Blog Tour: Author Claire Johnston's Publishing Journey @ClareS_J @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

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When internet millionaire and philanthropist Harry Melville dies in a car crash at the age of forty four, the lives of his wife, Sarah, and twin brother, Ben, are thrown into turmoil.

Harry seemed to have it all; a close-knit family and a happy marriage - along with all the trappings of wealth. Yet as he recalls his past from the afterlife, a story emerges of the unspoken and bitter jealousies between brothers and of an unhappy wife burdened by loneliness and guilt.

When Ben takes over the running of Harry's charity foundation he begins to find purpose for the first time in years. But the arrival of a talented young artist brings a series of revelations that expose Harry's complex and dual personality in full. As he learns his part in the suffering of those he left behind, is it too late for Harry to make amends?

A tale of regret and redemption in this world and the next. From the Outside looks at the futile rivalries that can destroy sibling relationships and the lost opportunity for happiness when ego is allowed to reign over emotion.

Guest Post: Claire Johnston's Publishing Journey

I had been working as a journalist for over a decade when I first began to dabble in fiction. It was a natural progression for an avid reader and professional writer, and I naively assumed the hard bit would be actually completing a manuscript.
As it turned out, that was the easy bit.

I found writing fiction to be a liberating experience, the ultimate indulgence for a journalist who had spent years fact checking every second word to leave my fingertips. Suddenly, I was free to write whatever I wished. There were no rules. 

When I first came up with the idea for From the Outside – which tells the story of a multimillionaire killed in a car crash who watches the impact of his death from the afterlife – it didn’t occur to me at all to consider which genre the novel would fit in and how it would be marketed. It was simply a creative outpouring at a time in my life where I was searching for answers following the tragic passing of my cousin at far too young an age.

It was only when I started to contact agents that I was soon confronted by the realities of the industry. Which other novels of a similar theme and genre could I point to that sold well? This, I soon realised, is the crunch question for any novelist starting a new project. 
If you embark on a crime or sci-fi thriller, a romance, or something that neatly fits in a box, then agents and publishers can immediately visualise how they can market your work.  
From the Outside doesn’t fit neatly into a particular publishing genre, but then that should never put an author off. 

Happily, after sending out queries, I secured an agent for FTO, who was enchanted by the story and talked of a six-figure bidding war. Then, suddenly, the recession hit, and publishers were not willing to take any chances. My agent said we should hang fire and I decided to write a political thriller to keep the ball rolling. 

The resulting manuscript, Polls Apart, was accepted by a publisher in 2010 who also signed FTO. They published Polls Apart first – which brings me to the point where I need to be careful what I say. Ultimately, the publishing experience around Polls Apart wasn’t a rewarding one and I feared the same thing would happen with From the Outside. Cutting a long story short, I was able to secure the rights to From the Outside, but it was a difficult time and, as a result, I did nothing further with the manuscript for a few years. 

Then, three years ago, I heard a radio interview with Marlon James, the Man Booker Prize-winning author, in which he revealed his debut novel had been rejected nearly 80 times. Clearly another book that didn’t fit neatly in a publishing box.
I was so struck by his comments, because when I totted up all the queries I’d sent in earlier years for From the Outside, it must have amounted to at least 50. I had all but given up hope, but that interview inspired me.

I’m fairly active on social media and I had noticed a few Tweets by a new publisher, Urbane Publications, that caught my eye. I really liked what they represented – they view their relationship with authors as a genuine partnership where both have an equal stake in how the title is marketed – and so I dropped their publishing director Matthew Smith a note along with the first three chapters of From the Outside.

Time passed, I got back to my hectic working life and I forgot about it.
Then, probably a year later when I was on holiday in the US, I got an email from Matthew saying he was interested in publishing FTO. 
The experience with Urbane has been so positive and I have discovered renewed passion for my fictional work. 

I will be forever grateful to them for taking a chance on From the Outside. We need more independent publishers like Urbane who look to push the envelope and bring readers fresh fiction that lives on in the mind long after the final page has been turned.
Quite often those books just don’t fit in a box.

About Claire Johnston

Clare Johnston is a journalist and content specialist, and a frequent contributor on radio and TV, having appeared on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, The Kaye Adams Programme and comedy satire show Breaking the News on BBC Radio Scotland, along with STV2's Live at Five. She is a former editorial director of Press Association Scotland and commercial editor and columnist with the Daily Record. She is currently working with the DC Thomson media group and supports businesses with communication and content creation. Clare is based in Edinburgh.   
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Blog Tour: by A Publishing Journey Killing Sin author, K.H. Irvine @KHIrvineAuthor @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

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Would you surrender your secrets to save a life?

London. It could be tomorrow. Amala Hackeem, lapsed Muslim tech entrepreneur and controversial comedian, dons a burqa and heads to the women's group at the Tower Hamlets sharia community. What is she doing there?

Ella Russell, a struggling journalist leaves home in pursuit of the story of her life. Desperate for the truth, she is about to learn the true cost of the war on terror.

Millie Stephenson, a university professor and expert in radicalisation arrives at Downing Street to brief the Prime Minister and home secretary. Nervous and excited she finds herself at the centre of a nation taken hostage. And then it gets personal.

Friends since university, by the end of the day the lives of all three women are changed forever. They will discover if friendship truly can survive secrets and fear.

Guest Post: A Publishing Journey


If it takes a village to raise a child it takes a small town to have a book published. Publishing is an industry saturated by subjectivity, serendipity and slush piles. I was lucky as I had a great friend who had been an editor and knew how it worked but even then rollercoaster doesn’t do it justice….here’s my story and her’s (the wise woman editor).

Year One – aged 50

Wow, I’m writing a book. I am in a house on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland and I have newspaper clippings and notes everywhere. I feel such a fraud. The wee girl from the Scottish council estate getting above herself to write a book but the wise woman editor (WWE) that is my friend said, ‘write big, write like no one will read it, write like you deserve to.’ So I try. It takes me all year to get the first draft.



Year Two – aged 51

I send it to the WWE who is kind but honest…I think the sub text is you have a glimmer of a story but it’s drowning in a lot of exposition and showing off your research that makes it incredibly boring (it was the zzzzzz in the margin that gave it away). Back to the drawing board and a few more edits and then we send it to a friendly agent in Australia (where WWE lives). She loves it, she wants it, we have hit the jackpot. She is a serious agent with amazing authors under her wing…I bought champagne. I did more edits.

Then with no explanation said agent changed her mind, sent an email to say ‘no thanks’ and through me back in the wilderness.



Year Three – aged 52

As a mature and well balanced woman I did the only thing possible and sulked. I also drank a lot of wine and developed an addiction to Celebrations (other small chocolates are available). But then I got back in the saddle and WWE said how about we give it my mate who has been an editor for many a year (for some VERY big bestsellers) and see what she makes of it so we give it WWE 2. WWE 2 is incisive and direct but with a great heart and makes it a better book. How many edits now? 15 or 16 I think. God, that rewrite after rewrite is dull.



Year Four – aged 53

The two WWE are in my corner. We are a team and we are going to have a go at getting this damn book published so they combine their little black book of agents from all their years in publishing and try to sell me in, avoiding the slush piles…who knew it would be so brutal. The rejections flooded in. A few of my favourites; ‘I don’t think such high powered women would have friends’ (aagghhh), ‘It’s hard to like successful women, I can’t relate to them.’ (both of these from women) and ‘it seems morally ambiguous, you don’t seem to say what is right and wrong (that’s kind of the point – I never have and will never condone violence of any sort but I do believe we need a better conversation about why so many people are attracted to extremes – not just Islamist).

But then the jackpot – again! You maybe know how this is going to go. This time a huge international agent in London. This time it’s film rights, audio, making a huge impact, being brave….and then it went a bit cold. And then ice like until the ‘it’s not you it’s me email’ (is no one in publishing brave enough to dump you in person I ask??) The email … .’Because whilst it is timely and prescient I feel very squeamish about submitting it at a time when terror attacks of the kind you close the novel with are increasingly likely. I know you would argue, and rightly so, that this is exactly why it should be sold and published…and you are likely to be right, but I just don’t feel I want to represent it in the current climate.’

That was tough.

Year Five – aged 54

I am invited to the BBC – they like A Killing Sin but they are more interested in book 2 which is the rise of the Far Right. I decide to buckle down to right that one.

I decide to apply to be a mentor on the Prevent Programme; mentoring those terrorists, like the 7/7 bombers who are up for parole. I believe we need to look at all options and it feels like a good way to do good and do research. I am interviewed and selected.

Then Urbane came along and had a new model, a new way of working, skipping past agents straight to authors and ballsy enough to take a punt. We shake hands and we publish.

Then…. the Home Office read it and decide some of my points may ‘bring their programme into disrepute’ so they no longer want me. I buckle down to write again. I am super grateful for a chance to get my story out there so I let that door close.

Big thanks to the two WWE and the team at Urbane and no hard feelings anywhere else along the way – I get it – sometimes controversy makes us scared, sometimes it makes us challenge, question and explore…I hope A Killing Sin does that.


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Book Review: The Mummy Bloggers by @hollycwain @legend_press

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Meet three Mummy Bloggers - each of them followed, idolised, imitated, taunted and trolled online.

Elle Campbell is a glossy, lycra-clad mum with washboard abs, a ten-year plan and a secret past. Abi Black has quit sugar, moved to the country and is homeschooling her kids. Leisel Adams slogs away at her office job each day before rushing home, steeped in guilt, to spend precious moments with her kids before bedtime.

When all three women are nominated for a prestigious blogging award with a hefty cash prize, the scene is set for a brutal and often hilarious battle for hearts, minds-and clicks. As the awards night gets closer, their lies get bigger, their stunts get crazier - and some mistakes from the past become harder and harder to hide.

The Mummy Bloggers is a frank and funny look at the perils and perks of life online.

Review:

I remember reading the early marketing material for this book on Legend's Instagram page. I knew I wanted to read this book before I even had a look at the blurb!

I've been a book blogger for a while, but I've dabbled in lifestyle blogging for a very brief period. Lifestyle and mummy blogging is a world away from reviewing books online. The sheer competitive nature of some of these people is astounding. Great material for a book!

As you read The Mummy Bloggers you might find yourself thinking, this is too far-fetched, there is no way anyone would try to pull this crap. Well, I can tell you, I have seen every insane stunt in this book played out by a real blogger. Yes -- every stunt. I won't tell you which one I'm referring to but when you read the book you'll know. 

The writing flows very well and I found each of the characters to be well rounded and very realistic (as mad as some of them are). The characters - even the devious ones- are likable and they made this book a really fun read. The drama will suck you right in and you'll find yourself flying through the pages just to see how one blogger is going to outdo the other. 

The mummy bloggers was such an enjoyable read and the characters were so developed but the only piece of criticism would be that I felt the ending was a cut a little short, a little rushed. Don't let that put you off though. The crazy characters and hilarious attempts at one up-manship make The Mummy Bloggers the perfect  weekend or holiday read. 


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Guest Post:Inspiration, Myth or Gift by Final Reckoning Author Chris Bishop @CBishop_author ‏ @RedDoorBooks @lovebooksgroup

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Despite Alfred's great victory at Edington, Wessex is far from secure.

With the threat of an imminent Viking attack, Matthew, now a warrior, is sent to fortify and defend the ford at Leatherhead. There, hopelessly outnumbered, he faces his sternest test as he and a small band of barely trained Saxon warriors strive to hold out long enough for help to arrive or resolve to die trying.

In a time ravaged by political uncertainty, Matthew is placed in intense personal danger as he is also ordered to investigate the tyranny of the Ealdorman's stepson and dispense justice as he sees fit.

With his life still threatened by the wound to his chest, what is asked of him seems more than any man should endure as he faces . . . The Final Reckoning

Guest Post: Inspiration - Myth or Gift? 


I think it was P. G. Wodehouse who, when asked about writing, replied that you sit in front of the typewriter and curse a bit! Whilst probably not the most constructive advice, it is possibly more satisfying that staring at a blank sheet of paper hoping for inspiration. 

I’ve heard other writers speak about how they’ve been blessed with the inspiration for a novel like a ‘Gift from the Gods’. Whilst I’m sure that can happen, I’ve never experienced it quite like that. For me, whatever I get in the form of inspiration comes in one of two ways:- 

1. The kernel of an idea which sets my mind on a certain track. 

2. The solution to a plot I’m working on which suddenly presents itself. This often happens with the ending – I seldom know the ending when I start writing (and prefer not to) but one seems to present itself at the right moment. 

These ‘ideas’ tend to arrive at inopportune times – and quite often at night. I then struggle to remember them in the morning or, even if I do, they don’t seem half as good in the cold light of day! Whatever form they take I find that the important thing is not to force them – rather it’s best to let them settle and work them through in my mind. 

I think of it as being like a bird which has spotted a worm. It has to pull its prey out of the ground using as much force as is needed whilst being careful not to break it and thereby lose its supper! 

But where does inspiration come from? I think it’s actually all around us – a chance remark, a picture, someone you meet – they can all provide that essential ‘spark’ but quite often I find that the original idea gets lost as the story develops. This seldom troubles me as, after all, you can never see the spark which started the fire. By way of an example of this, my first novel, Blood and Destiny, started out as a ghost story based on a team of archaeologists who find the grave of a young boy. As I tried to write it the ‘ghost’ of the boy hi-jacked the story – almost as if he was guiding my pen. There’s more about that in a blog on my website (www.chrisbishopauthor.com) The Origin of the Series but it was an extraordinary experience. The point is that it took years for me to write that story - and there’s no mention of those original archaeologists in the final draft! 

If you’re struggling for inspiration it might help to remember that it is only a small part of the process. In fact, I was once told that writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – and that certainly sounds about right for me!

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Guest Post: Ken Lussey's Life in Books @FledglingPress @KenLussey @lovebooksgroup

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It is late 1942. Group Captain Robert Sutherland's first week in charge of Military Intelligence 11's operations in Scotland and northern England is not going smoothly. A murder at the Commando Basic Training Centre in the Highlands is being investigated by one of his teams, until events take an even darker turn that draws Bob in personally. He is also trying to discover who was behind an attempt to steal an advanced reconnaissance aircraft from a military airfield in Fife, an investigation made no easier by the perpetrator's death. The complication he could really live without comes via a telephone call from Monique Dubois in MI5. An operation she's been running in Glasgow, without Bob or anyone else knowing, has gone badly wrong, and she wants him to intervene before it is entirely compromised. The Danger of Life is a fast-paced thriller set in Scotland during the Second World War. It is Ken's second novel to feature Bob Sutherland and Monique Dubois and picks up not long after the end of his first, Eyes Turned Skywards. The action moves back and forth across Scotland, with much of it set in Lochaber, where the present war intersects with another conflict that took place two centuries earlier: with deadly consequences.  

Guest Post: Ken Lussey's Life in Books

So, books? Thinking back, I can’t really remember a time before I discovered the joy they bring and the horizons they expand. Born in 1957, I spent my childhood following my father, a Royal Air Force navigator, around the world. When I think back to the seven schools I attended, I can remember the libraries of each more clearly than just about anything else about them. Books were entertainment, bringers of knowledge, and sometimes also feeders of pretensions.

What did I read as a child? Pretty much anything I could get my hands on. Series like Biggles, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven came and went. A book that shines out from this era was Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth, which left a lasting impression on me. Another early book that was hugely influential was The Story of Kidnapped Told in Pictures, a 1948 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic told in comic-book form. If my love of Scotland had a single starting point, this was probably it. I’m not sure how or when the original book and I parted company, but it was so important to me that decades later I went out and found a replacement copy.  

It took me quite a while to encounter a book that took my breath away. At the age of around 15, I had an inspirational English teacher. He encouraged pupils to broaden their reading via a list of authors whose books he awarded from 1 to 4 points. I can’t remember if my staple fare at the time, authors like Alistair McLean, Hammond Innes and Ian Fleming, were on the list, but if they were, they did not score highly. Ernest Hemingway, on the other hand, meant four points per book (even for the short ones!) and he quickly propelled me up the class chart. This one simple idea dramatically broadened my reading habits, adding some much-needed quality to the quantity.

But it wasn’t Ernest Hemingway who took my breath away. One day, that same teacher waved a thick hardback book in front of the class. Who wanted to read it? He didn’t have to try hard to sell it, and at the cost of considerable loss of sleep, I had within a couple of days finished The Fellowship of the Ring and was clamouring for The Two Towers. Yes, The Lord of the Rings truly took my breath away. It also confirmed me as a fan of the infinity of possibilities reflected in science fiction and fantasy, genres that were to play a large part in my reading in the years to come.

It was that same list that caused me to trip over a book so hilarious in places that I couldn’t help laughing out loud. It’s also tragic in places and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is another book that must sit in my all-time top ten. Oddly enough, until I wrote that, I hadn’t realised that I had an all-time top ten. If I did, the book that would be at the top of the list is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. That, without doubt, is the book that has stayed with me always. There are not all that many words in it, but each one is exactly right; and for me the result is deeply moving.

I think that the book that taught me most was the first book I read to my daughters. I can’t remember what it was, but it, and the many that followed, taught me that reading is a gift that can be shared with others; and that it can bring wonder into their lives just as it brought wonder into mine. Reading to my daughters – and later to my grandson – also gave me a second chance at books I’d missed the first time around. Had I really overlooked Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series as a child? Apparently, for they seemed very new to me when I read them out loud to an enthusiastic audience as an adult. Reading to my grandson is also an excuse to sample more modern material like Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams, which is also the only book that has ever made me cry.

And, finally… what books would I give to a stranger? Easy: The Danger of Life and its predecessor Eyes Turned Skywards, by Ken Lussey. They are both great reads, if I say so myself!

Ken Lussey
ken@kenlussey.com


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Guest Post: In Her Words author @Joannewriter and her Favourite Characters @LoveBooksGroup

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While she seems to have
it all, Sophie Knight is looking for more. When gorgeous and carefree Michael Frisk walks into her life, he offers the excitement and passion she desires.

Sophie is willing to risk
everything she has. After all, she is used to concealing things from her husband—like her alcoholism, her unhappiness. But soon she has more to hide. She wakes up one morning in an alcoholic haze and finds bruises on her body, but has no recollection of what
happened to her. Was she raped?

When unsettling notes and
mysterious phone calls start, Sophie wonders whom she should turn to. Is Michael the cause of the frightening things happening in her life, or is he the answer to her problems?

Guest Post:J.S Ellis' Favourite Characters

For my debut novel "In Her Words" the favourite character to write was by far Sophie, the main character. Despite having it all; the apartment, the husband, the career, and financial security, she’s an empty person. This reflects in her drinking problem. She hides her drinking from her husband and starts to write in a diary to keep an account of her behaviour. She goes out one night with a friend and is awakened the next day by her husband, Richard with bruises all over her body and has no memory of what had happened to her. She suspects, she had been raped but couldn’t be too sure. She starts to investigate what might have happened to her that fateful night. Michael walks in her life and claims she had partied with him and his friends that night. Although something tells her he’s hiding something. 

Now, she has more to hide from her from husband. I loved writing her inner thoughts which pour out in her diary. I created more obstacles for her when Michael steps in. He offers what the elder Richard can’t, and Michael being his twenties, reminds her what she had missed in her youth as, she spent most of her time at home studying. While Michael is open to the world. She starts to question her choices, were they the right ones and Michael reminds her of her adolescence and the freedom of it. 
Michael offers to help her but she finds herself falling for him. He’s gorgeous and irresistible. She feels she can be honest with him about her drinking because he knows who she is. Things get even more complicated when she starts a passionate love affair with him. I enjoyed writing their interactions and planning out their dialogue. Page after page her complexity increased, so did her drinking and desperation. But of course, as a writer, you become drawn to your characters and they become your friends as you spend so much time with them but it is also our job to make the journey as hard as possible for the characters and give the reader something to root for or relate too. While writing I did sometimes shake my head because of the mistakes she did but at least, by the end, she had learned from them. 

About J.S Ellis:


J.S Ellis is a thriller author.
 She’s currently working on an adult Dystopian series called the Chaperone. She’s also working on another thriller novel, for now, it’s called Opium, as it’s still a wip.

J.S always liked to scribble from a young age but started writing by the age of sixteen. She spent all this time, enhancing and learning about the craft. Writing is her passion books are her obsession.

She has a degree in Creative Writing, English literature, and digital marketing. She works in an accountancy firm. She lives in Malta with her fiancé. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either cooking, eating cheese, and chocolate, or listening to good music and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

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Guest Post: Conspiracy of Wolves author @CandaceMRobb and her Favourite Characters @severnhouse @LoveBooksGroup

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1374. When a member of one of York's most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim's father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim's household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she's not telling? Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen's enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy. 

Guest Post: Candace Robb's Favourite Characters to Write

One of the best parts of writing a series is that characters move along with me from book to book, revealing more of themselves with each appearance. The longer I work with a character, peeling away their outward shell to delve more deeply, excavating layer upon layer, the more complex she or he becomes, the more nuanced. Most intriguing of all is the healer Magda Digby, the Riverwoman. Though I created her—supposedly—she mystifies me. There’s always a shimmer in the air when she arrives on the page. She insinuated herself into The Apothecary Rose, her role growing from a cameo appearance in early drafts of the book, the grieving mother weeping over her son’s grave, to the final version in which she is a minor but notable character. A chance comment from my agent at the time, a former editor, after reading an early draft—an interesting character. Will we see her again?—suggested that she might warrant another look. That must be what woke her. Gradually, as I revised, she inspired brief scenes; I saw a role for her, and a far richer identity. The elderly woman in mourning expanded into the enigmatic healer Owen encounters on his first day in York and comes to respect. This was my first taste of the magic of Magda.

Once I decided to expand on her part, I envisioned her as a gifted healer with deep knowledge of roots and herbs, and a healthy dose of skepticism about her fellow mortals, and the Church. In 14th century England the power of the Church was second only to that of the king—and in some things, exceeded that of the king. From the beginning Magda stands out as a non-Christian in this world, questioning all that Owen, Lucie, and their community accept as part of their faith.

But from the first, mystery swirled around Magda. Folk wondered how old she was. And where did she find the Viking wreck that served as the roof of her house on a rock in the river? They feared the dragon that hung upside down over her door, watching all who approached. She spoke in riddles, answering  questions with questions that pointed out a path yet revealed little. I’ve begun to ask myself whether her skills are limited to those available to all healers who study their craft, or whether there is more to her. Owen and I are exploring that together, and I must say we’re both inclined to believe there is far more to her than we imagined. 

About Candace Robb:

Candace Robb has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval & Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently visiting York to research the series. She is the author of ten previous Owen Archer mysteries and three Kate Clifford medieval mysteries. 




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Guest Post: Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder with Eden Interrupted Author @BevHarvey_ @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

09:08


90s popstar Ben Wilde and his bride Lisa return from honeymoon to find a cuckoo in the nest and a surprise European tour in the diary.

Lisa befriends neighbour Rosemary, who is also home alone while husband Nigel travels for work. But will the women's grim suspicions be confirmed, or does absence make the heart grow paranoid?

In the village, Eden Hill's coffee shop is under new management with the arrival of divorced Mum, Chloe, and troubled teen son, Jake. But serving flat whites leaves Chloe feeling, well, flat until she meets Caleb, a widowed father of two; if only Jake and Caleb weren't at loggerheads.

New to Eden Hill are Jan and Martin Bevan, but a frosty reception leaves them wondering if they've made a huge mistake.

From the writer of Seeking Eden, Eden Interrupted is another sizzling slice-of-life drama where paths (and swords) cross, and misunderstandings abound. Perfect for fans of Fiona Gibson and Marian Keyes.  

Guest Post:

Does absence make the heart grow fonder or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?

By Beverley Harvey

Two women, two absent husbands: When friends and neighbours Lisa Dixon and Rosemary Bradshaw find themselves home alone in the suburban new town of Eden Hill, it isn’t long before loneliness and suspicion set in. 
Forty-something Lisa is shocked when Ben Wilde, her faded-Rockstar husband, is unexpectedly whisked away on a European tour, cutting short the honeymoon and rousing Lisa’s hitherto unseen jealous streak.  Meanwhile, neighbour Rosemary finds herself quietly relieved when her husband, businessman Nigel, begins frequently staying away overnight.  
Couples forced to live apart is one of the themes I explore in Eden Interrupted, my second novel and the sequel to Seeking Eden. It’s a subject I know something about; barely a week passes when my real-life partner doesn’t have to board a plane for work. It can be frustrating, lonely and boring. Fortunately, we’re both used to the routine, speak several times a day on the phone and make the very best of our weekends together. But what happens if your soulmate is called away for months at a time? 
For many years I lived in a prosperous, suburban new town in Semi-rural Kent which inspired Eden Hill, the setting for my novels. There, it was not unusual for couples to live apart for long spells as many of the men (and increasingly the women) went off to pursue lucrative contracts abroad or in other parts of the UK.  This style of work often results in a life of material comfort, but at what price? 
In the case of Lisa and Rosemary in Eden Interrupted, both encounter serious relationship problems and for entirely different reasons. We see Lisa’s evolution from bubbly, temptress and sex-kitten in Seeking Eden to peri-menopausal clinging-vine in the sequel – which puts a huge strain on Ben and Lisa’s new marriage. 
Rosemary on the other hand, realises that she and her young daughter Iris are happier when her dull and portentous husband, is travelling for work. Readers soon learn the shocking truth about Nigel – but will Rosemary ever discover his dark secret?
Lisa and Rosemary are just two of the conflicted and eminently relatable characters in Eden Interrupted. Readers will revisit Martin and Jan who are struggling to settle in their new home, as well as meeting new arrivals divorcé Chloe and her troubled teenage son Jake. 
I’m fascinated by real lives and truly believe there’s no such thing as an ordinary person. Every one of us experiences unique challenges, highs and lows, and each of us is the star of our own show; as the saying goes ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’.  

Eden Interrupted, Urbane Publications, from 6th June 2019. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eden-Interrupted-Beverley-Harvey/dp/1912666383/

About Beverly Harvey:

For almost thirty years Beverley Harvey has worked in the communications industry. Beverley (Bev to her friends) recently swapped PR campaigns for plot lines and completed her first novel; she continues to supply words for businesses across several sectors. When not writing or reading, Bev enjoys listening to rock and indie music, cooking, baking, and keeping fit. An animal lover she is inspired by nature, art and life's daily trials and tribulations. Born in Yorkshire, and raised in South London, Beverley now lives in Chichester with her partner.  

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Book Review: The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan @headlinepg @HachetteIre @annecater

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Kingfisher Road - a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?

Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems...

In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfishers Road discover all the help they need?

Review:

I first discovered Emma's books by chance, when I picked up a second-hand copy of Designer Genes in a charity shop. After I turned the last page on that book, I was hooked. I've read almost all her books and followed her brave fight against cancer on social media. She is a woman I admired and one I will always remember.

The circumstances made starting The Gift of Friends almost bittersweet. Knowing those words were her swansong. Every sentence and character somehow felt more special. I read each page slowly, fully taking in her words and wondering how she must have felt as she wrote them. 

The Gift of Friends is a lesson in not judging a book by its cover. Each resident on Kingfisher road may seem to be living the dream, because the perfect house equals perfect life, right? We soon learn that this is not the case, that each one is dealing with their own personal struggle. 

Emma did not hold back when describing issues faced by the characters in this book. Abortion. Morality in the church, Spousal abuse. Other reviewers have guessed that Emma had possibly wanted to explore these topics in individual books, but as her time was drawing close, she needed an opportunity to explore them all in one book. Kingfisher Road was that opportunity. Any other author may have struggled to realistically portray so many issues in one book. That certainly wasn't the case here. Each character distinct and authentic. 

My favourite character by far was Nancy. She was the oldest resident in the group. Single, with an 'I don't give a shit about what you think of me' attitude. #goals. 

I loved how each character looked out for each other. They saw their road, not as a place with individual families, but as a community wrapped in a blanket of love and support. 

When I turned the last page, I definitely felt a sense of loss, like there was a hole left in the Irish publishing world. 

Then I read the acknowledgements (written just days before she passed)...and shed more than a few tears. Her message was clear. Love the ones that love you. Nothing else in life is important. 

RIP Emma. 

Rating:

★★★★★



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Blog Tour Guest Post: The Location Behind The Wrong Direction by @liztreacher @lovebooksgroup

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Autumn 1920. When Bernard Cavalier, a flamboyant London artist, marries Evie Brunton, a beautiful Devon post lady, everyone expects a happy ending. But Evie misses cycling down country lanes, delivering the mail, and is finding it hard to adapt to her new life among Mayfair’s high society. Meanwhile Bernard, now a well-known artist, is struggling to give up his bachelor ways.
The Wrong Direction is as light and witty as The Wrong Envelope, with racy characters and a fast-paced plot. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other…

Guest Post:

I remember London in the late 1980s when there were fewer cars and a lot less people. At night, you could drive from Brixton to Finsbury Park in just over 20 minutes, racing over the Thames and past Trafalgar Square with its illuminated fountains. There was space to look up and around you; the pavements seemed wider and the air clearer. You could spend a whole afternoon in a sleepy café outside the British Museum, nursing a cup of tea. Yet London still felt like a capital. There was the buzz of West End shows and a carnival feeling in parks in the summer. It’s this feeling of ‘Old London’ that I have tried to recreate in ‘The Wrong Direction’. Of course, in 1920, when the book is set, things were different again. My heroine, Evie Brunton, encounters a flock of sheep in the Strand and buys milk from a horse and cart. Shoe polishers, organ grinders, traders carrying baskets of ducks…I’ve tried to include many different images of London at that time to plunge the reader into another era.

Blog Tour Guest Post: Ticket to Ride by White Gold Author, David Barker @BlueGold201 @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

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VENGEANCE ALWAYS HAS A PRICE

Sim Atkins, Overseas Division agent, returns to Earth, having saved the Moon base from a deadly terrorist plot (see Rose Gold). All Sim can think about is finding the criminals responsible.

But his fury and lust for revenge are put on hold when a nuclear warhead is stolen by Terra Former leader Matthias Larsson. Can Sim and his colleagues track down the terrorist cell and disarm the device in time?

White Gold is the gripping finale in the compellingly original Gaia Trilogy, page-turning thrillers that provoke as well as excite.


Guest Post: Ticket to Ride

I love a board game, me. Been collecting them for about forty years and with a reluctance to throw the old ones out, I’m struggling to find room for all the boxes. I occasionally back campaigns on Kickstarter, which makes me feel good about supporting new designers and budding publishers in this market but, really, it’s just an excuse to add to my collection.

Some of you will have heard of, or played, Ticket To Ride. You collect different coloured trains and use them to claim routes between stations, gaining points in proportion to the length of the route. There is a Nordic version designed just for 2-3 players which we have at home. The map features two stations in the Northwest corner – Narvik and Kiruna – that I happen to know a fair bit about from the research for my new novel, White Gold.

Blog Tour: Read about Word Building in @seasick_stu's book, They Shoot Corpses, Don't They? @lovebooksgroup

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An original blend of crime fiction and horror - Zombie Noir.

Pat O’Hare is the only (living) private detective in Farrelton, a crime-ridden city still recovering from the ravages of an undead uprising. Pat is hired to find the missing granddaughter of a rich industrialist. But, what starts out as simple enough job turns into a fight for survival as he finds himself pulled into a deadly mystery where nobody can be trusted. Helped only by a trigger happy ex-cop and a washed up boxer with a pathological fear of trees, Pat has to use every trick in the book just to stay alive. Caught between corrupt police, gun-wielding hitmen and a ruthless crime lord, Pat soon learns that the zombies are not the most dangerous creatures in town.  

Buy the Book (Affiliate)

Word Building with Author CS McLean:

Some writers are well known for setting their books in a real place and writing so vividly that the location becomes a character in their books -  whether it is Stuart MacBride’s Aberdeen, Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh or Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles.

Other writers like to set their books in wholly fictional places.  World building is something that fantasy and science fiction writers do all the time.  It is less common with crime fiction, although there are many fine examples where this has worked – Peter Robinson’s Eastvale and Richard Price’s Dempsey spring to mind.

Blog Blitz: Favorite Characters in The Wrong Envelope by @liztreacher @lovebooksgroup

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Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide. Evie Brunton loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow lanes of Devon on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Bernard is supposed to be painting for an important exhibition, but the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy. It captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change.

Liz' Favorite Character:

My favourite character to write is Phoebe Carson. She is a young lady in her early twenties with a large nose and spectacles. She lives with her father, the Reverend Carson, who usually smells of haddock, in a dark vicarage in Saffron Walden. Phoebe, who always has her nose in a book, is good fun, kind-hearted, witty, loyal and clever. She is the friend everyone would want. Phoebe Carson and Evie Brunton are the two girls that the London artist, Bernard Cavalier, is involved with. They have great potential to be friends and I make sure they have a meeting in The Wrong Envelope, although it is a very awkward one. Phoebe meets Bernard when he is doing army training in Saffron Walden. Bernard is a flighty artist and has no real interest in Phoebe, but she is very keen on him. She spends her time writing to him and making gooseberry jam.

The only thing more fun than writing Phoebe, was writing her a potential suitor, (a proper one, not the impossible Bernard). I decided he should be a man of the cloth like her father, and came up with Robert Hazlitt, a young chap just a few years older than Phoebe, with a round face and thinning hair. He has seen active service in the First World War as a stretcher bearer. He has an infectious laugh, a sense of the absurd and, of course, a love of books. Robert is the new curate and he comes to stay at the vicarage while he finds digs in town. The scene when he and Phoebe meet is my favourite in the book because Phoebe is so delighted to have a ‘book worm’ staying. When she first hears his laugh she can hardly contain her hilarity; when he makes her confess how many times she has read Pride and Prejudice and then admits it is his favourite book, we know the stage is set…

About Liz Treacher:

Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing. 

Her debut novel, 'The Wrong Envelope', is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under 'Videos'. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, 'The Wrong Envelope' captures the spirit of another age - when letters could change lives.

The sequel, 'The Wrong Direction', follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair's high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends - Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.

For more information visit: https://www.liztreacher.com
Follow on Twitter: @liztreacher
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizTreacherAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/liztreacher/


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Blog Tour: Guest Post by The Fourth Courier Author @TimothyJaySmith @lovebooksgroup

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For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it's feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.  

Guest Post: The Location Behind The Fourth Courier

Warsaw. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric city, sometimes gloomy in winter which contributes to The Fourth Courier’s noir ambience. The story chose the location. It could be set no place else. Warsaw was the hub for smuggled goods coming into the country, and anything nuclear brought out of Russia would certainly pass through it.

In 1989, thirty years ago this year, the Berlin Wall fell and Solidarity won Poland’s first free election in over 60 years. (For plotting purposes, I set my story in 1992.) The Fourth Courier is a snapshot of the grim end of communism—with its ubiquitous grey everything contrasted with the red Solidarity banners, a symbol of people’s hopes and aspirations.

Since 1989, a lot has changed besides the country’s politics. Virtually none of the specific sites in my book along the river still exist. Not the Nightclub, not the narrow concrete jetties leading to sandbars, not Billy’s cottage. Nevertheless, for those who want to follow The Fourth Courier’s footsteps in Warsaw, there are many places still recognizable: the Old Town, the Marriott, the subterranean passages, certain bridges, and Centralna, the central training station.

But Warsaw was and is more than a physical place. It was where the hopes and duress of the country were centered. Communism had failed to elevate everyone. Here’s what FBI Agent Jay Porter sees passing through Warsaw’s sister city, Praga, across the river:

“A church’s onion dome loomed over the bent women and broken men who plied those streets. Here, a man sold oranges displayed on his car hood; there, a woman used a stick to rummage in a refuse bin; and everywhere, the poor scuffed their shoes in the gritty snow bargaining for toss-offs.”

Later, Jay contemplates:

“He’d walked enough of Warsaw’s grey streets and through the grim underground passages, glancing at the faces of passersby—each a map of a wounded country—and wondered if what he considered his rebelliousness, bred in America’s suburban comfort, could have survived what they had endured. Or would he have resigned himself to the half-empty glass of their existence?”


 

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Blog Tour: The Location Inspiration Behind Star of Hope by @moiramcpartlin @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup

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 This third and final exciting volume of The Sun Song Trilogy finds Sorlie and Ishbel working together in one last attempt to save Esperaneo. As The Prince's health deteriorates he hands over leadership of the Star of Hope's mission to Sorlie and Ishbel. But what is the Star of Hope? All they know is that it will free the native race from slavery. On mainland Esperaneo Major, Ishbel travels north through a hostile artic forest while Sorlie, Reinya and Dawdle head for the southern dry lands. On the way both parties battle extreme weather and betrayal, but it is only when the two missions meet that the frightening truth of their world is revealed. And one final betrayal decides the fate of the mission and their fight for freedom. The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society's norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently.  

Guest Post:

Star of Hope, Location, by Moira McPartlin 

Star of Hope is the last book in my Sun Song Trilogy. It was published at the end of February 2019 by Fledgling Press and like my other novels I launched the book on the unsuspecting public during a series of events.  While I was preparing for these events I began to examine the trilogy as a whole and when I looked at location something very strange occurred to me.

The Trilogy is set in a fictional superpower of Esperaneo (lesser Esperaneo and Esperaneo Major) in the year 2089. Lesser Esperaneo is former UK and Esperaneo Major is mainland Europe.
In Book #1 Ways of the Doomed, the location was a small island on the west coast of Scotland. With Wants of the Silent, book #2, I moved the characters out of that island into two or three locations mostly around the Cumbria coast. With Star of Hope I continued to move outwards and took my main characters, Sorlie and Ishbel, into Esperaneo Major.  

Blog Tour: The Inspiration Behind Wants of the Silent by @moiramcpartlin @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup

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This second thrilling volume of the Sun Song trilogy takes Sorlie to the floodlands of southern Esperaneo to discover that family, love and resilience can triumph against even the harshest regime. Escaping from the penal colony on Black Rock, Sorlie joins his grandmother Vanora's revolutionary army, expecting to find freedom. Instead he finds murder and mayhem. With her army in disarray and her network of supporters disappearing, Vanora chooses Sorlie to become her warrior. When Vanora is kidnapped, Sorlie becomes injured and marooned in the strange reservation of Steadie where old people and specials are hidden and protected from The State. But these outcasts are not the only secrets Steadie keeps. Why is Sorlie kept drugged for over a week? What are their links to The Blue Pearl Society? Why are they so wary of the Noiri black marketeers? And who is The Prince everyone is whispering about? The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society's norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently.


 

Guest post: Inspiration Behind Wants of the Silent

When I began the Sun Song Trilogy I knew what was going to happen in the first book and I roughly knew how the trilogy would end, but I had no clue how I would get there.
Wants of the Silent is the middle book and was the hardest to write.  Book #1 Ways of the Doomed is set on a prison island, where teenager Sorlie find out more about the world he inhabits because he has access to banned books. In book #2 I wanted to explore more of the world outside the prison. Sorlie discovers that the world is ruled by a cruel military regime, but he has no idea of the fate of the citizens. He doesn’t realise they have to hide.
I wanted to create hidden communities where people got on with their lives under the radar of the State. For this I took inspiration from two sources.
History and the present. 

South Uist is my favourite island in the Outer Hebrides. I have visited it many times and on one visit I discovered something I hadn’t noticed before.  Walking near the croft house where I was staying I noticed a mound of grass beside a small pond.  It looked like any old mound from the track but then I noticed something strange. There was a little green spout poking from the mound. When I looked closer I noticed a silver stack with a cap on top and – was that smoke coming from the stack?  I walked off the track to the pond, when I looked back at the mound I was astonished to find a glass window and through the window I could see a sofa and rugs and a table. This was someone’s house. The next day I was walking to the beach when I came upon ancient ruins set into the ground. The information told me these were wheelhouses, circular drystone buildings with a single entrance, built during the Iron Age between 500 BC and 500 AD. With these two discoveries I knew I had found my first community.  In Wants of the Silent I built a community by the sea, who lived in these underground wheel house structures.

My second community is Steadie.  Steadie is a radioactive site where citizen deemed by the State as having no purpose are hidden by society. The military don’t raid too deeply in Steadie because they are scared of the radiation but the citizens of Steadie have learned how to control their exposure to radiation.

The inspiration for this community came from an article I read about Fukushima.  Fukushima is a nuclear power plant site hit by an earth quake and then a tsunami in 2011. The residents around the site were evacuated but after a while the older citizens became tired of living away from home and returned to the site even though it was still deemed unsafe.  This got me thinking about choices people make and how they can adapt to the environments they find themselves in. I read a bit about Chernobyl, the most contaminated place on the planet and discovered that hundreds of people work there under controlled conditions.

In Wants of the Silent I believe I have created two unique and believable communities for people to live, work and survive the harsh regime of the Sun Song Trilogy.

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Blog Tour: The Writing Process by Turner Author @jrdemontfort @lovebooksgroup

09:30


Two Brothers.

One Big Decision.

“We Are the Light Join Us”.

Turner is a rich, dark, layered text that slowly draws you in before taking you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions in a story about what it means to be human, pure love and the sacrifices people make to preserve those things.

Hero, a young boy joining a new school, discovers he has a unique ability. One he finds that he shares with his mysterious, enigmatic older brother James. Upon this realisation, the brothers’ bond is cemented as they embark on a complex emotional journey together, honing their skills and developing their understanding of what this new found ability can bring for them both. However, upon his eighteenth birthday, Hero learns that with his new ability comes a choice and whenever he makes a decision there are serious consequences.

The story contrasts the parallel lives of the brothers as Hero decides to “Join the Light” whilst James takes an entirely different path and disappears . . . 

Will they ever be reunited? 

Guest Post:

I always wanted to be a novelist from a very young age. I loved reading and words and regularly expressed my story telling through essays and computer role playing games that I wrote for the Spectrum 48k (yes, I remember the 80s the first time around!)

But, as I progressed through my teenage years, I was talked out of being a novelist and guided by my parents to ‘get a real job’. So, I ended up in banking and, perhaps inevitably, I lost my soul. I used my creative talents to line the pockets of the upper echelons of society until I reached the age of 38 and, in a single electric moment, was fortunate enough rediscover my soul. An idea that I’d had as a teenager called Turner’s Chess Game replayed in my mind. In another strangely timed twist of fate, I met with an old friend for a birthday dinner. We talked about the projects we were working on, she was writing a TV show that she hoped to get commissioned and she asked me about my book and I told her the basic outline for it; she was very adamant that I should write it and so I started.
My friend’s name is Daisy-May and she and her brother went on to win awards for their BBC3 show, ‘This Country’. 

Whilst I have heard some authors say that writing is hard, I actually really enjoyed every part of the writing journey of my first book, Turner, and I learned a lot, about how to be an efficient writer, but mostly about myself. I quickly realised that I was going to need help and so I started talking to editors and mentors who could help me (services for which I paid) some help was good, some was bad. Although I would add that a lot of whether the help was good or bad depended on my readiness to heed it and on the working chemistry that I had with that particular mentor. 

Without question James Turner was my favourite character to write in this book. Because he knows who he is and has embraced it and his superpower from an early age, he has no inhibitions, at least at first, and, like Tyler Durden, he’s free in all the ways everyone else is not. But also, he’s flawed, he’s misogynistic, reckless, sociopathic and even sometimes tactless. But then, some part of him shines, is beautiful and wonderful. It’s difficult not to love him, at least a little bit.

As I came towards the end of the book, I started searching for a publisher and there was quite a bit of interest, but it quickly became apparent when looking at all the options that I might be better off publishing it and managing all of the marketing myself. As I researched the publishing industry more and more, I realised that there were many great writers who were being overlooked because they were unable to afford the training / mentoring / editing etc that they needed. So, I came up with an idea to pay authors a salary and royalties to write books and we would supply all the training; the only requirement was that they had to have raw talent. I helped build a set of algorithms and processes (interviews etc) that would help us to identify that raw talent and De Montfort Literature was born. Turner became their first publication.

Writing is a never-ending process, I am blessed (or plagued) with ideas day and night and sometimes I wonder if I write simply to get the ideas out of my head. But no, I enjoy creating and writing stories; one such story I am working on right now. It came to me whilst I was discussing Turner with one of my mentors and he went for a bathroom break. He still can’t believe that I put the outline together in five minutes. We recently pitched it to a small focus group; it was received with tears of joy and pain. It is much gentler than Turner, it’s not as graphic and there’s no sex or violence in it at all. It’s a bittersweet love story spanning 2000 years between 1986 and 2038.

And it is entitled ‘Saves 9’.

Although not yet on Amazon etc. (as the cover is still being designed) these should appear within about one or two months, pre-orders can be made De Montfort Literature. ISBNs: HB: 9781912770045 PB: 9781912770052 Kindle: 9781912770038


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Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Ways of the Doomed by Moira McPartlin @moiramcpartlin @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup

07:00


Book 1 of The Sun Song Trilogy.

It's the year 2089 and everything is altered. The revolutions of the early 21st century have created a world divided - between the Privileged few and the Native (Celtic) underclass. Sorlie is enjoying a typical carefree Privileged teenage life until it is smashed apart by the cruel death of his parents and he is spirited away to live with his ice-cold grandfather at a mysterious island penal colony. Sorlie's discovery that the captives are being genetically altered to remove all trace of their Native origins triggers a chain of shocking events that reveal his grandfather's terrible secrets and, ultimately, the truth about himself.


Extract:

Chapter One
2089 – Base Dalriada, Lesser Esperaneo    

The last time I saw my mother was three days after my sixteenth birthday. 
The wrestling bout was on but already I was pestered by the morning winterlight blighting the Games Wall and reflecting dust onto the rim of my headgear.  I don’t know how many times that native had been told to suction this room to full proof; the lazy bint never did. 
My parents’ prime birthday gift to me was the Cadenson Wrestling Station, the most excellent deluxe model with a hyper pain module. Epic. For five months already I had to endure Jake Hislop bragging about his CW Stat.   His parents, being Upper-Corp, had access to mega leisure bars. Jake only had to snap his bony fingers and his wish was granted.  He never had to wait for his birthday.  It was beamersville enough having only Mid-Corp parents without the added reds of waiting an era for their weeny leisure bar quota to mount up and eventually get the gift of the century.  Now the CW was mine and I’d been locked into a Jake grudge match ever since I peeled the wrapper off.
                That day as Ma stood by the doorway dressed in her crisp grey uniform, Jake’s impression held me fast in a strangle hold. It was like he was right here, in the room with me. I could smell his rank breath of oats he had for breakfast.  The machine began to count. Soon it would cancel me out and shunt the victorious Jake back to the reality of his unit to gloat.  I kicked the wall and twisted from his grasp.  The room tossed as I heaved his impression off me, I head dived over the low table, bounced backwards, and landed on top of him. He side-shifted, rolled his skinny impression under the table, hove from the other side and snatching my hair, viced my neck with his arm.
                ‘I’m leaving now, Somhairle.’ I heard Ma’s voice but saw only her feet, shod as always in polished military boots. As I flailed my arms to grab a corner of Jake, I skittered and raked at his face; the warmth of imagined blood tickled to my wrists.  His return blow to my belly was exact and buckled me, forehead to knee.  I bent double like a native working in the fields, winded and almost beaten.
                The machine called break and began to count again.
Ma was gone.


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Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Time's Tide by Adrian Harvey @Ade_Harvey @UrbaneBooks @lovebooksgroup

07:00


The new novel from the bestselling author of Being Someone and The Cursing Stone. 

A father and son struggle to overcome the distance between them. Each is drawn irresistibly to an unforgiving landscape, one that has been the scene of tragedy and loss.

The son's return to the northern shore he abandoned as a young man promises the chance to heal the rift. But is it too late?

Arni left his remote corner of Iceland as soon as he could, seeking opportunities beyond winter and fishing. Married to an English woman, he builds a life as a successful scientist but can never quite escape the pull of the West Fjords and bleak landscape of his birth, nor shake the guilt he feels towards his distant father.

When Eirikur goes missing, he sets off to find him on a windswept spit of land lost in an angry ocean.

Time's Tide is a compelling and beautifully written story of loss, belonging and the silence between fathers and sons.  

Extract:

2008

The blunt voices downstairs barely bubbled up through the carpet, but he sat listening for a moment or two in any case, deathly still so as not to dampen them further. The late spring sun cut into the bedroom, bringing with it the sound of songbirds chattering in the garden. A car’s engine rumbled to a halt somewhere in the Close. He thought he heard an aeroplane scraping across the sky.

The now dead phone still lay in his hand and Árni roused himself sufficiently to return it to its cradle. The sound of the duvet rustling beneath him, the bed grumbling at the shifting weight, the dull plasticity of the point where the handset met its base: all these erased the slow breathing of the world outside, made his immediate surroundings solid once more. He was wholly in Cambridge once again.
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