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


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


 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


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


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


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.


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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