Gone by Rebecca Muddiman – Blog Tour.

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So as part of the Blog tour for the terrific crime novel “Gone”, in the spirit of my “Why We Write” occasional drop in features, Rebecca Muddiman kindly wrote a guest article all about her writing process.

 

My Writing Process

I’m constantly searching for the perfect writing process and routine. I have a copy of Daily Rituals by Mason Currey next to my bed which outlines the habits of other writers and I do wonder about copying some of the greats in order to get the work done. Unfortunately, many of them include drinking large amounts of alcohol, often in the day, which I’m terrible at; or taking naps, which I’m also bad at, unless I’ve been drinking but then that’s your whole day gone. So, instead, I’ll just stick to what I know.

Most of my writing starts with a vague idea – maybe something I’ve read or seen on the news. Watching TV and films or listening to music sparks a lot of ideas too but often these ideas don’t fit with the kind of crime novels I write. Warning to my editor: I’ve just re-watched Twin Peaks so things could get a little weird in the next book.

Some ideas never get past the swirling around in my brain phase but those that do end up being scribbled on various scraps of paper until those bits of paper start to look like they could become an actual story.

With my first novel, Stolen, the plot came first and the characters were built around it. Even DI Gardner was just a bit part in the initial draft but over time became the star. And because he kept growing and his back story kept developing, when it came to writing Gone, the plot became informed by his character.

The next part of the process is often the most fun and the most frustrating as I try to piece everything together. I do this by writing down each plot point or scene on a little bit of paper and then spread them all over the floor. This way I can see more clearly where things are missing and also how best to structure the book. I shuffle the pieces around until I’m happy and then write up a vague chapter by chapter outline. I use this to guide me once I start writing but often I’ll go off on tangents anyway.

My writing day sort of depends on where I’m at in the process – planning, writing the first draft or editing. Writing the first draft is usually the most rewarding, mostly because I can watch the word count rise and it feels like I’m getting somewhere. Editing often feels like treading water.

I try to be at my desk by about 8am and work until it’s dog walking time. After lunch I get back to it and work some more until I’m either hungry again or my brain seizes up. I always work from home, rarely venturing out to write somewhere new. Our house is nicknamed Murder Cottage as both me and my boyfriend both write crime novels. We thought about getting a plaque but wondered whether the postman would stop coming. Anyway, it’s really nice to work from home because you never know when you’re going to need a stiff drink or a nap.

About the book:

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250,000 people go missing in the UK every year. 91% of those reported to police are found within 48 hours. 99% of cases are solved within a year. And 1% stay gone. 11 years ago, troubled teenager Emma Thorley went missing. The police assumed she was a runaway. But now a body has been found in woods near Blyth. DI Michael Gardner knows he didn’t take Emma’s disappearance seriously enough back then, and is determined to make up for it now. But when he and DS Nicola Freeman start to reinvestigate, they discover that nothing is as simple as it seems.

My Review:

An extremely clever and addictive mystery story to be found here, another great crime novel and it kept me on my toes throughout. I have been lucky lately to find a lot of new crime novels, one of my favourite genres – this is a top notch addition to my must read authors list.

Some brilliantly drawn characters lead us along – the most fascinating of which is one Lucas Yates, someone who has a past with missing teen Emma Thorley – now presumed dead – and who was not that fond of her. Then we have DI Michael Gardner, a man haunted by his past when it comes to his present colleague relationships, with the sense that he did not do the search for Emma justice at the time of her disappearance. These two very different but equally compelling characters made this book for me – I was eager to find out the outcome for both.

The mystery element is beautifully imagined and very well constructed – as the story ebbs and flows there are some great twists and turns and Rebecca Muddiman has a great turn of phrase and descriptive prose that keeps you deep into the story throughout.

Overall then highly recommended for Crime Fiction fans, an excellent addition to my list of author favourites.

Find out more here: http://rebeccamuddiman.wordpress.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/RebeccaMuddiman

Purchase Information:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-Gardner-Freeman-Rebecca-Muddiman/dp/1444791591/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421048905&sr=1-1&keywords=gone+rebecca+muddiman

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Otherworld: Virtual Tour.

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The Otherworld series – a set of books I have on my reading list, look fabulous and today I’m pleased to share some information with you all about the books as part of the Otherworld Virtual Tour.

 

SKYLAR DORSET grew up in Rhode Island (where she still lives), graduated from Boston College and Harvard Law School, and has lived in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C. But she actually spends most of her time living with the characters in her head. She hopes that doesn’t make her sound too crazy.

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THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

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This is not your average trip to Fairyland…

Selkie Stewart has just saved her quasi-boyfriend, Ben, from a fairy prison run by the Seelie Court. If they weren’t the two most-wanted individuals in the Otherworld before, they definitely are now. Along with Ben and the rest of their ragtag group of allies-Selkie’s ogre aunts; a wizard named Will; Ben’s cousin Safford; and Kelsey, Selkie’s best friend-Selkie is ready to embrace her destiny and bring the Court down. Until she hears the rest of her prophecy: Benedict le Fay will betray you, and then he will die.

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Prequel to the exciting summer debut of The Girl Who Never Was. Before the enchantment breaks, Selkie thinks she’s just an average teenage girl…

It’s the beginning of summer vacation, and everyone at Selkie Stewart’s Boston high school is excited. Except for Selkie, who sees herself standing at the edge of an abyss of Nothing To Do. Selkie doesn’t want to spend her summer scouring the kitchen for gnomes with her crazy aunts or mooning over the enigmatic boy on Boston Common. So instead Selkie goes in search of a job. What she finds is a new best friend, a cute boy who might be more than he seems, and even more question about her mother and her past – and a sense that Selkie’s adventures are just beginning.

 

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Set after Skylar Dorset’s debut The Girl Who Never Was and before the thrilling conclusion to her Otherworld duology, The Boy With the Hidden Name, this novella is told from the perspective of Merrow, the Fay of the Summer Equinox.

Merrow could tell is was going to be a good school year because Jupiter was moving into her constellation. Merrow read the stars…well, sometimes she got a feeling anyway. The stars were always dancing – they were difficult to understand. And then there was Trow. He was a new boy at school and Merrow got a feeling… Which is weird because she’s never minded being on her own before. (She wasn’t exactly popular.) But there was something about Trow. And a prophecy and fate and danger and love – if only the stars would hold still.

Find out more here: http://www.skylardorset.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SkylarDorset

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skylar-Dorset/e/B00IQVF0A0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1417505483&sr=1-1

 

Black Rose by Kris Thompson – Blog Tour.

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Kris Thompson is a veteran of the US Navy and single mother of three. When she’s not knitting scarves, chasing her children around or baking, you’ll find her enjoying a good book or writing down notes for her own upcoming stories. Writing has been a passion for Kris for many years, and seeing those stories printed on paper is a dream come true.

Black Rose

Lillian Locke had the perfect life in Boulder, Colorado. She had the boyfriend of her dreams, a wonderful family, awesome friends, and a spot on the track team at a great college. There wasn’t anything life could throw at her that she couldn’t get through . . . until he found her.

Lillian never could have imagined being abducted and chained up in the dark. Worse yet, being just one of many girls kidnapped and held captive by a madman. All she can do now is hope that she survives the brutality of their captor long enough to find a way to free herself and her new captive friends.

When Richard Haines’ girlfriend goes missing, he makes it his personal mission to find the woman he loves and bring her home to the safety of their loved ones. Seeking the help of friends and family, Richard abandons everything except for his pursuit of Lillian. But when someone else close to Richard goes missing, and the bodies of the abducted girls start showing up in the hills outside Boulder, the only thing he can do is hope that he finds her before it is too late.

Review:

I read this in pretty much one sitting, so well did it flow and for the most part I thought it was a terrific psychological suspense novel, with a realistic twist generally speaking and it definitely packs one heck of an emotional punch.

The most resonant part of the novel for me came with the relationship between Richard and Lillian – the author has done a terrific job of telling us a love story, creating a couple I believed in and then hitting them with the worst case scenario and making me avidly turn pages as Richard desperately searches for Lillian whilst she desperately struggles to survive.

It was cleverly written jumping between Richard and Lillian and telling what they were going through and here was where it was the most authentic.

There were some downsides which were purely subjective – I couldnt quite get my head around how the girls behaved occasionally whilst in captivity.Sometimes that did not ring quite true for how traumatised I would imagine they would be under the circumstances although of course no-one who has not been through such a thing could have any actual idea. Discussing the relative benefits of one good looking star over another for example, not long after you have been brutalised, just took me out of the moment.

Overall however this was a great read, not for the faint hearted, but a very addictive and often emotive story – another plus was the story came to a proper and satisfying conclusion showing aftermath as well as event which added to the overall ambience of the tale being told.

Find out more here: http://kristhompsonauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KThompsonBooks

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Rose-Kris-Thompson-ebook/dp/B00OGT2J1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416384083&sr=1-1&keywords=black+rose+kris+thompson

Happy Reading Folks!

Halloween with Sebastian Gregory…

The Asylum for Fairy Tale CreaturesThe Boy in the CemeteryThe Gruesome Adventures of Alice in Undeadland

Fancy some creepy Halloween reads? Here is a taster of Sebastian Gregory….

Blood Red Riding Hood

The woods held no fear for the girl. She followed her grandma’s advice and her boots held to the path hidden amongst the moss and shed leaves. Thick and ancient trees, old and wise, smiled with knotted faces that only the girl could see. Beams of bright yellow split through the dense overhead canopy and created a dark green rainbow. Her way was clearly lit through The Dark-Dark Forest. And the girl loved this place; it was so mysterious, so gloomy but so full of life. Birds perched heavy on the branches and screamed into the air; insects danced strange fandangos to the sound. Creatures of all shapes and colours trembled in the undergrowth. They crawled from rotting bark, playing amongst carpets of compost. “The dank is good for the lungs,” Grandma told her. “Breathe it in, girl.” The scent of wet greenery filled her senses, making her nostrils sting and eyes water. It was sweet sweat of the forest. She felt so at home here, the other children of the village thought her strange and sneered when they saw her go by. She did not mind; she only needed the forest and her grandma.

Ever since her father had succumbed to a wasting infection the previous year, her mother’s wits were lost to everlasting grief; the girl had found refuge in solitude. Her own thoughts and company were more than enough for her, those and the frequent trips to the house in the woods to visit Grandma. The girl losing her father and her grandma a son gave strength to the other. So it became traditional that the girl would bring a basket full of treats once every seven days. Mainly berries and fruits picked from the forest, sometimes scones freshly baked. In return the grandma taught the girl things, secret things she could not and would not share with anyone, especially her fretful and evermore absent-minded mother. For instance, she would never tell her mother how she had been shown to extract poison from black pond toads. She could never tell how, by chewing certain types of red moss, she could see the fairies and fey that inhabited the world in secret. Her grandma taught such things as a distraction from losing a parent; she comforted her granddaughter as the girl’s mother was less and less herself.

The girl had become the adult at the age of thirteen. She kept her mother safe and warm by selling fruits and vegetables at market, chopping kindle, and sewing—anything to get by. When the girl had rare free time, she spent it by her father’s graveside. Sitting in the weeds next to the wooden cross, she would tell him of the day’s events. How winter was coming and there was a harvest that needed to be stored or how the rain was turning the world to mud. Sometimes the crueller children would hide in the wooden garden and laugh and throw coal at the girl talking to the dead.

“It is nowt but jealousy,” Grandma commented as the girl cried in a rocking chair.

Grandma was rummaging in her old oak chest.

“Of what?” questioned the girl with a sigh between sobs.

“Of this.” Grandma grinned through the biggest set of gums ever seen. All the better to smile with.

With a swish Grandma produced a beautiful garment of golden brown fox fur. The girl took it, instantly feeling better and stroking the fur against her cheek.

“It’s a riding cloak,” Grandma explained. “I swapped with a right posh bugger gentleman.”

“For what?” the girl asked, distracted by the gift.. She stood and tied the cloak around her; it had a hood, which she pulled over her hair.

“For secret things, never you mind.”

“It has a hood! It has a hood!” The girl was jumping and squealing.

“The better to keep you warm.” The grandma laughed. She might have been old and her bones more bent than not, but the girl and grandma danced together and everything was good.

On this day the girl arrived at Grandma’s house. A small cottage made of coloured river stone, with a thatched roof that had been turned into root from the trees, which according to Grandma kept the house from prying nobodies. Two windows that flanked the green door reminded the girl of a surprised face. There was no fence for there was no garden, just the woods, which were becoming full of twilight as the sun had hid itself. The girl as always went to knock, but the door creaked open. It seemed to be the only sound in the world for the forest suddenly became hushed as if in anticipation. The girl stepped in. It was dark inside and from the pantry was the sound of a pot on the boil; the smell of rabbit broth filled the air, she recognised the smell of the tender meat bubbling away.. Although it was dark, the girl knew the house well: the brickwork with tree roots creeping in and gripping tight. The creaking wooden floors where furniture made from forest twigs sat. As she stepped further in, a millipede scurried over her boot and into a crack in the floor.

“Grandma?” the girl called meekly as she set the basket down and dropped her hood.

“I’m here, dear. I could hear you from all the way in the trees.”

The voice was guttural as if from a throat that needed clearing yet at the same time full of whimsy. This would explain why the house was left cold and dark. Grandma must be ill and resting. The girl made her way through to the back room where Grandma’s bed was located.

To ease her nerves she joked, “My, my, Grandma, what big ears you have.”

“All the better to hear you with, my dear,” came the reply.

Her nerves rattled and the hairs on the back of her neck swayed like dried grass in a breeze. Slowly—oh, so slowly—through shadow the girl peered around the door frame. There amongst knitted quilts and cushions lay Grandma. Her shape shifted as the girl stepped to the end of the bed. There was a crunch; the girl looked down to see a broken ornament under her boot. She went to question the discovery but her attention was grasped by a trick of the shadow. The face staring back at the girl was wrong. The pieces were there, the grey bun of hair, the loose skin and wrinkles, yet somehow the outside of Grandma was slipping. Through the drooping eye sockets deep yellow orbs gripped the girl.

“My, Grandma—” she shuddered “—what big eyes you have.”

“All the better to see you with,” Grandma growled through a mouth that was no longer just gums, but instead two neat rows of white sliced teeth that even in the dark shined like razor-sharp pearls.

The girl recoiled taking a step backwards as Grandma rose to the ceiling; or rather the beast did, freeing itself from the suit of skin with a wet slurp. It stood on hind legs, lifting a huge girth of a body and arms that ended in claws. From toe to head that broke the ceiling, covered in a dark, dark black coarse pelt.

“All the better to eat you with.” Its breath reeked of rotten meat and spittle.

The girl ran; she was through the doorway just before fur and death splintered the wood. She fell forward, franticly crawling in the dark as the strength left her legs. Behind her the beast casually padded on the floor. The creature’s lungs pumped hot breath and a constant growl.

The girl found herself in the pantry, crawling over something wet and soft. She could see from what little light broke through holes in the roof that before her lay Grandma. She had been peeled. Gasping so as not to scream, the girl pulled herself up on to the stove, where a still-boiling pot of steaming stew sat. atop.. It was hot and heavy as the girl gripped the handle in both hands, spilling the contents of meat and vegetable and scalding herself. She kept the pain inside just as a low rumbling rippled her hair. She turned, swinging her arms, spraying the boiling pot in the direction of the growl… Outside the peace of the forest erupted with a howl and the nested birds took flight.

The morning mists swirled from the nearby foliage and gently covered the village. The crows called from nests in thatches. A farmer led a cow to market while a bell swung from its fatty neck. Some of the older women took buckets to the well in the centre of the village where all of the mudded lanes met. The children arrived before chores, to run in the swirl and chase loose chickens. A gang of four children were tormenting a small brood. One particular strong-willed fowl broke away, as did a small boy determined to whack the squawking thing with a stick. It ran on idiot legs to the outskirts, quickly followed by the boy swinging away. Just as the boy was about to brain the poor creature, he stopped in his tracks. The stick fell into the mud and his eyes and mouth were opened as wide as they had ever done. There she was, a figure slowly wandering from the mist, injured in body and spirit. She passed the boy without noticing his existence. The boy could not take his eyes off the bloodied girl. The girl’s mother, who resembled something between a woman and a ghost, came from her cottage as if drawn by an invisible force and found herself facing her daughter. A whispering crowd had formed and she parted the group with their worried glances. The girl fell to her knees, exhausted; her riding cloak was wrapped around her, matted with blood.

“Mother,” the girl said, pleading with a barely audible cry.

“What did you do?” the mother screamed with a sudden outburst—screaming and pointing a shaking finger at the girl’s riding hood, now a dirty crimson.

“What did you do?”

Later, after time had passed and the story became myth, the village children would dance in a circle and sing a rhyme.

“Poor Blood Red Riding Hood has gone and turned insane,

Poor Blood Red Riding Hood has lost something in her brain,

Poor Blood Red Riding Hood, her grandma skinned and gone,

Poor Blood Red Riding Hood, to the asylum.”

 

From THE ASYLUM OF FAIRY TALE CREATURES, free for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

Sebastian’s latest book THE BOY IN THE CEMETERY is only £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

THE GRUESOME ADVENTURES OF ALICE IN UNDEADLAND is also £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

Look out for A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, coming in December.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sebastian-Gregory/e/B00N77S9R4/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1414652511&sr=1-2-ent

 

Dark Tides Blog Tour – With Chris Ewan

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Today, as part of the blog tour for Dark Tides, I’m pleased to welcome author Chris Ewan to the blog, talking about writing from a female perspective.

Over to Mr Ewan….

 

Writing From a Female Perspective

 

Write what you know. It’s popular advice. And like a lot of popular advice, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

What do I know – and I mean really know – that I’m in a position to feel absolutely confident writing about? I used to be a lawyer, which you might think would come in handy for a crime writer, except I wasn’t a criminal lawyer, and there’s not much call for novels about film law or pensions administration. I can drive a car as well as the next person, but I’ve never been in a high speed chase or attempted to tail someone without being spotted. I’ve got angry from time to time, even rageful on occasion, but I’ve never lashed out at anyone, let alone killed somebody. I’m average. I’m ordinary. Most writers are. But I don’t want to write about the average or the ordinary, and you don’t want to read about it, so I make stuff up.

I’ve written about burglars. I’ve written about assassins and hostage negotiators; about spies and police officers; about motorbike riders, plumbers, paraplegics, magicians and showgirls. I’ve never been any of those things. Never even tried out on a Vegas stage. And of course that doesn’t matter, because like you, I have this nifty special power known as imagination. I can put myself in other people’s shoes, just like we all do from time to time, and I can imagine what it would be like to be on the run from rogue British Intelligence agents, or searching for the answers to the unsolved murder of a loved one.

This fiction business is strange. You go along quite happily, inventing whole other worlds, completely made-up characters, and then suddenly you do something that seems to draw a little more attention to the act itself.

Like, for instance, writing as a male author from the perspective of a female character.

In Dark Tides, my new book, pretty much all of the novel is narrated in first person perspective by the character of Claire Cooper. (The only alternative material is some second person narration from the perspective of a killer). And that shouldn’t, I don’t think, be any more noteworthy than narrating a book by a male character, or by an alien, or a dragon.

And yet it is.

It is, for one thing, because it’s something people tend to notice or remark on. A couple of early reviews of Dark Tides have already made reference to this, in fact.

But it’s also something I was conscious of myself when I began work on the book. Early on, I knew the only way to get to the guts of the story I wanted to tell was to narrate Dark Tides from Claire’s perspective because she was at the heart of everything for me. And truthfully, that made me nervous. Hell, I’m always nervous when I begin a new book, but this was a subject my anxiety could latch right on to.

Why? A couple of reasons, I think.

First, how could I find Claire’s voice – which is always the hardest step for me – when I had no idea what it could feel like to be a teenage girl or a young woman, to have my mother go missing, to grow up alone with my dad, to be isolated from other girls my own age, to work as a female police officer among male colleagues?

And two, I felt like I was painting a target on myself if I handled the narration insensitively in some way, if I made a crass error, or if Claire didn’t come across as authentic or credible. It stands to reason that the hazards of these potential errors should apply to every character an author writes about, though somehow they seem, or perhaps just feel, amplified when a male author writes from a female point of view.

As an aside, I think it’s also true, though I don’t know why, that it’s much less remarked on when female writers narrate novels from the perspective of male characters. Perhaps they just do a better job.

In any case, the point is that in writing Dark Tides, it became something I was very conscious of.

So what did I do differently? Not a great deal. I guess my confidence got dented a few more times than it ordinarily might. I think perhaps I provided fewer physical descriptions of Claire or her body than I’ve done in the past when I’ve written from the perspective of male characters. Other than that, I did what I always do. I tried to empathise with the character I’d created, to understand the emotions Claire was experiencing at a given moment, to get a solid grip on her motivations. And then I ran with it.

Did I do a good job? That’s impossible for me to say. But one thing I can tell you is that I think Claire is the most complex, most rounded character I’ve ever created. I miss writing about her and from her perspective. And I very much hope you might enjoy making her acquaintance.

 

DARK TIDES by Chris Ewan is out now, £14.99 (Faber & Faber)

My Review:

 

When Claire Cooper was eight years old her mother mysteriously vanished during Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween. At fourteen, Claire is still struggling to come to terms with her disappearance when she’s befriended by a group of five teenagers who mark every Hop-tu-naa by performing dares. But Claire’s arrival begins to alter the group’s dynamic until one year a prank goes terribly wrong, changing all their futures and tearing the friends apart.

I’ve been a fan of Mr Ewan’s thrillers since Safe House – particularly because he always brings something different to the table with each new novel so you know you are in for a treat (or a trick?) every time, you are just not sure what kind of treat it might be..

In the case of “Dark Tides” the treat was this – one of my favourite types of story (past events invading current happenings) done with this authors particular style, using some terrifically drawn characters facing some terrifying circumstances, all wrapped up in an often scary package – perfect Halloween reading.

Pretty perfectly constructed, we go between past and present to paint a picture of the things that have shaped Claire Cooper – losing her Mother at a young age, growing up fairly insular and isolated but finally finding some really good friends. Sometimes however, friendship can be harmful and this group of eclectic and impulsive characters may not be the best thing for Claire. As events spiral out of control and she faces down a killer, it is compelling stuff and you will be hooked.

I VERY much enjoyed finding out more about the Manx version of Halloween, with all its similarites yet with a deep and imaginative mythology that lent itself brilliantly to the tale being told, giving a perfect backdrop to the often creepy and haunting events. Each of the characters has a heart and a voice all their own, Claire is especially likeable even as she does some rather idiotic things. There are not TOO many male authors who can pull off such an authentic female voice but Chris Ewan is one of them, she is someone you will want to follow along with and will root for all the way.

The mystery element is also intelligently done – ok, so the author did not manage to “trick” me but there were some fascinating insights into a heart full of darkness and an exellent flow to the proceedings, one of those books that keeps you up in the night and leaves you bleary eyed the next morning. I loved it – my favourite so far without a doubt and most definitely Highly Recommended.

 

Find out more here: http://chrisewan.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/chrisewan

Order information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Tides-Chris-Ewan/dp/0571307434/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412675533&sr=1-1&keywords=dark+tides+chris+ewan

Eren by Simon P Clark. Blog Tour Stop.

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Publication Date: Available Now

Source: Publisher Review Copy.

People are keeping secrets from Oli – about where his father is, and why he hasn’t come to join them at his uncle’s house in the country.

But Oli has secrets too.

He knows what lives in the attic. Eren – part monster, part dream, part myth. Eren who always seems so interested, who always wants to hear more about Oli’s life. Eren, who needs to hear stories to live, and will take them from Oli, no matter the cost.

This was a gorgeous looking little novel with some wonderful illustrations and inside the pages a fairytale with a twist.

A beautifully written and haunting piece, where reality blurs into fiction while fiction can take over reality, it is an off kilter read with an eerie and nostalgic feel that holds you in a spell all of its own. I loved it and was disturbed by it in equal measure and even now a while after finishing, it stays with me.

Oli moves to the country with his mother, meets new friends but knows something is not right. As he tells stories to Eren, a creature in the attic, things clarify – or do they?  It is an intelligent tale to be sure – even now I would not like to tell you whether Eren is friend or foe, real or imagined, this is a winding road with many surprises and no promise of a happy ending. Some absolutely gorgeous prose adds to the overall magical feel, whilst some very down to earth and realistic themes are explored.

A wonderful read, no doubt about it, with some unforgettable characters and a world with no boundaries, if you like your fiction to grab you by the heartstrings and refuse to let go, this one is definitely for you. Highly Recommended.

Found out more here: http://www.simonpclark.com/

Follow the author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sipclark

Purchase Information (I highly recommend you get a “real” book it is stunning) http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/simon+p-+clark/eren/10333816/

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Crushed Blog Tour – Guest Post from Eliza Crewe.

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I am very pleased to welcome Eliza Crewe to the blog today – I have not yet had a chance to read her novels, but I am very much looking forward to them and her story is interesting – originally with a publisher until they closed their doors, she had embarked on a mission to self publish, most especially for her readers who having read Book One were REALLY keen to read the follow up…

 

Eliza Crewe: The Path to Self-Publishing

I never planned to self-publish. I’d planned to go about publishing the tried-and-true route–get an agent, then a publishing deal, maybe sell a few international rights, publish the sequels, etc. Plod down the straight and narrow.

Instead my publishing path has been as warped as the morals of my people-eating monster MC.

Step 1

The Plan: Get an Agent

The Reality: Accidentally sell book in India

I queried agents (a lot of agents) and bombed spectacularly. Every single agent rejected me, most (if not all–I blocked the memory) sent a form rejection. It wasn’t going so well.

Then, just by chance, a stranger in India read a version Cracked I posted to an online critique forum. He liked it, and is friends with an editor at Penguin’s Indian branch, so he forwarded it on to her. She emailed shortly thereafter and offered for Cracked’s Indian rights.

Step 2

The Plan: Find a domestic publisher

The Reality: Find an agent

Months before anything happened with India, I had participated in an online competition called The Baker’s Dozen at Miss Snark’s First Victim’s blog. The Baker’s Dozen is a competition where agents bid to read pages on entries that they’re interested in (it happens every year, and is just about to start–so go check it out!). It doesn’t mean the winning agent will sign you, just that they’ll read a certain number of pages and consider the possibility. The agent who won my entry, Victoria Marini, was sort-of-maybe interested. She asked to see revisions, and I was waiting to see what she thought of those when India offered. Fortunately, the India offer tipped her over the edge, and she took me on.

Step 3

The Plan: Sell international rights

The Reality: Sell domestic Rights

Since I already had an international deal, the next step was to find a domestic publisher. I was in an odd position in that Penguin India wanted to publish Cracked fast, as in, 6-months fast, (for comparison, most US publishers take at least two years to publish). PI was launching their first YA-only imprint in the spring and wanted Cracked to be an inaugural title. As a result, we needed to sell Cracked fast, preferably to a publisher with a short turn-around, so I wouldn’t be releasing book 3 in India before book 1 was ever released in the US.

Fortunately we were able to sell the rest of Cracked’s rights to Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Sci-fi/Fantasy publisher Angry Robot, and they agreed to release it shortly after Penguin India.

Step 4

The Plan: Smooth sailing–Fulfill my contract by traditionally publishing my series

The Reality: Up the creek without a paddle–Strange Chemistry folded

We signed in September of 2012 with Penguin, then October with Strange Chemistry. Cracked was released in India in April, then in November in the rest of the world. I turned in my drafts of the sequel, Crushed, and everything was going along swimmingly.

Until it wasn’t.

In June, about 6 weeks before Crushed was to be released, my agent called. An agent calling (at least my agent calling–we’re email people) is either very good, or very, very bad.

It wasn’t good.

I got the news that Strange Chemistry was closing their doors and Crushed wasn’t going to be released after all. I was left six weeks before the release with no publisher, and no rights to my own books. We had a reversion clause in the contract of course, but it didn’t cover every contingency (and took time to kick in), so things were really up in the air. We were told that I would at least get the rights to Crushed back, but the person who told us that no longer worked for the publisher, and we had nothing formal. And, even if I had the rights back to Crushed, I didn’t know if Angry Robot would keep selling Cracked. I could be publishing a sequel to a book that, for all intents and purposes, no longer existed. No answers were forthcoming, so we just had to…wait. Wait and see whether Crushed would ever see the light of day.

Finally, about two months after Strange Chemistry closed, and six weeks-ish after Crushed was supposed to be released, the reversions appeared in my inbox. I’m pretty sure I squealed.

Since my fans had already been waiting forever (and because I was paranoid something else would go wrong!), I gave myself three weeks to figure out the self-publishing game and get this bad boy out there.

There is certainly a learning curve to self-publishing. There are all different platforms, all different formats you need to use, different royalty rates and different requirements for different distributers. I’m still figuring it out, but fortunately, there are a lot of awesome people out there who have already done it and are willing to share their experiences. The writing community is full of awesome folks.

Step 5

The Plan: Write books , Live Happily Ever After

The Reality: Done.

So far, my publishing story has been more of an adventure tale than a non-fiction anecdote, but that’s okay. Adventures have always been my favorite.

Thank you Eliza!

 

Find out more here: http://www.elizacrewe.com/

Follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ElizaCrewe

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crushed-Soul-Eater-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00NQ2KX10/ref=la_B00IZNK176_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411372552&sr=1-1

Happy Reading Folks!

Hide and Seek Blog tour with Amy Bird. Guest Post from the Author.

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Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3MYcX-ZOlM&list=UUC8gfusPVJPnlm70fV2fBZA

 

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Digital innovation in practice – the chucking structure of Hide and Seek

 

My third novel for carina uk is being sold using the relatively new digital practice of ‘chunking’. That is, it will be sold in the three parts. The first part will be free, the second 99p, the third £1.89. They will each be released a week apart.

 

In a sense, there is nothing new about chunking. It is a digital way of approaching the serialisation method that has been used ever since Dickens published instalments of his novels in newspapers. But there is one critical difference: the graduated pricing, starting from free. If you want to read part of a serialised book in a newspaper, you have to buy the newspaper. With the current digital pricing, you don’t even have to do that. The first part is completely free. All you need is your existing smartphone, e-reader, tablet or computer. This is incredibly empowering of readers – you don’t need to make any financial outlay and get a third of a book for free. This goes beyond the one chapter sample that is often available. You can then decide if you wish to invest in the next third, and then the next third. The computer games industry, and now app-developers, have been doing this for years – start with a free or ‘light’ version, let the player enjoy it, then allow them to have the full experience for a nominal fee. The digital revolution has now progressed to allow book lovers to take advantage of this model too.

 

As a writer, I admit it is slightly nerve-wracking – there is that fear that people won’t move onto the next thirds of the book. However, it is also an opportunity. You know that if you can rise to the challenge of making the first third of your book as compelling as possible and get readers hooked, chances are they will download the next chunk, and then the next.

 

Chunking may not be suited to all genres. But for my genre, psychological suspense, it has the potential to work well. Hide and Seek is about a lifetime of secrets that Will’s family have hidden from him, and his obsessional drive to uncover the truth. The chunking structure certainly focused my mind when I was editing successive drafts of book – I knew I needed to highlight the twists and have some real cliff-hangers. And in this genre, that leads to a stronger novel. It’s also exciting when the chunks reflect the novel’s (novel) structure. A piano concerto and the mysteries it conceals are at the heart of the novel, and so I wrote the novel mapped to the three-part concerto structure. Each part of the novel reflects a concerto movement. Readers, then, should have their experience of the book’s structure enhanced by focussing on the three parts.

 

For me, then, in Hide and Seek ‘chunking’ is an exciting modem approach that empowers readers, but also a literary tool that supports the work itself. Here’s hoping readers will be just as gripped as Dickens’ were.

 

 

Amy Bird

 

Amy is the author of the thrillers Three Steps Behind You and Yours Is Mine, and now Hide and Seek.

 

Having moved all over the UK as a child, she now lives in North London with her husband, dividing her time between working part-time as a lawyer and writing.

 

You can find out more at http://amybirdwrites.com or follow her on Twitter @London_writer

 

http://www.carinauk.com/amy-bird

https://www.goodreads.com/AmyBird

https://www.facebook.com/amybirdwrites

 

Created – The Destroyer. One Epic Series.

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CREATED THE DESTROYER POSTER

 

 

Available NOW from Sphere

So a bit of a trip back in time here – very pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Created the Destroyer, a literary reboot.

About the book:

 

When ex-New Jersey cop Remo Williams is electrocuted for the murder of a dope-dealing goon, CURE, a super-secret government agency that doesn’t really exist, schemes to resurrect Remo as the ultimate killing machine that will carry out most of its dirty plans. Under the direction of expert assassin Master Chiun, Remo is transformed into the Destroyer and launches a series of secret plots to dissolve the underworld.

 

 

In Visual form:

 

In 1985 the series was made into a movie: Remo – The adventure begins. And now Sony Pictures has signed up IRON MAN 3 director Shane Black to direct THE DESTROYER, a Hollywood film inspired by this legendary thriller series. Exciting!

 

Review:

So, a confession – I LOVED the now admittedly rather cheesy 1985 movie Remo, it was one of my favourites back in the day. Yes judge me all you like but I was unaware that there was actually a series of books attached to that – so when I was asked to take part in this blog tour I was intrigued to say the least.

So I dived into “Created: The Destroyer” and what I found was a short but sweet and HIGHLY entertaining read that had a marvellous mix of thrills, spills and ironic humour. It was actually terrific to live for a while in a world without mobile phones, instant communication on the net and get back to some basics – Starting off with Remo awaiting death, the opening will immediately draw you in and make you want to keep reading.

As the story progressed, I found it to actually be quite different to the movie, although the heart of it was there. The character progression for Remo was fascinating, more emotionally resonant at first he soon becomes quite dark as his whole world changes – and this first instalment sets up a world that you will definitely want to return to.

The only small problem is that a lot of action is packed into a short amount of time so occasionally you feel that you lose the characters a little – however that does not detract from the pure enjoyment this read will give you, and as it is a series there is plenty of time for more depth to develop.

Overall a terrific little read, it won’t take you long and the best thing I can say about it is that it really is true escapism.  Curl up with your tipple of choice and perhaps some chocolate (or in my case LOTS of chocolate) and enjoy!

 

To find out more: http://www.thecrimevault.com/exclusives/the-destroyer/

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Created-Destroyer-Number-Warren-Murphy-ebook/dp/B00M0KIR3U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409385135&sr=1-1&keywords=created+the+destroyer

 

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Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks. Read before you see….

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Publication Date:  Film Tie In new edition Publication Date: 11th September 2014. Original Available now from Sphere.

VERY excited to be part of the blog tour for The Best of Me – over to my lovely daughter Melissa who read and reviewed the book. Make sure you read before you see and get to know “the incredible love story behind the autumn 2014 Hollywood blockbuster starring James Marsden”.

About the Book:

They were teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks – with a passion that would change their lives for ever. But life would force them apart.

Years later, the lines they had drawn between past and present are about to slip . . . Called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter when they needed it most, they are faced with each other once again, and forced to confront the paths they chose. Can true love ever rewrite the past?

About the author:

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With over eighty-five million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. His novels include twelve No. 1 New York Times bestsellers.

 

All Nicholas Sparks’ books have been international bestsellers and have been translated into more than forty languages. Nine of his novels have been adapted into major films: The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember and The Notebook.
Nicholas Sparks lives in North Carolina with his wife and family.

 

Mel’s Review:

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Although this book was no doubt a cliché from start to finish, I have to admit that it had me hooked from the very first page. As Liz well knows (and this is why she passes these books along to me) I am a fan of the mushy gushy romance, and Nicholas Sparks never fails to deliver.

The tragic story of Dawson and Amanda, torn apart as teenagers due to their severely different backgrounds and then thrown together as adults following the death of a mutual friend, is the epitome of what every girl looks for in her summer read – Add in a delicious layer of crime and violence as Dawson’s ‘wrong side of the tracks’ family seeks revenge, a good bit of mystery surrounding the last wishes of Tuck, their mutual friend, and not forgetting the guardian angel type being that Dawson believes is watching over him – you won’t want to stop reading!Highly addictive.

All that aside, the romantic/broody dialogue can honestly get a little over the top, and you might find yourself thinking as if anybody would EVER say that (while simultaneously wondering why no man has ever said it to you…) but that’s not to say it isn’t a great read. Four stars from me and we will definitely be seeing the movie!

 

Find out more and sign up for the newsletter here: http://uk.nicholassparks.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NicholasSparks

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Me-Film-Tie/dp/0751553336/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-2&keywords=the+best+of+me+nicholas+sparks

 

Happy Reading Folks!