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: 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: 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: 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’).

Website

Giveaway: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

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.”

Website|Twitter|Facebook

Guest Post: Author Daisy James @daisyjamesbooks


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: March 8, 2017

Publisher: HQ Digital UK

Genre: Chick Lit 

Blurb: 

A knight in a shining camper van!


Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…


Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.


Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?

I have to start by wishing Daisy a happy publication day!! Read on for a lovely guest post from her and more detailed information about There’s Something About Cornwall

Guest Post: 

First of all, a huge thank you for featuring my brand new release – There’s Something About Cornwall – on your blog.

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

Apple & Caramel Loaf


 

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

South Western Distillery
I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).


Keep in touch with Daisy James on social media: 

Twitter|Facebook|Instagram

Guest Post: Author Barbara Venkataraman

In celebration of Mystery Thriller Week I have a guest post from author Barbara Venkataraman about the plotting process, very interesting especially to a non writer like me! 

About the Books: 


Books 1-3 of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series! Including:


“Death by Didgeridoo”-Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award. Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.


“The Case of the Killer Divorce”-Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It’s business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect. When she can’t untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client’s name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.


“Peril in the Park”-There’s big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can’t figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.

Goodreads|Amazon

About the Author: 


Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman, is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.


She is the author of: The Jamie Quinn mysteries; “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person”, “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, “If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of the “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” series. Both books of humorous essays won the prestigious “Indie Book of the Day” award.


Coming soon, “Jeopardy in July”–the next Jamie Quinn mystery!

Author Website
Guest Post: 

NOTHING TO SNEEZE ABOUT

Remember the last time you sneezed? There was that little itch that sent your nose into high alert. This could be the big one, you think, a real head-bobber, or it could be a tiny little nothing sneeze. Or it could be a false alarm. You just never know what to expect. There’s the build-up, then the sneeze and, finally, the feeling of relief. And then it’s over, or at least you hope so. I always sneeze three times in a row, but that’s just my thing, a little author trivia.

So, how is a sneeze like reading a mystery? Well, I’m glad you asked. Like a sneeze, the plot of a mystery starts out slowly, the tension gradually builds while the reader wonders, is something about to happen? Is this a clue? Is this a major plot development? Or is it a fake-out? For every build-up of tension in a mystery, there must be a release afterwards, a resolution to the problem and then a period of low-tension. In most books, this pattern will happen many times before the final resolution (the big sneeze!) which signals the end of the story.

Without conflict, there is no story, of course, so the writer wants to keep putting the characters in dangerous or stressful situations. A good writer keeps the reader on edge by dangling the prize in front of the protagonist and then snatching it away at the last minute, or by throwing roadblocks in the way. The author has to be subtle about it, so the obstacles vary constantly. Maybe the protagonist loses faith in herself, or is physically detained. Maybe someone she cares about has a crisis and she has to stop what she’s doing to offer help. Or maybe she’s sent on a wild goose chase or follows the wrong lead. She may wind up in physical danger, or some other kind of trouble.  

Here’s an example of a best-selling mystery plot. The novel begins with the murder of a beautiful prosecutor in her apartment. The protagonist, also a prosecutor, was her co-worker, and is assigned the case. Nobody knows that the victim was the protagonist’s former lover (raising the stakes). The protagonist’s boss is up for re-election and the murder of one of his people is embarrassing. If he loses the election, the protagonist loses his job (raising the stakes some more). The election is lost and suddenly the protagonist finds himself accused of the murder. There’s lots of evidence to implicate him: calls made from his home to hers the night of the murder, a glass with his fingerprints on it, carpet fibers, etc. The courtroom drama raises the tension even further; taking many turns along the way. But the expert testimony proves unreliable. The protagonist learns the judge had a relationship with the victim and also that the judge, the victim and his former boss all took bribes from suspects. A crucial piece of evidence for the prosecution disappears and the judge dismisses the case for lack of evidence.

But the reader still doesn’t know who killed the prosecutor! Was it the protagonist? He’s the narrator, but is he reliable? Yes, he is, and he figures out who murdered his former lover…dun dun dun! It was his angry, betrayed wife who tried to frame him. Recognize the plot? It’s Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow.

The challenge for the mystery writer is how to build the tension to a crescendo and timing is everything. Think about that horror movie trick where the girl (and the audience) is terrified because we know something bad is about to happen. We’re on the edge of our seats, our hearts are racing, and, suddenly, something scary jumps out at the girl–and it’s just a cat. Everyone lets down their guard, shakes off the nervous tension and–WHAM–the bad guy/monster/psycho/alien then attacks the girl. That twist worked great the first time we saw it, but now we’ve come to expect it.

​In my Jamie Quinn mystery series, Jamie is a reluctant family lawyer who keeps finding herself involved in murder cases. In Death by Didgeridoo, her disabled cousin is accused of murdering his music teacher; in The Case of the Killer Divorce, Jamie’s client is accused of murdering her husband, and in Peril in the Park, Jamie and her boyfriend are in danger from an evil jester who has already murdered one person. The tension rises and falls in each book while Jamie tries to figure out what’s really going on, while, at the same time, there are mysteries to solve in her personal life. Because these books are part of a series, the tension isn’t completely resolved at the end of each book. Certain story lines continue through to the next book and, in fact, each book ends with the first chapter of the next book as a teaser.

Now, I think you understand how a good mystery can be just like a sneeze. And who doesn’t like a good sneeze? It can be energizing and unexpected. But, at all costs, you want to avoid books which don’t have tension; the kind that go on and on, the ones you wish would hurry up and end already. They are like having the hiccups and nobody wants those!

​​

Thanks to Barbara for joining me today! 

Saturday Shoutout: Guest Post with D. J. Swykert @djswykert


For today’s Saturday Shoutout I have a totally fascinating guest post from author D. J. Swykert. 

Unique DNA Search Catches the Grim Sleeper

                       

 The underlying theme in The Death of Anyone, Melange Books, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify the means? Bonnie Benham, the lead detective in my story, has her own answer. But the legality of this question was answered in a real life courtroom in the California trial of a serial killer dubbed by the media: The Grim Sleeper.

 

Lonnie David Franklin, the Grim Sleeper, was caught because his son’s DNA was the closest match to DNA collected at the crime scenes in the database. Investigating Franklin’s son led them to investigate Lonnie Franklin. But there was no direct DNA evidence that linked Lonnie to the crime scene until they obtained a sample from him after his arrest. Lonnie Franklin was the first person in the U.S. to ever stand trial for murder based on this type of evidence, and its admissibility issues were thoroughly tested by defense attorneys.

 

Only two states at this time, California and Colorado, have a written policy concerning the use of Familial DNA in an investigation. The admission of Familial DNA, with its potential Fourth Amendment violations, has never been tested in court. The California trial of Lonnie David Franklin will become a landmark case for the future use of Familial DNA Searches by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Lonnie David Franklin, AKA, The Grim Sleeper, was arrested on July 7, 2010. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged him with ten counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders in the cases. A grand jury indictment was issued on March 23, 2011. The Grim Sleeper has been resting comfortably in jail since his arrest awaiting trial; the large quantity of evidence in this case, some dating back thirty years, has caused a lengthy pretrial discovery. The trial was originally scheduled to begin the summer of 2014, but was put on hold. It was rescheduled for June 30, 2015, but that didn’t happen. On Monday August 17, 2015, at a pretrial hearing, the trial was rescheduled for October 14, 2015. Finally, in the spring of 2016, The Grim Sleeper was convicted. A long appeals process, which might ultimately end up with the Supreme Court, is expected.

I first heard of the technique while working as a 911 operator in 2006. It came up in a conversation with officers. I thought at the time it would make an interesting premise for a book. I began writing the mystery some three years later after leaving the department. I had just finished editing a first draft of The Death of Anyone in the summer 2010 when news of The Grim Sleeper’s capture in Los Angeles was released. I read with interest all the information pouring out of L.A. regarding the investigation and the problems confronting prosecutors. All of which are explored in The Death of Anyone.

In my fictional story Detroit Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from working undercover in narcotics to homicide and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. She is a straight forward investigator who describes herself as a blonde with a badge and a gun. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer.

The Death of Anyone is available on the Melange Books website and also on Amazon in Kindle and print, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

Bio:


DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator writing and living in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, Sweat Street, Justice in the Street, Nude Swimming and The Death of Anyone.

Social media sites: 

Website: http://www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert

Twitter: @djswykert

Facebook: David J. Swykert