How I wrote 50,000 words in fourteen days for #NaNoWriMo #crazy

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So as I wrote on here I decided fairly last minute to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I took part in it for the first time last year and won, you can read about that win here, so I did feel some pressure to do the same this year.

Now the thing that I have realised about NaNo is that you learn a lot about yourself doing it. Last year I surprised myself, I had absolutely zero confidence in myself as a writer and the fact that I was able to write 100 words surprised me. The win boosted my confidence, but I didn’t realise how much until I started NaNo this year.

Unfortunately I haven’t completed my book from last year, in fact since finishing NaNo last year I think that I have only written a few thousand more words which is a real shame. But I think that the problem with that book is that my lack of planning came to bite me, I just didn’t know where to go with the story next.

My book for this year was totally different to last years, a completely different genre and feel, and in many ways a far more complicated story. As I wrote on here when I started the idea of this book came from a competition that I wanted to enter (you can read that here) and when I started I really did have only the vaguest idea of what the story might be about.

Yet I found it so easy to write compared to my book last year and I think partly that was because I had less anxiety and doubt, I wrote knowing that I could always change it later so it didn’t really matter how good it was now. That really took the pressure off me and allowed me to just write, I even changed the tense that I was writing in after 12,000 words (blooming annoying now though that I did!).

Something that I really struggled with last year was writing conversations. Early in the book, the conversations that characters had were very short with one or maybe two sentences being spoken at a time. I hated writing it and it felt awkward to write and so no doubt it would feel awkward to read. This year writing conversations has been easy, I was a good way in before I even remembered how difficult it had been last year as that just wasn’t the case this year. Why? Well I’m not totally sure but I expect that part of it is that I didn’t worry about it too much and so that let it flow. And what it really showed me was that I learnt from last year and it made this year easier, perhaps once this book is finished I might go back and revisit the first one.

I have discovered that I am quite a fast writer, at least I think that I am but I really don’t have much to compare to, but I easily reached the daily word count of 1,667 words that you need to complete NaNo in the month of November. Currently my average words per day for the month of November is 3,500, so significantly higher. I guess that’s kind of that for the post then, as that is how I wrote 50,000 words in fourteen days, I made sure that my word count was much more than it needed to be.

Now in a way I’m lucky in that I have absolutely no social life, so I never go out and so can write morning, afternoon and evening if I want to. I am a single parent to twins though and that is definitely not easy but they really got behind me with NaNo this year, clearly proud of what I was doing and keen for me to win and ‘beat others’, they couldn’t understand that NaNo is not a competition where you try to beat others, everyone who gets to the 50K words wins, as long as they do it in November. But their support helped, it meant that they often told me to write more and so would leave me in relative peace to do so. Sure they have watched more television than normal but hopefully they have also been inspired watching their Mum do something like this. One day at school the teacher asked all the children who their favourite authors were, as you can imagine in a room full of six and seven year olds, most of them said Julia Donaldson, probably because she’s an author that people know the names of. But when it got to my son he said ‘my Mummy’ which really made me smile.

Something that I really learnt about myself this year doing NaNo is that I am competitive and that I hate failure. This spurred me on to write more. But there are other reasons that pushed me to write more and get NaNo completed as fast as I could. Firstly the reason that I was writing this book in the first place, I have to get 5,000 words looking ship shape and ready to impress for the competition by the 4th of December and I had that playing on my mind.

The other thing playing on my mind has been cake. Not eating cake, although that would be nice, but making cake. I am not a baker and I am most definitely not a cake decorator, yet I am going to attempt to be both. My children turn seven next week and have requested two cakes. One cake they want to be of our dog, Dotty. Um, ok. And cake number two they want a tree with the three of us sitting under it, with the dog too obviously. Now I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t sound very easy.

So I’ve been on Pinterest which has given me many ideas for the dog cake. Too many ideas really. Do I do a dog shaped cake, a cake with a sugarpaste dog on top, or a round cake that is the dogs face? Of course there are many other options too on Pinterest but I have discounted them. I haven’t even thought about the tree cake which will be worse in many ways as that will be eaten by adults, the dog one is for children and they are a far easier to please. But that has been pushing me to finish NaNo. There’s no way that I can make two cakes next week while doing NaNo. Nope, not going to happen.

So if you want my advice on how to complete NaNo in fourteen days I would suggest the following:

  • Have a huge pressure towards the end of the month. Something that will be challenging and stressful and no doubt exhausting (a child’s birthday is always exhausting for the parent/s, doubly so when there are two children involved).
  • Decide to learn a new skill with a huge deadline towards the end of the month that if you miss will mean that your children will stop believing that you can do anything.
  • Have something really important that you need to be completed at the start of the next month, something that will take a lot of time and scare the hell out of you (show people my writing?!!! AAGGGHHHHHHHH)
  • Just write. Don’t worry about what you’re writing and how good it is, just get the words done.
  • Don’t worry too much about minor details. Last year I spent a crazy amount of time trawling names websites looking for the perfect name for my characters, this year I gave them whatever name came to mind. If it doesn’t fit then I can change it (there is currently only one name that I am going to change, I just haven’t thought what to yet, but I’m not stressing about it).
  • Google is your friend, just hope that no one goes looking at your search history!
  • Join Facebook groups, or just one group, where others are also doing NaNo. Support from others going through it is priceless.
  • Get some NaNo buddies, it’s fun (and motivating) to check others wordcounts.
  • Post your daily wordcounts somewhere, Twitter is good for this if you want it to be a bit more anonymous, Facebook if you want to get your friends behind this.
  • Use your friends. If someone that you know knows something about what you’re writing then ask them if they will help, or post on Facebook and wait for the responses. One of my characters was going to Greece, I have never been so I posted asking for people who have been to give me tips and suggestions and things that would only be known by someone who had been. Twenty minutes later I had more information than I could possibly need. Who knew so many people had been to Athens?!

I think that NaNoWriMo is brilliant and if you want to write but need some extra motivation then it’s the perfect time to give it a go. Sure. it really isn’t easy but whether you end up winning or not, you will have learnt a lot.

Since I got my 50,000 words I have kept writing, I’m now on 58,640 words, my pace has slowed but I have written every day, today I have only done 780 words but yesterday I did over 5,000. I am really enjoying it and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to my characters, I love how they show me the way.

#coverreaveal #giveaway Don’t Close Your Eyes by @hollyseddon @ifonlyread #hookedbyHolly

I’m excited to be part of the cover reveal for the paperback release of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Author Seddon. I reviewed Don’t close your eyes back in August and I really enjoyed it. I’ll post the review here so that you can easily read it. But even more exciting is that I have a competition to win a signed copy of Don’t Close Your Eyes!!

So, without further ado here is the fabulous cover for the paperback of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon.

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My Review:

I was attracted to Don’t Close Your Eyes because it features twins, and as a twin mum I do like reading books with twins in. But this book is a lot more than just a book about twins. It’s a twisty psychological thriller that has the reader questioning everything that they think is happening.

Robin used to be in a band, travelling the world, but now she spends her days locked in her home, scared to open the door and obsessed with the lives of the residents of the block of flats that she overlooks. She speaks to no one yet is convinced that someone is trying to get her. She thinks that she is doing ok, but it is clear that she isn’t, especially when she starts getting over involved in the lives of one family living behind her.

Her twin sister is Sarah, we know that they haven’t been in contact for years and we know that Sarah is doing no better than Robin. Kicked out of her home and desperate to see her little girl she doesn’t know where to turn for help, and without knowing that her twin needs Sarah as much as she needs her twin, Sarah tracks Robin down.

I really wasn’t sure where the story was going to take me, I really felt for Robin and how lonely she was, she had totally isolated herself and makes it very difficult to get herself out of it. What’s going on with Sarah is a bit more complicated and it wasn’t what I was expecting!

Despite the years of no contact Robin and Sarah still have a special bond which comes from being a twin, and together they are able to confront their fears and face the reality of their lives.

It’s hard to write this and not give spoilers, but I enjoyed Don’t Close Your Eyes, despite the majority of it being set inside one house it kept me reading and wanting to know more and see what would happen, it really is a tense and uncomfortable read at times.

Blurb:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

Giveaway:

So hopefully you have now decided that you must read Don’t Close Your Eyes so how exciting that you could have a lovely signed copy for your bookshelf? Enter here to win. Good luck!

About The Author:

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Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets.

Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel, TRY NOT TO BREATHE, was published worldwide in 2016 and became a bestseller in several countries. DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES is her second novel.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogtour The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture

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My review:

Ok, so first off I need to tell you that I really, really enjoyed reading The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland. It wasn’t that it was the best written book or the most amazing storyline but there was something about it that grabbed me and kept me hooked.

I think what made it so good was wondering whether Tessa was actually a reliable witness, was there really a child in her kitchen or was she delusional? And if there was a child then had she really taken it from where he belonged? It is perfectly set up to make the reader unsure of what the truth might actually be as Tessa’s story does sound rather implausible, why would a strange boy be in her kitchen and saying that she was his Mummy? Very clever. Something fishy had to be going on, and sure enough, it was.

The book takes us on a journey with Tessa as she sets out to prove her innocence. Her ex fights her at every turn, seemingly convinced that Tessa is unstable and needs help. But Tessa’s boss believes her and sees something in her that other’s done and he helps her find the truth. I actually really enjoyed reading about Tessa’s relationship with her boss and it was great that she had someone supporting her along the way.

I’ve not given anything away that isn’t in the blurb and so I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I really did enjoy this book and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books that keep you wondering and guessing and not sure of who to believe. Once again the publishers Bookouture have produced a psychological thriller that is a cracking read.

Blurb:

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‘Are you my mummy?’ 

Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and The Sister.

About the Author:

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Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Be the first to hear about her new releases here: http://eepurl.com/b4vb45

Shalini is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as an atmospheric WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

http://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor
http://www.shaliniboland.co.uk
https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#giveaway Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li @winniemli @ifonlyread

 

 

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Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li

 

I’m delighted to have a giveaway for Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li and published by Legend Press. Although not an easy subject matter Dark Chapter has many positive reviews and is clearly being enjoyed by many. If you are based in the UK then you can enter to win here.

Blurb:

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.

In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.

About the Author:

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Winnie M. Li is a writer, producer, and activist.  And frequent backpacker who has somehow managed to spend the past 15 years, engaged in film and literature in various parts of the world.

Taiwanese-American and raised in New Jersey, Winnie studied Folklore and Mythology at Harvard, specializing in Celtic Languages and Literature.  In 2000, she was selected as a George Mitchell Scholar and earned her MA in Anglo-Irish Literature at the National University of Ireland, Cork.

While in Cork, Winnie began volunteering for the Cork International Film Festival.  Shortly afterwards, she moved to London to work for Ugly Duckling Films / Left Turn Films, a small independent film production company.  Eventually as Head of Development there, Winnie was involved in producing six award-winning feature films and two shorts, one of which was Oscar-nominated® and the other Oscar-shortlisted®.  In addition to overseeing script development at Ugly Duckling Films, Winnie concentrated heavily on the marketing, financing, and distribution of their projects.

In 2010, Winnie began working with the Doha Film Institute (DFI) in Qatar, where she served as Programme Manager for the 2nd and 3rd editions of the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival.  As Film Series Producer for the DFI, she founded the Institute’s year-round screening series, bringing 150+ screenings of arthouse and foreign films to a city accustomed to mainstream Hollywood movies.

In 2013, Winnie returned to the tourism and travel sector, working as a short-term Project Consultant for Temasek Holdings in Singapore.  There she spearheaded the creative development of a future nature-themed tourist attraction, consolidating research within the attractions industry, eco-tourism, and wildlife conservation to develop new narratives for reaching the public.

In her spare time, she lectures on film studies and film production, and has spoken at Harvard University, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Aberdeen, the London School of Economics, and Northwestern University in Qatar.  A former writer for the Let’s Go travel guide books, Winnie has traveled extensively on five continents.  Her other published writing ranges from literary non-fiction to newspaper op-eds to academic essays.  She is based in London and wrote her debut novel, Dark Chapter, while in the Creative & Life Writing MA Programme at Goldsmiths, University of London.

As of Autumn 2015, Winnie is a PhD researcher in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics.  She is researching the impact of social media on the public discourse about rape and sexual assault, on an Economic and Social Research Council grant.

She can be reached on Twitter @winniemli

Dark Chapter is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#blogtour #guestpost Shadows by Paul Finch @paulfinchauthor @harpercollinsuk @Sabah_K

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Sometimes a book comes along that you really want to read but you know that you will not be able to read it by the date needed. So when that happens if I can I offer to take part in the blog tour with a guest post, Q&A or extract.

So today I have a guest post from Paul Finch whose latest book, Shadows, is out now. I’ve no doubt that it is a great read as Paul Finch is a great author. And for us, he has written a post about a question that he is often asked, what kind of crime fiction he writes. Thanks for stopping by Paul!!

Guest Post:

WHAT KIND OF CRIME FICTION DO YOU WRITE?

 One question I’m often asked is … what kind of crime fiction do I write?

This presupposes that there are lots of different kinds. But while I’m not a big fan of pigeon-holing, I’ve no option but to basically share this viewpoint.

Most genres contain sub-genres. I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to say that. But certainly, where crime fiction is concerned, the lines between them often blur. There are many overlaps. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a few ways to illustrate this point.

For example, take the Village Green murder mystery, which has long been a staple of traditional crime fiction. On this front, one may consider the rules of US mystery writer, SS Van Dine (creator of the ultimate ‘golden age’ blowhard, Philo Vance), wherein …

crimes by house-breakers and bandits are the province of the police department – not of authors and brilliant amateur detectives, and where …

servants – such as butlers, footmen, valets, game-keepers, cooks, and the like – must not be chosen by the author as the culprit … The culprit must be a decidedly worthwhile person,

Such class-based stipulations often meld comfortably with the classic Whodunnit formula, in which the author undertakes to set out a list of viable suspects and the lead detective gradually works his or her way through the entire cast before he or she can name the villain. As I say, this is an age-old system. Crime writers of a certain era loved this. It came natural to many of them to merge it with the quaint traditions of the Village Green. But even today, there are perfect examples. Look no further than successful TV shows like Broadchurch, Grantchester (based on James Runcie’s hit short stories, of course), and Midsomer Murders.

But none of that really applies to me.

I’m certainly not loath to use rural or semi-rural settings. Dead Man Walking (the Lake District) and Hunted (Surrey) should demonstrate this amply. Though I can honestly say that I’ve never consciously done the Whodunnit thing. Okay, it’s always nice to catch your readers unaware if you can; to finally unveil the murderer and leave everyone gasping with shock. But I have never willingly constructed a roll-call of suspects, and provided each one of them, no matter how respectable they may appear on the surface, with a good motive for murder – before working my way through them systematically.

SS Van Dine, real name Willard Huntington Wright, said that the detective novel was ‘a game’.

Erm, no. Not mine.

In fact, it’s rarely the case that I ever build my books around a single murder. Quite often in my Heck novels – which concern the National Crime Group, who have a remit to cover all the police forces of England and Wales – the hero is on the trail of cults, societies and secret groups who are perpetrating repeated heinous crimes, while in the Lucy Clayburn novels, which are set in urban Manchester, the opposition often comes from organised crime. For example, in the new one, SHADOWS, she’s on the trail of a gang of vicious armed robbers, rather than a one-off murderer.

Of course, while this may specifically answer the question what kind of crime fiction do I NOT write, it doesn’t tell you exactly which kind I DO write.

Well, there are other crime sub-genres to consider.

The Police Procedural is another very popular form. And as both my investigative heroes – DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg and DC Lucy Clayburn – are operational police detectives, I think we’re now getting warmer. However, the Police Procedural often relies on an accurate, fact-based portrayal of everyday police protocols. We see the correct ranking structure and legalities, authentic depictions of police station interiors, of shift patterns, of crime scene procedures etc, and now, in the 21st century, the new fangled ultra-sensitivity that police chiefs like to imagine their officers have the time to show in a supposedly more sophisticated age. If all that sounds like a drag in that it means – for both writer and reader alike – wading through a mass of largely irrelevant minutae, I should point out that there is a huge appetite for it. Police Procedural remains as potent a form of crime writing now as it did when Dixon of Dock Green first hit our black and white TV screens.

And anway, just because you’re being factual that doesn’t mean you can’t tell a rattling good story. When I wrote for The Bill in the late 1990s, a TV series which had taken great pains, including the recruitment of senior police advisors, to ensure that it was as authentic as possible, while we writers were often told that facts were good, we were also advised that ultimately, they must not get in the way of a good tale.

The Police Procedural, of course, is a sub-genre much abused by writers, because while TV shows like The Bill may be an exception to the rule, and were admirable for their everyday accuracy, many authors who produce it still find it too much of a distraction to get heavily into the day-to-day detail. And I must confess that I’m increasingly one of these.

I like to be correct in my depiction of modern police-work, but I cut corners and leave out what I consider to be less interesting stuff. I alway say, when challenged on this, that I don’t write police textbooks. I write fiction, and ‘fantasy fiction’ at that, and again, I don’t think this is too controversial a statement. To my delight, a very fine police superintendent once came to my defence on this. When a punter at a literary event commented that depicting ‘fantasy policing’ was irresponsible, the super chipped in with: ‘Well, can anyone tell me where fantasy policing ends and real poilcing starts, because I don’t know and I’ve been in the job 30 years? People get up to all sorts to make this job work. Sometimes, what you call fantasy policing may be closer to the truth than you realise.’

But no, despite all that, I don’t really write Police Procedural any more. At least, not since I left The Bill.

 So, what’s left in crime fiction that could accurately categorise me?

Well, I think we’re getting much closer to the mark if we start looking at the twin schools of Noir and Hard Boiled.

Noir, of course, is another quite specific term. It first emerged in America in the 1940s, as a description of the movie thrillers fashionable in that era. Its main criteria were a melodramatic storyline, usually an urban setting – which invariably would be dark and sinister, hardbitten central characters, and back-stories concerned with corruption, exploitation and organised crime. By definition, the term also applied to the authors who created the moods that these films were trying to capture, the likes of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane and Dashiell Hammett.

The style is much aped in modern crime fiction by both writers and movie makers alike, to the extent that we now have the offshoot sub-genre, NeoNoir. This more or less ticks all the original boxes, but gives them a distinctly contemporary spin – and now I think we’re really on home soil. I simply love my dark, shadow-filled cityscapes, and utilise them whenever I can. I also love my tough, cynical, uber-conflicted heroes; both Mark Heckenburg and Lucy Clayburn are children of the industrial north, and they display this in their opinions and attitudes. At the same time, though police officers, they are often at odds with their superiors, Heck because he simply doesn’t rate them, Lucy because her own father is a gangster and through her affiliation with him, she has learned just how inherently corrupt the system can be.

If you add a bit of the Hard Boiled to that, you’re almost completely there.

From the outset, the Hard Boiled sub-genre has sat alongside Noir, presenting us with authentically dangerous criminal worlds that are webs of deceit and viciousness, where cruel and violent thugs invariably work for much smoother criminals higher up the food-chain. This often takes us out of the realms of policework altogether, and presents us with lead characters who are reprehensible antiheroes – men like Jack Carter in Ted Lewis’s seminal Jack’s Return Home, or women like Sara Paretsky’s mean-talking, hard-hitting private eye, VI Warshawksi. These are characters you are asked to root for even though they will quicky resort to the same depths of violence as their opponents in order to mete out their own brand of justice.

Okay, my characters are serving cops, but I think most readers would agree that this could also be a fair description of Mark Heckenburg, and possibly, to a lesser extent, Lucy Clayburn.

Well, we’re basically there now. But I suppose there is one other sub-genre of crime fiction, which, if you added in a small doses to what’s gone before, would be the final piece of the jigsaw where my work is concerned – the Action Thriller.

I’ve always felt it important not to go too overboard on this front; the Arnie and Stallone movies of the 1980s now feel like a glaring anachronism. While they’re great fun, they are essentially an imposition of the Wild West on modern US cities, in which completely lawless lawmen engage with hordes of caricature bad guys. The result is earthquake-inducing car chases and thunderous, balletic gun battles in which thousands of rounds of ammunition are expended, and body-counts soar into the high hundreds. In the light of current tragic events, particularly in the States, I think it would be especially tasteless, not to say irresponsible, to indulge in too much of that. As such, in all my books thus far, there has been an action element – but only that, an element.

I’ve always gone out of my way to make my car chases exciting but realistic, to make my confrontations with violent suspects, even the protracted ones, as non-gratuitous as possible. Whether I’ve succeeded in these ambitions, I suppose that’s up to my readers to decide. Thus far, I’m glad to say, they seem to think it’s okay.

Anyway, there we are. For those who are interested, pick up a copy of SHADOWS (or any of my other books, though SHADOWS is the latest) and you’ll get a whole helping of NeoNoir/Hard Boiled, and a generous – though not too generous – dollop of Action.

Blurb:

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‘A born storyteller.’ PETER JAMES

The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller returns with the second book in the PC Lucy Clayburn series – a must for all fans of Happy Valley and M.J. Arlidge.

 

As a female cop walking the mean streets of Manchester, life can be tough for PC Lucy Clayburn. But when one of the North West’s toughest gangsters is your father, things can be particularly difficult.

When Lucy’s patch is gripped by a spate of murder-robberies, the police are quick to action. Yet when it transpires that the targets are Manchester’s criminal underworld, attitudes change.

Lucy is soon faced with one of the toughest cases of her life – and one which will prove once and for all whether blood really is thicker than water…

About the Author:

paulfinch

Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full-time writer. He cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, The Bill, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation and for Dr Who. However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers, crime and horror. His most successful works to date are the six-novel DS Heckenburg crime series, and the new Lucy Clayburn series, the first instalment of which, STALKERS, reached no. 7 in the Sunday Times best-sellers chart.

Paul lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry. His blog can be found at at www.paulfinch-writer.blogspot.co.uk, and he can be followed on Twitter as @paulfinchauthor.

Shadows by Paul Finch is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#NaNoWriMo Day 7 update. #amwriting #NaNoWriMo2017 #WIP @Gingerbread

So today is day seven of NaNoWriMo 2017. The target is to end today on 11,666 words if you were doing the 1,667 words a day.

I have to say that, so far, NaNo is going remarkably well! I can’t believe how well. My average daily word count is 2,714 which is fab and unexpected. My book has just flowed, I haven’t felt stuck or unsure of what to write next, as long as I can think of the first sentence in the morning then the rest just flows.

I’ve no idea what it’s like to plan a novel and write it according to the plan as I’m a pantser through and through but what I am loving about writing is how I just don’t know where things are going. I often think as I sit down to write that character x is going to do y but when it comes to it character x actually does something completely different and unexpected.

This book currently has one chapter told from each character’s perspective which is something that I’ve never written before. I also decided to change tense a couple of days ago so I am going to have to re-write 12,000 odd words which is annoying. A lot of my book is also set in the online world which I’m finding quite fun to write.

A couple of months ago I saw a post on Twitter by the charity Gingerbread. Gingerbread focuses on single parents and supporting them, they do a lot of good work and I know are a lifeline to many single parents. Together with publisher Trapeze Books, they have a competition for people with experience of single parenting, either by being one or having had one and to write a fiction book with a single parenting theme. I loved this, how great to set out to make books with diverse characters that represent the varied world that we live in and as a single parent myself I was immediately keen to take part.

I thought about it for a bit and talked to a single parent friend of mine and together we brainstormed and came up with a concept. Over the next few weeks, the ideas niggled my brain and I came up with various ideas before settling on my incredibly vague that I am now writing.

I need to submit 5,000 words in early September, along with a synopsis and short bio. So, while I’m doing NaNo I also have in my head that I have to have a really polished and fantastic 5,000 to submit which I have to admit, is more than a little bit scary. I’ve also never written a synopsis and as I currently have no idea what will happen past the point that I have written so I need to keep writing so that I know where the book is going.

Ok, I’m starting to feel my stress levels rising just writing about it!! Any advice or tips most welcome!!!

So, now what you have all been waiting for…my total wordcount currently stands at…19,000 words!!! Woohoo!!!! I have to say that I am really very happy about that!

If you are interested in the competition then you can find out more about it here.

#bookreview Broken Bones by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @Bookouture

brokenbones

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

My review:

Regular readers of my book blog will know just how much I love Angela Marsons. Her DI Kim Stone books are outstanding. This is book seven and each one has been a brilliant read in their own right. Each time a new one comes out I cannot wait to read it, but I am also scared that this book will be the one to let the series down and I worry that Marsons will get to the point where she has done all that she can with Stone.

My favourite of the Kim Stone books has been Evil Games, I absolutely loved the baddie in that book and felt that she was an amazingly written character that, even though I knew she wasn’t real, still managed to scare me. I didn’t expect that any book would push Evil Games off that number one spot, but Broken Bones has done just that.

This book was just wonderful to read, from start to finish I loved every single page and I didn’t want to stop reading. Sure, the books are easy to read and not the most high brow books, but if you enjoy an easy read that you can really get into then Broken Bones is for you.

I normally give a bit of a summary of the book in my reviews, but I’m not going to here. It isn’t necessary. It doesn’t matter what the book is about really, if you’ve read Kim Stone books before (and I do strongly suggest that if you haven’t you start with book one, Silent Scream, in order to get the most that you can out of the series) then you will know that you want to read Broken Bones, and if you haven’t? Well, what are you waiting for?

Thank you to the publishers Bookouture for a copy of Broken Bones by Angela Marsons. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

About the Author:

Angie - updated author photo - no credit needed

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books forhttp://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.

 

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US