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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

Today I am thrilled to welcome you to my post to celebrate another brilliant book from Bombshell Books, an imprint of Bloodhound Books specialising in women’s fiction, chick-lit & romance. The book in the spotlight today is The French Escape, which was published on 20th September 2018.


Book Feature:

Description:

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It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her. 

Brenda, fed up with her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?

But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.

The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.

Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…

Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?

 

Description:

Having enjoyed Suzie Tullett’s previous books, I was thrilled to find out that she had a new book coming out! There’s something really lovely about Suzie’s books, maybe it’s the way that she writes, maybe it’s the way she creates her characters, or maybe it’s just the book I need at the time, but each of her books has been a delight to read.

Readers meet Flick as she and her sleeping mother are on their way to a mysterious French holiday destination, well mysterious for Flick as her mother hasn’t really given her much detail other than where to programme the satnav for. But when they arrive, Flick is astounded, they are staying at a chateau, albeit one that looks in need of a massive overhaul, but breathtakingly beautiful.
Interspersed through Flick’s story, is narration from Nate, someone who has a history that he wants to keep securely locked away and likes living in the relative remoteness of the woods.
Both of these characters has their own struggle, they are trying to rebuild their lives and find a way to move forward. I think it was Nate’s story that was the most intriguing, what secret is hiding in his past, why doesn’t he want to be recognised?

The wonderful descriptions of the settings and the food are simply wonderful, the chateau sounds so full of character and the icy cold shower sounded like such a shock to the system! I could almost see the picturesque views, the market in town, it just all came to life from the pages.

Aside from Flick and Nate, there are some really fun and quirky characters in this book, each of them so very different from the other, and I will admit there were ones I took more easily to than others. Brenda, Flick’s mother, bless her heart, just wants the best for her daughter. And as a mother I could sympathise with her, I could understand why she would do whatever it took to make her daughter happy, her methods might not be the most straightforward, but she has a heart of gold. Julia was another character I liked, always there to pick up the pieces for her nephew, always there with a word of wisdom or dole out a sharp reminder that life isn’t easy.

The French Escape is a lovely romantic comedy, it has the great “will they, won’t they” element to it, it’s the sort of escapism that you want from a book. A good story, great characters and enough mystery to keep you hooked!

Highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The French Escape via Amazon UK

 

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

 

Description:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart.

My Thoughts & Review:

If there’s one author you need to read it’s Louise Beech, this wily wordsmith has a unique gift when it comes to crafting a beautifully evocative tale that will capture the heart of readers.  You will often hear people throw the phrase “this is the best book yet” when they read the latest offering from an author, but in this case I truly believe that The Lion Tamer Who Lost is Louise’s absolute best book yet!

Without rehashing the plot, I will say that this is an incredibly moving and poignant read that flows beautifully.  The characters are so vivid and real, you can feel their anguish, their frustration, their happiness and become so invested in them, they become part of you.
This is a love story like no other and it draws emotions from the reader in a way that I cannot explain.  It was likened to the sort of book that brings on a therapeutic cry, a bit like the way that Beaches starring Barbra Streisand never fails to make me weep, and I found that whilst reading this I went through an entire box of tissues.

The most exquisite thing about Louise’s writing is that she portrays emotion and the fragility of it so sympathetically, so understandingly, but with a frankness that does not shy away from the magnetic pull of it.

If you want characters that you can take into your heart, a plot that carry you off to the wilds of Zimbabwe and back again, and writing that will take you on an emotional journey then this is the book for you.  I cannot recommend this highly enough!

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For today’s post on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am thrilled to share a review of a book that has been much loved since we discovered it earlier in the year. If you’ve followed The Quiet Knitter, you might have seen the review of the first book of the Teacup House series in July 2018 and I am pleased to say that it’s time to share the review of book two.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Stevie’s mum is having a party, so she’s baked a delicious cake for all the guests.

Stevie’s tiny toy rabbits, Silver and Fig Twitch, would love a taste of its yummy purple icing.

How will they get their paws on some?

It’s time for an adventure outside the Teacup House!

 

 

 

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with the Twitch family in Meet The Twitches, I quickly ordered a copy of the second book of the series for my mini bookworm so that we could continue with our fun filled adventure with the rabbit family of the Teacup House.

Picking up from their adventure in book one of the series, we catch up with Stevie and her mum as they prepare for a party to introduce themselves to their new neighbours. But when the toy rabbits are involved, you just know that there will be fun, laughter and daring missions.

As the title and gorgeous cover suggest, there is a cake involved in this tale. And what  cake it is! The purple icing is enough to lure the two youngest T

witches into a daring mission across the kitchen, weaving between obstacles to get enough icing for a cake of their own.
Whilst Fig and Silver are on their adventure, readers find out a little more about Stevie. She’s still not 100% sure about living in the country, life is much different from the city and she misses her friends. Meeting the new neighbours brings much apprehension for Stevie, and it seems that the adults are still making plans about her and for her without asking her what she thinks.

As with the previous book, Meet The Twitches, the illustrations are bright and crisp, they bring the story to life and compliment Hayley Scott’s writing perfectly. Being able to see the wonderful cake, the way that Fig and Silver make their way around the obstacles in the kitchen make this a truly magical read and had us in fits of giggles as we read.

We cannot wait for the third book in the series which is due out in October, The Twitches Meet a Puppy!

You can buy a copy of any of the books in the Teacup House series via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

About the Author:

Hayley grew up in and around Berkshire and after a short stint in magazine publishing, her boss encouraged her to apply for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA where she gained a Distinction. In 2006 she won an Escalator Award from Writers Centre East and a Grant for the Arts to write her first novel, Jar Baby (Dexter Haven, 2012).

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It’s always a pleasure to welcome an indie author to join me on a Friday to fly the flag and raise a cheer for indie publishing, and today I joined by Rebecca Howie.
Rebecca is the author of the Sam Beckett mystery series which features a 17-year-old private investigator. The Game Begins and A Scorned Woman are both available for purchase now!


Author Feature:

Rebecca Howie is a procrastinating writer from Scotland, who prefers spending her time in fictional worlds rather than the real one.

She self-published her first novel, The Game Begins, at 18, and it reached 2nd in the Teen and Young Adult Detective category on Amazon after its release in February 2016.

 

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

I think that’s probably being able to write all the time, because I love planning new stories, and seeing where they end up.

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

The editing. By the time I get round to final revisions, I can type whole passages with my eyes shut because I’ve read them so many times, and the last thing I want to do is read the whole thing from the start again.

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

I’d quite like to have written the Harry Potter books, because it still impresses me how developed the magical world is. I think it’s amazing how much there is to learn about, and how much people still love it even after twenty years.

I’d love to be able to capture readers’ interest like that.

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

If I’m not writing, I’m either reading, researching, or plotting, which I’ve only recently started to do. For my first book, I only made an outline after I was already halfway through, but when I started A Woman Scorned, I knew I’d have to get over my aversion to being organised because there were so many details I needed to remember for the ending.

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

While working on The Game Begins, I wrote whenever I could find the time, but since I was serious about getting its sequel written, I started taking a few hours every morning to write or plan, so now that’s become a ritual I observe every morning unless I have a really good excuse for being unable to.

I can’t write if there’s too much noise, so silence is important if I want to make progress with whatever I’m working on, and I need to be at my desk in my room, with the door shut- which does nothing to make my room any quieter, so I suppose that’s just as much a part of my routine as writing in the morning.

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

I’m working on the third book in my Sam Beckett Mysteries, but it doesn’t have a release date yet, and after I finish, I’ll either be starting the fourth, or working on something completely new.

 

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 called A Woman Scorned, and it’s the second in my Sam Beckett Mysteries series, which follows 17-year-old Sam Beckett as she tries to uncover the truth behind her dad’s car crash.

A Woman Scorned picks right up as Sam is struggling to deal with the consequences of the choices she made in the first book, and this time, she’s faced with the murder of a therapist, and the psychological consequences of the ending of her first case.

The series has been described by a reader as ‘Taggart meets Veronica Mars’, so if you liked either of those shows, or are just looking for a YA novel that’s a bit different, you could give The Game Begins and A Woman Scorned a try.

 

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

Reviews are so important to authors, and if you have a few minutes to spare, consider leaving one on Amazon or Goodreads. It lets other people know how much you loved the book.

 

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://rebeccahowiebooks.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccah2016/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rebeccah2016

 

A huge thank you to Rebecca for joining me today and sharing a little about the brain behind the books, it’s always fun to find out more about an author’s routine and I completely agree about the Harry Potter series, it really is such a wonderfully well developed world that draws readers in..

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It’s a real pleasure to welcome you to join me today to celebrate indie publishing with Saira Viola, her novel Crack Apple and Pop was published by Fahrenheit Press in June 2018, and has been the book of the moment with a great blog tour with damppebbles this week.

 

Description:

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Tony is a handsome young boxer is forced into a life of crime after suffering a vicious blow in the ring.

Seduced by the glitz and glamour of London and mentored by charismatic gang lord Don March he rises rapidly up the crime ladder until he spies an opportunity to start a semi-legit Natural Highs business.

Bankrolled by an eccentric British dandy and accompanied by a cast of starry misfits including a 3ft tall blue-haired money man, an Etonian drug mule, two dominatrix debt collectors, a dodgy lawyer and a host of demi-celebs, Tony carves out a roll for himself in a city where money creates its’ own morality.

All seems to be going well until in the shadows, a Bollywood mobster threatens to derail their plans.

Chaos ensues, of course it does – wonderful, beautiful, visceral chaos.

The deft wit of Hammett meets the vivid poetics of Chandler: Crack Apple and Pop is slick smart and razor sharp. A gritty and sometimes metafictive slice of London noir.

A city of artful dodgers, yardie gangsters, kinky aristos, cocaine dusted starlets and social thrill seekers where everyone’s hustling and everyone’s getting high.
Whether it’s law, finance, the music biz, or the boxing ring: money is king. And only the ones prepared to risk everything will survive…

You can buy a copy of Crack, Apple & Pop via:

Fahrenheit Press

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Author Feature: Saira Viola.jpg

Saira Viola is an acclaimed novelist, poet, and song lyricist. From her early poetic experimentation with language, image and sound (a technique she has dubbed sonic scatterscript) to her novelistic ventures into the dark, absurd world of contemporary crime fiction, Viola’s work pulses with iconoclastic brio that mischievously blasts the golden calves of our times. Literary Heavyweight Benjamin Zephaniah, has praised her ‘twisted beautiful imagination,’ and polymathic genius, Heathcote Williams (RIP) her ‘hypnotic explosive’, writing style. Twice Nominated for Best of The Net 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee 2017 Rascal Magazine. Viola’s poetry collection Flowers of War debuted at the New York Poetry Festival and published by UB Press. Novels Jukebox (Fahrenheit Press) Crack Apple and Pop (Fahrenheit Press) Viola is a regular contributor to counterculture magazines Gonzo Today and International Times.

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

The sense of the unknown. You can go anywhere your imagination, and your memories take you.  A little bit of truth dust and boom: You open the doors to different worlds and immerse yourself in the lives of the characters you’re creating  or characters triggered by history,  real people, lurid dreams. Even labels for cat food in supermarket aisles can spark a train of  thought in your mind leading to a  potential story .

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

The horror of sometimes  feeling like a naked trapeze artist balancing a coke bottle on your  head. Fizz fizz pop! You drop -with absolutely nothing to say.

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

Not a book but :

I  wish I’d written, and choreographed the Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky or Marvin Gaye’s sublime classic What’s Going On?

How do you spend your time when not writing?

I’m  always writing unless I’m sleeping when I’m dreaming in cinematic stories!  Much of my work has a visceral, rhythmic feel, and lucid dreams can play a part  in the writing  process. Although dreams tend to be imagistic, a dream can creep into my conscience, and materialize  a line, a sentence, and even a chapter. It seems that everything I do revolves around writing. Even when I’ve volunteered for social causes,  I find myself writing: I have worked as a volunteer helping young adults to read and am part of a grassroots initiative providing books to prisons, reform schools, orphanages, mobile libraries, and  pop up libraries in socially deprived  neighbourhoods. And for years I have been writing  letters to prison inmates for Amnesty International .

Do you have a set routine for writing- rituals you have to observe ?

No. No rituals of any kind.  I snatch whatever time I can, and scribble away.
Writing where I can when I can . Right now I’m  sofa -slumming so I write perched on  a cushion  laboriously punching words onto my phone.  In between subway stops, waiting in hospital corridors (surprisingly tranquil) hoofing to grocery stores. Anywhere -everywhere.  It’s not ideal, and Virginia Woolf’s famous quote from her essay A Room of One’s Own still resonates but I’m making good progress.

What’s on the horizon ?

I’m currently writing the closing chapters of a new novel American Scandal . It’s a crime story set in Los Angeles featuring an all female punk band, and a fast -thinking mean- mouthed  street-smart female mobster, and entertainment  impresario. The book looks at the ugliness lurking behind the celebrity fuelled New Age posturing, and post modern spangle. Some of the characters struggle for identity, and there is an eruption of racism that threatens the fairy tale promise of the American Dream .  Everyone’s making deals, and payoffs . Venal reaming makes the world go round. Whether it’s law, sex, or money they all  hunger for their fifteen minutes- but riches, and status- changing fame always come at a price.

Any pearls of wisdom for your readers?

Ha! Wisdom comes from experience, not interviews. Just pray your liver holds out!

What’s your current book about and why should we read it ?

Crack Apple and Pop (published by Fahrenheit 13 an impress of Fahrenheit Press) is a prime slice of Brit  Noir.  A crime story set in the glitzy streets of London.  A city of artful dodgers, yardie gangsters, kinky aristos, cocaine -dusted starlets, demi -celebs, and social thrill seekers where everyone’s hustling, and everyone’s getting high. A city where money creates its’ own morality.  It may intrigue, disgust, and shock ! Like discovering a bleeding  pinkie  in a velvet -ribbed chocolate box.  Lurking beneath the flashy real estate,  high end boutiques and bright lights are some of the most debauched,  dangerous and dirty  parts of subterranean London . The novel offers a back stage pass to the sleazy machinations of the city’s connivers puppeteers and fixers. Reading about it imminently more fun than living it!

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sairaviola

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saira.viola/

Website: http://sairaviola.net/

Amazon Author Page

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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing is a book that came to be via a family member, a book that appealed to her and she wanted to pass it on to a fellow craft fanatic and reader.


Book Feature:

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** My thanks to the awesome Nicolpops* for my copy of this book **

Description:

This chic-lit debut is a must for knitters and crafters alike.

Claire can’t understand why her life, and her knitting, has suddenly started to unravel. Her new friend, Adrian, owner of the local wool shop Oddballs offers to help tame her woolly woes, and offers further support as she tries to get the other parts of her life back on track – one aspect being, her love life…

This humorous yarn is for the perfect antidote to cold, winter nights, and a how-to guide for online dating.

My Thoughts & Review:

When my brother’s partner sent me a message to say that she’d picked up a copy of this book in the wool shop that she works in I was intrigued, why was a wool shop selling a book? But the best part of her message was did I want to read the book after her!

Unravelled is a lovely story centred around a young woman named Claire who is at a stage in life where things have started to go wrong, a fork in the road in a way. Having just got out of a relationship that really wasn’t right for her, she is struggling to adjust to life as a singleton and looks for her closest friend for advice. At least she still has her job and her knitting, the two things in her life that she can depend on … or at least she could until her knitting started to let her down. Her purls and knits no longer work, her yarn doesn’t weave the way that it should and the skill she once was so proud of seems to have deserted her.

A chance meeting in a bookshop changes things for her, a new friendship opens a world of possibilities for her, but it takes time for her to embrace the changes and open her heart and eyes.

The writing is enjoyable and laugh out loud humorous, it’s the sort of book that you can curl up with and happily while away the hours.
Delightfully colourful characters make this quite a quirky read, and I have to say, I’ve never encountered a knitting group quite like those ladies, but I would absolutely love to spend a few hours and cuppas with them! This coupled with the descriptions of the wool shop and various knitting projects really had me itching to cast on my next project!

At the heart of this book is a love story and as is the way with life, things never run smoothly. I found that I became frustrated with the actions and thoughts of some characters, but this is a reflection of the skill of the author, creating personalities that a reader can connect with, become so invested in, that they feel the desire to shake the characters for not seeing what’s infront of them.

Unravelled really is a great book, and perfect for the wool addict and craft fanatic.

You can buy a copy of Unravelled via:

Hall Good Books (publisher)
Amazon UK

Author Feature:

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Author image and bio courtesy of author’s blog

 

 

Briony Marshall is an up and coming author from the West Midlands in the UK. She is a graduate from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in Creative & Professional Writing with English. Briony currently lives at home with her Mom, Dad and boyfriend. When Briony is not writing she’s knitting and when she’s not knitting she’s drinking coffee. Her debut novel is to be published in 2017 and Briony looks forward to the adventures this will bring.

 

 

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

The fact that I can unleash my creativity in a way that I feel truly satisfied. I’ve been a story teller ever since I was a little girl and I love it. The fact I now get to share my stories with the world is an amazing feeling!

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

Writer’s Block. I suppose this is a common answer for many authors. But for me, balancing the day job and the author life can be testing as it is, but there is nothing more infuriating than a looming deadline, a very tight, very specific writing schedule and a huge bout of writer’s block! Having a blank mind and just staring at a clean page is so daunting, I’d say that is my least favourite thing.

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

Aww, this is such a difficult question for me, there’s so many to choose from! If I could only choose one it would have to be The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; the glamour, the period, the feel of that story, the plot itself. I remember reading that book so vividly, especially my reactions when reading certain parts. I’ll never forget it. That book may be small, but it is mighty!

(P.S: I also think The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson are works of art. Oh and if I’d be sticking within my own “genre” The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella without a doubt, to me she is a Queen! As is Marian Keyes whilst we’re at it. Okay, I’ll stop now, promise!)

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

I am an avid knitter and crocheter, so I’ll most likely be creating something woolly and wonderful. However, with our recent bout of sunny weather I’ve been more inclined to put down the needles and hook in favour of a book. I love reading chick lit or anything with a good plot twist. I’m currently reading Nevermind from the Patrick Melrose series by Edmund St Aubryn and loving it. His use of imagery is incredible.

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

My most productive time of the day is before lunch and a good breakfast is also a  great start for productivity! So on a good writing day I’ll probably be the first one up and about. I also need silence to write, so I’ve been taking full advantage of the beautiful mornings we’ve been having and writing in the garden. I always like to write with a coffee to hand too. A lot of my rituals centralise around food and drink, don’t they?!

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

I  recently sent off the synopsis for book two to my publisher, so all being well I’ll be starting work on that any day now. Besides that I have plenty more novel ideas in mind, both with and without wool, so watch this space!

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

Unravelled is my debut novel and was my baby for over ten years! It’s a hybrid fiction crossing together the genres of; chick lit, romance, comedy and knitting fiction! It’s the story of boy meets girl with a unique twist and a “will they, won’t they” plot that will keep you guessing until the very end. I feel like everyone has got a little bit of a Claire inside of them, so I feel it’s a very relatable tale that can give a reader that feel good factor.

If you’re looking for a cutesy read to make you giggle and feel all fuzzy inside, Unravelled is the novel for you!

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

Love who you are. No one else can tell you how you should feel or act, that’s all down to you. Embrace it and smile!

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://brionymarshallauthor.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brionywrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymarshallauthor/

 

A huge thank you to Briony for taking part today and sharing a little about herself, it’s always lovely getting to know more about authors and their writing processes. How exciting about book two, looking forward to hearing more about that  (and even better if it contains wool!).

 

 

 

*Nicolpops is a family member and not connected to the author or publisher in any way.  She is also an amazing illustrator, please do check out her website!

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As it’s Friday I am delighted to share another post with you to celebrate independent publishing.  Today’s post features a book that is so different from any other I’ve read recently.  The book in question is Orchard View by Deborah Miles, and Deborah has kindly taken some time out to answer some questions about the ups and downs of being an author.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house.

Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace.

“Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision.

But had they?

His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Orchard View intrigued me from the moment I heard about it, the book suggested a puzzling mystery and a tale quite different.

Have you ever read a book where the setting has felt like a character in the story? It seems to take on a persona that comes to life through the narrative? Well in this book, the house at the centre of the tale, Orchard View takes on a leading role. Interestingly readers get to “hear” the thoughts of the house as various events take place over the years and this really adds something different to the book and made it stand out to me. The old saying “if these walls could talk” really comes into play when you see the house wishing it could speak up about the bones that are discovered early on in the story.

The story is told through a series of recollections of the inhabitants of the house and those connected with it. The really interesting part for me was that the house seemed to have strong opinions of the people and most definitely a favourite family. To keep the stories linked, Miles uses the voice of the house and the presence of the neighbour next door, so that no matter what year it is in the story and which residents are staying in the house there is always something to connect them.
It’s pretty true that you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you might not always know your neighbours as well as you might think, and this book really reinforces that notion.

It’s quite hard to review this book without giving anything away, there are things I would love to point out about characters or the way that the plot weaves together but that might inadvertently give something away! I will say that the characters are well thought up and there may or may not be ones that get under your skin, have you wanting to shout and have you wondering about them. This is the sort of read that I found impossible to put down and once I’d finished reading it, it was still running through my head.

You can buy a copy of Orchard View via Amazon UK

 

 

Author Feature:

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Author bio & image courtesy of Amazon UK

Deborah Miles is married with three grown-up children and lives in Kent.

She has worked in banking, tourism, education and social services, and has hosted international students for over 30 years.

Her interests include: genealogy, self-improvement, home computing, web design, D.I.Y/gardening, pen friends and writing.

Deborah is independently published and created the imprint Against the Flow Press for her first novel, Orchard View.

Deborah always enjoys hearing from readers!

 

 

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

I find writing can be very therapeutic. It’s great to get my frustrations down on paper and then turn them into fiction that others might enjoy reading. I love creating my characters, and sometimes I get so attached to them that I change the storyline for them.  I also love finding ways to kill them, and my Google search history is quite alarming!

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

I have a story in my head at the minute, but current events in my personal life are preventing me from sitting down and writing it, and what I have got down on paper so far, is not what I wanted to write. I’ve got a couple of issues with the plausibility of the story. I have discussed my storyline with a solicitor friend, and she came up with a completely different, legal way of achieving what I wanted to do in the story, but somehow that isn’t working for me. I feel like I’m banging my head at a brick wall, trying to get the story written the way I want to write it.

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

Ask me this question on another day, and you’d probably get a different answer. Today it would be Donna Siggers’ novel Broken. I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago and some scenes and characters are still playing on my mind.  It’s the first book in a trilogy, and I can’t wait for Part 2. I considered answering A Good Night’s Sleep by Stefanie Simpson, but despite it being one of the best indie books I’ve read, it’s a tad racy for my pen.

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

I was recently given a Fitbit, and spend a lot of time walking on the spot whilst reading ebooks on my tablet. It looks silly as it sounds, and I don’t really like anyone in the room while I’m doing it, but I’ve lost 11lbs so far so that’s got to be good for me.  When not writing, I review books on my blog, againsttheflowpress.blogspot.co.uk. I am currently enjoying novels by other indie authors, but I read traditionally published books too.

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

I suppose I would have to answer ‘yes’ to this question. I like a calm, neat and tidy area to work in. Ideally I want to be on my own in the house. Even the cat can be a distraction! The room I work in is also important. Last year I moved my desktop into the den at the front of the house, but found I didn’t like that room. It felt wrong and stifled my creativity. So I moved it back, and immediately felt my creative juices flow again. I must have my housework jobs and other tasks done before I can sit down to write. I suppose that is my way of clearing my mind of any potential interrupting thoughts.

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

My next book has a working title of The Legacy. I am writing the back-story for the deceased at the minute.  Basically it’s about greedy relatives expecting an inheritance. There are a number of murders committed by someone who hopes to increase their share of the estate and a twist of the tale at the end. In Orchard View, I tell readers upfront who the killer is, but I haven’t decided yet whether or not to reveal the identity of the killer at the beginning this time.

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

My debut novel is called Orchard View. Without giving too much away, it tells the story of a house and its various occupants from 1960 through to 1996. Orchard View is the name of the house and I see the house with strong female characteristics – maternal, nurturing and protective. She has her own voice in the story, and comments on some of the situations that occur. The story begins in 1996 when the current owner, a builder, finds some human bones in the garden.  We learn quite quickly the identity of the killer, and what happens to the builder, and others, as a consequence of his find. I don’t think it’s too dark, but it does underline that we do not know our neighbours as well as we might think!

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

Consider reading something by an indie author. There are some truly gifted writers out there who are not traditionally published. And, if you like what you read, then help them out by leaving a review, or at the very least a rating.

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: http://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeborahMiles7
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/againsttheflowpress/

 

A huge thank you to Deborah for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing and sharing her thoughts about writing. I have to admit, I have been known to march on the spot when I’m doing the ironing or cooking, although I’ve not tried it whilst reading … yet!

 

 

 

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Welcome along to another Friday here on The Quiet Knitter, and I am delighted to share an author feature with you! The author in the spotlight today is the lovely Kate Vane, so grab a cuppa and join us for a wee chat!


Author Feature:

kate vane author image

Kate Vane writes (mostly) crime fiction. Brand New Friend is her fourth novel.

She has written for BBC drama Doctors and has had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

She lived in Leeds for a number of years where she worked as a probation officer. She now lives on the Devon coast.

 

 

 

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

I feel like I’m always learning. With each new book I’m asking a question – a series of questions – which I can’t yet answer. Whether it’s research, or craft, or the mysterious world of the imagination, it’s curiosity that drives me.

I also enjoy developing business skills as an indie author. I actually like tinkering with spreadsheets and data and finding my way round new software!

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

I love the freedom and independence of being indie but it can also be a burden. It means you’re responsible for everything and don’t have colleagues to fall back on. Having said that there’s a great indie author community online and I get buoyed up by the fantastic book bloggers who I’ve got to know both as a reader and an author.

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

That’s hard! Ruth Rendell’s Barbara Vine novels were a big influence on me when I started writing. In terms of recent novels, I’d be very happy if I could write something like London Rules by Mick Herron. I love the combination of strong characterisation, twisty plot, dark humour and sharp observation of contemporary events. And he writes beautiful prose as well.

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

I love gardening. We have a small pond and some bird feeders – and a few untidy areas – to encourage wildlife. I also like walking. We’re lucky to live right by the coastal path in South Devon.

Other than that, it’s mainly reading, audiobooks, podcasts and the occasional TV box set!

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

I don’t go in for rituals but I think routine is good. It gets you in the right frame of mind. I like to be up early and to write first thing. I try not to go online until my morning break, and then I go back to writing.

After lunch I generally do other tasks – writing blog posts, reviewing, marketing etc. Depending on what else I’m doing, I may do a second stint of creative work late afternoon or early evening.

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

I used to be superstitious about discussing work in progress but I suppose after four novels I can be more confident that I’ll finish what I start! My main project is the first novel in a series, which features two minor characters from Brand New Friend.

Tilda Green is an activist news blogger, and Freddie Stone is an old-school crime reporter. I thought they would make a great combination with their contrasting interests, strengths – and of course flaws!

In the new novel a murder which provokes a vocal online response but leaves a community saying nothing leads them to join forces to work on the story.

I’ve also got a back-burner project – a humorous mystery novel set near my home, in Torquay. It’s fun to work on and gives me a break from the other book which is much grittier.

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

I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro technique – where you do work in timed sprints. I’ve also started timing my social media use. If the clock is ticking while you’re on Twitter or whatever, you soon decide whether that article on what a commentator you’ve never heard of said about a random celebrity’s response to a politician’s Instagram feed is really a good use of your precious minutes or just an excuse to avoid working!

 

A huge thank you to Kate for joining me today, it was wonderful to get an insight into her writing process and find out more about her new book (which I will have to add to my groaning mountain of books to read). I love the idea of writing in timed sprints and have seen it used to good effect by academics (namely my sister in law), wonder if that might work with writing reviews!?

 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://katevane.com

Twitter: @k8vane

Facebook: /k8vane

 

 

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

Wherever Paolo went, Claire had got there first. The gigs, the parties, the enigmatic artist he was sure he was in love with. He would never have joined the group if it hadn’t been for Claire. And maybe, if he hadn’t, no one would have died.

Journalist Paolo Bennett learns that Mark, an animal rights activist he knew as a student in the 80s, has been exposed as a former undercover cop. A news blog claims Mark was the fabled spy who never went back, who liked his new life better than his own.

Paolo wants the truth. He wants the story. Despite everything, he wants to believe his friend. But Mark isn’t making it easy for him, disappearing just as everyone wants answers.

Was their group linked to a death on campus, one the police were strangely reluctant to investigate? Why is Mark’s police handler lying dead in his garden?

And why does Paolo suspect, even now, that Claire knows more than he does?

Buy from Amazon: https://mybook.to/brandnewfriend

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Friday’s seem to roll around so quickly, and that’s never a bad thing when it means that it’s time to share a review of another great book from an independent author or publisher. This week is the turn of Death Rope by the wonderful Leigh Russell.
Death Rope was published by No Exit Press on 26th July 2018.

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

 

Description:

THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

My Thoughts & Review:

I think it’s safe to say that I am a huge fan of the Geraldine Steel series by Leigh Russell, and having discovered this series part way through, I wasted no time in catching up with the previous books.
Death Rope is the eleventh book of the Geraldine Steel thriller series and it’s a cracker!
Mostly told from the perspective of the detective, readers soon become swept away with the investigation of the death of Mark Abbott, what initially looked like a suicide is soon unearthed as murder and makes for a complex, head scratcher of a case.

For me, the magic in Russell’s writing comes with the clever characterisation that she weaves into her books. It never fails to impress me that each character is so real, so different and so unique. The various personalities seem to jump off the pages as you read, and you find yourself thinking of them as “real” people.
Not all of the key players in the plot are identified straight away, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this would make it hard to follow. Leigh Russell is a master at creating several separate strands to her plot, revealing small details that are just enough to give readers a glimpse at another aspect of the plot and making them wonder how it all links up. I really don’t want to say anything about the plot

As always with Leigh Russell’s writing, there is nothing gratuitous and the power of suggestion is used well. The way that tension simmers away throughout the book is key, readers are aware at times that something is very wrong, and there is an undercurrent of unease bubbling away all the time regardless of the focus being on the investigation or Geraldine’s personal life.

Whilst this is the eleventh book in the series, I would say that you can read this as a standalone. There is enough detail to keep readers in the loop of past stories without bogging down fans of the series, but I would recommend reading the previous books to fully appreciate the character and the cases she’s worked on.

You can buy a copy of Death Rope via:

Amazon UK
No Exit Press (Publisher)

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Hello and welcome along to another Celebrating Indie Publishing post!  I am delighted to be be able to shine a spotlight on some truly wonderful indie authors and publishers out there, and today is no exception.  I am joined by Margaret Skea, author of the Munro series and a fictionalised account of the early life of Katharina von Bora.


Author Feature:

Portrait

Margaret Skea grew up in Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’, so is no stranger to conflict. Her passion is for authentic, atmospheric historical fiction, and now living in Scotland she chose a Scottish story for her first novel series.

Turn of the Tide won her the Beryl Bainbridge Award for Best 1st Time Novelist 2014, and the sequel A House Divided was longlisted for the Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2016. Both follow the fortunes of a fictional family trapped in the long-running and bloody historic feud between the Cunninghames and Montgomeries, known as the Ayrshire Vendetta. The third volume is due in May. In the meantime she has turned her attention to 16th century Germany to bring a little known, but hugely influential woman – Katharina von Bora – out of the shadows. She is also a prize-winning short story writer and her first collection Dust Blowing includes some of her prize-winning stories.

 

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

Can I cheat and mention two?

The first is interacting with readers. There is nothing more satisfying, having written a book, than to hear that it has impacted positively in someone else’s life.

And secondly, while I’m writing, the most exciting part of the process is the joy of seeing characters coming to life on the page: growing and developing, sometimes in quite unexpected ways.

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

That’s easy – the need to market and promote both myself and the books. While I love talking about books and the craft of writing, I don’t enjoy the (essential) selling aspect.

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

I guess this is another way of asking what is my all-time favourite book. Going by the one that I’ve re-read most times it would be Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery. There is one point in that book at which I always have a lump in my throat no matter how many times I read it. (And I’ve read the book and watched the film multiple times.) I’d love to be able to stir a reader’s emotions to that extent.

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

I’m a Christian first and a writer second, so my priority always has to be out-working my faith, whether that is through my writing or in other aspects of my life. Consequently I strive to keep a balance between writing and responsibilities within my church and in the home, as well as making time for family and friends.

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

I can concentrate much more in the mornings, so in an ideal week I will write four of five mornings per week and I always set myself a target of 1000 words per day. Sometimes I manage more, sometimes less, but if I can achieve a word increase (after light editing) of 5,000 per week then I’m on track.

I’m not very good at self-discipline, though, so for the last 3 books I have gone to somewhere other than my own house to write, where I can neither be distracted by anyone else, or (worse) distract myself!

I do find deadlines concentrate the mind, so if I have one coming up I find I can write for many more hours in a day. But one essential for me is silence. (I can just about cope with the sound of the central heating, on the basis that without it I’d be miserable!)

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

Book 3 in the Munro series (Turn of the Tide, A House Divided) is with the editor just now and I hope it will be available in May.* I don’t have a title for it yet, though, which is a wee headache. And within the next fortnight I shall be beginning the second (and final) novel based on the life of Katharina von Bora (the escaped nun who became Martin Luther’s wife.) I hope to have it out in time for Christmas 2018. After that? Who knows? What I do know is that for the foreseeable future I am likely to stick to historical fiction and probably in and around the 16th century.

*Book 3 in the Munro series has now been published with the title By Sword and Storm.

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

The latest published book is Katharina: Deliverance, which came out in October 2017. It is a fictionalized account of the early life of Katharina von Bora, up to the point of her marriage to Martin Luther. (The second book will finish her story.) She is a fascinating and enigmatic character who came alive to me through travelling around Saxony following in her footsteps. As to why anyone should read it – this is what the reviewer on the Discovered Diamonds website said –

     ‘First, a confession. All I really knew of Martin Luther was an impression of a man  

   in monk’s garb (incorrect) nailing parchments to church doors in the dead of night

  (also incorrect) and schoolboy giggles when reading about a diet of Worms. Thus,

  when this book arrived in my inbox, my heart rather sunk a bit for it is not a period

  that I am particularly well-versed, or even interested, in.

  However, any misgivings I may have had were dispelled completely by the time I had

  reached the second page. The quality and style – written in the first person and the

  present tense – didn’t so much grab me as to physically haul me back through the

  centuries and wouldn’t let me go until I had read every single word.’

 

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

To readers? – Don’t waste time finishing a book that isn’t to your taste. There are too many good books out there and you’ll never have time to read them all.  And to writers? – Treat your readers with respect and never, ever short-change them by giving them less than your best.

 

 

Buy links:
Turn of the Tide (Book 1 in the Munro series)
A House Divided (Book 2 in the Munro series)
By Sword and Storm (Book 3 in the Munro series)

Katharina: Deliverance

Dust Blowing and Other Stories

 

A huge thank you to Margaret for joining me today and sharing a little about herself. I have to admit, there are a few books that I read regularly that can pull the same emotions from me, regardless of how many times I’ve read them before. I sympathise about the distractions, I’m awful for being distracted by absolutely anything … even favoring doing a load of ironing instead of what I should be doing!

Social Media Links:

Website: https://margaretskea.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargaretSkeaAuthor.Novels/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/margaretskea1

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