You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury | @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

Delighted to join the blog tour for You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury today. Thanks to Bloodhound Books for the review copy!

Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : You Belong to Me
Pages : 300
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : February 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.    

Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.

Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?

Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Almost ten years ago, fifteen year old Ellie Hutton disappeared on her way home from school. She was never found. But Danny knows exactly what happened to her. Now, Cassie Rafferty goes missing. Once again, Danny knows what happened to her. But can he tell the truth this time around?

The disappearance of Cassie prompts Danny to reconnect with three friends who are also aware of what happened to Ellie. None of these have had the best of times in their lives. Some remain on a downward spiral, some have tried to find a way to turn their lives around. All of them are deeply affected by the events from all those years ago and will have to confront their demons.

Being asked to read a book by Mark Tilbury is right up there with being offered a piece of chocolate. I say yes so quickly that my brain barely has time to register what the question was. I’ve enjoyed his previous books so much that reading You Belong to Me was a no-brainer. This one is slightly different in that it doesn’t have the supernatural vibe Mark Tilbury has been known for so far. What it does have and where this author’s strength lies, is one of the most vile and despicable characters you’ll ever meet. Sheer evil through and through, making your blood boil and fear for everyone around them.

I couldn’t at all figure out how things would end up, nor what actually happened to Ellie and Cassie. These events almost took a backseat for me because I was so focused on the characters, sympathising with them, willing them on, hoping they’d find a way to pick up the pieces of their lives. And yet, as the book description says, can two wrongs ever make a right? This is thought-provoking stuff for sure and I still haven’t quite made up my mind. Is there anything more awesome than a book that makes you think?

With You Belong to Me, Mark Tilbury has delivered a cracking psychological thriller. This is another super tense, disturbing and incredibly gripping story with characters that will get under you skin, as I’ve come to expect from him. If you’re not familiar with this author’s work, you are really missing out. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next!

You Belong to Me is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. 

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. 

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me. 

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen | @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen! My thanks to Emma Welton for the invitation to join. Owen joins us today to play a around of Dessert Island Must-Haves but first, let’s see what the book is all about.

Author : Owen Mullens
Title : Out of the Silence
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered, one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

My wife Christine set me this fun challenge… so I thought I’d share it with you.

Dessert Island Must Haves

You have been washed up on a desert island with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future but before leaving the ship you have just enough time to grab 1 item from each of the following… Tell us what/who you would choose and why. 

A Book – I suspect that being on a dessert island may not be all its cracked up to be,  sure to be a few down days.  And,  as you’ve probably discovered, sand gets everywhere. With all of that going on I’m liable to need some spiritual uplifting.  The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho has helped me before and probably would again:  a simple tale,  simply told with a host of powerful messages on how to navigate the journey through life – and desert islands. Fantastic! 

An Album – So many to choose from, but I’d go with something from a time when music was very important to me. I was still at school when The Beatles double album – sometimes called The White Album came out.  And what an impression it made on me; great songs,  too many to mention.  Think I’ll put it on while I’m writing this. I remember teaching myself to play Blackbird in my lunchtime breaks and being over the moon  when I got it. 

A Film – Often comedy films don’t make me laugh. Having said that,  probably my favourite film of all time is…As Good As It Gets. Jack Nicholson is always great but in this movie Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Junior and Greg Kinnear all give him a run for his money.  The film manages to be cringe-worthy cruel,  sad and laugh-out-loud funny. No wonder it won 2 Oscars. I’ve seen it a dozen times and if I see it another dozen that will be fine with me. 

A fictional character – As a crime fiction writer I’m often asked who my favourite fictional character is and I always say Sherlock Holmes.  However,  old Sherlock would be heavy going on a desert island – out of his face on dope most of the time, because there would be no crimes to solve and he’s depressed. Then, when he gets started on his violin… couldn’t handle it.  So who would I like to be there with me?  No contest,  Patrick Logue from the Charlie Cameron series.  He would always make me laugh and if it turned out there were natives he’d soon be on first name terms. Might even keep us off the menu! Though I would have to keep my eye on him or he’d have the coconut milk out of my tea. 

A luxury item – There would be plenty of time to kill so I’d take a guitar,  I was always able to lose myself in music and I would maybe even discover that elusive 4th chord. 

A photograph – I’d take the photograph I took of Christine a few days ago in Chania. She was looking wonderful,  and I captured it. 

A weapon – I’d take a machete because it could double as a tool. And if it turned out that there were natives and they weren’t friendly, they just might think twice before attacking a mad Scotsman wielding one of these – in my head I’m seeing Braveheart🤣

One useful item – I could imagine mosquito repellent just might come in handy, but I’d go for matches to keep that signal fire burning. 

One food item – A big jar of curry powder for obvious reasons. Too long without a curry and I’d get withdrawal symptoms. 

One drink item – Coffee,  I’d definitely struggle without the bean! How could I possibly get into the day?  I’d need to get used to no Stevia though; not looking forward to that. 

One fun item – A football; nothing like a kick about on the beach! 

I already got stuck on the first question 😂. Great answers, Owen! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this wish us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan. 

The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge | @sibelhodge @Bloodhoundbook | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge! My thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity join. Author Sibel Hodge joins me today to talk about her writing day but first, here is what The Disappeared is all about!

Author : Sibel Hodge
Title : The Disappeared
Pages : 318
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

On a routine flight from Africa to England, Dr Mason Palmer is tragically killed when the light aircraft he’s travelling on crashes and disappears in dense bush land.

The Widow…

Ten months later, Nicole Palmer is still trying to block out the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Until one morning she receives a photo of Mason through the post, along with a cryptic message. A message only he could’ve written.

The Secret…

But when Nicole tries to find out if Mason is really alive and what actually happened to him in Africa, everyone she turns to for answers ends up dead.

Determined to find the truth, Nicole uncovers a conspiracy that spans the globe, and discovers there are powerful people who are prepared to kill to keep her silent.

Who’s lying? Who’s watching Nicole? And can she expose their murky secrets before they catch up with her?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Wordery | Goodreads

| GUEST POST |

My writing day…

I’m a morning person so I’m most productive first thing. My day starts at about 5 or 6 a.m., and after a cuppa while I’m checking out emails and social media I do a 30 minute yoga and meditation set. A banana and iced soya latte later and I’m good to go! 

When I’m working on my first draft I always aim to write 3000-5000 words per day. I’m a pantster, not a plotter, so I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write until the words tumble out of my head, and it’s not until I finish my first draft, when I really know I’ve got something solid, that I can properly relax. My first draft can end up anything between 45,000-70,000 words, and I tend to write shorter and add more later, rather than longer and cutting anything. Then for the editing process, which means going through it and through it, tweaking, filling plot holes, adding character’s personality, more dialogue, bits of research, etc.

Even when I’m not writing, you can often find me staring into space, thinking about the book—an idea, what I need to do next, working out a problem, imagining a character. And I can’t escape the book in my sleep because I dream about it too. There have been so many times I’ve woken up with my characters having conversations with each other, and I keep a notebook by my bed in case inspiration strikes as I’m falling asleep or during a dream. I’m living it full time, completely immersed in it. I always think being an author is like being an actor, except an author is playing all of the characters at once, getting inside all their heads and going through what they’re going through, and they’re in every scene, which can be exhausting mentally and emotionally at times. 

I write mostly at a standing desk, which I love. It’s actually a really rustic piece of wood shaped from a tree trunk. Or sometimes I’ll be sprawled on the sofa with my laptop on my knees, and often accompanied by up to seven cats that all want to get in on the action and type gobbledygook on my keyboard just for a laugh. 

It’s got to be dead quiet when I’m working. No music for me. No one talking. I need silence and calm to concentrate. Although the calmness doesn’t extend to my work space. I’ve got notes everywhere when I’m writing a novel. Snippets of ideas and dialogue, bits of research, things I need to add in. Sometimes I can have hundreds of pieces of paper scribbled with stuff. 

At my house, we (read : I) call that organised chaos 😉. Thank you, Sibel, for stopping by and sharing your writing day with us!

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Sibel Hodge is the author of the No 1 Bestsellers Look Behind YouUntouchable, and Duplicity. Her books have sold over one million copies and are international bestsellers in the UK, USA, Australia, France, Canada and Germany. She writes in an eclectic mix of genres, and is a passionate human and animal rights advocate.

Her work has been nominated and shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Harry Bowling Prize, the Yeovil Literary Prize, the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition, The Romance Reviews’ prize for Best Novel with Romantic Elements and Indie Book Bargains’ Best Indie Book of 2012 in two categories. She was the winner of Best Children’s Book in the 2013 eFestival of Words; nominated for the 2015 BigAl’s Books and Pals Young Adult Readers’ Choice Award; winner of the Crime, Thrillers & Mystery Book from a Series Award in the SpaSpa Book Awards 2013; winner of the Readers’ Favorite Young Adult (Coming of Age) Honorable award in 2015; a New Adult finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s International Digital Awards 2015, and 2017 International Thriller Writers Award finalist for Best E-book Original Novel. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the top forty books about human rights by Accredited Online Colleges.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

Bloodhound’s Christmas Cracker Blog Tour | @MTilburyAuthor @bloodhoundbook | #BloodhoundsChristmasCrackers

Today, I am joining the Bloodhound Christmas Cracker Blog Tour. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? In the run up to Christmas, Bloodhound Books is offering deals you can’t pass up! Every day, there are bargains to be had so don’t miss out! In case you need help deciding on what to buy, if not everything 😉, this tour helps to refresh your memory on some of the awesome books that are up for grabs. Which is why you now find me re-sharing my review for The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury.

Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : The Key to Death’s Door
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : April 16, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

If you could discover the murderous truth of a past life and seek justice in this one, would you?

Teenager Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.

Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Flippin’ heck! What even?! I have no idea how to review this sheer awesomeness at all!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, probably also in a review for the same author, that I don’t normally read paranormal or supernatural stories but for Mark Tilbury, I gladly make an exception and I don’t regret a single second of it. This is the third book in this genre that I’ve read by him and once again, it completely blew me away!

So, see that book description at the top of the page? Yes, that’s all you’re going to get from me where the plot is concerned. Why though, I hear you ask? Because I actually tried to explain it to the OH and the poor man got horribly confused. What you really need to know is that most of the story is set in the present day, while some of it regards events from thirty years earlier. These two periods are linked by one character and what a character it is!

As I’ve come to expect from this author, that particular character is one of the most despicable, vile and evil men ever to roam the planet! Very few people come up with someone so incredibly disturbing but Mark Tilbury manages it in every single book of his I’ve read so far. The only relief from all the heinous acts comes in the form of the friendship between Lee and Charlie in the present, and two other characters in the past. Everyone should have a friend like them and in the midst of the horror, I regularly found myself smiling at their banter.

The Key to Death’s door doesn’t exactly make for comfortable reading. It is an incredibly dark and harrowing tale of abuse, of not always being able to protect your family no matter how hard you try and of seeking justice. It’s a hard-hitting, well-written, compelling, gritty and thought-provoking story that, days later, still has me utterly reeling.

If you’re a fan of Mark Tilbury’s books, I have no doubt you will love this one as much as I did. If you haven’t yet discovered this author, I highly recommend you take the time to get caught up. In the meantime I’m off to firmly add him to my list of go-to authors and (im)patiently await his next offering, which I’m sure will rock my socks off just as much as this one did. No pressure, sir.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryWordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise, The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Die Cold by Graham Smith | @GrahamSmith1972 @Bloodhoundbook | #DieCold #JakeBoulder #TeamBoulder #blogtour

Thrilled to bits to join the blog tour for Die Cold by Graham Smith today! My thanks to Emma Welton at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join and for my review copy!

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Author : Graham Smith
Title : Die Cold
Series : Jake Boulder #4
Pages :
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Boulder is back.

Jake Boulder is working as a bartender, at an exclusive Vermont ski resort on New Year’s Eve, when armed terrorists hold up the lodge and take the guests hostage.

Trapped with the other hostages, Boulder watches in horror as the female terrorist leader disfigures a singer to make her point. He wants to fight back, but is unarmed and being held at gunpoint.

When Boulder finds a way to escape from the terrorists he searches for a way to raise the alarm. After he discovers the terrorists plan to leave no witnesses to their crime, he knows has a race against time to save as many innocent people as he can…

But will Boulder be the reluctant hero and save the day?

mythoughts

Boulder is back! BOULDER IS BACK!!! I may be a wee excited.

Die Cold is the fourth instalment in the Jake Boulder series and really, if you’re not reading these, you need to go sit in a corner and think about your life’s choices!

First things first, do yourselves a favour and do not treat this as a stand-alone! Jake’s struggle is real and I feel it’s important that you know him as well as you possibly can to understand him and his actions better. Our reluctant hero has been through a lot and events from the previous book especially have made a massive impact on him.

So much so, that he’s left behind family, friends and his hometown. Jake is now working as a bartender at an exclusive ski resort in Vermont. It’s New Year’s Eve but before the champagne even has the opportunity to start flowing, terrorists hold up the lodge and take everyone hostage. Their female leader is a cold and vile woman who has no qualms whatsoever in getting her point across. But what is it these terrorists want? Stuck up on a mountain in the middle of a fierce snow blizzard, what are the odds that help is coming? Does anyone even realise the people at the resort need any help? Or will it be left to Jake to save the hostages and the day?

Die Cold should have come with a warning to hook up an oxygen tank before you start reading because hoo boy, I found myself thrown right into the action from the very first page and it just didn’t let up! I was holding my breath numerous times (not literally, obviously, or I probably wouldn’t be here right now), could almost feel the adrenaline pumping inside my veins and was quite frankly left utterly exhausted. This would make an incredible action movie!

Now, I must admit, I missed Alphonse. But a character called Daniel made up for so much of that and I’m kind of hoping (possibly against all hope) that he might somehow make an appearance in other Boulder books. I’d quite like that. Through Daniel’s eyes and a few other hostages, we constantly get a glimpse into what’s going on, which really added to the tension. I found myself desperately trying to figure out what the terrorists had in mind, while all the time hoping I’d never find myself in that position.

What an immensely thrilling journey this was. Action-packed from the word “go”, tense, totally addictive and a fantastic addition to this series, Die Cold may just leave you gasping for air. I absolutely can’t wait to see where Graham Smith takes Jake Boulder next. Although, I do hope it’s somewhere warmer.

Die Cold is published TODAY!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and four novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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This Week in Books (November 7)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

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Boulder is back.

Jake Boulder is working as a bartender, at an exclusive Vermont ski resort on New Year’s Eve, when armed terrorists hold up the lodge and take the guests hostage.

Trapped with the other hostages, Boulder watches in horror as the female terrorist leader disfigures a singer to make her point. He wants to fight back, but is unarmed and being held at gunpoint.

When Boulder finds a way to escape from the terrorists he searches for a way to raise the alarm. After he discovers the terrorists plan to leave no witnesses to their crime, he knows has a race against time to save as many innocent people as he can…

But will Boulder be the reluctant hero and save the day?

The book I’m currently reading

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A woman is strangled six hours after organising her own funeral.

Did she know she was going to die? Did she recognise her killer?

Daniel Hawthorne, a recalcitrant detective with secrets of his own, is on the case, together with his reluctant side-kick – a man completely unaccustomed to the world of crime.

But even Hawthorne isn’t prepared for the twists and turns in store – as unexpected as they are bloody…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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Kim Lord is an avant garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.

As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all of the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.

Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.

Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.

Set against a culture that too often fetishizes violence against women, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.

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What are you reading this week? Let me know! I don’t want to run out of books! 😉

Happy reading! xx

One Perfect Witness by Pat Young @py321_young @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost #OnePerfectWitness

It’s a real pleasure to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for One Perfect Witness by Pat Young today. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join.

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Author : Pat Young
Title : One Perfect Witness
Pages : 362
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : October 1, 2018

aboutthebook

On a remote Scottish hillside, three paths meet. On each path, a boy, one carrying a gun.

When their paths cross, a shot is fired and a boy dies.

That leaves two – one killer and one perfect witness.

This killer will stop at nothing to make sure the witness says nothing. Difficult for most people, even for someone who’s been guarding a secret of his own for five years.

What if the witness decides he’s been silent too long? Sometimes even the unspeakable must be spoken, if we can find the words.

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

guestpost

I never intended to be a writer. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently found myself nestling between JK Rowling and Dan Brown near the top of Amazon’s bestseller charts, when my debut novel, Till the Dust Settles, appeared in audiobook format. From day one the response to Till the Dust Settles has been quite overwhelming, both in Europe and the United States with many readers expressing the hope that there might be a sequel in the pipeline. 

My publisher, the wonderful Bloodhound Books, had already contracted me to write a second book, (another psychological thriller but with a very different subject matter). When Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound saw the appetite for a follow-up to Till the Dust Settles, she encouraged me to write it. In fact, I already had over fifty thousand words written and filed away. Not because I ever expected folk to love Till the Dust Settles and request a sequel, but because I knew that Lucie’s story was far from over. Readers knew that too. 

It wasn’t difficult to pick up where I left off and soon I know where you live was ready for my publisher’s approval. That was a tense few days. I have never written to a deadline before or under the pressure of expectation and I admit to being terrified at times. I found this book harder to write than the first, for those reasons. The story was never an issue. It told itself.

The inspiration for I know where you live came from a geographical location. Before I wrote a single word, I could ‘see’ the ending, visualising a setting that I knew existed but had never seen. I knew what would happen there, although the details would only come to me later, as I wrote. In fact, when it came time to write the climactic final scene, I ended up acting it out at the top of a staircase, with my husband and my tennis bag!

The setting of the dénouement allowed me to go back to my roots and I actually feature the cottage where my father lived as a child. The nearby village, Auchinleck, is where I grew up and went to school and is, some might say, an unlikely choice for an author. But the place has long been connected with the written word as James Boswell, the biographer of Samuel Johnston lived there. And after all, don’t they say you should write what you know? 

Writing about what I know helped me choose the other setting for I know where you live, Carcassonne, in the south of France. As well as being a place I love, Carcassonne is special for a slightly superstitious reason. In the autumn of 2015, when I was hoping (but not expecting) to find a publisher for Till the Dust Settles, I was in Carcassonne on holiday and found a tiny book, no bigger than a thumbnail, lying on the esplanade outside the mediaeval fortress. A book so small it could have come from a doll’s house. To this day I have no idea how I spotted it in that large open space that’s usually crowded with tourists. But I did and from that moment on, I was utterly convinced I would be published one day. 

Less than two years later my dream became reality and Till the Dust Settles was released by Bloodhound. It feels like a nice closing of the circle that the sequel should be set in Carcassonne. 

I use the town not only as a backdrop to the story but for the cover too. Choosing a book cover is much harder than you might think and it took a few days to get this one right. Bloodhound is an amazing company to work – they are so writer-centred. The cover design is a prime example. I didn’t know what I wanted for my new cover but I knew I’d recognise it when I saw it. I felt quite strongly that since I know where you live is a sequel to Till the Dust Settles it would be good to have a similar style of cover. Betsy Reavley herself designed my first cover and I think it’s fabulous, with that cloud of dust just hanging there. Second time around she was just as patient, determined to help me get it right, even though I rejected several designs. When I suggested Carcassonne as a background, Betsy used a photo I’d found and I absolutely love the result. Hope you do too. 

Most people of course don’t ever see the cover on an actual book and that, in itself, is a challenge. Whatever you choose needs to look strikingly good in colour on a computer screen as that’s where so many potential readers will shop for a book. I think Till the Dust Settles shows up well and I never tire of seeing it on screen. It thrills me every time. But a cover must also be clear and eye-catching in a tiny black and white thumbnail for those who select their next book on the small screen of an e-reader. Perhaps we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but a lot of readers still do.

Choosing the cover of my new book, One Perfect Witness was easy. It has no connection to the other two, being a completely different story. I was sent three designs and it was no contest. The boy on the hill (which was almost the title) captures the essence of the story. If, like me, you’re fascinated by what happens when someone disappears, you’ll enjoy this book of secrets, lies and deception. Sometimes, he who says nothing has most to tell. 

[It’s true I often don’t notice covers, especially for digital books. But on the other hand, many a book on my shelf has been bought based on the cover alone. This one for One Perfect Witness says quite a lot and I can see why you chose this one. Thanks for stopping by, Pat!)

abouttheauthor

Pat Young grew up in the south west of Scotland where she still lives, sometimes. She often goes to the other extreme, the south west of France, in search of sunlight.

Pat never expected to be a writer. Then she found a discarded book with a wad of cash tucked in the flyleaf. ‘What if something awful happened to the person who lost this book?’ she thought, and she was off.

Pat knew nothing of writing, but she knew a thing or two about books, having studied English, French and German at Glasgow University. A passion for languages led to a career she loved and then a successful part-time business that allowed her some free-time, at last.

Pat had plans, none of which included sitting at her desk from daybreak till dusk. But some days she has to. Because there’s a story to be told. And when it’s done, she can go out to play. On zip-wires and abseil ropes, or just the tennis court.

Pat writes psychological thrillers. Her debut novel Till the Dust Settles, has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Stag trophy. Following publication in July 2017 Pat was delighted to be chosen as an ‘emerging talent’ for Crime in the Spotlight and read from Till the Dust Settles to an audience at Bloody Scotland – another dream come true.

Published by Bloodhound Books, I Know Where You Live is the much-anticipated sequel to Pat’s gripping and unmissable debut thriller, Till the Dust Settles. It too is a psychological thriller with a skilfully told story that makes for an enjoyable stand alone read. It will hook you from the start.

One Perfect Witness, Pat’s third novel to be published, tells a completely new story. If, like Pat, you’re fascinated by what happens when someone disappears, you’ll enjoy this book of secrets, lies and deception.

Author links : Twitter

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The Third Breath by Malcolm Hollingdrake @MHollingdrake @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz

Such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog blitz for The Third Breath by Malcolm Hollingdrake today! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

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Author : Malcolm Hollingdrake
Title : The Third Breath
Series : DCI Bennett #7
Pages : 275
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : August 28, 2018

aboutthebook

DCI Bennett is away on compassionate leave. After much soul-searching, he has decided to attend his father’s funeral.

DS Owen is left at the helm when the discovery of a body in a car in the multi-storey car park is reported. Initially, the Coroner rules out suspicious circumstances but when a second body is found with similar symptoms, Bennett is back in the fold. He suspects that the coincidences must be of some significance.

Soon Bennett’s team are hunting for a callous and devious killer who has covered his tracks effectively.

Will Bennett’s perseverance and attention to detail eventually crack this perplexing case?

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It’s quite hard to believe that The Third Breath is already the seventh instalment in the DCI Bennett series but author Malcolm Hollingdrake shows no signs of slowing down and has come up with yet another belter.

I’ve come to expect some rather brilliant and original ways for the killers in this series to murder their victims but this one has to be right up there with the most ingenious and chilling ones I’ve ever read. A dead body is discovered in a car in a multi-storey car park. Bennett and his team are left scratching their heads as there is no evidence whatsoever to find at the crime scene. At first, it looks like the victim may have died from natural causes. But then a second body is discovered and Cyril Bennett does not believe in coincidences.

This killer is playing quite the twisted game, seemingly without a specific motive, which makes them incredibly hard to track down. And what on earth is up with the potatoes? Yeah, that will make no sense to you whatsoever until you read this book. Suffice to say, the killer’s brain isn’t one you’d want to spend too much time with. And all the twists and turns combine into the most wonderfully complex investigation.

Meanwhile Cyril is also dealing with the aftermath of his father’s death and his feelings towards his stepmother, Wendy. Comic relief, as always, is provided by the inimitable Owen. Here’s a character I didn’t think I could possibly adore more than I did already but whenever his name pops up on the page, I just know he’s going to steal the show and make me chuckle.

This isn’t a particularly gruesome read so if you lean a bit more towards to the cosy mystery genre, I have no doubt you will enjoy this one. Just like its predecessors, The Third Breath is well plotted, brilliantly executed and another solid addition to an already extremely solid series. Bring on book eight, I say!

The Third Breath is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

You could say that the writing was clearly on the wall for anyone born in a library, that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has ten books now available. Completing ‘The Third Breath’ fulfils the seven book publishing contract with Bloodhound Books but there are exciting plans for the future, not only with DCI Bennett and his team but also with another series. More information will follow soon.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all his novels.

This year, Malcolm self-published a beautiful and poignant short story titled ‘The Penultimate Man’ to commemorate the centenary of the conclusion of WW1. It has also been released as an audiobook.
Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel, ‘The Third Breath’.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas @cthomasauthor1 @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour #TheEdgeofSanity #guestpost

Good morning, fellow bookworms! I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog tour for The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity! Author Chris Thomas visits the blog today about what he’s learned since writing a book. But first, here is what The Edge of Sanity is all about.

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Author : Chris Thomas
Title : The Edge of Sanity
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : August 20, 2018

aboutthebook

In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on its unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet market place.

Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?

Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.

With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ring master, the Professor?

[The Edge of Sanity is out today!]

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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What I have learned since writing a book

From the minute I first typed ‘Chapter 1’ into my new Word document, it became quickly apparent that the actual writing of my first book The Red Room, later to become Enter The Dark, was the easy part. There was so much more to not only finishing a book and putting it out for people to read, but also in somehow making sure that people knew about it and wanted to read it. Amazon Kindle has made it exceptionally easy for anyone to have ‘a book on Amazon’. You write a story in Word, use their cover design tool, upload it to your Amazon Author account, et voila, you have a book on Amazon.

Some purists would argue that this is a terrible thing. That only traditionally published authors, whose work has been checked, verified and thus endorsed by the sages of the publishing world, should be allowed to grace the screens of the paying public’s e-readers. I whole-heartedly disagree and would say that anything which encourages people to get out there and do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do is a good thing. The paying public are smart enough to make their own mind up and the cream (whether that be writing talent or simply a story that grabs people) will naturally rise to the top.

But one thing that should be stressed is that, whilst it will be fun, on the whole, it’s not easy. Here are the main lessons I’ve learned since starting out on writing books.

  1. Making people read your work is hard.

The obvious way is through friends and family on Facebook. And generally, once they have got over the novelty that someone they knew had written a novel, bought it and shared the odd post, after a while you can no longer rely on them as your main source of publicity. And that’s when it gets really difficult. As a self-published author you don’t have access to the same people: bloggers, publicists, etc as those signed to even a small indie label. Before The Red Room was signed, we were at the point of my wife (i) approaching anyone in the book aisle in Tesco (ii) talking to whoever we happened to be sat next to in a theatre (iii) anyone showing the slightest interest in anything to do with books, and handing them some promotional business cards that I had printed. Which brings me neatly onto…

  1. Blog Tours!

Until I started joining book groups on Facebook and Twitter I never knew that blog tours were even a thing. Once I knew of their existence I figured that I would just send my book to the blog sites, they would read it and advertise it for me. But no. These people are inundated with submissions, and quite rightly so, because they offer a brilliant way of reaching way more readers than on one’s own. And that was probably the single biggest difference I noticed once I signed with Bloodhound; that I could now join this world. This world where people who read way more than me, whose love of books has led them to review online for fun, the sort of people who I would love to not only read my book but rave about it. My tour for Enter the Dark lasted seven days, with two bloggers a day posting reviews. And I loved it. Some of the reviews simply blew me away. But even the not-so-positive ones were of huge value. If everyone loves your work, you have no reason to try to be better.

  1. Not everyone will like your book.

Fact. Being an author really isn’t a job/pastime for anyone who is overly sensitive about what other people think. Overall, my Amazon reviews for Enter the Dark were wholly positive. But there were some real stinkers in there as well –the dreaded ‘One-Star Club’. Even worse is the ‘Would have given it no stars if I could’. No point getting upset about them, just accept it and move on.

  1. You will doubt you own quality.

My wife always moaned that I never believed that what I wrote was any good. During the first draft of The Red Room, I sent it periodically to a very good friend who is a proper book fiend (reads a novel in one sitting in the evening etc). Even when they came back saying it was good, you still assume they are being polite. When people come up to you who say they’ve read it and really enjoyed it, it’s difficult not to do the same. This must be better than the deluded belief that you have just written a Nobel Prize winning piece of literature, but it is important to take the praise as much as the criticism.

  1. You have to just start.

Everyone has a book in them, apparently. And lots of people say they want to write a book. But the only way to do it is simply to start. I read some sort of profound quote about water not flowing until you turn the tap on and you won’t write anything unless you sit down and just do it. Which is true, but writing a novel isn’t like putting up a shelf, it’s a much bigger emotional and physical investment of energy. My personal prompt was taking an evening course called “Kickstart Your Creativity” which mainly taught me that I could string words together and was pleasantly surprised when the people hearing them didn’t choke on their own vomit at how dreadful it was. Put simply, it won’t write itself and you’ll soon work out whether it’s for you.

  1. Don’t stop submitting it to publishers and agents.

Why stop? Just because some have rejected it is not a reason to give up. We’ve all heard stories of huge authors / novels being rejected by countless agents or publishers before eventually being taken on. It doesn’t take long to make a submission, so keep at it. 

There’s almost certainly a whole bunch of others lessons that I have learned but don’t know I’ve learned, and a few lessons that I am still to learn. A bit like Donald Rumsfeld and his ‘known-knowns’ and ‘known-unknowns’. 

What I do know is that having a published book, regardless of how it was received is something that no-one can ever take away. I have an actual job, so do not need to rely on making an income from writing to make a living. But I have huge admiration for those that do as it is not easy. And if you do chose to write a book, whether as a hobby or as a full-time occupation, the only thing you can do is to just go for it.

abouttheauthor

Chris Thomas was born near London in 1978 before moving to Buckinghamshire a few months later. He attended the University of Bristol, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. It was here that he developed his interest in criminal psychology and serial killers.

After a brief stint working at an investment bank in London, he left the City to work for his wife’s family business, a position he still holds.

Chris is an avid film fan, especially horror, thrillers and dark comedy- something that he tries to blend in his writing. He self-published his debut novel The Red Room in February 2017 before joining the Bloodhound Books stable and re-releasing the book as Enter The Dark. The follow up, “The Edge of Sanity”, will be released by Bloodhound Books in August 2018.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys karate (holding a black belt) and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #PrettyUglyLies

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join! Author Pamela Crane visits the blog today and in true self-quiz style wonders :  what kind of psycho are you?

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Author : Pamela Crane
Title : Pretty Ugly Lies
Pages : 250
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : July 18, 2018

aboutthebook

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Self-Quiz: What Kind of Psycho Are You?
By Pamela Crane, USA Today best-selling thriller author

I love self-quizzes, don’t you? They used to be in every women’s magazine, and now you can find them all over Facebook. Well, here’s a new quiz for you.

How often have you asked yourself this question: What kind of psycho am I? If it’s been more than once, you may have bigger problems than I can help with.

I’m not referring to a Norman Bates kind of psycho. I’m talking about what kinds of struggles would cause you to freak out, to snap, to go psycho-chick. Maybe it’s the nitpicking husband who is impossible to please. Maybe it’s the piles of dirty laundry and sink full of dishes that never gets clean. Maybe it’s an endless barrage of fighting and whining from the kids. Maybe it’s your boss demanding too much. Maybe it’s your neighbor’s dog barking night and day. Maybe it’s financial strain that leaves your bank account empty…along with your food cupboard. Maybe it’s your newborn keeping you up all night with colicky cries, refusing to eat.

We all have triggers that bring out the “psycho” in us. I certainly do. When my autistic son goes into one of his meltdowns and the kids scream for no reason whatsoever, I start to lose my cool. Add to that a work deadline that keeps me up until two in the morning and a dog that makes a grunting noise beside my bed all night long, keeping me awake up until the kids come running into my bedroom the next morning demanding breakfast, watch out—because I’m about to snap.

Now that I’ve told you mine, what are yours?

My latest domestic thriller, PRETTY UGLY LIES, introduces four women loosely based on friends in my own life. They each have struggles…and one of these ladies is going to snap big-time. (Hint: yup, one of them gets murdery, so read the book to find out who!) They’re all great gals, but equally flawed in their own ways. Let’s meet the cast of the story and see what brings the psycho out in these everyday women…

Meet Jo, a mom whose life is perfect, husband gorgeous and successful, kids bright and obedient. She’s a gal who spends her days baking cookies and cuddling her kids at night after reading bedtime stories…and she actually enjoys every second of it. But when disaster strikes and she loses her child at the park one day, everything that made her strong crumbles. She’s unable to cope, and all sense of who she is shatters like broken glass. She can’t seem to recover from her upside-down world, and in the end, she turns on her family, her friends, herself. When everything goes exactly as planned, Jo is Wonder Woman. But when things spiral out of her control, she loses hope and can’t pull it together. Is this you?

Next we have Ellie, who has always struggled with motherhood. While she’s smart and capable, she gave up a thriving career to dote on the needs of her family as a stay-at-home mom—and gets little thanks in return. Her kids sense her lack of self-respect and prey on that, and her husband has long ago lost interest in her. While she’s brilliant and talented, she has lost who she is over the years. If only her kids would listen to her and her husband let her pursue her passion, she’d be happy. But as it is, she’s drowning in her misery and can’t seem to catch her breath. Can you relate to Ellie?

Shayla is more common that you might expect, a woman whose struggle with bipolar disorder has been buried for years. She’s energetic, fun, carefree…maybe a little too carefree. She’s got a great home life, but she bores easily and needs a dose of adrenaline to keep her happy—especially when she’s off her meds. That’s when straying outside her marriage starts to appeal…until her affair partner turns out crazier than she is. Now’s she’s in a pickle and her family turns against her. It’s the perfect recipe for sending her fragile mental state into a breakdown. Have you ever felt like Shayla?

June is a lot like me. Four kids, a special needs child among them, and some days feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s an empath and cares deeply for others, sometimes to her own disadvantage. But the daily needs become too much as she’s juggling work, a neglectful hubby (not based on my own amazingly awesome husband), a handful of kids, and too much background noise. A simple solution would be to ask for help, but she’s too prideful to lean on others, even when they offer. June’s doing too much and doesn’t see the toll it’s taking on her. If she keeps running in circles like this, she’s bound to lose her way…and her mind. Do you feel June’s pain?

Four different women, four different paths, four different triggers. Each has strengths, but each also has weaknesses. The thing is, it’s okay to not always wear the cape. We can’t always be superhuman. Sometimes we are simply just human. And with being a human comes moments where we lose our mind a little, lose ourselves even. But the key is to pick ourselves up at the end of each day and figure out our way through the hard parts of life, along the rocky terrain until we find clear prairies.

Social norms demand us to be smiley-faced emojis and comical memes. We’re supposed to be always agreeable, likeable, perfect. But that’s not reality, is it? I remember as a child when my mother would be yelling at us kids over something we’d done. We were always getting into something we shouldn’t, or fighting about stupid stuff—but I was never the instigator, I assure you (if my sister is reading this, I retract this statement). In the middle of Mom’s eardrum-bursting discipline, the phone would ring and she’d answer it with an ever-so-sweet “hello” so that the person on the other line had no idea she had nearly torn her vocal cords a moment earlier. In those moments Mom tucked an ugly reality in the corner while her public presence demonstrated nothing but a calm, happy mirage. (Mom, I totally get this now that I have kids!)

As PRETTY UGLY LIES uses a murder to reveal, life is full of lies, secrets, airing dirty laundry, betrayal, skeletons, pain, loss, frustration… Reality is enough to drive anyone mad. And that’s okay. You’re not alone, I’m not alone. “One day at a time,” Mom always told me. Sometimes one moment at a time is necessary.

So enjoy this self-quiz while you answer the question: What kind of psycho are you? Are you Jo, Ellie, Shayla, or June? And then give yourself a pat on the back for facing who you are without cringing. Hugs from one psycho to another!

[Reality is indeed enough to drive anyone crazy. Thank goodness for books! Thank you so much for stopping by, Pamela! Really enjoyed reading your post!]

abouttheauthor

Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) and she writes on the edge. Writing murder mysteries is her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she bases her characters on real people, so be warned! She is a USA Today best-selling author of several award-winning thrillers, which you can find on her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

Author links : Facebook

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