Blog Tour: Blood Rites by David Stuart Davies @Urbanebooks


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: November 9, 2017

Publisher: Urbane

Genre: Crime Fiction 

Blurb:

Blood Rites is the latest gripping DI Paul Snow thriller from renowned crime writer David Stiart Davies. 1980s Yorkshire. DI Paul Snow has a personal demon. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders in the town. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and appear to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons? 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blood Rites! I have a fantastic guest post from the author to share today. 


Detective Inspector Paul Snow

 

 

Paul Snow is homosexual. He is also a high ranking police officer. In the 1980s when Blood Rites is set, to be gay in the police force was not something one could admit to without the admission having a detrimental effect on career and standing within the force. It was an era when gays kept their sexual preferences under wraps. As Peter Tatchell observed: ‘In the past, LGBT+ police officers were closeted and repressed. They were agents of a homophobic institution and lived in fear of being outed and sacked’. Indeed Snow has the constant worry of being outed. As a result, he lives a celibate life and fuels all his passions into his police work, but the danger of exposure is always present. There is another danger, of course: that of dropping his guard and giving way to his natural impulses. He tries hard to prevent this happening, but sometimes fate intervenes. Paul is only human after all.

In Blood Rites, however, Paul has a girlfriend, Matilda, of whom he is very fond but his emotions go no further than that. She does not interest him sexually. He feels guilty in his relationship with her because he realises it gives him a shield of acceptability behind which to hide. He is aware that a man in his thirties without a wife or a girlfriend may very well raise suspicions within the police as to why this might be the case. Things become even more complicated when Matilda’s brother arrives on the scene. He is also gay and takes a shine to Paul and this stirs our hero’s emotions.

Of course there is more to Paul Snow than his sexuality. He is a bright, dogged and perceptive policeman and he certainly has to be in Blood Rites, which concerns a series of murders in Paul’s patch, the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield. There is no apparent link between the victims which gives him nothing to go on in tracing the killer. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case, but continues investigating the matter privately. It is a matter of pride with him now to solve this case and bring the murderer to justice. As he comes closer to a solution both his private and professional life spiral into free fall and the climax of the novel is shocking in the extreme.

Snow is a good man and a good police officer but sometimes circumstances force him into behaving badly. He is tall and thin, gaunt even, which reflects his Spartan life style. In general, even in police work, he keeps his own counsel. He dresses simply but smartly in a conventional fashion. While not exactly good looking, he is quite attractive. He a sensitive quiet and a gentle man. Despite his weaknesses and failings, I do believe the reader will side with him during the course of the story.

As a writer, I conjure characters out of my imagination but I believe it is essential that they ring true as real people. As soon as I began to sketch in the character of Paul, I found him a fascinating fellow. He is an iceberg creation. There is much more below the surface than is visible. During the course of the novel as we learn more of Paul’s thoughts and motives, we are allowed to dip below the waterline a little. But even I, as his creator, have not yet been able to probe all his feelings and secrets. That is what makes him such a fascinating character. I hope you get to meet him.

 Oohh Paul Snow sure sounds interesting to me, I’ll definitely be adding Blood Rites to me TBR! 

Blog Tour: The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @orendabooks


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: October 10, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Crime Fiction 

Blurb: 

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir. 

I’m so delighted to be helping to kick off the blog tour for The Man Who Died today! I have a fantastic guest post from the author to share today. 


Guest Post: 
 The Truth is a Funny Thing

 

Two and a half years ago I found myself at another curious crossroad. Life has a habit of doing that: taking you down one road as far as you can go, then suddenly announcing that this where it ends. ‘Thanks a lot’ you might say, but it doesn’t really solve the geographical problem.

I had recently published my fifth novel The Mine, and I was trying to think of the next book. I wanted to write and needed to write – because that is what I do and have to do in order to be happy – and I was trying to get started, but it wasn’t happening. It wasn’t happening for several reasons.

 

One reason was that by that time I had written five very dark novels ranging from the icy North of The Mine to the dystopia of The Healer and I honestly felt I had given all I had in that direction, at least for the time being. (You never know about the future. I might decide tomorrow that I’m going to write something that is darker than all those five books combined.) I also realized a far more serious predicament. I had held back.

 

I had been restraining myself in my writing. I vividly remember a scene in one of the earlier books that I was writing and suddenly saw that I could make it funny. Very, very funny. But it didn’t fit the overall mood of the story. It would have stood out like a pink suit at a funeral. So I kept that alternative scene to myself and actually forgot about it for a while. Then, as I was searching for a new story, I remembered the scene and the feeling I had had at the time. It was almost an epiphany. It was obvious what I needed to do.

 

What are some of my greatest loves as far as artistic influences go? Noir. Comedies.

 

So there.

 

I was on my way. I watched and re-watched all that I had always loved so much, starting from The Marx Brothers. I love their lunacy, intelligence, sheer lovable insanity. I watched Fargo again. What a great, great film it is. (The television series is brilliant, especially season 1.) I re-read Elmore Leonard’s novels. I discovered they were even better than I remembered. He was one of the writers that got me into this writing life to start with. Same with Lawrence Block. He’s written both dark books (his Matt Scudder books are simply great noir novels and highly recommended) and lighter, funnier books starring burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. I returned to those as well. It was like finding a well of fresh water all over again.

 

Most importantly, I followed my instinct. It’s such a cliché – to follow one’s heart – but there you go. It is true. Especially if you’re a writer. You simply have to write what you have to write. No way around it. And so many happy things followed that turn in the crossroads.

 

I told my literary agent what I was going to do. He said go for it. I didn’t have much in the beginning. Just a man going to see his doctor about flu-like symptoms and then hearing that he has been poisoned over a very long period. Then: enter the mushrooms and the mushroom business that was perfect for a host of reasons. One: I didn’t know anything about it. Two: I made nearly all of it up. Three: it had just the perfect amount of absurdity to it.

 

At first I was unsure of the setting. I had previously set all my novels in Helsinki and had made the city I love one of the characters in the books. Now I wanted to change that with everything else. I only had to look in my own past. I spent my childhood summers in Hamina, a small seaside town about two hours from Helsinki. I made it the golden, sunny, offbeat place that I remembered.

 

I had a blast writing the book that became THE MAN WHO DIED. By that, I don’t mean that writing was easy. It never is. But I knew I had a good story and the tone I had been missing even though I hadn’t really known it. I felt free. I was able to paint with all the colors, to go as far as I wanted, because now it all fit. It was the kind of story I wanted to tell.

 

I think I learned my lesson. As a writer, I need to trust my heart and instinct. If I love to laugh and be moved, and if I find life both tragic and comic I can’t exclude neither one. And what I hope to achieve as a writer – what I would like to do – is make the reader see the same and make the reader laugh and perhaps cry while enjoying a wild ride filled with twists and surprises.

 

Because, sometimes, the truth is the funny thing, and vice versa.

About the Author: 


Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Shoutout: Guest Post from author D. E. Haggerty @dehaggerty

Happy Saturday everyone! Today I have a super fun guest post from D. E. Haggerty, it’s a playlist inspired by her most recent release, Fat Girl Begone!


Release date: May 1, 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy


Blurb: 

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama. 


Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.


Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.


Guest Post

Playlist ~ Fat Girl Begone!

D.E. Haggerty

 

 

I’m often asked if I have a playlist for my books. I usually don’t, but there are so many songs that are great matches for my latest release, Fat Girl Begone!, that I couldn’t resist making a playlist for the book and its heroine, Everly.  

Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix

Any book that begins with a woman getting her heart broken has to have a theme song like Shout Out To My Ex. Funny enough (or maybe just an indication of my age), I’d never heard this song, but it suddenly popped up on my YouTube suggestions while I was writing Fat Girl Begone! and bam! Everly’s got herself a theme song.

We Are Never Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

It’s not possible to write a playlist for a book that includes heartbreak without including a song from Taylor Swift. There is a reason the woman is a chart-topper after all. She writes the songs that every girl or woman wants to hear/sing/shout when their heart has been broken. Fingers crossed Everly listens to the lyrics and follows the implicit advice it contains.

Try by Nelly Furtado

This beautiful song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters perfectly describes Everly’s struggle. There comes a point when Everly has got to make a decision – try or give up. There’s no way a heroine of mine is going to give up. She’s gonna Try.

I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash

This is one of my all-time favorite songs. I will often just start singing it out of the blue because I’m crazy like that. It’s also on the Thelma & Louise soundtrack. The movie makes an appearance in Fat Girl Begone! in a very sweet way. I couldn’t resist adding one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies to this playlist.

Wide Awake by Katy Perry

I go back and forth on Katy Perry – unsure if I like her or not. One thing’s for certain, I love this song and how empowering it is. I like to think that Everly had her own revelation about seeing things clearly for the first time during Fat Girl Begone! and that’s why I added this song to the playlist. The fact that Wide Awake is one of my favorite karaoke songs and I love Perry’s hair in the video has nothing to do with my adding the song to the playlist. Nothing at all.

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always been a huge Kelly Clarkson fan. Stronger is one of the most empowering songs out there. I often listen to it when I’m running and thinking I’m going to die. But if that run doesn’t kill me, it’ll make me stronger (pun intended). I like to think of Everly listening to this song on her purple iPod while riding the stationary bike at the gym – something she absolutely hates and constantly complains about!

Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars

Fat Girl Begone! is – in addition to a romance with a bunch of laughs – about self-empowerment and loving yourself – no matter what size or shape you come in. How can I not include a song entitled Just The Way You Are? This teaser perfectly fits with the song.


 

I could add pages and pages more of empowering songs to this list, but the above are the songs I think fit best with Everly and Fat Girl Begone!

 What a fun playlist! You can buy Fat Girl Begone on Amazon


About the Author: 

I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

Author Website

Blog Tour: Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty @Hardisty_Paul @OrendaBooks


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: May 1, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Thriller

Blurb: 

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction. 


I’m so pleased to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Reconciliation for the Dead today. I have an extremely interesting guest post from the author himself. 


Living and Dying in a Time of Plunder

 

Paul E. Hardisty

 

There is a scene in my new novel, Reconciliation for the Dead, set in apartheid-era South Africa, where the protagonist (Claymore Straker), comes upon a herd of elephants. It is 1981, and Clay is a young South African soldier fighting the communist insurgency in Angola. This is a war that his parents, the leaders of his country, and the officers who command him, have cast as a struggle for survival. The elephants Clay happens upon are dead. They have been slaughtered and their tusks hacked out with chainsaws. Even the babies were killed, and the little milk tusks dug out. The image stays with him, haunts him, even as the bodies of his human enemies and brothers-in-arms stack up.

​The scene is one that, in reality, was repeated across Africa during the conflicts that raged in the continent during that cold-war period, including in neighbouring Rhodesia and Mozambique. Teak and other hardwoods were cut extensively to pay for weapons and ammunition, and diamonds were mined using slave labour to enrich warlords and corrupt officials. Hippos were machined gunned in the rivers by jumpy ill-fed recruits in guerrilla armies. Rape was widespread. It was a time of plunder. With the breakdown of law and order that comes with civil war, protection of common assets disappears, and those who are armed take what they want. As the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said: ‘In times of war, the law falls silent.’

​And of course, in many parts of the world, this same kind of behaviour continues. Civil strife leads to war. Factions resort to plunder to support their cause, and always it is the poor and the innocent who suffer most.

​Claymore Straker, as a young man, comes face to face with one of the more cynical examples of wartime plunder in modern history. Unable to stand by and do nothing, spurred on by his idealistic friend, Eben Barstow, he begins to peel back the layers of deception and secrecy thrown up by the apartheid regime. What he finds will change his life forever, and fundamentally shape who he is.

The historical events described in Reconcilation for the Dead happened. As I writer, I try to create a thrilling, breathless ride for the reader, so that by the end, he or she feels as if they had gone ten rounds in the UFC cage with a top fighter. In short, I want to entertain. So hold on tight. But I also hope that by placing the reader right in the middle of the chaos, with the kind of immediacy that allows them to see and feel the action as it unfolds, that I can inform. The wars in Africa during that period are still recent enough to be relevant. It wasn’t until 1994 that Nelson Mandela was elected first black president of South Africa. So, while Claymore Straker wants to forget this time of plunder, perhaps we still have something to learn from it.  

 About the Author: 


Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a cafe in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia. His debut thriller The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.


 

 

Blog Tour: Disenchanted by Heide Goody and Iain Grant 


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: May 5, 2017

Publisher: Pigeon Park Press

Genre: Chick Lit

Blurb: 

Ella Hannaford has a small business to run, an overworked father to look after and a future stepmother who wants a perfect wedding. 


Can she avoid a girly night out with her clueless stepsister? Can she side-step lovesick suitors at every turn? Not if it’s up to that team of foul-mouthed dwarfs who want to forcibly drag her into her happily ever after.


Gingerbread cottages, dodgy European gangsters, gun-toting grannies, wisecracking wolves, stubborn fairy godmothers, ogres, beanstalks and flying carpets abound in a tale about what happens when you refuse to accept your Happy Ending. 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Disenchanted. I have a funny guest post to share with you today.


Heide and Iain’s latest novel, Disenchanted, is out this month. The fairy tale fantasy comedy was written with no small assistance from Dr Epiphany Alexander of Sheffield University’s Department for Folklore and Oral History. As an insight into the research material used to create Disenchanted, we present another of Dr Alexander’s letters to the author duo.


 

My Dear Friends,

 

Apologies for the state of this letter and the quality of my handwriting. I am having to write it in peculiar circumstances.

 

I have surprising news. I am currently in Arizona! This is, as they say, a turn up for the books. Quite apt as I have literally turned up for the book, namely Lang’s Black Fairy Book, his missing thirteenth volume of fairy tales.

 

When I last wrote to you, I had just heard that the book was perhaps with the domunculus reliquary in Cleveland, Ohio. A few phone calls later and I was speaking to a Professor Raposa of the University of Arizona where the reliquary is on loan. Professor Raposa, I am embarrassed to say, is a fan of my work and both an invitation to visit and plane tickets were soon sent my way! I was naturally thrilled but Pak Choi, my faithful companion, was less pleased. He had heard rumours about the questioning some people are put through at US border control and was worried that the officials might give one of the Fair Folk a tough time. I said he should simply not say anything to annoy them and just keep them happy.

 

To distract him from worry on the flight, I told him my favourite Arizonan story. It concerns Grey Fox, hero of the Yuman-speaking Native Americans. Giants had come out of the east and from their camp atop a mesa attacked the people of the land, eating those that they could catch. The king rode out to meet the giants and he too was eaten. After that, no one wanted to be king. Grey Fox, who was a reluctant hero at best, knew he had to face the giants. As he walked towards the mesa, he met a horned toad, who offered his help in defeating the giants. He gave Grey Fox his ‘horned helmet’, his ‘horny breastplate’ and his ‘scaly wings’ and told him that he should fight the giants so that the giants had their backs to a cliff edge. Grey Fox went to the mesa and, using the toad’s wings, flew up to meet the giants. They threw spears at him but they broke against his breastplate. They fired arrows at him but they bounced off his helmet. The giants, fearing that Grey Fox was a spirit, dared not take their eyes off him. As the toad had instructed, Grey Fox fought them so they had their backs to the cliff edge so when he leapt at them, they stepped back and fell down to their doom. The last of them to fall reached out and ripped the wings from Grey Fox’s back. Grey Fox returned to the horned toad and gave back the helmet and breastplate. But, seeing that his beautiful wings had been destroyed, the toad was overcome with sadness and anger which is why, to this day, the wingless horned toad cries bitter tears of blood whenever the fox comes near.


 

 

The man at the immigration desk had clearly not seen a passport from the Fair Lands before. They are rare after all and composed primarily of pressed leaves and petals. I suspect Pak Choi might have taken my earlier words too literally. He whispered certain words to the man and the man started laughing. He did not stop laughing, even when they had wrestled him from the booth and taken him away on an ambulance stretcher. We hotfooted it out of the airport as quickly as possible.

 

Professor Raposa was a delightful host who put me up in his Tucson home. Of late, all the men I meet seem to either be suspiciously monobrowed or have some sort of romantic interest in me. It appeared that Professor Raposa was one of the latter. At dinner, with an honesty and charm that British men simply don’t have, Professor Raposa explained that he had first seen me delivering a speech at a symposium in Illinois some years earlier and had ‘taken a shine’ to me. I recall delivering a paper at the event entitled “People in Glass Slippers shouldn’t own Thrones: Why Cinderella would have been a Rubbish Queen” but I had no recollection of meeting the professor.

 

I rebuffed the professor’s gentle advances and we spent a perfectly pleasant evening over a bowl of chili, a plate of something called cheese crisp and a glass of Sonoita Malvasia, an American wine that was far more pleasant than certain European wine-snobs of my acquaintance might have me believe. The following day, we went to the Arizona State Museum in the grounds of the university and to the domunculus I had come all this way to see.

 

However, I was distracted by the sight of the infamous Silverbell Road Crosses that the museum also has on display. The crudely cast lead crosses are perhaps evidence of a mythical colony of religious exiles who fled from Rome over twelve hundred years ago and settled in Arizona centuries before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The badly-formed Latin inscriptions and the carved imagery (including a dinosaur, no less!) offer hints of a marvellous story of great adventure, remarkable encounters in the Arizona desert and possibly even dinosaurs. Or, they all form part of an elaborate hoax, created for unknown reasons by a local Mexican sculptor. If only I had the time to study them further and draw my own conclusions! Pak Choi’s own conclusions are evidenced in this delightful drawing he has rendered.

 

 

Professor Raposa took me to a gallery attended by two young men and there he presented to me, wrapped in a protective sheet, the Uttoxeter Casket. The reliquary was both smaller and more intricately carved than I had imagined. The boxwood carvings show various scenes from the life of Christ, including the nativity and the crucifixion. I told Professor Raposa that it was beautiful but, in all honest truth, I wanted to look within. Professor Raposa obliged and lifted the lid.

 

Oh, dear friends, did I expect to see Lang’s missing book of fairy tales just sitting there? Did I foolishly think that it had remained hidden for decades because no one had thought to look inside the box? The answer, sadly, is yes. But, naturally, the reliquary box was empty. Well, almost.

 

At the bottom of the box was a black and white photograph. I inspected it and saw that it was a photograph of a section of medieval manuscript, featuring an image of a fair queen upon her throne.

 

Professor Raposa was keen for my interpretation of the photograph which had arrived with the box. I was not quick to come to any judgement. Jumping to hasty conclusions will have people believing in cowboys riding dinosaurs and wotnot. Professor Raposa became unaccountably impatient and then angry and he demanded that I tell him where the Black Fairy Book was. He made a passing remark about ‘the cheese-dangling witch!’ but I was suddenly and acutely distracted by the guns that the gallery attendants now pointed at me. I was struck by two almost instantaneous thoughts: one was that the two gallery attendants had rather thick eyebrows, the other was that it seemed something of a cliché for my current adventure to only feature firearms when I travelled to the United States. Oh well, such is life.

 

Unable to answer Professor Raposa’s demands for the location of the Black Fairy Book, even at gunpoint, I soon found myself in an unusual position. In short, I am currently writing this from the confines of the boot of what I understand to be a Lincoln Continental (you might have been curious as to why I have been forced to write this letter on end papers torn from your latest novel. It is no reflection of the regard in which I hold your book; it was simply the only paper to hand). It’s not the ideal space in which to write a missive but it could be worse. I will say this for our American friends, they do build cars with plenty of trunk space. I am not sure where the malicious Professor Raposa and his accomplices are taking me but I hope to post this letter to you as soon as I am let out.  

 

I am deeply conscious that I said I would be at your book event in four days’ time. Be assured I very much intend to be there and to have read your book in full by that time. I am sure all this nasty business will be wrapped up long before then.

 

Yours,

 

Dr E. Alexander

 

Dr Epiphany Alexander’s latest book, “High Ho, High Ho: Drug Use and Prostitution in Fairy Tales” is currently available from Sheffield Academic Press.

Heide Goody and Iain Grant’s novel, Disenchanted, is available now from Amazon.

 

Blog Tour: Remhurst Manor by @TamasineLoves #giveaway


Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 8, 2016

Publisher: Made Global

Genre: YA

Blurb: 

There is a mystery that lies in the grounds of Remhurst Manor; a mystery concerning the unsolved 19th century murders of four teenagers.


Laine Brimble is slipping between two lives. Her life at home in present-day, Australia, and the life of a nobleman’s daughter living in 19th century England’s Remhurst Manor.


Until now Laine was able to keep her two lives separate (and secret). But, Laine is about to find out that – though centuries past and oceans over – Remhurst’s mysterious history is about to get a lot closer to her than she expected; a dark presence has arrived in her hometown, seeking to settle a centuries-old vendetta.


Between home and school and the 19th century (not to mention a blossoming relationship with new-boy-in-town, David Laslett) Laine struggles to keep past and present on parallel paths … but it seems as if they are on a collision course where the inevitable outcome is death.


…will Laine unearth the mysteries lying in the grounds of Remhurst Manor? Can she be the one to finally put Remhurst’s past behind it? Can she do it before a deadly history repeats itself? 

I’m so pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for Remhurst Manor today! I have a guest post from the author to share and I also have a giveaway you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book. It’s also open internationally!


Guest Post:

5 ways people are wrong about YA (IMHO)

You can trust me, I’m wrong a lot. I could list a whole bunch of ways I’ve been wrong. Let me give you an example of what I mean… most people navigate stairs successfully, occasionally they fall down stairs … I fall upstairs. Ouch. Try it before you dismiss it. It is a difficult skill to master but I’m particularly good at it.

When you think about YA fiction, I’m definitely picking up what you’re putting down. Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent. It’s kind of like how someone professes their favourite band is X and someone else says, ‘oh yeah? What’s your favourite song? No, other than that one’. Try this experiment – get a friend to name as many young adult books as they can off of the top of their head. Chances are they’ll go as far as the ‘chart toppers/conversation dominators’ and maybe a few of the trending titles. But if you ask them to put “books-to-movies” aside… are they drawing a blank?

I often find the conversation goes like this when I mention that I write YA – ‘I don’t need to read it to know about it’. Oh. Okay. Also, “Who are you, the book police?”

I like to think I’m somewhat of a connoisseur, nay, a savant of getting things wrong; the lineage of my biggest achievements can all be traced back to my getting something demonstrably wrong at some point. So, as I said, basically, you can trust me to tell you how wrong people are to think the things they do about young adult fiction. Are you ready?

 

1. Thinking ‘YA’ is a genre

YA is to genre categorisation what tomatoes are to vegetables. Romance, mystery, tragedy, comedy, historical, non-fiction, Splatterpunk (yes, it’s a thing) – these are genres. However, YA is really a recommended age range, not unlike the age range recommendations on the side of your board game. Or how it says on that microwave mac ‘n’ cheese packet, ‘Serves 4’ – WRONG! Repeat after me – you can eat as much of that mac ‘n’ cheese as you want to. YA is not a genre. Just as wrong are those who attempt to codify YA. If YA was a genre, why would we need to section it off even more? A genre means you have to fit certain criteria to be a part of it. YA is all about boundries, man, just like being a teenager – or how earlier you laughed in the face of that that ‘serves 4’ recommendation on your mac ‘n’ cheese. It is boundary-pushing. You don’t need to enter into it with pre-ordained tropes, expectations, etc.

2. Using YA fiction to teach Young Adults a lesson

YA is a hard-to-define badass. So don’t abuse it by putting loads of preaching “Don’t do this, Don’t do that!” lessons in your book. Yes, I’m aware I am a YA author and I’m writing a list of things to not do. But, this isn’t a novel. Plus, you’re not my real Mum. You’re not your reader’s real Mum, either. So no mollycoddling. Just write a good story – you can say “Don’t Do XYZ” all you want during your press interviews, but please leave it out of the book!

 

​3. YA is cheap entertainment

You’re a sucker if you think this one. Some YA novels are massive money spinners. They generate revenue like it’s going out of fashion (get it? ‘cause teenagers are fashion conscious). That being said, if you look at successful YA books, they’re not being pumped out like that extra 4 seasons of a sit-com that used to be good but now all the actors have a twinkle of desperation in their eyes because the network is ruining something beautiful by making it last too long. Which brings us to our next point …

4. YA is all about long epics and a continuous series of similar sounding books

Let’s set this straight. You don’t have to write a 200,000-word epic or invent a whole universe like the Hunger Games/The Deadliest Game to succeed in YA. In fact, some of the best YA is short and snappy (The Perks of Being a Wallflower – anyone?). Less is more. Y’know, Hemingway’s iceberg ‘n’ that.

5. YA is not for YOU.

False.

I am not someone to get really irritated by things; I am a firm believer that nothing is either good or bad. It is your thoughts which make it so. I am a zen master. So, if you say adults shouldn’t read young adult novels, I’ll … insert vague but disarming and over-the-top threat of improbable violence… your mother.

Put it this way. YA is not a hard-and-fast rule; it’s a suggestion. When it says, ‘for 12-17 year olds’, we’re back to the mac-n-cheese pack. If it takes your fancy … read it. Enjoy it. Whatever your age.

And if you DO fall into the YA age bracket then that’s fine too. What I would say to someone in the age range (and sadly, I’m not any more!) is that you’re not going to be in young-adulthood forever, and sure, you can read young-adult books at any age – but there’s only a small space of time where you’re the target-audience. You’re young. You don’t have all day to read about life. So, in 70,000 words, let’s discuss life, death, and all those other ‘serious’ things you’re unfortunately going to have to deal with before you’re ready. It’s going to be hard. Or maybe not. Far be it for me to preach to you about how these are the best years of your life. Enjoy being young. Read any YA that catches your eye, whether your friends think it’s popular or not. What you’ll find is that they’re celebrations of a period of time that is going to be better in hindsight, guaranteed.

And to those who’ve moved beyond, and in some cases, well beyond the ‘right’ age range? Read it anyway! It’s not like people even need to know that you’re reading it, if that’s what you’re worried about. We live in the age of e-readers – the other people on the train (who care so much) don’t even need to know!

But anyway, I’m wrong a lot. So… make up your own mind 😉

Interesting, I agree with her. I read plenty of YA novels and I’m far past the recommended age range. Thanks so much Tamasine for stopping by today!

About the Author:

Tamasine Loves is an Australian author whose debut young-adult novel, ‘Remhurst Manor’, was first written for her high school friends and was delivered as printed serialisations and passed on in between classes. The serialisations were compiled, and there was a printed first draft of what would later become ‘Remhurst Manor’ just in time for her fifteenth birthday.
Years later, as a twenty-three-year-old uni student, Tamasine Loves turned from ‘writer’ into ‘author’ during an internship at MadeGlobal Publishing. She was introduced to the MadeGlobal team as an intern, and was then reintroduced several months later as the author of ‘Remhurst Manor’.

Tamasine has recently moved from Melbourne, Australia to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Tamasine is a sub-editor for two peer-reviewed journals. She has published short stories and poetry, but telling long tales is where her true love lies. Tamasine lists her favourite things as literature, lattes, live music, alliteration, and her cat called Morrissey (who, she insists, is indeed ‘a charming man’).

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Guest Post: Author Cynthia Roberts

I have a lovely guest post to share today from Cynthia about how music can inspire love stories. 


Guest Post: 

Behind the Title

(Creation of a Love Story)

By Romance Author Cynthia Roberts

 

 

​ Creating romantic fiction has been a passion of mine, ever since I was old enough to understand the connection between the sexes. I think I was twelve, when I wrote my first love story and like most young minds; I truly thought it was a masterpiece.

 

​There’s another masterful connection that has been going on now for centuries, and that, is the one between music and literature. There is a full alphabet of songs that have been written retelling a work of literature as far back as the 18th century.

 

​“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was based on a poem, Lady of Shallot. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet. The artist Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street” was based on an Anne Rice Novel, Interview With A Vampire.

 

​More interesting though, the anatomy of a song has also within its lyrics a pretty fascinating back story as well. For more than five decades, authors have been creating fictional pieces and bringing readers deep inside the lyrics. I grew up listening to my mom’s collection of romantic ballads from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those lyrics have forever been embossed into my brain, I still sing along whenever I hear them. Lyrics like those back then told a story, and they were so strong, and emotional, their affect were everlasting.

 

​I have a library of love songs on iTunes I listen to religiously, while I write, as a source of inspiration and a tool that gets me in the mood and mindset I need to be in. It is from this list, I began to formulate a series of ideas, followed by cryptic notes on paper, and finally the creation of my Love Song Standards Series. I made a list of the songs I connected with personally, whittling it down to thirty-five. That number was quite overwhelming and I thought virtually impossible to create that many scenarios. So, I chipped away at the songs and their lyrics, until I decided on a top ten.

 

​I had made a commitment to myself to finish one book a month throughout 2016, writing a chapter every day, leaving me ample time to polish and edit each one. I knew from the on-start, what I wanted my covers to look like. They had to resemble each other in a way that would tie them together, but strong enough for them to stand on their own. My designer Covers by Ramona did an exceptional job tying all my ideas together.

 

​After Book 6, Chances Are, was completed, my brain was fried. I took a short reprieve and switched it up a bit with a Romantic Suspense, A Pawn for Malice. Happily, the first two books of my series received a 5-Star Readers Favorite Award, which ended my promotion efforts. I was forced to take an extended break due to personal issues that had set me back both physically and emotionally. My focus now is to both promote my series and finish the final four titles All The Way, It’s Impossible, Sincerely, and Unforgettable.

 

​If you’re a lover of contemporary romance, please do check out my Love Song Standards Series. I know you’ll be pleasantly pleased. Buy links and descriptions are available on my website at RomanceAuthorCynthiaRoberts.com. If you subscribe to my mailing list, we can stay in touch as to when the other titles are completed PLUS you’ll receive a complimentary copy of Book 1, Unchained Melody. All that I ask is for you to please, please share an honest review at the online retailer you use most. It will help me dramatically towards promoting my book and the series.

 

Hugs from me to you. 

I had no idea some of the history behind the songs Cynthia mentioned, how cool! 

About the Author: 


My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn’t until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior . I really don’t fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it’s only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.


I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me, was supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.


It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, “Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities.”

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Blog Tour: Too Sharp by Marianne Delacourt @DeadlinesCrime @12thPlanetPress


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: March 26, 2017

Publisher: Twelfth Planet Press

Blurb: 

Tara Sharp’s new case brings her to Brisbane, where she is placed in charge of Slim Sledge, a high-maintenance rock star. Tara’s a sucker for a backstage pass, and it’ll provide some much-needed distance between herself and her mother’s not-so-subtle hints about getting a “real” job, not to mention crime lord Johnny Viaspa, the only man on the planet who wants her dead. 


She expected the music industry to be cut-throat, but Tara soon uncovers more problems than just Slim Sledge’s demands and his rabid fans. Everywhere she turns, the grudges run deeper and the danger ramps up. 


Has Tara finally pushed her luck too far? 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Too Sharp. I have a guest post from the author about her writing inspirations. 


Guest Post: 

Inspirations for, and thoughts on, creating Tara Sharp and her unusual gift

 

I used to be terrified of flying and I found that the only books that could keep me distracted on a flight were the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. The series had such good narrative energy and engaging characterisation that it held my attention when all other books left me glancing anxiously out of the window. I’d also just finished writing a very exhausting four book feminist sci-fi space opera and I was looking for a change of genre. Those two factors seeded the gestation of Tara Sharp.


Then it was all about the characters. Who was going to be in this story? Once I’d imagined Tara’s personality, the secondary characters just wrote their way onto the page without any forethought. It was like they’d been waiting for me to set them free to live and love.


But as I set out to write the first novel, I realised I was looking for something a little different to hang the series on. I’d always been particularly fascinated by body language and began reading about it in earnest. When Sharp Shooter was first released there were a few psychic shows on television like The Mentalist and Medium, but there weren’t a lot of books in the crime genre that played with those ideas. (I think there are more now.) As I was researching body language, I suddenly remembered that as a teenager we used to spend lunchtimes at school standing up against a big white door trying to read each other’s auras. I widened my reading and was fascinated to see there was a whole lot of new age material on just that topic. But instead of borrowing someone else’s interpretations of auras, I created my own colour meanings. So I have this whole foolscap exercise book full of colour coding and then an index of the colour mixes of each character’s aura. I’m constantly thumbing through it, to check and tweak things. It’s my aura bible!


It was by far one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done as a writer!


 

The third novel in Marianne Delacourt’s series of paranormal crime novels about unorthodox PI Tara Sharp, ‘Too Sharp’, launched 28 March. The novel is available from all online retailers, including Twelfth Planet Press and Amazon. Readers new to Delacourt’s Tara Sharp series can spark their addiction with ‘Sharp Shooter’, the ebook of which is available for free for a limited time to celebrate the launch.

 About the Author: 


Author MARIANNE DELACOURT is the alter ego of award-winning, internationally-published Science Fiction writer Marianne de Pierres. Renowned for dark satire in her Science Fiction, Marianne offers lighter, funnier writing under her Delacourt penname. As Delacourt, Marianne is also the author of Young Adult fiction series Night Creatures (Burn Bright, Angel Arias and Shine Light). She is a co-founder of the Vision Writers Group and ROR – wRiters on the Rise, a critiquing group for professional writers. Marianne lives in Brisbane with her husband and two galahs.


Blog Tour: Guest Post Dead Embers by Matt Brolly @MatthewBrolly


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Release date: March 6, 2017

Publisher: Canelo 

Genre: Crime Thriller

Blurb: 

An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…


When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer.


Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.


But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…


Trust no one.


Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling. 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Embers, I have a guest post from the author to share today. 

Guest Post: 

First Draft to Finished Copy

 

I’ve read that some writers hate the sight of a blank page – but I love it! Figuratively and literally (I have way too many unused notebooks in my office!) A blank page has infinite possibilities and you never know where it is going to take you.

 

I started writing Dead Embers, the third in the DCI Lambert series, in the middle of 2016. Being part of a series brings its advantages and drawbacks. Whilst it’s great already knowing the majority of the leading characters, the structure of a series means that you have to respect what has happened before – this even goes so far as having to remember how characters spell their names!

 

For me, the first draft is all about mapping the story out. I try to write it as quickly as possible. This usually means that I’m left with basic structure of a novel which is in one hell of a mess. Then the real work begins.

 

I often have to tell myself at this stage that everything will be ok. Having bulldozed my way through the first draft it is easy to get hung up on the numerous errors and plot holes. But as this always happens I remind myself that continuous editing will get the novel into shape.

 

For the next draft I start ironing out plot holes and obvious structural errors. For Dead Embers these were quite significant. There are a number of strands in Dead Embers and it was important to clarify how these all gelled together. I probably worked through the whole text another two or three times before I felt that the structure was working, then another two looking more in depth at each paragraph, sentence and word. After one more read through, I sent it over to my agent and publisher.

 

Then the waiting. Although I felt pretty confident the book worked, it’s impossible to know for sure what the reaction will be. Fortunately my agent and publishers are awesome and their feedback was hugely positive. However, there were a few minor structural concerns (including a couple of paragraphs which had mysteriously disappeared during email) and some recommendations on character development which I dutifully completed over a few more versions. And then the book was finished…

 

Oh yes, then the line edit. I am very fortunate working with Canelo who supply an amazing line editor who really gets to grips with the nuts and bolts of the language used in the book. I value this part of the process so much as it sharpens the finished work and hopefully results in a book which makes complete sense and has no wasted sentences!

 

Then my publishers do a copy edit checking for any glaring spelling, grammar errors, and I sign off on the book – simple!

 

I made the mistake once of comparing a first draft to a finished draft. The two documents were almost incomparable but I guess that’s what makes the process so satisfactory.

 

And now that Dead Embers is out there for everyone to read…back to that lovely blank page.

 

About the Author: 


Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

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Blog Tour: Guest Post by T. A. Williams @TAWilliamsBooks

Title: To Rome, with Love

Author: T.A. Williams

Release Date: February 17, 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Publisher: HQ Digital

About TO ROME, WITH LOVE



It’s a summer of second chances…



Just a week before her big day, Sarah returns home to find a note from her husband-to-be – the wedding’s off! So when her boss decides to send her on an epic cycling trip, from Venice to Rome, it seems like the perfect distraction…



Although she never expected the distraction to come in the form of her oh-so-handsome, but slightly serious, cycling companion, Miles. And with still 600 miles of beautiful scenery, mouthwatering food and delicious wine yet to cover, anything could happen!


Where to find TO ROME, WITH LOVE

Goodreads  ||  Amazon  ||  iTunes  ||  Barnes & Noble

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Guest Post: 

T. A. Williams (Trevor) tells us why he decided to set his latest romantic comedy in Italy.

 

  Why is To Rome, with Love set in Italy? Easy answer – I love the place. After university (I did French and German) I couldn’t find a “sensible” job in the UK, so I decided to learn another language. I was offered a job teaching English in Italy and it changed my life forever.

  I spent almost four years living in the very north of Italy, in the Alps, and then moved to Florence for another four years. In the course of my time in Italy I met and married Mariangela, my wife of 41 years now, and made a lot of friends. If you live in a country for all that time you get to learn the language really well and get to know the people really well, with all their quirks.

  So, what do I really love about Italy?

  Well, there’s the climate. I come from Devon, down in the southwest of England where the winters are normally mild, but grey, and the summers occasionally warm, but often punctuated by a lot of rain. The thing about Italy is that it has a climate, not just weather. If you want to invite friends round for a barbecue on a summer night, you can be pretty sure it won’t suddenly develop into a mad rush for cover as the heavens open. All right, in spite of what some people say, this global warming business seems to be a real thing and climates aren’t quite as predictable as they once were but still… summer in Italy generally means hot and dry, and winter cold and dry. The way I like it.

  The people are wonderful. When I arrived in Italy, unable to speak a word of the language, I found people only too happy to help me out with odd words of English, French or, on one memorable occasion, Latin. I have been invited into so many people’s homes for dinner, I have lost count. If you ignore the pickpockets in the big cities and, of course, the Mafia, the Italian man (and woman) in the street is almost invariably warm, welcoming and very generous.

  So, I like the place and the people. So why set the book on a bike ride? Venice to Rome is a ride I did myself a few years back with a group of friends and the experience has stayed with me. Hopefully, as you read To Rome, With Love, you will get a sense of the overwhelming beauty of what it’s like to cycle round the Venice lagoon, through the wonders of Umbria, or up the infernal climb to the little Republic of San Marino. I would like to think that my love of the historical splendours of Italy will shine through, particularly as my group of cyclists visit amazing places like Ravenna, Gubbio or Orvieto and, of course, Rome itself.

  My books always tend to be set in lovely places like Tuscany, Cornwall, the south of France (my next book is set in Provence) or rural Spain. I always like to try to transport my readers away from their own lives for a few hours, to somewhere different, beautiful and fascinating. Hopefully, as you read To Rome, With Love, you will get a taste of why I love Italy so much.

About T.A. Williams

Firstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds”, one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…


I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.


I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.  


I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.


Where to find Trevor

Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||  Goodreads  ||  Amazon