Tag Archives: Guest Post

Haverscroft by S.A. Harris #GuestPost #Haverscroft @salharris1 @saltpublishing @EmmaDowson1

Today I’m delighted  to be on the blog tour for Haverscroft  by S.A.Harris. Haverscroft  has been described as a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night. Today I’m sharing a guest post from the author herself, but first the book description……

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Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Salt (15 May 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Do You Have A Choice What You Write?

In the run-up to my debut novel, Haverscroft, being published I was asked to write some articles about the road to publication. What influenced me to write dark tales and Gothic fiction. Why this genre, over say, romance? I dredged various things from my memory which had been significant one way or another over the years and wrote a couple of pieces. A friend commented she would not have such a wealth of strange experiences to pull upon and that got me thinking. Do we have a choice what we write or is it inherent like eye colour?

Those weird encounters were many and varied but the one that regularly causes outcries of horror happened when we were on a family holiday a few years ago. It had been a long journey from East Anglia to a cottage near Pitlochry, Scotland. We arrived and loved the house; a light and airy Victorian villa with a patio and manicured garden leading to a bubbling stream and fields. The weather for July was still cool so we put on the heating and settled down for the evening. And that’s when things started to get interesting.

I’d just told our youngest to go to bed for the second time when he announced there was a bat on the wall beside the fireplace in the sitting room. An original delaying tactic if ever I’d heard one. A chorus followed from the rest of the family; A bat? What do you mean, a bat? On closer inspection, it turned out our son was telling the truth.

The little critter was tiny, not much larger than a fifty pence piece and could only crawl rather than fly, thank goodness. Deliberation followed. What should be done with it and where had it come from? I fetched my laptop and began to search the internet for answers. As I sat on the sofa, out of the corner of my eye, something was moving. A small dark shape was travelling from the cushion at my back onto my shoulder and at some speed. My daughter’s exclamation gave the game away before I could shift my position. Another baby bat had arrived.

We started searching the room. Bats were crawling down the curtains, emerging from behind cushions and from beneath the sofa. My husband fled upstairs to bed – moths, spiders, creepy crawlies are not his thing and neither are baby bats it turns out.

The internet provided a number to call which even at 11:30pm on a Saturday evening was answered. Advice was given; put the bats in boxes, lids on with holes punched in the top. Judy from the Bat Conservation Society would call by and collect our small visitors in the morning and, by the way, did we know bats are protected? We should probably move out.

We followed her instructions, found Tupperware, tinfoil and caught as many as we could. I closed the sitting room door and locked up as the children headed upstairs. 

I stood on the threshold of our bedroom with the light from the landing at my back. My husband lay on the mattress, the duvet on the floor. I thought in the dim light he was asleep, at least, he was snoring, anyway. Around him on the bed were small dark shapes. Surely not, I thought. I switched on the light. My husband complained about the glare. There are bats on the bed, I said. No six-foot man has ever moved so quickly.

Early the next morning, Judy explained there was a maternity roost in the chimney. The warmth of the central heating or the heat radiating from our bodies draws out the baby rodents. She took away all the bats we had collected leaving us with the advice more were very likely to crawl out from the nest. How were we going to find alternate accommodation at peak season and at such short notice? We started packing our bags.

So back to that question, are writers born or do we choose our genre? Perhaps if I tried, I could come up with a historical drama or a cosy crime novel. Haverscroft crosses genres. Part ghost story and part intimate examination of a marriage on the rocks in the way of a psychological thriller. By day, I am a solicitor specialising in divorce and relationship breakdown, so again, I guess exposure to such events over decades influenced my writing. But I do not think genre is like eye colour. Experiences over a lifetime become ingrained in us but nothing is inherent. We all draw on experience as well as our imaginations in our writing but ultimately it is our choice what we write.

And after we packed our bags and left the bats behind? We searched for most of a day but eventually found somewhere else to stay. We had salvaged our holiday. As we pulled up to the new cottage it seemed a little strange, but then, that is another story.

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S.A.Harris is an award-winning author and family law solicitor born in Suffolk and now living and working in Norwich, Norfolk.

She won the Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017. She was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize First 500 Words of a Novel Competition in 2018 and published in their anthology, Monsters, in November 2018.

Her debut novel, Haverscroft, will be published on the 15th May 2019.

She is a member of the Society of Authors. You can contact her via her publisher: chris@saltpublishing.com or on Twitter @salharris1 or author website: https://www.saharrisauthor.com

PRAISE FOR HAVERCROFT

An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ –Angela Clarke

REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK

‘The writing is taut and fluid. Both the atmosphere of the old house and the wider family dynamics are evoked with skill. Whatever one thinks of a place harbouring the spirit of past deeds this story could throw shade over certainties. Recommended, but exercise caution if reading after dark.’ –Jackie Law, Never Imitate

My thanks to the author and Emma at Salt publishing for the guest post.

Follow the blog tour…..

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55 by James Delargy #WhoIsFiftyFive? @JDelargyAuthor @SimonSchusterUK #GuestPost #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour @AnneCater

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for 55 by James Delargy. This is one book I want to read at some point it sounds fantastic. (Update I’ve actually just bought the book after reading Eva’s fab review on the blog tour  yesterday at noveldeelights)

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This book has been described as a thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp! Intrigued? Me too but in the meantime I have a brilliant guest post from the author himself, but first the book description……
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*** There were 54 victims before this. Who is number 55? ***
A thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp!

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.
He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. 

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer. This novel has been sold in 19 countries so far and has just been optioned for film.   

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (4 April 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Favourite writers

I like a number of genres of novels but I guess my love of Crime, Thrillers and Mystery novels comes from early on in my life. I would get The Hardy Boys novels from the library in school or in the next town over and go to bed reading them, often waking up the next day with my fingers in the pages where I had fallen asleep or the poor book sprawled on the floor beside the bed. Fingers in the pages was preferential as with a floor book I was left guessing where I had finished off.

After the Hardy Boys I moved onto other writers but the main one was Stephen King. I love his storytelling and was overawed by the range of styles and genres he could produce – horrors, dramas, crime, coming of age tales – all punctuated by characters and plots that were so engrossing. Of any writer I think that he has had the most influence in terms of wanting to write, even though it took to my thirties to turn to novel writing.

Despite this the book that might have influenced me the most is The Count of Monte Cristo, the innocent man seeking his revenge on those who imprisoned him falsely. I fell in love with the elaborate plot, the twists and turns and how his desire for revenge causes the protagonist to evolve from naïve, to vengeful, to compassionate.

Other writers to have influenced me include Chuck Palahniuk for the visual, sometime stomach-churning visceral nature of his writing. Ian Rankin for the depth of his characters and the world he creates. Val McDermid for her delicious plotting, mystery and characters. Colin Bateman for the characters, the setting and the sarcastic humour. Lee Child for the wit, plotting and energy of his books.

But there are many others in recent years such as, Cara Hunter, Jane Harper, Ann Cleeves, Simon Kernick, Joseph Knox, Steve Cavanagh, Michael Connolly and Fiona Barton. Not to mention novels such as The Great Gatsby, Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Dracula, Frankenstein, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Homer (not Simpson), George Orwell, John Steinbeck, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane. An almost endless list. So I’ll stop there. Although no doubt I’ll remember someone in the next few hours that I’ll regret leaving out. Kazuo Ishiguro. Annie Proulx. Roddy Doyle. Irvine Welsh.

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James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 55 is his first novel.

My thanks to author James Delargy and Ann Cater for the fabulous guest post.

Follow the blog tour…..

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**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

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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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