Saturday, 23 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan where I welcome Phoebe to my blog where she has kindly provided a very interesting blog piece on 'How working in publishing changed your perception/motivated you to write'.  I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield from Harper Collins 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 the extract so without further ado, here it is:

I did write before getting into publishing, but since being in the industry I do have quite a new perspective on it all. As a fiction editor, part of my job is to work out which books will sell and which won’t, and I spend the majority of my time reading and analysing manuscripts with the aim of making them stronger, tighter and ultimately more readable. As an editor, I put myself in the role of the reader, but when writing my own books this is harder. It’s so important to try to imagine how someone else, someone totally unconnected to you, would feel when reading your book for the first time. Would they want to read more than a page? Would they be confused by your characters? Would they be satisfied by the ending? 

I really believe that we all need that outside perspective on our work, because when you’ve worked on something for so long, you do lose sight of it and it’s impossible to see it with fresh eyes. I’m very lucky to have had excellent editorial feedback from the team at HQ on my book, and the points they made were all things I agreed with but which I just hadn’t seen because I’d been staring at the page for so long. So it’s always worth having someone else read your work, whether that’s a professional editor, an agent or just a trusted friend who will give it to you straight.

Working in publishing has also given me a good insight into the amount of competition which is out there. There are many, many brilliant books in the world but I don’t think it ought to be a competition – there’s room for everyone, and what one reader might like, another might hate. Some of the books I’ve published have received rave reviews, but amongst those reviews there’s nearly always the one-star brigade, and that’s fine – no book can please everyone, because writing and reading are ultimately subjective things. However, being aware of the competition is a good thing because it’s motivating; I see other books with stand-out hooks and feel excited to read them. I look at the covers of other novels and wonder how mine sits against those, and I read as much as I can to try to understand what makes some books work and others not. 

In a publishing house, I also get to see the inside process of how books are made, which I now take into account when writing. I hear sales people explain how important the cover is, and digital experts emphasise the key factors of pricing and promotion. I understand how publicity and marketing work, and above all I appreciate how much hard work goes in to bringing a novel to the market. It’s so much more than just the author, and that is something I try to think of when I’m struggling with a plot point. We all work hard at our jobs, and if this is going to be mine too, I need to have another coffee and keep going as anyone else in publishing would.


Friday, 22 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Angel by Katerina Diamond

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Angel by Katerina Diamond where I welcome Katerina to my blog where he has kindly provided an extract to me for her upcoming release. 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 the extract so without further ado, here it is:


The doorbell rang and Martina answered it, her heart beating fast. It was still glowing outside even though the sun had gone down, the snow reflecting the street lamps. Satisfaction crept over Martina as she saw a flicker in Charlie’s eye, a recognition that she was a beautiful woman. She hadn’t seen that look for a while, least of all from her husband. He handed her the baby formula. She looked at the tin in her hand, confused for a moment, almost forgetting why she had invited him over. Smiling, she walked inside, leaving the door open and without even asking the question. She put the formula next to the sink and turned to see Charlie standing behind her, a little too close. She could see him concentrating on making sure his eyes stayed fixed on her face; no glancing down.



‘Would you like some wine?’



‘Yes please, that sounds perfect. Can I put the baby down somewhere? He’s just nodded off.’



‘Sure, put him in the cot with Jamie.’



Charlie disappeared upstairs and Martina adjusted her breasts, undoing one more button on her dress. She took the roasted chicken she had made in the afternoon out of the oven and placed it on the table, then set the table for two and took a bottle of white wine out of the fridge.



Charlie appeared again and smoothed down trousers nervously before sitting at the table. Martina served him some salad and a leg of chicken while he poured the wine for them both. She cleared her throat. This felt like a date, which hadn’t really been her intention. Or had it?



She tried to think about Sophie laid up in bed, or her husband stuck at work, kept away by the snow. The smaller villages outside the city were never really a priority for the salt that the council sometimes provided to keep the roads clear.



They ate together, making small talk while the babies remained asleep. Martina opened a second bottle of wine, aware that she was feeling tipsy, a welcome warmth in her belly that only came when she was drunk. It had been so long since she had relaxed, it hadn’t even occurred to her before how tense she felt usually. Being in a conversation with a different man awakened her to how bad the conversations she had with her husband were, with him always making her feel stupid or shutting her down before she had even started.



BLURB: 


THE TRUTH WON’T STAY LOCKED UP FOREVER

When a burned body is found in a disused signal box, suspicion falls on lonely teenager Gabriel Webb. There’s no doubt he was at the scene of the crime, but does he deserve what awaits him in prison?

DS Imogen Grey is certain there’s more to the case than meets the eye. But while she struggles to convince those around her of the truth, her partner DS Adrian Miles is distracted by his own demons.

When a brutal double murder is reported, their investigation is stopped in its tracks. Is the body in the box even who they thought it was? The duo realise Gabriel might have been locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. But with enemies watching Gabriel’s every move, they may be too late.

Miles and Grey are back in the thrilling new novel from bestselling author Katerina Diamond, perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge, Orange Is The New Black and Locked Up.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Mother by Jaime Raven


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Mother by Jaime Raven where I welcome Jaime to my blog where he has kindly done a Q&A session with me. 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 the Q&A so without further ado, here it is:


  • What inspired you to write your first book? 

The first Jaime Raven book was THE MADAM. The story is about a prostitute named Lizzie Wells who goes to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While she’s inside her young son dies so when she gets out she seeks revenge against those responsible. 

I live in Southampton on the South coast and one day I discovered that the city has a dark side. It’s home to a large number of prostitutes, or ‘escorts’ as many like to be called. Anyway, it was this that inspired me to come up with the storyline for THE MADAM.


  • Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m busy at present helping to promote THE MOTHER while at the same time finishing off my next book for Avon/Harper Collins. This book is out early next year and I’ve just completed the first draft. It’s provisionally called THE THREAT and is set in London. I don’t want to give anything away at this stage because the team at Avon haven’t seen it yet. Fingers crossed they like it. 

The promotional work for THE MOTHER takes up a fair amount of time because I have to write magazine features and blog posts, and do interviews. But I actually enjoy it and I know how important it is to get your book noticed in what is such a competitive environment.


  • How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It usually takes me six months to write a book of about 85,000 words. The book I’m now working on is over 100,000 words so it’s taken a little longer. Of course, that doesn’t include the editing process which begins after I submit the manuscript, first to my agent and then to Avon.


  • What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? 

The biggest challenge for me is having to push myself to write between 1,000 and 2,000 words a day even when I don’t feel like it. The pressure becomes more intense if I have to work to a deadline. 
I also find it hard to deal with my fiercest critic - ME! I agonise over the smallest thing and this leads to many, many sleepless nights. 

The research I find easy and fun thanks to the internet and the Google search engine.


  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Trying to switch off. It’s always a problem for me because I find it difficult to concentrate on anything else. Once I start a book I can’t stop thinking about how it’s going and what I’ll put in the next chapter. It’s true to say that it takes over my life and there’s very little room for anything else. Thankfully my family members and friends are very understanding.


  • What books have most influenced your life? 

These would be books written by two of the greatest crime writers – Agatha Christie and Mickey Spillane. My mother was a huge fan of both and she encouraged me to read their books in my early teens. That was how I became hooked on crime novels. The pair are very different writers but they both knew how to put together riveting stories. 


  • Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I’ve been following with interest fellow Avon author C L Taylor. I’ve read all her books – The Lie, The Accident, The Missing and The Escape. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all and look forward to her next book, The Treatment, which is due out in October. 


  • Have you ever gotten writer’s block?

No I haven’t. Whenever I get stuck I force myself to write down anything as long as it’s legible. It doesn’t have to be any good or make any sense. The point is to get something down on paper, which means you’re continuing to move forward with the book. I can knock it into shape later and this works for me every time. 


  • What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

It’s a book called The Mark, which was the first in a series of thrillers by American author Jason Pinter. It features a journalist named Henry Parker and was a bestseller in the US. But as far as I know it didn’t do so well here. And that’s a shame because it’s fast-paced and action-packed. A prime example of what makes a good thriller.


  • How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a list of names that I’ve pulled together from newspaper stories and TV programme credits. When I start developing a story I refer to the list and this helps me decide on names for characters. But I also sometimes use the names of friends and relatives. The ruthless villain in my new book is named after a boy I used to know who was a horrible bully!



BLURB:


I’ve taken your daughter, as punishment for what you did…

Prepare to be gripped by the heart-stopping new thriller from the author of The Madam, the read that taps into every mother’s worst fear. 

South London detective Sarah Mason is a single mother. It’s a tough life, but Sarah gets by. She and her ex-husband, fellow detective Adam Boyd, adore their 15-month-old daughter Molly.

Until Sarah’s world falls apart when she receives a devastating threat: Her daughter has been taken, and the abductor plans to raise Molly as their own, as punishment for something Sarah did.

Sarah is forced to stand back while her team try to track down the kidnapper. But her colleagues aren’t working fast enough to find Molly. To save her daughter, Sarah must take matters into her own hands, in a desperate hunt that will take her to the very depths of London’s underworld.

A gripping new voice in crime fiction, this book is perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Jessie Keane.


About The Author: Jaime Raven is an award-winning journalist who has worked for newspapers including the Sun and the Daily Mail, as well as a former script writer and TV producer. She is the author of The Madam, and lives in Southampton.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ 99 Red Balloons by Elizabeth Carpenter

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for 99 Red Balloons by Elizabeth Carpenter where I welcome Elizabeth to my blog where she has kindly provided an extract from his 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 the extract so without further ado, here it is:

It’s been forty-two hours. It feels like it’s getting darker in the mornings since she’s been gone, but I must be imagining it; the clocks don’t go back for another month. Grace will be back before then. She has to be. 
The only person who’s slept longer than a few hours is Jamie and that’s because I made him. Even then he woke up upset, asking if Grace was back. The last helicopter patrol was last night. The sound of the propellers reminded us that Grace is out there somewhere. The police have searched the newsagent’s, playgrounds, car parks, her friends’ houses, neighbours’ houses, and places I didn’t know existed in town. It’s like she’s just vanished.
Between us, Mum and I have managed to straighten the house and get it looking as though it hasn’t been pulled apart. Unlike the initial search of the house, the police were more thorough yesterday. They tried, but didn’t put everything back as it was. We ran Emma a bath so she didn’t have to watch as we put things away.
People have been bringing round dishes of lasagne, sausage casseroles, pies, which cover almost every kitchen surface. We’ve only eaten the ones from the next-door neighbours. Mum said we shouldn’t trust any of the others as we don’t know where they’ve come from. I thought she was being picky, but when the Family Liaison Officer, Nadia, didn’t touch them either, they went in the bin.
There’s a knock at the door.
‘I’ll get it.’ Nadia gets up from her place in the kitchen. She sits near the doorway. We can’t see her, but she’s close enough to hear what’s being said in the sitting room. Perhaps she’s been told to listen to what we say in case one of us knows where Grace is. Whatever the reason for her being here is, at least we don’t have to answer the door any more.
‘Those bloody reporters,’ says Matt. ‘Can’t they leave us alone? If they’ve got nothing useful to tell us, they should just keep the hell away.’
He still won’t look at me for more than a few seconds. Should I have replied to his message the other night? What would I have said? Text messages are terrible when discussing something important, but we can’t talk properly here. There are too many people around us all the time.
‘It’s Detective Hines,’ says Nadia. She stands with her back to the fireplace and folds her arms.
‘Morning,’ he says. He looks as though he’s been wearing the same suit for days. His tie is about three inches from the top of his collar. There are bags under his eyes and stubble is beginning to shadow his face. ‘I want to make a television appeal.’ 
Emma’s sitting in the chair by the window, her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them. It takes her a few seconds to acknowledge that someone has spoken.
‘Pardon?’ Her voice is cracked; she hasn’t spoken for hours.
‘An appeal,’ says Matt. ‘They want us to go on television.’
‘You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,’ says Hines, ‘but it might help jog people’s memories if they’ve seen anything out of the ordinary.’
‘Of course,’ she says. She looks away from the detective and resumes gazing through the window. She’s waiting for Grace. Any minute now she might walk back home. Emma wants to be ready for her, to open the door. ‘If we do it,’ she says, ‘I want Stephanie to be with me.’
Hines writes in his notepad again. ‘And you’re Grace’s aunt?’
Why does he keep asking me that? I thought detectives remembered everything.

‘Yes,’ I say.


BLURB:

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Bad Sister by Sam Carrington ~ COVER REVEAL


The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Saving Sophie.

Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.

And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.

When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.

Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page.


Publishing in eBook: 9th October
Publishing in Paperback: 14th December

Sunday, 13 August 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Escape To Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Escape To Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne where I welcome Bella to my blog where she has kindly provided an extract from his 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 the extract so without further ado, here it is:

Willow Cottage from the back was no prettier than the front. More boarded-up windows and more galloping greenery. Beth left Leo, who was frantically waving grass at the horses who were observing him mildly as they chewed their own plentiful grass supply. She stood by the back door; it was a stable door, split in two and sturdy. It was unusual and she liked that. Beth stepped back and took in the old tired building. It was in a state but perhaps it was better inside. She decided she wasn’t going to give up just yet as she felt a sprig of optimism take root. 
‘Come on, Leo, let’s find somewhere to have a drink. That tearoom looked good and I bet they do a good scone.’ 
‘Yay, cake,’ said Leo, throwing the grass over the fence and wriggling his way back through the gap at the side of the cottage. Beth followed and was taking Leo’s hand as they reached the willow when the bush-like branches of the tree parted and an old man stumbled out towards them. His face was red, he was waving his arms and looked rather cross, a little like a baby who had been woken from a nap. 
‘Argh!’ shouted Beth as Leo screamed and ran towards the gap in the fence where the gate had once been. Beth ran after Leo and didn’t look back until she had hold of his hand and they were safely on the village green. Leo started to laugh. Fear and adrenalin mixed inside her and, whilst Beth was now frantically looking back towards the willow tree, she was laughing too. 
‘Does he live in our garden?’ giggled Leo. 
‘I really hope not,’ said Beth with feeling. 
They were still chuckling as they entered the tearoom. Having not seen many people about the village, the tearoom held the answer – it was packed. There was one small table left near the door that appeared to be where the other customers had deposited used cups and plates. Leo sat down and Beth automatically handed him her mobile phone to play games on. Beth piled up the empties as best she could, creating a bit of a teacup tower and turned with the laden tray to return them to the counter. 
As she turned, the door swung open and caught her elbow. As the heavy tray started to tip its load towards her son she countered the effect and promptly deposited the entire cargo over the person entering. The crash was quite spectacular as everything smashed on the floor. 
‘Oh, for Christ’s sake!’ yelled the man who had failed to dodge the impact. 


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Other Side Of The Wall by Andrea Mara


With huge thanks to Carmel and Poolbeg, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Sylvia is on maternity leave from work and when she looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races out into her neighbours garden but the pond is empty and no-one is answering the door. She wonders if these night feeds and her lack of sleep are getting to her, she quickly pulls back and with a local child missing she considers that this must be preying on her mind.  Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in.  His wife and children are away for the summer as he's renovating the house but he joins them at the weekends.  Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uncomfortable about him.

Well, what can I say!??  I can't believe that this is Andrea's debut novel, it was brilliant.  Cleverly researched and well constructed.  Chapters are told in the year 2016 and past in 1984, full of twists and turns and by the end of it will have you questioning do we really know our neighbours?? I LOVED it and I'm really looking forward to seeing what Andrea produces next so no pressure!!! I can't really say too much in this review without spoiling it so all I can say is go and buy it, you won't be disappointed. Parts of this book made skin crawl but it definitely didn't disappoint. It was a spine-chilling , pulse pounding, heart thumping rollercoaster ride. It had a Norman Bates/Psycho feel to it. So grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea, a bar of chocolate and curl up on the couch with this but don't forget to lock all your windows and doors.

The Other Side of The Wall is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle and is currently £3.99 at the time of publication of this review.