Extracts

The Five Things – Beth Merwood

Today I am sharing an extract from The Five Things by Beth Merwood, as part of her blog tour. Many thanks to Beth for allowing me to share this extract, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.

Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.

When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

perf5.000x8.000.indd

EXTRACT:

In this extract, it’s the school summer holiday of 1969. Wendy has heard stories about the fields and the wood where she and her friends like to play. She believes her older brother also knows a few tales – he would have played there too when he was younger. She’s trying to tease some stories out of him. The fields and the wood, and the mystery about them, are to be key to the events of the summer.

The next afternoon, Philip and I were at home. He asked if I wanted to go shrimping. We gathered up the nets, found a large bucket, and set off for the rock pools that appeared at the far end of the beach at low tide. We walked to the end of the sea wall, beyond the breakwaters, and past the camp on the cliff.

“Do you think there’s anyone up there?” I said.

“Can’t hear anyone.”

“It’s a good camp, isn’t it?”

“Not bad.”

I knew Philip admired it, but being older meant he had to be a little dismissive too. We took off our plimsolls and paddled through the shallow water to the first stranded rocks. We began sweeping our nets beneath their overhangs, under the weed, and into the pools that had formed between them.

“I suppose you kids are going to Bridges’ fields?” Philip said.

“Sometimes.”

“There’s a lot of stories about those fields, you know.”

“I know. I’ve heard some stories.”

“And some people say the wood is haunted.”

“Haunted?”

“Yeah.” Philip’s net came up jumping with glistening shrimps. “Look, there’s tons here! Come and help me.” We knelt on the sand and carefully sorted them out. Most went into the bucket, but we’d been taught to return the small ones and also any females that were carrying eggs.

Philip was soon striding on ahead toward the next cluster of rocks. I followed, almost having to run to keep up.

“What stories do you know?” I asked, keen to hear some tales I could pass on.

“About the fields? I can’t really tell you.”

“Why not?” I said.

“I’ll tell you when you’re older.”

“Tell me now!”

“Look, there’s a hermit crab!”

“Let me see.” The tiny creature was scuttling across the drying sand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Five Things - BethMBeth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Instagram

Twitter

Website

Facebook

Make sure you visit the other blogs joining the tour to find out more about The Five Things.

The Five Things Full Tour Banner

Extracts

Maltese Steel – Stuart Field

I am joining the blog tour today for Maltese Steel by Stuart Field, and have the honour of sharing an extract from the book with you all. Many thanks to Stuart for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A woman is found dead on the island of Gozo. The cops say she fell from the Azure Window tourist spot, but her father thinks otherwise.

CIA Section Chief Foster needs help to prove it was murder, so he turns to the only person he knows can get the job done: John Steel.

The Hive, securely seated under the US Embassy on the island of Malta, is an operation that monitors all passage from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe and the US. A platform that requires the latest in technology and facial recognition.

In seven days, that software will be updated. In two days, all hell will break loose. And the clock is ticking for an attack on American soil.

Together with the beautiful Sammara Malk of Mossad, can Steel find out who killed Lucy – and stop whoever is behind the impending attack?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Maltese-Steel-Main-File(1)

EXTRACT:

This extract is from the beginning of the book. John Steel realizes that his Mission in New York is over, and he must return to MI8 back in Britain.

John Steel had taken a cab back to his apartment. The ride was quiet and uneventful. The cabby had talked most of the way. Steel had not taken much notice and had replied with some friendly-sounding grunts. As the yellow Ford pulled up outside the address, Steel paid then climbed out onto the sidewalk. Steel watched the cab car’s taillights disappear into the mass of traffic that was moving slowly like some cumbersome beast. Steel entered the vast brick monstrosity built in the 30s – all redbrick and windows. Steel considered it had more class than the modern steel and glass buildings. It had character. Like the Cromwellian mansion he had lived in back home in England. Unfortunately, Steel was the son of an Earl since his parent’s murder years ago, which had passed to him and the family company. But Steel was not one for titles. He wasn’t a businessman. He was a soldier, an investigator, and now a cop. Steel was greeted by a doorman who tipped his cap to Steel and opened the door for him. Steel nodded a greeting and entered. He was home. Inside, the lobby was filled with a white marble floor and high arched ceilings. The reception desk was topped with black marble, and the front was polished oak. Steel walked over at the two men behind the desk, said his good mornings, and retrieved his keys. Steel had thought that taking his keys may be a bad idea if things went wrong. Luckily, his instinct had been correct, and he saved himself a hefty fine for losing them. He took the elevator up, using the time to think. Steel lived on the top floor, with a terrace view of the park and the city. As he opened the front door, the crisp conditioned air felt good against his skin. He closed his eyes for a moment and enjoyed the temperature change. He slipped off his jacket and hung it on the coat rack near the door. As he did so, his eyes scanned the open-plan loft, and he gave a comfortable smile. It was good to be home. The loft was spacious, with polished oak flooring and a mix of modern and antique furniture. The white-painted walls held various works of art but no family photographs. To the right, a staircase wound upwards to a mezzanine that was Steel’s bedroom. Behind the twisting staircase was the open-plan kitchen, which lay beneath the mezzanine. Next to the kitchen was a long corridor which contained a bathroom and several other rooms. Steel poured himself a large whisky from a drink’s cabinet in a corner near a large panoramic window, a virtual wall of glass. After the night he’d had – he needed it. Steel stood at the window and watched as a shifting orange-watercolor sky bathed everything in a dark umber. He looked down at the view of Central Park and the city. It was possibly the only time he was thankful for the family money. It gave him the freedom to do what he wanted without restrictions and also guaranteed the best rooms or seats on flights. But it was also a reminder for him. Steel had survived the attack on the family estate. His family had not. He was alone in the world. But his pain gave him purpose. Steel had gone to New York to find those responsible. An organization called SANTINI. But they had gone underground. Disappeared. But he knew he would see them again. It was just a matter of time. Steel thought about one of SANTINI’s agents – a man called Mr. Williams, who he had encountered on his first mission with the NYPD, not that the cops were aware it was a mission. Mr. Williams was – for Steel, the epitome of the term, the bad guy. He was as sadistic as they came but somehow had a sense of honor and charisma. Somehow, through their encounters against each other, they had formed strange mutual respect. Steel knew that Mr. Williams had nothing to do with his family’s murder, possibly, Williams only saving grace. Mr. Williams had also disappeared from the limelight. But Steel knew they would be back. Steel felt tired. Drained. He took a sip from the whisky and stared out across the horizon. He had been in one place too long, and it was starting to get to him. Steel sighed. He loved the city and working with the team. But it wasn’t him. This wasn’t his life. It was a mission that had gone on for too long. Steel walked towards the kitchen to switch on the coffee machine. The machine gave an electronic whir before it began processing the mix of coffee grinds and hot water. It would take ten minutes before the brew would be ready – time enough for him to shower and freshen up. It was five in the morning. Steel knew he had a couple of hours before he had to be back at the precinct. The truth was, Brant would be happy if he did not show, and as it was, Steel did not feel much like going in anyway. He had risked his neck again and not gotten so much as a thank you for it. Sure, Steel wasn’t a glory hound. He did not care if that asshole Addams got the credit for it. But, all he had gotten was shit for it. And that was beginning to wear thin.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maltest Steel Author PhotoStuart Field is a veteran who now works in security after serving twenty-two years in the British Army. As well as working full time he writes in his spare time. Stuart was born and raised in the West Midlands in the UK. His love for travel has been an inspiration in some of his work with his John Steel thriller series. As well as future John Steel novels, Stuart is working on a new series and standalone novels.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Goodreads

Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs on the tour to read more about Maltese Steel.

Maltese Steel Full Tour Banner

Extracts

Retribution – Christina O’Reilly

I am joining the blog tour for Retribution by Christina O’Reilly today. Many thanks to Christina for allowing me to share an extract from her book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A young woman has been murdered on Ripton Beach.

DSS ‘Archie’ Baldrick and DC Ben Travers eventually identify the body as that of Lucy Martin, who has been renting a bach in the area. Her husband, Oliver, seems to know very little about his wife or her background.

What was Lucy hiding? Why has she no family or friends?

As the number of suspects mounts up, Archie begins to conclude that the real answer lies in Lucy’s dark and mysterious past, and that the murderer may be just a little too close for comfort …

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Retribution Cover_Image - Retribution

EXTRACT:

In this extract, the young woman’s cause of death has just been established as murder by drowning. Now the detectives are looking for any evidence from the crime scene at Ripton Beach.

‘There goes your rampant social life for the next few weeks – if not months,’ Archie remarked.

‘Not much loss there, boss.’ Travers squinted along the beach to where police officers swarmed like clusters of ants, each holding a plastic bag. ‘What exactly are we expecting them to find?’

Archie shrugged. ‘Anything that might belong to the dead woman, or her killer. Where are her shoes, for instance? Her bag? Her phone? Did she just wander down here without them?’ He looked back up towards the haphazard row of baches behind the dunes, noting at the same time that the placement of the body was such that none of the dwellings overlooked it. ‘And where did she walk here from?’

‘Someone could have brought her here by car,’ Travers suggested. ‘Killed her, dumped the body here and then left. There were no vehicles in the carpark early this morning.’

Archie loosened his collar and ran a hand around his sweaty neck. It was going to be another warm, muggy day. ‘Get PC Devlin to organise an incident room for us to use – his station is the size of a phone box. And we’ll need some local accommodation, at least for the next few days.’

‘Onto it, boss.’ Travers loped away across the sand to where Devlin was standing barefoot in the shallows with his uniform trousers tucked up around his knees. He bent down as Travers approached and then suddenly stood up again, waving a streaming object triumphantly in the air.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Retribution - Author photo 1Christina is a writer and professional proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Four of her short stories have been published, one in a magazine and the others in anthologies produced by Page and Blackmore, Rangitawa Publishing and most recently in Fresh Ink: Voices from Aotearoa, produced by Cloud Ink Press.

As well as being a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, Christina’s first crime novel Into the Void was longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an unpublished novel.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Make sure you visit the other blogs on the tour for more on Christina’s latest book.

Retribution Full Tour Banner

Extracts

Starting Out – J.E. Rowney

I am joining the blog tour for Starting Out by J.E. Rowney today. Many thanks to Ms Rowney for allowing me to share an extract from her book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

Violet thought midwifery training was tough, but now she has to step out onto the ward as a newly qualified midwife. She’s standing on the edge of her new life, but taking the leap is harder than she ever expected.

Living on her own for the first time, while best friend Zoe starts to build a future with soon-to-be-husband Luke, everything is changing for Violet.

Can Violet adapt and adjust, or will anxiety get the better of her?

“Starting Out” – the new book from the world of “Lessons of a Student Midwife”.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

starting out (1)

EXTRACT:

Starting Out is a new medical themed standalone novel that follows Violet, the main character from the bestselling Lessons of a Student Midwife series as she becomes a qualified midwife.

You don’t need to have read the series to enjoy this book – but I’m sure you’ll want to go back and pick it up when you’ve read Starting Out.

Here’s an extract from the opening of the book:

With Zoe sitting across the table from me in our favourite coffee shop, this could be any Monday afternoon. She has her mocha – extra hot, extra shot – and I have my latte. Anyone that’s seen us here, week-in week-out over the past three years, would think that nothing has changed at all.

They would be wrong.

Everything has changed, or at least everything is changing.

I was staying in Zoe and her fiancé Luke’s new place from when we moved out of our student house two weeks ago up until yesterday. Then the pair of them, my best friends, helped me to move my small collection of belongings across the small town we live in, into my new home.

Three years at uni, three years of living together, and now it’s just me, alone in a one-bedroom flat.

And there are more changes to come.

“Did you sleep alright after we left?” Zoe asks.

She’s got her flame red hair tied back in her I’m-a-professional-teacher-now ponytail, and it bobs forward, dangerously close to the foam on her latte as she leans towards me. She started her new job last week, fresh out of teacher training and straight into a great job in a high school five minutes from where she lives. She worked hard, got her first-class degree and she deserves every ounce of success.

Did I sleep alright? I don’t want her to worry about me, I never want her to worry about me, so instead of telling her that I went to bed at ten, but ended up lying awake, looking at the ceiling for two hours before giving up and taking the duvet through to my new sofa in my new living room and lounging in front of my new television. Apart from the duvet, of course none of the things are actually new. They are all just new to me. Second-hand new, that sums up my life right now.

I shrug and make an indistinct grunting noise in response.

“You’re going to get used to it so quickly, Vi,” she says. “You’ll wonder how you ever put up with living with us for so long once you’re settled in.”

It was inevitable really that once we left our student accommodation Zoe would move in with Luke. Her fiancé. I haven’t even had time to get used to that change, never mind adjust to renting a flat on my own. They’ve been engaged for two months, but they’re already planning the wedding. It’s September now, and they’re aiming to get married in December. So soon, but somehow it seems so right.

No, she’s not pregnant. It’s nothing like that. They are hopelessly, completely in love though. Two years together and nothing but good times. I can only hope that one day I find something similar. For now though, I live vicariously through Zoe’s happiness. She’s been my best friend since we were toddling around at nursery and I’ve never seen her as happy as she is now.

“Living with you and Luke was the best,” I say. Before she can cut in and apologise for moving on with her life, I start my next sentence. “I know you needed to get a place together. That’s what couples do, isn’t it?”

“Oh Violet, I –”

I shake my head. The last thing I want is to make my best friend feel bad because she has an amazing, happy relationship and I am a sad old spinster. I’m twenty-one, there’s plenty of time, I’m sure. I’m not sad, I’m not very old, and right now I don’t particularly care whether I end up as a spinster or not. I’ve not had much luck in relationships so far, but right now I have something else to focus on. Something much more important than any man. Especially Him.

“Hey,” Zoe says, snapping my attention back towards her. “You’re not thinking about him, are you?”

Him. It’s been six months, but something about That Guy is still niggling away at me. Not because I have residual feelings for him; I don’t. He made me feel wonderful, and then he stripped that away from me and left me feeling, well pretty worthless.

“No point really, is there?” I jab my fork into the remains of the Bakewell slice on the plate in front of me, and stuff it into my mouth.

“No,” she says. “There isn’t.” Zoe sighs and reaches out to put her hand onto mine. “This is a time for new beginnings. For both of us. You’re in your new flat, we’re both starting out in our careers.” She says that last word in a mock-posh accent, letting go of me to raise her fingers in mock quotation marks. It does all sound very grown up, but I suppose that’s what we are now.

“To be honest, I’m terrified,” I tell her. My eyes meet hers, searching for reassurance.

“Of what? The flat? Starting work?”

“I meant work, but yes, I guess I’m terrified of living on my own and having to act like an adult.”

Even though my face is deadpan, Zoe grins.

“Nobody said that we have to act like adults,” she says, dipping the end of her spoon into her mocha and flicking foam at me.

“Oi!” My protest must appear very feeble seeing as I can’t stop myself from laughing. I dab the chocolatey froth off my nose and reach out to tickle her beneath her ribs. I know that’s her most vulnerable area, and she knows very well that I know. She crunches her body to avoid my fingers, and I almost fall off my chair trying to gain purchase.

“Okay, okay,” she laughs. “Truce?”

“For now,” I smile.

Twenty-one years old, a qualified midwife, but still an immature idiot. I’ll take it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Starting Out Author PhotoJ.E. Rowney spent several years in the cold Yorkshire hills, but now lives on the south coast of England. She spent ten years working as a midwife before turning in her gloves to become an author.

She is an award winning poet, and also enjoys writing short stories. In May 2020 she was the winner of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.

“Charcoal”, her first novel, was published in 2012 to wide critical acclaim, and was a bestselling novel on Amazon within days of release.

She spends lots of time writing in coffee shops, so if you see her, say hello.

Ms. Rowney says: “I always dreamed of being a writer, until I realised that I was. Then I started to write.”

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

BookBub

Make sure you visit the other blogs on the tour for more on Ms Rowney’s latest book.

Starting Out Full Tour Banner

Extracts

The Woman In The Woods – J.E. Rowney

Happy Publication Day to J.E. Rowney, who’s latest psychological thriller, The Woman In The Woods is released today. I have the honour of sharing an extract of the book with you all as part of the publication day festivities.

BLURB:

Seb is an asshole. Katie is an angel.

When Seb’s night-time activity stretches their relationship to its limits, the couple decide to take a last-chance holiday to see if there’s anything left to be fixed.

The cabin looked idyllic, but behind the soft furnishings and fluffy throws there’s a creeping sense of unease.

They thought they were fighting for their relationship – will they end up fighting for their lives?

You can purchase your copy of The Woman In The Woods HERE

the woman in the woods cover

EXTRACT:

The road to the cabin takes us through Culloton. It’s one of those nowhere places. A name on a map. A village you’d only be aware of if you were a local. The village is not on any route to anywhere. The curtains are closed in the tiny windows of the tiny terraced cottages that line the narrow road. The streetlights seem dimmer here than they do back home. I’d like to say that it’s atmospheric, but really it feels plain eerie, like any minute a fog is going to descend and zombies are going to come thundering down the road. The image isn’t helped by the creepy ass sign that hangs outside the only building with a light on.

Something about it catches my attention.

“Watch the road!” Katie says, nudging me unnecessarily as I turn my head to do a double take.

“Weird name for a pub.” I nod my head towards the rear-view mirror.

She shuffles around in her chair to look over her shoulder.

“Not really,” she says, sounding disappointed. Disappointed in me, not disappointed by the pub. Disappointed that I raised her expectations. You’d think she would be used to it.

‘The Woman in the Woods’. Maybe it’s not such a weird name, but something about it gave me a chill. Must have been my melodramatic, zombie-creating brain at work. If you have a dull life and dull thoughts, you have to start making things up.

“Maybe we can come down for drinks one night?” I take a shot at turning things around.

Katie grunts a response that could mean yes or no. I give up.

She’s got her feet up on the dashboard now. I’ve told her, more than once, not to do that, but she doesn’t listen. That’s a lie. She clearly did listen, because she’s taken her shoes off. Instead of her dirty Birkenstocks, she’s resting her bare soles on the dash. She’s got the seat pushed back as far as it will go, but she’s still scrunch-folded, trying to fit into position in the tiny space.

I can’t let myself get too pissed off about it; I’m concentrating on the road, trying to work out where the turning is. My satnav has already given up trying to guide me. The satellite connection is almost non-existent out here.

“Hey,” Katie says. She jabs a finger into my arm like a small blunt dagger. “Hey,” she repeats as she prods.

I take a hand off the wheel and bat at her as if she were a mosquito.

“Quit it.” I glance at her quickly, looking for long enough to catch her expression. That miserable sulky look I’ve come to know and hate. That look is one of the reasons we are here.

“Answer me then,” she buzzes.

I take a deep breath and try to remember what it was that she asked me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author photo jerowneyJ.E. Rowney spent several years in the cold Yorkshire hills, but now lives on the south coast of England. She spent ten years working as a midwife before turning in her gloves to become an author.

She is an award winning poet, and also enjoys writing short stories. In May 2020 she was the winner of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.

“Charcoal,” her first novel, was published in 2012 to wide critical acclaim, and was a bestselling novel on Amazon within days of release.

She spends lots of time writing in coffee shops, so if see her, say hello.

Ms. Rowney says: “I always dreamed of being a writer, until I realised that I was. Then I started to write.”

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

download (1)

Extracts

The Lazarus Child – Jay Raven

I am joining the blog tour for The Lazarus Child by Jay Raven today. Many thanks to Jay for allowing me to share an extract from the book, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

To save his missing daughter a distraught slayer must venture deep into the heart of darkness

Legendary vampire hunter Anton Yoska is on the edge, tormented by the rumour that the precious child he once thought dead is still alive and lost in a world of monsters.

One creature alone knows for sure what happened to Gretchen, but Terek Modjeski won’t divulge his secret – revelling in the twisted power over his long-time foe.

Despairing and drinking heavily, Anton stumbles from near disaster to near disaster as he puts his team in jeopardy, testing their friendship and loyalty to snapping point.

Only one diabolical solution is possible – to confront Terek in his maximum security cell and force the bloodsucker to end his game of cat and mouse. But making the cunning infernal talk will mean employing brutal methods that go against every code Anton has ever lived by, forcing him to become as much of a demon as the leeches he hunts.

Face to face with the evil, taunting vampire, the desperate slayer takes a decision that will change his destiny forever – sending him hurtling into danger to confront a terrifying truth about his lost child that risks not only his sanity but the future of mankind.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

TLC KINDLE ARTWORK

EXTRACT:

In this extract, slayer Anton Yoska and his sidekick Quintz arrive at a chilling location, led there by captive vampire Terek Modjeski 

No-one knew for sure when The Sorcerer’s Circle had been constructed. The mysterious ring of granite monoliths was rumoured to date back long before the Roman occupation of Transylvania. Some believed it had been the court of a Dacian monarch, or the remnants of a fortification, others argued that it was a vast calendar hewn from rock where ancient priests worshipped, tracking the changing stars, cataloguing their seasonal movements across the heavens.

All Anton Yoska knew was that, in the mid evening darkness, the massive bleached standing stones gave him a deep sense of foreboding, as though evil dwelt in the 50-metre central void; the wind that howled through the gaps in the structure swirling around the interior, creating disturbing banshee moans.

From up close, he couldn’t help picturing the weather-beaten pillars as a council of elders, meeting in a huddle to devise laws and to dish out judgements on those who had transgressed.

And what a fitting place to be judged and found wanting, he thought, grimly. But guilty of what?

Turning to Terek Modjeski, he demanded: “Okay, bloodsucker, we’re here. It’s time to start talking, if you hope to live a minute longer. Why have you brought us to this God-forsaken spot?”

Although his legs were still shackled, hands bound closely together, the vampire managed to stretch as languorously as any lazy cat.

“To set the scene,” he replied, “so that you can imagine what it was like to be here five years ago. As I was, when I witnessed what took place that wondrous night.” He paused a half second for effect. “When your darling daughter Gretchen was auctioned off to the highest bidder.”

Anton couldn’t help himself, he staggered back, drawing in huge lungfuls of air, dizziness hitting him as surely as any blow.

“You’re lying,” Quintz spat, spinning to tell the slayer: “Don’t listen to him. It’s another of his sick fantasies.”

“Is it?” Terek challenged smoothly. “Why should I lie? What would I gain from it?”

He reached out to touch the nearest stone, fingers caressing the roughness of its surface, and its coldness; feeling a strange kinship with its unyielding, emotionless solidity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TLC Jay Raven 5Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour to find out more about The Lazarus Child.

The Lazarus Child Full Tour Banner

Extracts

Trials & Tribulations of a Pet Sitter – Laura Marchant

As part of the blog blitz for Trials & Tribulations of a Pet Sitter, Laura Marchant is kindly letting me share an extract of the book with you all – many thanks for this Laura. Thanks also to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

​Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her life. But it’s not all fun and games. With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

​At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time. The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

​Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter Cover

EXTRACT:

I started referring to my car as the Ark; a means for transporting the animals two by two. Needless to say numerous disasters have occurred within the confines of the Ark. The incident with ‘Jess the Weimeraner’ was one of the most worrying, yet hilarious at the same time;

On occasions, and not surprisingly, there has been the odd bit of drama played out within the confines of the Ark, that required an industrial cleaning operation. One such incident stands out above the rest; it involved Rocky, and Jess an unspayed young Weimaraner, another dog that I had inherited from Carol. During a phone call Carol informed me that although she was due to board Jess, she had found herself in a position where she had more dogs than she could manage- cue me. Consequently, I naively agreed to take Jess off her hands and that was without ever having met the dog before,  but at the time Carol was desperate and I felt obliged. The fact that Jess was unspayed was a concern to me especially as Rocky was still intact. Although Brad had said that he was going to get Rocky castrated, he had not actually got round to getting it done. Personally I think he found the whole notion off putting. However, Carol had been assured by the owner that the fact Jess was unspayed would not be a problem, as she was nowhere near her next season. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one!

Jess checked in. From the word go she was extremely hard work, all the negatives of bad dog behaviour rolled into one; strong, extremely boisterous, out of control and not responding to any commands. Brece was not in the least bit amused. Jess is the type of dog that would never pass her vetting process had she not slipped under the radar. It was regrettable that I had ever agreed to look after the crazy Weimaraner; I couldn’t help thinking that somehow, I had been stitched up like a kipper!

To set the scene it was a warm day, late 2011, unusually warm for the time of year. I had herded the dogs into the Ark ready for our morning walk. Brece jumped into her usual position of the front foot-well, then I opened the back door and Jess jumped in, rapidly followed by Rocky who seemed very keen to be in Jess’s company. After which, I got myself into the driving position. Before I had even put the keys into the ignition a fracas broke out behind me, a hell of a scuffle had erupted. Quickly turning around, I caught sight of Rocky trying to hump Jess in a most determined manner; utter disaster in the confines of the Ark!

Jess must have come into her season, or about to, which meant that the owner had either misled Carol or just got the timings wrong, and indeed timings can go awry. The thought of Jess’s condition made me feel queasy, especially when the recollection of her standing on top of my dining table like some sort of mountain goat, popped into my head, gross. The whining and wailing from Jess grew louder, she was clearly in distress. There was no way I could have them ‘locking’, the thought of a litter of mini Rocky’s on the planet did not bear thinking about. It certainly wasn’t going to be an easy job to separate the pair, a serious task lay ahead of me. Still sat in the driver’s seat I contemplated on how to resolve the situation.

I peered down at Brece in the front foot-well, hoping for some sort of inspiration. On this occasion, she failed to come up with the goods, but she did come up with something else. Looking up at me with her big doleful eyes she produced a massive rasping burp, then proceeded to vomit across the interior of the car. In true Jackson Pollock style, the sick splattered all over the passenger seat, the floor and inside the usual nooks and crevices of a car. To make matters worse the vomit was not your usual consistency. It was thick, greyish in colour and extremely pungent, as if she had hauled it up from her bowels.

This was all I needed, but I couldn’t allow myself to be side-tracked by Brece’s tummy upset, my priority at that moment was to get Rocky off Jess. Jumping out of the car I opened the back door and was relieved to see that the odd couple had not yet consummated their marriage, but it was not for the want of trying on Rocky’s part.

With the door ajar, Jess saw her opportunity to escape and charged out of the vehicle before I had chance to grab her. At breakneck speed she ran off down the centre of the road, obviously not too enamoured with Rocky as a potential suitor. Thank God there was no traffic about. In rapid succession I chased after her. Of course, there was no way I was going to catch up with her, she was running with the speed of a Greyhound. Then a spot of good luck came my way; Sean, my friendly postman happened to be walking along the pavement halfway down the road and ahead of Jess;

“Sean, catch that dog please, she’s okay she won’t hurt you.”

I was frantic by this time. Without considering the risk to himself, Sean gallantly charged into the middle of the road and managed to catch Jess by the collar. Definitely beyond the call of duty. My marvellous postman managed to keep hold of her until I reached him and relieved him of his extra duties.

Prior to being someone entrusted to look after people’s pets, I hadn’t given too much thought to the role of the postman. But now I look at Her Majesty’s servants in a different light. They have quite a lot on their plates; often having to run the gauntlet of being chased off properties by protective dogs, good in a crisis and always happy and affable when going about their duties, even in torrential rain. I now have a new-found respect for our friend the postman.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers! As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets. Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business. For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Twitter

Extracts

And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes – Helen Libby

Today I am joining the blog tour for And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes by Helen Libby. Many thanks Helen for allowing me to share an extract from one of these novelettes, Finding Ella. Thanks also to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads.

And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.

Ruby’s Secret

Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?

Love, Anna
Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.

Laura’s Embrace
“People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?

Finding Ella
He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.

Cassie’s Choice
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.”

What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

And Then She Shines 3

EXTRACT:

 This extract is taken from the first chapter of Finding Ella.

I remember my husband, I remember my husband, I remember my husband. It’s my daily mantra, because as each day passes and I still don’t remember Luke, hope dims a little more. I rub my head as if to coax out ten years’ worth of missing memories. I’m scared I’m stuck this way, in my head a twenty-four-year-old administrator with a boyfriend called Oliver; to the world a thirty-four-year-old writer with a husband called Luke. My doctor says my memory could return at any moment, but Luke’s face each morning when he realises I still don’t remember him makes me feel like a failure.

I scrutinise myself again in the hand-held mirror a nurse gave me. Wavy shoulder-length hair, which starts off brunette and gradually changes to blonde at the ends. Is this some trend?

I have shadows under my eyes which make them look the colour of a tarnished penny, when they’re usually brighter than that. Still the same chickenpox scar on my jawline, and a newly acquired cut on my forehead.

It’s only after seeing my reflection that I’ve accepted what everyone is telling me, that it’s 2018. It’s been five days since I hit my head after tripping on some stairs in a multistorey car park (of which I remember precisely nothing), and it’s been decided that I’m now fit to go home, which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. Okay, so the cuts and bruises are healing, but mentally – emotionally – I’m not ready.

I’m going to have to live with a man who I don’t know. No one else seems to think there’s anything wrong with this, not Luke, nor my mum, not the neurologist, nor the nurse I’ve got quite friendly with. They all say going home is a good thing, whilst the only thing I want to do is see Olly.

I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t sitting by my bedside when I first woke up. Mum later told me that we broke up almost ten years ago, and to be honest I wasn’t all that surprised. We were more like roommates towards the end. I’d love to see him again – another familiar face – but I daren’t tell anyone that. I don’t think it would go down very well.

So go “home” I must and the only way I can get through it is by pretending I’m playing a part. Luke’s on his way to pick me up. Mum, Tom (Luke’s friend), and Megan (my best friend, apparently) will be waiting at the house. It doesn’t matter that Mum’s the only one I remember, it will delay the moment I have to be on my own with Luke.

Luke seems nice enough – he’s been very patient, but I feel so awkward with him. What are we going to talk about? The weather? Politics? Popular culture? Just like we have the past few days, but which freaked me out because so much has changed. In my 2008 world Gordon Brown is Prime Minister, not Theresa May; Prince Harry has had to end his stint in Afghanistan early and isn’t married to an actress; Donald Trump is still a businessman rather than the US President (how did that happen?). And as for Brexit – what?

Luke brought in some photographs, but I didn’t want to look at them; it was too weird. ‘That’s not me,’ I kept wanting to say when I saw myself in the clichéd white meringue wedding dress. I did take some comfort from the fact that I – we – looked happy in those photos.

I remember my husband, I remember my husband, I remember my husband. I will remember my husband, won’t I?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

And Then She Shines AuthorOriginally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services. To find out more, please go to: http://www.helen-edwards.co.uk

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour to find out more about this collection of novelettes.

And Then She Shines Full Tour Banner

Extracts

Lady in Red – Tessa Buckley

As part of the birthday celebrations for Tessa Buckley’s middle grade detective story, Lady in Red, I am delighted to be able to share an extract from the book with you all. Many thanks to Tessa for allowing me to do this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the festivities.

BLURB:

Pursuing the truth can be a dangerous game…

School’s out for the summer, and Eye Spy Investigations have a new case – looking for Lady in Red, a lost masterpiece by Victorian painter, Gabriel Pascoe.

The clock is ticking for Alex and Donna, because the artist’s house, Acacia Villa, where their friend Jake lives, is due to be demolished, and vital clues may be destroyed. And Alex has an additional problem: he is terrified of snakes, and Jake has a pet snake called Queenie…

As the twins pursue their enquiries, they come up against the man who wants to demolish Acacia Villa. But Mr Mortimer is the godfather of their baby half-sister, Sophie, and criticising him could open up family rifts, which have only just healed.

Then Queenie goes missing, setting in motion a disastrous train of events that will turn the search for Lady in Red into the twins’ most dangerous case yet.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

iBooks

Matador

Lady In Red Cover

EXTRACT:

Jake’s snake, Queenie, has been accidentally left behind in his old home, which is scheduled for demolition. The children find a way into the house to try and find the snake before the demolition men arrive, but will they be too late?

Just then, I heard a faint rumble from the road at the front, followed by silence. Was it the sound of a vehicle stopping outside the house? Leaving the other three to try and capture Queenie, I slipped out of the door and into the room opposite, which had a small window overlooking the street.

Sure enough, there were Mortimer’s two thugs in the front garden, but at least there was no sign of Mortimer himself. Baldie was locking the gates behind them, while Mr Muscle was walking purposefully towards the front door of No 3. He was struggling with a large piece of equipment, which was a bit like the drills that workmen use to dig up the road. It looked as if it could do a great deal of damage, and we needed to get out of the house before they started using it.

I dashed back into the bedroom. “Mortimer’s men have just entered the house next door with some sort of power drill. We need to leave now!”

Everyone ignored me. They were all focused on trying to reach the snake. Donna was frantically pulling bits of plasterboard off the pile of debris, so the snake wouldn’t be hidden from view, while Miles opened up the carrying box and Jake knelt nearby, ready to pounce when Queenie became visible. Then I started to hear noises from next door. I put my ear to the wall to try and work out what was going on. The sound of footsteps got gradually nearer, until eventually it sounded as if the men were on the other side of the bedroom wall, on the same level as us.

I was starting to get really worried. “Hurry up, Jake!” I begged. Then, just as a very noisy power tool started up next door, the snake shot out from underneath the pile of debris and started to slither over my foot. I had never seen her move so fast before – she must have been spooked by the sudden noise – and I only had a split second to make a decision: grab the snake, so we could all get out of the house before anything awful happened, or let her escape and risk wasting precious minutes trying to recapture her. Instinct took over, and I grabbed Queenie firmly with both hands.

As the others helped me bundle her into the snake box and snap the lid shut, the walls and ceiling of the room began to shake, and the floor started to reverberate.

“Come on, let’s go!” I shouted. I didn’t care if the men heard me, I just wanted to get out of there. Then, as Donna and I ran out of the room, followed by Jake carrying the box with the snake, there was an ear-splitting noise from overhead, and the ceiling caved in on top of us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lady In Red - Tessa #1Tessa Buckley was an inveterate scribbler as a child, and spent much of her time writing and illustrating stories. After studying Interior Design, she spent fifteen years working for architects and designers. She took up writing again after her young daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read. This led, in 2016, to the publication of Eye Spy, the first in a series for 9-12 year olds about two teen detectives. There are now two more books in the series: Haunted, which was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2017, and Lady in Red. She lives by the sea in Essex and recently completed an Open University arts degree.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Extracts

Stonechild – Kevin Albin

I am joining the blog tour for YA novel Stonechild by Kevin Albin today, and I am delighted to be able to share an extract of the book with you all. Many thanks to Kevin for allowing me to do this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part on the tour.

BLURB:

Where do we go to when we die? Imagine human consciousness embedded in the molecules of a statue. So, when the statues of London come to life, it is a spectacle like non other, and they come with a specific message, and an offer we cannot refuse.

As the world reels in this wonder of science and religion, Molly Hargreaves has other plans and she sets out to prove that things are not as they seem.

Chased, captured and confined, Molly confronts the statues and her own fears. But who can she convince? The people are welcoming, the Government has succumbed, and the police try to act, but how do you shoot stone and metal? Be prepared to be run ragged around London on a mystery worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

Stonechild Cover

EXTRACT:

Just a few statues have come to life in London. They are delivering their message on conservation but also chatting with the crowd, describing what life was like in their day and answering the many questions about life after death. 

Like many people in London, Nico was not born in Britain. He was Italian, and a short man of stocky build with a bulbous nose, and used his hands as much as his mouth, when speaking. He usually dressed in a tee-shirt, even when it was cold, and he worked a stall on Westminster Bridge selling tourist type things: badges and enamelled plates, umbrellas and Union flags, stickers and postcards of London, laughing, chattering plastic teeth and policemen’s helmets. Being a foreigner himself, Nico appreciated why tourists bought these mementos. He did a good trade.

He also had a prime position, on a corner of a busy street and directly underneath a popular tourist attraction, Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni.

With all the business of statues coming alive, people had gathered looking for any movement in this famous statue: a swish of a horse’s tail, a turn of a chariot wheel, or for one of her daughters to cover a breast after all these years of exposure. Nico was very happy with the increase in trade.

A tourist had asked, “Are you not worried about her coming to life, dropping down and crushing your stall?”

“Nah,” said Nico. “We’ve come to an agreement, in the interest of good business, of course.”

It was about midday when there was a swish of a horse’s tail. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stonechild AuthorI served 25 years with the police in the UK, eight years of which were with a tactical firearms team. In 2002, I took a career change, and retrained as an International Mountain Leader working across the globe guiding on mountaineering trips and expeditions.

I have led many trips to the jungles of Borneo, my favourite destination, an enchanting place that has sadly seen much deforestation. My trips were based on education and conservation.

In 2011, I won the Bronze in the Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Awards for my work..

It was whilst working on a corporate training day in London, when I pictured a statue coming to life to give my clients the answer to the clue they were working on. The rest grew from there.

My hope is that my writing will continue to spread the word on conservation and protection of all species.

I live in France.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Website

A word puzzle for the readers of Stonechild and with a prize to be drawn on the 10th December, which is Human Rights Day. Here’s the link with all the details https://kevin-albin.com/book-kevin-albin/puzzle-time-for-readers-of-stonechild/ 

Don’t forget to visit all the other blogs taking part on this tour for more information about Stonechild.

Stonechild Full Tour Banner