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)

My Top 10 Favourite Series of 2017

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I can’t wrap my head around the fact it’s time to compile favourites of the year already. Where did this year go? I don’t know but I do know that it was filled with absolutely amazing books and since my list of favourites was getting way too long, I decided to split things up. Next week, I’ll be telling you all about stand-alones but today, the focus is on series. Not all of these were published this year but as I’ve been catching up and did actually read them this year, I think that counts.

So, here we go. In alphabetical order, this is my Top 10 Favourite Series of 2017.

Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone

I read the first book in the DI Kim Stone series when it first came out and then somehow lost track of the series but thanks to an amazing fellow blogger, I set myself the challenge to catch up before Dead Souls was published back in April. Nailed it, in case you missed it. Still one of my proudest moments. 😉 This is just an incredibly thrilling and gripping series and the last one left me completely discombobulated.

Carol Wyer – DI Robyn Carter

An author who quickly found her way onto my list of go-to authors and another series that just keeps getting better. Carol Wyer has an uncanny ability to make me sympathise with the “bad guys”. She also has this mean streak of letting you get to know a character and caring for them, only to kill them off. Love it! There’s also an intriguing backstory that has me hooked!

C.J. Carver – Dan Forrester

I knew from the second I started reading the first book that this series would make the list. This series is perfect for binge-reading, which is exactly what I did and I read all three in three days. My reviews will be shared soon but I tell you right now, if you are not reading these, you are missing out!

David Videcette – DI Jake Flannagan

I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story …

With that one sentence, David Videcette had me hook, line and sinker! The author is a former Scotland Yard investigator and boy, does that show! Inspired by true events, this series just blows my mind to smithereens.

Graham Smith – Jake Boulder

Bad boy Jake Boulder wormed his way into my heart from the minute I met him and Graham Smith effortlessly found his way onto my list of go-to authors this year.

Helen Fields – DI Luc Callanagh

Truly magnificent series with taut and brilliantly executed plots full of lovely gruesomeness! Possibly not for the faint-hearted. Watch out for book 3 Perfect Death, which is coming in January!

Michael Wood – DCI Matilda Darke

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An absolute corker! Matilda’s new case leads her to Starling House, a home for some of the country’s deadliest teenagers who are too young to be sent to prison. When someone is murdered, it’s up to Matilda and her team to figure out if the killer is one of the teenage boys or someone from the staff. Can any of them be trusted?

Rachel Amphlett – Detective Kay Hunter

Rachel Amphlett always delivers an interesting premise and manages to balance Kay Hunter’s personal and professional life like no other. These are all hugely entertaining page-turners and I always quite happily drop whatever it is I’m doing to read the next instalment as soon as it publishes.

Sarah Hilary – DI Marnie Rome

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Without a doubt the best one in the series yet. Sarah Hilary’s writing just keeps getting better and better. Marnie’s foster brother returns, and it’s obvious he’s not done playing games. Meanwhile, Noah is faced with some difficult decisions concerning his brother.

Sarah Ward – DC Connie Childs

I didn’t review either one of these on the blog. A Deadly Thaw was published before I started blogging and I read A Patient Fury on holiday. It left me rather speechless. While I did take notes, by the time I got home they made zero sense to me so the review was never written. Sarah Ward continues to raise the bar and blow my mind at the same time. This is a corker of a series and a writer to watch!

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And there you have it. The best series this year according to little old me. Do you agree with my choices? Did I forget to include a firm favourite of yours? Have you read any of these or would you like to? Do let me know in the comments so we can talk about books!

Next Friday, I’ll be sharing my Top 10 favourite stand-alone books of 2017. Or maybe 20. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. See you then!

Happy reading! xx

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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The Other Mother by J.A. Baker @thewriterjude @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

It’s such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Other Mother by J.A. Baker today! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation and the advanced copy. Here’s what this gripping psychological thriller is all about.

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Author : J.A. Baker
Title : The Other Mother
Pages : 240
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : December 5, 2017

aboutthebook

Three troubled women. One deadly secret.

Lissy and her daughter, Rosie, live a quiet life in Yorkshire. However when events at Rosie’s school come to light, their peaceful existence is shattered.

Meanwhile, middle-aged women Erica and Beverley appear to have perfect lives but behind closed doors things are not as they seem.

All three women are tied together by a dark past that goes back to their school days. A child was murdered and one of the women is to blame.

But is the person responsible for the child’s death the same person who was blamed for it all those years ago?

As secrets from their past begin to surface it becomes clear that someone has revenge in their sights…

mythoughts

I’ve come to the conclusion that I quite enjoy it when a story starts backwards. When at the start of the book, you’re given a tiny clue as to what the ending might look like and you try to figure out the pieces of the puzzle. And then, in my case, get it completely wrong but that’s the fun part!

To that effect, the first chapter of The Other Mother, which I won’t talk about, already had me hooked. Now I must admit that a few of the chapters that followed had me a bit confused at first as I wasn’t quite sure what was going on but it was done in such a way that I just couldn’t stop reading. It didn’t take long for things to click and off I went on this thrilling ride. So if you find yourself struggling through those first pages, please don’t give up! It’s worth it!

This is one of those books that’s hard to talk about without giving anything away. The things that are happening in the present are very much rooted in events of the past and the author leaves you guessing for quite a while as to the identities of the characters involved. Three women are connected through the murder of a child. One of them was blamed for it but was that rightfully or not?

The Other Mother is incredibly gripping and the author even managed to almost make me sympathise with the “bad guys”. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, there was a curveball I didn’t see coming at all. This is an intense, suspenseful and thrilling ride that will keep you guessing until the end!

The Other Mother is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Born in Middlesbrough too many years ago to mention, J. A. Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular, to psychological thrillers.

After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her third novel and working on her fourth one.

J. A. Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.

Twitter | Facebook | Website

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The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

It’s such a pleasure to join the blog tour for The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury today! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books! I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this spine-tingling book right after I tell you a bit more about it.

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Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : The Liar’s Promise
Pages : 310
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 28, 2017

aboutthebook

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?

During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.

At her wits end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.

Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?

mythoughts

Have I mentioned yet that paranormal and supernatural things aren’t really my cup of tea? But you guys, this is Mark Tilbury, who completely won me over at the start of the year with the absolutely brilliant The Abattoir of Broken Dreams! So when the opportunity to join the blog tour for his latest book came up, there was no way I was going to sit this one out!

Once again, the author effortlessly combines crime, suspense and the paranormal which had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Mark Tilbury’s brain must be quite the scary place as he keeps coming up with the most vile, disturbed and despicable characters I’ve ever come across. From someone who reads a lot of crime fiction, that’s saying a lot! And yet at times, I also felt myself chuckling. I don’t know how he does that and I keep thinking it shouldn’t work, but it does somehow.

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot. The book description doesn’t give much away and neither will I. The less you know when you start reading, the better. Suffice to say though, the plot is incredibly clever and left me utterly horrified at the games an evil genius plays. Cryptic, huh? 😄

This is one gripping paranormal thriller. It’s actually kind of sick and insanely twisted and I mean that in the best way possible. Yet there are also moments that are truly sad and heartbreaking. The Liar’s Promise just has everything! It had me glued to the pages and I couldn’t flip them fast enough. I may be a total paranormal sceptic, but I’m a firm Mark Tilbury believer and I so can’t wait for whatever he comes up with next! I highly recommend you check out this book and his other work too, if you haven’t done so already. I promise you won’t regret it for a second!

The Liar’s Promise is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

abouttheauthor

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 fourth novel, The Liar’s Promise, along with The Abattoir of Dreams, published, and The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused re-launched, 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.

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Goodreads

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The Last Post by B.K. Duncan @BKDuncanwriter @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Post by BK Duncan! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. My review will follow the all-important bookish information.

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Author : B.K. Duncan
Title : The Last Post
Pages : 25
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication day : November 11, 2017

aboutthebook

It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty-year-old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.

Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.

Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…

mythoughts

The Last Post is a short novella that introduces us to May Keaps. When we meet May, she’s driving an ambulance during World War I, right in the thick of things. This already tells us quite a bit about her. She’s able to stay calm under pressure and keep her composure in the most terrifying circumstances as she drives injured soldiers from the Front to the medic station while bombardments go on all around her.

When she needs to find shelter during a bombardment, she stumbles upon a young man who is clearly upset about something and maybe even dangerous. Will May be able to help him?

It’s really hard to write a review about a story this short without giving anything away but suffice to say this packs quite the punch and really sets the tone for what promises to be a rather exciting new series. How the author managed to fit so much realism and emotional heartache into a mere 25 pages is utterly beyond me. I very much look forward to reading the first full novel starring May in a few weeks time and getting to know this character better.

The Last Post is currently free to download!

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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BLOG BLITZ

The Silver Wolf by Rob Sinclair @RSinclairAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour #extract

It’s my absolute pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Silver Wolf by Rob Sinclair today! Many thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for inviting me. I have an extract to share with you but first, here’s what the book is all about.

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Author : Rob Sinclair
Title : The Silver Wolf
Series : James Ryker #3
Pages : 473
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 17, 2017

aboutthebook

Still tormented by the disappearance of his wife, ex-intelligence agent James Ryker sets out on a personal mission of revenge, prepared to go to any lengths in search of the truth.

The trail takes him from the crystal waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, back to a place he thought he would never set foot again – his country of birth, England. But there he discovers more than even he bargained for. Stumbling across a terrorist attack targeted against his old employers – the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency -the faint clues to many events in his recent past are all seemingly linked to one mysterious character; The Silver Wolf.

But just who is the Silver Wolf, and why is he hell bent on punishing not just Ryker, but his closest allies at the JIA too?

Has Ryker finally met his match?

extract

CHAPTER 1

Lake Maggiore, Italy

Looking out over the edge of the pool to the serenity of the crystal lake  below, he could almost believe he was in paradise. Thomas Maddison would defy anyone to spend just a few days at Villa Mariangela and not feel the same way. But underneath the glitz of the lavish setting, the place was far from idyllic, he knew. Scratch the blissful surface, and lies, deceit and blood would ooze from the many cracks and warts.

Maddison pushed the forbidding thoughts aside and swam across the infinity pool to the other side, turned, then went more slowly back the other way. The water seemed to suspend unnaturally in the air, as though conjoined with the glistening blue of the lake below. He grabbed the disguised edge at the far end where the water teasingly cascaded over and down into a small gully, and then he stopped and took a minute to look out across the view as the warm morning sun beat down on his face.

The villa behind him, on the southern tip of the long, winding lake, faced north. Although he couldn’t see from his high perch, around the twists and bends in front of him the lake wound its way between the spectacular hills of Lombardy, at the northernmost points of Italy, and on into the alpine scenery of southern Switzerland. Villa Mariangela was not just a beautiful and extravagant home; it was a location of strategic importance for Maddison’s employer.

Employer? Was that the right word? It was the simplest way to describe their relationship, Maddison reckoned, though it didn’t really explain much.

‘Maddison,’ came a man’s voice.

Maddison spun around in the water, still grasping the edge with one hand as his legs bobbed up and down below. He spotted Clyde approaching the pool. Clyde Montana. The name didn’t fit the man at all. To Maddison the name brought with it the image of a nineteenth-century cowboy in the American Old West. Chiselled jaw and stubble and a squint that Clint Eastwood would be proud of. This Clyde, however, was a product of some of England’s most expensive educational institutions, which was evident in his stiff manner and old world accent. He was tall, wiry, with closely cropped hair. Always clean-shaven. Always sporting designer and smart casual garb. He basically looked like a rich and weedy geek, inoffensive, and not in the least bit dangerous.

How looks can be deceptive.

‘He wants to see you,’ Clyde said.

He. Names weren’t needed. Not where he was concerned.

‘Okay, give me five minutes.’

‘He’s in the guest house.’

Clyde turned and walked off without further elaboration. Maddison let go of the edge and swam back across to the other side of the pool where he pulled himself out. The morning air sent a wave of goose pimples over his wet, tanned brown skin and he grabbed a towel from the pool edge and wrapped it around himself. In front of him was the main villa. The modern pool was a stark contrast to the classical structure which looked like a miniature Renaissance palace. The villa’s grounds, rising into the hills behind the lake, extended to over three acres. As well as the main villa, whose history stretched back over three hundred years, there were two other separate living spaces within the grounds: the building Clyde had referred to as the guest house – originally a boat house – and the more modern, glass-rich pool house, which Maddison headed into to get changed.

He slicked back his dark brown hair as he went to the downstairs bathroom then, as he stared at his pile of clothes, he ran his fingers through his speckled grey stubble. No, he’d shave tomorrow. He dressed in the pair of khaki trousers and cotton shirt. He slipped on his loafers then headed back out into the sunshine, across the deep green lawns, through the glorious floral gardens, and finally down the twisting stone steps that led to the lake edge and the guest house.

As he was descending, Maddison saw one of the housekeepers climbing the steps from the bottom, clutching a bundle of white bedsheets. Adriana. She was twenty-three and from one of the local villages. Maddison had taken quite a liking to her since she’d joined the villa’s extensive domestic crew some three months previously. He liked that she seemed disinterested in the money and the glamour of the host’s lifestyle. He’d seen her spurn advances from some of the men – champagne and rides in fast boats and faster cars didn’t seem to appeal to her. He was determined to find out what did.

Buon giorno,’ Adriana said as they reached each other and both of them stopped.

Buon giorno.’ Maddison gave her a warm smile.

‘Another early morning swim,’ Adriana said in her thickly accented English.

‘Best way to start the day,’ Maddison said. Adriana continued past him. ‘You should join me sometime.’

She glanced around then looked away coyly. ‘Maybe another time.’

‘I look forward to it. You have a good day, Adriana.’

‘You too. Ciao.

She carried on up the steps and Maddison watched her for a moment before he turned his focus back to the guesthouse. The once-basic wooden structure, which hovered over the edge of the lake, had been converted some ten years earlier when it became too small for its original purpose. Which Maddison understood to mean it wasn’t big enough to house the gleaming yacht which was moored alongside it on the purpose built jetty.

The guesthouse was used frequently, but Maddison hadn’t realised anyone had been staying there the previous night. Or maybe Adriana was just getting it ready for someone to stay that night? Maddison felt a fleeting pinch of suspicion as he made his way to the front door, but it quickly disappeared. There was no reason to suspect his cover had been blown after all this time.

He stopped at the front door and reached out to knock, but before his knuckle could rap on the thick wood door, it was opened from the inside. Dean, a squat and heavily muscled man, would have looked out of place in any other job but security.

‘Morning,’ Maddison said.

‘He’s in the kitchen.’

Maddison carried on through into the expansive open-plan space. There was nothing much classical in the room. Everything was sleek, modern and pricey.

Sure enough his illustrious boss, Draper, was there, standing by the kitchen counter with his back to Maddison.

‘You wanted to see me?’ Maddison said.

Draper spun around and gave a half smile. He ran a hand through his long silvery slicked-back hair. Together with his sparkling blue eyes, wide toothy smile and prominent cheekbones, he had a face that drew people in. Perhaps a contrast to his plain and casual attire – a pair of scraggy deck shorts, sandals and blue V-neck jumper.

‘Damn thing’s broken.’ Draper turned his attention back to the pristine looking coffee machine and banged it hard on the top. It rattled and gurgled to life. He huffed. ‘Can you believe that? Five thousand Euros this thing cost me. It should be faultless, yet it still responds best to a heavy hand.’

Maddison swallowed hard at Draper’s offish tone, the first glimmer of doubt fighting to take hold in his mind. He pushed it away.

‘You want one?’ Draper asked.

‘Yeah. An espresso please.’

‘Here, you come over and do it.’

Draper grabbed his drink and moved past. Maddison took a small cup from the counter and placed a black capsule into the top of the machine. He looked around the room as the machine gurgled away. No sign of Clyde or anyone else. Maddison and Draper were alone.

‘Everything still on for this afternoon?’ Maddison asked.

‘What? Oh, yeah, that. It is. But I’m not sure I’ll need you to come with me.’

‘Really?’ Maddison pulled the small cup out from under the machine’s nozzle. He turned to face Draper who was leaning against a cabinet by the edge of the kitchen area, his head just a couple of inches from the wooden beam above him. At six feet four, he was several inches taller than Maddison.

‘That’s what I needed to speak to you about,’ Draper said. ‘Come and take a seat. There’s someone I need you to meet.’

Maddison raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He sipped the treacly liquid in his cup and enjoyed the moment as the strong vapour worked through his sinuses. He moved out of the kitchen and across to the oak dining table where he sat down on one of the eight chairs.

Moments later, he heard footsteps coming from the hallway and he turned to see an unfamiliar man walking into the room.

At least, Maddison’s first impression was that the man was unfamiliar, but as he stared into his uncaring, knowing eyes, a distant memory tugged away in his mind.

Or was it simple déjà vu?

‘So who’s this?’ Maddison asked, not bothering to hide his agitation. He kept his eyes on the new arrival as he placed his espresso cup down onto the table.

‘This is your replacement,’ Draper said, looking at the man, who simply smirked. The man came up to Draper’s side, both of them remaining a few feet away from Maddison. Maddison said nothing to the statement, despite all of the thoughts that suddenly ballooned in his mind. Draper didn’t need to explain further. Maddison understood what was happening. What his confused mind couldn’t understand was why.

Had Draper found out?

As Maddison continued to stare at Draper and the man, almost not daring to look away, he heard a creak somewhere behind him. Another person, coming out of the lounge?

So this was how it was going to end. A stab in the back.

Maddison knew in that moment that, for whatever reason, the game was finally over. There was no need to play along anymore. The best course of action was for him to leap up, tackle the man behind him – was it Clyde? – and take whatever weapon he was carrying. Then Maddison would launch himself at Draper and the new arrival. After that, he would attack any other man, woman or beast that got in his way as he made his escape from the secured compound.

He knew the best exit route. Which vehicle to take. Which direction to head. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t planned for this moment.

But Maddison did none of those things. He couldn’t. No matter how much his brain willed him to jump up from the seat and begin the counter-assault, his body felt disconnected. The room was swirling in front of him. Sweat droplets were quickly forming on his head. He felt nauseous and plonked his elbow down onto the table to try to keep from falling off the chair. He stole his eyes from Draper and glanced down to the small cup on the table.

A second later, a leather-gloved hand whipped in front of him from behind, and thrust a metal tent peg into Maddison’s hand. He shouted out in pain as a spatter of blood squirted out onto his face. Another gloved hand came forward, clutching a hammer. The head of the tool was slammed down onto the hooked top of the peg, over and over, purposeful strikes that drove the metal further and further through Maddison’s hand and securing it firmly to the oak table below. Maddison’s hand, arm, his whole body was now shaking in agony.

‘It’s a muscle relaxant,’ Draper said, coming forward toward Maddison, sounding unmoved. ‘Clever, isn’t it? You can’t move a thing right now. But the pain? The pain is still there, raw and strong.’

‘What is this?’ Maddison tried to shout out, but his words were slurred, his tongue and his jaw barely moving.

‘What is this!’ the man standing by Draper mocked, deliberately slurring his speech to the point of incomprehension.

Draper gave the man a heartless look before turning his attention back to Maddison.

‘Sorry about him,’ Draper said. ‘He’s not like you and me. A bit rough around the edges, you could say. I have to admit, there’s a lot about him that I’m not so in tune with. Me and you… we were similar. I think that’s why we got along so easily.’

The man grated his teeth, and Maddison could see he’d taken real offence at Draper’s words. Not that it helped Maddison’s position.

The same sense of déjà vu flashed in Maddison’s mind again.

‘I know you,’ Maddison tried his best to say.

The man narrowed his eyes. Then he moved forward, anger on his face, though Maddison wasn’t sure why. He headed past Maddison, then a second later, came back to his side clutching the hammer and another metal rod.

The two gloved hands from the unseen attacker came around Maddison and grabbed at his free arm, pinning his hand to the table. The man at his side, eyes full of menace, held Maddison’s stare as he put the metal in position.

‘No,’ he said. ‘You don’t know me.’

He brought the hammer down and the metal crunched through flesh and the delicate bones on Maddison’s hand. His body spasmed as pain consumed him, but he let out nothing more than a moan. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

‘You don’t know anything about me,’ the man spat. He brought his snarling face closer to Maddison’s. ‘The problem though is that I know you.’

‘Which, I’m sure by now you realise, means that I know everything you’ve told me about you is a lie,’ Draper said, folding his arms. ‘Whoever you really are, you won’t leave my villa alive. It’s up to you how many pieces we take before you talk.’

Draper moved forward and grabbed hold of one of the metal rods sticking out from Maddison’s hands. He yanked it back and forth, a squelching sound coming from the stricken hand as the flesh was pushed, pulled and torn. Maddison grimaced and shook in his chair, trying all the tricks he’d been taught many years earlier for channelling away and ignoring the pain.

They didn’t work. Not when faced with agony like this.

Draper crouched down. His face was placid, no hint of anger, and when he spoke it was with warmth and comfort that made Maddison, for all his strength and determination, seriously question just what this man was capable of.

‘It’s time for you talk now, my friend,’ Draper said. ‘And, one way or another, you can be damn sure you’re going to tell me everything.’

***

😲 Well, I don’t know about you but I need a minute to recover here. Yowza!

If this extract has left you wanting more, you’re in luck as The Silver Wolf is available for purchase right now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Twitter | Facebook | Website

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BLOG BLITZ

The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne @Abigail_Author @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost

It is my absolute pleasure to host a stop on the blog blitz for the Puppet Master today and to welcome author Abigail Osborne, who wrote a wonderful post about things she wishes she could tell her younger self. But first, here’s some information about her book!

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Author : Abigail Osborne
Title : The Puppet Master
Pages : 301
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 13, 2017

aboutthebook

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

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Things I wish I could tell my younger self.

I believe in fate. In my heart, I know that everything I have been through and experienced has led me to where I am today. From that perspective, I wouldn’t want to change a thing about my life. But there is no doubt that with the benefit of hindsight I could have got to where I am today a little quicker and easier if I could go back and do it again.

With this in mind the thing I would most like to tell my younger self is that you do have a voice and you should use it. I’m not exactly sure as to the reason but I always struggled standing up for myself when I was younger. I still do at times but it is getting easier. I always remember sitting in a classroom and one of the ‘cool’ lads came over and stole my homework diary. I sat there and meekly asked for it back but he started throwing it around the room to his other friends. I couldn’t move or speak. I was impotent. I just didn’t know what to say that would stop them from teasing me. I was useless and I remember tears of frustration welling up in my eyes. I was shouting at them in my head but something stopped me from saying anything. Lack of confidence most likely but I feel looking back on it that I just didn’t have any faith in my own voice.

Writing my book allowed me to find my voice. Since then, myself and those close to me have noticed the change in me. I’ve found myself and I no longer feel that frustration of not speaking. It is this feeling that has convinced me that writing is my path. I may not be a great orator or good at communicating with people face to face but through my writing I can express everything I feel. I know now that if I was faced with that situation again, there would be no tears. I would have stood up for myself and got my homework diary back. But then if I had found my voice early in life, I might not have become a writer, or met my husband. So, although I wish I could save myself years of lows and feeling suffocated from not speaking up, I’m happy with the way my life has turned out.

So actually, I’ve just this minute changed my mind. What I wish I could tell my younger self is not to worry, this is just a step on the path to the great life ahead of you. I might also add in a warning about all those chocolate bars I will eat throughout school and university. They are definitely spending a lifetime on the hips!

***

Ah, yes, the evils of chocolate. They shouldn’t have it made it so yummy!

Thanks so much to Abigail Osborne for joining me today! And thank you to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for inviting me on the tour!

The Puppet Master is available for purchase now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I was born in the Lake District and have moved all around the UK since then. I currently live with my husband in the West Midlands and our two cats who think swinging of the curtains like Tarzan is normal. I studied English Literature at University but it took four years after I finished University to realise how much I loved writing. I started a book reviewing blog last year and the encouraging responses I got to my reviews encouraged me to try writing this book. The Puppet Master is my first novel but it won’t be my last.

You can follow me on Twitter

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BLOG BLITZ (3)

Snow Light by Danielle Zinn @DanielleZinn4 @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost

It is a pleasure to be hosting a stop on the blog blitz for Snow Light today! Thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me! Author Danielle Zinn joins me on publication day to talk about where the idea for the book came from. But first, here’s what Snow Light is all about.

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Author : Danielle Zinn
Title : Snow Light
Pages : 352
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : November 15, 2017

aboutthebook

When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas encounters a man attacking a young woman in a local park, the DI is unable to save her. Out of guilt, Thomas quits his job at Homicide Headquarters and relocates to the tiny village of Turtleville, where he regains control of himself and begins to enjoy life again.

However, a year later, all the guilt and shame of the park murder re-emerges when a local hermit, Ethan Wright, is murdered with an unusual weapon and left on display in the centre of the village.

For Thomas, the situation gets worse when DS Ann Collins, a colleague from his past, appears to help with the case. But things become complicated when the victim’s identity is put into question.

Who is the victim? And why was he murdered?

Thomas and Collins will find themselves trying to solve a highly unusual case and both may have more in common than they could have ever imagined.

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Where the idea for the book came from …

When I told my family and friends that I had written a detective thriller which will be published by a real book publisher, I was met with excitement and a thrill of anticipation. Unfortunately some of those happy faces turned sour when realizing that the book was actually written in English. I was born in Germany to German parents and raised with the German language only. So how come the book turned out to be in English?

This is actually my mother’s fault. She is an English teacher at our local grammar school and at the tender age of six I got my very first Oxford children’s dictionary. So instead of reading bedtime stories about pirates and witches, my mum and I danced through the seasons and the months of the year. I travelled a lot with my parents across Canada and the USA and later was allowed to go on language trips to Devon, studied in Durham and worked in Wales; always bringing as many English books back home as the airline’s luggage restriction would allow. The English language and books, mainly mystery thrillers, were an ever present constant throughout my life so to me there was never the question of which language a book should be written in. This might sound weird but I’m not able to write a book in German, I simply don’t have a feeling for writing in my native language.

Three years ago I came back from a stunning holiday in Australia – of course with a couple of books I had gathered along the way. Immediately I fell in love with the writing style of one of them and with Christmas approaching surprisingly fast, as it does every year, I decided to write a crime novel as a Christmas present for my parents (okay, admittedly rather for my mother as my father is still practicing his English language skills). He’ll get a bottle of good Whiskey as a reward.

I grew up in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany on the border to the Czech Republic where winters are long, cold, dark and harsh with lots of snow and low mountain ranges offering alpine and cross country skiing. At the weekends and during school holidays I worked as a skiing instructor for kids at the local ski school. However, our winters are far from depressing and dreary. The area of the Ore Mountains is extremely rich in Christmas traditions, so deeply rooted in the hearts and souls of its inhabitants that they have been passed on through the generations for centuries. There are light arches glowing in every window of every house illuminating the villages like little beacons in the night. There are figurines burning frankincense with the smell reminding me of my childhood days and Christmas time at my grandparent’s house. There are turning Christmas pyramids with wood carved figures standing on it. These pyramids come in different sizes. At the centre of each village and town there is a multi-storey turning Christmas pyramid mounted with wood carved animals, angels, figures from the nativity play or miners, lumberjacks and shepherds. In the living room of every home you can find a much smaller version, often built by great-grandfathers many decades ago.

For all the above mentioned reasons, the pre-Christmas season is and has always been my favourite time of the year which is why my book “Snow Light” is based in my home area in December. Most of the places described are real and as I am very attached to my native soil, its mountains, forests, cold and harsh winters, and the unique traditions that are connected with the area, I hope to pass some of this special atmosphere and feelings on to my readers. It’s a bit rougher and tougher here than in other parts of the country which makes this sanctuary even cosier. Additionally, I realised that no crime novels based in this area have been written yet which makes “Snow Light” unique.

Finally, I will let you in on a little secret about where the idea for the murder came from. The victim is found dead early in the morning after a stormy and snowy night hunched on a Christmas pyramid in the centre of a little village. When I was a kid I had to catch the school bus at six a.m. every morning. In all weathers and seasons. I would walk to the end of our little alley, turn left at the corner of a house, cross a small bridge over an even smaller stream and wait all by myself for the bus at the side of the road opposite the market square. Most of the time I was fine with that. Except in winter. When it was dark and the only light came from a flickering street lamp, the wind was howling noisily in my ears and the snow pelting down so hard you could barely look up. I was usually the only kid waiting at this bus stop. I was up to my ankles in fluffy snow and every time I turned around the corner, I wondered what I would do if instead of a wood carved figure a dead human figure sat silently on the Christmas pyramid. Thankfully this never happened in reality. I guess I was just watching and reading too many thrillers.

This year my mother will get her Christmas present. Finally. Three years later.

***

Thanks so much Danielle for taking the time to share this with us! I’m sure your mum will be very pleased with her present! Happy publication day!

Snow Light is available for purchase now!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Danielle holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham and after gaining some work experience in Wales and the USA, she settled down in Frankfurt am Main where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.

Born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany, Danielle was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher.

Her passion for sports, especially skiing and fencing, stems from her father’s side. Danielle draws her inspiration for writing from long walks in the country as well as circumnavigating the globe and visiting her friends scattered all over the world.

Mix everything together and you get “Snow Light”, her debut detective thriller combining a stunning wintry setting in the Ore Mountains with unique traditions, some sporty action and lots of suspense.

You can contact Danielle via Twitter

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BLOG BLITZ (2)

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!