Friday, 13 April 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ If You Go Down To The Woods by Seth C. Adams Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for If You Go Down To The Woods by Seth C. Adams where I welcome Seth to my blog where he has kindly provided me with a super Q&A session. I was thrilled to be asked by Kathryn Cheshire from HarperCollins to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:


What inspired you to write this book?
As a fan of genre coming-of-age stories—Stephen King's "The Body" (adapted into the film Stand By Me) and It, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dan Simmons' Summer of Night, Robert McCammon's Boy's Life—I always wanted to try my hand with similar themes. The teenage years are that nebulous space between childhood and adulthood, and if written with honesty, the subject matter is universal and never gets old. Fear and wonder are emotions we all experience as children and adults, and mining these in the same story can produce compelling results for both reader and author.

What's your favourite and least favourite thing about writing?
The greatest aspect of writing is seeing what's in your head become a reality on paper. But this is also the greatest challenge, because you have to also become your greatest critic. Oftentimes, what is in your head doesn't always translate well onto paper. What makes sense to you in the privacy of your own thoughts may not make sense to a reader, and so if you want to grow as a writer, you have to be able to disassociate yourself from your story to some degree. You have to be able to read the story as a reader would, and be willing to re-write anything that might be problematic from a reader's perspective, in regards to plot, structure, and characterization.

What's one thing your readers don't know about you?
I grew up in the 80s along the California coast, when video arcades ruled the boardwalk, and Nintendo ruled the living room. I am an avid gamer, mostly on PC, and have to structure and limit my gaming time lest it take away from other, more important things—like writing!

Name your 5 favourite movies. 
This is a difficult task. I was a Barnes and Noble Music/DVD manager for several years, and watched far too many films both in my childhood and adult years to narrow down my top five, so I'll just name five that I re-watch and never get tired of: Halloween, The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Planet of the Apes, and Ghostbusters. An eclectic mix, I know!

What is the best thing you have done in your life?
I'm not sure what qualifies as the "best thing", but the most rewarding times in my life are when I have dogs to share my time with. From both an anthropological/archaeological perspective and a personal perspective, that humans and canines have followed a co-evolutionary path for nearly 100,000 years (80,000 years ago at least for wild wolves and early man; 35,000-38,000 years ago for domesticated dogs) is something approaching a natural miracle. No other two species have developed anything even remotely like the bond between humans and dogs, and when you allow a dog in your life, with the awareness that he/she is a cognitive, emotional creature—and not just a pet—something happens to you on the inside. You gain a fuller appreciation for life, and become a more sympathetic, empathetic human being. With their relatively short life spans, you know you will almost certainly outlive a dog, and the loss of a furry friend hits hard and deep, but the years of companionship more than make up for it.

If you had to describe yourself using three words, it would be?
Introspective, cautious, and observant.

What's your next project?
I have a hard drive and filing cabinet filled with completed manuscripts. There are two other crime novels that I have in mind for HarperCollins/Killer Reads, as well as a few suspense/horror novels ready to be delivered, and a volume's worth of short stories I'd like to see published someday. Along with these, I have a good three or four ideas in my head rearing to go, and just have to choose which one I'll pursue first.


Friday, 6 April 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Death Chamber by Lesley Thomson

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Death Chamber by Lesley Thomson where I welcome Lesley to my blog where she has kindly provided me with a guest post on Lights, Camera, Action. I was thrilled to be asked by Clare & Blake from Head of Zeus to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

Lights, Camera, Action….

One image of a writer is of a bundled figure in fingerless gloves scribbling in a garret, alone except for their characters. Certainly I’ve been there (with gloves and woolly hat), but I get out a bit too.

I love going to events and meeting readers. Most days I get a latte from our local patisserie as much for the chat with the owners as for the caffeine. I go on walks with friends (such as the wonderful Elly Griffiths) and by myself with my dog, Alfred.

Recently though, I was lured from my desk to ‘star’ in a film.

This was not a Clooney blockbuster or to star opposite Olivia Colman (my dream casting for Stella). It was to give booksellers abroad a sense of me. As I’m still trying to get a sense of myself I jumped at the chance.

We shot in Winchcombe, in the Cotswold village that’s the setting for my latest novel, The Death Chamber. It’s where I go to write alone (a woodstove means no gloves or hat). If you haven’t been there, you’re in for a treat. It’s peaceful and workaday with a butchers, a bakery and the best hardware shop I’ve ever seen.

Actor W.C. Fields hated working with children and animals. No kids in this film, but there is one wilful poodle. The first scene was of me at my desk with Alfred (Stanley in the series) perched on my lap. He put up with three takes (okay, so end of the fantasy of being a film star in the waiting– Cut! We’ll do that again) before leaping away and threatening to make off with a light reflector. In real life Alfred does sometimes land on my lap as I write. He snoozes, chin on keyboard – a cutesy look he refused to do on camera.

One shot had me ambling along a narrow lane of warm Cotswold stone cottages. I was to amble along this lane thinking writerly thoughts, my faithful canine companion beside me several times – the budget not stretching to bringing Winchcombe to a halt – because unwitting pedestrians kept appearing and spoiling the impression of the ambling author. In fact I was going to get an iced bun from the bakery (writers need treats).

The film’s centrepiece was the death chamber. This is an early Neolithic long barrow called Belas Knap where Victorian archaeologists found 31 bodies buried. In The Death Chamber police find another skeleton.

I morphed into Time Team and was filmed striding about the grassy mound (several times) extolling the countryside in silence. By this time my fab sister-in-law (and film star’s assistant) was minding Alfred. I paused to illustrate the silence. Suddenly, on the winter breeze, came the sound of a poodle weeping. Cut!

Amazingly, despite me and my dog, Rob, the filmmaker, made something good enough for general release…

I’m back at my desk writing while a recalcitrant poodle has his beady eye on my iced bun.



Tuesday, 27 March 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Fear by C.L. Taylor

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Fear by C.L. Taylor where I welcome Cally to my blog where she has kindly provided me with an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

I push open the doors to Greensleeves Garden Centre. As I step inside the woman behind the counter, dressed in a red polo shirt, shouts that they’ll be closing soon. I ignore her and speed through the shop, barely registering the shelves of bird food and ornaments and the displays of garden furniture and houseplants. The only other customer is a heavily pregnant woman pushing a trolley full of fertiliser and decorative fencing with bedding plants piled on the top.

    I glance at my watch as I step through the large double doors next to the restaurant. 17.53. Seven minutes until they close. If Mike’s not out here, in the yard amongst the plants, shrubs and timber, I’ll head round the back, see if there’s some kind of loading bay. I don’t want to have to come here again or go back to his house. I want to get this over and done with now.

   I walk along the length of the aisles, pausing to peer down each one as I pass. The place is deserted. I’ll just do one last loop of the yard and then head round the-



Saturday, 24 March 2018

REVIEW ~ To Catch A Rabbit by Helen Cadbury


When a dead woman is slumped against the door of a grubby trailer. She's on Sean Denton's patch, but who is she, how did she get there, and why doesn't CID want to investigate? As Doncaster's youngest PCSO, Denton takes the case into his own hands, but he's way out of his depth.

And when people are been reported missing and Denton must work backwards, before anyone else falls prey to South Yorkshire's murky underworld of migrants and the sex trade.

To Catch A Rabbit is the debut crime novel from Helen Cadbury and the introduction to a new series and a great character in the shape of a young Community Support Officer, Sean Denton.

I really loved this book and it had me gripped from the first few pages, right until the end and to be honest I can't believe this was a debut novel, it was put together so well. I'd so many suspicions and didn't know who to trust. It reminded me a little bit of an episode of The Bill also as I was reading it and I really loved that show. I'm just sorry that I never read Helen's books before she sadly passed away almost 2 years ago but I'm delighted I started reading her series after having a few people recommend Helen's books to me. I look forward to reading the next installment in the Sean Denton series which is Bones in the Nest.

To Catch A Rabbit is available from all good bookstores, libraries and on Kindle where it is currently £1.89 at the time of publication if this review.

Monday, 19 March 2018

REVIEW ~ With Our Blessing by Jo Spain


It's true what they say . . . revenge is sweet.

The story opens in 1975 with a baby, minutes old, is forcibly removed from it's devastated mother which causes trauma for the mother from that moment and causes a ripple effect down through the years with many more young girls which go unnoticed.

Fast forward 35 years to 2010 where the body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.  Her murder scene is a resemblence to the crucifixition of Jesus Christ.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is the lead detective working the case along with his team. He's convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.  Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.

I absolutely LOVED With Our Blessing, I was gripped right from the start, it is tense, shocking and completely addictive.  I didn't know who to trust and I'd so many suspects as to who the killer was. Jo has written about the Magdalene Laundries which were real here in Ireland for years run by the nuns for young girls who were brought to these places when they were pregnant outside of wedlock and believe me the stories I've heard growing up about these homes were barbaric and true.  I also went to both Primary & Secondary School's in Dublin run by the nuns and you were terrified of stepping out of line as you didn't want to feel or hear the wrath from them but Jo has managed to really put the barbaric events into words but has handled it all with great sensitivity.

This is Jo Spain's debut novel and it was fantastic, it was so well written and researched, I couldn't believe this was a debut.  There are another 3 books as part of the DI Tom Reynolds series and I'm really looking forward to reading the next 2 installments which are Beneath The Surface and Sleeping Beauties before the release of the fourth book titled The Darkest Place which is due for release in 2018.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

With Our Blessing is available in all good bookshops, libraries and on Kindle where it is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford where I welcome M.J. to my blog where he has kindly provided me with an extract of his debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this extract so without further ado, here it is:

The sign for the Hanover Homes development loomed large over the hedgerows at the side of the B3109. The space promised 240 units, ‘built to house the local community’, whatever that was supposed to mean, here in the middle of nowhere. The road was spattered with mud from the procession of vehicles using the site, and when Jo turned into the entrance, her small car rocked and bounced over the hard ruts in the ground. It hadn’t rained for weeks, and the weather forecasters were saying it was already the driest summer on record. 

She passed a couple of temporary cabins, several stacks of scaffold and a concrete truck. A squad car was parked up alongside her boss Rob Bridges’ scarlet Volvo, along with a battered Discovery, a Toyota and a police-issue Vauxhall. DCI Bridges, in plain clothes, was talking to a woman in a hard hat, making notes in his book. 

Jo killed the engine and climbed out. 

‘Can I see?’ she said straight away.

‘Who’s this?’ said an older, silver-haired man whose grey pallor suggested he was at least one heart attack down. His suit looked thick, maybe woollen, and completely wrong for July. 

Jo frowned; there was something familiar about him.

‘Detective Jo Masters, meet Harry Ferman,’ said Bridges. ‘There’s a DS from Thames Valley round the back already.’

The older man held out a massive, paw-like hand, and Jo shook it.

‘Follow me,’ he said. His teeth seemed a little too big for his mouth, and she guessed they were dentures. 

As he led her under the secondary perimeter police tape and around a bend between overgrown hedges, Jo wondered who he was. He had police written all over him, but he had to be at least sixty. 

A substantial Georgian house came into view at the end of the drive. Though the stone was still pale in places, a lot of it was stained by sooty streaks, darker above the paneless window arches. The roof was a mess of exposed joists, many collapsed already. A uniformed officer took their details at a second line of tape by the side of the house and gestured them through.

‘Who found the remains?’ said Jo.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ 29 Seconds by TM Logan


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan where I welcome T.M. to my blog where she has kindly provided me with an extract of his new novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre, now of BrandHive to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

The BMW swung through a series of turns and she knew they were leaving the campus. Sarah imagined the possibilities, her breath hot inside the bag. There still wasn’t enough air, but in this lying position she was able to shift her head on the seat, creating a tiny gap at her neck to allow more air through. She shivered involuntarily, a violent spasm that went through her whole body. The hand pushed down a little heavier on the top of her arm, pinning her in place on the BMW’s back seat.

Think. What about her dad? How long would it be before he raised the alarm when she didn’t come home? Another thought pierced her like a blade: what if these men were going to take Grace and Harry, too? In her head, she said a silent prayer: Please let this be about me, not about my children. Please let them be safe with my dad. The thought of Grace and Harry and her dad sitting around the kitchen table made her eyes fill with tears. She swallowed hard and fought them back.

This is no time for crying. Not now. 

Think.

She tried to count in her head, and guess how quickly the car was travelling. Were they on a fast road, a dual carriageway? No. Lots of traffic lights, twists and turns which suggested they were heading further into the city, rather than away. But the journey seemed to be taking forever. She began counting as best she could, one to sixty, then starting again. Not too fast. Count the minutes. The act of counting kept her mind off other possibilities, helped her stay calm.

She reached what she thought was fourteen minutes, near enough.

The car stopped.

Then the hand was on her arm again and she was pulled sideways, edging along the car seat and stepping carefully down onto hard ground, smelling diesel and rain and cold night air. Men talking in low voices, muffled through the hood. Car doors slamming. The grip on her upper arm loosened slightly. She was still hooded, but her hands were free and she had a sudden urge to rip the hood off and just make a run for it, look for a gap between these men and sprint through it, as fast as she could. She thanked the instinct that had made her wear flat shoes this morning. She could run in these shoes. She used to run for her school, and she had been good, too. 100 metres, 200 metres, 4 x 400 metres relay. It might be her last chance – her only chance. Instinctively, she knew that if it came it would only be a second or two and she would have to be ready to react without hesitation.

More voices, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. The smell of cigarette smoke. The metallic chuck of the BMW’s doors being central-locked.

The hand came away from her arm.

Now.

She ran.