachel for my copy of these books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is an interesting collection of short stories that are filled with intrigue and suspense that show a character in some form of trouble or a dilemma of sorts.

The author’s background in psychotherapy shows through her writing where she explores the intricacies of the mind when each of her characters are in a situation that causes turmoil.  Each of the stories focuses on a different setting and different set of characters that will give readers pause for thought.  Trading with Death was one of the stories that made me really made me wonder, and it was interesting seeing how the events were portrayed to maximize impact with just enough detail to grab the attention of readers.

There’s always the danger with short stories that they might not have enough information in them or you’d want the story to be expanded on but here the tales are just right.  The information given is just enough to set the scenes and pull the reader in, and there is an unsettling edge to the tales that keeps you on edge as you read.

An interesting and quick read!

You can buy a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links –

follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnnGirdharryAuthor/

follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Full Tour Banner.jpg

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