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Archive for December, 2018

Today I am thrilled to be able to reshare this book as part of Bloodhound Books special countdown to Christmas!

Pull up a seat, sit back & read on!

The Quiet Knitter

Today I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Jon Richter’s dark thriller Never Rest, and share my review of this exciting read as well as have Jon join me to take part in the author feature for Celebrating Indie Publishing!

Never Rest was published by Bloodhound Books on 30 March 2018 and is available to buy now.


Book Feature:

Description:

Jon Richter - Never Rest_cover_high res

Chris Sigurdsson has left the police force to start his own detective agency in London. He and his assistant, Priya, have built a strong reputation, and their casebook for the coming months is full. But Sigurdsson’s mind drifts back to his time as a Detective Inspector, and to the surreal week he spent investigating a case on Salvation Island. 
When the estranged wife of David Lithgow, a writer who had been working on the island, approaches him to help locate her missing spouse, he cannot…

View original post 1,337 more words

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Hello and welcome along to another Celebrating Indie Publishing post! Can you believe how close it is to Christmas? That means it’s almost time to pull together the Celebrating Indie Publishing posts from the second half of the year and there are so many fantastic posts to recap! So without further ado, lets get down to business, today’s post sees a mini review of the newly published Murder in the Dark by the awesome Betsy Reavley.

** My thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

Without a motive, how do you identify the killer?

Imagine a quaint little bookshop. Outside the snow is falling. Inside the shelves are stacked with books by authors waiting to be discovered. What could be better?

When Tilly Edgely lands a position working at Ashton’s bookshop in Cambridge she thinks she’s found her perfect job. But one winter’s morning, when she arrives to open up, she discovers the body of her boss suspended from the ceiling, hanging by a rope around his neck.

DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called to the scene and quickly find themselves searching for a twisted killer whose identity and motive are nearly impossible to trace.

But just when they think they have the murderer in their sights, another body shows up throwing the case wide open…

Who is behind the killings and why?

The police have their work cut out and key to unlocking the gruesome mystery might be found right under their nose.

But one thing is for certain, this killer will leave you hanging…

My Thoughts:

Who doesn’t love a bookshop setting? I know I certainly do, and that was one of the first things that grabbed my attention about this book.
The notion that this idyllic setting (well for me it’s idyllic) could then be tainted with a murder just screams “read me”, and the way that it’s all so cleverly crafted ensures that readers are kept busy trying to guess ahead and solve the identity of the killer and the motives, and if they’re anything like me, failing miserably.

Although this book is a follow up to Reavley’s Murder at the Book Club, it can be read as a standalone and is a very enjoyable read. I have to admit that I actually read this in one afternoon, I was so caught up in the investigation and really wanted to find out if I’d guessed the killer correctly.
This read a bit like a cozy crime mystery/police procedural, the perfect combination really and I found that the way the author revealed small clues about the killer as the story unfolded really worked for me.
I found the characters interesting, and each was well crafted. And I’m really hoping that there will be more books featuring Barrett and Palmer!

Highly recommended!

About the Author:

Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Murder at the Book Club, Frailty, Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire, and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, 2 children, dog and quail.

Social Media Links:  
Twitter   
Facebook  
Amazon UK  
Goodreads


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Earlier in the year I was delighted to welcome Anne Stormont to join me to chat about being an author, and share a little about her upcoming novel Settlement. Well the publication date has rolled around and I am thrilled to welcome Anne back again with a guest post titled “Proud to be Indie”.

Proud to be Indie

Settlement – the new novel by indie author Anne Stormont was published in September. In this guest post she talks not only about the book, but also about being an independent author.

“First of all I’d like to thank Kate for having me back here as a guest on her blog. I not only appreciate the opportunity to be here, but I’m also very grateful for all that she does to support independent publishing in general.

I’ve just published a new novel. It’s called Settlement. It’s the sequel to my previous book, Displacement, but it can be read as a standalone. So, of course, I’m here to give the new book a bit of a shoutout – and I will be doing that below. But I thought readers of this blog might be interested to know a bit more about independent authors and publishers and why I chose this particular route to publication. And so I thought I’d start with that.

Like my previous novels, Settlement is published by Rowan Russell Books (or RRB for short). RRB is my own imprint, my own tiny patch in the world of publishing. And I’m proud to be an indie author. In fact I love it.

My main reason for going the indie route was time. Real life and procrastination had both contributed to me not taking my writing seriously until I was in my forties – and I was in my fifties before I produced anything that was remotely ready for publication. To begin with, I did pursue the traditional route to publication for my first novel, Change of Life. I tried to get an agent. I tried to get a publisher. I got lots of ‘nice’ rejections telling me my writing was good, my story was good, but…

But, in short, what they all said was – readers of contemporary women’s fiction didn’t like books where the main characters were older than 30 – never mind 40 – and neither did they want to read about married characters or about ‘difficult issues’ such as cancer or bereavement. They also said the book would be hard to categorise as there was more than a simple romance going on in the story and would therefore be difficult to sell.

This was in 2009 and it was just as indie-publishing was beginning to become more possible and more popular. Small independent publishers were beginning to flourish. And so, too, were independent authors – that is authors who acted as their own publishers – authors who took a completely professional attitude to getting their work out there and in front of readers – authors who wanted to be in control of their work.

I was 53 and felt I couldn’t hang about any longer. If I was serious about being published, I was going to have to do it myself. And so, having hired a freelance editor, a proof-reader, and a cover designer I rewrote, polished and perfected my first book. Then in 2010 I published Change of Life. It got some great reviews and my career as a writer had begun.

Since then my learning curve has been more vertical than steep. In 2014, I took early retirement from my teaching job in order to be a full-time writer. And, supported by the same freelance team, I have now published four books – three for adults and one for children – (the children’s one was written by my alter-ego Anne McAlpine). I have a website, a Facebook author page and a loyal readership with whom I love to engage. I’m the author, the publisher, the finance controller and the publicist at RRB and I (mostly) enjoy the challenge of wearing all these hats.

Being, independent means I can write the sort of books I would want to read. But more than that, I can write the sort of books my readers want to read, and ensure those books are available to them.”

 

The New NovelSettlement Cover MEDIUM WEB (3)

So, what’s the new one all about? Here’s what the back cover says:

Settlement

Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest?  Can love truly heal old wounds?

Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.

She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?

When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.

But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.

Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.

Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?

Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?

Will they get the chance to put things right between them?

If you like a complex, contemporary, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.

A huge thank you to Anne for joining me today and sharing a little about indie publishing, I always enjoy hearing about the road to publication from authors and how it all worked out for them.
It’s also lovely to see that Settlement is now available to buy, I’ve already bought my copy and cannot wait to get reading!

Settlement is available as a paperback and as an ebook and you can buy it in bookshops or online here.

 

About the Author:

Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women’s fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.

Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins.

Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.

She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes this comes through in her writing.

Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annestormontauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/writeanne

Blog at https://putitinwriting.me

Website at https://anne-stormont.com

 

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** My thanks to Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

A mesmerising debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism…

‘If Armistead Maupin were to write about a diverse group of friends in Deptford, the results might resemble this … You’ll miss these characters when they’re gone’ Paul Burston

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Thoughts:

Attend is a beautifully written book that has a depth of characterisation that enables readers to form a deep and tangible connection with the main characters, especially Anne and Sam.
Both of these wonderful creations are linked by a thread that neither is aware of, the bond of friendship with Deborah. Deborah is a seemingly innocuous character, regularly regaling her new friends with tales of her life, how she came to be a seamstress and sailor, the events of her life up to that point and how she thinks that there’s something more to life, more than the eye can see. She is a character that’s hard to sum up in a few sentences, so exquisitely complex and with a history that draws the readers in, makes them need to know more about her. I don’t think I could do justice to this marvellous creation and I applaud the author for crafting such an array of personalities.

Anne was a character that I wasn’t sure what to make of initially. There’s a rawness and a vulnerability to her, her previous life as a drug user has impacted on her ability to interact with her family and loved ones. The dependency on illicit substances robbed her of many things, and trying to rebuild her life and the trust of others is a difficult and arduous struggle. Watching her find her feet through the prose was almost heartwarming at times, seeing her making decisions and reaffirming that her dependency on drugs was over made me want to cheer for her. This is a character that you really get under the skin of, the more you read about her, the greater the connection and the understanding you gain of events that have occurred.

The youngest of the main characters, is Sam. He moved to London as a means of taking control of his life, leaving the sadness of an accident from his youth behind. Having accepted his sexuality, he breaks away from a cycle of meaningless interactions when he meets Derek. Sam’s indecisive nature makes him quite an endearing character, he’s been on a path of self destruct for sometime but slowly he manages to make changes, he finds happiness and acceptance.

The threads of the story twist and weave expertly in West’s capable hands as he takes readers on a poignant and thought provoking journey.  As you may guess, characterisation was a key aspect of this book for me, I felt that I was connected, invested and genuinely cared about these characters.

Settings play an enormous part in any story, and here the way that the tunnels Deborah explored almost came alive. The smells, the damp, the darkness all became so real through the vivid descriptions. The same can be said for the details woven into the house that Deborah lives in, the unique and quirkiness of it appealed to me .
I think it’s fair to say that West Camel has really crafted a very special story, he has managed to combine a very human tale with touches of magic, adventure, history and charm. The writing is spellbinding and leave readers hungry for more.

Orenda Books are fast becoming known for publishing books that push new ideas, that challenge readers and go that bit further, and Attend is definitely one of those books. It’s a rare gem that I think will keep circling round and round in my head long after I finished reading it.


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** My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

A fragile woman. An unwelcome intruder. A house full of secrets.

Faye and her husband Hugh have had a traumatic year. Wanting to start again, the couple decide to buy a large rundown property, Cross House in a village in North Yorkshire, hoping to leave the past behind them.

However, the tranquillity is soon ruined when Faye begins to awake, every night, to the sound of somebody creeping around the bedroom. She tries to explain it to Hugh, frightened for the safety of their children Aiden and Poppy, but Hugh dismisses her claims, thinking she is heading for another breakdown.

But when Faye discovers some diaries that contain secrets about the family that lived in the house before them, she starts to wonder if the intruder might be closer to home than she first thought.

Obsessed with finding answers, Faye is determined to learn about the Wentworth family, a fractured family with a tragic past.

And when she discovers that Hilary Wentworth fell to her death down the stairs in Cross House, Faye realises she is in mortal danger…


My Thoughts:

I do enjoy psychological thrillers, and have a bit of a soft spot for Yorkshire settings, there’s something about them that appeals to me and so I was really keen to read this when I that it combined a bit of a ghost story too.

Main characters Faye and Hugh buy an house in need of work as part of their “fresh start” in the countryside. They are attempting to move on with life after very difficult year, one that left Faye seriously shaken and falling apart. But far from being the new start the family so desperately needed, things soon begin to have Faye questioning whether there’s something sinister lurking in the shadows of night or if her mind is playing tricks on her.

Whilst the author details the move to the new house and the family dynamics of Faye, Hugh and their two children Aiden and Poppy, there is also a thread to the plot of Faye’s previous year, one where snippets of recollections and nightmares are mentioned. Hints are given as to something sinister and traumatic having occurred, but details are slowly drip fed to increase the tension and hook the readers in. This in part helps to spread the feeling of general unease for Faye, and as you get to know her more and understand her mental health issues, it helps to explain why she feels that someone might be watching her, and the unusual activity around Cross House.
J.A. Baker weaves a very clever tale that leaves readers wondering about what they’ve read and whether they believe it.

Cross House is a bit of an enigma for Faye, the discovery of some diaries from the previous owners of the house leave her with more questions, and this is not helped when her son returns from school saying that people have been talking about the house.

I really don’t want to say too much more about the plot, there are so many things that readers need to discover for themselves and with this is quite a gripping and fast paced read, they will soon be hooked and held captive by the plot.
It’s the sort of read that gets under your skin and leaves you feeling shivers down your spine … and maybe sleeping with the light on for a few nights.

About the Author:

J.A.BAKER was born and brought up in North East England and has had a love of language for as long as she can remember.

She has a love of local history and genealogy and enjoys reading many genres of books but is an addict of psychological thrillers.

In December 2016 she was signed by Bloodhound Books who published Undercurrent. 
Her second novel, Her Dark Retreat was published in October 2017 and The Other Mother was published in December 2017. Her fourth novel, Finding Eva was published in August 2018.

J.A.Baker has four grown up children and one grandchild. She lives in a village near the river with her husband and madcap dog and when not working part time in a primary school, she spends her days trying to think up new and inventive ways of murdering people.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thewriterjude
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewriterjude
Website: http://www.jabakerauthor.com







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First Monday Crime for December is set to be an exciting event with a double helping of excitement!

Date: 3rd December 2018

Location: College Building, Room A130, City University London

Tickets are free, but you must book so that the organisers can ensure they have enough seats for everyone.

Reserve your seat here

So who’s appearing I hear you ask … well

Kevin Wignall will be the moderator of the evening, and the panelists are:

Erin Kelly:

Erin Kelly’s first novel, The Poison Tree, was a Richard and Judy bestseller and a major ITV drama starring Myanna Buring, Ophelia Lovibond and Matthew Goode. She has written four more original psychological thrillers – The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind and her latest, He Said/She Said, about a young couple who witness a rape and, after the trial, begin to wonder if they believed the right person. 

Before she wrote fiction, she was a journalist, a barmaid, a receptionist, a special needs classroom assistant, a pub signwriter, the world’s worst telemarketer, a nightclub cleaner and a shop assistant. These days, She still works as a freelance journalist and also teaches creative writing for Curtis Brown Creative and the Guardian Masterclasses.

He Said/She Said
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . . something she never could have guessed.
A tour de force – a gripping, twisting, furiously clever read that asks all the right questions and keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved it. – Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10.

Mick Herron:

Mick Herron’s first Jackson Lamb novel, Slow Horses, was described as the ‘most enjoyable British spy novel in years’ by the Mail on Sunday and picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time’ by the Daily Telegraph. The second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and both the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. The fourth, Spook Street, was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger and won the Steel Dagger. Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

The Drop
Old spooks carry the memory of tradecraft in their bones, and when Solomon Dortmund sees an envelope being passed from one pair of hands to another in a Marylebone cafe, he knows he’s witnessed more than an innocent encounter. But in relaying his suspicions to John Bachelor, who babysits retired spies like Solly, he sets in train events which will alter lives. Bachelor himself, a hair’s breadth away from sleeping in his car, is clawing his way back to stability; Hannah Weiss, the double agent whose recruitment was his only success, is starting to enjoy the secrets and lies her role demands; and Lech Wicinski, an Intelligence Service analyst, finds that a simple favour for an old acquaintance might derail his career. Meanwhile, Lady Di Taverner is trying to keep the Service on an even keel, and if that means throwing the odd crew member overboard, well: collateral damage is her speciality.
A drop, in spook parlance, is the passing on of secret information.
It’s also what happens just before you hit the ground.

John Marley:

JA Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast. A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

Godsend
It has been eighteen months since Danny Felix pulled off the robbery of his life.  His plan brought London to a standstill, but at a heavy price. 
Now, living a quiet life running a charter fishing business in the Florida Keys, Danny is trying to come to terms with the death and destruction he had unwittingly unleashed. However, the low profile is beginning to wear thin and he soon starts to crave the adrenalin rush of his former criminal ways.  
Little does he know that three very different women are about to enter his life and turn it upside-down. Soon Danny finds himself right back in the action. 
But why has he been chosen? And does he have the appetite to pull off another job where the stakes are so lethally high?

Will Carver:
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Good Samaritans
One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.
Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.
‘I loved this book. dark and at times almost comical, a great blend of crime thriller and the darkest imaginable domestic noir. Actually like domestic noir on LSD’ Sarah Pinborough

Kevin Wignall:

Kevin Wignall is a British writer, born in Brussels in 1967. He spent many years as an army child in different parts of Europe, and went on to study politics and international relations at Lancaster University. He became a full-time writer after the publication of his first book, People Die (2001). His other novels are Among the Dead (2002); Who Is Conrad Hirst? (2007), shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award; and Dark Flag (2010). The Hunter’s Prayer was originally titled For the Dogs in the USA. The film The Hunter’s Prayer, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush, will be released worldwide in 2015.

To Die in Vienna
Freddie Makin is a spy for hire. For a year he’s been watching Jiang Cheng, an academic whose life seems suspiciously normal. To Freddie it’s just a job: he never asks who’s paying him and why—until the day someone is sent to kill him, and suddenly the watcher becomes the watched.
On the run from whoever wants him dead, Freddie knows he must have seen something incriminating. The only trouble is, he has no idea what. Is the CIA behind all this—or does it go higher than that? Have his trackers uncovered his own murky past?
As he’s forced into a lethal dance across Vienna, Freddie knows one thing for sure: his only hope for survival is keeping the truth from the other side, and making sure the secrets from his past stay hidden.

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