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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am delighted to share my thoughts of a book that was published by No Exit Press  in celebration of ten years of crime fiction at CrimeFest, the international crime fiction festival.

 

Description:

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Twenty superb new crime stories have been commissioned specially to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Crimefest, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the fifty best festivals in the world’.

A star-studded international group of authors has come together in crime writing harmony to provide a killer cocktail for noir fans; salutary tales of gangster etiquette and pitfalls, clever takes on the locked-room genre, chilling wrong-footers from the deceptively peaceful suburbs, intriguing accounts of tables being turned on hapless private eyes, delicious slices of jet black nordic noir, culminating in a stunning example of bleak amorality from crime writing doyenne Maj Sjowall.
The contributors to Ten Year Stretch are: Bill Beverly, Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Peter Guttridge, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Mick Herron, Donna Moore, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, James Sallis, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Maj Sjowall, Michael Stanley and Andrew Taylor.

The foreword is by international bestselling thriller writer Peter James. The editors are Martin Edwards, responsible for many award-winning anthologies, and Adrian Muller, CrimeFest co-founder.

All Royalties are donated to the RNIB Talking Books Library.

My Thoughts & Review:

I utterly love books like this, anthologies introduce readers to new writers and give them a glimpse into the minds of some very talented authors who can cast a literary spell on their audience in a few pages. This one in particular features some of the top crime fiction writers such as John Harvey, Ann Cleeves, Michael Stanley, Caro Ramsey and Ian Rankin to name but a few.  I have to admit there are names on this list that I’ve heard of but not actually read anything by so it was a great delight to be caught up in their worlds and discover some thrilling reads that had me on the edge of my seat from the opening lines.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Ten Year Stretch from the folks at No Exit Press and when it arrived I opted to flick through it at random, stopping entirely by chance at a story to read.  I was soon immersed in a world of intrigue and held utterly captive by the writing of Kate Ellis in Crime Scene.  This was such a thrilling and exciting story that had me guessing throughout.  I loved that so much detail and atmosphere was was tightly woven into such a few pages, the writing crisp and taut, the characterisation absolutely on point.

Strangers in a Pub by Martin Edwards was another story that grabbed my attention, brilliantly plotted and fascinating reading!  The thing I loved most about this story was the “what if” moment that it planted in my head … what if things had worked out differently in this story, how vastly different this story would have worked out, how things were down to chance.  There’s just something so brilliant about a piece of writing that can get your mind spiraling and thinking along with the story.
Fans of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus will be delighted to know that Inside the Box features the much loved detective in his usual ill-tempered and sarcastic mode.

There are so many fantastic stories in here, some of them I would absolutely love to see expanded into a full length novel.
The skill it takes to write a short story awes me, to grab a reader so tightly with a story that lasts a few pages is amazing and it’s fair to say that each of the writers here have done just this.

What a spectacular way to celebrate a decade of crime fiction at CrimeFest, and even if you can’t make it to the festival this weekend in Bristol, don’t let that stop you picking up a copy of this excellent anthology!

You can buy a copy of Ten Year Stretch via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository
No Exit Press (Publisher)

 

My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for my copy of Ten Year Stretch and for being part of Celebrating Indie Publishing!

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** My thanks to Nikki at Melville House UK for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Twenty-something Holly has moved to Brighton to escape. But now she’s here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway… How is she supposed to fill the void her boyfriend left when he died, leaving her behind?

She had thought she’d want to be on her own, but when she meets Frank, a retired magician who has experienced his own loss, the tide begins to shift. A moving and powerful debut, Let Me Be Like Water is a book about the humdrum and extraordinariness of everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Sometimes a step away from my usual crime reads is just what I need to refresh and reset.  And sometimes, the step away can be so rewarding as it opens my eyes to some of the greatest reads that I’ve ever stumbled upon.

Let Me Be Like Water is quite a special book, it’s profoundly beautiful.  There’s a rawness to the emotion that the author layers throughout her writing, Holly’s grief is incredibly moving and at times not the easiest to read.  Her heartache over the loss of her boyfriend is so visceral, the loss of his love, his friendship, their shared moments are all hauntingly real.    The struggles to get to a place of “ok” in her mind means that Holly has to rebuild herself, find a way to live without the physical presence of the man she loves but still keep the memories of him alive, and so she moves from London to Brighton.

The metaphor of water in the writing is powerful and mesmerising.  Water has the power to be many things;  it’s a vital resource to keep us alive and yet it can be so dangerous, it can be calming but it can also be turbulent and the way that it flows into Holly’s life is somewhat poetic.  Sitting beside the sea gives Holly a chance to reflect on things, it’s a place that she can go to lose herself in her thoughts and it’s here that life takes on a new meaning.  Meeting Frank and Harris gives Holly something she didn’t know she needed at that moment.  Frank is a retired magician, and a character that I felt so much appreciation for, we need more people like Frank in this world.  He’s almost like a collector of lost souls, the troubled, the hurt, the weary somehow find him, he in turn introducing these souls to others to form some wonderful bonds.  The friendships between the characters in Let Me Be Like Water are ones of great strength and understanding.  No one asks too much of another, each offers support in any way they can and share the love of books and food.  The characterisation is superb, the flawed and damaged cast are so human and realistic, it’s not hard to imagine these people in every walk of life.  Each has a pain or suffering that they’ve learnt to live with, and the way they accept and support each other makes for truly wonderful reading.

Such a moving exploration of loss, that honestly left me feeling so awed.  The way that friendship reaches into the hearts of the characters and redeems them, gives them a liferaft to cling onto and gives them hope makes this such a beautiful and emotive read and one that I cannot recommend highly enough.

You can buy a copy of Let Me Be Like Water via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Melville House (publisher)

About the Author:

 

SK Perry © Naomi Woddis copy

Author Image (c) Naomi Woddis

I’m Sarah, and I’m a fiction writer and poet from Croydon. My first novel, Let Me Be Like Water, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Novel Award and will be published by Melville House in May.

I run creative writing projects that develop emotional literacy, and explore mental health, memory, and healing from violence. I’m interested in multi-lingual literature and translation, and how different languages live and are used in cities. I was the Cityread Young Writer in Residence in Soho in 2014 and I qualified on the Spoken Word Education Programme the following year.

I’m involved in mentoring young poets’ collectives in Hackney, Glasgow, and Tegucigalpa, and I live in South London.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://sk-perry.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_sarah_perry

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Today I am delighted to share a review of a book that’s the second in a series that I discovered by chance last year.  Rose Gold is the follow up to Blue Gold which I reviewed back in May 2017 and follows on the story of Sim Atkins in a futuristic Earth where water has become a resource to go to war over, a mining base has been set up on the moon.

Rose Gold was published by Urbane Publications on 10th May 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Rose Gold is the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Blue Gold.

 

In the aftermath of a world war for water, geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life in the 2030s. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Sim Atkins and his wife are desperate to start a family. But a shocking message from the moon base tells Sim that he is already a father and that his son’s life is in danger. The mining station is full of suspects and, worse, the woman who fathered his child. Can Sim rescue his son and save his marriage?

Gopal and Rabten – the Gurkha and monk who helped Sim on his last assignment – are on the trail of terrorists and a giant airship. What the agents discover in the cargo hold makes Sim’s mission even more vital. When they get trapped, Freda Brightwell – Sim’s old partner in Overseas Division – is called out of retirement for one more mission.

Once again, corporate greed threatens the lives of millions. Overseas Divisions finest are back at the sharp end. And this time, the stakes are far more personal.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I found out that book two of this series was available to read early I jumped at the chance.  David Barker had cruelly included an extract of this book at the back of Blue Gold that had me desperate to find out what happened next for the main character Sim and I really, really needed to know where this series was going to go next after the shocking revelations uncovered.  Thankfully this book didn’t disappoint and I soon found that once I was curled up with this book I quickly shut off from the outside world around me and was fully immersed in the thrilling action that took place on the pages.

For those who have read Blue Gold, this is a continuation of the series and goes on to give a glimpse into Sim’s life upon his return to North Scotland, before he’s pulled back into the clutches of a government department that urgently needs his help.
I guess you could maybe read this without having read the previous book, there is detail given as to who people are, the backstories between them to give readers a grounding of how things are connected, but I do think that this series works best as read in order.

This is an intelligently written novel that oozes detail and tension.  The plotting is superb, and pace is perfectly matched to the storyline.  There is an underlying menace keeps the pace of this punchy and sharp, and like the main character, readers don’t quite know who is behind the dangerous plot that threatens the lives of many.
It was nice to see the reappearance of Frida Brightwell after her retirement from active duty.  Such a strong character that I loved meeting in the first book, although I did miss her movie quotes, it was entertaining to see her TV series recommendation to Sim in light of his mission to the moon.  Seeing her back in action when she goes to rescue Gopal and Rabten when their mission goes wrong is thrilling and ultimately one of my favourite parts of the book, and I really can’t wait to see what happens in the third book!

Now the impatient wait for the next instalment ….

 

You can buy a copy of Rose Gold via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:david_barker-745x1024

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing. Rose Gold, sequel to Blue Gold, publishes spring 2018.

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It’s always lovely to have an author stop by to help celebrate indie publishing, and I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome along the lovely Anne Stormont today.  Anne has published two adult novels under her own name and one children’s novel under the name of Anne McAlpine.


Author Feature:

Portrait websites

Anne Stormont writes contemporary women’s fiction. So far she has published two novels Change of Life and Displacement. She is currently working on a sequel to Displacement which will be out in 2018. She has also written a children’s novel called The Silver Locket published under the name of Anne McAlpine.

Anne is a Scot and she has recently moved from the Isle of Skye to the Scottish Borders. She has travelled the world and has visited every continent except Antarctica –where considering her penchant for penguins she really must go. Anne was a primary school teacher for 36 years and is also a wife, mum and grandma.

She is a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart.

 

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

There’s a lot that I like about being an author, but probably my favourite thing is getting to spend time with my characters and discovering where they’re going to take me.

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

I find writing the synopsis, which is a one page summary of the entire book, quite a challenge. And writing the backcover blurb is even harder. Trying to reduce ninety thousand words down to about 150 with no spoilers and plenty of hooks is definitely my least favourite thing.

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

Coming up with just one is making my brain hurt, but I think I would have to go with Unless by Carol Shields. To me it was the perfect novel – so beautifully written in a calm understated style and with brilliantly drawn characters and a poignant storyline. It was published in 2002 and sadly it was the author’s final novel as she died shortly afterwards. It is written in the first person – something I like to do in my own novels and its themes are still relevant today – not least the often hidden role of women in society.

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

I go walking a lot – I aim for a daily 2 to 3 miles and regularly do longer walks. I like how walking frees my mind to go rambling too. I also do yoga – great for mind and body. I also like gardening in my spare time and of course reading. I LOVE reading.

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

In many respects, I’m a creature of routine, but for many years I had to combine my writing with a full time teaching job so I learned to write whenever the opportunity arose. And even now I’m no longer teaching, I don’t have a rigid routine. But I have fallen into a bit of a pattern which is to attend to blog posts, marketing and the general business side of the writing job in the mornings, and to work on the actual writing in the afternoon and early evening.

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

My next novel is due out in the summer. It’s called Settlement and although it’s a sequel to my previous novel Displacement, it can be read as a standalone. It’s currently with my editor and I’m bracing myself for the inevitable rewrites. Meanwhile I’m sketching out the third and final book of the series, and flirting with ideas for a second children’s novel. The children’s novel will feature the same three friends as the first one which is called The Silver Locket and which I wrote using my alter-ego name of Anne McAlpine.

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

It would have to be ‘seize the day’. I’m a cancer survivor and it took my brush with mortality to waken me up to the fact that life is finite. It was the deal I did with fate – if I survive this illness, I will stop procrastinating and take my writing seriously – and I kept my side of the deal. So, if you have a dream, go for it now, because now is all any of us have.

 

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

My latest book is the above-mentioned Displacement. It’s contemporary fiction and is available as a paperback and as an ebook. And here’s a little bit about what to expect if you read it:

A story of love, courage and hope

Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief stricken, lonely and lost. 

Forced retirement due to a heart condition leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to take stock and find a new direction for his life.

When the two of them meet in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a mutually supportive friendship develops between them, despite their very different personalities.

But with Rachel due to be in the Middle East for several months and Jack already in a relationship, it seems unlikely they’ll get the chance to take their relationship any further – much as they might want to.

Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, this book tells a story of love, home and heritage and what happens when these are threatened at a political and a personal level.

Amazon Links for Displacement:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Social Media Links:

Author websites: Anne Stormont and Anne McAlpine

Facebook Author pages: Anne Stormont and Anne McAlpine

Twitter

 

 

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I am so excited to share a guest post today that was written by L J Morris, the author behind Desperate Grounds, an action packed thriller published by Bloodhound Books as part of the pre publication blog tour.

 

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When the secrecy of a nuclear weapon agreement is thrown into doubt, a disgraced intelligence operative is recruited to find out if the deal is still safe…

Ali Sinclair, wrongly convicted and on the run from a Mexican prison, is enlisted to infiltrate her old friend’s inner circle and find the evidence.

The only people on her side are an ex-Cold War spook and the former Royal Marine that was sent to find her. Together they discover that the stakes are much higher than anyone knew, and the fate of the world is at risk…

But when you live in the shadows who can you trust?

 

You can buy a copy of Desperate Grounds via Amazon UK

 

Guest Post:

Character Building

Whenever I start to write a new story, I usually have an idea of who the main character will be and how the scene that will introduce them plays out. That scene can change dramatically, as it did for Desperate Ground, but it gives me a starting point.

When I sat down to finally begin writing Desperate Ground I already had two of the main characters in my head, Ali Sinclair and Frank McGill.

I’d created Frank McGill for two short pieces that I’d written a couple of years earlier. He had an existing back story and had developed over the course of the stories. I felt like I knew him, and he would be perfect for my novel. Originally, McGill was the main character in Desperate Ground, but I soon realised that that had to change.

McGill is an ex Royal Marine, fiercely loyal and used to taking orders but, now he is a civilian, he can pick and choose who he takes orders from. With that in mind, what would his motivation be? He has no love for the authorities so why would he work for them? That’s when I realised he couldn’t be the lead protagonist. With his recent past and death of his wife and unborn child, he was more likely to tip over the edge and become one of the bad guys. I needed him to have a reason to get involved and risk everything. I needed him to have a cause he was willing to die for. As McGill has no family or friends, I had to create another person that he cares about. That’s where Ali Sinclair came in. McGill’s motivation would be to help her. She would be the main protagonist and McGill would be her backup, her bodyguard.

Ali Sinclair is loosely based on someone I know. A young woman who served on the front line in Iraq and Afghanistan. She later became a private military contractor before moving into civilian security and close protection. Those experiences on their own would make the basis of a good character but there was more.

The real woman I based Sinclair on is as hard as nails when it’s needed but, as anyone who knows her will tell you, she also has a heart of gold. People who meet her today would only see the loving mother and care worker she became when she left the security business. She spends her time helping others, but underneath that is the tough military veteran who shouldn’t be messed with. That contradiction in her personality intrigued me and the character of Ali Sinclair was born.

Sinclair is angry at her treatment after being abandoned by those that she expected to help her. She too has no family and sees McGill as an older brother, the only person she can rely on. She is the dominant personality in the relationship and keeps McGill in line. She makes the tough decisions and prevents McGill from giving in to some of his darker aspects.

When I created the rest of the team, I wanted characters that I could grow and reuse in further stories. Not just the two other members of the main team, Simeon Carter and Danny Kinsella, but also some of the secondary characters. I’ve always enjoyed series which use recurring characters. I think it gives the reader a feeling of familiarity. The world in the books seems more real as characters you’ve already met reappear at different times and in different plots.

Simeon Carter, the old Cold War spook, and Danny Kinsella, the younger tech savvy computer expert, are a combination of characters in books I’ve read, film or TV series I’ve seen or people I’ve met. All the years I spent reading any genre I could get my hands on have now paid off. I have a built-in library of different traits and flaws from various influences that I can combine to form new characters. There are definitely some similarities between Simeon Carter and characters in the classic Cold War novels of Len Deighton and John le Carre, but also characters in TV programmes I grew up with. This also holds true for the villains I create. Although they are less likely to be based on people I know.

The other major ingredient in any story I write is the location. I was once told to think of location as another character and treat it the same. So, I tend to base locations on real places I have visited, although sometimes I combine actual places with made up ones.

A large part of Dangerous Ground takes place in Texas, a part of the world I lived in for a while. Many of the scenes are from memories I have but some of the locations are a combination of different places. For instance, the Houston motel that appears in one of the chapters is a description of a real place I stayed, whereas the ranch is based on different buildings including the secure apartment complex I lived in.

Occasionally, I need a specific location that I have no experience of at all. That’s where research takes over. Google maps is fantastic to get an idea of what an area looks like but, to get an idea of the feeling of a place, various travel guides and travelogues are my favourite place to look. Once I can picture the place in my mind, I describe it as if I was telling someone about a recent holiday trip.

To sum it up, I will use any influence I can to create a character, which is why I’ve warned all my friends that parts of a character’s personality might seem a little familiar.

I’m sure you will agree that’s a fascinating piece, I always love knowing where authors get their ideas for characters from.  I really like the idea that there are similarities between the characters in this and in some of my favourite novels from the masters such as le Carre and Deighton, cannot wait to read this one!

 

About the Author:Profile 1_LJM

L J Morris is an author with a love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child.

After a career in the Royal Navy, which spanned most of the 80s and 90s, he settled back in Cumbria and soon realised that an unsuccessful attempt to write a serial killer novel at the age of 12 hadn’t blunted his ambitions.

He started to write again and has enjoyed success with his short stories appearing in several anthologies. Although he still enjoys writing short stories, his passion has always been for thriller novels and he has spent the last few years following his dream of being a published novelist.

Social Media Links:

www.ljmorrisauthor.com

www.facebook.com/LesJMorris

https://twitter.com/LesJMorris

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Another Monday has rolled around, and so that means that that it’s time for another exciting First Monday Crime evening in London!  The authors featuring are superb, each brilliant in their own right and have all written some fantastic books!

So I shall attempt to share my review of Blue Night by Simone Buchholz, from February …

The Quiet Knitter

Today to Celebrate Indie Publishing I am delighted to share a book from the amazing Orenda Books, a publisher who brings exceptional books to the hands of readers around the world and I’m pleased to say that today’s offering is one such book!

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

Description:

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and…

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Today I have a mini review to share as part of the blog tour for Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Ice Swimmer.

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** My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of this & Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.
With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort. Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.

My Thoughts & Review:

I do love dipping my toe into Nordic Noir, and what better author to act as lifeguard than the awesome Kjell Ola Dahl.  For those unfamiliar with this author, I would urge you to check out his books, they are utterly brilliant and authentic.

The Ice Swimmer is a well plotted police procedural that keeps readers guessing throughout.  There’s a darkness that this book exudes, it’s so cleverly twisted and and full of suspense.  Whilst the pacing may not be breakneck speed, it works perfectly with the plot, complimenting it.  The investigation is thrilling and complex, but the glimpses into the lives of the team are what really makes this a such an enthralling read.  There’s something so realistic about the characters, but more so when you see the looks into their personal lives, this authenticity makes them come alive, even if their names are almost impossible to get your tongue around.
The atmospheric setting is beautifully written, Oslo is so crisp and vivid.

The translation by Don Bartlett is as ever seamless, none of the subtle nuances are lost when the work was translated into English.

You can buy a copy of The Ice Swimmer via:

Amazon UK
Orenda eBookstore

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time to celebrate another independently published author and their book.  Today’s book in the spotlight is The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter written by Cherry Radford.  It was published by Urbane Publications on 5th April 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature

Description:

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After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to start a novel, she wants to be alone until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English, and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle or tragedy of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a unique book that opens with a wonderful playlist of tracks to play whilst reading the book, giving the reader a glimpse of the important role that music plays.  The connection of music is what draws two characters together, one a musician in Madrid and the other a journalist/author in Beachy Head.  The discovery of a CD in a borrowed car leading to a friendship between the two and setting off a chain of events that lead to self discoveries and uncover long buried secrets.

Imogen has sought the sanctuary of her aunt’s lighthouse following the break up of her marriage, relishing the peace and tranquility that the remote setting offers her, despite missing her teenage son terribly.  However, her sadness is only magnified when you realise that the lighthouse she is staying in has another in it’s view, the one that her father worked at and subsequently lost his life at.
The backdrop of the setting is poetically offset with the struggles that Imogen has to work through.  Heartache is something that Imogen has experienced before, but the diary extracts she reads from her father rock her and throw her into a deeper turmoil.

Musician and actor Santiago Montoya in Madrid is working on a soap opera and not able to spend as much time working on his music as he’d like, his band no longer performing.  He begins learning English in the hopes that it might open new opportunities up for him in his career and is one day surprised when a tweet comes from a woman in England saying how much she connected with this music, how it made her feel alive, made her “feel”.

Their connection through Twitter is like the beginnings of a modern day love story, social media linking them from one country to another.  Imogen’s personality shines through her messages to Santiago, her chatty happiness positively glows from the pages.   The easiness of their friendship makes for enjoyable reading, the budding friendship between them grows, Imogen helping Santi with his English and he in turn helping her with her Spanish.

The story of Imogen’s father is one that slowly unravels throughout the book, and one that I found I was desperately hooked upon, wanting to discover what drove him to take the course of action he decided upon.  The diary extracts give a great insight into the mind of her father, and an alternative view to Imogen of events from her childhood.

Themes of relationships and emotion are a huge part of the plot, this is a book that takes readers on a journey along with the characters.
Vivid descriptions of the settings help to transport the readers, from the rocky, windswept Beachy Head to the sunny and continental Madrid.

An enjoyable escape.

You can buy a copy of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter via:

Amazon UK

 


Author Feature:

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Cherry Radford was a keyboard player in a band, a piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and an optometrist/post-doctoral researcher at Moorfields Eye Hospital before suddenly starting her first novel in the middle of a scientific conference in 2009.

Following the publication of Men Dancing (2011) and Flamenco Baby (2013) by a small Brighton-based independent, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is her first novel with Urbane Publications.

Cherry lives in Eastbourne and Almería (Spain).

She chats about writing and other passions on her BLA BLA LAND blog (https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com), Twitter (@CherryRad), Instagram (cherry_radford) and website (http://cherryradford.co.uk).

 

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

My favourite thing is being immersed in the world of my novel, particularly in the last few chapters. At that point, I’m way past the dreadful 25K doubting stage, I’ve come through the plot-tangling developments, and I pretty much know how it’s going to end – but love watching how the characters take over and decide the final details. This isn’t the favourite thing for people around me, however; apparently, I behave like a woman in that antsy stage of labour, and… well, on all three occasions I’ve been encouraged to book into a hotel!

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

Although I love Twitter, Instagram and running my BLA BLA LAND blog, I have far too many technotantrums about things like managing photos, uploading stuff and trying to figure out how the hell Goodreads works.

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

I love unusual romances that are written for both men and women – what I call People Fiction as opposed to Women’s Fiction. It would have to be one of the stellar examples, such as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. I am totally in awe of that novel.

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

If I’m not plotting, I’m researching, writing or editing a novel – or possibly two of these, on different novels! I’m always reading something – a novel or some non-fiction for research – but spend far too much time Tweeting and Instagramming with all sorts of wonderful people e.g. other authors, flamenco musicians and an engineer who goes around the country fixing lighthouses! I try to swim or walk each day (both great for ideas), and two afternoons a week I have my lovely piano pupils.

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

Oh yes. I developed stationeryphilia through years of doing scientific research, and this condition was easily transferred to my writing when I started it nearly ten years ago. I have to write in pocket-size elasticated leather notebooks you can stick a (colour-matched, Pentel) biro into. The sight of a white screen page makes me nervous; I’m much happier scribbling by hand and later filtering as I transfer to the laptop. It also stops me fussing about word count, which I think is a daft way of measuring progress (does a painter count how many tubes of paint he’s using up?). It’s getting through the chapters that counts –  and not irritating readers by having too many words in them. I’m a recumbent writer – bed, sun-lounger or beach rug – but always get my break-through ideas when in the bath or swimming.

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

More seaside! I’m writing a saga about a family who own a pier, starting in 1930. At least, I hope I am; I’m still in the dreadful doubting stage.

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

Put down the phone and read – there are so many great novels out there, and only one lifetime to read them in!

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com)
Twitter: @CherryRad
Instagram: cherry_radford
Website: http://cherryradford.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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Whilst I’m taking a few days off for the school holidays I thought that it might be nice to showcase some wonderful indie authors and shine a blinding spotlight on them.

I am delighted to be joined by the lovely Heather Osborne today.

Heather has written several books which are available to buy now on Amazon,  and I would recommend checking them out, I’m keen to check out the Rae Hatting Mysteries series as it sounds brilliant!


Author Feature:

author

Heather Osborne was born and raised in California. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Victimology, as well as coursework in Early Childhood Education. In 2009, she met her husband and moved to Scotland, very much a dream of hers since she was a small child. Heather has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. She also has written and directed several plays. In her spare time, Heather enjoys reading, writing (of course!), theatre, as well as caring for her young son.

 

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

My favorite thing about being an author is weaving stories together from one or two sparks of inspiration. It could be anything from reading about a specific period of history to seeing the sun set on the horizon. It’s a pretty magical feeling.

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

Getting the story out without rushing! I’ve found I enjoy writing short stories the most because I have to get maximum impact in about 10,000 words. It’s certainly a challenge.

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

I don’t think I can answer that because each book is unique, even if the storyline has similarities to another book. I wouldn’t want to take another author’s work and make it my own. However, if I could emulate any author’s style, I’d love to be able to write like Charlotte Bronte.

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

When I’m not writing, I volunteer with Victim Support Scotland. I’m active in our local theatre group, where I act, direct, stage manage and just about anything else that needs done! I also take care of my six-year-old son and try to get in some reading when I can! I proofread and edit on the side, so I’m a very busy woman.

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

With all I do, I have to write when the inspiration strikes me. I don’t believe in writing for the sake of writing. My words have to have a purpose. If I find I’m forcing myself and the words are flowing properly, I stop. However, I do keep a notebook and pen in my handbag and I’ve been known to write a scene on anything I can get a hold of when needed. I have a scene from The Soldier’s Secret scrawled on the back of a play script.

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

I’m currently working on another crime thriller, my first standalone in the genre. I’m also working on a sequel to my historical romance Bitter Bonds entitled Divided Destiny. I have a few little side projects as well creeping around, including a collection of short stories I hope to have out mid-year.

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

Be kind to your favorite authors and leave reviews! Even just a few words let us know people are out there. And try to remember, we are human too! Don’t forget there is a person behind the words.

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

My latest book was actually a novella entitled Assassin’s Blood and written under the pen name H.A. Osborne. It’s my first foray into science fiction, and it is based on some of the roleplaying experiences I had and the back story I created for a character I still roleplay, but obviously with tweaks to the location, etc, so as not to violate any copyright (eep!). It’s very character driven and the first of three novellas (I hope to get the next two out this year). It’s something unique and a genre I’ve never explored before. I also had help from other people who play the same video game, so it really was a group effort. I put a great deal of heart and emotion into it, so I hope it reflects back to the readers!

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hosborneauthor

Blog: https://heatherosborneauthor.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/HeatherOsborne

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bWVG3r

Book 1 Cover final.jpg

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Whilst I’m taking a few days off for the school holidays I thought that it might be nice to showcase some wonderful indie authors and shine a blinding spotlight on them.

I am so excited to put one of my favourite crime fiction authors in the spotlight and share my love of his books with you.  The author in question is the lovely Derek Farrell who has written the Danny Bird mysteries series (Death of a Diva, Death of a Nobody and Death of a Devil).

Derek Farrell’s are published by Fahrenheit Press and are available to buy now!


Author Feature:

Derek Farrell_Fotor

Derek Farrell is the author of the Danny Bird Mysteries, ‘Death of a Diva,’ ‘Death of a Nobody’ and ‘Death of a Devil,’ which centre on the denizens of The Marquess of Queensbury Public House in Glamourous South London.

He was educated in Dublin, and, whilst waiting to become a writer of fabulous crime novels has passed his time being a burger dresser, bank cashier, David Bowie’s paperboy, and an Investment Banker in New York’s World Trade Centre (a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street, only with fewer hookers and more midgets, since you ask).

He is married and divides his time between London, West Sussex and Dublin.

Derek loves to hear from his readers, and can be contacted via Twitter: @derekifarrell or at his website Derekfarrell.co.uk

His books can be purchased as paperbacks or ebooks direct from the publisher Fahrenheit Press at: http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_fahrenheit.html

Or from Amazon:

Death of a Diva

Death of a Nobody

Death of a Devil

Death of a Diva is now available as a deluxe edition Hardback limited to only 50 Copies worldwide.
Purchase it here.

 

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

The best thing about being an author is realising that I have a tribe of readers who love escaping into my world. I LOVE the idea of telling stories and knowing that there are people I’ve never even met who are on trains and busses and on holiday or in the kitchen wondering what’s going to happen to Danny and the gang next.

Plus, the parties are epic. There was this one time Wilbur Smith came into Studio HB54 on a White Horse…

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

Writing. To quote one of my writing Heroines Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing; I love having written.” Every time I sit down, the fear kicks in, and you wonder if you’re about to be rumbled. But you press on, and hope that, when it’s finally done, it will resemble the idea you had in your head all along. And so far, I think I’ve gotten away with it…

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

Can I have two?
“The Aggravations of Minnie Ashe” by Cyril Kersh was the first book I ever read that left me unable to breathe because I was laughing so hard.

It’s the everyday story of a Widow in East End London on the edge of WWII and her ongoing battles with the council, the neighbours and the ‘thieving tradesmen who’d rip the eyes out of a widow’s head’ as told by her long suffering son.

The cast of characters – mum, uncles, aunts, random neighbours – didn’t so much influence The Danny Bird Mysteries as provide an (admittedly unconscious) blueprint for how to make the every day both fascinating, funny, and tragically poignant. If I could write that funny and that humanly, I would be a very proud and happy author. This and its sequel are out of print nowadays, but well worth hunting down.

The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett.  I read this one at least once a year, along with ‘Gatsby,’ which is also a Talisman of mine. Hammett here manages to move the Noir novel into a space that’s a little more cerebral, a little more cosmopolitan, a lot more humorous. TTM isn’t a huge book; it relies on a couple of questionable turns; but it is like a perfectly constructed Martini: Simple, genuine, and far more complicated than it looks at first glance. Plus, it features GALLONS of booze. I mean it. GALLONS. At one point, I worried that Danny and Caz in my books were drinking too much to be (a) functioning and (b) feasible. Then I did my annual reread of TTM, and actually added more gin.

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

Travelling, reading going to the theatre, drinking Chardonnay and Gin and stressing about the fact I’m (a) not writing (b) drinking too much and (c) as a result of (b) getting too fat go fit into my knockoff Prada onesie.

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

My number one ritual is: Travel.

All my first drafts are at least partially written en route to my day job.

Most of the 2nd half of Death of a Diva was written on a ship crossing the Atlantic. For five days my fellow passengers played Bingo, Quoits, or lounged on deck, whilst I – regularly supplied with Martinis – sat in the Library from dawn to dusk and wrote.

A good chunk of Death of a Nobody was written sitting by a swimming pool in New Zealand, and Death of a Devil was finished somewhere between Venice and Montenegro. The book I’m currently working on was plotted in a cottage in Wales and started on a Caribbean Island.

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

Danny 4. That’s – honestly – all I’m allowed to tell you.

But if you press me (and since you’ve promised me gin when we finally meet) I’ll add: LONDON in capitals, and a mix of smart, funny, sad, angry and – to be frank, having just written a scene with a dead pig and a celebrity chef – surreal. In other words: Danny & Caz  are at it full blast.

All I know is that, this time around, there will be tears.

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

One? You know me better than that, surely?

Stop thinking you should only read X or Y: Read whatever the f*ck you want to read, and – if it’s not working for you – stop, no shame no guilt, no judgement. Also: Review on Amazon, Goodread etc. Authors need these reviews. Not, obviously, the “It made my eyes fall out and my house burn down” type, but any genuine honest review is a brilliant thing. And tell your friends if you loved a book. Hell, if you loved a book, tell even the people you’re not that fond of. A personal recommendation is worth a billion dollars.

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? hardback_spread1_Fotor

Death of a Diva is being reissued in deluxe, shiny glamorous extremely limited hardback edition. It’s the first of the Danny Bird Mysteries, and introduces us to a bloke and his best mate, the crazy denizens of the bar they end up in charge of, the gangster who runs it, and the world that thousands of readers have come to love. It’s been described as “Like M.C. Beaton on MDMA,” “A classic whodunit full of red herrings,” and – by Monty Python’s own Eric Idle – as “Quite Good.”

If you like Gin, Gangsters, Diamond Geezers, Dolly Birds,

Murder, Mayhem, Pearls Poison and Profanity, then I think you’ll like Death of a Diva.

And if you don’t, then there’s something not right with you.

Danny Covers

 

My thanks to Derek for being so much fun and taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing, I’m so intrigued by the sound of book four and cannot wait to read it!  Now to see if I can squish myself into one of Derek’s suitcases for his next holiday……

 

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