All posts by Melanie

NOT THOMAS by Sara Gethin #fiction #giveaway

Thomas

Not Thomas

by

Sara Gethin

 

Thomas

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 15th June 2017

Publisher: Honno Press

Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.

When the men break in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will be the same again.

BUY LINKS

http://www.honno.co.uk/dangos.php?ISBN=9781909983625

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Thomas-Sara-Gethin/dp/1909983624/

https://wordery.com/not-thomas-sara-gethin-9781909983625

EXCERPT

The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. And knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m very quiet. I’m very very quiet. I’m waiting for her to go away.

I’ve been waiting a long time.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’ She’s saying it through the letter box.

‘Thomas, Thomas.’

I’m not listening to her. I’m not listening at all. She’s been knocking on the door for a long long time. I’m peeping round the black chair. I’m peeping with one of my eyes. She’s

not by the front door now. She’s by the long window. I can see her shoes. They’re very dirty. If Dat saw those shoes he’d say, ‘There’s a job for my polishing brush’.

She’s stopped knocking. She’s stopped saying ‘Thomas’. She’s very quiet. The lady can’t see me. I’m behind the big black chair. And I’ve pulled my feet in tight.

‘Thomas?’ she says. ‘Thomas?’ I’m not answering. ‘I know you’re in there. Just come to the window, sweetheart. So I can see you properly.’

I’m staying still. I’m not going to the window. I’m waiting for her to go back to her car. It’s a green car. With a big dent in it. If I hide for a long time she’ll go. She’ll get back in her car and drive away. She’s knocking. And knocking again.

She’s saying ‘Thomas.’ And knocking and knocking again.

‘Thomas.’

That is not my name.

ABOUT SARA GETHIN

Thomas

Sara Gethin is the pen name of Wendy White. She grew up in Llanelli and studied theology and philosophy at Lampeter, the most bijoux of universities. Her working life has revolved around children – she’s been a childminder, an assistant in a children’s library and a primary school teacher. She also writes children’s books as Wendy White, and her first, ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’, won the Tir nan-Og Award in 2014. Her own children are grown up now, and while home is still west Wales, she and her husband spend much of their free time across the water in Ireland. ‘Not Thomas’ is her first novel for adults.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgethinwriter

Blog: www.saragethin.com

Website: www.saragethin.com

GIVEAWAY

3 e-copies (International) & 3 paperbacks (UK only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE SECRETS OF VILLA ROSSO by Linn B Halton #guestpost #giveaway

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso

by

Linn B Halton

 

Villa Rosso

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:21 July 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Secrets of Villa Rosso:

Escape to Italy for a summer romance to remember

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.

BUY LINKS

Amazon:

http://smarturl.it/SecretsofVillaRosso

KOBO:

http://ow.ly/2ANQ30bbpBZ

EXTRACT

It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso – how does a story begin?

Every time I begin a new novel I have, if I’m lucky, a paragraph hastily jotted down when I’m out walking, or in bed at night. Usually, though, it’s one single line – the idea that I know will spark an entire story.

So how do I grow that single thought into a plotline? Quite simply I let the words unfold. Usually I have one character who will have inspired that initial idea and as I expand that one-liner I begin to get a feel for who they are. Because I don’t know them, and neither does my reader, I need the character to show me who they are through their thoughts, words and emotions.

Of course, it’s never long before another person pops onto the scene and another, then another … and that’s how it begins to grow. Suddenly they are all clamouring to give me lines to take the story forward and it becomes necessary to rein them in, becoming selective. And yes, side characters do sometimes become such good friends that I want to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ of their personal stories. But there comes a point, usually around fifty thousand words when I start to panic. I rarely know that far ahead how a story is going to end, although just occasionally I have written the end chapter before I’m very many words into the story. But I know there’s still a lot of story to be told and it’s necessary to focus, rather than amble towards the ending.

And that was the case with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. The challenge all along was never how it was going to end, it was how this story would unfold and what would be the twists and turns? That had only happened to me once before and I had to trust that the characters would steer me in the right direction.

Many writers do a lot of detailed planning, even to chapter level and they have the bare bones of the story from the start. Maybe the characters that jump into my head are just an unruly bunch who don’t like rules, or maybe it’s the bizarre way my brain works. However, I prefer to think of it as being a reader who happens to type and the characters are the real authors of the story.

I love it when I get to write from the male perspective, too, as it’s exciting being inside a male character’s head. Oh, the power to see both perspectives and it’s heady stuff. It makes my days full of surprises and a day at work is never, ever boring!

The downside for me is always when I type ‘The End’ – and, of course, editors always take that out. But for me it signifies saying goodbye to the friends who have been with me through a very personal journey and I miss them afterwards.

Writing full-time is my job, but to me writing is also my guilty pleasure. Bar of chocolate, or sit down and write another chapter? Sorry chocolate, as tempting as you are you come second!

ABOUT LINN B HALTON

Villa Rosso

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing … and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Goodreads Author Page: http://ow.ly/mk3H30atV5h

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION (no purchase necessary)

A pamper kit (UK ONLY)

Villa Rosso

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

THE FATAL COIN by Lucienne Boyce #historical #fiction

FATAL COIN

The Fatal Coin

By

Lucienne Boyce

 

fatal coin

Genre: Historical fiction

Series: A Dan Foster Mystery

Release Date: 16 May 2017

Publisher: S Books

In the winter of 1794 Bow Street Runner and amateur pugilist Dan Foster is assigned to guard a Royal Mail coach. The mission ends in tragedy when a young constable is shot dead by a highwayman calling himself Colonel Pepper. Dan is determined to bring Pepper to justice, but the trail runs cold.

Four months later Dan is sent to Staffordshire to recover a recently excavated hoard of Roman gold which has gone missing. Here he unexpectedly encounters Colonel Pepper again. The hunt is back on, and this time Dan will risk his life to bring down Pepper and his gang.

The Fatal Coin is a prequel to Bloodie Bones, the first Dan Foster Mystery, which was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.

EXTRACT

“Dan dragged himself to the injured man, leaned over him, tried to see how much blood there was. A lot.

‘Wilkinson, stay awake. Stay with me.’

Dan struggled to loosen the rope at his wrists until the skin was raw and bleeding. He and the naval lieutenant shuffled back-to-back and tried to unpick each other’s knots. Then they tried sawing the ropes on the rim of one of the mail coach’s wheels. At the end of an hour they had made little progress.

Release came when a carrier wagon full of seamen on their way back to their ships plodded along the road. But by then, Wilkinson was dead.”

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT LUCIENNE BOYCE

fatal coin

Lucienne Boyce is a historical novelist and women’s suffrage historian. Her first historical novel, To The Fair Land (SilverWood Books) an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas, was published in 2012. Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (SilverWood Books, 2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016.

In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books), a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about women’s suffrage.

Lucienne is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She is a regular presenter on the Silver Sound show for BCfm Radio, a Bristol community radio station.

Lucienne is working on the third Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of a married couple who were involved in the suffragette, socialist and pacifist movements. She was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucienne.boyce

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucienneWrite

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437832.Lucienne_Boyce

Blog: http://francesca-scriblerus.blogspot.co.uk

Website: http://www.lucienneboyce.com

Publisher: http://sbooks.co.uk

 

APHRODITE’S CLOSET by Suzy Turner #chicklit #giveaway

Aphrodite's Closet

Aphrodite’s Closet

by

Suzy Turner

 

Aphrodite's Closet

Genre: Chick Lit

Release Date: May 2017

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before. Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

Extract

“What about wool?” Aggie suggested.

“What about wool?”

“A wool shop?”

“A wool shop?”

“Are you just going to repeat after me all morning?”

Coco shook her head and put her hand on top of Aggie’s. “Aggie, honey. You’re twenty-eight years old, not seventy-eight. Why, oh why would you want to sell wool to all the old biddies of Frambleberry all day long?”

Aggie shrugged, “It wouldn’t be so bad. Some of those old biddies are quite lovely.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot they’re some of your neighbours. You really need to find yourself another house. Living in a bungalow is for retired people,” she mouthed as an old lady walked past and scowled at her.

Coco raised her eyebrows and returned her attention to Aggie.

“Come on, there must be an alternative business opportunity needed in this town. Oh my God. I mean, seriously O-M-G,”

“What? What Coco?”

Coco began to grin at her best friend as she sat up straight. “I’ve got it. It’s bloody brilliant. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. It’s perfect and it’s a proper money earner, Aggie. There’s potential to earn squillions here. Oh my God…I’m so excited. I could so help with the decor. I’ve got ideas swimming about in my head already. We must get on to suppliers right away. I know a few people who might be able to help, come to think of it. Dickie from Saffron Walden, for example, he owes me a favour. And there’s Selena from Frome. Oh and I must ring Alison, although I think she’s in Edinburgh at the moment. I’ll wait ‘til the weekend. Oh this is going to be so much fun. Drink up, Agg. We need to get going. We’ve got masses to do. Come on, let’s…”

Coco stopped short and stared at her friend. “What?”

Aggie closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head.

“What’s up, honey?”

“Have you listened to yourself? You’re getting so carried away. But there’s just one little something you haven’t mentioned yet.”

“Oh really, what’s that?” Coco replied innocently.

“What kind of shop are you talking about?”

Coco slapped her own forehead and started to chuckle, “Oh right. Sorry…Aggie. You’re going to open the town’s first…sex shop!”

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

About Suzy Turner

 Aphrodite's Closet

Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, two neurotic dogs and a cat.

Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever FredlessAnd Then There Was You and Stormy Summer.

In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.

Lifestyle Blog: www.suzyturner.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/suzyturner

Facebook: www.facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks

Twitter: /www.twitter.com/suzy_turner

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

Book Blog: www.fictiondreams.com

 

GIVEAWAY

Ecopy of the book PLUS a £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Voucher

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#CoverReveal ~ A SHAPE ON THE AIR by Julia Ibbotson

shape

A Shape on the Air

by

Julia Ibbotson

 

shape

Genre:  historical time slip romance

Release Date: 28th July 2017

Publisher: Endeavour Press

Pre-Order link: AMAZON

Two women 1500 years apart. One need: to save the world they know. Can they help each other to achieve their greatest desire? And what if that world they want is not the one that’s best for them?  University lecturer in medieval studies, Dr Viv Dulac, is devastated when her partner walks out (and with her best friend too!) and threatens her home.  Drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down and she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne, who is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to the brutish Sir Pelleas who is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv’s own parents’ death and legacy, can Viv unravel the web of mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, and bring peace to them both? A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

About Julia Ibbotson

shape

Award winning author Julia Ibbotson lives with her second husband in the heart of England in a renovated Victorian rectory, and, their four children having grown up, she is now suffering from empty nest syndrome. She is obsessed with the medieval world and concepts of time travel (and chocolate) (and cakes …).  She read English at Keele University (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana) specialising in medieval studies. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but life (and later the need to earn a living as a single mother) intruded and she became a school teacher, and then, on gaining her PhD as a (very) mature student, a university lecturer. Julia has written a memoir The Old Rectory: escape to a Country Kitchen (with recipes) and a children’s book S.C.A.R.S (a fantasy medieval time slip), before embarking on her Drumbeats trilogy (which begins in Ghana).  Her latest novel, A Shape on the Air, is a historical (medieval) time slip romance. Clearly, she is obsessed …  Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga, baking, and walking in the English countryside.

Author page on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Ibbotson-author/163085897119236

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Goodreads Author Page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6017965.Julia_Ibbotson

LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-julia-ibbotson

Blog:   http://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Website:  http://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

 

STOP PRESS: Want to join the review tour 14th August – 25th August? Then email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk to be part of the tour!

GIVEAWAY

An e-copy of either The Old Rectory or Drumbeats if you sign up to Julia Ibbotson’s newsletter mailing list on her website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A CHATEAU FOR SALE by Carrie Parker #romanticthriller #giveaway

chateau

A Château for Sale

by

Carrie Parker

 

chateau
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Genre: Romantic thriller
Release Date: 13th January 2017
Publisher: Acorn Independent Press

Kate is living an idyllic life in the Kent countryside until she falls in love with her new neighbour, Nick.  She still loves her husband, Alastair, and she doesn’t want to choose.  Inevitably, she has to, but escaping with Nick to his château in southern France proves to be the worst decision of her life.

The betrayal of her beloved husband, Alastair, leaves Kate racked with guilt, but things are only going to get worse. She never imagined how fiercely loyal Alastair’s best friend, Richard, would prove to be . . . nor the devastating consequences of his loyalty.

Instead of the new start that she’d hoped for, Kate’s life at the château descends into a nightmare, taking her to the brink of despair . . . and when you’re desperate you’ll do anything.

What starts as a romance soon takes a much darker turn as the dramatic and unpredictable plot unfolds, twisting and turning, always with the château at its centre.

The novel captures the essence of rural France, from the descriptions of the countryside and villages to the insights into the lives of the locals and in-comers alike.

An ideal holiday read, A Château for Sale is also a cautionary tale for anyone dreaming of starting a new life in the sun!

BUY LINKS

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chateau-Sale-Carrie-Parker/dp/1911079646

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chateau-Sale-Carrie-Parker-ebook/dp/B01MS81TYK

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-chateau-for-sale

The Rye Bookshop, Rye, East Sussex, UK

https://www.waterstones.com/bookshops/rye

ABOUT CARRIE PARKER

chateau
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Born in Yorkshire, Carrie Parker graduated from Royal Holloway College, University of London, with a degree in chemistry and no idea of a career. An extended road trip across Europe and as far east as Iran convinced her that the career had to involve travelling the world. Eventually, after gaining a PhD in biochemistry and some time spent working as an editorial assistant on a science journal, she took a job in New Zealand. Returning to the UK a few years later, via south-east Asia, she began her career in overseas development which lasted for over 20 years and took her all over the world. On the first of many working trips to India she met her husband and in the late 1990s they moved to south west France where they lived for several years, working as consultants. Returning to the UK, they split their time between East Sussex and Crete.
Writing has always been an important part of Carrie’s work and, whilst in Crete, she started to write fiction. In 2015, now settled on the beach in East Sussex, she decided to write full time. The result is ‘A Château for Sale’, published in early 2017. Her second novel, set in New Zealand and Crete, is expected to be published early in 2018.

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/carrieparkeratacorn/

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4399131.Carrie_Parker

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PRINCESS BREEZE by Beverly Stowe McClure #CoverReveal

Woo hoo! I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of Beverly Stowe McClure’s novel, Princess Breeze – the sequel to Just Breeze!

princess breeze

I love this cover! Breeze looks so much more grown up here…

princess breeze

compared to how she looked when we first met her …princess breeze

So what’s the latest news with Breeze? Well, get a look at this…

For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school, who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life, and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

About the author

princess breeze

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

You can find Beverly here at her WordPress blog: beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

or on Blogger at beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

MURDER AT THE MYSTERY BAY HOTEL by Marcia Spillers#cozymystery #guestpost

Murder

Murder at the Mystery Bay Hotel

by

Marcia Spillers

 

Murder

Genre:  Cozy/Amateur Sleuth Mystery

Series: Mystery Bay Series #1

Release Date:  January 18, 2017

Can Delphie Beauchamp, a Texas-born research librarian fresh from a break-up with her two-timing boyfriend, help best friend and newly elected Chief of Police Em Landry, solve a double homicide in the old Mystery Bay Cemetery? Chief Landry needs Delphie’s help in solving the murders, along with determining why specific graves from the early eighteen-hundreds have been vandalized. Her canine best friend in tow, a twenty-two-pound dachshund named Huckleberry, Delphie heads for the tropical island of Mystery Bay, Florida where she begins a journey that includes a pinch of gold, a touch or romance, and a wallop of ghosts, in a race to solve the mystery, of the Mystery Bay Hotel.

EXCERPT

The smell of the ocean, crisp and briny like a jar of pickles, held just a hint of murder in the air. I picked up my luggage from the small carousel inside the terminal and opened the glass door of the Mystery Bay International Airport. The sultry, mid-October sunshine hit me all at once, along with the sweet fragrance of the red, frangipani trees that bordered the edges of the sidewalk. Amazing how paradise was just a plane ride away.

“God, what a beautiful day.” I dropped my suitcase on the pink-hued coral sidewalk and pulled out my sunglasses. Before I could slip them on, Huckleberry, my twenty-two pound, red Dachshund whined for me to take off his winter sweater. Poor little guy. The outfit worked great for the chilly October weather in central Texas but not the south Florida humidity.

“Sorry, Huck.” I unhooked his leash and pulled off the sweater. Stretching out his long body, Huckleberry trotted over to the nearest hibiscus bush and hunched over.  Seconds later he sighed in relief.

I coughed and fanned the air. Guess he wasn’t that hot in his sweater after all.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Five Pieces of Useful Advice for New Writers

Each time I begin a new book, an essay, a blog, I feel like a novice writer still learning the craft.  At first I’m full of self-confidence, new ideas, creativity; certain this will be the project that makes a difference in the world. Then I sit down in front of the computer and stare at the screen, wondering what in the world made me think I could ever be a writer.

After several minutes of self-examination, I shrug it off and force myself to write a few sentences.  Nothing fancy, nothing earth-shattering- just something to get my fingers moving on the keyboard.  And then the magic happens.  I get into the groove and begin to write.  As I write, I grow interested in what I’m writing, and sentence after sentence shows up on the page.

I said this to introduce you to my first piece of writing advice, which is, above all, be interested in what you write.  Maybe it sounds simplistic, but it rings true with every project you begin. And to be interested in what you write, means selecting the correct genre or project.  Let’s face it-you’ll be spending many long hours with your manuscript so you better make sure you enjoy each other’s company.  My first book, “Murder at the Mystery Bay Hotel”, took me three years.  I rewrote the manuscript five times before it was published.  The saving grace was that I enjoy humor, which is evident in the book, and of course, South Florida where the book is set.  The fact that I’m in love with the mystery genre didn’t hurt either. Those three key elements allowed me to read the manuscript over and over until my eyes burned, to edit each word, each line for all those elements that turn an idea into a book.

The second thing and I don’t say this lightly, is to learn the craft of writing.  Go to workshops and conferences, take classes, chat up other writers to see how they go about this business of writing.  Not only will you learn how to write, but you’ll form a network of people for support and encouragement.  As weeks turn into months, this encouragement will be crucial to keep you focused on your project.

The third piece of advice, one that I wish I’d known about before I began writing, is to learn the guidelines of your genre if you’re writing fiction.

Genres have specific guidelines that you might want to become familiar with before you begin your project.  “Murder at the Mystery Bay Hotel” is marketed as a cozy mystery, but it contains elements of romance, paranormal, and suspense, so it crosses genres.  It’s considered to be an “out of the box” type of cozy mystery. My readers either love it completely or don’t like it because it doesn’t follow the traditional lines of what they’re used to reading.  One of the main complaints I received concerned a ghostly Sea Captain who is pivotal to the story line. As a general rule, ghosts don’t normally appear in cozy mysteries. Fortunately, I’ve had many more positive reviews than negative, and if I had to do it again, I’d still write it the same way.  However, for future books, I plan to stay a little closer to standard guidelines.

Something I learned along this journey, just recently, in fact, was to prepare for the unexpected while writing.  I began this post in anticipation, researching a few facts, stretching my fingers as I settled down with the keyboard, prepared to share my thoughts.  Around the second day of this journey, I noticed a slight headache coming on.  I shrugged it off and continued to pound the keyboard.  By that evening, however, the slight headache had morphed into a hand clutching my forehead accompanied by a sore throat and sniffles.  Long story short, after the doctor’s visit, I was now the proud owner of a healthy case of the flu and the writing had to take a back seat while I recovered.

The moral of the story is this.  The best intentions can be sidelined by the unexpected.  If it occurs, take the time you need to deal with whatever is happening, and then begin afresh with your writing.   Writing reflects your state of health, mind, personal life, and other factors, so, try to be at your best when you sit down to write.  And please, no regrets, no beating yourself up because your writing has taken a temporary back seat.  We’re all human – problems come and go. You will write again. Just be sure to stock up on the tissue of your choice in case you get the flu.

My final piece of writing advice is something I’m still working on myself, which is, learn from your mistakes, stay balanced, and move on when the book is finished.

 After my first book, “Murder at the Mystery Bay Hotel” was published, I rejoiced in all the good reviews, and sort of squirmed at a couple of not so good reviews.  I pondered what I could have done differently, and should I have done anything differently.  What I came to realize, is that no matter what mistakes I’d made, the book was completed and I’d accomplished a lifelong dream.  I was now a published author and no one could take that from me.   It was time to celebrate, to give the book a chance to find a life on its own, and began the second in the series.  In other words, plan carefully, keep the highs and lows you’ll experience throughout this journey on an even keel, and turn your focus, your passion, onto your next project.  Life will continue as it always does, and you want to make sure you’re moving with it and not standing at the sidelines.

Happy writing and until next time!

 

ABOUT MARCIA SPILLERS

 

Murder

Marcia Spillers has been a Librarian/Archivist for more than twenty years.  Currently a school librarian, she lives in Austin, Texas with her two chows, Bella and Susie Bear.  Marcia spent seventeen years in south Florida perfecting her writing skills, along with completing the Writer’s Program at UCLA.

Blog:  http://www.marciaspillers.com/blog/

Website:  www.Marcia Spillers.com

@mysterywriter2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.spillers.7

THE COLD ROOM ~ a DI Eleanor Raven novel by Karen Long #interview

cold room

The Cold Room

by

Karen Long

cold roomPublication Date: 8th May 2017

Series: Eleanor Raven – Book 3

Genre: Crime / Thriller

The brand new thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the author of The Safe Word and The Vault.

Winter is settling on Toronto and a series of seemingly unconnected murders are weighing heavily on DI Eleanor Raven. When an army veteran holds his family hostage, leaving chaos and an unidentifiable skeletal human hand in his wake, Raven is left tangled in a web of leads, lies, and secrets, with each thread leading her closer to the all too terrifying truth.

But with time running out, Raven needs to re-connect with her past life – the one she thought she’d finally escaped from – if she’s to find out who the killer is before they strike again . . .

Buy Links

AMAZON UK

AMAZON.COM

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I’m thrilled to have Karen Long here at Celtic Connexions to answer a few questions. Without any further ado…

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I have always loved creative writing. Conversations are ethereal endeavours, which change with time and recollection. Putting words onto a page and making them available to people you have never met, is a deeply personal and thrilling concept. I’ve always wanted to write and ultimately to be read, probably since primary school.

Of all the cities in the world, what was it about Toronto that made you want to set your novels there?

Toronto is a fabulous city. It is exotic, exciting, a little dark and dangerous in places but has a recognisable British vibe to it. It felt very liberating to set the novel there and I have visited all of the places mentioned. One of the reasons to take a break from writing the series is that I’ve run out of geographical experience.

Where do the ideas for your books come from? Do you use actual events then massage them into your own fictional work?

I was staying in Toronto when I read an article in a local paper about a ‘Red Letter’ sexy kidnapping that went wrong when local residents, fearing a woman was being abducted, called the police. It was such a gem of an idea, I used it as the basis of the first book. Every experience you have, from a snatched conversation, a trip to a museum or listening to the radio,  provides material. The fun is raking through the mundane and seemingly irrelevant, to find the idea that will launch your story.

Is your Eleanor Raven character based on anyone in particular or a mish-mash of a number of people?

Eleanor can only exist because I can share, or at least imagine her thoughts and reactions. Every character I write, even the psychopaths, are believable to my way of thinking. I don’t share their life experiences (that’s what the internet is for) but I absolutely understand how they reach their conclusions. Therefore, I suppose they are all manifestations of my personality. However, none look like me so I take physical attributes from people I meet, or actors I like.

Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s been an absolute pleasure answering these questions.

Thank you so much for taking time out during your busy blog tour to stop by and answer these questions.

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ABOUT KAREN LONG

cold room

Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, later joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault.

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER

GOODREADS

All author or review enquiries, please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?

http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorRaven/

GIVEAWAY!

2 lucky readers have the chance of winning a signed paperback copy of the book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PLUS…………..

HEAD ON OVER TO GOODREADS FOR ANOTHER CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/236099-the-cold-room

THE OTHER SIDE by Kaylor Ward

Kaylor Ward

The Other Side

by

Kaylor Ward

 

Kaylor Ward

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

(Jodi Picoult meets Clare Makintosh)

Release Date:  14th May 2017

Publisher: Parker Press Publishing

Lauren is locked in a cell. She knows she shouldn’t be there.

When Lauren and Rick are left an allotment they embark on a lifestyle change that is supposed to bring their step-family closer together. They embrace the chance for a slice of the good life, fresh air and family times together. Lauren and Rick are in love and happy but sometimes their past issues surface. For Lauren it’s the affair that her first husband had before he left her. For Rick it’s the children he was alienated from and forced to leave behind seven years ago.

One day a new family move into a cottage behind the allotment. That day changes everything. That day they start falling apart.

Praise for The Other Side

‘A  wonderful new voice in cross-genre women’s fiction that will keep you spellbound’ Best-selling author, Catrin Collier

‘A thoroughly enjoyable, bittersweet read’ Helen Carey

EXTRACT

Prologue

The door shut with a cold, hard slam sending harsh metallic echoes around her. Her eyes shot warily from left to right as she raked her fingers through her hair and tried to make sense of her situation. She was in a cell. She had asked them not to lock her in, but they hadn’t paid her any attention. Where there had been a face a few seconds ago, there was now a slammed metal door with peeling grey paint showing the cracking blue paint beneath. She hated confined spaces. They told her there was a buzzer if she needed anything. Needed anything?

Panic welled in her chest, her throat and her brain as the grey walls and the naked single white light closed around her. Breathe…breathe…slow…down… This was not the place for a panic attack. Not here, not today. She was alone. She had to get through this. Focus…focus… Think yourself somewhere else.

She thought of her daughters, their smiles and their joy. She lay on the hard thin plastic mattress on the concrete bed, and pulled a thin blue blanket over her head to block out the light, to block out the room, and to block out now.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

ABOUT KAYLOR WARD

Kaylor Ward

Kaylor Ward, originally from London, now lives in South Wales. She worked for many years as a management consultant and trainer, writing part-time until her first book was published under the name, Michaela Weaver (Manic Mondays). She has studied creative writing at Masters level, and in addition to her writing she is a qualified Writing Coach. Michaela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and a reader for their New Writers’ Scheme. Michaela writes cross genre contemporary fiction with psychological twists often about the darker side of family and domestic life.

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

Twitter: @kaylorward

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16812960.Kaylor_Ward?from_search=true

Website: www.kaylorward.com

GIVEAWAY

Kaylor Ward

PRIZES

Kindle Fire!

Lolita Wine Glass from Jack’s wine bar

Bottle of vino from Jack’s

Scarf from Puffin Island

JUST FOLLOW THE LINK TO ENTER THE COMP!

http://kaylorward.com/index.php/kaylors-sign-up-contest/

AND, AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH………….There’s a free 6 week novel writing course for everyone run by Kaylor Ward herself! Here’s the link to access it!

   http://kaylorward.com/index.php/free-course-lp/