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

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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

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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

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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.

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Book Review

The Wicked Oath – Michael L. Lewis

Today I am joining the blog tour for The Wicked Oath, book two of the Oath series by Michael L. Lewis. You can read my review of book one, The Oath, here. Many thanks to Michael for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour.

BLURB:

A wicked conspiracy. A diabolical offer. Survival: a matter of life or death!

Behind the walls of Blackleigh, a prestigious public boarding school in northern England, lurks wickedness and bullying. Those in power form a conspiracy to devise any means to expel certain boys. Surviving for their victims becomes a matter of life and death…

Jonathan Simon, in his second year, returns to school to find that ruthless prefects – Sleeth, Tunk and Miller – are in charge of his house. Things take a turn for the worse when the new Headmaster starts, and Jonathan and his friends are targeted.

As the pressure mounts, friendships become closer and scheming increases as unexpected revelations occur. For Blackleigh, the year is just beginning…

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

The Book Guild

Blackwells

Waterstones

WH Smith

Foyles

Book Depository

9781913208844

REVIEW:

Picking up in the academic year immediately following the tragic events of The Oath, The Wicked Oath marks a return to Blackleigh, and Trafalgar House, for Jonathan Simon. Although Jonathan’s second year at the school starts on the promising note of a new head teacher, and a head prefect with a remit to clean up the school, it quickly became apparent that this year, in fact, was going to be even worse. My heart sank with this realisation and I was instantly on edge for the horrors that awaited the younger boys. With the knowledge that it is the prefects and not the faculty who are in charge of discipline at Blackleigh, I found myself with the image of Lord of the Flies in boarding school form.

It was somewhat cheering to meet new characters this time around in the form of seniors with a sense of decency. These characters gave me hope that perhaps Jonathan and his friends might just make it through another year at the school. That was until we were introduced to a character who’s behaviour is possibly even more chilling than that of Sleeth and Tunk in The Oath, someone who apparently has no conscience at all.

As with The Oath, this is not a book that always makes for comfortable reading, but there were some sweet moments running alongside the torment inflicted by the prefects, and I enjoyed the extra dimension that these added to the book.

With the changes that had occurred by the end of the book, I am curious to know what might happen in the final book of the trilogy. I look forward to finding out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

51861119_2276958802625711_2368189991433011200_oMichael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

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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

Celeste Three Is Missing – Chris Calder

Please give a warm welcome to Chris Calder, as he joins me today as part of the blog tour for Celeste Three is Missing. Many thanks to Chris for taking the time to talk to us, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

The world’s first earth-orbit passenger plane, the sensational Celeste Three, takes off from its base in Arizona, also the only place where it is designed land. On a routine flight the craft disappears.

On board is Viktor Karenkov, billionaire oil magnate who has used his wealth to evade prosecution for a murder he committed years earlier. Gregory Topozian, the murdered man’s friend, has been waiting for a chance to bring Karenkov to justice. With dogged determination and considerable ingenuity, he conceives an audacious plan.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

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Celeste Three Is Missing Cover

Now, I’ll hand you over to Chris to tell you all about his upcoming novel.

Following the successful re-launch of my novel Celeste Three is Missing, I am delighted to be able to tell you that the manuscript for my latest book, provisionally entitled Growing Apart, has just been completed.

The first part of the story is set in India. Rupert Chilcott is an English civil servant who is sent there in 1936 to work for the government. He has an affair with a vivacious Anglo-Indian girl who subsequently gives birth to twin boys. But she dies in childbirth while he is in England on leave. When he gets the news, Rupert rushes back to India by air, the quickest way to make the journey. At that time it took over a week (six overnight stops!) and by the time he arrives, one of the boys has already been adopted by a childless couple in Bombay. Rupert takes the other to England.

I have a feeling that you have guessed why the book is called Growing Apart. The twins finally meet in England, when they are twenty-five years old. That happens in a tense scene where one, who does not even know of the existence of the other, is in a life-threatening situation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Celeste Author PhotoAfter ten happy years of retirement in rural France, Chris Calder is back in England. He came late to writing novels, penning his first whilst incarcerated in a French hospital following cancer surgery. At the time he spoke little French. Unable to communicate effectively with the staff, he spent his time fleshing out his first novel. Five more have followed; light thrillers leavened with humour. Best of all, the cancer is now history.

Chris knows that readers of fiction expect to be diverted and entertained. He loves feedback and believes passionately that taking on board readers’ views improves what what he does. You can email him at chris@chriscalder.com. Go on, he’d love to hear from you.

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Extracts

An Implacable Woman – K.T. Findlay

K.T. Findlay makes a welcome return today, sharing an extract of his novel, An Implacable Woman. Many thanks to K.T. for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

If a tooth costs a tooth and an eye costs an eye

When a man hits his wife, then it’s his turn to die

Furious that the courts and police can’t prevent respected surgeon John Kirby from beating his wife, Sally Mellors steps in to save her. Permanently…

But Grace Kirby isn’t the only one who needs saving and Sally quickly discovers she’s taken on a much bigger job than she’d thought.

With her unique ability to blend justice with fun, Sally sets joyfully about the business of removing the monsters from women’s lives, but is she in danger of becoming a monster herself?

As her friends in the police get ever closer, Sally has some serious questions of her own to answer.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon India

An Implacable Woman 14 April 2020 For Rachel

EXTRACT:

In this extract, Sally is talking to a new friend, little girl Connie, who Sally thinks has fabulous potential as an artist. Unfortunately, Connie has the most ghastly mother who can’t see the good in any of her three children, but especially not in Connie. Sally decides to give the three children a tool they can fight back with…

Roger’s eyebrows shot into his hairline. ‘Mummy tells lies?’

Sally shook her head. ‘Not lies exactly, it’s just that she’s not always right. Watch out now.’

Mrs Taylor pushed aside the last branch, saw her children clustered around Sally, and walked over. She bent over to look at the painting. ‘That’s better than the one you were doing before.’ she said begrudgingly. ‘You might even be able to sell that one.’

‘Then I’ll put it in my next exhibition.’ smiled Sally.

‘Exhibition? Who are you then?’ demanded Mrs Taylor.

‘Sally Mellors, professional artist.’

Mrs Taylor blinked. ‘There’s one of yours in the town library!’

Sally nodded. ‘That would be Harriston then? The autumn leaves on the town street? An oil painting? I bought my new kitchen with that one!’

Mrs Taylor blinked again. ‘You really are her!’ Then she looked back at the painting. ‘I don’t think you’ll get a new kitchen with that one, but you might get a week’s groceries.’

Roger pulled his mum’s blouse. ‘But mum, it isn’t hers!’

 ‘Don’t be silly Roger, of course it’s hers!’ Mrs Taylor snapped, slapping his hand away.

Sally laughed. ‘No, he’s right. Connie painted it. Isn’t it fabulous?’

Mrs Taylor’s face clouded instantly. ‘Connie’s? I don’t believe it!’ She bent down to look at it more closely, then shot back up with a snort. ‘Humph. You painted it, and she signed it. That’s not a nice thing to do to a child, teaching her to lie!’

Sally’s smile vanished. ‘Connie painted the whole thing, in just five minutes too. And it really is as good as you think it is, and it will go in my next exhibition, under her own name.’

Mrs Taylor glared at her. ‘I will not be lied to! We’re leaving. Children, get yourselves cleaned up!’ Then she stalked off to the car where her husband was busy pulling out the lunch things. ‘You can pack that lot back up right now! We’re not staying here tonight!’

Connie looked despairingly at Sally. ‘What’s going to happen?’

Sally rested her hand gently on the girl’s shoulder. ‘I will keep this safe. It will go in the exhibition, under your name, not mine, but it won’t be for sale. I’ll keep it myself, until you’re grown up enough to be able to come to see me. Then you can have it back, and if you want to, I’ll teach you how to be an artist.’

‘Really?’ whispered Connie. ‘Do you really mean that?’

‘Yes, I promise. I really mean it Connie Taylor. Now children, your mother just showed you that while she might think she knows everything, sometimes she’s dead wrong, and it can hurt you. Do you want her to show you again?’

The three children nodded, wide eyed.

‘Okay,’ whispered Sally, ‘your mum told you to get cleaned up, and you already are, right? So you’re waiting for mum and dad to get finish packing before you get in the car? I say again, you’re the ones waiting for her, right?’

Three more nods.

‘Well I bet you each a fish and chip supper, that when she’s finished packing, she’ll call you over and tell you that you’ve made everyone late for lunch.’

The three children looked over at the car where dad was putting the very last bucket into the boot. Mrs Taylor called over to them. ‘Come along children, you’re making us late for lunch!’

Roger’s jaw dropped. ‘How did you know?’

Sally gave him a wink. ‘Remember I asked you to pay attention to everything from now on, and watch what your mother says and does? That’s why. You never made anyone late for lunch, and Connie painted that beautiful painting. Your mum isn’t always right. If you know when she’s wrong, you can take better care of each other. Now, off you go, and God bless. And Connie? I’ll always be here for you when you’re ready! Just remember my name, Sally Mellors.’

Emma rested her chin on Sally’s shoulder as the car drove away up the hill. ‘You’re going to go to hell for that. You do know that don’t you?’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Thoughtful - KT FIndlay above swing bridge 1 - CroppedK.T. Findlay lives on a small farm where he dovetails his writing with fighting the blackberry and convincing the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a vital part of its job description.

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Book Review

Reckless – Gemma Rogers

Today I am joining the blog tour for the thriller novel, Reckless by Gemma Rogers. Many thanks to Gemma, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

English teacher Izzy Cole wanted a fresh start.

A new town, a new home, a new school.

But when sixth former Nicky Stevens sets his sights on her, he begins to reel her in at a time when she’s most vulnerable. Soon Izzy is risking her family, her career and her life as she finds Nicky wants more than she ever planned to give.

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REVIEW:

Reckless is a cleverly thought out thriller, and I certainly got a lot more than I bargained for when I sat down to read it. It is not filled with the multitude of twists and turns that a lot of thrillers seem to feel the need for these days, but this is not a bad thing. Knowing the “enemy” as it were means that you can become totally absorbed in the sinister, malevolent feel of the book without having half your attention on trying to figure out what is going on.

The two main characters posed something of an issue for me, as I found I quickly formed quite opposite opinions about them, and I am not entirely sure if these were the opinions that the author was aiming for.

On the one hand, we have Izzy, the main character, who, in all honesty, I struggled to like, never mind feel any sympathy for. For a large part of the book, I just wanted to shake her. Maybe it is because I am a similar age to her, and maybe it is because my oldest friend is an English teacher, but I struggled with the serious of insanely bad decisions she made, and the way in which she justified them to herself.

One the other hand, there is Nicky. Manipulative, narcissistic, and maybe even bordering on psychopathic, I found him to be a fascinating character and reading about him was utterly compelling. With Nicky, I found a character who I wanted to know more about, and although we discovered something of his past in Reckless, I would love to know the full story there, as well as what happens to him beyond the end of the book.

Despite my totally opposing feelings about the two main characters, or perhaps because of them, I found Reckless to be a gripping read, and I couldn’t wait to see how events unfolded.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gemma Rogers 2Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker was her debut novel and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.

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Book Review

Josie James & The Velvet Knife – Lily Mae Walters

It’s time to return to Suncroft for my second review of the day, Josie James & The Velvet Knife by Lily May Walters. My thanks to Lily Mae and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of today’s blog blitz, and for providing me with a copy of both this book, and The Teardrops of Summer.

BLURB:

“For you to find the Velvet Knife, you must solve the riddles thrice.” A mysterious hooded figure, known only as the Velvet Knife has appeared in the cursed village of Suncroft. No one knows who he is or what he wants but when he starts leaving riddles around the village, it is time for Josie to return to Suncroft for a second time.

With Asher, her faithful husky Protector by her side, Filan, a half elf, and her great grandad, will they be able to solve the clues in time and discover his identity? The Velvet Knife is not the only one causing problems for Josie. Her rival for the position of the ‘Chosen One’ continues to grow stronger, and now he has a Protector of his own.

What does all this mean for Josie? Is she destined to lift the wintery curse of Suncroft or will another take her place as the ‘Chosen One’?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

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REVIEW:

The Velvet Knife sees the return of Josie to her great-grandmother’s beautiful cottage for a few weeks of the summer holidays. Although this is book two of the series, Lily Mae Walters has created a clever way of recapping enough of book one for this to work as a standalone, as Josie slowly recovers her hidden memories of the previous summer.

Whilst the mysterious Velvet Knife seems to present a new threat to the harmonious lives of the Suncroft villagers, the strange curse of eternal winter still engulfs the village, with the mystery of Josie’s true identity, and Asher’s purpose as her Protector, continuing throughout the book.

Conclusions I had reached during The Teardrops of Summer were turned on their heads in this book, as characters I thought could be trusted turned out to maybe have another side. Other characters , such as the Dream Maker, who I had distrusted at first sight, just became more sinister the more I read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel as we delved more deeply into the secrets of Suncroft, and started to see more ways that Josie’s life as The Chosen One was starting to leak into her other life as an ordinary teenager. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book and I am hoping I won’t have to wait too long!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

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Book Review

Josie James & The Teardrops of Summer – Lily Mae Walters

In the first of a double bill of reviews today, here are my thoughts on Josie James & The Teardrops of Summer, the first book in the Josie James series by Lily Mae Walters.

BLURB:

Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.Whilst staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen. Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.

PURCHASE LINKS:

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REVIEW:

As I read this book, with Josie’s idyllic life and her great-grandmother’s quintessential English country cottage with it’s hidden gate, I was swept away on a wave of nostalgia. This book evokes similar feelings that I remember from reading The Chronicles of Narnia and The Secret Garden as a child. There is just something so magical about it, even before Josie finds her way to Suncroft.

Despite their situation, living in a world of endless winter, and perpetual night, the people of Suncroft seem much more content with their lives than those of us in the real world. The simple lives they lead away from the stresses and strains of modern life and technology felt deeply appealing as I read this book during the current pandemic situation. Everything about Suncroft was the perfect escape that I needed.

Lily Mae Walters has created a fascinating world, so full of secrets and mystery just waiting to be uncovered, and much the same as Harry Potter, I can see the readers of this series growing up with Josie as they rejoin her adventures each summer.

Oh by the way, you are going to want to make sure you already have book two ready to read as soon as you finish this one, because the way it ends will leave you desperate to know more!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

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Pop back later today when I will be reviewing book two in this fab series, Josie James and The Velvet Knife.