Guest Posts

A Taste of His Own Medicine – Linda Fawke

My second guest today is Linda Fawke, author of A Taste of His Own Medicine. As part of the birthday blitz for this book, I have the honour of sharing a short story that Linda has written. Thank you so much Linda for sharing this with me! Thanks also to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the celebrations.

BLURB:

How long can the desire for revenge last?

Kate Shaw, a successful pharmacist, goes to a thirty-year reunion at her old university and uses the weekend to settle some old scores. Her main target is her ex-lover, Jonathan. She decides to scar him for life as he scarred her. Her bizarre plan works but he shocks her with his strange, unwanted reaction.

What is the unexpected link between Jonathan and Kate’s husband?

What is the significance of the ‘Love Bite’ photograph?

What hold does Jonathan have over Kate?

Revenge is never simple.

A darkly humorous story of love, lust, loss and vengeance.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

A Taste of Hiw Own Medicine Front cover

GUEST POST:

The Unexpected Disappearance of Arnold Harris

Linda Fawke

‘…so Dinky Dinosaur nursed his foot and decided he would never run away again.’

Arnold looked up at the faces around him and closed the book. The children clapped. Story-time at the library was fun. Or was it? He was tired of being the entertainer. Was he even that? Routine readings of his own books, written years ago. Once, he thought they were original, had a spark about them. His publisher said he had a good descriptive talent but either over-familiarity or simple truth made him doubt it now. An ageing children’s writer, no JK Rowling. His writing income was insufficient to live on so he did part-time jobs as a handy-man.

On the bus going home, he spotted a magazine that had slipped down beside the seat. A man’s magazine. Top shelf stuff he never bought. He slid it into his briefcase for later.

He wasn’t shocked. No, he thought, neither shocked nor embarrassed. Just amazed at what you could print these days. He remembered when stickers were put over nipples on magazine covers. Seems anything goes now. There were a couple of stories, too. Erotica, he supposed they were called, more respectable than porn. They outraged him. Not because of their content but because of their bad punctuation, poor style and clumsy descriptions.

‘I could do better than that!’

He spoke out loud to the empty room. Fired with a desire to write he hadn’t felt for years, he tapped away on his computer. Where his life was lacking in experience, his imagination stepped in. There’d been a few interesting events in his handy-man jobs. The audible goings-on in the adjacent room while he was putting up some shelves; the open bedroom door he walked past; the amorous effect a few glasses of wine can have even at three o’clock in the afternoon. Nothing was wasted.

He looked up a few suitable publications and sent off his story. To his surprise, one magazine accepted it. Paid well, too. And asked what else he had written.

He could hardly admit to Dinky Dinosaur.

But there was a problem. Arnold Harris did not sound like the author of erotica. He needed a nom de plume, an alter ego.

He became Frankie Dunmore. He held his head higher, walked with a brisker step, smiled more, had a glint in his eye. Wrote in every spare moment. He felt like Frankie, liked his new persona. All the copies of his children’s books went to a charity shop and he abandoned the library. His new income helped him move to a smarter flat where he took an interest in the widow next door. Some letters from the library for Mr Harris were forwarded to his new address. He wrote Not Known on the envelopes and returned them. The librarian would be puzzled.

There was one more thing to do. He discovered it was cheap and easy to change your name by deed poll. Arnold Harris had disappeared.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

dav

Linda Fawke is an arts person who studied science but always wanted to write. Now retired, she indulges this passion, writing fiction and non-fiction, even occasional poetry, preferably late at night. She has now written two novels, ‘A Taste of his own Medicine’ and its sequel, ‘A Prescription for Madness’ using her background in pharmacy as the setting of both. These are easy books to read, suitable for Book Club discussions. ‘ A Prescription for Madness’ is more serious than the first book, dealing with such issues as pregnancy in later life and Down’s Syndrome.

She has been a winner of the Daily Telegraph ‘Just Back’ travel-writing competition and has published in various magazines including ‘Mslexia’, ‘Litro’ online, ‘Scribble’, ‘The Oldie’, ‘Berkshire Life’ and ‘Living France’. She was a finalist in the ‘Hysteria’ short story competition.

Linda blogs at http://www.linimeant.wordpress.com where her ‘Random Writings’ include a range of topics from travel to ‘Things that pop into my head’.

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Guest Posts

Mine – Alison Knight

I would like to welcome Alison Knight to my blog today, with a guest post entitled, “Who’s Truth Is It Anyway?” Many thanks Alison for taking the time to write this post as part of the blog tour for Mine, and thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.

Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinary path that could destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Mine Cover by Alison Knight with endorsement

GUEST POST:

Hello, I’m Alison Knight, author of Mine, a novel based on real events in London in the 1960s. The story charts my family over a year, showing how ordinary people made decisions that lead them into an extraordinary situation that changed our lives forever.

Writing Mine has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, not least because I soon realised that what I saw as the truth didn’t necessarily match with other people’s truths.

Different perspectives

I remember having a conversation with my sister about our late mother. It soon became clear that we each had completely different views of her. I got to a point in the conversation where I had to say: “I don’t recognize the woman you’re talking about. Mum wasn’t like that at all.”

My sister then said she thought the same when I’d been speaking! We argued back and forth for a bit but in the end had to accept that we each had very different experiences of our mother.

Reliable witnesses

As part of my research for Mine, I had to go to the City of London Coroner’s office to read some inquest files. This isn’t something anyone can do. You need special permission because the records are all kept locked until seventy-five years after a death. I wasn’t allowed to take copies of anything in the files, but I was allowed to make notes for my personal use. I therefore wrote down what the various witnesses said in their statements.

I was shocked when I saw one statement of an incident I witnessed. I don’t remember it happening like that at all! I started to wonder whether I had got it wrong, but the images in my head of those moments was crystal clear. I spoke to my university tutor, Dr Jonathan Neale, about this. He writes non-fiction and has decades of experience in interviewing witnesses. He assured me that children often had the clearest memories, especially of a traumatic event, while adults were prone to miss details because their minds are elsewhere and they can often change their memories to explain or justify why things happened as they did.

I also found the statements of two witnesses who had been standing side by side as they saw another incident. One reported shouting and screaming had attracted their attention and that a lot of other people were around them as well. The other said he heard banging as though furniture had fallen over – but no screams or shouts – and that there was no one else in the hallway where he and the other witness stood.

Talking to the Coroner’s Officer about these conflicting statements, he said that it was quite normal for several witnesses of the same event to give completely different accounts of what happened.

Car Crash

Think about it. Imagine a group of people are walking down a street and suddenly there’s a squeal of brakes and a crash. They all look in the direction of the noise. One might be worrying that he’s late for work; another might be distracted by their child; maybe someone has toothache and is distracted by the pain; another is checking their phone. These people all witness the same thing, but because of their distractions they register different images in their minds. Some might notice colours, others smells, some might be frightened, others rush to help. It might trigger memories of a similar incident for someone. All of these things will have an effect on what and how they remember what happened.

It’s then the job of the accident investigation team to go through their statements and try to piece together what really happened.

My Dilemma

In the light of these conflicting statements and my sister’s different opinion of our mother, I had to wonder whether I could actually write about what happened with any kind of authority. My impressions of what happened might well be very different from those of the rest of my extended family. But the people who were there are now all gone. I’m the only person left to tell this story. If I didn’t write it down, it would be lost forever.

I really wanted to write it. It was important to me that my children and grandchildren had the opportunity to get to know their relatives who are no longer here, to understand what motivated them, to see that extraordinary things happen to ordinary people.

My Truth

In the end, I decided to write the story as fiction. I knew a lot of what happened – as I mentioned earlier, I witnessed some of it. But there were huge gaps, questions I couldn’t get the answers to because the people who knew the truth are no longer around to tell it. So, although the story is based on real events, I can’t claim to know the absolute truth of it. I can tell you my truth – what I saw and heard and felt – but I can only speculate on everything else.

The aim of Mine isn’t to tell you exactly what happened to my family in the late 1960s. Rather, it is to show you the people that I knew, their lives, their dreams, their problems. It is my imagining of what might have happened, mixed in with what I know definitely did happen. It’s written with a great deal of love. I hope I’ve done them justice.

Mine

Kit de Waal, the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, says the following about Mine

“A heart breaking tale of love and loss told by a great story-teller. Alison takes you into the heart of the tragedy with compassion, wit and even humour. A beautiful story.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mine - Alison Knight head shot

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

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Visit the other blogs taking part in this tour for more about “Mine.”

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Guest Posts

Just A Girl – Becky Monson

I am delighted to be welcoming Becky Monson to my blog, as part of the blog tour for her new novel, Just a Girl. Many thanks to Becky for taking the time to write a guest post, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

What happens when the right girl and the right guy meet at the wrong time?

One thing that can be said about Quinn Pearson is that she has a knack for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Like, the worst time ever. Take her job for instance. One little slip of the tongue using the mother of all swear words while reporting the news, and suddenly she finds herself with over 18 million views on YouTube and her employment in jeopardy. If that wasn’t bad enough, when she meets the man of her dreams, she nearly chokes to death on a powdered sugar donut.

Thankfully for Quinn, the dashing Brit, Henry, finds her near death experience quite charming. But just when Quinn thinks her luck is going to change, she finds out her timing is all wrong again. Henry is off limits. Or is he? Maybe it’s time for Quinn to quit settling for what life hands her. Perhaps it’s time for her to become more than just a girl.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

JAG Final - for Amazon

GUEST POST:

Now I’ll hand you over to Becky to tell you the story behind Just a Girl.

Story ideas come to me in strange ways. It almost always happens when I don’t have pen and paper or a phone with me to write down some notes, like while I’m in the shower. Actually, that’s where most of my ideas come to me. There’s probably something to that—like it’s the only time during the entire day where I can really be by myself and have no other distractions … but that’s a whole other post.

I have to write ideas down, though, because gone are the days that I can just tell myself I’ll remember that and I will actually remember it. In fact, I sometimes still tell myself that, and then by the time I’ve dried off and grabbed my phone or a pen and paper, the story is gone. Poof. Back into the atmosphere. This has happened too many times to count.

For Just a Girl, Quinn and her story came to me fairly quickly … in the shower, of course. I knew she was going to be a news reporter (which also played into the first story in the series—Just a Name); I knew she was going to have a love interest who was British (and who also would look like Henry Cavill, because duh); and I also knew she’d have some body image issues.

My stories don’t always start out how they end up, and this book was no exception. In the beginning, Henry (yes, I even named him Henry) was going to be a love interest Quinn met in college. They had a whirlwind romance, but then he ended up ghosting her when he went back to London, only to return years later, this time with a child in tow (hence the ghosting). But the story wasn’t sticking with me. Usually when I have a story I know I want to write, I get excited about it, butterflies in my stomach and all that. But this storyline wasn’t doing any of that for me.

So I went back to the beginning and changed it. Henry was no longer going to be someone she knew before, but a new person in her life. He also didn’t have a child. But he was still going to look like Henry Cavill, because duh. Once I changed it, the story just clicked into place. My outlining went smoothly. The butterflies were back. 

What always stayed the same was Quinn and her journey within herself. I have a special place in my heart for Quinn. I’d say I “get” her the most of the characters I’ve written, having had some of the same issues myself. 

I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did while writing it. I also hope you picture Henry as Henry Cavill, because duh. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Just A Girl AuthorBy day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more on Just a Girl.

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Guest Posts

Boomerville at Ballemegille – Caroline James

Today I am joined by Caroline James, as part of the blog tour for her latest novel, Boomerville at Ballemegille. Many thanks to Caroline for taking the time to talk to me today about Cumbria, the inspiration behind the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

Boomerville is back!

Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.

Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, ‘Boomerville at Ballymegille’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Boomerville at Ballymegille COVER high res

GUEST POST:

Mai, thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog as I launch my new book, Boomerville at Ballymegille. Here I talk about the county of Cumbria, which is one of the inspirational settings for my novel.

Boomerville at Ballymegille is partly set in the beautiful county of Cumbria, also known as the Lake District, in North West England, and the area is the inspiration for many of my novels.

I write about Cumbria after falling in love with the county many years ago. Nowhere can compare to the Lake District, it is a creative’s dream. My novels often feature a fictional hotel and the latest. Boomerville at Ballymegille is no exception as guests’ flock to the area and book in, to experience the beauty and splendour of the landscape.

For several years, I ran a pub, then a hotel, in the Eden Valley and was captivated by the warmth of the locals who were so supportive to a newcomer. Walking along the shadowy ridges of the fells in my spare time restored my spirits after a hard day at work and spurred my creative juices, for even then I knew that I wanted to write stories based in this special place. More recently I was touched by the floods that devastated parts of the country. In particular, the town of Appleby which had once been my home and the floods feature in writing.

I write feel-good novels to uplift and inspire and with the magic of the mountains and sparkling waters of the lakes, I owe a great deal to beautiful Cumbria.

Mai, I wish you and your readers many hours of happy reading, 

With love

Caroline xx

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CAROLINE JAMES (PROMO SHOOT 26.06.2018)

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can.

A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. Caroline also runs writing workshops.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking up a mountain with her two Westie dogs, sipping raspberry gin or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Books by Caroline James:

Hattie Goes to Hollywood

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me

Coffee Tea the Chef & Me

Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me

Jungle Rock

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Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour to find out more about Boomerville at Ballemegille. 

Guest Posts

Winter Light – Martha Engber

Today I am joined by Martha Engber, as part of the blog tour for her book Winter Light. Many thanks to Martha for taking the time to talk to us today about her goals as an author, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

Fifteen-year-old Mary Donahue of suburban Chicago is a kid on the cusp of failure during the brutal blizzard winter of 1978-79, the end of a hard luck, hard rock era sunk in the cynical aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Though a smart, beautiful kid, she’s a motherless girl raised by an uneducated, alcoholic father within an extended family of alcoholics and addicts. Aware that she’s sinking, she’s desperate to save herself and so reaches out to an unlikely source, Kathleen, a nice, normal kid from English class.

But when the real storm hits, the full force of a harsh adult world almost buries Mary. Only then does she learn that the only difference between life and death is knowing when to grasp an extended hand.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

WinterLight Cover

GUEST POST:

My goal as an author is to write books that completely capture readers’ imaginations. Not partially. Not almost. But totally. In short, I’m trying to achieve the same level of immersion in other universes that I experienced while reading when I was a kid.

Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Garden, Lord of the Flies, Ender’s Game. The genre never mattered to me so long as two things occurred: 1) the author launched me to where I’d never been before, and 2) the author never — not for a single moment — broke the magic of that universe. When I finished that kind of book, I’d be sad for days, wishing I could get back to that world, but knowing I couldn’t.

I suppose getting spoiled like that so early on is why nothing irks me more than sloppy storytelling where I can see author missteps: characters not acting according to their natures; plot twists that don’t make sense; telling me too much, even though the author has done a good job of showing what’s going on.

If I’m a harsh critic of other books, that means I have to be even tougher on my own, which I took to heart when writing Winter Light.

Though I wrote the first draft in about four months, I spent the next ten years turning the material over and over to see every angle of every moment, because I know as a reader how even one tiny oversight can rip a reader out of that particular world.

The most interesting part of writing this book, however, was that magical moment when I no longer thought about the reader, but instead felt overcome with responsibility to Mary Donahue and the need to tell her story right. If I was going to burden her to the point of breaking, I had to see and understand every implication of that weight and its effect on her and others.

And therein came my epiphany as an author. By losing myself in Mary’s universe, as I once got lost as a reader, I allowed Mary to tell her own story. She’s so with such strength and courage that she — not I — is the one who will bring readers into her world and keep them there to the very end.

Long live characters who allow us to feel at such a deep level!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Winter Light - Martha Engber author photo

Martha Engber’s next novel, WINTER LIGHT, will be published Oct. 6, 2020, by Vine Leaves Press. She’s also the author of THE WIND THIEF, a novel, and GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP. A journalist by profession, she’s written hundreds of articles for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She’s had a play produced in Hollywood and fiction and poetry published in the Aurorean, Watchword, the Berkeley Fiction Review and other journals. She’s also a freelance editor, workshop facilitator and speaker. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband, bike and surfboard.

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GIVEAWAY:

Martha is running three fab giveaways at the moment – if you click on the prize info for each, it will take you to the Rafflecopter entry form. Ts & Cs for all three are underneath the entry links.

Win an e-copy of Winter Light (Open INT)

Win a Book Club Chat from Martha Engber (Open INT)

Win a free hour book development consultation with Martha Engber (Open INT)

Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter links.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the other blogs on the tour to find out more about Winter Light.

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Guest Posts

Not Myself Today – Muriel Ellis Pritchett

I am pleased to welcome Muriel Ellis Pritchett to my blog today. Muriel is here to talk to us about character creation as part of the blog tour for her YA novel, Not Myself Today. Many thanks to Muriel for taking the time to talk to us, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

High school soccer star Lindsey Anderson was at the top of her game with graduation approaching and a full-ride soccer scholarship offer in her hand. Then she dropped dead on the soccer field, only to wake up in the body of a teenage sex-trafficking victim. No one believes who she really is. Not even her dad. Chased by her new body’s drug-dealing pimp and rabid parapsychologists out to dissect her, Lindsey searches to get her body and her life back before graduation day. Can her BFF and the high school nerdy boy she detests help save her life?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Black Rose Writing

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Not Myself Today Front cover

GUEST POST:

Someone recently told me – quite excitedly, I must say – that they knew who a certain character in my second book really was. I quickly assured him that the character was completely fictional. That all of my characters were fictional. Still, he walked off grinning like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.

Are your characters real people? How do you create your characters? Those are two questions I have been asked many times. They are right up there with “Where do you get ideas for your books?” and “I have a great idea for your next book. Would you like to hear it?”

All of my characters are made up of bits and pieces of real people that I know or have met at a party or spotted in the airport or somewhere else. I keep a notebook of interesting physical characteristics and personal flaws.

I usually start with physical characteristics like the colour of their hair or eyes. Do they have a beard or moustache? Are they bald or have a hairy chest? How is their hair styled? Spiked or shaved head or a man bun? Do they walk with a limp or stutter when they talk? Do they have any distinguishing features like freckles or a wart on the end of their nose or a dragon tattoo on their forearm? How are they dressed? Are they wearing dirty and worn T-shirt and jeans or dressed in country-club casual clothes or sporting a three-piece suit with bowtie? Is she wearing a spandex leopard-print mini-skirt and thigh-high faux-alligator boots or an impressive Christian Dior-designer original skirt and jacket?

Once I have some idea of what my character looks like, then I work on the personality and flaws. What makes them unique? Are they a narcissist or a womaniser or a bully? Do they have a raging temper or are they as cool as a cucumber or weak and frail? Milquetoast or overly aggressive? Do they have any phobias or issues? Are they afraid of heights or snakes or tall women? Are they superstitious or a brazen hussy or a risktaker or street savvy?

In my new YA paranormal thriller, Not Myself Today, I wanted a big contrast between Lindsey and Annabeth. Lindsey is a star soccer player. I looked through high school yearbooks to get a picture of a female athlete in my mind. I made her strong, solid, in great health, and smart with curly red hair and blue eyes. I made her 18 years old and graduating from high school with a full-ride soccer scholarship to Stanford. I wanted Lindsey to be from a fairly well-to-do family with a highly respected father in the science community. Life can’t get any better than this. Then she dies on the soccer field after kicking the winning goal for the state championship and wakes up in the body of Annabeth, a sex trafficking victim.   

Annabeth is the opposite of Lindsey. She’s a 14-year-old runaway from a small South Georgia town. Her father, a farmer, died young. Her mother remarried a scumbag who abused Annabeth, causing her to leave home. I made her very skinny with a thick South Georgia accent, long, straight, dirty-blonde hair, hazel eyes, tattoos, and body piercings. For a stronger contrast, I turned her into a drug addict, which further complicated Lindsey’s new life in Annabeth’s body.

I enjoy creating unique characters for my stories. I probably spend as much time bringing my characters to life as I spend plotting out the story line. The next time you read a book, please remember that all characters are fictional and have been created from many bits and pieces to entertain the reader.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Not Myself Today - MurielPSBorn and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Muriel Ellis Pritchett graduated from the University of Georgia and began her journalism career while living in Japan and Germany. Her journalism career included playwriting, editing and writing for magazines and newspapers, and working in public relations, university relations, and media relations.

After retiring, Muriel’s family doctor recommended she get a hobby.  So, she began writing fun fiction about feisty older women who had been wronged and had to pull themselves up out of the muck. But her award-winning fourth book, Not Myself Today, is a change in genres—a YA paranormal thriller. It is scheduled for release September 24, 2020. Her first three “fruity” books, fun romance for older women, are Making Lemonade, Like Peaches and Pickles, and Rotten Bananas and the Emerald Dream. She is currently working on another “fruity” book, titled Sour Grapes and Balmy Knight.

When not writing, Muriel loves cruising all over the world, eating good Belgian chocolate, and spending time in any Disney park. Her favorite Disney attractions are SOARING at Disney World’s EPCOT in Florida, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth at Disneyland Paris, Journey to the Center of the Earth at DisneySeas in Tokyo, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in California.

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a Signed copy of Not Myself Today (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Guest Posts

Miss Smith Commits The Perfect Crime? – Guy Rolands

Today I am joining the blog tour for Miss Smith Commits The Perfect Crime by Guy Rolands, and I am delighted to be joined by the man himself talking about the story behind the book. Many thanks to Guy for taking the time to talk to me, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

Recovering from a brutal attack where she was savagely raped, university student Sam Smith attempts to rebuild her life and overcome the ongoing effects of her ordeal. Her ultimate goal is to bring her assailant to justice, but before she can do so her life and loves take a series of intriguing turns as she continues her sometimes unconventional education.

Eventually she is able to identify her attacker and decides to exact retribution in her own particular style, but during her preparations Sam becomes aware that her every move is being tracked by a mysterious organisation. To avoid detection by the police and also her hidden watchers, Sam Smith attempts to commit the perfect crime. However in the aftermath of her vigilante action events change rapidly to bring about a most unexpected outcome.

Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime? is the first book in the Sam Smith Adventure Series and can be read as a standalone.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

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Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime

GUEST POST:

I suppose one way or another I have written for most of my life. As a teenager, I penned my first article under the pen-name of Ugly Panic. After this inauspicious start, I found myself writing professionally as a small part of my work in television. From continuity scripts and trailers, I progressed to writing commentaries for factual programmes. It was only when I stopped working in broadcasting that I could turn my attention to the far more interesting task of writing fiction, and this happened in a quite bizarre fashion.

Last year I rather clumsily fell and broke my foot. As I was virtually immobile for a couple of months, my eldest daughter (the author Jules Wake) said to me, ‘If you’ve nothing better to do Dad, why not write a book?’

I thought about this for a couple of days and tried to come up with some characters and a plot. The books of Stieg Larsson with his unlikely heroine Lisbeth Salander had been favourites of mine, and so I decided to create a British female agent with a bit more style, who would be hopefully more appealing than her grungy Swedish inspiration – a sort of female James Bond.

Thinking back over the many beautiful women I encountered when I produced and directed shows for television, I looked for someone who could visually represent my heroine, and one young dancer came to mind. This woman, who was barely twenty, had a flawless complexion, naturally golden hair, a figure to die for and a naive sexual allure. The men on the crew couldn’t do enough for her. Even our gay choreographer was drooling all over the young woman. This woman may be beautiful, graceful and athletic, but my heroine needed to be exceptionally tough physically and mentally as well.

My research for a series of lectures I gave about the Second World War had uncovered a woman who was fascinated me. Dropped into a chaotic situation in wartime France, resistance agent Nancy Wake took control through stealth, cunning and diplomacy, to unite disparate resistance groups into a well-organised fighting force which eventually numbered over five thousand men. She led her troops in guerilla warfare against the Nazis, unleashing surprise attacks against the enemy, killing some with her bare hands. Combining these two fascinating women into one, created my heroine, Sam Smith.

I started writing with a vague idea of where the plot was going, and to my surprise, the characters I had created took over. They dictated my story for me. I would wake up every morning with the outline of the next chapter clear in my mind. There’s a school of thought that says you need to work out the entire plot before you start to write. Maybe that works for some people, but to start with I just sat down and wrote. As I went along, I re-read sections and ruthlessly edited out anything that didn’t work. I stuck to the guidelines of the old radio programme “Just a Minute”: no hesitation, deviation or repetition.

I finished writing the first draft of Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime, but I had a problem: the original opening where the heroine was violently raped, was an instant spoiler; it gave completely the wrong impression, so I scrapped it. My goal was to create a light-hearted adventure romp. In desperation, I turned to one of my favourite authors, PG Wodehouse. The great writer was not noted for thrilling escapades, but he did have a penchant for setting his plots around prize pigs. In the footsteps of Lord Emsworth’s precious porker, I created Reggie, Super-Pig PP1052. The rest, as they say, is a mystery.

Having completed my first book and feeling quite pleased with myself, my daughter dropped a bombshell: ‘Dad, if you are self-publishing, one book is not enough; you have to write a series!’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime Photo Guy Caplin 1Guy Caplin worked in television broadcasting for over 40 years and is one of the few people to have achieved success in both the technical and artistic branches of the medium.  He has worked with many celebrities including, the Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope and Maria Callas.

He moved to ITV’s Yorkshire Television in 1969 as a Producer and Director of Sport, Outside Broadcasts and special events.  Among the many programmes he devised was the quiz programme “Winner Takes All” fronted by Jimmy Tarbuck and Geoffrey Wheeler, which under his tenure was regularly amongst the Top Ten TV programmes and twice reached the coveted Number One Spot.

When the final series of the hit American programme Dallas ran into technical problems in Hollywood in 1989, Guy left YTV and joined a UK broadcast engineering company to try to come up with a solution.  The solution proposed resulted in the creation of the DEFT process, which although too late to be used on Dallas, was used initially on the Simpsons and subsequently on Friends, Frasier, Superman and many others America series.  DEFT was awarded an Emmy for outstanding technical achievement.

Back in the UK Guy owned and ran a company creating video productions for both broadcast and industry, was a freelance trainer at the BBC and a visiting tutor at the National School of Film and Television

For the past thirteen years Guy has also been regular lecturer for P&O cruises and Cunard and has effectively travelled twice around the world.

Now, having closed his video company, he spends his time writing under the name of Guy Rolands and has now completed four novels in the Sam Smith Adventure series. Having worked all over the world and encountered hundreds of remarkable characters, his experiences provide colour and intrigue to his work.

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Guest Posts

The Punishment – Paul Clayton

As part of the blog tour for his book, The Punishment, I am joined by Paul Clayton as he proves he is a man after my own heart with a passion for reading past his bedtime. Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to talk to us, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

BLURB:

What do you do when you are an ex-soap star down on your luck and running out of money?

For Daniel Maple, a chance meeting in a nightclub presents him with an offer he finds hard to refuse…

But crime makes you pay.

And someone, somewhere, wants you punished.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Punishment Cover

GUEST POST:

Reading in bed came from the fact with as a child I hated the moment Mum turned the light out. For a long time, I had to have a little purple night light in the corner of the room, but even that allowed corners of darkness to creep into the bedroom, so I would stretch out a chapter or two for as long as I could. It’s still the place where I do most of my reading. There is always a book by my bedside and it’s most likely to be a thriller or a mystery. The well-written ones do nothing for my sleep. Each chapter ending with a question or a problem makes me want to read on and solve it.

I can never forget the night when reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, I was approaching the end of the chapter and about to place the book on my bedside table and head into slumber when I read the sentence that changes your perception everything you have read so far. I gasped aloud, and after a quick dash to the loo, it was another three chapters and a very late night. Sometimes I don’t know when to give up and my partner will find me dozing with a Kindle that has fallen to the floor at the side of the bed, but in the main. I will set myself a certain number of chapters to read and hope that I make it.

When it came to writing my first fiction, the idea of keeping somebody up late at night by the nature of the story I told was foremost in my mind. It’s been immensely gratifying to receive messages from readers castigating me for the fact that they stayed up till 3 AM last night in order to finish “The Punishment”. It’s a page turner, hopefully thrilling, clever, and funny. (but that’s for you to make up your mind) It’s the sort of book I love to take to the beach. Something that keeps me glued to the pages. One thing that is important to us as actors as we tell stories that our audience are engaged. You can feel a room of people who are listening. It’s a warm feeling. A supportive cocoon of concentration.

When I became an author, this was the relationship with my audience I thought I would miss. Readers take the books into their own world, at their own speed, and in their own way. 

And yet, to know that a story of twists and turns, of double-cross and disaster has made people gasp and laugh across the world is more exciting than I can say.

Creating the world of “The Punishment” and taking the little pinch of truth on which it’s based, sprinkling it with mixed moments of my life and whipping it up into a confection that I hope people want to finish in one go has been the greatest of fun. For to me, that’s what stories are. Fun. A ticket to a world that someone has created just for me. That reaches out and brings the audience closer.

And just as someone says in ‘The Punishment” – “If this were your problem, what would you do?”

I hope you take the time to find out.

Paul Clayton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Punishment - Paul (91) - Full ResolutionClayton is an actor best known for his appearances as Ian Chapman in five series of the awardwinning Channel 4 comedy Peep Show and as Graham in two series of the BAFTA winning comedy Him and Her. Other credits include Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Holby City as well as This is Alan Partridge, Doctor Who, The Crown, Vera, Wolf. He is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His previous books are So You Want To Be A Corporate Actor? and The Working Actor and he is a regular columnist in The Stage.

He is a proud patron of Grimm and Co, the children’s literacy charity, based in his home town of Rotherham.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win 5 x E-copies of The Punishment (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Thanks again to Paul for taking the time to talk to us today. For more information on The Punishment, make sure you visit the other blogs taking part on this tour.

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Guest Posts

Life Lessons – J.E. Rowney

Today I am hosting J.E. Rowney as part of the blog tour for her medical drama, Life Lessons. Many thanks to Ms Rowney for taking the time to talk to me, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour. Before I hand over to Ms Rowney, here is all the info you need about Life Lessons.

BLURB:

For fans of “Call the Midwife”, “Hard Pushed” or “This is Going to Hurt”.

Life Lessons is a new adult chick-lit medical drama, with splashes of clean romance.
Expect an unputdownable emotional page-turner that will take you deep into the life lessons of a student midwife.

Violet wants to be a midwife, but she has struggled with anxiety throughout her teenage years.

With her best friend Zoe at her side, she gets a place at University and starts training for her dream job.Can she overcome her fears and find the self-confidence to make it through her first year?

Will Zoe’s romance with their housemate spell dating disaster?

Book one of the Lessons of a Student Midwife series.

This book is a prequel to Ghosted, the bestselling novel.

PURCHASE LINKS:

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Life Lessons Cover

GUEST POST:

Now I will hand you over to J.E. Rowney to talk about why she wanted to write a book about a student midwife.

Although I have always written stories since as far back as I can remember, being a writer wasn’t my first choice of career. I thought it was something people did as a hobby. In the past it was far more difficult to have a book published. When I went to university I didn’t study English or Creative Writing, I trained as a midwife. I have returned and studied Creative Writing, but I have never forgotten my roots!

I worked as a midwife for ten years, and it as rewarding and fascinating a job as my character Violet imagines that it will be. There were ups and downs, of course. As Violet comes to realise, midwifery isn’t all about delivering babies and getting to cuddle them on the postnatal ward. Midwifery is hard work, physically and emotionally. That said, being a midwife is being part of a community. I wanted to share an insight into the midwife’s world with my readers.

When I think about the medical themed books that I have read, they have usually been thrillers or dramas, rather than the light, feelgood type of story that I have aimed to write with this book and the rest of the series.

I introduced Violet in my novel “Ghosted”, interspersing the chick-lit story with the medical fiction twists of Violet’s life. One of the phrases you hear repeatedly when you start out as a writer is “write what you know”, so it was only a matter of time before I wrote about a character who was a midwife.

I had a lot of positive feedback about “Ghosted” and requests for a sequel. I had never considered writing a follow-up before, but I started to think about how I could add to Violet’s story.  There are glimpses of her past in “Ghosted”, but exploring her time at university with her best friend Zoe felt like a wonderful opportunity. I planned to write three novellas, but when I began working on “Life Lessons” I realised that Violet’s story was going to be too interesting to keep it contained within  short books.

The characters of Violet and Zoe (and Luke, of course) are so much fun to work with. I hope that you will enjoy reading the “Lessons of a Student Midwife” series. Book one, “Life Lessons” is available now, and “Love Lessons”, the second in the series, is available for pre-order. The final book will be on sale later this year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Life Lessons - jerowneyauthorphotoJ.E.Rowney spent several years in the cold Yorkshire hills, which brings the flavour of the moorland countryside into her work. She now lives in Dorset, and the sun and sea are slowly creeping in as influences.

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

Ms Rowney has recently been awarded the Dinesh Allirajah Writing Prize 2020.

Her third novel, “Ghosted”, was released in January 2020 and quickly also became a bestseller.

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:

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Why not check out the other blogs taking part in this tour for more information on this book.

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Guest Posts

The Book Dragon Club – Lexi Rees

A huge welcome back to Lexi Rees today, as she joins me to talk about The Book Dragon Club and diversity. Many thanks Lexi for taking the time to talk to me today, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour for this book. Before I hand over to Lexi, here are all the details of the book.

BLURB:

Packed with awesome activities, this journal has everything a book dragon needs!

  • Tackle the fun reading challenges
  • Set up a book club with your friends
  • Host award ceremonies and parties
  • Make up games and quizzes based on your favourite books

Plus space for book reviews, reading lists and so much more. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Book Dragon Cover

GUEST POST:

Now, let me hand you over to Lexi.

Hi, and thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog to share my hope for The Book Dragon Club.

Like everyone, I’ve been watching what’s been going on around #blacklivesmatter, listening and learning. We all know that books play an important part in shaping our views of the world. I saw a study from the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) which showed statistics that highlight the lack of diversity in publishing currently. In addition, a lot of book lists that I’ve seen circulated have focussed on the non-fiction side, and of course that’s really important. But to be truly diverse, fiction reading also needs to be balanced. Our bookshelves should be varied, both in terms of authors and in the characters portrayed within the stories. As an aside, if you’re looking for a diverse reading list, I think this one has an interesting mix of books for a range of ages and reading interests, and it’s updated regularly. https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/blog/collections/diverse-voices-childrens-books-that-celebrate-difference-6090. 

It’s very easy for a child (or grown-up!) to get stuck reading one author or one genre. One of my hopes for The Book Dragon Club is that it will encourage children to read a far wider variety of books. For example, in order to complete the Globe Trotter Challenge and the Passport Challenge, children will have to broaden their horizons.

Some of you will know that as well as writing, I run an online kids book club for tots to tweens (https://kidsclub.family). Not only is this packed full of cross-curricular activities, I’ve made a positive commitment that the books explored in this club will be diverse. If you’d like to have a look, I’d be delighted!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we’re book DRAGONS, because who wants to be a WORM?!

I hope The Book Dragon Club sparks encourages readers to explore new authors and to visit new countries. Please do share your club photos with me!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lorraine-16Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children.

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

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