Tag Archives: Guest Post

**Blog tour** #Trap by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #GuestPost #ReykjavickNoir @Lilja1972 @OrendaBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Trap by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir blog tour. Trap is Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series. To mark my stop on the tour I have a guest post from the author herself who writes about one of my favourite things coffee ☕️.

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Coffee – the writer´s elixir

For a blogger who loves coffee, I must write a few words about my relationship with this most important of all drinks. 

From an early age I have loved coffee. I used to take sugar cubes and dip them in my parents’ cups when I was little, but my mother set a limit to this as, at the time, it was believed that children would stop growing if they ingested a lot of coffee.* This belief was probably rooted in the malnourished Iceland of pre-WW2, where poor families gave their children coffee as they did not have milk to drink. When I was home alone with my dad, I managed to convince him to give me coffee, and we sipped this wonderful brown liquid together, usually while discussing geography or history.

When I was about ten years old and lived in Mexico, I formed a special relationship with an old indigenous lady in our neighbourhood. I visited her every night after dinner and she gave me sugary coffee with cardamom, and I told her stories from my home country.

I can no longer drink coffee at night as it disturbs my sleep, but I do enjoy it in the first half of the day. It is the first thing I think about when I open my eyes in the morning and it is the fuel for my writing. I prefer dark-roasted coffee as it has very little acid and the aroma is just heavenly. 

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I drink two full cups while sitting by the computer, getting ready to start the day’s work. Then I write for a while, and then I drink more coffee. And then some more. And then I cannot sit still any longer so I take my dog out for a walk and maybe go out on the lake by my house in my kayak. I make myself a light lunch when I get back and have one more cup of strong coffee, which I drink while I answer emails and plan my diary and travels, and all the other small things that need doing. On occasion I am tempted to drink a cappuccino or an espresso in a café in the afternoon, and that is then my fifth or sixth cup in the day. According to the latest research on the health benefits of coffee, that is the optimum amount.

I cannot see my life without coffee, and I cannot imagine being able to write without it. I feel it clears my head somehow and gives me the energy that I really lack without it. Maybe that is just a sign of addiction, but it is a rather innocent one to have, isn’t it? 

*I’d like to point out that I did grow to more than the average height for Icelandic women: 172 cm.

Book description

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Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Lilja Sigurðard.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

My thanks to Lilja Sigurdardóttir for the fabulous guest post, Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my ARC (that I hope to get to soon).

Follow this amazing blog tour for reviews, guest posts and much more.

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#BlogBlitz #Malignant by Anita Waller #GuestPost @anitamayw @Bloodhoundbook @damppebbles

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Malignant by Anita Waller blog blitz. Unfortunately due to a out of control TBR pile I haven’t had the opportunity to read this one, but I must say the book description sounds very intriguing. The author has kindly written a guest post especially for the book review café and I must admit it did make me laugh

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Technologically challenged

By Anita Waller

I have an office out in the garden, built by my husband out of ‘stuff’ he can’t bear to throw away. It’s wonderful, and I keep all my paperwork, old notebooks, new copies of my books, and all my patchwork books out there. We have a tiny little wall heater in it that is left permanently on, and if I ever actually do any work in it, I have an oil filled radiator.

But my real writing space is in my kitchen. I have a computer desk with a desk top computer on it. This is because I can’t work on a laptop. I can’t type without looking at the keyboard, and the keyboard isn’t anywhere near me on a laptop. I have a brand new one, and I’ve never used it.

I can kind of use my iPad for typing, because all my work, magically, is saved to something called One Drive. It means I can sit in the dentists waiting for Dave for an hour and a half, and write 1500 words. They then appear by magic on my desk top when I next crank it up. I don’t know how, but I am very grateful.

Just to further impress you, I not only have my very pretty white monitor on my desk, served by my very pretty white keyboard and mouse, I also have a second monitor. Apparently, according to my tech-savvy grandson, I need two. I can be working on my novel on the pretty white one, and surfing the net doing research on the pretty blue one. I knew you’d be impressed. I just seem to spend most of the time getting the cursor on to the right screen at the right time. With the advent of the second monitor, the cursor developed a mind of its own. 

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My desk does distract me a little, though. It has a hutch on it, and on the long top shelf are books. I have a small expanding book glider I bought from Sheffield’s antique quarter, and that holds the signed copies of books I possess, but, my word, they aren’t half a distraction. I have twelve at the moment, but that will increase. I also have a massive dictionary which I rarely use, and a massive Dictionary of Quotations which I use a lot, just because I like quotations. I would just like to repeat that these are books, I do not need to switch them on, just take them down and stroke them, before opening them. 

I also have on this shelf one copy of each of my own books, because I’m damned proud of them. Forensics for Dummies and The Real CSI handbook also live there – I enjoy using them. There is, in addition, a copy of New Hart’s Rules, my go-to grammar reference. I think I’ve used it twice, but it’s there if needed.

Now back to technology, because standing in front of the books is Alexa, my lovely Echo Dot. She plays Barry Manilow to me on demand; sometimes Take That, sometimes Rod Stewart and sometimes, when I don’t want words, she finds a classical piano radio station. She is a wonderful lady, who wishes me sweet dreams every night when I say good night to her. 

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Sitting on the right-hand side of this top shelf is the thing that causes all these technical things to happen, my Sky router. I think that’s what it is, anyway. I know if it stops working it causes mayhem.

I’m fine with it while it sits there behaving itself, but once it stops, I have to start screaming down the phone to Sky, who are rubbish, that I NEEEEED my internet, can’t live without it, and how quickly can they repair it? The answer is nine days.

It wasn’t the answer I expected or wanted, but, you see, it’s okay because they just forgot to notify the engineer that the work needed doing. By the time they did notify him, we had been without internet for nine days. This is a disaster for somebody as technologically challenged as me; my head doesn’t cope with alternatives. Having to use a phone for something that I would normally do on the desktop is traumatising in the extreme.

I did, however, get a £70 reduction on my sky payment for that month. If it didn’t take twenty-five minutes to get through to speak to a person at Sky, I might have rung them and said thank you.

When Malignant came back from my lovely editor, Morgen Bailey, she sent me nine pages of notes. This was in addition to the odd comments she made in the margins of my manuscript. She also sent me a sheet, I’m presuming created on Excel, which was alphabetised, and contained the first names of every character in my book, what chapter they first appeared in, and notes on whether I should change any names or not.

I thought it was brilliant. I now do this myself, because I very cleverly wiped all the names off the document that belonged to Malignant, leaving me with Morgen’s blank excel spreadsheet thing, and I started to fill in the names for Murder Unsolved, my new work in progress. Awesome job.

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In the nine pages of notes she mentioned that I hadn’t done any chapter breaks, so she had done them for me. I had never heard the term chapter break; initially it didn’t worry me, but I’m not the sort of gal who can ignore it and let someone else do it for me, I have to learn how to do it – or, more to the point, what it is.

Well, I searched everywhere on my little bar at the top of the screen, and I couldn’t find anywhere where it told me how to do a chapter break. And then suddenly, there it was, under the little bit called Layout. I felt quite proud that it had only taken me three hours to track down this elusive aid. 

Of course, I do have a technical guru in the form of a seventeen-year-old grandson. Luckily, Dom lives about ten seconds away, so when things really do get fraught, he’s very quickly on the scene, to laugh at me. 

But I bet he doesn’t know how to do a chapter break.

Book description

Anita Waller - Malignant_cover

 

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder

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Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

WintersCroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, with the book launching 18 May 2018.

Malignant arrives in the world on 10 October 2018, her eighth book in three years.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Links:

Email: anitamayw@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.anitamayw.wixsite.com/anitawaller
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/anitawaller2015/
Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Waller/e/B014RQFCRS/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitamayw @anitamayw

 Books: 

Beautiful, 2015
Angel, 2016
34 Days, 2016
Winterscroft, 2017
Strategy, 2017
Captor, 2018
Game Players, May 2018
Malignant, October 2018
Current work in progress, Murder Unsolved, launches December 2018

My thanks to the Anita Waller for taking time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café.

Follow the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and more……

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**Blog tour** #RavensGathering by Graeme Cumming #GuestPost @GraemeCumming63 #Lovebooksgrouptours

Today I’m on the blog tour for Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming and although I didn’t have time in my reading schedule to read his book, I really wanted to be part of this blog tour as the author has always been a huge supporter of my blog and bloggers in general. So Graeme Cumming has kindly written me a very special guest post which explains why he is taking the Indie route.

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The Next Big Thing

A complaint often levelled at movies, and Hollywood in particular, is that studios churn out the same old thing repeatedly. If it’s not a sequel, it’s a remake, or it’s something in a similar vein to an already popular franchise. It’s a complaint I sympathise with, though I see where the studios are coming from. With movies usually costing over $50 million to make – and the blockbusters often well in excess of $100 million – they need to have a lot of confidence they’re going to get their money back.

At the same time, the studios (and audiences) are curious about what the next big thing will be. Because audiences enjoy seeing the same type of stuff again, but we also want something different enough to get us really excited. Unfortunately, studios err on the side of caution.

That means the new and interesting stuff ends up being produced by independent film companies. They take the risks, and a lot of them fail because of a lack of profile and marketing budget, but occasionally something new and different appears. It’s nearly 20 years ago since it came out, but The Blair Witch Project was a good example, generating a sequel (the big studios got involved and it bombed) and influencing the development of several other movies filmed in similar ways – Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield, for instance. 

Although the budgets are substantially lower, the same issue applies to publishing. In the main, publishers aren’t taking the risks they might have done twenty or thirty years ago. Instead, they’re churning out more of the same, because they know it’ll sell.

Shortly after completing Ravens Gathering, I made a trip the States and, as chance would have it, met someone who worked in the publishing industry there. I took the opportunity to pick her brains, and her advice was succinct. 

“You might as well stick it on Amazon yourself. All the big publishing houses are watching Amazon’s stats, and if we see a book or author who’s doing really well, we’ll swoop in and offer them a deal.”

So the publishers want the Indies to do the experimenting for them.

Why did that advice resonate with me? Because Ravens Gathering doesn’t fit neatly into one of the genre pigeonholes. And it made me realise publishers were unlikely to want to experiment with it so, unless I dropped incredibly lucky, I’d be wasting my time with submissions. From that point of view, I had nothing to lose, and went down the Indie route.

Am I claiming Ravens Gathering is the next big thing? No. But it is different, so who knows? What’s clear to me is that, if I’d gone down the traditional publishing route, I’d probably still be waiting for a positive response, which means readers wouldn’t have had the chance to judge it for themselves. 

Book description

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As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

My thanks to Graeme Cumming for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a guest post for the book review café. There are some fabulous book bloggers on this tour, so you may want to check out their reviews…..

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#BlogBlitz The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall @BloodhoundBook @annevansauthor #GuestPost

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D Tysal #BlogBlitz. Published by Bloodhound Books The Bitter End is a supernatural thriller, I must say I do love the sound of this book, and hope to read it at some point in the near future. I do have a guest post from Ann Smith which I really enjoyed reading, I hope you do too.

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An Interview with my Character. 

For this blog, I decided to speak to Father Wallace Willoughby, the parish priest and a neighbour of the protagonist, Paul Christian. 

Although Father Willoughby is a diminutive little man, he’s something of a fire and brimstone preacher and his loud booming voice can rattle the windows! Even so, I didn’t expect the reaction I got from him. 

He glared at me through those small round glasses of his, his voice fairly controlled – for the moment. “I’m afraid this is not a book I approve of,” he said. “In fact, I’m horrified that you could write about such dark and dreadful deeds.”

“It’s just fiction,” I reminded him, but he cut me short.

“The Good Lord did not grant you your writing skills to produce such heinous characters or such odious atrocities… and have you no thought for me?”

“You didn’t like the role then?”

“Well at first yes, I was flattered that you’d created me and it all started so innocently. But I had no idea what you… and that other author fellow – Tysall, Robert Tysall, had concocted.”

“Yes, well, that was the idea,” I tried to explain. “You don’t want the reader to guess what’s coming.”

“I didn’t see what was coming!” he bellowed. “How could you? I remember when you used to write nice children’s stories.”

“I like to try different genres,” I said, smiling, hoping he’d understand.

 He shook his head. “Alas, it is done, and the book – what is it called again – Ah yes, The Bitter End, is published and available for the world to read. And read it they will. You mark my words. The devil works in mysterious ways.”

“But it’s a fight for good conquering evil, Father Willoughby,” I reminded him.

He didn’t seem convinced and was actually a little sarcastic. “So, it’s a happy ending for all of the characters, is it?”

I sort of hung my head in shame. “Well, no, but…”

He sighed. “I shall be praying for the saving of your soul, my child.”

“Oh! Come on!” I argued. “It’s just a fictional story…”

“I enjoy fiction!” he said in that booming voice. “I, just like the Holy Father in Rome, am extremely fond of television’s Father Ted for instance. But really, The Bitter End goes a step too far.”

There was a grimace on my face. “Er, so you won’t be in book two?”

The disdainful glance he cast me provided the answer. 

I nodded and said goodbye, deciding it was probably best not to tell him that while he wouldn’t be in book two, possibly his older, and slightly stranger brother would be.

Book description

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

 As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

 Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

 Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

 Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

 Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

 As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

About the authors

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Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-E vans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansau thor

https://www.goodreads.com/auth or/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

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Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/rober t.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHO TOS

If you want to follow the rest of the tour where you can read reviews for this book from some pretty awesome bloggers here’s the blog poster……

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**Blog tour** #DeadLock by Damien Boyd #GuestPost @DamienBoydBooks @amazonpub

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Today I’m thrilled be opening the blog tour for Dead Lock by Damien Boyd to celebrate the occasion I have a guest post from the author himself. I was really excited about this post as the locations mentioned aren’t far from where I live and I’ve visited many of them. Damien Boyd has a new crime thriller out soon, it’s being published by Thomas and Mercer on the 31st May 2018, it’s the eighth book in the The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series. You can find details about the book further down this post. 

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Choice of setting is probably one of the most important decisions a series author needs to take, but it’s the one I gave the least attention to when I started out. As it turns out, I made the right decision for the right reasons. I just didn’t know it at the time.

I chose Somerset, and in particular the Burnham-On-Sea area — it was always going to be Burnham —  for the simple reason that it’s my home and I love it. 

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Although I live in Devon and have done since 1994, I still feel like I’ve come home when I arrive in Burnham. Always have done and always will too, I hope. My grandfather was the manager of the Bristol Redfield branch of the National Westminster bank and the family left the city during the bombing raids in 1943. They ended up in Herbert Road, Burnham-On-Sea, where we stayed until my parents finally sold up in 1998. 

So, I grew up there. It’s my childhood home and spiritual home too. 

That’s why I chose to set my series there, but it turned out to be the right decision for so many different reasons. 

Firstly, I know it like the back of my hand. Growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s we had greater freedom to run wild as kids, always out and about on our bikes; on the beach too. On a purely selfish level, this kept the research down when I was starting out, because I was still a solicitor in private practice and working full time. I already knew the best and most sinister places to hide a body without spending hours trawling through Google Earth. I’d already spent hours rock climbing in Cheddar Gorge, for example, which became the setting for my first novel, As the Crow Flies.

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But, more importantly, it enables me to set the books at places I know and love which, I hope, shines through in my descriptions. Every time I sit down to write it’s like going home.

And seeing old friends. Many of the characters are real people who live in the town, some of whom I went to school with and have known since I was 7 years old! They know who they are…

Secondly, it gives me the opportunity to learn more about the place, as I look for new locations. For Dead Lock I spent hours researching the abandoned Somersetshire Coal Canal that ran from the coal fields around Paulton and Radstock to join the Kennet and Avon Canal just east of Bath. I’ve been caving in the Mendips, explored the Somerset Levels in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding, and even been out in the local lifeboat! 

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Readers who have lived in Somerset all their lives find themselves being taken to places they have not been before or didn’t even know existed. That’s part of the challenge and great fun. 

Thirdly, there is Somerset itself. I am never ever stuck for an atmospheric spot! From Cheddar Gorge, to Berrow Beach, Brean Down, Taunton Racecourse, the Somerset Levels, caving on the Mendips, to the Somersetshire Coal Canal, the county offers every option a crime writer could ever need. 

Except perhaps the big city, I suppose, but the way round that is to have the first murder in Somerset, on Nick’s patch, then he can investigate a connected murder anywhere. Using that device he’s been to London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, for those like their crime to have an urban feel.

Lastly, and the best reason of all perhaps, is the people of Somerset themselves. Not only have they embraced Nick Dixon and encouraged me every step of the way, but they have been so very helpful too. I have had guided tours of the new Police Centre at Express Park, Bridgwater, and the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station site, been taken down Swildon’s Hole by members of the Wessex Cave Club, been out in the Burnham lifeboat, and the BARB Search & Rescue hovercraft. Nothing has ever been too much trouble and I can’t thank them enough!

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So, there we are. One of the easiest and best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Book description 

Early on a cold Somerset morning, ten year old Alesha Daniels is reported missing by her father, a violent alcoholic. Her mother, a known drug addict, is found unconscious, but it’s her mother’s boyfriend the police are keen to trace.

As the hunt for Alesha gathers pace, a second local girl is taken, plunging another family into the depths of despair.

Cutting short his holiday, DI Nick Dixon races home to join the Major Investigation Team, but no sooner has he identified a network of local suspects than they begin to show up dead.

At odds with his superiors, Dixon is convinced the child abductions are anything but random, but nobody is prepared for the investigation to lead quite so close to home.

Can Dixon and his team crack the case before all the suspects are silenced? And will he find the missing girls before it’s too late?

Pre-order link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Damien Boyd is a former solicitor turned crime fiction writer.

Drawing on extensive experience of criminal law as well as a spell in the Crown Prosecution Service, Damien writes fast paced crime thrillers featuring Detective Inspector Nick Dixon, Avon & Somerset CID.

My thanks to Damien Boyd for his fascinating guest post.

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Freefall by Adam Hamdy @adamhamdy @headlinepg #randomthingstour #guestpost #blogtour

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Today I am thrilled to be on the blog tour for Adam Hamdy’s second novel Freefall.  This fabulous thriller is out now in paperback and I’ve got a guest post from the man himself Adam Hamdy.

Before I share the author’s guest post here’s the book description to whet your appetite

Book description 

ONE RULE. TRUST NO-ONE.

This explosive, pulse-racing thriller is perfect for fans of Jack Reacher and Orphan X, with a story as unexpected as a sniper’s bullet. Adam Hamdy’s first Pendulum novel was called ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’ by James Patterson.

JOHN WALLACE IS A TARGET
Hiding off-grid after exposing the shadowy Pendulum conspiracy, Wallace is horrified to discover he is still marked for death.

THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE HE CAN TRUST
DI Patrick Bailey is still reeling from the murder investigation that nearly cost him his life.

FBI Agent Christine Ash is hunting a serial killer with a link to an unfinished case

HE MUST FIND THE TRUTH
The death of a London journalist triggers an investigation that brings them back together, hurling them into the path of an unknown enemy.

BEFORE THE KILLER FINDS HIM
Hunted across the world, they are plunged into a nightmare deadlier than they could have ever imagined.

TOP TEN TIPS FOR READERS

The Internet is chock full of advice for writers, but what about readers?  Here are ten tips that should help readers get the most from a life with books, by Adam Hamdy, author of Freefall (out in paperback on 16 May).

  1. READ WHATEVER YOU LIKE

One of the many beautiful things about books is that they offer tremendous choice.  There are millions of books available on just about any subject imaginable, but one can experience a bit of snobbery about what one ‘should’ read.  Don’t feel obliged to read a book because it’s been deemed worthy or has received critical acclaim.  Find the genres, subjects or authors you enjoy and build from there.  I believe readers should actively enjoy the experience of reading and if they’re not, the chances are they’re holding a book that isn’t right for them.   

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  1. FIND YOUR FAVOURITE BLOGGERS

This is something you can do from the comfort of home.  Go online and find bloggers who read and review the types of books that interest you.  Book bloggers form one of the most informative and generous online communities.  The support they give authors and each other is wonderful and they provide a free and informative way to discover new books.  Unconstrained by physical page space or publication schedules, bloggers will often review a wider range of books than national newspapers or magazines and can offer true expertise in their chosen genres.  If you find a blogger’s review interesting or discover a new book thanks to their recommendation, reach out and let them know.  It only takes a moment to show your appreciation for what they do.

3 VISIT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP

Yikes!  This one involves going outside.  Don’t worry, bookshops are generally the friendliest places on the high street.  Few people are more informed about books than booksellers and I’ve had some great recommendations from my local bookshops.  Booksellers can quickly tailor suggestions to your specific reading tastes and usually like talking to readers.  Another fantastic thing about bookshops is the access they can provide to authors.  Your local cinema has little hope of persuading Steven Spielberg to come for a visit, but your bookshop can bring Lee Child to town.  I can think of few creative fields where you can sit down with talent and interact in such an informal way.  Most bookshops host events that take place in the evening and don’t cost much, if anything at all.  It’s low cost, fascinating entertainment and provides an opportunity to meet your literary heroes as well as discover new authors.  Get down to your local bookshop and find out what they’ve got going on.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

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  1. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

It’s a magical place where people will give you free books and advice.  Libraries rival bookshops for friendliness and accessibility and are general staffed by helpful, informative people who will put you on the right track, introducing you to books or authors you’ll like.  Libraries will often host events and can order in almost any book ever published.  Authors get a small royalty every time a book is borrowed from a library, so never feel awkward about telling an author you borrowed rather than bought a book.

  1. JOIN A BOOK CLUB

A few months ago, I went to a book club in London and had a fantastic time with a group of readers who grilled me about Pendulum.  The wine flowed and the conversation was fun and entertaining.  Book clubs are a great way to meet people and forge friendships and if you can’t find a real world book club in your area, you can get together with a few friends and start one, or you can seek out one of the many book clubs that are run online.  

  1. EXPLORE NEW WRITING

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and keep reading the same genre or small selection of authors.  Somewhere in the kerfuffle of book bloggers, newspaper and magazine reviews, booksellers, librarians and book clubs, you should get lots of new book or author recommendations.  Read what you like, but also look around every so often and reach for something new, so the list of what you like keeps growing.

7 CONTACT AUTHORS

My youngest son is a big fan of Swapna Haddow’s Dave Pigeon series and wrote to her to express his admiration.  Swapna wrote back and sent him some Dave Pigeon gear, which absolutely made his day.  As an author, I know how much it will have meant to Swapna to have positive feedback from a fan.  If an author has written something you like, reach out and let him or her know.  Leave a positive review, ask a question, send a note.  Most authors are very accessible and love hearing from readers, particularly if they have something nice to say.

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  1. DON’T HATE A BOOK

Argggghhhhhh!  I’ve read a book and I hate it more than cancer.  That’s the only reason I’d ever give a book a 1-star review.  In my opinion, 1-star is the equivalent of an ‘F’ and means the author has failed to do anything at all that redeems the book.  If you’re not enjoying a book, stop reading and put it down.  Move on to another that engages you.  If you really hated a book and feel the need to share your opinion, remember that all art is subjective and that many readers will find positives in a book you disliked.  Also remember that many authors read their Amazon and Goodreads reviews and that there’s a human being at the receiving end of any tirade.  I never read reviews of my books, but I know many authors who do and I’ve seen the emotional impact they have.  Authors are just human beings striving to produce the best work they can and make a living, and when someone goes to town with a bad review, it’s upsetting.  If you have to throw some shade on a book, try to keep it civil.

     9 GO TO FESTIVALS

Many big towns have their own literary festival or an arts festival that features authors.  These single or multi-day events often feature a wide range of authors speaking on a variety of topics and are fantastic low cost entertainment.  Most people will find something to interest them in a typical festival program and if you can’t afford to travel to the bigger literary festivals, go to your local one.  Admission is usually inexpensive if not free.  If you do go to a festival, set aside some time for the hotel or venue bar, where you can often get chatting to authors in an informal environment.  Lee Child, Peter James and Val McDermid were among the many big names circulating in the bar during my first ever Harrogate and I’m not ashamed to say that I got a little star struck.

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  1. SUBSCRIBE TO MAILING LISTS

Many authors operate email lists via their websites and give subscribers exclusive news, offers and competitions.  I recently offered subscribers the chance to win a £100 Book Token and the opportunity to name a character in my next book.  In addition to giving readers the opportunity to win unusual or unique prizes, most authors are keen to build a rapport with their readers, and mailing lists are a great way to get inside the worlds of authors you love and learn more about them.

Who Is Adam Hamdy

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Identified as an Amazon Rising Star, British author and screenwriter Adam Hamdy works with studios and production companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

He is the author of the Pendulum trilogy, an epic series of conspiracy thriller novels. James Patterson described Pendulum as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’, and the novel was a finalist for the Glass Bell Award for contemporary fiction. Pendulum was chosen as book of the month by Goldsboro Books and was selected for BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

Prior to embarking on his writing career, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses in the medical systems, robotics, technology and financial services sectors.

Buying links for Adam Hamdy books

 

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the tour!! and Adam Hamdy for the guest post.  

**Blog tour** Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley #GuestPost @mrsmjriley @KillerReads

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Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley. This book is described as A darkly compelling psychological thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of Louise Jensen, Cass Green and Alex Lake. For my stop of the blog tour the author has written  A day with author……… post

First of all here is the book description to whet your appetite.

Secrets lie beneath the surface…
Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.
Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.
But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.

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We (my husband and I) are woken up bang on seven in the morning by Reggie, the youngest of our two golden retrievers, who, until then has been sleeping (relatively peacefully) down by the side of my bed. He is so reliable as an alarm clock that we haven’t set an actual alarm for over a year. My husband gets up and makes me a cup of tea before he goes off to work (he is a television reporter). I stay in bed and listen to the news for another half-hour or so. This is luxury for me as I had years of getting up at just after five for my job.

About half-past eight I take the dogs out. We are lucky to live in a small village with a lot of countryside around, and a large area of common land at the bottom of our garden. I find the walk really useful for thinking about what I’m writing, solving plot problems, working out my characters and how to move them from one place to another.

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When I get back I fiddle about having some yoghurt and honey and tidying up a bit before making a coffee and hitting that writing desk…..where I fiddle and faff about some more, having a quick look at twitter and e mails and Facebook and Instagram and then I open up the document with writing in it…and begin. Hopefully I will have left the previous days masterpiece in the middle of a scene or I’ve worked out what I’m going to say while on the walk so I’m not sitting there wondering where to go next.

I write some words.
I delete those words.
I look at Twitter and Facebook for inspiration.

I turn the WiFi off. Then have to turn it on again when I need to research something or look at a map (necessary for what I’m working on at the moment) so have to be very firm with myself and turn it off again or maybe I will fiddle about on social media…I do have the attention span of a gnat!

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More coffee and a thousand words later (hmm… a bit of creative licence there…) it’s time to take the dogs out again…a shorter walk this time and I take the opportunity to listen to a play or the omnibus edition of The Archers or the Kermode and Mayo film podcast – fabulous stuff if you like film!

Back to the desk for thirty minutes, then lunch and then… *whispers* a little sleep (sometimes curled up with Reggie on the futon thing in my study) or watch something on Netflix – often something recommended by author Mark Edwards (though he doesn’t know I take him up on his Twitter recommendations!) before feeding the dogs (see how they dominate!) and then doing bits of housework, like making up the fire, cleaning the floors (dogs, remember?) and other dreary tasks. I might do some more writing before my husband gets home at about 8.15pm. Then it’s a glass of wine (just the one?) and maybe a chat with one of the children (two boys and a girl, all of whom have left home).

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This is an ideal writing day which happens occasionally, though is more often than not interrupted by real life and shopping. And it has taken years of writing around the children and the day job and many, many rejections to get to this point.

I have, of course, glossed over the tears and the swearing and the banging of head on desk when the writing doesn’t go according to plan!

About the author

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Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin

You can follow the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryjanerileyauthor/
Twitter: @mrsmjriley
Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor

Links for the authors books:

Dark Waters http://amzn.to/2CLaUkK

After She Fell http://amzn.to/206Pp3u

The Bad Things http://amzn.to/2CJc3sN

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