Divine Poison by AB Morgan @AliMorgan2304 @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #qanda

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Divine Poison by AB Morgan! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for the invitation and to AB Morgan who has kindly taken the time to answer a few questions for us but first, here is what Divine Poison is all about.

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Author : AB Morgan
Title : Divine Poison
Pages : 284
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 4, 2018

aboutthebook

For a community psychiatric nurse, Monica Morris has an unhealthy interest in poison, and when, on impulse, she buys an antique Ship’s Doctor’s Cabinet with a set of leather-bound journals she becomes fascinated by the content.

A few days later, she discovers the body of her patient, Jan Collins, and although police assume suicide by overdose, Monica is not convinced.

When more unexplained deaths involving poisoning occur, Monica realises they are linked and so does DS Adams who is investigating. But how are they connected? And why?

When it becomes obvious that she’s unwittingly stepped into a trap set for someone else, Monica’s career, her own sanity and her life are placed at risk. But where can she turn to for help?

qanda

* What did you learn from writing your first novel that you have benefitted from since?

 I could probably write a whole book about lessons learnt through writing and achieving publication. ‘How to Deal with Rejection in Twenty-four Easy Lessons,’ that sort of thing.

 The biggest lesson was to listen to advice from those that know. When I read through the first draught of A Justifiable Madness, my very first attempt at writing a novel, I thought it was pretty sound. I was wrong. Then I spent hard-earned cash having the raw manuscript critiqued and had to swallow the painful truth that it was far from publishable. That was the best money I’ve ever spent.

Once I’d taken on board the advice, revised, reviewed, rewritten and grasped the core skills … I was away.

However then came the rest of my lessons:

            Buy a book about punctuation.

            Read out loud. If it doesn’t sound right then it won’t read well.

            Edit, edit and edit again.

            Play to your strengths.

And the rest.

* How best would you describe your style of writing?

 That’s a tricky question to answer. I’m not very poetic or overly descriptive, and I aim to create an easy read through narrative that entertains and moves the story along but also represents real life. Even when I try to immerse myself in a character’s desperate situation I can’t escape from my own sense of humour, despite writing about the darkest of subjects. It’s a nurse’s coping strategy… gallows humour.

A bit like me, my style is more casual than formal, jeans and a cosy jumper, rather than a business suit or long flowing gown.

***

Divine Poison is published today and available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Alison Morgan started writing a couple of years ago to address that niggling question: could she write a book? The answer was a simple yes. She’s had to retire from the NHS a little earlier than planned, but has discovered a new passion. Writing. Her debut novel, A Justifiable Madness, was published by Bloodhound Books in September 2017 attracting great reviews for its refreshing premise and dark humour. With two further novels being published at the beginning of 2018, it seems Alison has a promising future as an author. Divine Poison is the second novel to feature Monica Morris, a mental health nurse, as the main protagonist in this crime mystery, but there are no plans for a series. Alison’s third suspense novel, The Camera Lies, steps away from the field of nursing and into the world of real crime documentary films.

Alison lives with her husband Andy and their dog Sadie, in a small village north of Bedford. She’s not the type to let life get in the way of adventure and so, always up for the next challenge, she decided to have a proper midlife crisis and learn to ride a motorbike. In August she passed, first time. Her husband was impressed until she swung her leg over his prized Triumph and roared off with a big grin on her face. ‘Research for the next book,’ she cried. The fourth book is under construction and does indeed feature motorbikes.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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BLOG TOUR (2)

Solitaire by Jane Thynne @janethynne @SianLauraMae #blogtour #guestpost #review

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my final blog tour of the year. Today I’m closing down the tour for Solitaire by Jane Thynne and I have an interesting guest post as well as my thoughts on the book. But first, here’s what Solitaire is all about.

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Author : Jane Thynne
Title : Solitaire
Series : Clara Vine #5
Pages : 451
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date : November 17, 2017

aboutthebook

June 1940: Nightly blackouts suffocate Berlin. Then France falls and a shadow descends across Western Europe now under German occupation.

A shadow has fallen over Clara Vine’s own life, too. She is an Anglo-German woman in a country that hates Britain. Virulent anti-British propaganda is everywhere.

Then she is summoned to meet the Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels who has decided that Clara should adopt a new role – as his spy — and that she must go to Paris on a mission.

Much as she dislikes the idea, Clara realises this might be the chance to find an escape route to Britain. But Goebbels has other ideas and soon Clara is drawn into a web that threatens to destroy her. As everything she holds dear is taken as ransom, she must fight to protect her family – and to survive.

guestpost

Espionage and spies.

I’ve always adored spy stories. In many ways, the spy is the ideal novelistic protagonist. Everything that a spy needs to be – observant, logical, meticulous, thinking three steps ahead – is much the same for the novelist. Spies, like writers, need to see ordinary situations from a different perspective, to carry their secrets close, weave a convincing tale and seek out hidden perils in everyday environments.

And for me, it had to be a female spy. Espionage writing has always been male dominated, from Erskine Childers’ The Riddle of the Sands, to John Buchan, Ian Fleming and John Le Carré, but I wanted the woman’s view. I wanted to explore how a woman copes with espionage in the midst of, sometimes at the expense of, close personal relationships with lovers, friends, even children, so I created Clara Vine, an Anglo-German actress who arrives in Nazi Germany in 1933 and comes into contact with the VIPs of the Third Reich. From there she falls, almost by accident, into espionage, and by the time of Solitaire, which is set in 1940, she has been spying for Britain for seven years.

I chose the background of Nazi Germany because I’m fascinated by the way people survive in a regimented totalitarian society where everyone feels watched and normal human relationships are fraught with mistrust. Nazi Germany was the ultimate misogynist dystopia, where women were primarily valued for their breeding potential, and when I discovered the Berlin Bride School, where girls took residential courses in becoming  obedient wives, it was like a real life Handmaid’s Tale that I subsequently used in The Winter Garden.

In Solitaire, Germany and Britain are at war, so Clara’s existence is even more perilous. In classic spy story tradition she is approached by Joseph Goebbels, who is of course unaware of her work for British intelligence, and asked to act as a honey-trap. This is another major difference between male and female spies – sex appeal is undeniably a weapon in the toolkit of the female agent and Clara often uses her own attractiveness for higher ends. Her mission takes her to Lisbon, which in July 1940 was neutral, and packed with refugees fleeing from Nazi occupied Europe. It was also swarming with spies of both sides – British and Gestapo – who staked out different hotels and frequented separate bars. At one point both Graham Greene and Ian Fleming were spying in Lisbon, and as luck would have it, it’s Fleming who Clara encounters.

The Clara Vine novels do not fit neatly in the espionage genre – they’re historical and romantic and thrillers too. Yet I love spy writing because all the elements of life that most novels address – love, loyalty, betrayal, hope, sacrifice – are compressed in the universe of the spy. We all, to some extent, live double lives and present different faces to the different people in our worlds, but spies live a constant double life. They are always on stage, always acting a role, and there is always a marked gap between what they think and what they say. It’s this gap that interests me.

mythoughts

Solitaire is the fifth book in the Clara Vine series. Not having read any of the previous ones, I was slightly worried I wouldn’t be able to follow but I feel the author has done a great job filling in the background for those who are new to the series and I didn’t feel lost at all. I did however have a hard time connecting to Clara and didn’t particularly like her very much, which made me wonder if that would have been different if I’d gotten to know her better beforehand.

For those unfamiliar with the series, set in the World War II era, Clara Vine is an English/German actress who’s been living in Berlin for the past seven years. Due to her background and heritage, she never feels quite safe despite having German citizenship. Not only does Germany not look kindly upon the British but Clara is also desperately trying to hide her Jewish heritage. Especially as she often finds herself moving around in the circles of the higher Nazi party members and their wives, which gives an incredible insight into their lives.

I must admit it took me a while to get into this story. It was a bit of a slow-burner and needed a bit more oomph to really grab me. I did however thoroughly enjoy Katerina’s chapters and found them highly addictive. Katerina is a young girl who finds herself in a children’s home when her father dies, where she’s being raised by Brown Sisters. A lot of it is more brainwashing than anything else and some of it beggars belief. Katerina suffers from a leg problem and her life may be in danger and I quickly found myself rooting for her.

This story is certainly incredibly atmospheric and I immediately felt myself transported to the streets of Berlin, Paris and Lisbon. It’s clear the author has done a lot of research and I learned quite a lot about how the war affected the German population, for instance. As someone who regularly reads stories about the second World War, a lot of it is set in England so it was fascinating to see the other side for a change which isn’t something that’s often talked about but it should be noted that the average German suffered too.

Despite never warming to Clara, I enjoyed this historical setting and the various characters that make an appearance, like Ian Fleming and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. There’s also a subtle threatening level throughout the story and I have nothing but admiration for those who put their lives on the line during the war to make sure the right side won. Jane Thynne effortlessly manages to combine fact with fiction and a healthy dose of intrigue with some romance. The ending seems to imply there’s much more to come for fans of Clara Vine so keep an eye out for that!

My thanks to Jane Thynne and Sian Devine for the invitation to join the tour and my ebook copy of the book!

Solitaire is available for purchase now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Foul Trade by B.K. Duncan @BKDuncanwriter @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

** advanced copy received via publisher **

It’s a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Foul Trade by B.K. Duncan today! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books! Read on to see what the book is all about.

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Author : B.K. Duncan
Title : Foul Trade
Series : May Keeps #1
Pages : 372
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : December 12, 2017

aboutthebook

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.

mythoughts

Two years after the events of the novella The Last Post, we meet up again with May Keaps. May is now 22 years old and working as the Coroner’s Officer in Poplar, East London. While many think this job isn’t suitable for a woman, May loves it and the responsibilities it gives her. But when a young man is found dead in an alley, May quickly finds herself involved in a murky criminal underworld full of drugs, gambling and murder. Meanwhile, she’s also taking care of her sister, Alice, and trying to deal with a past that has seen too much death.

Now, I must admit that it took me a while to get into this story. I felt it was a bit of a slow-burner, especially after reading the novella which packed quite a punch. May remains incredibly fierce and determined, even if her quest for truth and justice may land her in danger. Set in 1920’s Poplar, it seems danger is lurking around pretty much every corner as well. This isn’t exactly a thriving neighbourhood and being so near the docks, who knows what goods find their way into the area.

May’s boss is quite the judgmental character who makes up his mind about a possible inquest result way before any evidence has been presented to him. But May doesn’t work that way and together with James, a journalist, she will do whatever it takes to make sure the family of the victim finds closure. The investigation had me guessing until the end, utterly unable to figure out the culprit and not trusting anyone.

This is a well-written, complex and multi-layered mystery. I found it slightly dark and depressing and maybe also a little bit too long. However, the historical setting is really brought to life and works like a charm. It adds something truly special to the story. From the busy docks, to the markets, to the prostitutes and the theatre … It’s easy to find yourself completely immersed and imagine the sights and the sounds. May is a formidable main character and she’s surrounded by a cast of interesting characters like James and her best friend Sally, whom I adored. It’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for all of them. If you like your mysteries with a historical setting, you’ll find this one highly enjoyable!

Foul Trade is published today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

BK Duncan is the pen name Ruth Wade has adopted for the May Keaps series of historical crime novels.

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and change-management consultancy she now combines producing her own work with lecturing part-time in creative writing in colleges and academies in Cambridge and Oxford. Her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

BK Duncan also writes historical crime novels as Ruth Wade.

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Anything For Her by G.J. Minett @GJMinett @BonnierZaffre

** advanced copy received via Netgalley **

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Author : G.J. Minett
Title : Anything For Her
Pages : 368
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : November 30, 2017

aboutthebook

When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.

When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?

Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .

Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.

mythoughts

When Billy returns home to spend time with his sister, he bumps into his former girlfriend, Aimi. He may not have seen her since they were teenagers but he’s never forgotten her and his feelings for her are still as strong as they were back then. Aimi tells him she wants to leave her abusive husband and she needs Billy’s help to fake her own death. But can Aimi be trusted?

Wow, what a ride! G.J. Minett sure knows how to spin a web of deceit and lies. This is one of those stories where you can’t trust anyone. Every word that comes out of these characters’ mouths needs to be weighed up carefully and even then, it’s hard to know if what they say is the truth or not.

I really liked the way the author tackled this story. Anything For Her has an incredibly intricate plot which is brilliantly constructed. Yes, it takes a bit of concentration and focus as the storyline switches back and forth between various time periods but it also enables the author to end certain chapters on a bit of a cliffhanger, ensuring I was gripped and eager to find out more.

Joe is an incredibly fascinating character. You never quite know how he’s going to react to certain situations and he’s not the most reliable person either. Maybe you think it’s a tad weird that he’d go out of his way to help someone he’s not seen for so long. Or that he could possibly still be in love with her after all this time. But I think his backstory explains that quite well, when you realise at which point in his life he met her.

I’ve read all three of G.J. Minett’s books and I think this is his best one yet. Utterly compelling and absorbing throughout with the most satisfying conclusion. If you’ve not read anything by this author before, I heartily recommend you fix the error of your ways.

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for the advanced copy, which I received via Netgalley and chose to review honestly!

Anything For Her is available in ebook format today. The paperback will be published in March.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie @HarperCollinsUK

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Author : Agatha Christie
Title : Murder on the Orient Express
Series : Hercule Poirot #10
Pages : 240
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : October 19, 2017 (first published in 1934)

aboutthebook

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

mythoughts

Confession time. Deep breath. This is the very first time I’ve picked up a book by Agatha Christie. I know, as a crime fiction lover it’s an utter disgrace. And if it hadn’t been for the movie, it may still not have happened. Anyway, I have now corrected the error of my ways and I dare say this will not be the last Christie book I read.

We find ourselves on board the Orient Express when the train is forced to stop due to a snowdrift. When morning comes, one of the passengers is dead. Since nobody has boarded or left the train, the murderer is clearly still among the other passengers and it’s up to Hercule Poirot to figure out who the culprit is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this change of pace. While I do like my crime fiction a bit gruesome and full of gore sometimes, it’s nice to read something where the focus isn’t on the icky details but more on the investigation and interviews with potential suspects. And there are a lot of them here. Poirot obviously doesn’t have access to any nifty gadgets, google or databases but relies purely on his wit and powers of deduction.

It’s easy to see why Agatha Christie was, and still is, so popular. Or even why Hercule Poirot is the second most famous detective in the world. It seems to me that Christie was an excellent observer, based on the incredibly realistic and eccentric characters. This was a solid plot that had me guessing until the end. I couldn’t figure out at all whodunnit, nor even howdunnit. That’s totally a word, by the way. 😉

A short and quick read, this fabulous new edition of Murder on the Orient Express now stands proudly on my bookshelf and I know more will follow. I’m glad I finally got around to reading something by her.

Murder on the Orient Express was first published in 1934 and is available in various formats with various covers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

 

Walden of Bermondsey : Where There’s Smoke by Peter Murphy @noexitpress @KatherineSunde3

** copy received via publisher **

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Author : Peter Murphy
Title : Walden of Bermondsey : Where There’s Smoke
Pages : n/a
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : November 23, 2017

aboutthebook

When Charlie Walden took on the job of Resident Judge of the Bermondsey Crown Court, he was hoping for a quiet life. But he soon finds himself struggling to keep the peace between three feisty fellow judges who have very different views about how to do their job, and about how Charlie should do his.

And as if that’s not enough, there’s the endless battle against the ‘Grey Smoothies’, the humourless grey-suited civil servants who seem determined to drown Charlie in paperwork and strip the court of its last vestiges of civilisation.

No hope of a quiet life then for Charlie, and there are times when his real job – trying the challenging criminal cases that come before him – actually seems like light relief.

mythoughts

This is probably going to be a short review but that’s okay, because the first case of Charlie Walden is a rather short and quick read as well as it’s a sample designed to give you a taster of what’s to come.

Where There’s Smoke is the first of six cases Resident Judge Walden will be working on. When Charlie took up this position, he was hoping for a quiet life. But that was not to be. Apart from trying to keep the peace between fellow judges, he’s also involved in a daily battle with the “Grey Smoothies”, the civil servants who drown Charlie in paperwork and make life as hard as possible.

The case in front of the judge seems straightforward but is it though? A young man is appearing in court, accused of starting a fire at the local church which results in the building being completely unusable. There’s a witness, Father Stringer, who saw the young man leave the scene of the crime. Case closed. Or not?

This is such a breath of fresh air. Not only does it involve some court action, which I thoroughly enjoy but Charlie and his colleagues are a cast of incredibly fun characters. Some are a little odd and eccentric maybe and it’s easy to see why they don’t always get along but they are all vastly entertaining. I suppose this story would fall into the cosy mystery category. What makes it stand out a bit are the fabulously witty moments and seeing a court through the eyes of a judge instead of a lawyer.

This was a wonderful change of pace from the usual books I tend to read and I really enjoyed meeting Charlie Walden. I’ll definitely be picking up the full novel to follow Charlie and his other cases.

Many thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press!

Walden of Bermondsey was published yesterday!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

We Have Lost The Chichuahuas by Paul Mathews @emmamitchellfpr #blogtour #qanda

Happy Hump Day and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for We Have Lost The Chihuahuas by Paul Mathews. Many thanks to Emma Mitchell! Paul has very kindly taken the time to answer a few questions but first, here’s some information on the book!

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Author : Paul Mathews
Title : We Have Lost The Chihuahuas
Series : We Have Lost #4
Pages : 279
Publisher : Amazon Digital Services
Publication date : November 28, 2017

aboutthebook

London, 2046. The British Republic has a new First Lady. She’s Californian, ‘in-your-face, for sure’ and she’s got big plans for a Buckingham Palace refurb. When her three Chihuahuas go missing, one man is determined to avoid getting dragged into it all. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – presidential spokesperson, retired secret agent and cat lover.

Meanwhile, Howie’s wife Britt is handed her first assignment as a National Security and Intelligence Service rookie – to solve the mystery of the missing canine trio.

Will Howie manage to slope off to the pub before he can be roped into help? Will Britt unmask the dog-napper and grab the glory?

qanda

* How important are the names in your book? Do you choose the names based on liking the way they sound or their meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you can recommend?

I always try and match a name to a character, where possible. ‘Howie’ just came to me for my main character. He’s a laid-back type of guy and it just seemed to fit.

Other names require a little more thought. For example, for foreign characters I always check the meaning of names for something suitable.

Names can change during the writing process. My main female character, Britt, started off as Malina (I think, I never keep the notes!). One character changed from Magda to Martha and I kept transposing the two – I’ve learnt my lesson about changing a name to a similarly sounding one!

* Are you a plotter or pantster? 

I’m most definitely a plotter who writes a brief summary of each chapter. But I often add in new elements, characters or locations along the way.

While early chapters go to plan, it’s actually pretty difficult to be 100 per cent certain what’s going to happen in chapter 40. This means my daily routine has a structure but I can go off on a tangent where the story allows. For example, in ‘We Have Lost The Chihuahuas’ I added in a completely new character, called Arthur, right at the end who adds to the comedy chaos. Like most things in life, a bit of flexibility always helps.

* Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them if they are particularly good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?

Yes, I read every review on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s how you pick up occasional tips about what worked and what didn’t.

Experience has taught me never to respond to reviews. I did once on Goodreads, after a fellow author wrote something critical which wasn’t at all justified (after reading one chapter). But then her band of merry followers decided to troll me, Goodreads deleted all my perfectly reasonable comments and it’s a real mess now. Never again!

* What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process? 

Reviewing the same text time and time again – especially towards the end, when it doesn’t change much – can turn the brain to mush after a while! I now try and build gaps of at least a week of two between major edits.

* What are your favourite and least favourite types of scenes to write? 

Opening and concluding chapters are always fun. The former because you’re starting a new project and actually doing some writing (rather than plotting, marketing & other indie publisher chores) and the latter because there is literary light at the end of the tunnel!

* If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? 

The ability to become a cat for a day and see the world from a feline perspective.

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Thanks so much to Paul Mathews for taking the time out to answer these questions!

We Have Lost The Chihuahuas will be published on November 28th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Paul Mathews is a quite funny British guy who’s managed to escape his day job and is currently on the run as a comedy novelist. His sharp, satirical – often surreal – sense of humour draws on 20 years as a British Government press officer, during which time he encountered politicians, senior civil servants, HR managers, and lots of other people who really sucked at their jobs.

His popular ‘We Have Lost’ comedy-thriller series set in 2040s London, starring beleaguered presidential spokesman and wannabe secret agent Howie Pond, currently comprises four titles with more on the way. Paul has read all the books at least ten times and highly recommends them.

Make him happy by signing up for his ‘Very Funny Newsletter’ here. If you don’t want to sign up for it, stay calm and do nothing.

Paul also owns a cat, Lulu, who works as his assistant. All fan mail to her, please.

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Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark @EAClarkAuthor @rararesources

** Copy received via publisher **

It is my absolute pleasure to be joining the blog tour for Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark today! Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me!

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Author : E.A. Clark
Title : Lay Me To Rest
Pages : 358
Publisher : HQ Digital
Publication date : September 29, 2017

aboutthebook

Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?

mythoughts

Annie is a young widow who discovered she was pregnant after her husband died in an accident. Overcome by guilt for various reasons, her sister convinces Annie to go away for a break to a lovely cottage in Anglesey. Unfortunately, Annie’s arrival stirs up all sorts of things and there’s no chance of getting some peace and quiet. But even when she finally leaves the cottage, the worst isn’t over yet.

I didn’t particularly get the feeling from the book description that this story would involve paranormal / supernatural events, which aren’t usually my thing. Unless it involves the Winchester brothers. If I had known, I may not have picked it up and that would have been a bit of a shame. At its base, this is really an intriguing mystery and I do so enjoy trying to solve a mystery. The opening chapter really sets the tone. It made me sink just that little bit deeper into my warm, comfortable blanket and wish I hadn’t started reading this at night. Even though at that point, I was thinking we were dealing with an unreliable narrator who was seeing things due to the overwhelming grief over her husband’s death, it nevertheless made me turn up the lights just that little bit more.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot but don’t let the paranormal vibe put you off or you’d miss out on quite an entertaining read. It’s all rather deliciously creepy! While I enjoyed the way it was written, it did somehow feel out of place with the time period, maybe a tad stilted for the year 2009, but I really enjoyed how the author managed to combine the paranormal with crime fiction. I also loved the setting and the various characters we were introduced to and of course, the investigation they find themselves in.

Overall, this is a quick read, perfect for the cold, winter nights! The ending seems to suggest there may be a follow-up at some point too so if you’re into your paranormal suspense stories, you may want to give this a go.

Lay Me To Rest is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

E. A. Clark lives in the Midlands with her husband and son, plus a rather temperamental cat, a rabbit and a chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that …) and cake – and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions.

She has a penchant for visiting old graveyards and speculating on the demise of those entombed beneath. Whilst she has written short stories and poetry for many years, a lifelong fascination with all things paranormal has culminated in her first novel for adults, Lay Me to Rest. The setting is inspired by her love of Wales, owing to her father’s Celtic roots.

Twitter | Facebook

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Lay Me To Rest Tour Schedule

 

Wormwood by Larry Enmon @LarryEnmon @Bloodhoundbook #guestpost

It’s my pleasure to welcome Larry Enmon to the blog today. Larry is the author of the thriller Wormwood, which was published by Bloodhound Books on November 1st. He’ll be talking about things unpublished authors need to know about. But first, here’s a little information about his book.

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Author : Larry Enmon
Title : Wormwood
Pages : 318
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 1, 2017

aboutthebook

In Dallas, Texas, Katrina Wallace goes missing. As the mayor’s daughter, her kidnapping triggers mounting political pressure and forces the Chief of Police to put two senior detectives on the case. Rob Soliz and Frank Pierce have done the impossible in the past, but their methods are unconventional.

The only evidence at the scene is a Bible found in the girl’s car and soon Frank and Rob find themselves involved in a disturbing investigation shrouded by Bible prophecy, doomsday cults, and murder.

Is Katrina still alive? And what exactly is Wormwood?

As the trail leads them into the woods of rural East Texas, Frank must deal with his lingering religious doubts and solve the case. His worst fears will be realised when he must discover the ugly truth about Wormwood. But he and Rob will have to get out alive to tell the story.

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THE FOUR THINGS UNPUBLISHED WRITERS NEED TO KNOW

(#1) In a nutshell, it’s a numbers game. Literary agents, editors, and publishers are all looking for someone who can make them money. The more the better. They have nothing against you when they reject your query or manuscript. They have to sign or publish what they believe they can sell­­—nothing personal, just business. Not every creative idea is right for everyone.

The agency representing me receives approximately twenty thousand queries each year. From this, they offer representation to twenty writers. I am honored to be among the twenty selected last year. I would have never found them if I hadn’t been aggressive in sending out my work. If you haven’t submitted to at least a hundred agents, you’re still a rookie in my book, because I submitted to more than that before finding the right one. By being aggressive, I landed an agent who loved my manuscript and got me a two-book deal with two different publishers in two different countries. Hey, that’s like a four book deal!

The more you put your work out there, the better your chances of finding that one agent who “gets” what you’re doing and wants to be a part of it. Keep playing the numbers.

(#2) Don’t be afraid to change. For years I wrote horror and suspense/thrillers, and no literary agent gave me the time of day. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly aggressive about submitting my work. Writing was a hobby for me then, but after I retired, I decided to turn it into a job. And it wasn’t until I changed genres that I found success.

I never watched or read crime mystery—ever! I lived it every day as a police officer and federal agent. Since about ninety percent of the material out there in books and movies isn’t even close to realistic, it just wasn’t my favorite genre.

That all changed when my daughter bought me the True Detective DVD for Christmas a couple of years ago. After watching the first season, I was impressed. While I still wasn’t interested in crime mysteries, I decided to read more of them for research. During this time the idea for a book started coming together. When I believed I was ready, I sat down and wrote Wormwood.

After a decade of writing, my first crime mystery novel was picked up by a literary agent. If I hadn’t changed genres, I’d still be plowing along doing the same old thing that led nowhere. Don’t be afraid of the unknown—make it known.

(#3) Only submit your best work. I’ve known writers who, when submitting to agents or editors, cavalierly say, “Yeah, I threw a few things out there just to get some feedback.” All the people I’ve met in the publishing industry are very sincere and hard working. Most take work home with them and often do ten- to twelve-hour days.

Today writers have a difficult time getting noticed. Fewer readers and more writers have made literary agents the “gate keepers” of the publishing industry. They do the dirty work in the trenches, reviewing thousands of queries, and they only offer representation to the ones they believe have enough potential to go the distance. If you, as the writer, send them anything but your best, you probably should be convicted of a war crime. (Just kidding.)

The thing is, you get the reputation you deserve in this business. Be polite, be understanding, and behave. It’s not all about you. Many people will work hard to make your book a success. After all, if you make money—they make money.

(#4) Learn the craft and your genre. A lot of new writers submit their manuscripts before they’re ready. I know—I was one of them. Writing is a lifetime learning experience. After crafting government reports for thirty-seven years, my writing sounded like a report. Couple that with my taste for the thriller classics best represented by Frederick Forsyth and Ian Fleming, and I ended up producing writing didn’t have the zest needed for the twenty-first century.  By reading newer thrillers and crime mysteries, I gained a better understanding of what the market wants today.

Read articles and books on writing, take a writing class, attend conferences, and join a writer’s group. I’ve done all the above, and I’m still learning. Many of the old crime mystery and thriller writers sound like hacks today because readers have become much more sophisticated. I still enjoy their work, but I can pick apart a paragraph with the no-no’s I’d never do. All writers can—it’s like magic.

To my way of thinking there are three types of writers—good, competent, and bad. I believe I am more than competent and at the threshold of being good at this stage of my career. With any luck and another decade or two, I might even become great. Wait…did I just say three types. I meant four.

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Hahaha! Great tips, Larry! Thanks for sharing them with us!

abouttheauthor

Larry Enmon retired from the U.S. Secret Service and started writing. During his career he acted as liaison between the USSS and FBI, working in the Joint Terrorism Task Force.  He received special training from the FBI and CIA in weapons of mass destruction.

For relaxation, and to get away from the city, he likes spending time at his ranch in rural Eastern Texas. With 200+ acres, private shooting range, a 2 ½ acre pond, and miles of woodland trails to explore on four-wheelers and RTV’s, it’s the perfect getaway.

He swims four miles a week, holds a Divemaster rating with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and has a black belt in Tang Soo Do karate.  He is married with two children and lives in Tarrant County, TX.

You can get in touch with Larry via Twitter or Facebook

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Thank you so much to Larry Enmon for stopping by the blog! Best of luck with Wormwood!

Murder in Little Shendon by A.H. Richardson @BookPubServices

** I received a copy of this book from the author **

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Author : A.H. Richardson
Title : Murder in Little Shendon
Pages : 256
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : August 28, 2015

aboutthebook

Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens – not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long.

This tantalizing tale unfolds with delightful twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper. Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses. Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From the murdered man’s housekeeper to Lady Armstrong, her staff and her nephew. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his ladyfriend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion.

Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village.

mythoughts

Set in a quaint English village shortly after World War II, Murder in Little Shendon is a classic British whodunnit.

The story starts with the murder of the local antiques dealer, Mr Fynche, by all accounts a character universally disliked by the village residents. Is that what got him killed or is the motive linked to rumours of his involvement with MI5 during the war?

Inspector Burgess calls in the help of his friend Sir Hazlitt. Together with the actor they will endeavour to find out the truth. Having an actor involved in the investigation seems a little odd, but his charm may just convince people to share information with him that they might not as easily share with the police.

There are a lot of characters to get acquainted with, maybe even a few too many. They’re all eccentric in their own little ways. Some have secrets but even those who don’t, find themselves on the suspect list. And they all, and I do mean all, will be interviewed.

I found some of the story a little repetitive at times. Conversations that were relayed to different people, yet sounded quite the same. But there was also the repetition of words like “rather” in three subsequent sentences and that sort of thing just annoys me.

However, Murder in Little Shendon is a well-written cosy mystery with intriguing characters. It’s an entertaining story but for me, it just needed that little something extra to keep me hooked.

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book, which I chose to review honestly!

Murder in Little Shendon is available now.

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