Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J McGillick | @rararesources | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Facing A Twisted Judgment by K.J. McGillick! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Author K.J. McGillick joins me on the blog today to talk about how she tackles writing her books. But first, here is what Facing A Twisted Judgment is all about.

Author : K.J. McGillick
Title : Facing A Twisted Judgment 
Series : Lies and Misdirection #2
Pages : 270
Publisher : KJRM Publishing LLC
Publication date : November 16, 2018

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system? Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace. 

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved. 

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha. 

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

I have tried both methods and I can’t say I like one over the other or one works better. I believe the story choses the method as opposed to the writer.

My first book THREE: Deception Love Murder came upon the heels of months of research about the craft of writing. The research I did I saved at http://writingresearch.homesteadcloud.com/. Using all this research I felt comfortable to craft my novel. The first step involved meticulous plotting of the story chapter by chapter with lots of attention to detail. The second step encompassed the fleshing out of characters down to physical attributes, flaws and where they fell on the Myers Briggs testing. I could have drafted the novel at this point but instead purchased thirty poster boards, lots of tape and found pictures that story boarded how I wanted my story to progress. Now I was ready. The subject research came after twenty years of museum visits, many PBS documentaries, and many art appreciation classes. Once I started the novel, the story unfolded naturally. 

My second book TWO: Mind Games and Murder was a book written somewhat by the seat of my pants. Again, the subject matter research accumulated in my mind over many years and a few Google searches updated the statistics I needed. Although I knew about black market organ trafficking things had changed over the years and I needed new information. My outline was sparse and consisted of a page that included the seven points I needed to hit to provide plot development. This book was an easy write. My law practice exposed me to women who were victims of emotional abuse and gas lighting and thus my book gave them a voice. Complex characters who didn’t understand their own motivations gave me a great deal to work with and allowed my story to unfold as it wanted leading to a great story.

My third book ONE: Rage Vengeance and Murder was the most difficult to write of the long and grueling subject research. I chose not to do an outline for the book, felt I knew my characters from the second book. However, the lack of a formal outline led to two full manuscripts being trashed and unnecessary frustration. The only way to open my mind to complete the trilogy involved a trip to Denver for a few days and start the new and final version in a new place to allow my mind to breathe. 

My fourth book The Last Lie She Told was back to the tried-and-true formula that worked for me the first time. I opened my power point and completed in detail my one-page Essential Scenes in Every Story seven-point wheel and a character analysis. 

My fifth book Facing a Twisted Judgment I opened  my Word document and started to write without a safety net. I had no idea where I was going and the only thing I knew was the story’s main character would be a ethically challenged lawyer. I had no plot, story line or blurb and trust my mind to let the story unfold.   

I believe as Lee Child that some books need to be written by the seat of your pants so even you don’t know where the story will take you to keep your interest. 

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

The Merest Loss by Steven Neil | @stevenneil12 @rararesources | #blogtour #guestpost

Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Merest Loss by Steven Neil. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join. Author Steven Neil joins me on the blog today to talk about researching and writing historical fiction. But first, here is what The Merest Loss is all about.

Author : Steven Neil
Title : The Merest Loss
Pages : 368
Publisher : Matador
Publication date : November 28, 2017

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet? 

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? 

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery. 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Independent Author Network | Goodreads

Researching and writing historical fiction

In many ways, writing historical fiction is no different to writing any other fiction. The author still has to think about the five key elements of novel writing i.e.

  1. Point of view
  2. Plot
  3. Setting
  4. Character
  5. Dialogue.

In addition to these consideration however, there are particular issues which need to be borne in mind if the historical fiction novel is to come across as a credible representation of the period being described.

In writing 19th century historical fiction, as well as specific research in reference books, I always read widely the dominant fiction of the time e.g. Trollope, Dickens, Hardy, Thackeray, to assimilate the sound and feel of the age. I have also developed a number of questions I pose to myself whilst I am researching and planning my novel and I share some of them with you here.

Point of view

What point of view best suits the story you are telling? This seems a rather obvious question but there is a reason why Trollope and Hardy used the omniscient narrator: they wanted to be in complete control of the characters and to manage the reader by knowing everything, by contrast with their characters, who don’t. In this way there is almost a conspiracy between writer and reader at the expense of the characters.

Of course, Trollope and Hardy were living in the 19th century and could sustain an all knowing perspective with reasonable ease. What the contemporary writer has to ask, if they are to write credibly in a 19th century setting, is whether they have done the research necessary to replicate an omniscient narrator. It took me a long time researching to satisfy myself on that point.

Plot

Is this turn of events plausible and credible for the time?

What assumptions are being made about the law, the state of politics, the monarchy, the church, the class system?

Do the events fit with what is happening in the historical timeline and background to events e.g. war, peace, political turmoil, the economy, religion.

Readers will suspend disbelief up to a point (albeit different points for different readers), it is, after all, fiction but if it doesn’t ‘ring true’ you may lose your reader.

Setting

Did that park, that building, that street, that room actually exist at that time?

Would it have looked like that?

Would the flora and fauna have looked like that?

Would the clothing have been worn in that way?

Would the lighting, heating, glazing, transport means have looked like that?

There is a famous story told by Ian McEwan, who was assiduous in his medical research for the novel Saturday, who was berated by a reader because he had a driver easing his particular Mercedes 500 SEL into first gear, when, according to the complainant, this particular version only came in automatic, so the correct phrase would have been to put it into drive. Some people!

Character

Is it likely that someone would behave like that at that time?

What cultural norms and standards of behaviour existed and are the characters conforming to them?

Does the way someone is behaving fit with what you have already described about their education, social class, sex, prejudices, opinions?

Is there continuity of character; is the character suddenly and inexplicably behaving in a way that the reader will struggle to accept?

Characters can be complex and may sometimes behave unusually, but I am told that one of the most common phrases amongst book club members is along the lines of ‘I didn’t think he/she would have done that and that spoiled the story for me.’ Beware!

Dialogue 

Is this how people really spoke at that time?

Would they have used those words?

Are modern idioms creeping into your draft?

Is the way someone is speaking consistent with a character from the 19th century and from chapter to chapter?

As a rule, speakers in the 19th century did not preface their statements with ‘Do you know what’ and other ubiquitous, meaningless phrases but they are so wired in to modern expression that it can sometimes be hard to keep them out.

This is far from an exhaustive set of questions but asking these sorts of questions early in the research period and at the planning stage will save work later on when you are editing. It is very easy to become ‘snow blind’ during the editing phase and I find it much harder to catch glaring errors at a late stage than it is to filter them out at an early stage.

© Steven Neil

Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch | @Angela_Petch @rararesources | #blogtour #guestpost

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join. Author Angela Petch joins me on the blog today to talk about what prompted her to write this novella.

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Author : Angela Petch
Title : Mavis and Dot
Pages : 206
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : November 14, 2018

aboutthebook

A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more.”This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos…[it] will resonate with a lot of readers.” Gill Kaye – Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels. 

All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Mavis and Dot is a departure from my usual historical novels and I’m apprehensive about how it will be received. But, it’s a novella I have wanted to write since losing my best friend to ovarian cancer twelve years ago.

Olga and I met at the school gates. Our daughters remain best friends – my Emily was bridesmaid last year to her Beth. A candle for Olga was lit and I am sure she was there… When she was alive we often went on “jaunts”, as we called them, hunting in charity shops for bargains. Sometimes we found monstrosities too and we basically had a good laugh. We called each other Mavis and Dot. When her diagnosis was terminal, I wrote her a silly story about us – but it wasn’t really about us. It was about the caricatures we’d invented for ourselves. She enjoyed it and drew a picture which I have framed on my loo door.

It’s taken me a long time to turn into something longer than one story and I hope it will entertain and raise some pennies and pounds for research into cancer. Because she and loads of other sufferers should still be here today.

There are ridiculous moments in Mavis and Dot, but there are poignant episodes too. Both ladies had difficult pasts. Recently retired to the seaside, they are lonely and, although very different, form a friendship; a kind of prop. Then, Mavis meets Lance, a singer in a night club who likes to wear frocks and in Chapter 22, he drags them out one autumn afternoon.

Two days later, Lance came to the door. ‘Right, ladies, I’ve come to whisk you both away for the afternoon.’

He stepped into the hall and Mal growled, the fur on his back rising, ‘It’s all right, mate, don’t you remember me?’ Lance said, bending to the dog who backed away, tail between his legs.

‘You have to admit,’ said Dot, ‘you do look rather different from the other day.’

Her gaze took in his knee-length black frock, fur jacket and crocodile-leather ankle boots.

‘Can’t your hound smell my scent, Dottie?’

‘She’s Dot, remember!’ Mavis intervened.

‘Oh, I don’t mind Lance calling me Dottie,’ said Dot.

‘Takes one dotty person to recognise another, eh?’ Lance giggled,

‘Yes, well…’ Dot said. ‘Anyway, Mal probably can’t recognise your scent today because of whatever you’ve drenched yourself in.’ She pinched her nose between finger and thumb. ‘What on earth is it?’

‘I stopped in Beale’s on the way to the bus and tried loads of perfume testers,’ Lance said, holding out his wrist to Dot, who wrinkled her nose. ‘I’m not sure I can come with you today,’ she said. ‘What if hospital lets baby Dorothea out early? I should be here for them.’

‘I’m taking no excuses, Dot. It will do you good to get out of the house,’ Lance said. ‘Mave, do you have a belt I could borrow? To nip this in at the waist?’ He pulled at the loose material of his dress.”

I’ll admit Mavis and Dot are caricatures – exaggerations or oversimplifications. But we all have our little ways, we are all products of our past and we are all individuals. One of my editors was annoyed by my ladies “of a certain age”. “I was a young woman in the 60s,” she said, “and I would never have behaved like Mavis.” We are all different, is my counter-argument.

I hope readers enjoy meeting Mavis and Dot.

abouttheauthor

A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.

In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.

“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer. 

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond @GaryRaymond_ #blogtour #guestpost #TheGoldenOrphans #damppebblestours

It’s an absolute pleasure to join the blog tour for The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond today! My thanks to Emma Walton for the invitation to join the tour!

Gary Raymond joins me today to talk about what he thinks makes a good literary thriller. But first, here is all you need to know about The Golden Orphans.

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Author : Gary Raymond
Title : The Golden Orphans
Pages : 155
Publisher : Parthian Books
Publication date : June 30, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

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Gary Raymond’s new novel, THE GOLDEN ORPHANS, a dark, twisting thriller set on the island of Cyprus, has been getting great reviews so far. Here he writes about what he thinks makes a good “literary thriller”?

For a start, let’s not get bogged down too much in the terms of reference. We all know, in a roundabout sort of way, that “literary” means you’re getting something more than just a simple thrill ride, more than a series of set-pieces designed to make your head spin and your heart pound. (Nothing wrong with either of those things, by the way). And “thriller” doesn’t just mean “to thrill”, but that there are certain genre-defined expectations. That’s what those two terms mean to me, anyway. So from a writer’s point of view, I went into THE GOLDEN ORPHANS wanting to hit those two marks. THE GOLDEN ORPHANS is about ideas that preoccupy me as a writer, and, away from writing (if that is possible) things that just preoccupy me as a person (same thing, really). Genre tropes might mean structural conservatism, but it can also mean you have a stable framework within which you can really shake things up. And so THE GOLDEN ORPHANS both follows certain lines familiar to thriller readers, but also then throws in some serious twists and turns. 

The premise – that a down-on-his-luck painter goes to Cyprus for the funeral of a friend and gets mixed up with the Russian mafia – is part of a tradition in British writing of “the Englishman abroad”. Graham Greene was a big influence on this book, and he used that idea time and time again as he used his own experiences of being that Englishman abroad to craft fictional stories. (I have done the same thing, really – I lived in Cyprus for six months in 2006, and this was the basis for my book). 

There are also other tropes in the book – red herrings, femme fatales, clandestine operations going in etc. (there are many more) – and I really enjoyed employing them. Graham Greene’s masterpiece of this type, THE POWER AND THE GLORY (1940), is a snappy little novel about faith and betrayal and what it means to have a relationship with God, all wrapped up in the garments of a chase story. And it is just that. A corrupt and obsessive police chief chases the last catholic priest in a mid-purge Mexico across the country. But inside that tension, that rawness, is a book about human frailty, and human strength.

In THE GOLDEN ORPHANS, I wanted to do what Greene had done, and find a way to excite the reader, to be cinematically urgent, while at the same time not letting up on the fact literature is the greatest space in which to explore ideas. And so my narrator is caught up in intrigue, and there are a few gunfights, and there are villains, and building moments of peril leading to a (hopefully) big pay off at the end – but he is also discovering things about himself and the world around him, about his relationship to others, about what it’s like to live in a society that operates under a shadow (in this case the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974), and what such a shadow can do to a country. 

That’s what a “literary thriller” does – it excites, but it also attempts to contribute to ideas, to thinking, and to debates. I hope THE GOLDEN ORPHANS has managed to hit those two marks.

[I’d say the many good reviews you’ve been receiving so far, Gary, must mean you’re doing something right! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and I wish you the best of luck with The Golden Orphans and whatever project is next for you!]

The Golden Orphans is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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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

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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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Daisy Belle by Caitlin Davies @CaitlinDavies2 @unbounders @annecater #RandomThingsTours #blogtour #DaisyBelle #guestpost

Today, it is my pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Daisy Belle by Caitlin Davies! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join. Author Caitlin Davies visits the blog to talk about the two inspirational women this novel is a tribute to, but first here is what Daisy Belle is all about.

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Author : Caitlin Davies
Title : Daisy Belle
Pages : 241
Publisher : Unbound Digital
Publication date : September 1, 2018

aboutthebook

Summer 1867: four-year-old Daisy Belle is about to make her debut at the Lambeth Baths in London. Her father, swimming professor Jeffery Belle, is introducing his Family of Frogs – and Daisy is the star attraction. By the end of that day, she has only one ambition in life: she will be the greatest female swimmer in the world.

She will race down the Thames, float in a whale tank, and challenge a man to a 70-foot high dive. And then she will set sail for America to swim across New York Harbour.

But Victorian women weren’t supposed to swim, and Daisy Belle will have to fight every stroke of the way if she wants her dreams to come true.

Inspired by the careers of Victorian champions Agnes Beckwith and Annie Luker, Daisy Belle is a story of courage and survival and a tribute to the swimmers of yesteryear.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

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There are two inspirational women behind the story of Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World, and the first is Agnes Beckwith.

I first came across her about eight years ago. I was researching a book on the history of outdoor swimming on Hampstead Heath in north London, when I saw a Victorian poster held by the British Library. 

It was advertising an aquatic performance at the Royal Aquarium in 1885 and it showed Agnes Beckwith resplendent in a white satin costume, stockings and boots, one arm resting casually on a rock. Just behind her in the water a man had both arms raised in the air, his mouth open in alarm, presumably in the process of drowning. 

Then I read a brief reference to a swim Agnes had completed in September 1875, when at the tender age of 14 she had plunged into the Thames at London Bridge and swum all the way to Greenwich. When I then went on to write Downstream, a history of Thames swimming, I had the chance to further explore her career. 

That’s when I realised just what a trailblazer she had been – no one had ever made a public swim of this length in the River Thames before, not even the great Channel champion Captain Matthew Webb. Yet virtually no one has heard of Agnes Beckwith today. So I decided to write a novel, a fictionalized life story inspired by her incredible career.

Agnes Beckwith was born in Lambeth, south London, in 1861. Her father Frederick is believed to have come from Ramsgate in Kent, and he was a leading swimming professor and English professional champion. By the time of Agnes’ birth, he was swimming master at the Lambeth Baths and his ‘Family of Frogs’ started giving public displays in the early 1860s. 

At the age of nine Agnes was performing with her brother Willie, himself a champion swimmer, as ‘Les Enfants Poissons’ in a plate-glass aquarium at the Porcherons Music Hall in Paris. All seven of Frederick’s children were involved in his aquatic galas; his second wife Elizabeth (whom he married in 1876 after Agnes’ mother died) played the piano during shows, while his daughter Lizzie went on to became a renowned swimmer and performer. 

Agnes Beckwith completed several record-breaking swims in the River Thames, including 20 miles in 1878. She then formed her own ‘talented troupe of lady swimmers’ and travelled the country giving exhibitions. In September 1880 she spent 100 hours submerged in a whale tank at the Royal Aquarium, eating her meals in the water and reading daily accounts of her swim in the press. 

Two years later she was being billed as ‘the premier lady swimmer of the world’ before setting off on a tour of the United States. In June 1883 she declared her intention to swim from Sandy Hook in New Jersey to Rockaway Pier in New York. 

Returning to England, Agnes continued to take part in shows with her family and was still holding exhibition swims in the early 1900s, now married to theatrical agent William Taylor. Their son William performed alongside his mother as ‘the youngest swimmer in the world’. 

Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World was also inspired by another forgotten Victorian superstar – Annie Luker. She was born in 1870 in Oxfordshire, and she too was the daughter of a swimming professor. Annie started out as a river swimmer and in 1892 she attempted to swim nearly 19 miles from Kew to Greenwich to establish a claim to ‘the female championship of the world’. 

Two years later she was ‘World Champion High Diver’, performing at the Royal Aquarium where she plunged 70 feet into a tank containing just eight feet of water. Annie Luker successfully challenged a male diver, Professor O’Rourke, and remained at the Royal Aquarium for six years, as well as training female divers. 

According to family lore, Annie Luker was later arrested as a suffragette after a protest dive off a bridge in London and imprisoned in Holloway, under the name Annie Parker. 

I wanted to write this novel as a tribute to women like Agnes Beckwith and Annie Luker because they are yet to be properly recognised. There has been no induction into any swimming Hall of Fame, and yet what they did and the prejudice they overcame made it possible for women to swim and dive today.

[They really are the most amazing inspirational ladies and they deserve this tribute. Thank you so much for visiting and telling us their stories, Caitlin!]

abouttheauthor

Caitlin Davies was born in London in 1964. She spent 12 years in Botswana as a teacher and journalist and many of her books are set in the Okavango Delta, including a memoir Place of Reeds, described by Hilary Mantel as ‘candid and unsentimental’.

Her novels include The Ghost of Lily Painter, a fictional account of the arrest and execution of two Edwardian baby farmers, and Family Likeness about the fate of ‘war babies’ born to African American GI fathers in England during World War Two.
Her non-fiction books include Taking the Waters: A Swim Around Hampstead Heath, a celebration of 200 years of outdoor bathing, an illustrated history of the world famous Camden Lock Market, and Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames.

Her latest non-fiction is Bad Girls, and her latest novel is Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World, based on the lives of several Victorian aquatic stars, to be published by Unbound on September 1, 2018.

She is also a teacher and journalist, and was a regular feature writer for The Independent’s education and careers supplement. From 2014-17 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster, Harrow, in the faculty of Media, Arts & Design. 

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Glass Diplomat by S.R. Wilsher @srwilsher @rararesources #blogtour #guestpost

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Glass Diplomat by S.R. Wilsher. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join! Author S.R. Wilsher joins me on the blog today to talk about his writing process but first, here is what The Glass Diplomat is all about.

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Author : S.R. Wilsher
Title : The Glass Diplomat
Pages : 421
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : August 20, 2018

aboutthebook

In 1973 Chile, thirteen-year-old English schoolboy Charlie Norton watches his father walk into the night and never return. Taken in by diplomat Tomas Abrego, his life becomes intricately linked to the family.

Eleven years later, Abrego is the Chilean Ambassador to London and Charlie is reunited with the Abrego sisters. Despite his love for them, he’s unable to prevent Maria falling under the spell of a left-wing revolutionary, or Sophia from being used as a political pawn by her father.

His connection to the family is complicated by the growing evidence that Tomas Abrego was somehow involved in his father’s disappearance.

As the conflict of a family divided by love and politics comes to a head on the night of the 1989 student riots in Santiago, Charlie has to act to save the sisters from an enemy they cannot see.

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

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Writing process

My approach to writing has changed over the years, generally dictated by the job I’m doing. When I first started I was working as an installation rep and used to speed through my work to park up out of the way and write. Later, when I had my own office, I was quite productive. I’ve never been the prefect employee. But my productivity really increased in 2009 after I had a renal transplant and no longer wanted to work 50 plus hours a week. That’s when I developed the process I keep to now.

I always have more than one project on the go. One I’m writing and one I’m rewriting. 

When I have an idea, I tend to let it roll around in my head for a while to see if it takes root. Once it does, I’ll start making notes and see if the idea is big enough and interesting enough to live with for a year or more. I always want an idea of how it will end at this point as well. I think the ending is the most important part. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a happy, sad, or ambiguous ending, as long it suits the story that’s been told. 

Once I start writing, I try to work through from beginning to end but, if I get stuck, then I’ll skip ahead and write other parts, returning to fill in. When the first draft is finished, I put it away for a few months and work on something else. I like to put some time and distance between the first draft and the second as I’m better able to see what doesn’t work. 

An idea can come from anywhere; the news, a conversation, a song lyric, or a picture. The Good Father came from the image of a man behind the barbed wire of a refugee camp holding a child up for the press to photograph. The Collection of Heng Souk was based on a story about my father’s time in the Korean War. 

I write every day. But I don’t insist on writing 3000 words before anything else can happen. I don’t find daily word counts helpful. My aim is simply to make progress every day. That way it’s never a chore. It’s hard enough for my family living with someone preoccupied with unreal people and situations living in their head without subjecting them completely to the solitary lifestyle of writing. 

On a writing day, I will write early in the morning before breaking to carry on with life, returning to write at night when the TV is off and I’m up alone. This is when I achieve the most. On a non-writing day, I still think about the story, and I take a notebook everywhere to jot down ideas, or puzzle through conundrums the story has thrown up. I like to stay close to a story and not spend too long away from it.

On a longer term basis, it generally takes more than a year to write something. When it’s finished, I then rest it. In the old days, the resting period would be forced on me as I waited for the rejection letters. Now that I rarely submit anything for consideration, it just sits and waits for me to get back to it. 

When I’ve rested and returned and rewritten, then I rest it again. These days the final edit involves highlighting all the words I have a tendency to overuse, and working through the list (58 at the last count) to remove as many as possible.

I’ve learnt several things the hard way. Don’t rush to publish is the main one, because there’s nothing that can’t be improved. Although there clearly comes a point when you have to let it go. Getting that right is the hard part. My biggest mistake was with The Collection of Heng Souk. I wrote the main body of the story in UK English, but used US English for the journal part written by an American. That didn’t go down too well in the US and I received a lot of flak for spelling and grammar. In the end, I rewrote it all in US English because it was predominantly an American story. 

I’m still living with that mistake, and so I’m more careful these days.

abouttheauthor

It didn’t occur to me to write until I was twenty-two, prompted by reading a disappointing book by an author I’d previously liked. I wrote thirty pages of a story I abandoned because it didn’t work on any level. I moved on to a thriller about lost treasure in Central America; which I finished, but never showed to anyone. Two more went the way of the first, and I forgave the author.

After that I became more interested in people-centric stories. I also decided I needed to get some help with my writing, and studied for a degree with the OU. I chose Psychology partly because it was an easier sell to my family than Creative Writing. But mainly because it suited the changing tastes of my writing. When I look back, so many of my choices have been about my writing. 

I’ve been writing all my adult life, but nine years ago I had a kidney transplant which interrupted my career, to everyone’s relief. It did mean my output increased, and I developed a work plan that sees me with two projects on the go at any one time. Although that has taken a hit in recent months as I’m currently renovating a house and getting to know my very new granddaughter.

I write for no other reason than I enjoy it deeply. I like the challenge of making a story work. I get a thrill from tinkering with the structure, of creating characters that I care about, and of manipulating a plot that unravels unpredictably, yet logically. I like to write myself into a corner and then see how I can escape. To me, writing is a puzzle I like to spend my time trying to solve. 

Author links :  Twitter | Website

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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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The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable @JaneCable @rararesources #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join. Today, author Jane Cable visits the blog and has written a wonderful post based around my very own blog’s tagline : escaping reality one book at a time. But first, here is what her novel The Cheesemaker’s House is all about!

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Author : Jane Cable
Title : The Cheesemaker’s House
Pages : 273
Publisher : Troubador Publishing
Publication date : October 1, 2013

aboutthebook

When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent café owner, Owen Maltby.

As Alice employs Richard to start renovating the barn next to her house, all is not what it seems. Why does she start seeing Owen when he clearly isn’t there? Where – or when – does the strange crying come from? And if Owen is the village charmer, what exactly does that mean?

The Cheesemakers House is a gripping read, inspired by a framed will found in the dining room of the author’s dream Yorkshire house. The previous owners explained that the house had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726 – and that the cheesemaker was a woman. And so the historical aspect of the story was born.

Jane Cable’s novel won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show People’s Novelist competition, reaching the last four out of over a thousand entries. The Cheesemakers House can be enjoyed by anyone who has become bored of today’s predictable boy-meets-girl romance novels.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | KoboWordery | Goodreads

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ESCAPING REALITY WITH JANE CABLE, AUTHOR OF THE CHEESEMAKER’S HOUSE

When Eva asked for a guest blog for Novel Deelights I couldn’t help but base it around her ethos of escaping reality one book at a time. To me, that’s just what novels are for and there are so many ways to escape…

Favourite place to escape to

North Cornwall. Which is a bit rich as I practically live there, but the Cornwall I’m talking about is the one of Poldark’s time, before the A30 cut a scar across the countryside and Tesco arrived in Truro.

Since starting to read the books I’ve become a little obsessed by Winston Graham’s settings. I know some were real, some made up, and some transported across the county. I spent ages trying to triangulate the various locations around the real hamlet of Mingoose before realising he’d moved it further inland and quite a distance east.

But as Enys visits his patients in the poverty of Sawle I know the current day village of St Agnes so well I can follow in his footsteps. And as I walk around Truro today (still stepping on granite slabs over rivulets of water) I screw up my eyes and try to imagine Demelza lifting her skirts to pick her way through the dirt.

Favourite time to escape to

Although I would have hated to have lived then, my favourite era in fiction is the First World War. The pain, anguish and waste of young lives has given birth to such amazing novels across each and every genre I go back there again and again. All Quiet on the Western Front, How Many Miles to Babylon, Birdsong are just a few of my favourites among the classics.

I love a good trilogy and a battle fought desperately for four years gives plenty of scope. The first I read was John Masters’ Now, God be Thanked and it had me gripped. Pat Barker’s Regeneration held a special resonance for me because my grandfather was a neurologist working with shell shocked patients.

Special mention must go to Anthony Quinn’s Half of the Human Race which is set mainly in Britain at a similar time and charts the story of a suffragette and a cricketer. It’s unusual and has a gritty beauty all of its own.

Favourite character to escape with

I haven’t chosen a romantic interest, but Penelope Keeling from Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. If I had to pick a favourite book of all time, this would be it and Penelope is such a fabulous character; wise, unconventional and independent, she has moved beyond her unhappy marriage into a glorious old age.

I suspect one of my reasons for wanting to escape with her is that she reminds me so much of my mother who died three years ago. Escaping with Penelope would be the next best thing to seeing my mum again.

Where I’ll escape to next

My next escape will be outside my normal reading comfort zone into the world of crime thrillers, but I don’t think I need to worry because I’ll be in the capable hands of Jackie Baldwin. Jackie is one of four authors I’m following for Frost online magazine this year and I’ve promised her I’ll review her latest novel, Perfect Dead.

So I’m off to a commune of artists in rural Scotland, with  ex-priest DI Frank Farrell for company. Wish me luck!

Best overall escape

Without doubt, into a rabbit warren. For me the most perfect alternative reality created in fiction is Watership Down. I’ve loved the book since I was nine years old and I was transported into the world of Hazel, Fiver and their furry enemies and friends. This was especially surprising as I was never a child for animal stories but Richard Adams’ tale was engaging, modern and felt very grown up.

I still have my battered paperback and I love it to this day.

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What a wonderful guest post this is! Thank you so much for stopping by, Jane! And to the readers of this blog here, why don’t you tell me about your favourite escapes in the comments!

abouttheauthor

Although brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable left Wales to study at the age of eighteen and has lived in England ever since. Her father was Anglo-Welsh poet Mercer Simpson so growing up in a house full of books Jane always read – and wrote. In 2011 she started to take her hobby seriously when The Cheesemaker’s House, which became her debut novel, reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. She writes romance with a twist of mystery which has been published independently and through the UK ebook giant, Endeavour Press. Jane is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a director of Chindi Authors.

In 2017 Jane moved to Cornwall and this year will become a full time author. She’s passionate about her new home, cricket, travelling and her husband of 22 years – although not necessarily in that order.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Death Rope by Leigh Russell @LeighRussell @noexitpress @KatherineSunde3 #blogtour #guestpost #DeathRope #GS11

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Death Rope by Leigh Russell. My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for the invitation to join. Author Leigh Russell stops by the blog today to talk about the appeal of evil. But first, here is what the eleventh instalment in the DI Geraldine Steel series is all about.

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Author : Leigh Russell
Title : Death Rope
Series : DI Geraldine Steel #11
Pages : 386
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

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The Appeal of Evil 

My detective, Geraldine Steel, is the protagonist in eleven of my books so far, with a cameo role in three more crime thrillers. Had I been more forward thinking, Geraldine might have arrived in the first book of her series as a fully formed character, with a back story in place and a future planned out. But it was the story of the killer which interested me in my debut novel, and that fascination has continued to drive my writing, as I explore what might motivate someone to kill.

A fictional killer’s behaviour has to be sufficiently complex to take time to unravel, but his motive has to be clear and follow some kind of logic, however demented. In a crime novel it is really not satisfactory to explain away the villain’s behaviour by simply writing him off as crazy. There has to be more to it than that, or the detective’s job would become quite random, and the reader would have no chance of solving the mystery.

Some of my books are ‘whodunnits’ in the traditional sense of the word. In other books my readers discover the identity of the killer early on, and in these books the suspense is built through dramatic irony as the reader watches my detective trying to solve the case.

But all of my books have one key element in common: Geraldine Steel. When I introduced my detective in my debut novel, I had no inkling of how popular she would become, or how many books she was going to feature in. Now it seems my original pipe dream of writing twenty books in the series might actually come true.

I’ve always found my villains at least as interesting to write about as my detectives. In some ways, writing about people operating outside the parameters of normal behaviour is quite liberating – although I’m not sure I would go quite as far as William Blake when he said, nearly two hundred and fifty years ago: “The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.” I like to think that good people can write about the evil aspects of human nature!

Each of my books works as a stand alone, so anyone can read Death Rope without having looked at the books in the series, but Geraldine remains a constant throughout, and I’m still enjoying exploring her story. And now, I’d better get back to work as I’ve left her in the middle of complex case…

abouttheauthor

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop DeadFatal ActKiller Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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