NaNoWriMo, rambling

#ramblings #NaNoWriMo2018 To NaNo or not to NaNo? #amwriting #writerslife #NaNo #kidsbirthdays #HarryPotter #cake

So it’s the 31st October which only means one thing, tomorrow is November. Now that’s a good thing in a few ways, I can (finally) put the heating on, my twins celebrate their birthday which is very important when you’re going to be eight, it’s Black Friday when I can waste an enormous amount of time looking at ‘deals’ online that I can’t afford, I have to decorate a cake for said birthday which is never simple and it is the start of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.

The aim of NaNo, for those who don’t know, is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If that sounds easy then I will assume that you are not a writer, as it is not all that easy. Although saying that, I have attempted it twice and have completed it both times, the second time in a slightly insane 14 days.

Doing NaNo has taught me a few things about myself. Perhaps the most interesting for me was that I do not like losing, I was going to finish NaNo and there was no other option. I was not going to fail. Now if you told me that you’d tried NaNo and had managed any words at all but had not reached 50K then I would never think that you had failed, but for me, I think of it as a failure. But that puts a lot of pressure on me and that is something that I really don’t need.

For this year’s NaNo, I have planned to start a new book that is completely different to anything that I have tried to write before. I’m quite excited about it although I am continuing my panster streak and haven’t done any planning. I’ve done a bit of research and my two main characters have names but that’s it. How I wish that I could be a planner but it is not something that I seem to be able to do.

So you might be wondering why I’m writing a blog post entitled To NaNo or not to NaNo. And that is because I am really worried that this year I won’t finish it. As well as normal life I am also going to be having major surgery towards the end of the month. Now maybe after that, I will be spending a lot of time resting and so I might be able to write, but it is quite possible that my brain won’t quite be in the right frame of mind to write anything that makes sense. Last time that I had a general anaesthetic it took me a good week to feel like I’d got over it, the minor procedure that I had was irrelevant.

But before I have the operation I need to get my life sorted for me being out of action for possibly a good few months. As a single parent, this is a scary prospect. I am determinedly independent and do not like asking for help. I have been trying to teach my children to do some simple household tasks, like using the washing machine or loading the dishwasher. The later of these is not going well, it seems that almost eight year olds are just not committed to stacking a dishwasher in the best way possible and cannot understand why plates need to be facing the same direction, for example.

Our dog, Dotty, and last years cake.

 

But the question is whether in nineteen days I can write 50,000 words, get the house clean and sorted, arrange for the animals to be looked for while I’m out of action, organise a birthday party, get birthday presents wrapped and sorted (for the actual day which is five days after the operation) and, perhaps most importantly of all, decorate a cake in a Harry Potter theme.

Time will tell but please wish me luck!!!

5*, book review

#BookReview The Crying Season by DK Hood. @bookouture @DKHood_Author #TheCryingSeason

thecryingseason
The Crying Season by D.K. Hood.

Wow!!! Book 4 of the Detective Alton and Kane series might just be the best one yet!

My Review:

Woah!!!! I have read and loved the previous three books by DK Hood in the Detectives Alton and Kane series and I’ve really, really enjoyed every one of them. So book four had to be read as quickly as I could and boy, I’m pleased that I didn’t wait.

I love reading about Sherrif Alton and her Deputy Kane, they’re great characters with good chemistry and for a small town in Montana, they sure have a lot of crime to deal with. DK Hood doesn’t hold back when describing the crimes, murders and crime scenes, that suits me fine but boy she does come up with some pretty awful stuff. I’m for one very pleased that these books are fiction!

I read The Crying Season in a few days, I just couldn’t put it down and had to keep reading. When I got to the end I remember taking a deep breath and I think that I’d been holding my breath for the last few chapters. What a climax it was!!! And boy I was not impressed when I thought that it had finished but thankfully the epilogue tied things up and made me feel better.

But since finishing I have thought about this book a lot, to say that I loved it would be an understatement and I just keep thinking ‘Wow’. I’ve loved all the books in the series but I think that this one has to be the best. If you haven’t read the others then do, you won’t regret it and you’ve got some brilliant books to read! I, for one, will be eagerly and impatiently waiting for book five. This series really does get better and better.

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of The Crying Season by DK Hood. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The light fades as she runs for her life, the forest now becoming quieter around her. The only noise she hears is the sound of footsteps following her…

It’s hiking season in Black Rock Falls and the small town in Montana is flooded with visitors. But when a hiker finds a human skull on a deserted trail in the woods that surround the town, Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

With no missing persons reported, Jenna has no leads. Then her team makes a shocking discovery – the body of another hiker, a young man, tied to a tree and riddled with bullets. Could the two murders be linked?

As more bodies are found, Jenna and her deputy David Kane know that they must venture deep into the forest to find and face the killer. But nothing can prepare them for what awaits them there…

If you love Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott you’ll love this nail-biting thriller from D.K. Hood.

About The Author:

17096652

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.
My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine-tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.dkhood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

You can read my reviews for the other books in the series: Don’t Tell a SoulBring Me Flowers and Follow Me Home.

The Crying Season by DK Hood is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours

#BlogTour Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen. #guestpost @OrendaBooks @antti_tuomainen #PalmBeachFinland

First Palm Beach BT Poster

Today it is my great pleasure to have a stop on the blog tour by Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen and published by Orenda Books. Antti is a great author and although I couldn’t fit in reading the book for my stop I’m delighted to have a guest post by him about writing funny crime. And that is something that he does well, the last book that I read of his, The Man Who Died, was really rather gruesome but also very funny.

Guest Post:

WRITING FUNNY CRIME, OR: WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE MARX BROTHERS WHEN I WAS SEVEN

I suppose something similar had already happened even earlier, but I do remember an afternoon in the late 1970s when I was watching television with my father in the northern suburb of Maunula in Helsinki, Finland, when something indeed clicked.

It was an old film, I could tell that by the crackling sound and the black and white picture that sometimes jumped a bit, or omitted a fraction of a second of screen time so the actors’ movements seemed suddenly quite angular. But all of that didn’t matter. I instantly knew it was a good one and right up my alley. My father laughed, I laughed. We probably laughed at different things, or at the same things for different reasons, but that’s just how it goes when one of you is seven and the other is 39. And after seeing that first one, I wanted to see more of those crazy Marx Brothers.

What does this have to with crime writing? Well, the Marx Brothers came to mind again a few years ago when I was at a certain kind of crossroads with my writing. After five very serious, very dark crime novels I needed a change. I believe what I needed to do was bring more of myself into my writing. What I now see I was missing in my writing was my other artistic love besides noir literature: comedy. As I was re-watching old comedies (that probably have more to do with my getting into this writing game in the first place than I am even giving credit for) I realized just how good those old Marx Brothers films were. Or, more precisely, how good their writers were and how much in fact I had learned that Sunday afternoon in 1979.

I watched the films and then read parts of the scripts (Monkey Business, Duck Soup, A Day at the Races) and found them even more anarchic, more absurd, more brilliant than the films. With the films, especially as Groucho or Chico launch into their tirades, everything flies and wizzes past you in nonsensical speed. (An argument could be made that it is nonsensical in any speed, but we’ll skip that.) In reading the scripts, I fully realized that each scene, each exchange was used to the max, so to speak.

To be honest, I never modeled any story or book after the Marx Brothers or even consider them a direct influence. But I do suppose I have tried to learn a thing or two about the optimal use of dialogue, the delightful power of the absurd, and just some perfectly timed silliness. (Of course, the Marx Brothers also tackled more serious issues like, for example, tyranny and dictatorship and war in Duck Soup. In their own way, it must be said.)

And, most importantly, I think, what happened that day long time ago was that a lamp got lit. My goodness, it’s great to laugh at crazy silly anarchic well-done stuff, and how it lifts the spirits and how it lightens the heart. I don’t know. At seven, I probably survived without analyzing the mental health effects of comedic entertainment. It was just enough to laugh and have a good time. (Which actually doesn’t sound too bad on this particular middle-aged grey day.) Anyway, I have the Marx Brothers to thank for something, certainly. And it’s just so nice to know there is writing and film that has stuff like this randomly selected (just by opening the script book) piece of dialogue:

GROUCHO: You’re just the man I wanted to see. If I could show you how to save 20 per cent, would you be interested? Of course you would. In the first place, your overhead is too high and your brow is too low. Interested already, aren’t you?

HELTON: I…

GROUCHO: Now, just wait till I get through.

HELTON: I haven’t got time.

GROUCHO: Now, there are two fellas trying to attack you, aren’t there? And there are two fellas trying to defend you.

HELTON: Why…

GROUCHO: Now that’s 50 per cent waste. Now why can’t you be attacked by your own bodyguards? Your life will be saved and that’s… that’s 100 per cent waste. Now what have you got? You’ve still got me and I’ll attack you for nothing.

Come to think of it, doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a certain kind of crime story?

Blurb:

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AWFargo meets Baywatch in a darkly funny thriller by the critically acclaimed author of The Man Who Died Multi-platform, buzz-building marketing & publicity campaign Bestselling Finnish crime novel of 2017 Challenges the Scandinavian crime-fiction genre formula Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100 Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.

About The Author:

Antti TuomainenFinnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh      Awards.

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview One Dark Night by Tom Bale. @t0mbale @bookouture

One Dark Night - Blog Tour Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for One Dark Night by Tom Bale and published by Bookouture, especially as today is publication day.

My Review:

There is one thing that you can always count on with Tom Bale and his book and that’s that the opening chapter will grab you and hook you in. One Dark Night is no different.

This book really gripped me from the start, the thought of stopping to confront a driver who cut you up and then realising that all is not as it seems and that your family is now at risk and at the mercy of some crazy criminals just because you wouldn’t let it go.

The first half of the book was a really thrilling read, the criminals really were crazy and I was never quite sure whether all or any of the family would escape. I was gripped and didn’t want to stop reading.

The second half kept the pace up but I felt that it just went too far into being not just unlikely but implausible. Many thrilling reads tread a fine line between realism and irrealism and that’s fine by me, I’m quite happy to suspend belief a bit if I’m going to get a book that twists and turns and keeps me hooked, but I felt that One Dark Night took it just a bit too far and at times it felt just a little bit silly.

But it was still a very enjoyable read and one that I have thought about quite a lot since finishing it. If you like your books fast paced and filled with danger then One Dark Night is a book for you.

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of One Dark Night by Tom Bale. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

 Blurb:

One-Dark-Night-KindleHe sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

What would you do?

An addictive thriller with plenty of twists – fans of Harlan CobenJames Patterson and Robert Dugoni will be completely hooked. 

 

About the Author:

Tom BaleTom Bale is the author of nine books, including the bestsellers SEE HOW THEY RUN and ALL FALL DOWN. His latest book, ONE DARK NIGHT, is out October 23rd 2018.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/t0mbale

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tombalewriter/

Website: http://www.tombale.net/

One Dark Night by Tom Bale is out today and is available from Amazon, iBookskobo and Google Play.

5*, book review

#BookReview Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons. @WriteAngie @bookouture #KimStone #FatalPromise #book

fatalpromise
Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons.

My Review:

Regular readers of my book blog will know that I am a huge fan of Angela Marsons and her Kim Stone books. Book nine in the series is out today and the series is as strong as ever and shows absolutely no sign of burning out. Pretty impressive really.

The end of book eight was shocking, it threw readers into shock and increased sales in tissues, so I was interested to see how Marsons was going to deal with the aftermath of that. Of course, it was dealt with perfectly, not too much time had passed between the two books and so the readers got to see how the characters were coping. The main case featured in Fatal Promise also related to the case that had dominated book eight. Very clever.

The only minor thing that I could say about Fatal Promise was the smaller side investigation, it just didn’t seem necessary and detracted from the main story. It was also an interesting case that could have had its own book. And I couldn’t help but think that the character involved with that case really should have learnt their lesson from last time they did something like that!

I don’t really need to say anything more, the millions of books sales that Angela Marsons books have had speak for themselves. These books are brilliant and well worth reading. But do start with book one, although I’m sure that you could pick the series up at any point and enjoy it, you will miss out on some blooming good books!

Roll on book ten!

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

Blurb:

Eeeny meeny, miney, moe. Who lives, who dies only I know.

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet.

Buying Links:

Amazon: http://geni.us/B07GD4XSX7Social
iBooks: http://ow.ly/VGer30mhiyF
Kobo: http://ow.ly/Dsgo30mhiuD
Googleplay: http://ow.ly/sDks30mhizA

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer. @KelRimmerWrites @headlinepg #BeforeILetYouGo #KellyRimmer #addiction #book

Before I let you go

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the paperback release of Before I Let You Go by the fabulous Kelly Rimmer.

My Review:

I’m a big Kelly Rimmer fan, every book of hers that I have read have been a brilliant read and one of them in particular completely blew me away.

So I was excited to read her latest book Before I Let You Go, and wanted to read it based only on who wrote it, the blurb really didn’t matter. As it turned out if I had read the blurb then it would have been a book that I wanted to read. Although there might have been some hesitation because when a book features someone in active addiction it can often misrepresent addiction or even glamourise it.

Not that that happens here, one of the best parts of the book is the accurate portrayal of addiction, how hard it is the break and the heartbreaking consequences that it can bring.

The relationship between sisters Lexie and Annie is delightfully complex, when they were young they both needed each other and had a wonderful relationship, but Lexie moved out and was unable to have contact with Annie for a few years. In that time both girls changed and things between them were never quite the same again.

Lexie still feels responsible for her sister and tries, again and again, to help Annie to break her addiction. Finally, Lexie must cut ties in order to keep herself safe and allow her to live her life, which she is finally getting back when Annie contacts her again.

It is hard to say no to family when they need help, and when Lexie finds out that Annie is pregnant she becomes determined to do everything that she can to support Annie to get clean and so that she can keep her baby. But what will the consequences be for Lexie?

I really did enjoy reading Before I Let You Go, the characters were realistic and I cared about what was going to happen for them. Kelly Rimmer really is a skilled author whose books I will continue to read, enjoy and possibly shed a tear over.

Thank you to Kelly Rimmer and Headline for a copy of Before I Let You Go. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Before I Let You Go CoverYour sister or her baby. Who do you choose? A moving page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma. As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears… As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

About The Author:

Kelly Rimmer Author Picture

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.

 

 

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer is out now in ebook and paperback and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers. @steph2rogers1 @BooksManatee @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheDarkPlace

Dark-Place-Blogtour

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers. I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading the book but what a ride it turned out to be.

My Review:

I’m a bit unsure about where to start with this review, there is a lot that I want to say about the book but I don’t want to give any spoilers! Which I won’t do so you are safe to read on.

The story is told to us by Jon and Mel, a couple who clearly have their struggles, not least three year old Noah who lives with them while his mum, and Jon and Mel’s daughter, goes to University.

It is clear from the start that Mel struggles with Noah, understandably she felt that her days of parenting a toddler were over and she missed her job and the life that she had before Issy got pregnant at 15. Jon, on the other hand, appears to be happier with his life and he is especially excited that Issy is coming back from University for a visit, he can’t wait to see her.

We hear briefly from Issy at the start, but we don’t really understand why she is doing what she is doing. That is a puzzle that continues throughout the book as Issy’s parents try to work out why their daughter apparently killed herself.

I felt that this book was really well written, the grief that Jon and Mel went through felt so real and raw and painful. They both knew that they needed to find out more, and so they set about finding out about Issy’s life and realised how little they knew their daughter.

Some of it was hard to read, as it became clear just how unhappy Issy had been the pain that caused her parents, and especially her dad was immense. I worked out right near the start why she had done it, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book and when Mel and Jon finally worked it out I gave a cheer that they’ finally got there.

I really enjoyed this book, the relationship between Mel and Jon really was great to read, and I loved that how things ended up for them wasn’t what you’d necessarily expect but it felt so right.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Stephanie Rogers but it certainly won’t be the last!

Thank you to Manatee Books for a copy of The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The Dark Place

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

 

About The Author:

 

I have always lived in Yorkshire, migrating a whole three miles over the border from South to North Yorkshire and have always loved reading. As a kid, I was always reading when I should have been doing something else and nothing has changed (uncooked or burnt dinners being commonplace in my house – cooking’s overrated anyway). For most of my adult life I’ve worked as a dog groomer, interspersed with bouts of working as a musician, playing drums and saxophone, which has taken me to Germany and Israel. They’re not that compatible really, dog grooming and music – dogs hate the noises saxes and drums make (well mine do; or maybe it’s how I play them.) I have been and always will be, unashamedly, a rock chick.

After ignoring the urge to write for a long time (too busy, no time, kids to feed, books to read) I finally did a creative writing course with Writers’ Bureau, which I loved. I’ve written two thrillers, which is my favourite genre to read, and a couple of children’s books. I’ve also sold short stories to Take-A-Break’s Fiction Feast.

The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.