Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Excerpt, Family Drama, Gangland Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, saga

Trickster -Sam Michaels – 4* #Review #Author #Interview @Aria_Fiction @SamMichaelsGG #BlogTour #Extract #Historical #Crime #Fiction #Saga

To be ruthless is to be powerful, at least it is on the Battersea streets…

Georgina Garrett was born to be ruthless and she’s about to earn her reputation.

As World War One is announced a baby girl is born. Little do people know that she’s going to grow up to rule the streets of Battersea. From a family steeped in poverty the only way to survive is with street smarts.

With a father who steals for a living, a grandmother who’s a woman of the night and a mother long dead, Georgina was never in for an easy life. But after a tragic event left her father shaken he makes a decision that will change the course of all their lives – to raise Georgina as George, ensuring her safety but marking the start of her life of crime…

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in the early 20th-century ‘Trickster’ follows the fortunes of Georgina Garrett from her birth in 1914 when England declared war on Germany. Georgina knows tragedy from her first breath, she is no stranger to loss and falls foul of the depravity she is born into, despite the love and protection of her family.

This historical crime saga is characterised by well-researched historical detail, which brings the story to life. It’s easy to imagine the poverty, depravity and violence of the London slums. The writing is full of vivid imagery and dialogue which gives it an authentic feel.

The characters are believable and even though many of them are criminals, they are easy to empathise. Many are victims of circumstance, they commit crimes and act violently to survive. The strong family bond essential for gangland crime fiction is evident in this story, and it is this that makes it such an absorbing read.

The abuse, language and violence are graphic, but not gratuitous. They make this story an authentic reading experience, but there will be times when you will cringe or want to look away.

The plot is well- written and has many twists, that shape Georgina Garrett and her future self. The underlying theme of the story is based on a misnomer, which gives this story a refreshing uniqueness. This is an accomplished debut story and I look forward to reading book two.

Q&A with Sam Michaels – TricksterI

Sagas are popular in romantic fiction, but your story is a crime-based saga, what inspired you to write this? Are all the stories historically based?

I’ve always enjoyed sagas, been interested in early 20th- century history and fascinated with the criminal underworld. So, it made sense for me to combine the three, hence, Trickster was born. It’s been a good outlet for my ghastly imagination!

The stories in the Georgina Garrett series of books are historically based, though as they progress, the last one will end in the ’60s and ’70s.

When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?

My main character always comes first, along with a small scenario which sets the scene for the rest of the book. I think the character comes first as I believe this is the most important part of the story. Good, strong characters make good stories!

 Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

My characters are mostly from my imagination although I do bring in aspects of real-life people I know. To make them realistic, I find myself acting out each character’s point of view – their voices, facial expressions and sometimes even their body movements. Obviously, I do all this in my head as I don’t want my husband to think I’m a lunatic!

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I’m a fan of true stories, especially tales of triumph over hardship or really gory crime. I’ve recently discovered Bill Bryson books which are not my normal ilk but I’m finding them very amusing and interesting.

 When did you start writing? What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?

I’ve been writing for the past few years since I moved from the UK to Spain. The best thing about being a writer is knowing that your work is bringing pleasure to someone, and that could be anywhere in the world. The worst thing is being sat indoors in front of my computer when the sun is shining outside.

What are you currently writing?

I’m nearing the end of writing the first draft of the next book in the Georgina Garrett series. It’s been wonderful to dip back into the first book and bring out some of the lesser characters and give them a more prominent role in this story.

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Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and a plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Trickster is her debut novel.

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Extract from Trickster – Book 1 – Georgina Garrett series – Sam Michaels

‘I dunno what to do, Mum. She needs a feed…’

Dulcie chewed her lower lip as her mind turned but then struck by an idea she said, ‘Don’t worry, Jack, I know someone who might be able to help. There’s a jug of ale in the kitchen. Go and pour yourself a glass. I’ll be back as soon as I can.’

Dulcie left her house and hurried along the narrow street with the wailing baby in her arms. She could ill afford to feed Percy and herself, let alone this poor little mite, and a wet nurse didn’t come cheap. However, if her idea panned out, she wouldn’t have to part with a penny.

Fifteen minutes later Dulcie was in the roughest part of town. This was an area where no person of good virtue would dare to frequent. Women hung out of windows with their bosoms on display, vying for business, while others were drunk, vomiting openly in the filthy streets. In a dark corner behind a cart, Dulcie glimpsed a woman bent over with her skirt up, a punter behind her, trousers round his ankles as he pounded hard for his pleasure.

This wasn’t the sort of place where Dulcie felt comfortable carrying a small baby. She held her granddaughter protectively close to her and tried to muffle the child’s screams in the hope of avoiding any unwanted attention.

The sun was still high in the sky. Dulcie was grateful, as she would have been worried if it had been dark. A short, skinny man with bare feet and a bent back walked towards her. His leering eyes unnerved Dulcie and she could see he was trying to peer at the child she held. He stood ominously in front of her, blocking her path. If she hadn’t had been carrying Georgina, she wouldn’t have given a second thought to kneeing him in the crotch.

With an evil sneer, he licked his lips, nodded towards the baby and then asked, ‘How much?’

‘This child is not for sale,’ Dulcie said firmly, then sidestepped the man and marched on. It was no secret that in these streets, any desire could be bought for the right price, but it turned Dulcie’s stomach. It wasn’t unusual for a prostitute to fall with an unwanted pregnancy, then sell the child on, no questions asked. Dulcie didn’t believe it was something any woman wanted to do, but the desperation of poverty forced them into it. Gawd knows where those helpless babies ended up, or what they went through, Dulcie thought and shuddered. She reckoned the women would be better off killing their babies – something she suspected her friend Ruby had recently resorted to.

She had seen many young women turn to drugs or booze to numb the pain and block out the memories of what they’d done. Some went out of their minds and ended up in institutions, a fate worse than death, and it was something she didn’t want to see happen to Ruby. The girl was only sixteen, with bright ginger hair and a sprinkling of freckles across her nose. Her fair skin was the colour of porcelain, so when she’d turned up on the streets one day her purple and yellow bruises had really stood out.

Dulcie had taken her under her wing and learned that Ruby was homeless after running away from her abusive father. Her mother had died when Ruby was seven, and her father had forced her into his bed to fulfil the role of his wife. When he’d filled her belly with a child, he’d beaten her until she miscarried, then thrown her out to fend for herself.

Dulcie did her best to protect the girl and would steer her away from the customers she knew had a liking for wanting to rough up the women, but it hadn’t been long before she’d noticed that Ruby was trying to hide a growing bump in her stomach. She’d had a quiet word with her and found that Ruby was distraught, fearing her secret would be discovered and she’d be sent to the workhouse. Dulcie felt sorry for the girl but, struggling herself to make enough money to live on, she could only offer a shoulder to cry on.

Less than a week ago and well into her pregnancy, Ruby disappeared, but then she’d turned up again two days ago, her stomach flat. She refused to discuss the fate of the baby, but Dulcie noticed her demeanour had changed. Where once she’d been a chatty young woman with a wicked sense of humour, she was now mostly silent, her eyes veiled in a darkness that Dulcie couldn’t penetrate.

Ruby lived in the basement of a shared house at the end of the street. It was decrepit, with the roof caved in and the stairs to the upper level broken. Dulcie thought the whole house looked unsound and had never been inside, but she had to speak to Ruby and hoped to find her in. She took a deep breath and braced herself for what she may find, then slowly walked down the stairs that led to the basement door. It was open, so with trepidation, she stepped inside.

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry – Caroline Roberts – #BlogTour 5* #Review – #AuthorQ&A @_caroroberts@HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Puddings #Northumberland #Farming #Sheep #PuddingPantry

Primrose Farm is Rachel’s very own slice of heaven. Come rain or shine there’s always a pot of tea brewing by the Aga, the delicious aroma of freshly baked puddings, and a chorus of happy memories drifting through the kitchen.

But the farm is in a spot of trouble. As the daffodils spring, Rachel must plant the seeds of change if she wants to keep the farm afloat, and it’s all resting on a crazy plan. She’ll need one family cookbook, her Mum Jill’s baking magic – and a reason to avoid her distractingly gorgeous neighbour, Tom . . .

Swapping their wellies for aprons, can Rachel and Jill bake their way into a brighter future? The proof will be in the pudding!

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I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’, is a lovely mix of family drama, friendship, romance and humour, with a sprinkling of poignant life experiences that may have you reaching for the tissues.

Not surprisingly, it is full of delicious puddings, as Rachel and her mother strive to find a way of keeping the family farm. There is an empowering, female family dynamic, spanning four generations, which withstands the heartache and tragedy the Swinton women have to face.

The story’s romance grows from an interesting take on the ‘boy next door’ trope. Tom, the attractive farmer at the neighbouring farm is always there to help out, Rachel grew up with him, so he can only ever be a friend, can’t he? The romance is sweet but embroiled in conflict. Is it worth losing their longstanding friendship for a chance of something deeper but riskier?

The Swinton women are easy to like, and all have a strength of character born out of adversity and familial love. They are believable and are written so that you can visualise them and become invested in their future happiness.

The authentic setting in a North Northumberland farming community is another attractive aspect of this book, I love this area and the descriptions and ethos of the community recounted in this story, make it an even more enjoyable read.

Written in addictive, short chapters that get you hooked, each has a title that includes a pudding or cake, which gives the story an added appeal but also makes you reach for the cake tin.

There is a clever connection between the puddings and the emotion of the story. Warm, soft Brownies equating to a warm, empathic friend. Sweet Sticky Toffee Pudding, synonymous with a comforting, conversation with your family.

The perfect holiday read, ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’, delivers a well-paced story about family, friends, loyalty and love, against a background of community, hard work, heartbreak, and heartwarming romance, as the Swinton women learn how to adapt to change, to secure their family legacy.

ARC
Q&A with Caroline Roberts – Rachel’s Pudding Pantry

Is there a specific place or moment that inspired you to create The Pudding Pantry?

I think the initial spark was when I saw an image in a magazine of a lovely stone barn that had been converted into beautiful cottages in Northumberland, and I also knew of tearooms and farm shops that have been created in old farm buildings in the area. I was interested in the idea of diversification in farming, and the need for Rachel and her family to take this step to give Primrose Farm a future. It was lovely to imagine how The Pudding Pantry would look once finished, and what a cosy, welcoming place it would become, full of scrumptious bakes and cakes.

What did you most enjoy about writing this novel (apart from sampling some delicious puddings of course!)?

The romance! How can I not mention the gorgeous next-door farmer, Tom? There is even a rather wonderful, Poldark-style chest-bearing moment that takes Rachel rather by surprise. We see the relationship grow between Rachel and Tom, despite age differences and being farming neighbours, and it’s lovely how that romance unfolds between them, I enjoyed writing that.

Image Credit – Caroline Roberts

And what were some of your absolute favourite puddings that you sampled along the way?

It’s been such hard research, hah, but somebody had to do it!! Sticky toffee pudding is up there as one of my all-time favourites, and I do love a pavlova with summer fruits, the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake I adapted myself and was very pleased with the result, Susan Green’s Ginger Pudding is a delight, and you obviously can’t beat some gorgeous apple crumble – I like mine with a little warming spice and cream.

Image Credit – Caroline Roberts

We love seeing photos of your gorgeous dog Jarvis on twitter! Does he help or hinder your writing routine?

Hah, at the moment he is still only nine months old, so I have to admit when I need to settle quietly to write at home, he just wants to play and is a bit of hindrance, bless him. But when we are out and about on our walks together, I do get inspired by the landscapes and changing seasons around me. Both Jarvis and my last dog, Meg, who are cocker spaniels, inspire my doggie characters – being Alfie, the spaniel, in the Chocolate Shop books and now Moss, the wonderful border collie, in Rachel’s Pudding Pantry.

Image Credit – Caroline Roberts

And has your writing routine changed over the course of your career?

I’ve had to become more focussed with my writing; having written seven books in four years. So, I have my own writing room – in the small bedroom. I also have a proper chair and desk now, rather than writing in the conservatory or at the kitchen table as my back was beginning to feel it. But I can write anywhere if need be, as I still write my first draft of each scene longhand then type it up later. If inspiration strikes, I can often be found up at 3am jotting down notes or even whole lines of dialogue that just appear in my head in the middle of the night – strange but true!

What would you most like for readers to take away from Rachel’s Pudding Pantry?

I’d like my readers to be able to escape for a while into Rachel’s world, with a heart-warming read that feels like a hug in a book.

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry, like your previous novels, is so joyful and warm. However, it does still tackle some serious issues. How do you balance writing about things like grief without taking away from the uplifting nature of your stories?

I want my books to reflect real life with all its trials and tribulations, which I know can be so very hard at times, so I’m not afraid to explore the impact of grief and loss. However, I am a very optimistic person and I strongly believe in the power of love, family, and friendship, to help us heal and in being kind to ourselves too. That’s where the journey of the story and our lives take us, and I want readers to feel there is always hope.

Back Cover – ARC
Image Credit Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband and credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss and family, which explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly and a cup of tea would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal after many years of writing.

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Psychological Thriller, Thriller

She’s Mine – Claire S.Lewis – #BlogTour- 4*#Review- #Author #Interview- #Extract @Aria_Fiction @CSLewisWrites

She was never mine to lose…

When Scarlett falls asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone. With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her name.

As Scarlett begins to unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is not what I expected. The first few chapters make you think certain events have occurred, and following on from this, the list of suspects is few, but then you are transported back to 1997, and what you discover there changes your perception of what happened on the beach.

The flashbacks are in a series of photographs which trigger a specific set of memories of the unknown narrator. The introduction of new characters seemingly unrelated to the event on the Carribean island, and initially cause confusion for the reader, but gradually the connections can be made and the puzzle starts to form a coherent picture.

Scarlett is an unreliable protagonist, she has past secrets, which reinforce her unreliability. She is also immature and easily swayed by the stronger, more mature personalities she comes into contact with. Costa is an unconventional investigator, they make an unusual but effective investigating team.

The characters are complex and all are flawed, keeping secrets, behaving instinctively, rather than with caution. Can the reader trust any of them for a truthful account?

The plot is intriguing, there are plenty of clues but these are countered by misinformation, so when you think you know what happened you don’t.

Surprisingly, I did work out the ending but this didn’t detract from the story.

A compulsive, psychological thriller, with well-crafted suspense and some clever twists, and an overriding poignant ethos, worth reading.

Claire S. Lewis – Author Interview

What inspired you to write this story?

She’s Mine started as a little exercise that I wrote on ‘setting’ for a beginner’s online creative writing course.  I chose a beach setting because I thought that would be a good way of using all the five senses – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell – in the description.  You’re usually very engaged with your senses when lying on a beach!  To make it more interesting, I added the plot element of a nanny falling asleep on the sand and waking up to find that the little girl she was supposed to be looking after had disappeared. When I later took the Faber Academy course on writing a novel, I used this piece as the opening chapter for my novel draft which became She’s Mine.

What is the first thing you decide when writing a story, the setting, the plot or characters? Why do you think this is?

When starting a story, the first thing that gets me writing is the plot. Sometimes a conversation or a news item or something I hear on the radio makes me think, ‘that would be a great starting point for a novel’, or ‘if you put that into a novel nobody would believe it’, and from that scene or idea, I develop a plot.  Next, I imagine which characters would act out that plot and how they would interact with each other. And then I think about what would be an interesting or enticing setting or stage for those characters – usually, I like to pick locations that I know well and that I know I would love bringing to life in descriptions. So, in She’s Mine, much of the backstory is set in Oxford because I was a student there and it is a beautiful and atmospheric city that is still very vivid in my memory. I can easily wind back the clock and put myself in the place of my characters and imagine myself there, seeing and feeling it from inside their heads.

I think the plot interests me the most because I like the idea of setting up a puzzle and then gradually letting the readers into the mystery. The characters are there to act out the plot. I am also really interested in exploring devices such as the ‘unreliable narrator’ – like the nanny,  Scarlett, in She’s Mine. In addition, I enjoy playing around with changing narrative viewpoints so that the reader sees parts of the puzzle or mystery through one character’s eyes but has to read between the lines to work out the ‘truth’ that is eventually revealed when the narrative perspective changes to another character. I use this device a lot in my second novel. The plot is the starting point for all this.

Do you draw your characters from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?

My characters are mostly imaginary – which is lucky because they tend to be quite dark and complicated! Of course, in some cases, I draw on certain personality traits of people I know in real life, or perhaps not so much personality traits but ways of speaking and interacting with other people. After reading the first draft of She’s Mine, my teenage daughter said to me, ‘So Scarlett’s basically me!’ I wasn’t conscious of writing this (and they certainly don’t have the same characters!), but she recognised herself in Scarlett’s narrative voice! So far all of my male characters have been flawed – weak, vain, untrustworthy, and the like. I wouldn’t say this is a reflection of the men in my life! In She’s Mine, my anti-hero Damien was in part inspired by a particularly unpleasant man I spoke to very briefly at an event some years ago! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to light the spark of a character…

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I love reading all sorts of fiction books as long as they are not too heavy or slow moving! Particular authors/books that I have loved since I was a teenager include Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited), Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby/Tender is the Night), Graham Greene (The Confidential Agent/The Power and The Glory), Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate) and Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley). I think these books are brilliant because they are so beautifully written with such intriguing stories, charismatic characters and entrancing settings. I also love modern psychological thrillers such as Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, The Cry and You. My all-time favourite novel is Gone With The Wind which I devoured when I was growing up.

What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?

Before I had children, I was an aviation lawyer for Virgin Atlantic, but I’ve always loved reading and books, and always dreamt of writing a novel.  So after having been at home with the children for a few years, I finally took the plunge and signed up for some creative writing courses – both novel and screenwriting – to see if I could do it – then I got hooked. I love writing fiction because of the freedom it gives you to escape and get lost in other worlds. And I love psychological suspense because I find the psychological part fascinating – imagining what’s going on in other people’s minds – and the suspense part is so much fun to create because it’s what keeps us reading – the ‘what if?’ and ‘what next’ that makes us want to keep turning the page!

What are you currently writing?

I’m currently writing another story in the genre of psychological suspense about a beautiful young florist with a tragedy in her past. It’s wonderful to write because I’m researching the world of floristry and flowers (as well as getting to grips with the workings of dating apps such as Tinder which I’ve never looked at before!). The plot revolves around stalking (no pun intended!) but it’s not clear who is the predator and who is the victim…

Thank you so much, Jane, for giving me the opportunity to write for your lovely blog, Jane Hunt Writer!

Extract

That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. What I don’t reveal to her is an incident that took place in Christina’s bedroom the week before we flew out to the British Leeward Isles. I don’t disclose it because the incident doesn’t put me in a good light either! On Tuesdays, Katie does a full day at kindergarten so I have a little time to myself. I’ve got into the habit of using Christina’s en-suite, luxurious, walk-in power shower and expensive beauty products following the weekly hot yoga class that I go to after dropping off Katie. So last Tuesday, I had just finished my shower and wrapped myself in Christina’s bathrobe when I heard her bedroom door opening and then the sound of her antique roll top desk being unlocked.

I thought she must have come back early from work for some reason. There was nothing else for it but to come clean (literally!) and apologise for taking the liberty of using her bathroom without asking first. So I took off her bathrobe, draped a towel around me and opened the door. But it wasn’t Christina. It was Damien with his back to me, checking the contents of the desk. Caught in the act. Hearing the catch he started and turned in alarm. He reddened but quickly composed himself and went on the offensive.

‘What a vision of beauty!’ he sneered as I stood there, my wet hair dripping onto the carpet. ‘I didn’t realise you and Christina were so intimate.’

‘And I didn’t realise you made a habit of going through her private papers!’ I snapped back. I know very well that the desk, an old family heirloom shipped over from the UK, is a strictly no-go area that she keeps locked at all times. He just laughed and then cool as a cucumber, he slipped some documents into a green cardboard file under his arm, locked the desk, pocketed the key and marched out of the room.

‘Just mind your own business and keep out of our affairs. Or you’ll be going the same way as the previous nanny,’ was his parting shot.

I understood this was no idle threat. Christina’s so possessive and distrustful that I knew if she got wind of this brush with Damien, she would imagine the worst and I’d be out of a job. So I said nothing to Christina in New York and I say nothing to the police officer now as she converses with me in the hotel bedroom.

I decide to keep my suspicions about Damien to myself – for now.

*

For something that was supposed to have been a ‘friendly chat’ the questioning is intense. After asking about my relations with Christina and Damien she embarks on a list of questions clearly aimed at working out a timeline for my movements this afternoon. What time did I arrive at the beach with Katie? Did I speak to anyone? Did anyone approach me or Katie? Did I notice anyone watching her? What time did I fall asleep? What time did I wake up? When did I become aware Katie was missing? What did I do next? Did I see anyone on the beach when I was looking for her? How long did I spend searching the beach before raising the alarm? What time did I tell Christina her little girl was missing?

My head is pounding and I feel like a criminal by the time the family liaison officer finally puts her notepad away.

‘These questions are nothing to worry about,’ she assures me. ‘We just need to establish the timeline for the disappearance of the little girl.’ She ends the conversation by encouraging me to contact her ‘any time, any place’ if I need support or if I ‘remember’ anything else that may be relevant to the investigation. I half expect her to clap me in handcuffs and announce that she’s putting me under arrest when at last she says that I’m at liberty to go.

*

In a waking nightmare, we struggle on through the grief-stricken hours of the day making calls, badgering the search team for any new scrap of information and giving interviews to reporters in the belief that getting Katie’s story out there might somehow help in her rescue.

The worst moment comes just after midnight when the operation is called to a halt. I collapse onto a chair in a quivering heap. All the strength has gone from my legs. Christina appears distraught, begging members of the police and emergency services to go on searching.

‘There’s nothing more we can do tonight. We’ll resume at dawn. You should get some sleep,’ says the commander sternly. Holding our despair at bay and unable to contemplate the thought of sleep, we pace the beaches and the rocky headland for the next two hours, tripping over stones in the darkness, our steps lit only by the moon and stars in the cloudless black sky and the light from our mobile phones.

I am lightheaded with exhaustion by the time I accompany Christina to her room in the early hours of the morning. We sit out on the balcony mesmerised by the sound of waves rolling on to sand. We are too tired to speak. I make tea and give her three sleeping tablets from a packet I find in her wash bag. Once the tablets take effect, I steer her to bed, her expression vacant and confused, as she lets me pull the covers over her. It’s not until I shut Christina’s door and go down the corridor to the room I’m sharing with Katie that it strikes me again. Where the fuck is Damien? I haven’t seen him all day, not since he handed me the cocktail at the pool.

When I open the door, there is Katie’s blue bunny, propped up on her newly-made bed. The tears stream down my face. The bedtime story I was reading to her last night is still open at the page we got to when her eyes finally closed. It’s a beautifully illustrated copy of Peter Pan that Christina discovered in a quaint little bookshop called the Book Cellar, one of her favourite haunts for second-hand books. I glance down at the page. ‘The Mermaids’ Lagoon’ – Katie’s favourite chapter. She loves the colour illustrations of the mermaids diving in the waves. The doors to the balcony are open. I shiver in the sea breeze and step out through billowing curtains.

I stand there for a few moments still clutching Katie’s bucket.

Lost. Drowned.

Claire Simone Lewis studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways.  More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy. She’s Mine is her first novel. Born in Paris, she’s bilingual and lives in Surrey with her family. 
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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Summer of New Beginnings – Lisa Hobman #BlogTour – 5* #Review – #Author #Interview #Extract @Aria_Fiction @LisaJHobmanAuth

Meet Zara Bailey, a travel writer paid to cover some of the globe’s most luxurious locations. Jetting from wooden huts on stilts in turquoise seas to boutique hotels with roaring fires to 7* penthouse suites with panoramic views of the world’s most glamorous cities…

Zara knows hers is the definition of a dream job! So she is seriously shocked to receive her next assignment; Scotland’s Northcoast 500 route. By bicycle. Sleeping in a tent so basic it can’t remotely be dressed up glamping! But this could be just the distraction the recently heartbroken, Zara needs. No men, no romance, just the breathtakingly rugged Highland scenery.

Until she meets croft owner Lachlan Grant, and his black and white Border Collie Bess, that is….

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I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set mainly in the Scottish Highlands, travel journalist Zara takes on an assignment that puts her firmly out of her comfort zone. Her cycle ride in the Highlands makes her realise that living life for the moment, and being brave enough to follow her dreams may be worth the risk.

The beautifully described setting makes it easy to imagine Zara’s journey. Her love-hate relationship with her mountain bike provides many humorous moments. Zara’s complex personality makes her both likeable and often frustrating. I found myself shouting at her to see the truth of the situations she’s in. So, she is realistic and easy to empathise. Lachlan is more of a mystery. He hides his kind nature under a brusque outward manner.

The plot is full of conflict and dilemma for Zara, it’s exhausting to read at times but worth the emotional angst. The well-written ending concludes all plot twists and gives Zara the life she deserves and needs.

Interview Questions: Lisa Hobman – A Summer of New Beginnings Blog Tour

What inspired you to write this story? The descriptions are realistic, have you cycled all or part of this journey?

I have actually driven the majority of the route. We visit the Highlands annually and last summer we had the pleasure of stopping off at some of the points I visit in the story. I’m not sure I’m fit enough to cycle it but I would love to camp it for sure!

The Scottish Highlands is a popular setting for novelists, what makes your stories different? Why do you think this is?

The Scottish Highlands evoke so many emotions and the dramatic scenery really does lend itself to romance, in my opinion. Many authors have this same attraction to the perfect setting. I tend to write stories about places I’ve visited and which have affected me in some way emotionally. I find this way I can give real credence to the descriptions of the breath-taking locations.

Do you draw your characters from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?

My characters are fictional; however, there are certain traits observed in real people that find their way into the ones I invent. It may be a story that someone tells me that resonates or perhaps a general personality that sparks an idea. But overall I keep real people out of my stories. My dogs, on the other hand, do feature! Ruby from A Seaside Escape is based on my own little characterful Patterdale Terrier.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I tend to enjoy crime novels. Partly because I’m fascinated by how they’re constructed so cleverly—clues and situations all weaved together until a bewildering climax eventually occurs. I especially love Ann Cleeves Shetland books. The scenery she creates with her words really transports me and I can almost be present in the story myself. It’s a bit of a dream of mine to write something in this genre but I have yet to attempt it.

What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?

Writing is something I’ve always loved since childhood. I used to love writing stories and even wrote a book when I was a teenager! Until recent years it’s always been a bit of a pipe dream but I’m so happy to be fulfilling it now. Romance is a genre that I absolutely love to write. I love to get lost in the passion of a relationship whether it’s friends to lovers or second chances. Romance is something I find flows from my fingertips and makes me happy.

What are you currently writing?

My current work in progress is a novel set at Christmas but that’s all I’m prepared to say just now! You’ll need to watch this space as they say!

Extract

Zara stared, open-mouthed, at Noah as if he had completely lost the plot. As if his marbles were literally falling out of his ears as he spoke. She tried to wrap her head around the words he had uttered but her mind was in some kind of baffled stupor. Did he really just say camping to the girl who was accustomed to reviewing five-star luxury resorts for a living?

She shook her head. ‘I’m sorry, Noah, but… is this a joke?’ she asked hesitantly, dreading his answer. ‘You seem to be getting me confused with someone who likes the outdoors. I mean… I like being outdoors on the beach or checking out historical places for my reports, obviously, but camping? And Scotland?’ Noah was known for being a prankster; she waited for him to burst into hysterical laughter and do the whole, ‘Ha ha! Your face when I said camping! Of course, it’s a joke!’ But she waited in vain.

He leaned forward and fixed her with a pitiful gaze. ‘Zara, I know this isn’t your usual bag. I get that. But the fact is that the whole thing is booked. Dillon knew this and he’s still betrayed me; well, all of us really.’ There was a sad yet bitter edge to his usually jovial voice. He huffed and ran his hands through his greying, floppy hair. ‘And I need you to help me out on this. Dillon’s intern simply isn’t ready – in fact I wouldn’t have employed him at all, truth be told, but that’s a story for another day. It’s not something I would normally ask of you, but I can’t let this slip just because Dillon thinks he has bigger fish to fry. We may be a relatively small publication in comparison to others, but we still need to be at the top of our game. I’m counting on you, Zara. You’re my best travel writer as it is. But now Dillon is going you’re my only travel writer.’

She sighed deeply and an image of her petite body being crushed by a giant rucksack manifested in her mind. ‘But, Noah…’

He held up his hands. ‘I know. I know. But here’s the thing. Travelarium have got wind of the fact that Dillon is leaving. I got a call from Joel at their head office today. He couldn’t wait to stick his knife in. Sarcastic bastard. Anyway, they’re going to try and get there first. You know they’re already trying to make a name for themselves, and taking a portion of our readership would be a big bloody boost for them. This article would be a perfect inroad, believe me. They’re doing the real nitty-gritty stuff; the Australian outback and the bloody camel rides in Egypt. They’re making us look like we only care about the fluffy, frilly shit. But that was never my intention with The Bohemian. Dillon’s trip was supposed to be a real nuts and bolts piece; a chance to show our readership that we take travel seriously. And that the UK is just as important to us as a publication as the luxury destinations are. We can’t let it go. I won’t, Zara.’ She had never seen him like this. Obviously, Dillon’s shock announcement had floored him. But she wondered if there was something behind it all. Was the magazine struggling? Why was he not telling her if that was the case?

And anyway, what was wrong with fluff and frills? Life was too short to be so bothered about real life and all the crap that came with it. What was wrong with a bit of escapism?

She realised Noah was still on his rant about Travelarium and snapped her attention back to him. ‘… and the North Coast 500 route is so hot right now, Zara. It’s big news and we need to get in there first. Think of the team, eh?’

Good grief, next he’ll be telling me to think of the children. Talk about playing for my sympathy. She wasn’t quite ready to acquiesce. Not yet. ‘But surely there must be someone else better equipped and suited to doing the report. Surely there’s someone in the team, maybe a different department, for example, who loves camping and… and all that stuff.’

Noah closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them, he shook his head. ‘Zara, I’ve been let down by my best friend of God knows how many years. You currently have nothing assigned that can’t be put off for a while. I’m sorry but I can’t send anyone else. I need this to be done just right. I need your help on this. Please, Zara? You’re my only hope here.’

Suddenly the image of Noah dressed all in white with donuts for hair sprang to mind and she had to bite her lip so she didn’t laugh inappropriately at Noah’s Princess Leia-esque plea for help. She twisted her hands in her lap. She loved her job. And if the mag was in trouble she wanted to do all she could to help, obviously. Noah was an awesome boss and she wanted to be the reporter he needed her to be. But this was something above and beyond. She wouldn’t just be stepping out of her comfort zone. She’d be climbing in a spaceship and travelling until her comfort zone was a tiny speck on a distant planet. But she knew how much Noah had done for her. He’d taken a chance on her as a newly qualified journalist and she owed him so much.

She lifted her chin. ‘I need more information.’

Noah sat up straight once more, his wide-eyed expression filled with hope. ‘Anything. What do you need to know? Fire away.’

She cleared her throat, forcing the real question – i.e. Are you insane? – back from her tongue. ‘H-how will I be getting there?’

He nodded and took a slow, deep breath, which didn’t bode well. ‘Okay, so you’d be going north by train to Inverness. Then you’d pick up your bicycle and—’

‘Whoa! Hang on a darn-tooting-minute, here. Bicycle? You never mentioned anything about a bloody bicycle!’

Zara stared, open-mouthed, at Noah as if he had completely lost the plot. As if his marbles were literally falling out of his ears as he spoke. She tried to wrap her head around the words he had uttered but her mind was in some kind of baffled stupor. Did he really just say camping to the girl who was accustomed to reviewing five-star luxury resorts for a living?

She shook her head. ‘I’m sorry, Noah, but… is this a joke?’ she asked hesitantly, dreading his answer. ‘You seem to be getting me confused with someone who likes the outdoors. I mean… I like being outdoors on the beach or checking out historical places for my reports, obviously, but camping? And Scotland?’ Noah was known for being a prankster; she waited for him to burst into hysterical laughter and do the whole, ‘Ha ha! Your face when I said camping! Of course, it’s a joke!’ But she waited in vain.

He leaned forward and fixed her with a pitiful gaze. ‘Zara, I know this isn’t your usual bag. I get that. But the fact is that the whole thing is booked. Dillon knew this and he’s still betrayed me; well, all of us really.’ There was a sad yet bitter edge to his usually jovial voice. He huffed and ran his hands through his greying, floppy hair. ‘And I need you to help me out on this. Dillon’s intern simply isn’t ready – in fact, I wouldn’t have employed him at all, truth be told, but that’s a story for another day. It’s not something I would normally ask of you, but I can’t let this slip just because Dillon thinks he has bigger fish to fry. We may be a relatively small publication in comparison to others, but we still need to be at the top of our game. I’m counting on you, Zara. You’re my best travel writer as it is. But now Dillon is going you’re my only travel writer.’

She sighed deeply and an image of her petite body being crushed by a giant rucksack manifested in her mind. ‘But, Noah…’

He held up his hands. ‘I know. I know. But here’s the thing. Travelarium have got wind of the fact that Dillon is leaving. I got a call from Joel at their head office today. He couldn’t wait to stick his knife in. Sarcastic bastard. Anyway, they’re going to try and get there first. You know they’re already trying to make a name for themselves, and taking a portion of our readership would be a big bloody boost for them. This article would be a perfect inroad, believe me. They’re doing the real nitty-gritty stuff; the Australian outback and the bloody camel rides in Egypt. They’re making us look like we only care about the fluffy, frilly shit. But that was never my intention with The Bohemian. Dillon’s trip was supposed to be a real nuts and bolts piece; a chance to show our readership that we take travel seriously. And that the UK is just as important to us as a publication as the luxury destinations are. We can’t let it go. I won’t, Zara.’ She had never seen him like this. Obviously, Dillon’s shock announcement had floored him. But she wondered if there was something behind it all. Was the magazine struggling? Why was he not telling her if that was the case?

And anyway, what was wrong with fluff and frills? Life was too short to be so bothered about real life and all the crap that came with it. What was wrong with a bit of escapism?

She realised Noah was still on his rant about Travelarium and snapped her attention back to him. ‘… and the North Coast 500 route is so hot right now, Zara. It’s big news and we need to get in there first. Think of the team, eh?’

Good grief, next he’ll be telling me to think of the children. Talk about playing for my sympathy. She wasn’t quite ready to acquiesce. Not yet. ‘But surely there must be someone else better equipped and suited to doing the report. Surely there’s someone in the team, maybe a different department, for example, who loves camping and… and all that stuff.’

Noah closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them, he shook his head. ‘Zara, I’ve been let down by my best friend of God knows how many years. You currently have nothing assigned that can’t be put off for a while. I’m sorry but I can’t send anyone else. I need this to be done just right. I need your help on this. Please, Zara? You’re my only hope here.’

Suddenly the image of Noah dressed all in white with donuts for hair sprang to mind and she had to bite her lip so she didn’t laugh inappropriately at Noah’s Princess Leia-esque plea for help. She twisted her hands in her lap. She loved her job. And if the mag was in trouble she wanted to do all she could to help, obviously. Noah was an awesome boss and she wanted to be the reporter he needed her to be. But this was something above and beyond. She wouldn’t just be stepping out of her comfort zone. She’d be climbing in a spaceship and travelling until her comfort zone was a tiny speck on a distant planet. But she knew how much Noah had done for her. He’d taken a chance on her as a newly qualified journalist and she owed him so much.

She lifted her chin. ‘I need more information.’

Noah sat up straight once more, his wide-eyed expression filled with hope. ‘Anything. What do you need to know? Fire away.’

She cleared her throat, forcing the real question – i.e. Are you insane? – back from her tongue. ‘H-how will I be getting there?’

He nodded and took a slow, deep breath, which didn’t bode well. ‘Okay, so you’d be going north by train to Inverness. Then you’d pick up your bicycle and—’

‘Whoa! Hang on a darn-tooting-minute, here. Bicycle? You never mentioned anything about a bloody bicycle!’

Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.

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Posted in Author Blog Challenge, Past Shadows, Sunday Snippet, The Dangerous Gift, Writing Journey

Two Author Blog Challenges – In Five Years? and My Latest Book. #LifeBooksWriting

Life...

 So it’s two posts in one this week from me.  Last week I was involved in the Harper Impulse Readathon- #SummerImpulse, which left me no time to write the ‘In 5 years… Author Blog Challenge post. So I’ve combined it with this week’s- ‘My Latest Book’ and a snippet from my work in progress. Yes I know. I’m two days late but the weeks have been so busy lately, with Family and a new project, which I will be sharing with you in the next few months, not writing related but still very exciting. Now back to the Author Blog Challenge.

 

In 5 Years...

  •  Still be writing books that people want to read…

  •  Manage to write consistently, so I can write four books a year.

  • Still be blogging and keep adding followers to my blog because they like what I write.

  • Be living in a house with a view.

  • And most importantly to be healthy and happy.

    My Latest Book...

 My latest published book was released in February this year by Limitless Publishing and is a romantic mystery thriller set in Texas called The Dangerous Gift. This was my first book I’d written in this genre and I loved writing it. Written as a standalone read, the publishers wanted me to write another, so I am currently writing book 2 – currently titled  Hazardous Knowledge’, which will be set mainly in the UK.

Designed by TOJ PUBLISHING SERVICESwww.tojpublishing.com

Available on Amazon and Free on Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon  Amazon UK 

EXCERPT

 The Dangerous Gift – Jennie – Chapter 3

‘Jared took Harry’s place. “I saw the card. Did you even read it before you ran off? Why didn’t you show it to me?”

Jennie’s face heated. Her stomach churned. She didn’t deserve Jared’s anger. “You seemed busy. Who was at the office door?”

Jared leaned back in his chair. He wouldn’t look at her. “A friend.”

Jennie suppressed her tears. “I didn’t recognize her.”

“Her name’s Darleen. She owns the neighbouring ranch.” Jared’s bored tone implied the information was of no importance.

“You must know each other pretty well.” Jennie wouldn’t be put off. She’d seen them kissing and wanted to know why.

“Darleen worries about me. She didn’t realize I’d gone to find you.” Jared still didn’t look at her.

“Do you think?” Jennie jumped up and leaned back against the porch rail with a sigh.

“We’re just neighbours, Jen…” Jared’s intransigence fueled Jennie’s anger.

“More like friends with benefits.” Now she sounded jealous. Very mature, Jennie.

Jared’s eyes heated, then softened. “She’s a drama queen, like you. She wanted to pay her condolences in person. Nothing more.” Clear blue eyes stared back and dared her to contradict him.

Jared’s image blurred as Jennie’s teary eyes betrayed her. “You kissed her.”

“Jen, don’t do this. Not here.” Jared ran his fingers through his short-cropped hair.

Jennie looked around her, aware they were the focus of avid interest. “Let’s go someplace else. I need some space and privacy.”

Jared took a breath. “I can’t abandon everyone again. This will have to wait until after the wake.” He leapt up and covered Jennie’s hands with his own much-larger one. “If you read the note, it must have scared you. I’ll find out who sent it and make them sorry they did.”

“I did read it. I wanted to show it to you—” Jennie gulped and brushed tears from her cheeks, “—before I saw you kissing what’s-her-name…Darleen. Someone must know about Annie and Ralf’s will. Otherwise, why threaten me?”

“It looks that way. Leave it to me, Jen. I’ll sort it,” Jared said in harsh, hushed tones. “In case you’re interested, Darleen kissed me, not the other way round. I couldn’t push her away. It would have hurt her feelings.”

“You managed it with me.” Jennie turned away, her survival instincts kicking in. She must escape from Jared before she made a fool of herself. “I need some water.”

“Fine. Sit down. I’ll fetch you some.” Jared pointed her in the direction of the swing seat and walked into the crowd of mourners.

Jennie immediately regretted her emotional outburst. What chance did she have with Jared if he was already seeing someone else? She leaned back into the comfy seat and closed her eyes, searching for calm in her troubled mind.’

©Jane Hunt 2016

Past Shadows Cover 2Past Shadows is the latest book I have completed, this is a Regency historical romance with a ghostly twist. I am still searching for the right publisher for this unusual story  or I may self- publish.  Here’s an excerpt…

Poppy - Excerpt

Past Shadows -Chapter 3

“I’m sorry if I make you nervous Mrs. Osborne,” Justin’s arctic smile made a mockery of his apology.

Lucy brazened it out. “Why would you make me nervous Mr. Bracken?” Her expression tinged with boredom, as she smoothed non-existent creases from her dark blue muslin gown.

“Your body betrays you m’dear.” Justin stared at her hands, which still trembled despite her conscious effort to still them. “So if I agreed to abandon my search for the fire setter and agreed to work towards better working conditions for my workforce, what would you give me in return?”

Lucy’s gaze clashed with his, this man was full of surprises. “Why would you do that? To prove how different you are from your father, what could I offer you to compensate such generosity?”

“You…” Justin’s heated stare seared her body from the ends of her hair to the tips of her toes, now curling in her satin slippers.

Lucy ignored the message implicit in his regard and responded to the literal meaning of his words. “Of course, I will help you but why now, when you believe me guilty of treachery?” She spoke quickly, desperate to end his visual onslaught on her aroused body.

“No. I think you misunderstand me Madam, deliberately perhaps?  Make no mistake, I want you, your body to be precise, for my exclusive use for as long as I desire,” he paused to allow the full import of his words to register.

Lucy gasped and fell back against the chair, a distant part of her shocked mind was grateful for its plush softness. “You’re offering me carte blanche, even though you know I’m a respectable widow and your vicar’s daughter, how reprehensible of you.”

“Indeed but you may enjoy it more than you believe. Shall I prove it to you perhaps?” Justin closed the distance between them in one stride, pushing the tea table aside, heedless of the juddering china and the tea splashing, onto the white lawn cloth.

Lucy clenched her hands tightly in her lap and met his amused look. Her apparent nonchalance disappeared with alacrity, as he squatted down and enveloped her tiny hands in his calloused ones. Her mind registered surprise; his hands were hard and obviously work roughened. Perhaps he wasn’t just the rich man’s son; he appeared to be on first acquaintance.  She couldn’t suppress the shudder, as the warmth from his hands flooded into her where they touched. She wanted to see if he felt the same. Their gazes clashed; his darkened to an inky, midnight blue. Arousal her mind suggested, remembering how her sweet husband’s eyes darkened when he kissed her, so long ago now…She drew in a shaky breath, out of her depth, mesmerized by the intent in his stare. He would kiss her, before she took her next breath if she didn’t move, scream, anything to dispel this intimacy between them.’         

©Jane Hunt 2016

Sunday Snippet

 

And here’s what I’m working on now… A snippet from ‘The Silhouette’.

The Silhouette - 1

 

 

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Posted in Blogging Communty, Book Review, Summer Impulse

#Summer Impulse – Readathon – Harper Impulse

Summer Impulse Final

 This week I’m participating in the Harper Impulse readathon #SummerImpulse.

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The first of my reads was ‘The Reckless Love of an Heir’ by Jane Lark, I love her books, they delve into the less glamorous side of Regency England and whilst this story was more family orientated it still had its serious side and was a great read..

 Click on the link to read my review:

 5* Review The Reckless Love of an Heir

 In my #summerImpulse graphic I’ve also included books I’ve already read this summer from Harper Impulse,if you follow my blog you will have already read my reviews but if not the links are below:

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The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea – Jane Linfoot

Summer at the Comfort  Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson

A Family Holiday – Bella Osborne

One Last Summer at Hideaway Ba y – Zoe Cook

Escape to the Riviera – Jules Wakes

The Girl Who Lied – Sue Fortin

Found One Secret Baby – Nancy  Holland

Put It Out There – D.R. Graham

Summer Impulse 3

I’ve included a couple older books from authors I like that I  haven’t got around to reading and  a debut book from a new author, released on 19 August. I will post the reviews for these later in the week.

Happy Reading #Summerlmpulse

 

Posted in Author Interview, Book Review, New Books

Author Inteview: J A Kerr – 4* Review: The Braille Club#3 Undone

Today is release day for book 3 of  The Braille Club series by J.A. Kerr.

Here’s my interview with Julie.

An Interview with...

BC3When did you start writing? Did someone or something inspire your career choice?

I started writing in September 2013. I can’t believe two and a half years has passed, since I started my series. I suppose it was the advent of self-publishing that encouraged me to take the plunge. Knowing I could get my work out there and published was a dream come true. I would encourage anyone to pursue their dreams of publishing their work. However, it’s a very tough business. It’s not just about writing a story. Your work must be professionally edited and polished when you present it. Also you need to invest in a good book cover and professional formatting.

Do you have a day job? Or do you write full time?

I’m at home at the moment but I don’t write full time. I find my creative process works better when I take some time away from my laptop. I’ve learned so much and in hindsight, writing a series can be pressurised. I must admit I am keen to experiment into different areas after I finish my current book series.

Do you have a dedicated writing place? If so, why do you like writing there?

Yes I do. The photograph was just after I bought a new desk. I like this room because it’s cosy. I have a window to gaze out of during the day and a window box which I have stuffed full of flowers. My writing room is also next to the kitchen so I can top up my coffee addiction, and if I’m writing at night, then a lovely glass wine.

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Can you tell us about ‘The Braille Club’ series? What is the inspiration behind it?

The Braille Club is a private members club that engages your senses. Although sensuality plays a big part, there is also intrigue and a touch of thriller in each book. There are several stories running through because people join the club for very different reasons. Each book features old and new characters which keeps the series fresh and readers guessing.

Is the latest in ‘The Braille Club’ series ‘The Braille Undone’ the final book, or will there be more?

There will be one more book, The Braille Club Reborn to complete the series which I have finished and it’s currently out to Beta readers for feedback.

Would you ever consider self-publishing your work? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of this publishing method?

Yes, I started out with self-publishing. I’ve read a lot of great indie authors. The advantages are, you have complete control of your work, and the disadvantages are—it can be costly. However, if you invest in making your book the best it can be, you own the rights forever.

Are you a reader? If so, what types of books do you like to read and why?

I’m a huge reader. I like suspense and crime preferably but I’m open to most genres. I usually have an audio book, an eBook and paperback on the go at any one time.

How important is social media to an author? Why is this do you think?

Social media is huge to an author. It allows me to connect with readers from all over the world. However, I understand it’s not for everyone. I’m not good at sharing…call me old fashioned but I seemed to have missed the social media explosion. I hate getting my photograph taken and out of all the mediums, I prefer twitter. You can dip in and out when you want.

What’s your favourite thing about being a writer and why?

My favourite thing about being a writer is making an idea grow and form into a story. The excitement of making my stories come alive. I love everything about my craft. I never feel lonely, I have a huge online community of authors that I interact with, from the comfort of my home. Also I love that one day I can be writing a novel and the next day I can be writing a script. Creative diversity is something I enjoy.

What’s your next writing project?

A short one act play which I have written the bones of but now have to flesh out and edit before I submit it. I also hope to offer it to local drama groups. I would also like to script write my novels into a TV series. So plenty to keep me busy 🙂

 

Adult Read

Book cover Braille Club Undone

Untitled

The Braille Club fulfils desires and fantasies. It guarantees members—sensory overload.  Pleasure comes in many forms. Some playful and exciting, others…twisted by evil. Would you risk pain in exchange for pleasure?

Benedict and Sienna Harrison are left reeling…

Siena and Benedict—newlyweds and owners of the exclusive Braille Club—are determined more than ever to protect their family. “Knox,” their new home seems safe; but a presence lurks in the shadows. Watching, waiting. When the weak link is identified, their whole world will be blown apart.

Simon Lawrence will stop at nothing to satisfy his desires…

But his wife, Tess, has other plans. Tired of her husband’s infidelity, she resorts to desperate measures. However, Simon won’t let this new woman slip through his fingers. Distraught, Tess will stop at nothing to protect them and her secret. How far will she go to save her husband…from himself?

Virinder Bashir desires the freedom of the club…

Forced to marry Noor Chaudry, a beautiful, ruthless, and desperate woman, Virinder rejects their arranged marriage, seeing through her façade. During his sensual Braille lessons however, Noor becomes the center of his fantasies. After tragedy comes a blooming love, but not everyone wants them to live happily ever after.

A new client tempts Anna Dunbar down a dangerous, yet exciting path…

Manager of Harrison’s and the Braille Club, Guy Walker’s relationship with Anna Dunbar is failing.  Feeling neglected, Anna’s flirting ignites Guy’s determination to win her back. Their mutual development of a new Braille Club Zone reawakens their dark desires, but will these desires unite…or destroy them?

Cords and ropes aren’t the only strings being pulled at the Braille Club. Danger lurks beneath deadly desires and obsessive fantasies… Will you indulge your desires and enter the Braille Club once again?

 

Book Trailer

Buy Links 1

Amazon UK

Amazon

Winter My Review

 This third book in the series is darker than the previous two stories and the mystery and thriller elements dominate but there is still plenty of heat. Guy is developing a new zone in the Braille club and it takes him to the dark side of sensuality. The lives of some interesting new characters collide at The Braille Club but it’s Benedict and Sienna that remain the story’s most interesting characters.

Nick makes his presence felt, despite his incarceration and he is determined to have his revenge on Sienna and Benedict. There are plenty of shocks in this story and some disturbing scenes I didn’t like but they do illustrate Nick’s evil nature.

The story doesn’t end here; there is one more book to come.

 I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Other Books in The Braille Club Series

Click on the book  image to read my review of Book 1

BC2

Amazon UK

Amazon

Click on the book image to read my review of Book 2

The Braille Club Unbound FRONT

 Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

 

 A CHANCE to WIN an eBOOK, BOOK SWAG & $5 AMAZON GIFTCARD!

 by liking J.A. Kerr’s Facebook page:

http://facebook.com/JAKerrBRAILLE

A winner will be selected on the 3rd August.

Author Bio

JA (Julie Ann) Kerr was born in the spring of 1967 at Paisley’s Ross Hospital in Scotland and grew up in Glasgow. She was an office administrator and latterly a recruitment consultant before marrying and relocating to The Netherlands with her husband. After two years, she moved to Cheshire where her first child was born and returned to work part-time. Her final relocation took her back to her home town of Glasgow where she welcomed the arrival of her second child. She raised her family whilst harbouring dreams of becoming a writer. In September 2013, she started her first book.

‘When I set out to write these books, I wanted to create something that mirrored exactly the kind of books I like to read. My top picks are always originals featuring strong male and female protagonists with attitude. The Braille Club Series books are a great mix of genres. Although sensuality plays a big part, there is also intrigue and a touch of thriller.

I love to connect.’

Never miss a thing sign up to my fun monthly newsletter Keeping up with a KERRdashion…for all my book gossip, giveaways and updates 🙂

 

Links

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

GOODREADS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

Chasing What’s Already Gone – Michael Ross – 4* Review

ChasingWhatsAlreadyGone_BN

Blurb 2016 -1

Danny Pearson is cruising through life on the edge of contentment—even in his marriage…

His wife seems distant, yet perfectly happy. They work on different schedules and pass like ships in the night. But that’s how marriage is after so many years, right?

When Danny meets a mysterious girl, his idea of the meaning of love shatters at his feet…

She’s not extraordinary, but somehow she’s so much more than just another girl. When he catches her gaze, he knows deep in his gut that she’s the one—the love of his life. But being a decent guy, he holds his feelings in check, and there is no ulterior motive when he shares a coffee with her. As she leaves, she gives him a business card. That’s all there is to it.

Her name is Ella. And after that, she is nothing more than a fond memory.

Danny puts Ella out of his mind and moves on with his life—until his world falls apart…When his wife confesses to having an affair and demands a divorce, his life is thrown into chaos. It’s a challenge adjusting to the single life, but it’s not impossible. As time passes, he continues to reminisce of his brief encounter with the woman he’s sure was his chance at true happiness.

How far is Danny willing to go in the pursuit of love? How far would you when, in all probability, you are only…

Chasing what’s already gone?

 

Book Cover full wrap

Buy Links 2016 -1

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

New teaser1

My Review 2016-1

It’s always nice to read something a little different and a contemporary, romantic comedy from the male perspective is unusual enough for me to take a second look. This is a tale of soul mates and second chances. The pacing is good, and the plot uncomplicated, it’s easy reading with memorable, realistic characters.
Danny is world weary and comes across as weak but this is mainly due to his low self esteem, after years in a marriage where he was a second class citizen. He is sensitive and tenacious and by the end of the story I liked him. Jess carries plenty of emotional baggage and isn’t looking for ‘the one’, but she can’t deny the connection with Danny. Serendipity and fate dominate this story but Danny tenacity makes their romance a reality.
If you like romance with a touch of realism, you will enjoy this story.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

Author Bio 2016 -1

It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publishing of my second novel.

Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent my adult life in business, the majority of that time marketing cars. I eventually owned the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a divorce put an end to that part of my life.

This led me to leave Bristol to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys, start a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attend creative writing classes in Cardiff.

My interest in English literature flourished and I have won several prizes for my short stories. My first book, ‘Twenty Short Stories – Settling a score,” reached No 6 in the Short Stories Best Sellers and is still available. My second novel, a romantic thriller entitled Hand Over Fist was released earlier this year

Chasing What’s Already Gone evolved from a short story Carpe Diem in my second anthology Twenty One Short Stories. I could not get the two main characters out of my head and I had to find out what happened to them after the end of the short story.

I now live very happily halfway up that mountain in the Welsh Valleys with my wonderful partner, Mari, and our rescue dog, Wolfie.

New teaser3

Links 2016-1

Limitless Publishing 

Facebook

Website

Twitter

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A FREE e:BOOK OF CHASING WHAT’S ALREADY GONE & A $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD – LIKE THE FACEBOOK PAGES BELOW:

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Posted in Author Blog Challenge, My Books, The Dangerous Gift

Author Blog Challenge: Music I Love and Book Playlists #LifeBooksWriting

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This week’s topic is ‘music I love’ and ‘book playlists’. Playlists are popular with writers now but in the four books I’ve written, I only made a playlist for one of them.

Perhaps this is because I’ve never really  understood whether a playlist is supposed to reflect the characters and the plot of the book? Or  just what the writer listens to whilst writing? What do you think?

I don’t usually listen to music when I’m writing, but when I wrote The Dangerous Gift, I did and the playlist below is the result.

The Dangerous Gift Playlist

 

Listen to The Dangerous Gift Playlist on Spotify here

 These were songs I listened to whilst wrote the final draft of The Dangerous Gift, I loved the US series Nashville and so that’s why over half of the songs are from the series. Since The Dangerous Gift is a Western Romantic Suspense, it put me in the right mind set, even though my story is  set in Texas and not Nashville.

The other songs are longtime favourites of mine. I first listened to The Eagles  when I started going out with my husband in 1980. ‘Take It Easy’, always manages to send me back in time , to a Bronze Ford Capri, with an an Eight Track Player. The days were full of sunshine and love. When times are hard, this song always makes me feel good and remember why thirty six years later we are still together.

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The Roxy Music songs have similar poignant memories, so I listen to them  frequently. Jimmy Nail’s ‘Cowboy Dreams’ and ‘What Kind of Man Am I’, fitted in with how Jared felt at times in the story  and Savage Garden’s ‘ Truly, Madly, Deeply’ epitomises the love between Jennie and Jared.

The Dangerous Gift- Teaser 3

 If you haven’t read The Dangerous Gift, it’s available on Amazon and Free for Amazon Unlimited members.

The Dangerous Gift FRONT COVER

Amazon 

Amazon UK

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#LifeBooksWriting

 

 

 

Posted in Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: Chasing What’s Already Gone – Michael Ross

ChasingWhatsAlreadyGone_BN

Mystery Thriller Blurb

Danny Pearson is cruising through life on the edge of contentment—even in his marriage…

His wife seems distant, yet perfectly happy. They work on different schedules and pass like ships in the night. But that’s how marriage is after so many years, right?

When Danny meets a mysterious girl, his idea of the meaning of love shatters at his feet…

She’s not extraordinary, but somehow she’s so much more than just another girl. When he catches her gaze, he knows deep in his gut that she’s the one—the love of his life. But being a decent guy, he holds his feelings in check, and there is no ulterior motive when he shares a coffee with her. As she leaves, she gives him a business card. That’s all there is to it.

Her name is Ella. And after that, she is nothing more than a fond memory.

Danny puts Ella out of his mind and moves on with his life—until his world falls apart…When his wife confesses to having an affair and demands a divorce, his life is thrown into chaos. It’s a challenge adjusting to the single life, but it’s not impossible. As time passes, he continues to reminisce of his brief encounter with the woman he’s sure was his chance at true happiness.

How far is Danny willing to go in the pursuit of love? How far would you when, in all probability, you are only…

Chasing what’s already gone?

 

 Release Date July 26 2016 from: limitless publishing blue Modified

 

Teaser 6 with cover

 

Author Bio 2016 -1

It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publishing of my second novel.

Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent my adult life in business, the majority of that time marketing cars. I eventually owned the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a divorce put an end to that part of my life.

This led me to leave Bristol to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys, start a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attend creative writing classes in Cardiff.

My interest in English literature flourished and I have won several prizes for my short stories. My first book, ‘Twenty Short Stories – Settling a score,” reached No 6 in the Short Stories Best Sellers and is still available. My second novel, a romantic thriller entitled Hand Over Fist was released earlier this year

Chasing What’s Already Gone evolved from a short story Carpe Diem in my second anthology Twenty One Short Stories. I could not get the two main characters out of my head and I had to find out what happened to them after the end of the short story.

I now live very happily halfway up that mountain in the Welsh Valleys with my wonderful partner, Mari, and our rescue dog, Wolfie.

Teaser 3 with cover.

Links 2016-1

Limitless Publishing 

Facebook

Website

Twitter

 

Teaser 2 with cover.

 TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNING –

A FREE e:BOOK OF CHASING WHAT’S ALREADY GONE & A $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD – LIKE THE FACEBOOK PAGES BELOW:

eBook

www.facebook.com/michaelross.writer

www.facebook.com/LifestyleAndLiterature