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Archive for the ‘Blog Tour’ Category

I am so excited to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for “99 Red Balloons” by Elisabeth Carpenter (stop singing the 1980s pop song by Nena!) and share an extract from this gripping thriller!

Description:

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Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

This is a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist that will take your breath away.

You can buy a copy of “99 Red Balloons” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository


Extract: Chapter 20 p.105-107

The bingo restarts, but I still can’t concentrate. Without saying, Jim has taken over my next card. I look at him from the corner of my eye. He never was a looker, bless him, but he looks better now he’s older. What’s it they say about growing into your face? It must be the case with Jim. I think about what’s happened over the last couple of days and I don’t know what I’d have done without him.

‘Come on then, let’s get your winnings,’ he says.

‘They can’t have played three games already.’

‘They have indeed. You’re away with the fairies. But I don’t blame you. You’ve enough on your plate.’

Jim’s up and ready in seconds. He kept his coat on the whole time we’ve been here. He must have cold bones these days. He stands waiting, patiently. I know I’m being slow, but there’s something about that woman that unnerves me. I’m in no rush to get to her.

He almost drags me there; my feet are so heavy. She watches us while we walk and stands when we reach the table.

‘It’s nice to see you, Maggie.’

She holds out her hand. I’ve never seen her before in my life. Her hair is too dark for her age; she must dye it – there’s not a grey in sight. She’s wearing a velvet blouse in maroon that reminds me of my great-grandmother’s curtains.

‘Do you two know each other?’ asks Jim.

‘I’ve never met you before,’ I say to her.

‘Sorry about that, love,’ Jim says to the stranger. ‘Not one for niceties, isn’t Mags.’

‘That’s okay. Sorry,’ she says. ‘I could’ve sworn we’d met before.’

She sits back down. I look at the table and what I thought were playing cards have strange pictures on them, rimmed with gold.

‘I’ll just get your prize ready.’

She counts out five ten-pound notes and puts them in an envelope. Before she seals it, she puts in what looks like a business card. She looks up. ‘Just in case you need to contact me.’

I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. Why would I need to contact her?

Jim rubs his hands, again. ‘I’m just off to the gents while we wait for the taxi. Won’t be a min.’

I want to follow him, but that would be a little undignified.

‘I’ll wait in reception,’ I say, trying not to look at her.

I only get a few feet away when I feel a hand grab my elbow.

‘Wait, Maggie.’

I turn slowly, knowing it’s her. ‘How do you know my name?’

She glances at the floor, before looking me straight in the eye.

‘I’m sorry,’ she says. ‘My name’s Dee. I remember you from years ago. When your poor granddaughter went missing.’

‘Right.’

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, but strangers haven’t approached me for years. I knew they meant well, but it was mortifying, heartbreaking. It was why we hardly went out.

‘I’d better be going,’ I say.

‘Maggie, please wait a minute.’

‘Hang on. Why do you keep calling me Maggie? I was always Margaret in the newspapers.’

She comes closer to me; I step back.

‘I know you probably think I’m insane – I get that a lot. But . . .’ She takes a few breaths and taps her chest. ‘Zoe’s still alive.’

 


I don’t know about you, but that’s got be seriously intrigued and desperate to know what happens next!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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37 hours

 

** My thanks to Noelle & Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one.
Imprisoned by MI6 for two long years in solitary, Nadia suddenly finds herself free again. But there is a price to pay for her release. Another dangerous and near impossible mission – retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her old nemesis, the deadliest of terrorists.
But he is always one step ahead, and soon Nadia finds herself at the front line of preventing London from disappearing into a cloud of ash. Only this time, she is ready to pull the trigger at any cost.
And with the clock counting down from 37 hours, time is running out…
My Thoughts & Review:
You know that feeling when you finish a book and cannot wait to get started on the next one in the series?  Well that’s a tiny bit like the anticipation I had for this book, 37 Hours is the second in the Nadia Laksheva series and it begins with a bang that sets the pace throughout.
For readers new to this series, you can read 37 Hours straight away, there is more than enough information included in the narrative to explain who people are and the connections between them, but I would highly recommend reading 66 Metres first as the writing is fantastic and the small details you will pick up from that book will absolutely enhance your enjoyment of 37 Hours.
As always, I won’t say too much about the plot, there is a blurb above to give you some idea of what goes on in this book, and suffice to say Nadia seems to be back in the middle of a dangerous situation that will push her to the limits of her abilities and mental capacity.
When I read 66 Metres I was astounded by how strong a character Nadia is (you can read my review here) and this instalment has firmly cemented my liking of this character.  Her tenacity in the face of danger is almost chilling, she’s calculating and careful in some aspects, but at other times she will take risks which increase the tension and enjoyment of the book.  Her strong connection to her family makes her that little more relatable, often a female protagonist such as this ends up being portrayed in a less realistic way.
I am a big fan of Kirwan’s writing style, it’s easy to follow despite it covering some topics I have no knowledge about.  I don’t profess to know anything about diving and yet I was able to read this book and not feel that I was missing any details because of the care that the author has taken to ensure that all of his readers will be able to grasp the facts of what is happening.  The vivid images I could conjure of scenes were down to the wonderful descriptions included, and for me this makes a book more enjoyable as I feel that I can “see” everything as it plays out.
Now to wait patiently to see what happens next……….
You can buy a copy of 37 Hours via:
 
About the Author:

In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three…

You can connect with the J. F. Kirwan via:
Follow the blog tour & pop over to my tour buddy’s blog to check out what Meggy has to share with you at  Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles
37 Hours Blog Tour

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House of Spines front

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour ***

 

Description:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

My Thoughts & Review:

For anyone not familiar with the superb writing of Michael J Malone I would thoroughly recommend acquainting yourself with one of his books as soon as possible, a skilled author with the ability to make readers shiver and feel the coldness that flows from the pages of his books.

With writing that is almost poetic in nature, this is beautifully written book that keeps readers guessing throughout.

Ran McGhie is an interesting character that I could not help but feel for him.  His life has been far from easy or straightforward and the way that Malone captures the subtle nuances of Ran are spectacularly spellbinding.  As Ran’s life begins to take on some major changes, Malone cleverly but subtly charts the slow descent into something not being right (I won’t call it madness, that seems to abrasive a word to use, but at the same time perhaps this character does become a little “off kilter” and lean towards a form of madness….I’ll let you decide).  Inheriting a huge house in a wealthy part of town would probably be a dream come true for most people, and here Ran is no different.  Initially he is awed by the library and the books that his great uncle has bestowed upon him, but soon he feels a haunting presence and begins to question what happens around him.
I am loathe to say more about the plot, I hate spoilers and think that readers experience the full impact of the plot on their own.

This has all the hallmarks of a great read, it’s creepy and leaves the reader questioning whether that was just a shadow they caught out of the corner of their eye…but it also makes you feel a little uncomfortable as you slowly follow Ran into the darkness of uncertainty.  With the mental health issues that the protagonist suffers being incorporated into the plot, it becomes almost impossible to be certain whether Ran is suffering from delusions linked to his condition or whether these events are actually happening.
On top of all this, the descriptions of Newton Hall are utterly spectacular and I think that Malone has really outdone himself here.  I could feel the looming menace that lurked within the house, I was aware of a feeling of claustrophobia while Ran was in the house, although there was splendour and beauty it was also a place of unknown danger and mystery.

There’s a feeling of safety with a book published by Orenda Books, each book has made an impression on Karen Sullivan and in turn she and her team have lavished love and attention on each page of a manuscript  before delivering a book to readers that will wow and delight.  When I initially saw this book being dubbed a “modern day horror story with a twist” I was a little hesitant, I don’t read many horror stories, they just don’t do anything for me.  But I had faith in the publisher and the friends who recommended this book to me and I was not disappointed.

You can buy a copy of “House of Spines” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Orenda eBookstore

 

Follow the blog tour:

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Welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year, “Angels in the Moonlight” by Caimh McDonnell.  I am delighted to be able to share my review of this fantastic book with you, and even more excitingly I have a wee interview with the Caimh too!


Book Feature:

Description: ANGELS IN THE MOONLIGHT cover

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is a standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Angels in the Moonlight is a vastly different addition to the Dublin Trilogy in that it features Detective Bunny McGarry in a different light.  Yes, he is still the wise cracking, dangerous looking Cork man.  Yes his behaviour often leaves a lot to be desired, but there is a side to him that betrays the hard man image and it is written so beautifully that readers might forget for a moment who they are reading about.

From the opening pages of this book readers quickly fall into step with the wisecracking and quick witted detective as he takes on the role of negotiator with a vulnerable individual, granted he may not be everyone’s idea of the best person for the role, but he brings his own flair to the situation (as well as some manky sandwiches!) and I soon found I was laughing like a lunatic at what was written on the pages in front of me (a side note, this is perhaps not the best book to read when your other half is sleeping beside you, trying to hold in laughter will cause injury and or choking).

With a gripping and thrilling plot, readers are soon delving into the world of drugs, corruption and vendettas.  DI Fintan O’Rourke and the ever charming Bunny are up against one of the most skilled armed robbery gangs in Ireland, a case that will prove to be one of the most daring and dangerous they’ve worked together.
This case coupled with Bunny’s attempts to woo Simone, a jazz singer come bar manager makes for some brilliantly entertaining reading.  It is through his contact with Simone that we see a distinctly different side to Bunny.  He has a heart, a caring side and a softness about him that he would probably prefer to keep hidden. His coaching of the St Jude’s Hurling Team is a great example of one of the many sides to this character, his devotion to keeping the young lads away from crime is enriching to see, even if his methods are somewhat questionable.  By opening up this side of his main character, Caimh McDonnell takes this book to another level.  Each book of this trilogy has been superb, but there is something special about this one, it is more than just a police procedural, more than a crime caper, it’s a book with themes of friendship, history and heartache intricately interwoven throughout.

As it says above in the blurb, this book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to deprive yourself of this series?  The writing is tremendous; Caimh McDonnell has a gift for storytelling and leads his readers on a merry journey through his books, regaling them with humour and wit.  The descriptions of each character and their traits allow readers to conjure some wonderfully vivid images, and I know that I’ve a clear idea in my head of Bunny McGarry, both sight and sound.  There are a wonderful array of personalities in this book, even a young Paul Mulchrone and Phil Nellis make an appearance (fans of the previous books will make the connection here), but for me Bunny McGarry stole the show.

 

I would urge you to buy copies of all books in the Dublin Trilogy, it’s a series you do not want to miss out on!

You can buy a copy of “Angels in the Moonlight” via:

Amazon

My absolute heartfelt thanks to Elaine Ofori and Camih McDonnell for the opportunity to read an early copy of this immensely hilarious book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.


Author Feature: caimh

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Comes was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh

Facebook: @CaimhMcD

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

Being in control! For about a decade, I had sitcom scripts optioned by several different TV companies in Britain and you spend your time constantly making changes – some you agree with, some you don’t. Often times, you can find that what originally made an idea attractive to all concerned in the first place, can get lost under the weight of notes about notes. With a novel, while I have editors and readers whose opinion I of course value highly, ultimately, I’m the one in control and I can decide what I think works or doesn’t work. Only a TV writer knows how precious a thing that is.

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

Being in control! In particular, the proofing stage. Again, I’ve got a couple of great editors and a fantastic proof reader but ultimately as an indie author, you have to be the one to go through the final manuscript and be responsible for every last dotted I and crossed T – and in a 100,000 word novel, there is a lot of them. If I never see another semi-colon, I would die a happy man!

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

Oh, that’s a toughie. I think I’d have to go with Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane – he is a stunningly good writer and for me, I think that is his best work. As a writer, you’re always aware of a plot and predicting where the story is going to go – be it in a novel, TV show or film. It is very hard to switch off and enjoy something without analysing it on some level. The ending of Gone Baby Gone completely blindsided me but at the same time, made perfect sense. It takes a special kind of genius to make an ending seem both surprising and yet feel totally right in hindsight.

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

As my wife is always pointing out, I have no hobbies. Everything I like to do I’ve effectively made into a job. I’m still very much a professional comedian which is a nice change of pace from writing, and I’m also the announcer for my second-family, aka the professional rugby team London Irish. As I write, I am just back from our triumphant return to the English premiership in Twickenham. Frankly, that is my favourite thing to do. I get to work with my heroes and while on one level it is stressful, on another level, I’m ultimately not in control of anything. While I announce the scores, I’m not responsible for going out and making them.

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

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered I can’t write on my rather lovely Mac with the enormous screen that’s nice and easy to read. I need to work on a laptop, with the internet blocked and Brain.fm’s specially designed music for concentration playing on my headphones. I get distracted very easily so to get the work done, I try and shut myself off from any and all opportunities to forget what I’m supposed to be doing. I do often catch myself casually wondering if I ended up in prison, would they let me have a laptop? If they did – think of all the work I’d get done! I’d miss London Irish though of course, and my wife.

 

A huge thank you to Caimh for joining me today and sharing a little about himself, it’s been a blast!

 

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide by Giuseppe Cafiero and share a guest piece written about Mário de Sá-Carneiro.

Description:

Print

The apparent suicide in 1916 of the writer Mário de Sá-Carneiro causes his friend, the poet Fernando Pessoa, great distress. Pessoa feels compelled to trace Sá-Carneiro’s final movements, to understand what could have caused him to lose all hope.
Exploring byways of the imagination and ambiguity with the investigator David Mondine and Dr. Abílio Fernandes Quaresma, solver of enigmas, the three men decide to uncover the conclusive certainties which led Mário to poison himself.
These suicide investigators travel to Lisbon – Mário’s birthplace – and to Paris, talking to strangers and friends who might shed light on the poet’s mysterious and sudden decline. As the city wrestles with the grief and tumult of war, the men hold court at the cafes and bistros Mário would have frequented. Their witty, enigmatic and sometimes obscure conversations illuminate the friendship between Mário and Fernando Pessoa, their poetry and their literary ambitions, revealing the tragic end of one of the founders of Portuguese modernism.

 

You can buy a copy of Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide via Amazon


Guest Post:

Mário de Sá-Carneiro with his chronic oddities. Mário who went about Paris in melancholy and shy solitude. Mário who believed it necessary to inflict heartache upon himself to atone for his dark irreverences. Mário who played the part of a fashionable anti-conformist. Mário who was so self-absorbed that he seemed to live in a constant dreamlike delirium. Mário who seemed to want to be surrounded by an atmosphere of non-involvement and thus to enjoy his disquietude. Mário who was afraid to retrace his steps because nothing could ever be the same as before. Mário who wallowed in his contemplative ecstasy because the rest was extraneous to him. Mário who complacently felt that he did not belong to any city or country. Mário who was extremely concerned about the dark sensations of his instinct. Mário who considered his mind able to create an inappropriate reality disturbing to the society he was compelled to endure. Mário who complained of a nostalgia which, in truth, he did not feel because no nostalgia could satisfy him. Mário who wasted time in remembrances that responded to memories recovered from a reality experienced in a distorted manner and never loved. Mário who wished to construct a world in his own image and likeness, even though an innate discontent forced him to presume that there could never be a world in his image and likeness. Mário who was tirelessly seeking a fictitious gratification of his intimate desires which seemed to him impossible on account of that kind of apathy in which he delighted in living. Mário who seemed to have a poor ability to reflect realistically about himself and his fantasies because he was a simple dreamer who did not wish to realize any dream. Mário who exhibited, according to many who knew him, a strong affective deficit and a smug reluctance to establish cordial friendships. Mário who seemed to feel the irrepressible desire to influence the world, to be a protagonist as a poet and playwright. Mário who had a true servile propensity for Pessoa, for which he was ready to satisfy any request or desire merely to please him.

 

My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Authoright for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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Welcome along to another post to celebrate Clink Street Publishing’s Second Annual Blogival!  The event is running from 1st August right through to 31st August across a wealth of wonderful blogs and features some amazing reviews, guest posts and other bookish goodness for you lucky readers!

Today I am delighted to share a fascinating guest piece written by Tony Halker about “The Importance of Keeping Folklore Alive in Today’s Tales”.

 

Description:

The Learn

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.
A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.
At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

You can buy a copy via Amazon


Guest Post:

The Importance of Keeping Folklore Alive in Today’s Tales

We create new folklore every day and and at the same time modify that we carry, that was bred into us by those who cared enough to want to give us ideas and stories that help form who or what we are.

Our parents generation gifted us tales that are a secure constant set of values; we like that and get angry or even emotional when film makers and others change characters that are a part of our folk memory, passed to us by older knowing others. Those film makers like the controversy, it gives them publicity

I expect all generations have modified lore passed to them, though with more subtlety than we do today, as we try to give our children ideas that better reflect societies values, those that we want to pass to them. It is much better if “new folklore” is democratically created by “the people” (whoever we are) rather than is owned, controlled and manipulated to sell soap powder or bottled water.

It has been said that there are only two stories, Cinderella and Romeo and Juliette, one with a happy ending and the other a sad one. Both these tales pass messages to us, are moral tales that should make us think and learn, make the next generation do the same.

I think all stories, whether novels or shorter tales should have a purpose or benefit for the reader beyond filling time while we sit on a train or wait to die.

Over time cultures imbue their folklore and the stories that relate it with the actions and values they want to believe they carry within them and can pass to their children and friends. It tells future generations about us and what we held dear, but perhaps we also filter out reality; we see Robin Hood as a down to earth Lord of the Manor who took to the forest and robbed the evil church and state to give to the poor. If he existed and to do what folklore tells us he did, he was probably a brutal guerilla fighter, a mafiosa who worked the system and played both sides one against the other; he has been romanticised by time and retelling.

Most of us identify with a past in defining who we are. We want to believe we came of a clan-tribe-family that was honourable, brave, suffered, endured, learnt, cared for others and fought for what is right. Each of us want to believe we could have drawn Excalibur from the stone, fought with King Arthur or against the evil King John. Hierarchies want heroes, especially in the depth of war or disaster and folklore is made from that, at Dunkirk, Khartoum or Rorkes Drift and then perpetuated by an establishment.

In my stories I am more interested in the tales we have of ordinary folk celebrating the changing seasons, the harvest, the rising of the sun, or even calling to their Deities asking that a warm sun will come again next spring. We have so many perceptions of Beltane, Samhain, the Oakman, the Green Man; of Druid warrior priests leading rites for these important events. My mother used to talk of dancing around the maypole and celebrating spring in what seems a more innocent time from the simplicity of the actions and dance that she remembered with affection and a smile.

In my debut novel “The Learn” I have tried to describe Celtic festivals where ordinary folk jump the fires, offer sacrifices, take lovers, gift offerings to streams, rivers and land as well as to sun sky and moon. I imagine the flowing rivers and seas pull the moon in the wake of their massive ebbs and flows. The ideas and concepts, the seeds of these stories come not from me but from folklore passed down to us and in us. My romantic imagination may play with it but old stories were and are essential for passing on the ideas.

Sometimes folklore keeps alive what may be facts: did Columbus discover America, was it the Vikings or indeed the Phoenecians before them?

Folklore can of course contain what we are beginning to call fake news; did Harold Godwinson really get an arrow in the eye? Did Richard III kill the princes in the tower? Tudor generated folklore says that he did.

Folklore enriches our view of who we are and those we come of, but we must democratise it and not let governments, big corporations and movie makers define it or modify the tales and characters that we care about or the values they propagate.

Folk lore not fake folklore!

About the Author:

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog

 

Keep up with the posts of the Blogival:

Calendar

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Hi and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for “Unforgivable” by Mike Thomas.  This is the second book to feature Will Macready, the first in the series was “Ash and Bones” which I would thoroughly recommend reading (my review of this can be found here).  I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share a guest post today that has been written by Mike, and it’s very inkeeping with his sense of humour, and remember ladies and gents, there are other supermarkets out there if you would prefer their bags….

UnforgivableDescription:

Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation.
An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside.
But this isn’t the Middle East – this is Cardiff . . .

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the ‘why’, then surely they can find the ‘who’? But that isn’t so easy, and time is fast running out . . .

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he’s asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman.

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

You can buy a copy of “Unforgivable” via:

Amazon
Wordery

 


 

How a Bit of Cheek Got My First Novel Published (or ‘Mugging a Publisher’)

Getting your foot in the door of the publishing world is incredibly hard, right?

You write your book, you edit and polish and fret, and when you’re absolutely certain it’s as good as it’s going to get, that it’s going to make an agent or editor sit up and immediately make calls to get you signed, you do it: covering letter (not too long, quickly selling yourself, your novel), synopsis (punchy, intriguing, it has to draw the agent or editor in), three sample chapters (probably the opening, and you’ve made them a thrilling read, right?). Off they go, into the post or via email.

And you wait. And wait. Then you wait a bit more.

During this time your brain does weird things to you. You forget that people can be very busy and won’t respond straight away. When you haven’t heard anything for five hours, you worry that the post office lost the parcel. You think your email got lost in the ether. After two days, you wonder if your letter was a bit rude, or if you’ve managed to upset your chosen agent because the font you’ve used reminds her of an ex-boyfriend’s love letters. After a week you’re convinced the entire publishing industry despises you and you’re the worst writer in the world.

After two months of wretchedness: A LETTER ARRIVES.

You pause, staring at it. Holding it in your hands. Wondering if you will open it… and open up a whole new world.

Of course, it’s a rejection. They usually are. So you spend a day or two feeling numb then pick yourself up and send off another package. Then you and your brain go through it all again. And again. Ad nauseam. You repeat this rigmarole until you’re happy when you receive an electricity bill through the letterbox, just as long as it’s not another ‘We really enjoyed it but it’s not for us I’m afraid’ missive.

I went through all this for years. With three novels. I have hundreds of rejection letters from agents and publishing houses. All of them very polite kicks in the testicles.

By December 2008 I’d had enough.

At this point I’d gone back to university, and was halfway through a Master’s degree. I’d written a novel as part of it: ‘Pocket Notebook’, the tale of a demented police officer whose life comes crashing down around his ears. At regular intervals during the course we would have the chance to listen to and ask questions of guest speakers from the writing world: authors, academics, industry insiders.

For that December it was the Publishing Director of one of the biggest, most respected imprints in the UK, if not the world, who was traveling west from London to talk to us. I won’t name him, for reasons which will become apparent, but he was incredibly interesting to listen to. We sat, rapt, for over an hour as he gave us a glimpse of another world, another life, one that most in the audience aspired to live.

Especially me.

I’ve told you I’d had enough of rejection by this stage. It can do funny things to you. Make you desperate, even. And so, before the speech by the Publishing Director I Won’t Name, I hatched a cunning plan: I gathered the manuscript of ‘Pocket Notebook’, stole a large brown envelope from a University office, and parcelled it all up with my contact details WRITTEN VERY CLEARLY on the front, back, and every side. I ‘casually’ mentioned to my fellow students and several members of the faculty how I wished I could get my book into this publishing chap’s hands. I placed the bulky envelope inside a Tesco carrier bag so that it would be easier to carry on the train back to London, should anybody have to carry it…

And then I sat through the speech and asked some questions and we all really enjoyed it and once it was over and we were having a cup of tea I sidled up to him with the Tesco bag held to my chest and then one of my fellow part-time students – who also just happened to work for another imprint in the same building as the Publishing Director – and several of the faculty formed a small semi-circle in front of him.

And then it happened.

One of them – I can’t recall who – ‘casually’ mentioned that I had written a novel. Then another mentioned that it was half-decent. The Publishing Director nodded and smiled and didn’t actually say ‘no’ so it was then that I seized the moment.

I thrust the carrier bag into his hands.

“This is it,” I squeaked, and gurned at him.

He was incredibly gracious. It was a terribly rude thing to do, but as I’ve said, desperation can make a man do unconscionable things. So Publishing Guy shakes my hand and I stop trembling and the day ended and I went home and that was that.

And, oddly, I forgot all about it. You have to remember that by this point I was a thick-skinned Rejection Veteran, so instead of dreading the worst I simply didn’t think about it. I just went back to work, and Christmas came and went, then New Year, and it’s always a busy time for the police so my mind was on other things, and at this point I had two kids under three years of age and was rather preoccupied.

I was in work, late January 2009 when my wife rang.

I took the call in a side office. Her voice was shaking; I thought something terrible had happened to her or the children.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

And she told me that the Publishing Director had emailed to say he’d read my novel and loved it and wanted to publish it and would I like to come to London to talk about it a little bit more?

I went numb. Thought I’d misheard her. Asked her to read the email again.

Nope, I’d heard right.

I ran around the police station immediately after ending the call. In full uniform, whooping and punching the air. My colleagues watched, shaking their heads.

Why won’t I name this incredibly gracious, gentlemanly Publishing Director? It’s because another imprint came in for the novel soon afterwards… and I went with them instead. So despite what I’d done, and how kind he’d been, and how enthusiastic he was about ‘Pocket Notebook’, I chose somebody else. I used to beat myself up about it, but I’ve learned that, as with any other industry, publishing is a business. You’ve got to do what’s best for you and yours.

Anyway, the next few months were a blur of trips to London and writing articles for magazines and having photographs taken for The Guardian, while publishing people forced books and booze on me wherever I went.

It was a dream come true. And I’m still here. And, I really hope, will be for a while.

So in short: never give up. Keep at it, because you will get there. And sometimes, just sometimes, when the world keeps kicking you in the nuts and you think nobody wants your novel and you’re a terrible writer and you might as well give up… stop, and grab a Tesco carrier bag, and force your work onto people because you never, ever know where it will take you.


A huge thanks to Mike for joining me today and for sharing that with us, I know that it’s given me a fair chuckle!

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