Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Dead End- Rachel Lynch – Guest Post – 5* Review

When the seventh Earl of Lowesdale is found hanging from the rafters at Wasdale Hall, everyone assumes the ageing, hard-partying aristocrat had finally had enough of chasing the glory of his youth. But when the coroner finds signs of foul play, DI Kelly Porter is swept into a luxurious world where secrets and lies dominate.

At the same time, two young hikers go missing and it’s up to Kelly to lead the search. But digging deeper reveals ties to two other unsolved disappearances and Kelly and her team find themselves in a race against time.

Now, as all roads of both investigations and Kelly’s own family secrets lead to Wasdale Hall it becomes more important than ever for Kelly to discover the devious truths hidden behind the walls of the Lake District’s most exclusive estate…

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Guest Post: Developing characters over a trilogy – Rachel Lynch

As a reader of crime novels, I’m always smitten (and terrified) by the ways in which the writer can come up with dark deeds that have been committed for millennia, but in new and refreshing ways. As a writer of crime novels, I worry more about my characters convincing the reader, than the cases they pursue. I truly love creating baddies, and allowing them free reign to shock and awe, with their hideous behaviour. But when it comes to the core players chasing them, I’m constantly looking for ways to move them forward, in ways that are both believable and engaging.

Kelly is a straightforward woman, she’s got problems, she’s not perfect, and she makes mistakes. And, like most of us, she doesn’t have the ideal family. We’re all the sum parts of our relationships, and for Kelly to be convincing, she’s got to handle confrontation and disappointment. Driving those forward over three books has been satisfying and challenging. Her emerging relationship with Johnny, her changing perception of Ted, her tension with Nikki, and the tragedy of her mother’s illness, all need to weave inside and around the crimes she’s investigating. New characters always pop up too. It might be part of her job and the colleagues she works with, or it could be reconnecting with old pals; whatever the reason, she touches people and they touch her.

The reception Kelly has received so far is phenomenal, and she really has become a fully dimensional person for me. I like being in her company. She’s feisty and strong, but also vulnerable and incomplete. She’s looking for what we all look for, in the sense that she’s searching for peace, but it doesn’t take over, and she’s a committed woman with an important job to do. She genuinely cares for those she champions in her cases, and won’t stop until she finds answers, even if she puts herself in danger. That’s my favourite trait of hers: she puts the truth first, and everything else is secondary. She’s a fighter but she’s not arrogant or dogmatic. She’s driven but still encourages her colleagues. She carries within her an energy that makes this all possible, and I’d like to spend time with her.

Her life over the course of Dark Game, Deep fear and Dead End has changed over a time span of almost three years, and she’s learned a lot about herself and her family. She’d avoided this in London, like a lot of us do when we’re forging our careers, but now she is trying to make sense of it and make amends at the same time. She and Johnny are great partners because he’s an outsider too, and he’s growing on me with every book. He’s still got a lot more to give, even if he and Kelly were to split up. I have massive affection for Ted and I admire his wisdom, and I think he brings much structure to Kelly’s world.

All of these things connections have to move forward, book by book, and they have to be real. Writing a sequel was a steep learning curve for me, as this is my first series, it was also incredibly rewarding. Getting to number three, and working out how these people still interacted was another journey, and I’m thrilled with the reception so far for this web of characters, who never cease to surprise, but also remain reassuringly familiar. It’s also interesting for me, as a mother, to write about a woman with no children, and I’m jealous of how much time she has on her hands, though she doesn’t necessarily appreciate it!

There’s a lot more in store for Kelly, and I’m sure she’ll continue to surprise me, as well as, I hope, you too.

My Thoughts…

The third instalment of the DI Kelly Porter series has two separate storylines that appear unconnected but are intricately woven together to produce an absorbing mystery, detailed police procedural and riveting thriller.

Kelly Porter is such an exciting character, driven, caring, yet vulnerable, and your empathy with her grows with every story. The cast of characters both antagonists and protagonists are complex, and the storytelling draws you in, deepening the mystery with every clue it reveals.

I hope there’s another one as I’m hooked and set in the lovely English Lake District the dichotomy between its raw beauty and the ugliness of the crimes it conceals is what makes this addictive.

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

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Book Review

A Lady Becomes a Governess – Diane Gaston – 4* Review

A most unlikely governess……with a shocking secret.

Lady Rebecca Pierce escapes her forced betrothal when the ship she’s on wrecks. Assuming the identity of a governess she believes has drowned, she enters the employ of brooding Lord Brookmore, who’s selflessly caring for his orphaned nieces. Inconveniently, she’s extremely attracted to the viscount, with her only chance of happiness tied to the biggest risk: revealing the truth about who she really is… 

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 My Thoughts…

Rebecca and Claire meet on a packet boat sailing to England from Ireland. Rebecca is a lady travelling to London for a forced marriage to a man she despises. Claire journeys to a new post as a governess in the Lake District. A devastating shipwreck leaves few survivors, Rebecca is one and as there is no sign of her new friend Claire she assumes her identity and becomes a governess.

Lord Brookmore is an unwilling Viscount, but his sense of duty makes him a selfless guardian for his two orphaned nieces and a dedicated custodian of the Lake District estate. The attraction between the Viscount and his governess is forbidden but inevitable, they both fight it but despite scheming fiancees, dangerous former employers and a disapproving housekeeper they fall in love. The historical detail sets the romance firmly in the Regency era, and the two little nieces make clever cupids.

The ending is action packed and full of menace but fortunately a well deserved happy ending and an unexpected twist.

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

Posted in Book Review, New Books

3* Review: Reckless Rakes: Hayden Islington – Bronwyn Scott

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As an illustrious ice jockey, Hayden Islington is never short of female company—wealthy champions rarely are. So when Miss Jenna Priess—the most exquisite woman he’s ever laid eyes on—turns down his seductive invitation, in favour of his detective abilities, he’s stunned and more than a little intrigued…

Jenna is in trouble—her father is ill and her mill is failing due to her workers mysteriously disappearing. To save her world from ruin, Jenna needs help and Hayden is the only man she can turn to. But can she resist the heat of this handsome ice master’s touch?

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Reckless Rakes: Hayden IslingtonThe setting and premise drew me to ‘Reckless Rakes: Hayden Islington’ but after the initial excitement of the opening chapter, Ice racing is mentioned but not portrayed in a vivid way and the story line is a little ordinary. Similarly the setting, just outside the English Lake District is a favourite of mine but this story failed to capitalise on its charms or dangers and make a readable story into something special.

The romantic, sensual journey Jenna and Hayden undertake is well written, sexy and gives the story much needed sparkle. Disillusioned by love, Jenna devotes her life to her family and their mill. Hayden is dangerous, troubled and undeniably ‘hot’. Both characters develop throughout the story and they are engaging enough, to make you want them to be happy.

If you read historical romance primarily for the love story, this book delivers but historical romance purists may find some of the language too modern and mourn the lack of atmospheric, historical detail.

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


Reckless Rakes: Hayden Islington
by Bronwyn Scott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Reckless Rakes  Hayden Islington by Bronwyn Scott

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Posted in My Books, The Dragon Legacy, Writing Journey

The Dragon Legacy – The Inspiration Behind The Pages.

The Dragon Legacy  Blog Banner The Revenge Masquerade Cover  October 26 14With the release last month of The Revenge Masquerade,the second book in The Dragon Legacy series I’ve been thinking about the next book in the series,working title is Egyptian Chaos.

If you read my author interview on Tracey Rogers’ blog last week you will know I am undecided whether to continue with the series. I still have two more stories to tell but it’s so hard to get your books noticed by your potential audience. Should I write something more mainstream, in the hope of catching a well established publisher’s attention, or self publish the remaining two books? I’d be interested to know what you think. 🙂

The Dragon Legacy Series
The Dragon Legacy Series

So all this introspection made me think back to how optimistic, (some would say naive) I was when I wrote The Dragon Legacy and what inspired me to write, what turned out to be a quirky, fantasy romance set in the English Lake District.

Three things inspired me to write this story:

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  1. Dragons are my favourite mystical creatures.

  2. I have loved the lake district for thirty years , since I was first introduced to it, in my early twenties by my first boss.

  3. My fascination with murder mystery.

Photo0027 Dragons are usually portrayed as evil in English fairy tales, something to be feared and slayed but this isn’t how I see them at all.

They are powerful,intelligent creatures, a source of ancient knowledge and magic.

From this viewpoint it was easy to create Lukas Draco, one of the ancient dragons. He exists in two dimensions; our world in his human form, whilst his true dragon form survives in a parallel world, living in deep still water until Lukas requires his powers. The dragons  are champions of good and fight against evil demons to protect humanity.

DSCN0617The Lake District has long been a favourite haunt of mine and it was on one of my holidays when I visited Lake Ullswater and the surrounding hills that I imagined how paranormal creatures could hide in plain sight in such a setting.  Combined with  my love of dragons, The Dragon Legacy began to take shape.

Murder Mystery at Hallows House  The final ingredient was my love of murder mystery  games , parties and weekends. I love the drama of these events, the dressing up and taking on a new character.  My shy  Fleur  became the street wise business whiz, Megan and managed to ensnare herself a dragon.

The original draft of The Dragon Legacy contained far more scenes devoted to the murder mystery event but these scenes were cut from the final story as they didn’t move the tale forward. Still I loved writing them and they were among the first words I wrote of The Dragon  Legacy’s first book.

I hope you found this look behind the pages of The Dragon Legacy interesting.

 Have a lovely weekend.

Posted in Inspiration, The Dragon Legacy

What Makes A Great Summer Read?

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So after Saturday’s rain  the summer sun has returned and with it my happy optimistic mood. If  you read my last post  you will recall I was feeling down and attributed it to the grey day.

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Taking advantage of the sunshine I spent a couple of hours tidying and enjoying my garden with these  lovely butterflies  who decided to join me. I love gardening because it gives me time to think and plan and this post is a result of yesterday’s gardening interlude.

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Lots of people will be off on holiday in the next few weeks and many will be searching for  a good book to enjoy whilst they’re relaxing on the beach or sitting by the pool.

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Even if you’re not going away to the coast or countryside, if the sun stays out the excuse to sit in the garden with a good book is too much to resist.

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The point of going on holiday is to relax and most of all escape from your normal daily routine. Having a little ‘me’ time recharges our emotional and physical batteries before returning to our often stressful lives.

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So a summer read must offer escapism. Many novels today mirror reality or focus on the worst bits of everyday life, I would avoid these when looking for my holiday read. That doesn’t mean the story has to be sugary sweet just hopeful. Or so far removed from reality that even if it focuses on the darker side of human nature the reader knows that anything is possible including a happy outcome. 🙂

DSCN0763 DSCN0783 Continuing the escapism theme, the setting of a summer read is important. It needs to be in a place the reader would like to explore, so coastal locations are good as are mountains and picturesque countryside. I enjoy reading stories set in the summer too but I don’t think this matters as long as the setting is escape worthy.

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If you’re on a crowded beach then its easy to be distracted. So the ideal read must have an absorbing plot with lots of twists. Vivid characters are essential they need to make an impression. The genre of the story is subjective but I love a story with mystery ,lots of  action and sizzling romance. The romance doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of the story but  a little spice always adds to the enjoyment. 😉

So that’s my recipe for the perfect summer read.

The Dragon Legacy Series
The Dragon Legacy Series

I leave you with some snippets from The Dragon Legacy maybe it could be your perfect summer read?

You can read the first page of The Dragon Legacy on BooksGoSocial

 Let’s You Escape:

‘The elusive turquoise-scaled dragons appeared through the haze. Their minds united by a single aim: the dragon egg’s safety, the reason they risked exposure to the human world.’

 Fabulous Setting:

‘The dragon lord’s golden eyes focused on the grey sky above the rock strewn hills. Dawn mist hovered around the summit like a silken web. It drifted through the rocky outcrops until it reached the valley where he stood alone.’

‘Mists floated across Lake Ullswater and cloaked the twisty lanes in an impenetrable shroud.’

Absorbing Plot:

‘Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority. His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite  threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’

Vivid Characters:

‘Fleur stole a sideways glance at Lukas…His face was the epitome of masculine beauty, characterized by well-defined angular cheekbones, covered with pale, almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel.’

‘Xavier Serpente clenched his manicured nails into his expensive Italian silk trousers… The threat of danger, which simmered under the surface of his urbane respectability, was his greatest attraction.’

Mystery:

‘Lukas forced his mind back to his mission. He studied his murder mystery character profile. His fellow participants mustn’t find out his identity. Or the real reason for his presence at Hallows House.

Action:

 ‘Escape impossible, the furious dragon man slammed him against the tree trunk. His bones cracked. The onslaught repeated with greater force, and his head and neck rocked on his shoulders.’

Sizzling Romance:

‘Lukas caught hold of her hand as she turned away from him. “No, don’t! I like you this way.” He ran the pad of his thumb along her responsive lips. “Trust me. Everyone will like you as you are.” She looked vivacious, like the color of her dress, with lush, pink lips and hair like golden rain as it slipped from its elegant restraints. He wanted her back in his arms. His arousal rocketed several degrees as the tip of Fleur’s tongue darted out and tasted his thumb. “Hell!” Another few seconds and leaving wouldn’t be an option.’

 All excerpts from The Dragon Legacy ©Jane Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Writing Journey

Sunday Snippet: The Dragon Legacy

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 Here’s a snippet from The Dragon Legacy.

She hadn’t expected this. His honesty made her forget her other questions and doubts. His velvet smooth voice reminded her of milk chocolate. The sound bathed her frazzled nerves and twitchy senses with languor. Spellbound, she watched his gaze fill with heat. He didn’t look like a dragon. No, he looked like a man, virile and sexy. He filled her mind with sinful images. Green-scaled dragons didn’t. They breathed fire. Or at least dragons did in the fairy tale books she recalled.

Lukas lifted her hands until they rested on his shoulders. She pulled away. His closeness scrambled her lucidity. Undeterred, he spanned her waist with his large hands. He held on tight as he rose and pulled her against him.

“Appearances can be deceptive, sweetheart.”

Fleur would have questioned what he meant, but his physical closeness distracted her. He held her even tighter. Every hard square inch of him plastered against her softer curves. She bit back a sigh of pleasure. He didn’t play fair.’

©Jane Hunt 2013

 

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Posted in Inspiration, Writing Journey

Inspiration

Inspiration is an important part of every writer’s journey. So far my writing has often been inspired by a place or a building. ‘The Dragon Legacy’ is set in the English Lake District in the hills overlooking Lake Ullswater. Although the village name I used is fictional it is based on a lakeside village that I know there.

I have spent many happy hours on and around the lake and for me it is easy to imagine dragons flying over the hills a thousand or so years ago. If you would like to see what I mean check out my Pinterest board  for ‘The Dragon Legacy’ .

Since I moved into the old mining village of Pleasley about eighteen months ago I’ve had numerous ideas for historical novels featuring the pit. Coal was first mined here in 1872. The ground was broken for the mine by Florence Nightingale whose family lived on the site.

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This weekend I discovered the surrounding mills and houses in nearby Pleasley Vale.  More pictures are on my Inspirational Places Pinterest board. Even though the mills are  currently used to house small businesses it isn’t hard to imagine what they were like in the seventeenth century when they were the site of a water forge . Or in 1784 when the cotton-spinning mills were built. There were decimating fires in the nineteenth century and the mills were used to store munitions during the 1914-1918 war. The history is so rich here I’m sure it could inspire a whole series of stories.

I particularly like the turreted house which makes me think about a paranormal romance with Fae. Or the setting for a time travel romantic adventure.

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The small plant nursery that is housed within the walls of an old mill was particularly intriguing. What would happen if you fell asleep in the sunshine in such a delightful spot, only to wake up in the dirt and dust of the original mill centuries before?

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My favourite though was this derelict stone building. What a story it could tell. Everyone loves a building with a past.

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I would love to know where you find your inspiration.

Jane x