Blog Tour: The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd @AmyLloydWrites #TheInnocentWife

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 25, 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

A young schoolteacher falls for a man on Death Row whom she believes is falsely accused, only to begin wondering after their marriage – and his release.

Twenty years ago Dennis Danson was arrested for the brutal murder of Holly Michaels in Florida’s Red River County. Now he’s the subject of a Making a Murderer-style true crime documentary that’s taking the world by storm – the filmmakers are whipping up a frenzy of coverage to uncover the truth and free the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Samantha may be thousands of miles away in Britain, but she is as invested in Dennis’s case as any of his lawyers. Perhaps even more so, as her letters to the convicted killer grow ever more intimate. Soon she is leaving her life behind to marry Danson and campaign, as his wife, for his release.

But when the campaign is successful, and Dennis is freed, events begin to suggest that he may not be so innocent after all. How many girls went missing in Red River, and what does Dennis really know?

I’m so delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Innocent Wife! I have a wonderful guest post from the author to share.

Guest Post:

My Top 5 True Crime Reads

This list does not include In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. We all know we’re supposed to read In Cold Blood and we totally will! No need to keep banging on about it here.

1. Killing For Company – Brian Masters

Brian Masters has written a few great true crime books but this was my personal favourite. It’s about Dennis Nilsen, a serial killer active in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s. Nilsen murdered young men and kept the bodies in his home, dressing them up and sitting them on the sofa for company. If that isn’t the darkest thing you can imagine then I am afraid of you.

Brian Masters shows an incredible amount of empathy towards Nilsen and a lot of people have been critical about the way in which he writes about him in the book. It’s a unique dynamic between writer and subject and offers a deep insight into the mind of a serial killer.

2. The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule

There will never be another true crime like this. Ann Rule was an established true crime author when one of her friends (a fellow volunteer on the crisis helpline she worked at a few nights a week) became a suspect in a series of local murders. Surely good-looking, mild-mannered Ted Bundy couldn’t be involved in anything like that?

How much Ann Rule suspected Bundy’s guilt and the ethical problems that arise from her continued friendship with him only makes this book more fascinating.

3. Columbine – Dave Cullen

The Columbine high school shooting was one of the most shocking crimes of my lifetime.

In an attempt to understand the horrific killings a narrative was quickly written to explain the motives of the teenage boys responsible. We were led to believe these were misfits, bullied relentlessly by their classmates, and taking revenge in the most brutal way imaginable. It was a fake narrative perpetuated by Bowling for Columbine and one that made me, as a teenager, believe that I had anything in common with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

This book completely destroys that narrative and offers a well-researched account of what happened and what really motivated the killers.

4. The Adversary – Emmanuel Carrère

One day Jean-Claude Romand killed his entire family with a shot gun and set fire to their home in order to cover his tracks. Friends are shocked and confused. Jean-Claude can’t possibly have done this. He’s a loving father and husband, a doctor working with the World Health Organization, a perfectly happy and ordinary man.

The Adversary tells the story of a double-life and seeks to understand Jean-Claude on a deeper level. A bizarre and dark story handled with genuine class and sensitivity.

5. The Fourth State of Matter – Jo Ann Beard

The less I say about this, the better. It’s my favourite personal essay/short story of all time and you can read it on the New Yorker website.

Blog Tour: Disposal by David Evans @DavidEwriter

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon U.K.

Release date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Orchard View Publications

Genre: Crime Fiction

Blurb:

August 1976 and it seems as though the long hot summer will never end. Early morning at Clacton on the north Essex coast, a light aircraft takes off from the airstrip but struggles for height and crashes into the sea. First on the scene, Sergeant Cyril Claydon pulls the pilot’s body from the wreckage. But something else catches his eye. A bulky package wrapped in black plastic is on the passenger seat. Returning to investigate, he makes a grim discovery – another body. And so begins a series of events that puts him and others in danger as he is drawn into the investigation, having to work alongside DI ‘Dick’ Barton, a man with totally alien attitudes. Can they work together?

I’m so pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for Disposal today! I have a fantastic interview with the author to share.

Q & A:

Q Why did you write a book?

I enjoyed reading and have always had creative thoughts. Years ago, I joined a Creative Writing Nightclass and, after a few terms of writing various exercises, I realised a couple of those were linked in some way. After that, it was a small step to see if I could write more on the same theme that would eventually form a book. And so the first draft of what became Trophies was born.

Q Do you write every day?

When I have an active project, I tend to write every day but sometimes, I take a break for a short while – recharge batteries and provide valuable thinking time.

Q Do you work to a plot or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

Initially, I need a plot – that is vital. For instance, for the last 3 projects, once I have the ideas, I will write around 10,000 words and pause. At that point, I am able to judge if it ‘has legs’. Then I’ll look to draft a loose synopsis. Once I have something I think will work, I carry on writing. Every now and then, I’ll go back to the synopsis and tweak it to line up with what has been written. I use the synopsis as a guide but don’t allow it to dictate rigidly if my characters or plot take me ‘off message’. That way creativity isn’t stifled. Also, when the first draft is complete, it is a matter of one last tweak to have a completed synopsis – one of the hardest tasks to perform when writing.

Q How long does it take you to write a book?

As I’ve written more, I’ve found that the time to write each book has shortened. The first draft of Trophies took me over 2 years, but that was coping with a full-time job. It has also gone through 8 further drafts. Torment took about 2 years on and off (again with a full-time job) but has required less re-drafts. Talisman was about 18 months in the drafting whilst Disposal took about 16 months. However, other writing matters had been prioritised during the writing of Disposal – like achieving a publication deal for the Wakefield Series. I also like to have 2 or 3 threads running through the books and that takes time and concentration to meld them together.

Q What’s the worst thing about writing a book?

Getting it out there, all the marketing and promotional work that has to be done. Like most writers, I’d rather just think about the next one and create.

Q What’s the best thing about writing a book?

When your characters take over. For instance, when I was writing Disposal, I had my two main characters, Cyril and Barton in the front seats of a car. As they drove, it was as if I was in the back seat listening to their conversation. When we set off, I didn’t have a clue what they were going to say, but they obviously did. That was so satisfying.

Q Why did you choose your particular genre?

Because crime fiction is what I enjoy reading. I think if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing that will become apparent in the finished work.

Q If you had to write in a different genre, which would you choose?

Possibly some non-fiction historical work might interest me.

Q Which book character do you wish you had written?

It would have to be John Rebus, the brilliant creation of Ian Rankin.

Q What do you think are the best and the worst things about social media?

The best would probably be the instantaneous feedback and contact it allows. The worst has to be the ability of it to run away with time – possibly our most precious commodity.

A few questions, just for fun:

Q If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

That would be difficult. The danger with that would be coming across conversations others may be having about you which it might be best not to learn. A better option would be the ability to go back in time as an invisible person to soak up the experiences and atmosphere of earlier times.

Q If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?

It would be on a warm summer’s day, a visit to a preserved railway to experience the sights sounds and smells of what I consider to be the art in motion of a steam locomotive. The aromatic mix of steam and hot oil is something difficult to describe. We’d have lunch at a pub followed by taking a well-behaved dog for a walk and allow our thoughts to drift to the latest writing project. Finally, we’d spend the evening with friends, back in the pub to catch up on what everyone had been doing.

Q What’s your signature dish?

Chilli con carne or Paella, both of which I seem to have mastered pretty well (so people tell me).

Q If you could be anyone for the day, who would you be?

I’m quite comfortable in my own skin and with my own company. However, for the benefit of this question, I’d like to be a contestant on The Apprentice. I’m not bothered about the prospect of winning, I’d just enjoy being alongside some of the dopy people who take part. Finally, in the boardroom, after all the other sycophants have tugged their forelocks and referred to the man as ‘Lord Sugar’, I’d take great delight in telling him to take his job and shove it before walking out!

About the Author:

David Evans is a Scots-born writer who found his true love as well as his inspiration for his detective series, set primarily in Wakefield. Having written all his life, in 2012 he decided to go for it – successfully as the next year, in 2013, he was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

The Wakefield Series became an International Bestseller in June 2017 with success in Canada and Australia as well as the UK. But now, whilst the Wakefield Series awaits the next instalment, David Evans has written Disposal, the first in the Tendring Series, a completely new detective series set in north Essex in the 1970s.

David Evans on Social Media

Author Website: http://www.davidevanswriter.co.uk/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidevanswriter/
Twitter: @DavidEwriter

Blog Tour: Games With the Dead by James Nally @AvonBooksUK

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: December 28, 2017

Publisher: Avon Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Irish runaway. Insomniac. Functioning alcoholic.

Life is about to get complicated for DC Donal Lynch.

When a young woman is kidnapped, Donal is brought in to deliver the ransom money. But the tightly-planned drop off goes wrong, Julie Draper is discovered dead, and Donal finds his job on the line – a scapegoat for the officers in charge.

But when Donal is delivered a cryptic message in the night, he learns that Julie was killed long before the botched rescue mission. As he digs further into the murder in a bid to clear his own name, dark revelations make one thing certain: the police are chasing the wrong man, and the killer has far more blood on his hands than they could even imagine.

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Games With the Dead today! I have an extract from the book to share.

Extract:

Extract Seven: Chapter 7, pp.49-50

‘There were two obvious fracture injuries to the back of her skull, both about a week-old and caused by a blunt instrument. I’ll be suggesting these were inflicted nine days ago when she was first abducted.

‘I found chain-like marks around her right ankle; she had been forced to wear some sort of restraint or leg iron. The redness of the injury shows it was caused before death. I found no chafing marks around her wrists though, which seems odd as this is universally the preferred method of restraint.

‘I found another ligature mark running along the back of her neck. Her tongue was protruding through clenched teeth which you normally find in people who’ve hanged themselves. She must have been throttled very violently at the end.

‘Her fingernails were undamaged and there were no marks on her forearms, the sort of defensive injuries that you’d expect if a victim had fought for her life. In other words, when the time came, she must have been restrained and strangled from behind, quickly and cleanly, which will provide some small comfort to her family.

We both need a drink after that. But Edwina’s not finished.

‘Now here’s an odd thing. The changes to Julie’s flesh show she’s been dead for about two days. That makes it impossible for me to determine if she’d been raped or sexually assaulted. But the insects in her body suggest she’s been exposed to air for a lot less time, I’d say between twelve and twenty-four hours.

‘There was also something really striking and bizarre about her appearance.’

She squints at her drink, as if still trying to make sense of it herself.

‘She was completely bald.’

Oohh I’m definitely intrigued!!

Blog Tour: The Wrong Side of Twenty Five by Kate Armitage @itskatearmitage @HelloChickLit

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 28, 2017

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

With newsfeeds full of perfect pouts, hot-dog legs and the self-proclaimed hashtag-blessed, it’s hard not to feel inadequate. How has everyone figured out how to live their best life except you?

That’s what Kylie wants to know. She thought she would spend her twenty-fifth birthday having a mini-break not a mini-breakdown. After an evening of finger-food and snide remarks, Kylie decides that things must change. Naturally, Alexa disagrees. She doesn’t think anything needs to change and is quite happy plodding on with her best friend by her side. So, when everything changes for the better for Alexa, while it’s going from bad to worse for Kylie; will it tear them apart?

Hey guys, I hope the New Year is treating everyone right so far! I have a fabulous guest post from the author to share today.

Guest Post:

Girl-Meets-Girl

The Wrong Side of Twenty-Five is a love story. It might not be obvious looking at the title, front cover or blurb, but it is. It’s a love story, but not a romance. It’s not a romance and it’s not a boy-meets-girl. In fact, it’s a girl-meets-girl. It’s a girl-meets-girl-and-they-become-lifelong-friends kind of non-romantic love story. Wait, did I just create a new genre?

When I started writing this story, I knew I didn’t want it to be a romance. There’s nothing wrong with romance or stories about romance, but I just knew instinctively that this story wasn’t destined to be one. Maybe it’s because I’m not particularly romantic myself. I don’t care much for flowers and outlandish displays of affection. But love is different. Love isn’t only demonstrated by valentine’s day cards and romantic getaways. I don’t believe that the love you might have with a friend or family member is any less valid than one with a romantic partner.

In The Wrong Side of Twenty-Five, Kylie and Alexa are best friends. They have a kind of friendship where they know each other inside out. It’s a kind of friendship I’ve never experienced, which is possibly why I chose to write about it. I imagined a kind of best-friendship between Kylie and Alexa that was all-consuming and comforting. I imagined them talking all day, and knowing what the other is thinking and doing at any given time. It’s an intimate relationship without a sexual aspect.

As both Kylie and Alexa are single, they turn to each other as their primary source of love and reassurance and happiness. They like to consult one another on life choices and seek approval of the other in everything they do. This is normal, but not always healthy. When Alexa gets a promotion at work, she can’t wait to tell Kylie her news. That is, until Kylie finds herself fired. Alexa doesn’t see how she can tell Kylie given her new circumstances. The same happens soon after when Alexa starts seeing Shaun, just as Kylie is dumped. Although uncomfortable and awkward, Alexa should find a tactful way to break her news to Kylie. But instead, she feels so responsible for Kylie’s happiness that she instead decides to lead a double life: One where she is devoted entirely to Kylie and one where she is Kylie’s friend but also has an independent life. What could go wrong?

When Kylie inevitably finds out, she’s hurt, which is understandable. But she isn’t an appropriate amount of hurt, she’s lay-in-bed-eating-emergency-nutella devastated. She feels cheated and betrayed. A woman scorned, she confronts Alexa and like an atom splitting in to two, they blow up. After a huge fight, they separate, and their worlds change forever. So, actually, it’s a love story and a break-up story. It’s a girl-meets-girl-and-they-become-lifelong-friends-and-then-fall-out kind of non-romance love story. Catchy!

About the Author:

uthor: Kate Armitage

Author Bio: Kate Armitage is a writer from England who has three cats, two children and one husband. She lives an alarmingly conventional life which surprises everyone who speaks to her for more than five minutes. She spends her days knee-deep in play-doh and spends her nights elbow deep in manuscripts. Sometimes she lets the children also use the play-doh but only if they promise not to mix the colours.

You can find Kate on social media under @itskatearmitage or through her website www.katearmitageauthor.com.

Guest Post: Counting Down The Days Until Christmas? by B.J. Daniels

Hey everyone! I have an extra special treat today, author B. J. Daniels has written a guest post as part of a really fun tour called Winter Holiday Traditions and Reads with Harlequin. There are some amazing authors participating so be sure and check out the other stops, the schedule can be found on TLC Book Tours.

Daniels latest book is called Cowboy’s Legacy, here’s some more information about that before the guest post.

Amazon

Blurb:

Nothing will stop a Cahill cowboy from protecting what’s his

After a rocky marriage and even rockier divorce, Sheriff Flint Cahill finally has something good in his life again. Maggie Thompson’s down-to-earth charm and beautiful smile hooked him from the start. When she disappears on the day they plan to start their lives together, all signs point to abduction—and his ex-wife.

Functioning on adrenaline and instinct, Flint must call on his every resource to bring Maggie home before it’s too late. His past and future are blurred. Maggie’s only chance at surviving her abductor and a raging winter storm depends on an old vendetta that could destroy it all. But the Cahills don’t give up easily, and Flint’s love will have to be strong enough to conquer anything, including the unimaginable.

Guest Post:

Counting down the days until Christmas? You and a lot of children.

My stepdaughter had an inexpensive way to make counting down the days more fun. She took construction paper in red, green and white and cut the paper horizontally into inch and a half strips.

Next, she got the children to help put the strips together in loops to form a chain – like we used to do as kindergarteners to make garland for the tree.

If there were 30 days until Christmas, she had the children make thirty loops out of the strips, connecting them with either tape or staples.

Once done, the chain is hung up. Each day, the kids get to take turns ripping off one of the loops as Christmas approaches.

She said she’d tried other things involving candy and little presents but found they were unnecessary. Also she has eight children.

Her “Countdown to Christmas” was so popular that other mothers liked the idea and so did they children because they got to make the chains.

And when Christmas arrives, the last loop of paper goes in the trash. There is nothing to store.

I too am counting down the days until the holidays. We will be going up into the mountains to get a tree. Decorating the tree is something my husband and I do together. Our ornaments have been collected during our 25 years together so there are a lot memories attached to each.

I will also be baking. The holidays are a perfect time to try all those recipes I’ve been saving.

Mostly I will be counting down the days at my computer writing my next book. Like Santa, this is a busy time of the year for me. My latest book, COWBOY’S LEGACY (HQN) is on the shelves already, but with the New Year there is the need for more books.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with love, laughter, good food and of course, something fun to read curled up in front of the fire waiting for the big day to finally get here.

What a fun way to countdown, I’ll have to try that with my kids next year!

About the Author:

www.bjdaniels.com

www.facebook.com/bj-daniels

twitter: @bjdanielsauthor

Blog Tour: That They Might Lovely Be by David Matthews

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: December 8, 2017

Publisher: Top Hat Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

No-one thought Bertie Simmonds could speak. So, when he is heard singing an Easter hymn, this is not so much the miracle some think as a bolt drawn back, releasing long-repressed emotions with potentially devastating consequences… A decade later, Bertie marries Anstace, a woman old enough to be his mother, and another layer of mystery starts to peel away. Beginning in a village in Kent and set between the two World Wars, That They Might Lovely Be stretches from the hell of Flanders, to the liberating beauty of the Breton coast, recounting a love affair which embraces the living and the dead.

I’m so pleased to be the stop on the blog tour for That They Might Lovely Be today! I have a wonderful Q & A with the author to share today.

Top 5 with David Matthews

Top 5 books

Riders in the Chariot by Patrick White – a brilliant reworking of the events surrounding the death of Christ, set in Australia, this novel reminds me that the Christian story can be played out time and again throughout history

Waterland by Graham Swift – a beautifully narrated ramble through the secrets of the past, tangled with evocative description of place

Middlemarch by George Eliot – a richly woven tale of middle England in the 19th century bringing a wonderful array of characters to life, all finely nuanced and caught up in the preoccupations of their circumstances

Wake by Anna Hope – one of the most moving books I have read recently; revolving around the internment of the

Unknown Soldier, this novel captures the devastation and courageous endurance which follows loss and grief. It is a beautifully written elegy.

Saturday by Ian McEwan – his best book, in my opinion: a tight portrayal of the anxieties and preoccupations haunting modern urban living.

Top 5 films

The Third Man – wonderfully atmospheric with the use of music and shadow and the most poignant end sequence of all.

Brief Encounter – a period film about emotional restraint set against the most searing music; sacrifice can be exquisite.

Ex Machina – a film for our times, where human emotion confronts the chilling independence of the machine; we are at the mercy of what we create.

Diva – a French film directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix which focuses on a young man’s obsession with beauty. The soundtrack is great.

Went the Day Well? – an Ealing Studio’s working of a story by Graham Greene. It is set in the heart of England during the Second World War and has stayed with me as an exploration of how ordinary, domesticity copes with overwhelming crisis.

Top 5 songs

Bailero – Joseph Canteloupe from ‘Songs of the Auvergne’

All By Myself – Eric Carmen

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Adelaide’s Lament – Frank Loesser form ‘Guys and Dolls’

Smoke gets in Your Eyes – Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, sung by Dinah Washington

Top 5 holiday destinations

Any rural retreat in France – good food and wine, beautiful scenery and a culture which says the quality of life and simple pleasures are more important than material progress

Alnwick, Northumberland – a quintessential English town and you can’t ever get a more stimulating blend of countryside, wild coastline and amazing castles; it’s great in all weathers

Great Blasket, Dingle peninsula, Ireland – this is the most western point in Europe, it’s wild and the weather can be dreadful but there is atmosphere in abundance; every Englishman should learn Irish history from a native Irishman standing on these sea-tossed shores

Sicily – there is over two thousand years of history here with Ancient Greek and Norman remains. The coast is stunning and the interior far more lush than you’d expect. There is also a palpable sense of the mafia’s shadow with a thriving culture of tax-avoidance. And the holiday-maker will see obvious poverty and that is an important reminder of how the world is.

My garden, when everyone else in the family has gone away – having the chance to retreat into your own space is a luxury. I work on my garden so that it is a beautiful place to sit and also a place to potter if I want to empty my mind.

Top 5 tips for writing a debut novel

Plan the plot carefully in advance but do not be afraid to let it develop its own shape during the course of writing.

Imagine the characters as rounded people and never allow them to behave out of character. Instead, rework the mechanics of the plot if necessary.

Draft, re-draft and re-draft again, looking out for the patterns of meaning which you (or your sub-conscious) have laid down and highlight or suppress them as you think appropriate.

Direct speech should be used sparingly; it rarely helps drive the plot forward but should reveal depths of character and motivation.

The ‘Great Literary Equation’: (plot + character + setting) x language = themes. The values of these components may change from genre to genre but this reminds you that what you want to leave the reader with at the end of your book is a fresh perspective on the ideas that the novel explores.

Big thanks to David for joining me today!

Blog Tour: The Girl I Used to Know by Faith Hogan @GerHogan @aria_fiction

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 1, 2017

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

I’m so excited to be the stop on the blog tour for The Girl I Used to Know today! I have an extract to share with you all.

Chapter 2

December 31 – Wednesday

‘It’s just a scrape, that’s all.’ Tess hated that her voice sounded so small here. It was the machines of course, buzzing, humming and occasionally beeping, eating up the static silence of her little cubicle. The A&E at St. Mel’s city hospital was hushed, ready for impending invasion by the Dublin City revellers, wounded in various, often-unaccountable ways for the sake of auld lang syne.

It was New Year’s Eve and this was not where she planned to spend it; not that she had any plan at all. It was a long time since Tess had anywhere she wanted to be for New Year’s, Christmas, or indeed her birthday. These days she told herself it suited her, but she was too wise not to remember what it was like to be part of something more.

Tess eyeballed the doctor. He was young, maybe a bit of a smart-arse, but she put him in his place when he mispronounced her name and again when he stumbled over her prescription. ‘I’m going home now. Either stitch me up, or give me a needle and I’ll do it myself.’ She swung her legs as smoothly as she could off the trolley that they had allocated to her almost three hours earlier. ‘For goodness sake, you’ll have all sorts in here soon.’

It was fuss over nothing. So, there was a bit of blood, but nothing broken on this occasion. Tess had tripped, that was all there was to it. A bloody cat wandering through her legs in the dark. It could happen to anyone. Of course, the fact that she had a broken wrist made her look as though she was always in the wars. The broken wrist had occurred just over a month before, but she had been sensible, had the X-ray, got the bandage and gone on her not so merry way. She blamed the damned heavy cast for throwing her off balance. It had made her feel a little light-headed. It had been dark and the last thing she’d expected was to have a cat in her little porch. That was how she’d ended up in here again. For the second time in the same emergency ward; same flipping cat, only this time when she fell she managed to land against the front door and shattered every last piece of glass in the long thin side panel. Nothing broken, this time, but there was plenty of blood and, Tess knew, you couldn’t be too careful with old glass.  She’d called the bugger every name under the sun; if she got her hands on him there was no telling what she might have done to him. In the ambulance, she’d groaned at her own stupidity and the zealous EMT began to check for everything from aneurism to zinc deficiency. She cursed under her breath, she was just a stupid old woman and there was no cure in this hospital for that particular condition.

‘So, you live on your own, Mrs, ah, Miss… Tess?’

‘On my own, of course I…’ then it dawned on her. They were treating her as if she was in shock, a head injury. They would never let her home if they thought she was on her own. It was the New Year, even if she wasn’t inundated with social invitations, she was damned if she was spending it in this place. ‘Of course, I don’t, my… husband will be so worried about me, so will you let me go home now?’ There was never a husband, but there might have been, once, long ago – but then he’d married Nancy and that was that.

‘Ah, Tess.’ A vaguely familiar-looking older man arrived, clipboard in hand. ‘You won’t remember me, Dr Kilker, I treated you last time round.’ He smirked at the hard plaster on her wrist. She disliked him instantly, had a feeling he knew something she didn’t and that just got up her nose. ‘So, you’ve been in the wars again? What was it this time, kissing the ground instead of kicking it?’ He moved closer to her, inspected the wound. He smelled of garlic mixed with a hint of tobacco, and aftershave clinging to survive on a ten-hour hospital shift, it drifted from him being so close.

‘No, for your information, I was the victim of an intruder,’ Tess snapped.

‘Half a dozen stitches should see you straight.’ He raised a sceptical eyebrow.

‘Finally,’ Tess grunted towards the younger doctor.

‘Now, be a good girl and sit still while I put it right.’ Dr Kilker silenced her while he tacked up the wound.

It was infuriating to be spoken to as if she were a child.

‘How did you really manage it, Tess?’ He asked as he stood back to admire his neat stitches.

‘There was a flipping cat in a dark porch; it could happen to the Pope himself.’

‘I suppose it could, but then, he’s not wearing a cast, is he?’ he said lightly. ‘No dizziness or blackouts? Nothing odd or strange going on that we should hear about?’

‘No, nothing like that.’ Tess glared at him. She wasn’t stupid. She knew when to see a doctor. ‘Maybe just a little too much seasonal cheer for my own good.’ She had just had a small nip before she went to lock up the flat for the night.

About the Author:

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Website|Twitter|Facebook|Instagram

Blog Tour: And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills @LilacMills @NeverlandBT


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 30, 2017

Publisher: Lilac Tree Books

Genre: Chick Lit

Blurb: 

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas is just around the corner!

 

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.

I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for And a Sixpence for Luck today! I have a fabulous guest post from the author to share.

Guest Post:
Most of us like routines, and most of us stick to them, whether it be a regular game of squash on a Thursday night (nope, not me), or going out for a drink with friends on the third Saturday in every month (that’s more like it!), we all tend to do set things, at set times, on set days.

Now, some of us have no choice – like having to get the kids ready for school and/or going to work – and others, such as my elderly mother, enjoy the familiarity of knowing what they will be doing today when they get up in the morning.

As for me? I’m the Routine Queen. I wouldn’t be able to survive without one! Aside from the work thing (meh!) which I can’t avoid if I want to pay the bills, now that I’ve become an author as well I find I have more and more to shoehorn into my day.

I start at 6am (before that if I wake earlier), and quickly check my emails to make sure nothing untoward has happened overnight (it never really does…), then a swift look on social media, and a glance at the sales figures (I often have to psych myself up to do that), then I give myself a stern talking to get myself to write, because if I was left to my own devices, I’d sit and read a couple of chapters of someone else’s hard work instead of concentrating on my own.

Then the family decide to come downstairs purely to annoy me. Okay, that’s a lie – they’ve got to get ready to face their own working day, but it feels like they’re interrupting my stream of thought on purpose.

As usual, I leave it to the very last minute to hop into the shower, and then it’s a frantic dash to get to work on time.

During my lunchbreak I write if I can find a quiet corner to hide in, or I do some marketing and promotional stuff, or check my emails again (and sales, but I don’t want to talk about it because it sounds as if I’m slightly obsessed), if all the quiet corners have been appropriated by others wanting to hide from their managers for five sneaky minutes.

Then, finally home-time and some peace to write a few words more before the family descend on me again, demanding to be fed, and wanting to have clean clothes for tomorrow, and annoying stuff like that. At the end of a long day I get to luxuriate in the bath and, if the mood takes me, I scribble away some more, but it’s not easy balancing my phone on the edge of the bath, and paper tends to get a bit soggy from all the steam.

But if I’m really tired then I crawl into bed, and try to sleep. I say “try” because those darned voices in my head are louder than an elephant snoring, and sometimes they won’t let me snooze until they’ve had their say.

Ah well, I’m not going to knock it, because without the characters in my head I’d not have any stories to write, and writing stories, I’ve found, has become a bit of addiction.

 

 About the Author:


Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!
She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…
When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.
Website: http://www.lilacmills.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilacmills

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/LilacMills/

 

 

Blog Tour: The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne @Abigail_Author @Bloodhoundbook


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: November 13, 2017

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Blurb: 

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.


Unbeknown to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.


Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?


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

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Puppet Master! I have a guest post from the author to share today. 


Guest Post:

Why I used Scrivener to Write ‘The Puppet Master’

 

There is no doubt that you can use the good old-fashioned pen and paper or even just a blank word document to write a novel. But my full-time job is centred upon using technology to make lives easier for people with disabilities. So, I feel drawn to using software and apps in my writing process. Scrivener is the most important of these when writing my book.

 

I tried to use just MS Word to write my book but I don’t like to write in order. I write the scene that is in my head at the time. This was causing me to feel chaotic as I would either have 20 word documents with different scenes or I would have to spend time navigating an excessively long document where nothing was in order and I kept losing sections or repeating myself. This was too stressful and after some research, the answer to my prayers came in the form of Scrivener. I’m not going to go into too much depth as you can find all you need to know about Scrivener on YouTube and lots of writing blogs. But for me, Scrivener is great because it allows me to break my work down into sections, even chapters or sub chapters. Whatever way you want to break your ideas down it gives you a visual and easy way to do it. These sections are then represented by a post-it note on a virtual cork board. Which means I can move sections around and reorder them any way I want, without having to copy and paste anything and I don’t lose anything or repeat anything because work is organised and accessible very easily. I can easily flick between sections and add things here and there.

 

The other way it works for me is that I can set word targets and it will let me know when I have reached my goal. This helps with productivity as I can feel like I’ve accomplished something when I meet my target and I am less likely to write until I burn out which will then stop me writing for days. I break up writing periods so that I can write little and often. It also allows me to analyse my own work and make notes of things I need to add or change without having to do this in the manuscript. Goodbye yellow highlights and caps locks in the document and the worry I hadn’t deleted them all!

 

Scrivener also has the capacity to hold your research. You can easily add word documents and pictures to your research sections. By using this, I was able to have a section for each character and the locations. This was beneficial because it means when writing a section about a particular character, I can have the picture I selected as my influence on how they would look on the screen as well as my manuscript. This is great for helping write detailed descriptions and saved me time printing everything out or flicking between the picture and my writing. It kept me in the zone and help with my visualisation of what I was writing about.

 

These are the main things I love about Scrivener but it has a lot more to offer than what I’ve described. It even has a handy little name generator which is fascinating and fun to play with. I would definitely give this software a try even just for your first draft. It’s not too expensive and if it works for you it can be the key to unlocking that novel hiding within you.

 About the Author:


Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree and also met her husband. She is a passionate reader and has an unsustainable collection of books. This obsession with books has led to her creating her own Dewey decimal system and she has been known to issue fines to family and friends if her book is not returned on time. ‘The Puppet Master’ is Abigail’s debut novel and has unleashed a passion for writing. When not writing or reading Abigail is usually playing her violin or hiding from her much too energetic cats. She also works as a Needs Assessor for disabled university students in the West Midlands.

https://www.facebook.com/abigailosborneauthor/

https://twitter.com/Abigail_Author?lang=en-gb

http://abigailosborne.co.uk/

Blog Tour: The Forgotten Child by Anita Davison @AnitaSDavison @Aria_Fiction


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: November 1, 2017

Publisher: Aria Fiction 

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Blurb: 

The forgotten children of London are going missing, apparently being sold by their own families. Can she save them before it’s too late…


Flora Maguire’s life is perfect – a beautiful home in Belgravia teeming with servants, a loving husband, and new baby Arthur to enjoy. But when she is invited to tour St Philomena’s Children’s Hospital in deprived Southwark, she gets a harsh insight into the darker side of Edwardian London.


Shocked by the conditions people are living in, she soon uncovers a scandal with a dark heart – children are going missing from the hospital, apparently sold by their own families, and their fate is too awful to imagine. With the police seemingly unable or unwilling to investigate, Flora teams up with the matron of the hospital, Alice Finch, to try to get to the bottom of it.


Soon Flora is immersed in the seedy, dangerous underbelly of criminal London, and time is running out to save the children. Will they get to them in time, or was their fate decided the day they were born poor…

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Forgotten Children! I have an extract to share today. 


Extract: 

Chapter 1

London, September 1904


Flora tilted her hat over her left eye and pouted at her reflection in the mirror above the mantelpiece. Bunny appeared at her shoulder and plucked a sheet of pasteboard propped against the clock.

‘That’s the third time you’ve scrutinized that card in the last hour.’ She frowned as she returned the grey velvet confection to its original position.

‘Don’t you find it strange that we’ve been invited to tour a hospital neither of us has ever heard of?’ He tapped the card against his thumbnail. ‘Incidentally, I like that hat the other way.’

‘St Philomena’s Hospital is a charity founded by a wealthy philanthropist to provide medical care for children of the poor.’ Sighing, she adjusted the hat again.

‘An admirable endeavour, no doubt, but why have we been invited?’ He pushed his spectacles further up his nose with a middle finger and tucked the card into his inside pocket. ‘If Arthur became ill, we’re unlikely to take him to a hospital in Southwark.’

Flora suppressed a shiver at the mention of illness in respect of their infant son, who currently enjoyed chubby good health. ‘Charities are always looking for funds; maybe they regard Mr Ptolemy Harrington, Solicitor at Law, as a viable proposition?’

‘Trust you to get to the bottom of the thing.’ Bunny joined her by the front door being held open by their butler. ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t rather go in the motor car?’

‘No, and it’s too late to change your mind, the taxi is already here.’ She smiled at his downcast expression that was so like Arthur’s. ‘And Southwark is hardly a suitable place to leave your beloved Aster, no matter how many street urchins you pay to watch it.’

‘Taxi it is, then.’ Bunny handed her inside the motor taxi that idled at the kerb whilst giving the house a slow appraising glance through the window.

The façade of Portland stone that rose four floors from the street always sent a possessive thrill up Flora’s spine. A pair of Ionic columns flanked a shiny black-painted front door with a set of railed stone steps that descended into basement kitchens equipped with the latest innovations Flora had insisted upon. Aware of what life was like in the servants’ hall at her childhood home, Cleeve Abbey in Gloucestershire, with its outdated facilities, she had been determined to make her own servants’ lives a little easier. She had unwisely expressed this sentiment in the presence of her mother-in-law, the memory of whose contempt still made Flora’s cheeks burn.

The taxi headed east along Victoria Street, past the Catholic cathedral and around Parliament Square, past monumental buildings that represented the might of the British Empire.

On the far side of Westminster Bridge, Portland stone and red brick gave way to wood and steel of the industrial area of the city, deteriorating more with each mile. The taxi’s route took them in a wide circle and back to the river where the sparkling new structure of Tower Bridge reached into a darkening sky.

‘It’s hard to believe we’re only three miles from Belgravia.’ Flora wiped a gloved hand to clear the mist on the rain-streaked taxi window as they entered Quilp Street and passed beneath a wrought-iron archway that displayed the words St Philomena’s Hospital for Sick Children.

The hospital was a solid, rectangular building with a mansard roof that squatted amongst its less imposing neighbours like an elegant woman who had known better days; the red brick having faded to a dirty russet colour by forty years of coal smoke from the surrounding factories and tanneries.

‘Is that baking I can smell?’ She sniffed appreciatively at an enticing aroma of burned sugar that seeped into the cab.

‘Probably. The Peek Frean’s factory is one of the main employers in this area,’ Bunny said, handing her out of the cab. ‘They call this place “Biscuit Town”.’

Their heads down against a sudden rainstorm, they ran for the entrance, splashing through puddles that soaked their feet, and exploded into the entrance hall laughing delightedly. A group of ladies in wide-brimmed hats and black-suited gentleman gave the newcomers slow, appraising looks, some curious, others of bored disinterest, before going back to their conversations.

Bunny handed the porter who held open the door for them the printed invitation that had so perplexed him earlier.

‘Mr and Mrs Harrington, is it?’ He squinted at the square of pasteboard. ‘As you can see, we have quite a few visitors today, but someone will be here shortly to show you around.’

About the Author:


Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

 

Anita’s Blog – http:thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anita.davison

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AnitaSDavison