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

Proud to be Indie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The New NovelSettlement Cover MEDIUM WEB (3)

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

Settlement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annestormontauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/writeanne

Blog at https://putitinwriting.me

Website at https://anne-stormont.com

 

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

Description:

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

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

Under their feet lies magic…

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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







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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.

 

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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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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of Good Samaritans **

 

Description:

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices. 

My Thoughts & Review:

One glimpse of that cover was enough to grab my attention with this book, the artwork is immediately arresting, and the tagline is clever.  You expect nothing less of Orenda Books, and you know that you will be in for a treat when you start reading because they have built a reputation for publishing excellent books that challenge readers, that draw powerful emotions and generally leave readers feeling stunned at what they have just read.

Good Samaritans is the first book by Will Carver that I’ve read and I have to admit that based on this one I would be very keen to see what else he’s written/has planned for the future.  I liked his witty writing style, the snappy dialogue and the chilling unease that he expertly weaves throughout the narrative.
The book is broken into days, with each day having narration by several characters in short, snappy chapters which in turn keeps the pace taut and crisp.  So much happens under the cover of darkness that we can never truly guess where Carver will take the plot next.  This darkness feeds into the danger element of the story, who is watching, why are they watching, are people really who they seem to be …it keeps the reader on their toes and details are drip fed as and when to enhance the story, so it’s safe to say that Carver knows how to hook his readers in, hold their attention and ensure that sleep will be lost with this brilliant book..

Characterisation is one of the key aspects of Good Samaritans, and each persona is exceptionally well crafted.  Seth Beauman is a character that I found witty and interesting, his insomnia making him spiral into phases of somewhat disturbing actions.  A late night hobby of phoning strangers is strange, but seems harmless.  The connection he makes with a troubled young woman named Hadley Serf gives him hope and equally gives her something to hold on to. There is a spark, excitement and it all comes down to chance.  Unfortunately for Seth, his wife Maeve would definitely not appreciate this blossoming love affair, and so their conversations and subsequent meetings are kept hidden.
The wonderful juxtaposition of the images of the characters and the views of those around them make for entertaining reading.  Seth’s image of himself is so wonderfully contrasted by the way his wife sees him and vice versa, what seems like a perfectly reasonable action in his mind is perhaps wildly inappropriate or erratic.  Hadley has her own troubles, her suicidal thoughts swirling around her brain, leaving her hell-bent on self-destruction.  Her mindset is explored carefully and with a sympathy that does not belittle the severity of her feelings, and for this I am grateful.  Carver does not shy away from the uneasy reality that his character faces.

The actual plot of this book is genius, I would love to get hold of Will Carver and quiz him about where his ideas came from, how he plotted this out and how he managed to give so little away throughout the story.

Forget “snap, crackle and pop” this is more like “crash, bang, wallop”, so twisted, so enjoyable and so flippin’ clever!

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Normally I review books in their own post, but today I have decided to review books four and five of The Cosy Cottage Café series in this one post.
This series is written by the lovely Rachel Griffiths who has created the idyllic village of Heatherlea and some of the loveliest characters that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a book.


Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

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Description:

Artist Honey Blackwell is happy with her life. Well, almost. She lives in the picturesque village of Heatherlea, has three close friends and a soft spot for local supply teacher Dane Ackerman. If only she could put her past behind her and embrace the present.


Dane is working hard to prove himself at the village primary school and doesn’t really have time for love, but he’s drawn to Honey and hopes she feels the same. When a permanent teaching position is advertised in Heatherlea, he faces stiff competition to secure it.


As Honey and Dane deal with the ups and downs of life, will they be able to find a way to be together, or will they have to accept that sometimes love just isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

The fourth instalment of The Cosy Cottage Café allows readers to see Spring from the perspective of Honey Blackwell, the final member of the group of friends who meet up at the Café regularly to sample the delights cooked up, share the ups and downs of life and generally keep each other going when life gets tricky. Honey is a character that we’ve briefly glimpsed in previous books, she always comes across as easy going, cheery and an all round lovely lass who never fails to make everyone around her smile.

Honey has recently embarked on a relationship with Dane Ackerman, a local supply teacher but neither of them has actually put a label on the relationship, so they’re at the stage where their friends all know that they’re a couple, even if they don’t quite know they’ve reached that point yet. Watching their relationship develop and getting to know both of these characters better is definitely a treat, being able to learn about Honey’s past makes her even more lovable.
As well as her lovely personality, Honey has wonderfully bright coloured hair, a bit like a unicorn but it all adds to her charm. The names she’s given her chickens made me laugh so much!

As well as getting to read Honey’s story, Griffiths continues the stories of her other characters in Heatherlea in the background, meaning that fans of the series can see how life has moved on for Camilla, Allie and Dawn after their books.
The thing I love about these books is that the characters have become so real to me, I eagerly look forward to catching up with them and seeing what they’ve been up to. The setting of Heatherlea is lovely, the descriptions are so vivid and make it seem like the sort of place you would love to visit. Although, word of warning, do not read this when you’re hungry. The food created in the Café is likely to have you drooling and wishing you could taste it!


A Wedding at The Cosy Cottage Café

51jzmrimcpl-_sy346_Description:

When Allie Jones’ daughter, Mandy, arrives at The Cosy Cottage Café in tears one spring morning, Allie is extremely concerned. She’s been worried about her career-driven daughter for a while, and she’s hoping she’ll finally get to find out what’s wrong.

Dawn Dix-Beaumont has her hands full with three young children, a husband who works from home and the guinea pig family that lives in her garden. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but is it too good to last?

Camilla Dix is madly in love with local vet Tom Stone. Being with Tom and cuddling her baby niece have stirred feelings she didn’t know she had, but it’s far too soon to be making long-term plans. Isn’t it?

Honey Blackwell’s boyfriend, Dane Ackerman, has secured his teaching post at Heatherlea Primary School and they’ve decided to live together. Everything seems to be working out well, until a member of Honey’s household expresses a clear dislike for the handsome teacher.

Plus someone has been planning a proposal…

Join Allie and her friends this summer as cakes are baked, secrets are shared and surprises bring smiles and tears at The Cosy Cottage Café.

My Thoughts:

The fifth part of the series and what a book this is! After the revelations in the previous book, I went into this book wondering who’s wedding was going to feature here, there were three options and I could not wait to see who would be getting the fairy tale happy ever after moment. After a year of stories following the group of friends, this was the perfect way to tie up the four seasons, each of the main stories has reached a wonderful point filled with happiness and laughter.

It’s possible to pick up any of the books in the series to read as a stand alone, including this one but I do think to get the full story it’s worth reading the full set of books to get the backstories, enjoy the build up and drool over the delights that Allie whips up in the Café.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot and give anything away, but this is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon with plenty of laughter and feel good moments.
The style of writing makes this such a light and enjoyable read, the characters are appealing and relatable and the story draws readers in.

The only downside is that I have to bid Heatherlea farewell now.

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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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Today I am rather excited to share a review of a book I had the privilege of reading early, and since reading the unedited version I’ve read a completed copy and loved it even more! What is the book you ask? It’s Who Killed Anne-Marie, a clever and thrilling read from the brain of the coffee drinking, fiendish author CM Thompson.

And as a special gift, I have a copy of the paperback to send to one lucky reader!

 

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** My thanks to the author and publisher for my copy of the book **

 

Description:

Daniel and Anne-Marie’s marriage isn’t just on the rocks, it’s about to go six feet under.

Anne-Marie Mills is out of work, out of love and out of whisky. Everyone else is out of patience.
When Anne-Marie is found dead who is to blame? The neighbours who despised her drunken rants? The husband who wondered how much more he could take?

Or is there another killer in the neighbourhood?

My Thoughts:

Who Killed Anne-Marie is a peek behind the façade of “normal” life on a “normal” residential street, it allows readers to discover the darkness that lurks in the homes, hearts and minds of those that live there. It is a chilling exploration of the fragility of relationships and their toxicity.

The characters are carefully created and whilst not always the most appealing, readers begin to understand, connect with and feel empathy for them, in particular, Anne-Marie and her long-suffering husband. Supporting characters are multidimensional, each coming vividly to life as readers see narration from their perspective. And the more we learn about some of these characters, the more we become aware that things are never as they seem. Everyone has a limit that they can be pushed to or a line they won’t cross, and Thompson craftily demonstrates that each character struggles with this, feeling pulled by circumstances or people around them to the point that something snaps.

Plotting is clever, the mystery of the title is explored from the viewpoints of both a police perspective and that of a layperson, giving readers a more rounded read. As Daniel attempts to restore balance in the home following Anne-Marie’s death, readers see how a “normal” person might process events and try to clean up following what unfolded
The author presents many characters who would have a motive to kill Anne-Marie. The downwards spiral that this character is on is well charted throughout the narrative, her behaviour depicting just how dark her world became, her mind unravelling as her dependence on alcohol increased.

An interesting and dark read with a thrilling “whodunit” to keep readers guessing!

 

Giveaway

For your chance to win a paperback copy of this book all you need to do is retweet the pinned tweet on Twitter. This is open to UK entries only and the winner will be randomly selected when entries close at midnight and contacted via Twitter on Friday morning.

Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.

 

About the Author:

CM Thompson lives in Nottingham, she has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Portsmouth. Her first novel, What Lies in the Dark, came out in 2014. She doesn’t have much to put in her bio because she spends too much time reading and playing Candy Crush. She can be found on Twitter @cmtwrites.

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