guest author, short story

#ShortStory Time Served by Jaime Raven author of The Rebel. @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK

 

therebel
The Rebel by Jaime Raven.

Today I have a great short story written by Jaime Raven, author of The Rebel which is published by Avon Books. I love a good short story and I’m sure that you’re going to enjoy this one!

 

Blurb:

Jaime Raven

The Rebel

From the author of The Madam and The Mother comes a gripping new thriller that will have everyone talking!

Sometimes you have to take the law into your own hands…

 DI Laura Jefferson will do whatever it takes to bring down London’s most notorious crime boss. When her team receive a deadly threat – stop their investigation or the police and their families will be targeted – but they aren’t willing to back down…

Then the killings begin.

A new body is turns up every day, and with no leads, Laura knows she has to take action. Her family is innocent and she’ll stop at nothing to protect them.

When someone close to her is hurt, she’ll break every rule in the book to get vengeance.

Short Story:

TIME SERVED

BY JAIME RAVEN

Author of THE REBEL

The day has finally arrived and it’s been a long time coming. Fifteen years, seven months and three weeks to be precise.

But having served my time I’m now going to walk out of those prison gates never to return. Sure, I face an uncertain future, but then so does everyone.

At least I’ll no longer have to endure daily threats and taunts and the endless cycle of violence.

I can still remember that bitterly cold December morning when I arrived. It was such a shock to the system that I didn’t think I’d be able to cope.

There were those awful smells that were impossible to identify and the cacophony of noise that gave me headaches.

I found everything about the place intimidating, especially the cold grey eyes of the man who for no particular reason took and instant dislike to me.

Tommy Butcher had already been banged up for five years of a ten year sentence for armed robbery. And he had a fearsome reputation as an uncompromising thug.

‘So what’s your name then?’ he asked me when I encountered him that first day in the prison canteen.

‘Samuels,’ I told him. ‘John Samuels.’

He gave me that creepy, gold-toothed grin that became so familiar, and said, ‘Well I’m gonna call you redtop on account of your ginger hair.’

Much to my dismay the name stuck.

‘Count yourself lucky,’ Bill Simpson said to me more than once. ‘They call me Homer and I hate it with a vengeance.’

Bill has been my best pal throughout. I’ll miss him, and I know he’ll miss having me around.

‘It’ll be my turn to get out next year,’ he tells me as we have our last conversation in the prison’s high-security wing. ‘And I really can’t wait.’

‘I don’t suppose you’ll be as nervous as I am right now,’ I tell him.

He laughs. ‘Try to relax, mate. You’ll be fine. You’ve so much to look forward to.’

I shrug. ‘It doesn’t seem like it. But then I’ve only got myself to blame. I messed up big time.’

We both fall silent and it gives me time to reflect on my mistakes and how much my life has changed since that day fifteen years, seven months and three weeks ago.

Susan divorced me, my only son got married, his wife gave birth to my grandchild and my ginger hair turned grey.

And so much around me changed as well in that time. Conditions inside the prison deteriorated as a result of overcrowding and underfunding. Violence reached an all-time high, and now it seems like every day is a riot waiting to happen.

I’ve managed to survive, though, despite everything that was thrown at me. And that’s no mean feat.

‘You’re still young enough to make every moment count from now on,’ Bill says, but I find that hard to believe.

And yet I know I’m incredibly lucky to have reached this point. Not everyone who’s in for the long haul comes out relatively unscathed.

Jaime Raven

About The Author:

James_RavenJaime Raven is a full-time author living in Southampton UK. Jaime spends some of his time writing at his second home on Spain’s Costa Calida. He has three daughters. He was born in London and grew up in the gritty streets of Peckham where his family were well known street traders.

 

 

The Rebel by Jaime Raven is out now in the UK and available from Amazon UK, you can pre-order The Rebel from Amazon US now.

 

 

 

blog tours, guest author, guest post, how to

#BlogTour #Content Tips for writing about the past by Tiit Alexsejev #LBFBALTICS #BALTICBOOKS @midaspr

From today in London there’s a very big event happening for the book world, it’s the London Book Fair. They’re focusing on celebrating literature from the Baltic Countries and I have a guest post by Tiit Aleksejev talking about writing historical fiction. Enjoy!

Baltic Books Blog Tour

Guest Post: Tips for writing about the past – lessons from a historical fiction writer.

Tiit Aleksejev (1968) is historical fiction writer and playwright. He won the European Union Prize for Literature for his novel The Pilgrimage, which accounts the First Crusade. Since April 2016, Aleksejev has also been the chairman of the Estonian Writers´ Union. Estonia and the Baltic Countries are the Market Focus at this year’s The London Book Fair.

Aleksejev provides some tips on approaching the difficult historical subject matter and turning it into accessible fiction.

  • Do your own research into the period you are writing about. Then forget most of what you have learnt, the reader is not interested in your knowledge; but he or she cares about authenticity. Small errors kill the credibility, an accurate detail can be a cornerstone. Check the details but don’t overload your writing with them
  • Read as many resources as you can: chronicles, accounts, battle reports, songs, poems etc. Most will be inclined or distorted, they are written in favour of someone or something. For example the medieval conception of truth and veracity is completely different from ours. But you may find authentic fragments and voices; it is all about voices.
  • We don’t know how the ancients spoke, we know how they wrote, but this writing was done by a limited social group. So, you have to reconstruct – to invent in most cases – spoken language. Avoid anachronistic speech. It was probably not “O thou noble boy, hand me over this golden chalice!”. Distinguish everyday talk and ceremonial talk. Do your characters speak like priests or beggars? Or do they speak like people who surround you? If you are not sure how they really spoke, go for the brevity and laconic dialogues.
  • Find original names for your characters which suddenly sound right to you. Chronicles is a possibility. Or tomb stones if you are not afraid of the dead.
  • Visualize space: a room, a house, a street, a city. You need to see what is in the room. Pieces of furniture may be unaccustomed to us e.g. shelves for the scrolls. Maybe the room is empty. Then you have to see it empty.

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).

About The Author:

Tiit Aleksejev

Tiit Aleksejev in 2011

Tiit Aleksejev (born 6 July 1968) is an Estonian novelist and playwright.

Aleksejev was born in Kohtla-Järve. He studied history at the University of Tartu, and served as a diplomat in France and Belgium.

His debut novel was a thriller called Valge kuningriik (The White Kingdom, 2006). It won the Betti Alver Prize for best first novel. His second novel was a work of historical fiction, set in the time of the First Crusade. This novel called Palveränd (The Pilgrimage, 2008) won the EU Prize for Literature and was translated into several languages subsequently (e.g. Italian, Hungarian, and Finnish). In 2011, he published a third novel Kindel linn (Stronghold). Palveränd and Kindel linn are the first and second part of what is to become a trilogy.

His first play Leegionärid (Legionaries), about the fallen soldiers of the Estonian Legion, appeared in 2010 and premiered in 2013 in Rakvere. It received the Virumaa Literary Award in 2011. Another historical play, Kuningad(Kings) was published in 2014 and is about the murder of the four Estonian kings during the St. George’s Night Uprising (1343).

Aleksejev lives in Tallinn.

blog tours, guest author, guest post

#BlogTour #Content 88 North by J.F. Kirwan. @kirwanjf @RaRaResources #thriller #spythriller @HQDigitalUK

 88 North Full Banner
Today I am delighted and excited to be part of the blog tour for 88 North by J.F. Kirwan. Readers of my little blog will have seen my reviews for the first two books in this series, 66 Metres and 37 Hours, both of which were very enjoyable, fast-paced, thrilling reads. I agreed to take part in the blog tour for all three of the books without having read any of them, something that is quite a big commitment for any book blogger that is inundated with requests to read and review books. I was relieved when I read the first one and really enjoyed it and when I finished the second one I asked whether I could have a copy of 88 North so that I could also read and review it, along with the guest post that I’d agreed to post. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to fit in reading 88 North yet, but I absolutely and most definitely will. This is a good series!
And I love this guest post where the author talks about his writing and how he gets his ideas. I like it because he is like me and doesn’t plan much, that he knows the beginning and the end but has no idea about the middle, just as I do and it seems that he does his best thinking in the bath, which is almost the same as me, because I hate baths and shower instead. Perhaps I’m not doing it all wrong then?!!

Guest Post:

Writing and Russian Roulette

by J F Kirwan

People always ask me if I know the end of my next book. I always reply yes, because I do, and that I also know the beginning. However, the middle 300 or so pages are a different matter. It’s like being able to see a house on a faraway mountain, but the valley before it is shrouded in mist. As a writer, having promised a book to a deadline, it kind of feels like Russian Roulette, because there’s a chance that the inspiration simply never comes… I believe this tension travels down through my fingertips into my laptop. I also believe it’s essential, at least for me. If I had it all plotted out, I’d get bored and my writing would be flat. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of writers turn out fab thrillers and plot everything out meticulously beforehand, but it just wouldn’t work for me.

After 66 Metres and 37 hours, which have the same protagonist (Nadia) but are slightly different books in style, I wanted the third one also to be different still. For about a month I was keen to start the next book, but after writing the Prologue I stopped, because I couldn’t see the twists and turns I would need to make this one stand-alone from the others and not simply be ‘more of the same’. Mostly, I couldn’t see the overall arc of the protagonist. If you’ve made it to the end of 37 hours, you pretty much know what Nadia needs to do. But what challenges would she have this time, possibly her last? It had to be something new. Luckily for me, my Sony laptop broke (the keyboard – I get carried away and sometimes I can’t type fast enough) – and I had to wait 10 days for a replacement (a Mac – 10 days? I live in France – just don’t ask).

And then, following in the great footsteps of Archimedes, I was sitting in the bath one evening thinking about nothing in particular, and the plot came to me. Just like that. Like it was hiding in plain sight and I’d missed it all this time. I got out, vaguely dried myself and began scribbling notes. This went on for 10 minutes, then I sat back. It would work. Already the shape of the book started to form, the clouds lifted from the valleys, and I could see the road, the places Nadia would travel, the obstacles in her way, and how it would change her. I didn’t go any further, because I still needed that uncertainty to drive me forward.

I also play Russian Roulette with my characters. Quite a few of them die in my books. One in particular, a real innocent, is someone Nadia saves in 88 North. In the initial draft she lived, and my fellow writers applauded. But the more I thought about it, it lessened the dramatic tension, and I knew Nadia’s nemesis, Salamander, would do everything he could to put Nadia off her game. So I killed the innocent. This led to one of the most dramatic scenes in the book, in Sudan, where Nadia finds out, and goes on a killing spree fuelled by revenge. One reader told me she punched the air while reading that scene. Had I planned it all out, and stuck to the plan, it never would have happened.

The ending was also re-written several times, as was the epilogue. I don’t mean edited, where the basic frame stays the same, I’m talking about major-rewrites here (even if the same characters remain standing at the end). But you can’t rewrite too much. Russian Roulette is a good analogy. Six chambers, one bullet. After three pulls of the trigger, you are really pushing your luck…

Blurb:

88 North

The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right above one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come…

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

The gripping third and final novel in J.F. Kirwan’s brilliant spy thriller series. Perfect for fans of Charles Cumming, Mark Dawson and Adam Brookes.

About the Author:

KIRWAN Barry 01 ret 6x8J.F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Website: www.jfkirwan.com 

Blog: www.jfkirwan.com/blog 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kirwanjf/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kirwanjf

88 North by J.F. Kirwan is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

 

 

blog tours, guest author, guest post

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

Blog tour banner

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:

shadows

‘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

blog tours, guest author

Blog Tour: Hunting Angels Diaries by @ConradJones #huntingangels

Hunting Angels - Banner

 

As part of the blog tour for Hunting Angels by Conrad Jones, I have Conrad telling us about his favourite things.

My Favourite Things by Conrad Jones.

Animal

My favourite animal is my Staffie … I love the way Staffies smile when they look at you. They’re such loving animals.

TV show

The Walking Dead …I’m zombie mad!

Film

The Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan and Law Abiding Citizen.

Meal

Lamb Chops or Thai green curry.

Dessert

Cookie dough from Pizza Hut!

Holiday destination

So far, Cambodia or Vietnam.

Town/city

Rome

Breakfast cereal

Ready Brek!

Item of clothing

Blue jeans, polo shirts.

Childhood toy

Jacko my monkey.

Memory

Playing cricket with my dad. I miss him …

About the author:

Conrad is the author of seventeen novels, eight author guides and two biographies. He has three series;
The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; seven books Gritty Crime Thrillers
The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers six books (Reacher Style)
The Hunting Angels Diaries; three books Horror Thrillers
You can find out more; http://www.conradjonesauthor.com
jonesconrad5@aol.com

I am Conrad Jones, a fifty-year-old author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
On March 20th, 1993, I was managing the restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.
I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank` and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’; You can see them here.

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an eleven-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine McCann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my fifteenth novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.
The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft Target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now seven books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here
As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.

 

Blurb:

When an author is asked to help the police with the investigation into a double murder by identifying occult symbols, which had been carved into the victims, he is plunged into nightmare and forced to go on the run. Hunted by law and a powerful cult, he has to stay one step ahead to survive.

Buying links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

 

giveaway, guest author

Guest Post: There’s Something About Cornwall by Daisy James.

Cover of There's Something About Cornwall

Happy Publication day to Daisy James!! She has written a post about the importance of location in books and how a hurricane led to her writing her first novel. Make sure you read to the end to find details of a giveaway. Thanks for stopping by Daisy.

There’s Something About Cornwall

 

By

Daisy James

First of all, a huge thank you for featuring my brand new release – There’s Something About Cornwall – on your blog.

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

Apple & Caramel Loaf

Apple and caramel loaf

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

http://www.southwesterndistillery.com/

 

I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

coaster photo

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).

Daisy James links:

BuyLinks: http://buff.ly/2kQhrmp 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks

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

Also on Instagram.

Blurb

 A knight in a shining camper van!

Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…

Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.

Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?

blog tours, guest author, how to

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Angela Corner Author of The Hidden Island.

hidden-island-blog-tour

I’m delighted to have Angela Corner, author of The Hidden Island on If only I could read faster today giving us some writing advice. As I’m still trying to finish my NaNoWriMo project I’m still really interested in getting all the advice that I can and I have to say that I found a lot of what Angela had to say interesting. I hope that you do too!

Writing Advice

Do you write every day or wait for inspiration to strike?

One of the things I learned for writing for soaps is that if you get up in a morning and wait for inspiration to strike then you’ll never finish anything.  There are days when writing feels easy. The ideas flow, your sentences seem to appear on the page as if by magic, you are ‘in the zone’ and it feels great.  But then there are the days when your mind is blank. The keys on your keyboard might as well be in Chinese. The temptation to eat cake and chocolate or even do some house work is almost impossible to resist.  It is those days when you have to battle and sweat and just write something. Anything. It will feel like total rubbish, and may well be total rubbish, but you have to force yourself to keep writing. It’s a habit, a discipline. And even on those bleak, painful days you may produce something worth keeping. Or the germ of something worth keeping.  

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. From the news, from family and friends, from eavesdropping on conversations on trains, in pubs and in shops.  There’s a thing called the creative bubble or the creative cloud.  It’s populated by everything going on in the world, locally and nationally.  Everyone can access it and draw inspiration and ideas from it. Sometimes people will reach into the bubble, pull out the same things and come up with very similar ideas at similar times.  It then looks like people are copying each other when in fact they’ve simply got the same ingredients from the bubble and put them together in the same way.

Using friends and family’s experiences – including the most shocking and upsetting ones – as a basis for stories can be difficult to reconcile.  Every time someone confides in you the writer part of you will be thinking of ways it could be made it into a story whereas the ‘human’ part of you will be sympathising and trying to help or console.  It’s a conflict that all writers have and it is essential to keep enough distance between real life experiences and what you use in your stories, either by time or by altering aspects of the story. Otherwise you may end up with no friends and lots of family conflict.

It’s a good idea to have an ideas notepad. You might be working on something else but have a new idea. Write it in your ideas notepad for future reference. It’s very easy – and tempting – to have a great new idea and abandon whatever you’re currently working on to start the new idea. It’s the grass is always greener phenomenon.  New ideas always seem better than the one you’ve been sweating over for weeks and months.  A bit like the excitement of a new relationship. But if you constantly move onto the newest idea you’ll never finish anything. All writers are guilty of it.

Do you plan or make it up as you go along?

All writers are different. Some plan to the nth degree. Others start at chapter one with no idea where they will end up. Most writers are somewhere in between. If you are a writer who has started many books but not managed to finish any then I think planning the structure and major events/turning points is a sensible idea.  It gives you a framework and keeps you focused with certain points to aim for.  With The Hidden Island I started with a fairly detailed plan of each chapter.  This did change to varying degrees as I went along with some aspects removed and others added in.  The original plan included lots of flashbacks to Beckett’s previous investigation on the Island but during the writing process I found this slowed the action too much.   The other big change to the original plan was the ending. This changed when I was writing the synopsis to send off to publishers and agents. In writing the two page synopsis (easily the most difficult part of novel writing!) I realised the original ending wasn’t working as well as I’d liked and a different ending popped into my head.  I put the new ending in the synopsis and then rewrote the final chapter.

My writing day

It’s important, or at least to me, to get into a writing routine. Most writers seem to have a routine that suits them and their lifestyle and mine has had to adapt to changes in my own life.  My preferred time of day to write is actually in the evening and on into the early hours.  However this routine is not conducive to a healthy relationship!  I also struggle to write if anyone else is in the house.  Complete immersion in my made up worlds requires no real world distractions.  So my writing routine now means writing during the day whilst the house is empty. I have a minimum word count of 1000 words a day.  If the writing is going well then I will continue on past 1000 words and keep going until I get beaten by the clock or simply feel too tired to carry on.  If it’s one of those struggling days I will write my 1000 words and then stop but I will make myself do a 1000 words however long it takes and however horrible those 1000 words feel.

Edit as you go or just keep going?

It’s tempting to start each new day by going back over what you’ve written the day before and rewriting it.  But this can really stall all forward motion.  I will edit as I go during the day but once that day’s writing is done, in general, I won’t go back over it the following day. There are exceptions to this – if something really isn’t working, or if I get a lightbulb moment that evening about a new way of doing things or an extra story strand to add.  It’s important to keep going and bury any self-doubt until you’ve got to the final full stop, of the final sentence, of the final chapter.  Then put the manuscript aside for a few weeks, or months. Work on something else. Start a new book, or at least the research and planning of a new book, before picking up your first draft and beginning the editing process.

The Hidden Island by Angela Corner is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

The Hidden Island: an edge of your seat crime thriller

Sex. Drugs. Murder.

Hidden behind the crystal seas and beautiful beaches of a Greek Island dark and dangerous secrets lurk. Beckett has had his fill of adrenaline fuelled criminal investigation and with a broken body and damaged career goes to the Greek Island of Farou to head up the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Serious crime is rare, the weather is great and the beer is cold but his ‘retirement’ is cut short when a pagan cult resurrects and bodies start showing up.

With doubts about his mental and physical ability to do the job, a British police detective is sent to help with the investigation. DI Lee Harper is everything Beckett is not – young, ambitious and by the book.

As well as tackling the new case Beckett must overcome the demons from his past.

Family loyalty, power and money are at the source of the investigation where appearance is everything and nothing is what is seems.

Can Beckett and Harper work together to find justice for the victims?

Will the idyllic island ever be the same again?

Sometimes paradise can be hell.

“This gritty thriller is a brilliantly plotted and refreshing read. Angela Corner is one to watch for those who like their books with a bit more bite” Betsy Reavley, best-selling author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife and Frailty.

Angela Corner is a debut author who mastered her craft as a screenwriter on top serial dramas including Eastenders and Hollyoaks. The Hidden Island is the perfect read for fans of authors like Lisa Hall, Katerina Diamond, Kathryn Croft and Caroline Mitchell