Tag Archives: Guest Post

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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**Blog tour** End Game by Matt Johnson #GuestPost @Matt_Johnson_UK @OrendaBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the End Game by Matt Johnson blog tour. END GAME is the riveting conclusion to Matt Johnson’s Finlay trilogy. The author has kindly written an exclusive guest post which explores modern day slavery,  but first here’s the book description to whet your appetite.

Book description

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout.

Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

End Games is available to purchase via Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Modern slavery, closer than you think – Matt Johnson

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To many, the word ‘slavery’ conjures up a picture of people in chains, abducted and forcibly transported against their will to work on plantations across the world. Today, in a town, a street or a home near you, modern slavery is taking place under our very noses.

Just recently in the news, we heard about the Oxford and Rochdale cases which involved British girls trafficked within the UK for sexual exploitation.But although sex trafficking makes the headlines, modern slavery is just as prominent in forced labour and domestic servitude.

During my research for both Deadly Game and End Game, I travelled to Romania to learn about the routes used to move young women from their villages to work in places where they think they are heading for a better life. This is one thing I learned that all victims share. They think they are heading to a better job, for a more interesting life or for an education. Whatever the reason, they all share one thing – they are travelling to something they believe is better than they are leaving behind.

In the UK, the slave trade was outlawed and abolished in the 19th Century. After that, a person holding slaves could be prosecuted for offences such as false imprisonment, assault and – in more modern times – under Health and Safety legislation.

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It was only in 2004 that an offence was created of trafficking people into the UK for the purpose of forced labour, and it wasn’t until 2009, when the Coroners and Justice Act came into being, that an offence of holding a person in slavery or servitude was created. A similar offence also covers requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and, for each offence, our prosecuting authorities have to prove that the accused knew, or ought to have known, that the victim was being held or forced to work against their will.

Deadly Game started in Romania, and is based on a gang who move young women from their homes to work in the sex-trade. Although fiction, the story has a sound basis in fact.

Sex slavery isn’t a new concept to Europe. In World War II, the Nazis set up ‘Joy Divisions’ in concentration camps that were filled with young Jewish women. These brothels were frequented by both the soldiers and the co-operative non-Jewish inmates. Across Europe, the German Army also set up many ‘Soldattenbordell’ where local women were forced into providing unpaid sexual services in return for avoiding the camps. Mass kidnapping raids were carried out in countries such as Poland, where young women were rounded up and then transported to become entertainment for the troops.

As the war ended, many Romanian soldiers who had been serving in the German Army returned to their homeland with an understanding of the money to be made by forcing women into the sex trade. As the forces of law got to grips with the criminal gangs, the method of providing girls simply changed from one of coercion to one of deception. In times of economic depression, hungry and desperate for paid work, it became easy to trick girls into applying for waitress, cleaning and other menial jobs in the cities. Once on the journey, the girls were doomed. It is no coincidence that most of the victims of trafficking are from economically deprived areas.

Deadly Game follows the journey of once such girl. End Game concludes the story. I’m aware that book are fiction, and will be read for entertainment, but I also hope that, by telling the story, I may be able to raise awareness in people’s minds that slavery hasn’t gone away, and the chains on the victims, although less easily seen, are still very much in use.

About the author

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Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1992, one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital.

One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. He has used his detailed knowledge and memory to create what has been described by many readers as a fast paced, exciting and authentic tale of modern day policing.

 

More information, including book tour dates and festival appearances at www.mattjohnsonauthor.com

Newsletter sign-up at https://mattjohnsonauthor.com/newsletter-signup/

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A day with author James Carol #GuestPost @JamesCarolBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to have author James Carol share a guest post about his day as a writer. I’m a huge fan of this author and I especially love his FBI profiler Jefferson Winter series, it’s one of my favourite crime series. The author has also just published a psychological thriller as J. S. Carol it’s called Kiss Me Kill Me, and another read I would highly recommend

So without further ado here’s……………..

A Day In The Life Of James Carol

A typical day starts with getting the kids to school. One of the big advantages of working from home is that I get to do things like that. If there’s a school play or sports day, I can get there. My best memories of the past year are hearing my daughter sing like an angel at the Christmas concert, and watching my son running his heart out to win his race.

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Once the kids are in school then it’s time to put on a CD and get to work. Writing in silence is a kind of torture for me. Music helps to block out all the other distractions so I can focus on the words. I listen to everything and anything. For example, right now I’ve got a Police compilation playing. That said, it could just as easily have been The Beatles or Lorde or even Taylor Swift.

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If I’m working on a first draft, my aim is to get at least 1,500 words written. Do that for a week and I’m 7,500 words further on; do it for fourteen weeks and I’ve got a novel. Like Stephen King said, a novel gets written one word at a time. Think about it. Writing one word is achievable, however, if you’re sat there at the start of a novel and you’ve somehow got to find at least 100,000 words, that’s just too daunting. Where the hell do you start? So I write one word at a time, and it’s amazing how quickly those words turn into sentences, then paragraphs, and whole chapters.

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I tend to clock off around one. By that point my brain is fried. Of course, writing is one of those occupations that you never totally switch off from. I’ll often find myself falling back into the novel at various points during the day, working through things in my head. Then there are those times when I end up doing the dreaded night shift. This usually happens when I’ve got a particularly gnarly plot problem to work out. For some reason, my brain decides that two o’clock in the morning is the best time to do this. And, no, I don’t get out of bed to write things down. If the idea is good enough then I’ll remember it. Lennon and McCartney did a similar thing in their early days, and it seemed to work out okay for them.

About the author

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James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.

James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in a pair of headphones writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

For more information go to: www.james-carol.com

To learn more about James Carol’s book click here….James Carol Books

My thanks to James Carol for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this post for my blog.

**Blog tour** Beneath The Skin by Caroline England #GuestPost @CazEngland

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Today I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Beneath The Skin by Caroline England blog tour. To celebrate the occasion The author has written a special guest post for the book review café. Before I get to the post I should mention this is the author’s debut novel and was published by Avon on the 5th October 2017 so you don’t even have to wait to buy a copy. I thought I would include some of the comments about this book to pique your interest.

‘I loved Beneath the Skin. It’s so beautifully written and kept me hooked right to the end. Caroline England knows her wonderful cast of characters inside out. I didn’t want this book to end.’ LIBBY CARPENTER, AUTHOR OF 99 RED BALLOONS

‘I was gripped immediately and I couldn’t wait for it to finish – perfect for fans of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins’ KATERINA DIAMOND, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TEACHER AND THE SECRET

‘Gripping, immersive, horribly believable, Beneath the Skin asks can we trust our friends? Should we believe our lovers?’ SANJIDA KAY, AUTHOR OF BONE BY BONE

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If Beneath the Skin was made into a film…

Who would I cast? This is a fun question but surprisingly difficult!

Firstly there’s Antonia, beautiful, perfect, flawless on the outside, but on the inside… Physically I always picture Alesha Dixon in my mind, but an actress who’d be perfect is Thandie Newton. Remember her playing DCI Roz Huntley in Line of Duty? The way you didn’t really know what was going on behind her fine eyes? Yup, that’s Antonia!

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Her husband David… Big, posh and gregarious on the surface. Not a trouble in the world; everyone’s friend. He’s probably a little too young, but James Norton could act his socks off as David. Or Rupert Penry-Jones, he’d fit the bill nicely.

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Then we have Irish Mike. This is tricky. So many dark haired handsome Irish actors around. Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Cillian Murphy, to name a few. But which actor can play someone who is thoughtful and introspective as well as being a joker with a great smile? Well, it has to be Aidan Turner, hasn’t it. I’m thinking more Mitchell in Being Human than Ross Poldark! Aidan played the many layers of Mitchell so brilliantly, he could certainly nail the complicated Mike.

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Mike is married to Olivia. Her feisty character doesn’t necessarily match her pale, pretty and petite looks. Carey Mulligan could play her strident and intelligent personality perfectly. She suits an elfin-style hair cut too!

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Sami is charming, swaggering and vain! He’s also drop-dead good looking. The obvious contender would be Idris Elba, but perhaps he’s a little too jaded. Did anyone watch Marcella? Nicholas Pinnock, who played Marcella’s not-so-nice husband? Remember his chiselled good looks, his confident stride? And he looked great in a designer suit!

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Then there’s Sophie. I’m struggling to cast her. She’s acerbic but fun, always the centre of attention. Not traditionally beautiful, but the force of her personality shines through her emerald eyes. Geri Halliwell in her plumper days? Or maybe ask Kate Winslet to dye her hair auburn. I’m sure she could pull off any role.

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Though he can be grumpy at times, Charlie’s a good soul. He’s a bit set in his ways and has always looked older than his years. Toby Jones is a fantastic actor, he’d do a great job.

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Charlie’s wife Helen is a no-nonsense academic who’s often inadvertently blunt. She doesn’t give two hoots about her appearance, but she’s not unattractive. Helen McCrory is such a versatile actress, she would be perfect.

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Book description

Presenting a stunning debut psychological thriller about a life-changing lie.

Caroline England’s, Beneath The Skin is a tense and compelling read, exploring truth, friendships and betrayal.

No-one remembers your past. But you do.

‘Antonia, Antonia. My name is Antonia.’

It’s been her name for many years. But sometimes, like tonight, she forgets. Antonia has a secret. A secret so dark and so deep that she can barely admit it to herself. Instead, she treats herself to Friday night sessions of self-harm while her husband David is at the pub, and her best friend Sophie is drinking too much wine a few doors down.

Nobody close to her knows the truth about what the teenage Antonia saw all those years ago. No-one, that is, except her mother. But Candy is in a care home now, her mind too addled to remember the truth.

Antonia is safe. Isn’t she? The lies start small. They always do. But when the tightly woven story you’ve told yourself begins to unravel, the truth threatens to come to the surface. And then what’s going to happen?

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline was a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer and instigated her jottings when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Impress Prize 2015, in the Pulp Idol 2016 finals and long listed for the UK Novel Writing Competition 2017.

Follow the blog tour…….

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A day with author Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza

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Today I’m thrilled to start my new weekly feature A day with author………it’s something I’ve always wondered about, what does an author do in a “typical day? (Some would say that’s being nosey, and I guess I am 😂😂). So although it’s not an original concept by any means,  I can’t be the only one wondering what author’s get up to, or am I? So I decided to see if I could find out what authors get up to and I have had such a great response to this feature so far, so I’m hoping to make it a long running feature. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I did.

As I’m sure you all know by now I’m a huge fan of Robert  Bryndza (and just in case you didn’t, I am 😂) and the gripping Detective Erika Foster series, so you can imagine my delight when the author agreed to write a post about his day as an author for the book review café, So without further ado welcome to A day with author Robert Bryndza…..

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The alarm goes off at six thirty, but our two dogs Ricky and Lola always seem to anticipate it by ten minutes, so by 6.20am I’ll have various squeaky toys shoved in my face, my ears nibbled, or more disgustingly, Lola will stick her tongue up my nose.

I’d love to be one of those writers who can roll out of bed and start writing, but dog walking comes first. Unless it’s raining, we take the dogs around the park opposite our flat and I really enjoy this, it gets ideas flowing and I love watching the seasons change, the sunlight on the river and meeting all the other half-asleep dog walkers.

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I’ve been writing full time for a few years now, and I’ve found I work best if I treat it like a full time job. I try to sit down and write by eight-thirty or nine in the morning, and I work through until twelve. The internet needs to be switched off on my phone and laptop, or there is no hope of work being done.

When I’m writing about murder and mayhem I always seem to crave a break from it all by lunchtime, so we’ll eat in front the TV and watch comedy. Right now, it’s the sitcom Mom with Alison Janney and Anna Faris, this is one of my favourite shows, along with Entourage, Kath and Kim or Father Ted.

I find that I’m more productive after lunch, and afternoons are when I re-work what I’ve written in the morning. I can get really sucked into the story until I stop at three thirty. I try to write 2,000 – 2,500 words a day, more if things are flowing nicely.

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Until last year, I used to write in the living room or sitting on the bed, but now we’ve moved to a house with a spare room which has become my office, and is full of books and I love it. I work in a cosy chair, and there a small bed for when guests stay over, but most of the time the dogs lie beside me snoozing when I work.

My husband Ján also works from home, and we are lucky that we rarely get on each other’s nerves. He works as my manager, and he runs everything to do with my career, and seven of my books which are still self-published in ebook, audio and paperback. He’s also the first person who reads what I write.

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I try not to write during the weekends, but I do like to use them for research. When I start a new book I buy a new notebook which becomes my bible, with ideas, research, character and place names. When I read my first draft through I will note down what happens in each chapter, any vital pieces of evidence, the names of murder victims, how they were killed, and any other important info.

As a book progresses, I become more obsessed with what I’m writing, and work will seep into weekends and evenings, and this is the time when I start waking in the night and worrying about motives, murder weapons, plot lines and pretty much everything else in between. This is when the notebook begins to fill up even more.

I realise that this all sounds idyllic and a slightly smug, so I will add that it’s been a long journey to get here with years of rejection, and there were plenty of times when I nearly gave up!

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There are days too where I procrastinate and waste time on the internet. Writing for me is never easy, I am often riddled with doubts and have to push myself to stick to deadlines.

But it’s the best job in the world and I am very grateful every day that I get to do it full time.

About the author

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood has just been published.

Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at http://www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

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My thanks to Robert Bryndza for taking time out of his busy writing schedule to take part in A day with author…….

If you would like to learn more about the Erika Foster series or buy any of the books you can find them here…..Robert Bryndza Books Amazon

**Blog tour** Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir #GuestPost @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir. I don’t really worry to much about the cover of a book but I do have to mention I love the cover for this book, my favourite colour and a highly original cover to boot  

Snare is published by one of my favourite publishers Orenda Books and you don’t even have to wait to buy a copy, if you pop over to Amazon “one click” and it’s yours.

Although I haven’t got a review to share with you I do have a fabulous guest post from the author herself.

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Strange names … Strange places
Lilja Sigurðardóttir

I once had an English friend who couldn´t read a book I gave her because she thought the names of the characters in the story were too strange. The book was Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness´s Independent people and she really lost out on a good story there. But I did understand. Icelandic names are indeed strange and Halldór Laxness didn´t really use the easiest ones. Now that I have my first book translated into English, I have been terrified that readers would give up and think that the names of people and names of places are too difficult to deal with, and therefore miss out on the story. But I can see right away, by the feedback I am already getting, that there is no reason to worry and my old friend was just a wimp and not at all representative of the average reader of the English language.

To my benefit I´ll say that I don’t use so many strange names for the characters. I use more modern names, in line with how people are named in Iceland nowadays. We of course still have our patronymic system for surnames, where everybody is somebody’s son or daughter (dóttir) but the given names have simplified in the passing of time and now trend towards the international as old Nordic, heathen names give way to biblical ones. Sara is a more popular name that Thorgerður now, and Adam much more common than Hallfreður.

But the places are another matter. As my stories mostly take place in Iceland I have to name the towns and streets and mountains and restaurants and those are hard to simplify or translate. If the name of our capital Reykjavík was translated into English it would be named Smokey Bay. And that just doesn´t sound Icelandic. It sounds more like a place somewhere in North America.

Besides the strange names themselves, we also have a different way of spelling them. Our alphabet has quite a few variances from other language alphabets as all our vowels can be accentuated to give a different sound, some of them in more than one way, like o can be ó and ö. Then for fun and complications we also have some extra consonants.

My translator, Mr Quentin Bates, has been an advocate for introducing some of the Icelandic alphabet into literary translations and in Snare the decision was made to use the letter ð in the names and places it belonged, such as in Ríkharður and Davíð. The ð makes a very weak th-sound, but could as easily be spelled with d. I do hope readers will like this little quirky Icelandishness in the book.

I have stopped worrying now about readers possibly being put off by Icelandic names and places, as I have heard from quite a few early readers, and not one of them mentioned difficulties with the names. Just that they enjoyeded the story. And that´s the way it should be. Because translating literature is all about opening up the world, and giving people access to new stories. Even if the names are strange…

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Book description

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies.

Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. 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, Snare 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 🇺🇸

About the author

Lilja Sigurðard.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic crime-writer and playwright, born in 1972. She is the author of four crime novels, Steps (Spor), 2009, Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010, Snare (Gildran) 2015, Tangle (Netið) 2016 and Cage (Búrið) 2017.

Her debut stage-play Big Babies (Stóru Börnin) was staged in the winter of 2013-2014, became critically acclaimed and won the Icelandic Theatre Prize Gríman as “Best play of the year.”

Lilja´s latest book, Tangle, (Netið) was published in Iceland in October 2016 by Forlagid publishing. The rights to the novel have already been sold to France/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Canada (Éditions Métailié); World English (Orenda Books)

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