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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Indie Publishing’

Celebrating Indie Publishing today sees The Quiet Knitter link up with Random Things Tours and Orenda Books, joining the blog tour for the latest publication by the indie publisher. Beton Rouge is the second book in the Chastity Riley series by Simone Buchholz and was published in ebook in December 2018, paperback publication is set for February 2019.

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

Description:

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. He’s soon identified as a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the hothouse world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts:

Following the success of book one of the series, Dark Night, Simone Buchholz is back with the second offering in the German Noir series. Translation by Rachel Ward is once again on top form, none of the nuances of the German language feel that they have been lost in translation, making this feel like a wonderful cultural exploration as well as gritty crime thriller.

So Chastity Riley is back, and I am thrilled to see that she hasn’t changed between the books. There’s something so rich and entertaining about this character, her acerbic wit and and sharp tongue making for some wonderful exchanges between characters and internal monologues.

Not only is characterisation strong in this book, the plotting is superb. Buchholz leads her on a journey through the pages that twists and weaves expertly into the darkness of an individual who is hellbent on making a point with the torture and caging of two men. What is the motive behind these disturbing actions? Who is the unknown assailant carrying out these acts? What connects the victims? And how does it all tie in with the hit and run that Chastity Riley discovers in the opening chapter of the book?
The way that the strands of the plot pull together, coupled with short chapters and punchy writing, makes this a quick read. I found that I read this in one evening, racing through the pages to make connections and find out the links between the cases and the identity of the of the menacing figure obscured by the shadows.

Dark Night, the first book of the series was published in 2018. For those who are new to the series, you could read this straightaway, but I do think to get a better grasp of the protagonist and her motivations, her relationships with some of the characters, this is a series that merits being read in order. The writing is vividly detailed, readers can “see” the scenes that Chastity and partner Ivo witness, they get a great sense of the emotions that Chastity experiences, and feel immersed fully in the story.
The cover image of the book is simple but effective, giving readers a fantastic visual prompt, just such a powerful image and one that works perfectly with the writing.

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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 Roz White, so grab a cuppa and join us for a wee chat!

Roz has written several books, including a Steampunk Phantasy (book two is currently in progress) and the Sisterhood series which follows the lives of five transwomen. The Sisterhood is the first book of the series and was published in 2015, you can purchase a digital copy via Amazon UK.


Author image & bio from Amazon

Author Feature:

I’ve been writing stories since my earliest memories: my first masterpiece was two pages of foolscap – with illustrations – about a television programme of the time, and contained more uses of the word “then” than any other. I’d like to think I’ve improved just a little since then; after all, I was only about five.
So, where to really begin? I’m already in my fifties, although I’ve no idea when that happened! I’m British, English by birth and currently Scottish by residence: I’ve been here for over fourteen years now. Until the start of 2018 I lived on a remote island that requires me to commute by ferry for the day job – one of the best journeys to and from work in the world, surely! My output over the last twenty years or so has included over a dozen novels and a handful of non-fiction texts, the latter being well-known in their academic field – something of a boasting point, I’m afraid! There have also been magazine articles and short stories scattered here and there. Some are on here under the pen-name of H. A. Douglas.
Now, I live in Invergordon, and work out of Inverness. I have lost my ferry-time along with a great deal else (long story, but it’ll make it into a book one day), so now Sunday tends to be Writing Day, and I can take all day, too.
However… if you look for some of these other books under my name, you won’t find them, and here we come to the part of this biography that, for all my years of dealing with it, I still don’t seem to have any proper sort of handle on.
I am transgendered. There, I said it! I am biologically male, psychologically feeling more and more female (whatever that means, but it feels that way to me) as the years go by. My writing allows me a useful window to explore this side of me, and undoubtedly helps keep me close to some semblance of sanity. My family (I’m married with children) are aware of this side of me, and have accepted it without question since the Great Secret coming out – for which I am incredibly, totally, grateful.
I have been full-time and in transition since March 2017. It’s a long process with a lot of waiting and far too much NHS Gate-keeping, Jumping Through Hoops and so forth.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?
Telling stories! It’s something I’ve always done, ever since my earliest years – even pre-school. My second favourite thing is the assembling of all the separate chapters and seeing the whole thing finally come together.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  
Not making any money from it! In all seriousness, that’s the Big Thing: I’d love to make a living doing this, and it hurts like anything that I don’t seem able to. On a good month, my royalties from my 20+ books might, if I’m lucky, buy me a bottle of cheap plonk…

If you could have written any book what would it be and why? 
Ooh, tricky! The thing is, if I had written them, then they wouldn’t be that book anymore, would they! Films are worse: I often sit watching them and think “it’s not what I’d have put in – what about this, or that, that’s barely even touched on?”

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing? 
Well there’s a mortgage to pay… so I work full-time, which after nearly a year involuntarily unemployed, is a relief – the bills are getting attended to again! Hobby-wise, I have too many: model railways in a number of scales and styles, wargaming and figure-painting… I love cooking, and used to brew beer too. I might get back into that if I ever have the money!

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc. 
Not really… I find silence disturbing these days, so the radio is usually on. My current circumstances have dictated that Sundays have become Writing Days, which is a luxury in itself; over Christmas, I had nearly two weeks in the family home (I am forced to live away in order to earn a living) with no real calls on my energies, and I got so much done on the current WIP!

What’s on the horizon? 
Well, my Sisterhood series rumbles on, and I am in the middle of the seventh full novel; I have a novella to revisit in the same series, and that might well grow into another novel. I am concentrating on the second in my Steampunk series right now, since in theory that’s due out first; oh, and my alter-ego H.A. Douglas, who is responsible for the Historical Fiction output, is likely to be busy this year too!

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 
Be open-minded. Try not to judge, or if you find that you have to judge, judge kindly. My Sisterhood  books deal with transgender characters (I am trans myself), and I would hope if anything that they help understand the condition a little better for those on the outside looking in

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

Well… The Challenge of Lady Ghast is my second foray into Steampunk Victoriana, and is due out this year – a mad romp through Vaguely Victorian England! The latest Sisterhood novel, Changes, follows my group of five transwomen as they forge friendships and try to help each other through life’s trials. Gritty, realistic, character-driven fiction that has been very well received by all its readers so far!

A huge thank you to Roz for joining me today for a chat, it’s always an honour to welcome indie authors to share something about their writing, their habits or a sneaky glimpse into their upcoming projects! I have to admit that before today I had never heard of Steampunk Phantasy as a genre, but looking up Roz’s books has me keen to find out more and I’ve bought book one of the series for my Kindle to read soon!

As Roz mentioned above, she also writes under the name H. A. Douglas, these books are Viking based fiction, the series is The Wirhalh Trilogy, and a must read for fans of Viking era tales!

To find out more about Roz and her books, check out her author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Roz-White-1567046250194474/

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Today I am thrilled to be able to share a review of a book that has recently been republished by Bloodhound Books. The book in question is A Fractured Winter by the lovely Alison Baillie, a chilling and menacing thriller that utterly grabs the reader from the outset and doesn’t let go!

** my thanks to the author and publisher for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

Description:
When someone is out to get you, is there anywhere you can hide?
From the outside, Olivia seems to lead an idyllic existence with her husband and children. But when she starts receiving notes, she knows her perfect life is under threat.
She thought she’d managed to put the past behind her, but someone seems determined to reveal her secret.
Meanwhile, girls are vanishing in the area and Olivia fears for her family’s safety.
Has someone discovered the real reason she left Scotland all those years ago?
And does her secret have links to the recent disappearances?
When someone is out to get you, is there anywhere you can hide?

Fractured Winter is a compelling and suspenseful psychosocial mystery it will appeal to fans of authors like LJ Ross, Lesley Kara and Faith Martin

My Thoughts:

There are books that you start reading and hate to put down, and then there are the books that that you will read whilst cooking supper and risk burning everything because you are totally entranced by the story.

This is a tense and clever thriller that leeches a menacing chill, and that’s not just from the crisp vivid Swiss setting.
Olivia on the face of things seems to have it all, the perfect family, the perfect home, but the appearance of a sinister note on day starts a catastrophic spiral that leaves her feeling like she’s lost control of her life.  The note hints that someone knows about her past, knows the real reason she left Scotland a decade ago, and Olivia cannot bear to face that.  If this wasn’t enough, the safety of her Swiss mountain is challenged when a young girl goes missing, Sandra,  is the best friend of her young daughter which makes Olivia feel so much more connected to the disappearance.

The way that Alison Baillie writes about Olivia’s emotions makes them so tangible, as a mother I could appreciate how our main character wanted to protect her children, no matter their age, from the dangers of the world.  I could sympathise with the way that she was distressed at Sandra’s disappearance, and how it left her fraught with anxiety and drove her to be cautious about her children’s travels to and from school etc. Olivia’s worries about the sinister notes and her past are wonderfully written, readers cannot quite “see” the full details yet, but nonetheless they know that something menacing lurks in the shadows. And as we get to know Olivia more, we can understand her actions and begin to see how she has ended up in this position.

The tale of Olivia and her life in Switzerland is superbly told along side stories of two other females, Marie and Lucy.  Both Marie and Lucy have their troubles and hardships, and it’s hard not to feel some sympathy towards them when you discover the lives they lead.  Indeed, I found at one point that I was holding my breath in shock at the events as they unfolded in their stories.
Shrewdly, the way that their lives unfolded raised the question of whether it’s nature or nurture that impacts more on a person.

I have to raise my hat to Alison Baillie, A Fractured Winter really caught me off guard, there were so many different characters that I wanted to suspect, something about them just screamed untrustworthy, shifty or sneaky but I had nothing concrete to back up my suspicions … Baillie ensuring that I could not preempt where she would lead me, before revealing the moment where I gasped in shock and wanted to applaud her.

It’s fair to say that Alison Baillie has firmly taken a place on my list of authors to watch out for, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next!!

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Celebrating Indie Publishing has a review from a much loved series, and as we’ve reached the third book of the series, I’m now eagerly searching online to see if there is a fourth book due!
We originally reviewed the first book of the Teacup House series in July 2018, and book two in September 2018, so I am thrilled to share our thoughts on book three now!

The Teacup House series is the work of the wonderful Hayley Scott and talented illustrator Pippa Curnick. All three books are available to purchase now from a variety of bookshops and online.


Description:
Open up the Teacup House – and meet four little rabbit heroes with big ideas! Watch out, Twitches – Stevie’s got a furry visitor.

The teacup house is turned upside down when a bouncy puppy comes to stay! Silver and Mama Bo hide in the garden, and meet a creature who needs their help.

Now it’s Twitches to the rescue…

Our Thoughts:

Before we’d finished reading book two of this series I had already ordered a copy of book three. The Twitches were fast becoming a firm favourite with my little bookworm, and she’s regularly asked for a few chapters of these books as a bedtime read, and often the go to books that have to be packed in her backpack when she visits grandparents in case they want to read a book … think it’s safe to say she loves these books!

In this outing, we meet up with Stevie just after the events of the party in The Twitches Bake a Cake, she and new best friend happily playing with the bunny family and their lovely house in the garden, when as you can guess from the book title and cover … a puppy comes along to cause havoc! This caused no end of giggles and gasps of horror as the excitable young pup bounds about the garden, investigating new smells and sights before upturning the Teacup House and the contents.

But in usual Twitch style, there is an adventure to be had, and this time it’s the turn of Mama Bo and young Silver. Although, I’m beginning to notice a trend here, Silver Twitch seems to be getting up to no end of mischief, if there’s an adventure to be on, you can guarantee she’s around or involved – my kind of heroine! Can the Twitches save the day? Will their beautiful home survive the puppy? And will Stevie finally learn that the toys aren’t what they seem?

As always, the writing is just perfection. It’s exciting, descriptive and makes for an incredibly enjoyable read. The illustrations bring the story to life, they are crisp and vivid, and match the writing so wonderfully, there’s’ something so special about being able to see some of the events in the book as you read as well as being able to imagine them.

We absoltely love this series and I cannot wait to see what Hayley writes next!

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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing features a review of a book that’s not yet published. It’s a book that I was extremely lucky to get an early copy of, and for that I am very grateful to Karen at Orenda Books for this.

Call Me Star Girl is the fifth book from Louise Beech, and it’s the first psychological thriller she’s written. Publication date of the ebook is 18th February 2019 and can be pre ordered now!

Description:

Tonight is the night for secrets…

A taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller, reminiscent of Play Misty for Me … from the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

My Thoughts:
Everyone has a go to author, one you turn to when you need ‘that’ book, the one that will fill your heart with hope, or have your mind spiralling with the endless what-ifs and for me that author has become Louise Beech.

With a flowing writing style, I can easily be led into the worlds of her books without a second thought. Her vivid descriptions conjure the fictional settings so clearly, the characters are more than just names on pages, they become read. They take on a multidimensional feel, you become connected to them, invested in them….

Call Me Star Girl is Beech’s first foray into the dark world of psychological thrillers and I will admit, I was somewhat hesitant to delve into this. Louise Beech writes beautiful literary fiction, ones filled with human interest, brimming with emotion, characterisation and some of the most powerful writing I’ve had the pleasure of reading. But was I ready for her writing to turn dark? I put my faith in Louise and her writing and followed her into the world of murder and night-time radio.
The plotting of this novel is superb, so taut and clever. No matter how many times I tried to guess ahead or make a connection that wasn’t ready to be made, Louise craftily denied me the knowledge or threw me with some brilliant misdirection.

There’s something addictive about the way this story is told, the flicking between perspectives allows readers to see events from the view of someone else connected to it, and although we may not agree with their actions or mentality, it does give a shred of understanding to why they take the path that they do. Following events through the eyes of Stella and Elizabeth, is a startling look upon reality. The situations of past and present moulding these characters into the women they became.

As well as being a psychological thriller, this is also an exploration of the fragile nature of relationships and vulnerabilities. Delving into the fabric of what makes up the levels of relationships/connections between individuals, readers witness just how far people are willing to go to for another, what sacrifices they are willing to make and what secrets they are able to keep to protect others around them.
Watching the evolution of the relationships in this book, seeing how the power shifted, how things changed, makes for fascinating reading and does have a reader questioning how they might react in those circumstances, something intrinsically vital in Louise’s writing.

Would I recommend Call Me Star Girl? Absolutely! It’s a gripping and thrilling read, one that puts the reader on the edge of their comfort zone and asks for their trust as Louise Beech carefully and expertly leads them into the oft complex and dark world of relationships.

I raise my hat to Louise Beech for another brilliant book and word is that she’s already scribbling furiously on book number six!

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

Proud to be Indie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The New NovelSettlement Cover MEDIUM WEB (3)

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

Settlement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annestormontauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/writeanne

Blog at https://putitinwriting.me

Website at https://anne-stormont.com

 

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Hello and welcome along to another Friday post to share another brilliant offering from the world of independent publishing! Today I have a review of Around the World in 80 Words written by Paul Anthony Jones, it was published in October 2018 by Elliott and Thompson Ltd and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature:

Description:

around the world 80 days PC final.indd

From Monte Carlo to Shanghai, Bikini to Samarra, Around the World in 80 Words is a whimsical voyage through the far-flung reaches of the English language.

What makes a place so memorable that it survives for ever in a word? In this captivating round-the-world jaunt, Paul Anthony Jones reveals the intriguing stories of how 80 different places came to be immortalised in our language.

Beginning in London and heading through Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, you’ll discover why the origins of turkeys, Brazil nuts, limericks and Panama hats aren’t quite as straightforward as you might presume. You’ll also find out what the Philippines have given to your office in-tray; what an island with more bears than people has given to your liquor cabinet; and how a tiny hamlet in Nottinghamshire became Gotham City.

Surprising and consistently entertaining, this is essential reading for armchair travellers and word nerds. Our dictionaries are full of hidden histories, tales and adventures from all over the world – if you know where to look.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of this author ever since I discovered his book The Accidental Dictionary in 2016, and have enjoyed the books that have followed. For those who don’t know who Paul Anthony Jones is, he is the man behind @HaggardHawks on Twitter and http://www.haggardhawks.com which pulls together blogs, quizzes, newsletters, a Youtube series and details of his books full of etymological delights. I would recommend checking out the website and the Twitter page, each day there is a new forgotten word posted each day.

In this latest offering, the author takes readers on a wonderful literary journey without them having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Around the World in 80 Words informs and educates readers about the names of 80 destinations that have been absorbed into the English language, and are so commonly used that we might not give them a second thought.
I love the way that this book can be picked up and flicked through without having to follow each chapter as you would with an “ordinary” book. This is a fascinating read, and the author has evidently put a lot of time into researching the material, his passion for etymology pours from the pages and it’s almost infectious. I had no idea of the origins of phrases such as being sent to Coventry, and you can be sure that Paul Anthony Jones takes great delight in sharing this knowledge. It also leaves the reader feeling that wonderful sense of having learned something new, you almost feel like you want to attend a quiz night, just in the hopes that a question may come up so that you can use your new knowledge.

This would make the perfect stocking filler for fans of etymology, I’ve already bought a copy to wrap as a Christmas gift.

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Hello and welcome along to Celebrating Indie Publishing! I am thrilled to be chatting with another fantastic indie author and sharing my review of his latest book. Today’s author is Ian Patrick, a name that I link to intelligent writing, gritty stories and utterly fantastic characters. If you’re not familiar with Ian’s books, I would highly recommend them. His first book, Rubicon was published in August 2017 and has been optioned by the BBC for a six episode series. I read and reviewed this back in May 2018.

Stoned Love is the second book in the Sam Batford series, and I have to admit to loving this book! It’s clever, it’s punchy and it’s downright brilliant!
It was published in August 2018 and is available to buy direct from the publisher or Amazon now!


Book Feature:

StonedLoveAugust2018JPEG

Description:

Detective Sergeant Sam Batford has been lying low at a remote safe house in the highlands of Scotland. He’s doing his best not to attract the attention of the enemies he made, on both sides of the law, during his last under-cover operation but Batford knows he’s just killing time until he’s called to account.

Inevitably the sharks begin to circle and as Batford is called back to front-line action in London he’s thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse where it seems everyone is out to get him.

After having to endure a frustrating resolution to their previous undercover operation together DCI Klara Winter from the National Crime Agency is determined to prove that Batford has crossed the line into criminality and finally bring him to face justice.

All Sam Batford wants is to outwit his enemies long enough to stay alive and come out ahead of the game.  

My Thoughts:

I was thrilled when I heard that Ian Patrick had written a follow up to Rubicon, his thrilling debut novel featuring DS Sam Batford. This is a character that I eagerly look forward to catching up with, his wit and quick thinking make him such a fascinating character, and there’s something magnetic about him, he draws readers in making them want to know more about him and the various guises he wears as an undercover officer.

Without rehashing the blurb or giving anything away, I will say that this is a very bold and exciting book. Batford is up to his neck in danger, and that’s nothing new there really. However, this time the undercurrent of danger is more like a perilous riptide waiting to sweep our protagonist out into the murky depths.
Any undercover job has the potential to go wrong, but in this case it seems that Batford is working against the clock as well as enemies both seen and unseen.
For fans of Rubicon, the fallout from the previous operation leaves Batford with a price on his head. But fear not, if you’ve not read Rubicon and want to jump straight into this book then you can be sure that the author has included wee details that will quickly get you up to speed with what has happened before without bogging down the narrative for returning readers.

Stoned Love is a fast paced read, the sort of book that you really, really want to race through to find out what happens Sam, his handler and those colleagues around him. The notion that there are investigations within investigations makes this a deliciously thrilling read, making readers wonder who they should trust and what the motivations of certain characters might be. Characterisation is excellent, each of the main personas has been thoughtfully created and appears very lifelike in their quirks and temperaments. I love that the narration swaps between Batford and DCI Klara Winter, giving readers a glimpse into their mindsets, making this a deceptively clever read. It’s clear from reading this that not only has Ian Patrick researched well, but he has lived policing. His experiences in a policing role ensure that this remains credible and realistic at all times without becoming drab or boring.

If you’ve not already got Ian Patrick on your radar, I would highly recommend adding his name now! This is an author you definitely want to keep an eye on, and I know I will be waiting eagerly to see what he writes next!


Author Feature:Ian Patrick Author Photo

Ian spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command in London. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes. Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Rubicon is his debut novel published by Fahrenheit Press and Stoned Love the second in the series. Rubicon has been optioned by the BBC for a six part TV series. 

He now lives in rural Scotland where he divides his time between family, writing, reading and photography. 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @IPatrick_Author

 

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

Having a reader say how much they loved your book. I write to bring joy, entertainment and escape from everyday life. When you get feedback that you’ve achieved that it’s wonderful. It makes me want to do better the next time too. Time is precious and a reader’s time should never be wasted.

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

The inability to switch off. Once it has you, you’re captive to its will. It means if you aren’t writing you are thinking about it, making notes, plot ideas arise that can’t wait to be addressed. You get the idea? Sounds great until it prevents you enjoying any downtime! To write is a privilege so I’m prepared to suffer the small irritation. I have an incredibly supportive family so this too makes it easier.

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

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. That book defined a generation and has gone way beyond the written word to be engrained in male and minimalist culture.  The whole concept works on so many levels, it’s just an incredible book.

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

See the answer to question 2!  I’m a nightmare to live with if I’m not writing. I have a disability that does restrict me in how much I can do outside the home but I do enjoy photography and taking the dogs out. They trot alongside my scooter so we can get a couple of miles in easily. I’m also a parent so spending time with the kids is important to me too.

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

None. I spent 27 years in the Met Police so not having a structure is a blessing. Flip side is it can also be a challenge. Writing is a disciplined art and without some form of discipline you can’t be a writer of novels. If the words aren’t adding up then you won’t have a story. I always try to write each day. Word count doesn’t matter. I just find a space and write.

I’m fortunate that I’m now retired from the police so finding the time is easier. Rubicon was written in the evenings. Stoned Love whenever I could find the time. That would mean carrying my laptop with me and using any spare time I had to write.

I don’t need silence to write, either. Most of Stoned Love was written in The Clachan Inn pub in Dalry. My youngest daughter was at a local playgroup in the morning. The hall she was in had a back room but it was too cold in winter. So cold I could barely type. I was offered the chance to write an article for the local paper on an award the pub had won. The owners’ took pity on my plight and said I could write there each morning. How could I refuse a table and open fire? The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s on the horizon?

My third book, Fool’s Gold, is with a beta reader. It’s third in the Batford series. Once this is done it will be on its way to Fahrenheit Press, my publisher. Hopefully Chris and his team will like it enough to publish it.

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

Stoned Love follows on from Rubicon and explores the life of a corrupt undercover cop, DS Sam Batford. What you will get is crime fiction with a dash of police experience that will take you on a journey you will want to repeat again and again. You’ll find yourself warming to a protagonist you wouldn’t take home for tea but could be persuaded to have a meal with at Claridges.

 

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

Don’t waste time on a book you don’t enjoy (mine included). Life’s too short and there’s some incredible talent out there to discover. Sometimes we pick up a book at the wrong time in our lives. If we’re meant to read it then it will come back. I’d recommend any on the Fahrenheit list. A diverse and talented set of writers. There are also a host of other fabulous independent publishers.

 

My thanks to Ian for joining me today and being so honest, there are so many authors who have said that they find it hard to switch off the writing side of their brains and it’s always interesting to see what they do outside of being wordy rockstars!
I’ll have to keep an eye out for Ian appearing at some book festivals so I can pop along to get some signed books.
I completely agree with Ian, it would have been foolish to turn down the table and open fire in the local pub, purely for the purposes of writing whilst his wee one was at playgroup, that’s the savvy thinking that we’ve come to know from our favourite writers! Fool’s Gold is something to look forward to, and I will be sure to keep an eye on Fahrenheit’s twitter feed/website for news of publication!

 

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I am thrilled to welcome you to The Quiet Knitter blog today for today’s instalment of Celebrating Indie Publishing and introduce you to an author who is turning suspense novels on their heads with some brilliant characters!
K.T. Lee is the author behind The Calculated Series, which sees women in STEM working with various government agencies to solve cases and fight crime.

There are four books in the series, Calculated Deception, Calculated Contagion, Calculated Sabotage, and the prequel novella Calculated Extortion. More information about the series can be found on the author’s website and I would recommend checking them out!


Book Feature:

Description:

A criminal hiding in plain sight on campus. A professor caught in the middle. Can Dr. Ree Ryland help the FBI stop a killer before it’s too late?

Dr. Ree Ryland is an engineering professor who loves her job and plays by the rules. Her life is reassuringly predictable – until an enemy hiding in plain sight decides her squeaky-clean reputation is the perfect cover to commit a crime.

When Agent Parker Landon and his FBI team discover that someone at the university has been procuring military-grade hardware by disguising it as test equipment, all evidence points to Ree. After the FBI intercepts a shipment that puts Ree in the clear, Parker is forced to tell her that she’s being used as a pawn by an unseen enemy. And now she’s in that enemy’s crosshairs. Ree turns down the protective detail offered by the FBI and insists on using her inside knowledge to help with the investigation. Parker is leery of bringing a civilian on to the team, but he’s surprised at how much fun he has working with Ree, even as he tries to keep her out of harm’s way.

Parker, Ree and the FBI team find increasingly worrying evidence that someone is quietly acquiring everything they need to cause destruction on a massive scale. Now, they must uncover the motive and identity of the killer hiding among Ree’s friends and colleagues before it’s too late.

Calculated Deception is Book 1 in The Calculated Series. All books in The Calculated Series may be enjoyed as standalone novels or as a series.

My Thoughts:

When I first heard about this book and the inclusion of STEM I was very curious, how had the writer managed to weave that in, had they pulled it off, would it work …? I also read a fantastic feature with the author on the magnificent blog Linda’s Book Bag back in March and wanted to find out more about the book.  If you’ve not already checked out Linda’s blog, I would highly recommend doing so (after you’ve finished reading this post of course!).

So, Calculated Deception … what can I tell you without giving too much away about the plot or repeating the book description? I can tell you that it’s a fast paced, thrilling read that you really do not want to put down. The strong characterisation makes this such an appealing read, the protagonist is an intelligent woman, an engineer, a scientist, but she also has a wonderful relatable way when her awkwardness comes through.
There is a lot going on in this book, and the pace makes this a brisk read. And although it can be read as a stand alone book, I really think that it’s worth following the series to see what K.T. throws at Ree next!

I liked that the author didn’t bog down the narrative with too much scientific detail, and I did wonder when I went into this book if I would be able to understand the ins and outs of the plot, but thankfully I managed to read along and enjoy it. The detail is instead woven into the creation of Ree and her colleagues, and the FBI agents. Each of them have their quirks and compliment each other, the humour in the dialogue feels natural and makes the characters more realistic.

Now to get cracking on the next books in the series!


Author Feature:Logo Only

K.T. is a mom, engineer, and writer of books about women in STEM fighting international crime. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @ktleewrites
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ktleewrites
Instagram: @ktleeauthor
Website: www.ktleeauthor.com

 

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

If I had to pick one thing, it would be the opportunity to learn new things and interact with interesting people (ok, I may have snuck two things in). Since I’ve started publishing my books, I’ve interacted with fellow authors, book bloggers, and people passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I even emailed the FBI with some questions and they responded, quite helpfully!  Because The Calculated Series features women in STEM teaming up with government agents to solve crimes, I get to dive into a new, interesting subject for each book based on the specialties of the characters. Learning about interesting people and science adds depth and interest to each story. It’s a blast!

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

It’s quite scary putting yourself out there, particularly when you know you are operating a little bit outside of traditional genre expectations. The Calculated Series is a mashup of thrillers and cozies (with a dash of romance) featuring clever women in STEM. It’s a little different than a traditional thriller! The first few months after release were fairly intense for me. As readers have found the books, left positive reviews, and begun asking for more novels in the series, it’s been really wonderful! On that note, a huge thank you to all of the lovely readers who take their time to leave reviews of new books they enjoy! I appreciate it so much and I’m sure other authors do as well!

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

While there are so many fabulous books out there to choose from, if I had to pick just one, I’d say Timeline by Michael Crichton. It’s a delightful and unexpected blend of science thriller and history and I’ve read it multiple times. For me, books are a lovely escape for the busy brain and this book took me somewhere else entirely. Although after reading it, I learned never to start a Michael Crichton novel in the evening – I can’t put his books down until I finish them in the wee hours of the next morning!

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

I’m an engineer and a mom when I’m not writing (and when I am!). Those two things keep me pretty busy but I’m also part of an improv comedy group. We have a ton of fun making up stories on the fly and making people laugh! Like a few of my characters, I also love to run – there’s something very relaxing about running long distances for me.

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

I write whenever and wherever I can! I write on my lunch break, early in the morning if I’m the first one awake, whenever I can squeeze it in, really. I look forward to the time I spend writing – it’s so fun for me to disappear into the world of my characters for a bit. I do find that I have to schedule blocks of time when I am editing and I have to be in a relatively quiet room. Editing takes 100% of my brain!

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

Book 3 in the Calculated Series is full steam ahead and I’m excited about where it’s going! Fans who met Cam in Calculated Contagion, you’ll get to spend a lot more time with him and a new character in this latest novel. I’ve also found that readers are quite attached to Ree and the FBI team – don’t worry, they’ll be back too! One of the best things about writing a series is that character growth is really not limited to one book – I can allow their story to develop over multiple books and let readers read about their favorite characters again. I can’t wait to share what I’ve had in store for Book 3 even as I was writing Book 1.

(Since K.T. Lee sent me the answers to these questions, her latest book has now been released and is available to buy)

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

Sure! I quick-released Calculated Deception (Book 1) and Calculated Contagion (Book 2) last year, along with a free prequel novella (my freequel novella, if you’ll forgive the pun) to introduce new readers to The Calculated Series.

Books in The Calculated Series are fun, page-turning suspense featuring clever women in STEM. There are elements from spy thrillers with the focus on characters and small community feel of a cozy mystery. There is a little sweet romance as well. My books always have a bit of fun and banter between the characters along the way. I love to hear from readers that I made them laugh out loud or kept them up too late reading! So, if you like a little fun with your suspense, this is a good series to check out!

 

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

My favorite quote I’ve come across recently is: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I think it’s incredibly important to try to be the kind of person that lifts other people up, not the kind that tears them down. This is true no matter who you are or what you do for a living.

 

screen-shot-2018-09-20-at-5-53-10-pm1

A huge thank you to K.T. for joining me today and sharing a little about her and her books. I know that these are the first books I’ve encountered with STEM and the concept really appeals to me, and having read Calculated Deception, I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of the books!

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Celebrating Indie Publishing today sees a mini review of a humorous crime tale set in the Scottish Borders, written by Mark Farrer.

The Good, The Bad and The Rugby was published in ebook on 18th October, copies can be purchased via Amazon UK or Amazon US.

As part of the blog tour, there is a giveaway running to win some bookmarks, this is only open to UK entrants, details and your chance to win is below.


Book Feature:

 

Description:GBR-Front-Cover

Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

 

My Thoughts:

What a funny and madcap book this turned into! When I started this book, I had no idea that I would be chuckling aloud at sections and dialogue so much, and even reading parts out to my long suffering husband to see if they were as funny to him as I found them.

The characters are superb creations, Farrer has brought together a wonderful cast of societal misfits with a great dash of humour and mixes them with a plot that has readers racing through to find out what happens next! Although the character of Cullen is from previous books, this is a stand alone book, and it reads very easily in that respect. Although, after having met Cullen, I am keen to go back and read the previous books.
Clever plotting and weaving together the various strands of it all means that this is a well rounded and enjoyable read. Humour is balanced well with darkness, and so when we reach various points of the plot, the scenes feel realistic as well as entertaining.

 

Giveaway:

As part of the blog tour, Mark’s novella Dirty Barry is available to download from Amazon for free here.

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.
Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.

Rafflecopter Competition Link

 

About the Author:

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mark_farrer

Website: http://markfarrer.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Farrer/e/B074S4XMGL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

good-bad-rugby

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