Aria Fiction, Blogger, Family Saga, Romance Saga, Saga, Sneak Peek

The Wives Revenge @LHutchAuthor @Aria_Fiction #SneakPeek

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Today on the blog I have Lindsey Hutchinson with her book The Wives Revenge.  I have a wee sneak peak to tantalise your taste buds and leave you eager to find out what happens.

Lindsey Hutchinson

Lindsey Author Profile

Lindsey lives in Shropshire with her husband and dog, loves to read and has recently discovered photography. She is the daughter of million-copy bestselling author Meg Hutchinson.

Follow Lindsey

Twitter: @LHutchAuthor

Facebook: Lindsey Hutchinson

The Wives Revenge ~ Sneak Peek Extract

On 20th June 1887 all children had been given a day off school in order to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating the fiftieth year of her accession to the throne.

Primrose Berry from up the street, the girl Violet Clancy hated with a vengeance, had come to play in Violet’s yard and had cornered the cat from next door in the backyard. The yard was a dumping ground for anything Violet’s mother, Kath, couldn’t find a home for but now Primrose was using it as her own arena. Primrose had the cat by the scruff of the neck and Violet knew its suffering was imminent. Picking up a small stick that lay nearby, Primrose stabbed it into the cat’s eye. With an ungodly screech, the cat took off with the stick poking from its eye socket.

Violet’s mother appeared on the back doorstep shouting, ‘What’s going on out here?’

Giving Violet a quick vindictive smile and before Violet could speak Primrose burst into tears and sobbed, ‘Violet hurt the cat!’

‘Bloody hell, Violet, what you done now?’ Kath Sligo was interrupted by a banging on the front door. Kath turned to answer the door. Primrose had a vindictive glint in her eye as she looked at the shocked girl in front of her.

Violet heard the neighbour’s voice, ‘Your bloody daughter has maimed my cat! I’ll have the coppers on you; you see if I don’t!’

The front door slammed and Kath reappeared on the back step. ‘Primrose, you get yourself off home now, wench.’

With an evil grin, Primrose tossed her golden ponytail in Violet’s direction, her blue eyes flashing a warning as she left via the side gate. Violet’s heart sank knowing she would be getting the blame for the beastly thing Primrose had done.

Kath was on her daughter before the gate had closed, grabbing her dark plaits and dragging her into the house. ‘Why? What makes you do such awful things?’ Kath threw Violet into a chair and stood over her daughter, with her arms crossed across her chest.

‘I didn’t do it, Mum!’ Violet wailed as she felt the slap sting her cheek.

‘Get to bed,’ Kath puffed, ‘and wait ‘til your father gets home!’

Defiance swelled in her as Violet slammed the door. ‘He’s not my father!’ she yelled back, taking the stairs two at a time. Lying on her bed, Violet resolved to run away if that man ever came into her room again.

Time passed as Violet lay on her bed in the tiny two-up, two-down house. Every couple of houses which lined both sides of Hobbins Street had an entry which led to a side gate at the back. The rows of houses all looked the same in the small town of Wednesbury, a layer of grime from the foundries and factories coating them all. The pall of smoke lay heavy in the air, giving the town a look and feel of being constantly in the shade. The houses had two rooms upstairs and a tiny living room and kitchen on the ground floor. Some had managed to put a lean-to scullery on the end of the kitchen. The lavatory was housed in a small brick building at the end of the yard.

Laying there on her bed, the aroma of cooking reached Violet’s nose. Her stomach growled but she knew there’d be no tea for her that night.

Violet waited, knowing he would be home soon. The man her mother had married not too long after her birth father had been killed in a cave-in at the Monway Colliery. Her dad, Harry Clancy, a gentle soul who would help anyone; his soft voice never raised in anger. He taught her from his books, history, geography – all the countries of the world; all the seas and rivers. He shared stories of mythical beasts in wondrous lands.

Violet remembered the warm summer nights sitting on the back doorstep with her father pointing out the stars. The Plough, he would tell her, and, look, there Orion’s Belt. She recalled, when she was small, the time they played cowboys and Indians and her father had used her mum’s rouge to paint his face. Violet smiled as she also remembered the scolding he’d received from her mother for wasting good cosmetics.

Violet’s thoughts wandered freely down memory lane as a picture of her father formed in her mind. Harry was always smiling. No matter the trials and tribulations he had to face, the ever-present grin never diminished. Coming home from the coal pit covered from head to toe in coal dust, he would smile as he saw his little girl. White teeth shone from his blackened face and he would chatter away to his daughter while Kath heated pans of water for his wash down. Her dad, who she missed dreadfully. Silent tears ran down her cheeks as she wished him back with her once more.

Book Jacket 

A gritty tale of triumph over hardship, and justice for the downtrodden. Lindsey Hutchinson returns with another Black Country saga perfect for fans of Josephine Cox.

Violet Clancy can take no more of her violent stepfather’s attentions, so when he meets a tragic end she feels justice has been done. Looking around the bleak and pitiless Black Country town of Wednesbury, she realises that there are many other wrongs that she could help to put right.

Joining a coterie of women who call themselves The Wednesbury Wives, Violet and her friends soon set about winning justice for the abused and trying to make life a little easier for those for whom grinding poverty is every day.

But even in the hardest lives, some light must shine, and before long the wives find laughter and romance in their close-knit town. But will their friendships survive when some of their good deeds are brought into doubt, and some of their methods are called into question? And is justice always worth it, no matter what the price?

If you wish to continue reading, you can order your kindle copy today

Huge thanks to Aria Fiction and Lindsey Hutchinson for being on my blog today.

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Blogger, Event Review, Kelly Talk, Scotland

‘The Secret Room’ Lauriston Castle @EdinCulture @MagicFest #Edinburgh @Lanyardmedia #REVIEW 

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On a sunny evening in Edinburgh, I had the privilege to be travelling to a magic show at a Scottish Castle.  I didn’t know what to expect having never been to Lauriston Castle before.

There are no words for what I experienced, it was truly MAGICAL from start to finish. Even the walk from the car park up to the Castle was breathtaking. The Castle grounds are immaculate and interesting.

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On arrival we were given an unexpected talk on the history of Lauriston Castle. It was fascinating and added to the experience. The Castle has quite the tale to tell.  We were then split into groups and then the tour began.

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©KAL Photography 2017

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We were given three varied Magic shows by John Henry Blackwood, Jody Greig and Ian Kendall. All very unique and I enjoyed each one in a different way. I left each show with a great content feeling, the same you get after a scrumptious meal.  The shows are for everyone of all ages. With a spectacular background, shrouded in history.

The staff were so polite and helpful. I toured the grounds after the event too and had a coffee in the little on site cafe. Which has hot and cold drinks and home made nibbles and cakes.

It was a terrific experience that I would gladly repeat again and again.  My favourite day out this summer so far. I highly recommend you book your tickets, it runs from Mon 3 July – Thur 6 July and there are two showing times  5.30pm and 7.30pm. The cost of entry is  £18 / £16 conc / £12 child  and the duration is 75 minutes on the tour and then you are free to wander around the beautiful gardens.

For more information on the event please visit ~ Magic Festival Website

and for Lauriston Castle ~ Website

Here are some photographs from the ‘The Secret Room’ event at Lauriston Castle.

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©Kelly Lacey 2017 ~ JODY GREIG

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017 ~JOHN HENRY BLACKWOOD

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017 ~ IAN KENDALL

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©Kelly Lacey 2017
 

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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©Kelly Lacey 2017
Thanks to @LanyardMedia for the opportunity to review, we thoroughly enjoyed it. 

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©Kelly Lacey 2017

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Blogger, Edinburgh Event, Scotland

Launch VIP Ball @MagicFest @LanyardMedia #Edinburgh #Scottish #Event

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Last night myself and fellow Love Books Group lady,  J A Warnock attended the VIP Magic Festival Ball in Edinburgh at Summerhall.

On arrival we had scrumptious, lemon, basil, gin, sherbet and prosecco drinks.  With wonderful floating magic trees decorating the room and live music. The excitement in the room was on a high.

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The event features so much talent and there is something for every age.

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The food stands were amazing, we tried the steak and fries combo, with a lemon, garlic and caper sauce.  From The Pitt stand, truly scrumptious and we highly recommend.

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We had a fun evening, sadly we didn’t get access to the shows as it was so busy. But the atmosphere and being part of something so special was in itself magical!

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Love Books Group Ladies

For more information on where you can book events ~  Magic Festival ~ Tickets and Info

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Author, Blogger, Crime Fiction Takeover, Interview

*Crime Fiction Takeover* The Piano @vpeanuts #Exclusive #Interview

Every day we will have Authors from different genres answering my exclusive questionnaire.

Today on the blog, is

Victoria Watson ~ Crime Fiction Takeover Interview

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Which crime novel stayed with you long after you had finished?

  • Defending Jacob’ by William Landay. I just loved the twisty, turny plot where you just didn’t know where to place your sympathies. I read it on holiday in Italy a couple of years ago and just found it utterly compelling. I still find myself thinking about it every so often. That said, I also think about ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ by Agatha Christie – I think that’s because I appreciate the way it was written. I guess there are crime novels that stay with you for different reasons. I fully expect that in several years from now, I will still regularly think about ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski.

If you had, to sum up, Edinburgh in four words, what would they be?

  • Diverse, outstanding beautiful, fun.

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

  • Sherlock Holmes. I love him so much that I chose my blog name with him in mind – ElementaryVWatson Blog . I think the fact that I share a name with Holmes’s sidekick also helped! Seriously, though, I find Holmes to be an utter dream.

What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

  • What a difficult question. There are so many wonderful parts of Edinburgh. I think my favourite area, though, is around the Grassmarket. I love the independent shops and cafes. Whenever I’m in Edinburgh, I like to visit the Grassmarket and mooch about.

If you could have dinner with four fictional crime characters who would they be?

  • Holmes and Watson – of course. I think it’d be fun to see how Poirot interacts with Sherlock – I reckon it’d be a real battle of wills. And, finally, I’d throw Harry Virdee in there too. Some classic characters with a brilliant contemporary one.

About your own work, where do you find inspiration for your books?

  • Like most writers, I get an idea from something I experience – whether it’s something I’ve lived through myself or have heard about and then take that small kernel and work with it. I like to play with the ‘what ifs’. It’s an oft-repeated phrase but I write about putting characters in difficult positions and seeing how they react.

If your current book had a theme song what would it be?

  • Black Skinhead’ by Kanye West. It’s such an angry song with a wicked rhythm, I think it’s perfect for my main character, Colin, who’s a heroin addict. When I’m struggling to ‘talk’ to Colin, I listen to that song to try and get in his mind-set.

Write the scene of a crime for us, set in Edinburgh, one paragraph long. Include these three items ~ Banana, Greyfriars Bobby and The Wash Bar.

As I walked back to my hotel following a particularly heavy session at Wash Bar, I had the most peculiar feeling. It was as if I was being watched, no, followed. Footsteps echoed behind me despite the emptiness of the streets. As my pace increased, so too the other footsteps. I considered how to best protect myself should I be attacked. I thought of my paltry defences, with possibly the most useful object in my bag being an under ripe banana. As I passed the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, I realised that the footsteps had ceased almost as suddenly as they had started. It could have been coincidence but I would swear that I heard the yap of a terrier echoing in the night.

Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?

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  • I run weekly creative writing workshops in Newcastle so if anyone would like to attend, they can email me at Victoria.watson@elementaryvwatson.com for more info. I’m also responsible for the Newcastle leg of Noir at the Bar, the next one is on Wednesday, 5th July.

Could you tell us about your current novel and how you got inspired to write it?

  • My current novel is still a work in progress. It’s called ‘Fix Me Up’ and I must be very careful how I answer this question because if I reveal what inspired me to write it, I would be revealing a major plot point! Let’s just say that I asked myself ‘what if…’ regarding something one of the main characters does and it went from there! Sorry to be so obtuse!

Thank you so much for hosting me, Kelly. It was a real pleasure to meet you earlier this week. I look forward to seeing you in Newcastle soon!

Twitter: @elementaryVW and @vpeanuts

Victoria’s Blog

Victoria Watson’s Website

Victoria Watson ~ Amazon Author Page

The Piano By Victoria Watson 

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Winner of the 2012 Story Tyne Competition, ‘The Piano’ is a short story about a man suffering from the effects of dementia, told through the eyes of his pregnant daughter.

Order your copy today ~

HUGE thanks to Victoria Watson for being on my blog today, I met Victoria at the Noir@TheBar #3 Edinburgh earlier this year and we had an instant connection.  Victoria is so funny and endearing.  So happy that you are on my blog today, and folks don’t forget to check out Noir At The Bar ~ Newcastle.

Kelly xoxo

Author, Blogger, Book Blog, Crime Fiction Takeover, Exclusive, Interview, Saraband Books

*Crime Fiction Takeover* Cross Purpose By @ClaireMacLeary @SarabandBooks #Exclusive #Interview

Every day we will have Authors from different genres answering my exclusive questionnaire.

Today on the blog, is

Claire MacLeary ~ Crime Fiction Takeover Interview

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Which crime novel stayed with you long after you had finished?

  • That’s a hard one. There have been a number: from the USA, Scandinavia, UK. Of contemporary crime novels, Louise Welsh’s The Bullet Trick is memorable.

If you had, to sum up, Edinburgh in four words, what would they be?

  • Georgian, elegant, historic, atmospheric.

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

  •  William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw. He set the benchmark for the tortured male detective and was the founding father of Tartan Noir.

What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

  • For me, Stockbridge is hard to beat.  It combines a wealth of quirky shops and restaurants with open spaces and the Water of Leith, feels like a village, yet is within walking distance of Princes Street.

If you could have dinner with four fictional crime characters who would they be?

  • Laidlaw and Rebus for their experience and wealth of stories, Jack Reacher to add machismo, Kay Scarpetta to throw a hard-nosed female into the mix.

About your own work, where do you find inspiration for your books?

  •  I find inspiration in all sorts of things: past experience, newspapers, TV, conversations overheard. It’s all about close observation, listening, always keeping a notebook to hand. Even the tiniest snippet can generate an idea.

If your current book had a theme song what would it be?

  • My current novel, Cross Purpose, has been described as “Tartan Noir Meets Happy Valley” in that it features two women of a certain age, so the theme tune from the television series would be perfect. It would have to be tweaked, of course, so as not to infringe copyright!

Write the scene of a crime for us, set in Edinburgh, one paragraph long. Include these three items ~ Banana, Greyfriars Bobby and The Wash Bar.

She was sitting, head bowed, in a corner of The Wash Bar when a shadow loomed over her.
    ‘Wilma?’
    Her head jerked up. ‘Huh?’
    He was tall, six four at least. Jeans, leather jacket, builders’ boots. Wilma had a thing for boots, brought her out in a lather. Jet black hair, square jaw, the merest hint of dark stubble.
    ‘You’re needed,’ he said.
    ‘What? Now?’ Wilma eyed the banana split in its shallow glass boat. The ice cream was already beginning to melt and she’d hardly made a dent.

     ‘Aye. There’s been a…’ For a moment he hesitated. ‘Incident.’ Wilma looked longingly at the slick of chocolate sauce. Looked up. ‘Where?’

     ‘Up the road. Greyfriars Bobby.’

‘What sort of incident?’ If she kept him talking she could mebbe sneak another spoonful.

      He scowled. ‘Not for me to say. You’ll find out soon enough.’

Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?

  •  Harrogate Book Festival on 20 July. Details on my website. I also have a blog tour in the offing via Gordon McGhie @grabthisbook. Watch out for it on Twitter.

Could you tell us about your current novel and how you got inspired to write it?

  •  I’m currently finishing the first draft of the second in the Harcus & Laird series. It’s called Burnout, again features the unlikely PI combo of Maggie and Big Wilma, and is about domestic abuse.

How can my readers connect with you?

Twitter
Claire’s Website

CROSS PURPOSE BY CLAIRE MACLEARY

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When Maggie Laird’s disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies, her humdrum suburban life is turned upside down. With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of neighbour Big Wilma . And so an unlikely partnership is born. . But the discovery of a crudely mutilated body soon raises the stakes… and Maggie and Wilma are drawn into an unknown world of Aberdeen’s sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.. Cross Purpose is surprising, gritty, sometimes darkly humorous a tale combining police corruption, gangs and murder with a paean to friendship, loyalty and how women of a certain age can beat the odds.

Purchase your copy today ~

Thank you so much to Claire MacLeary for taking the time to be on my blog today. Claire was one of the first people I went to see at a book festival in Linlithgow, when my blog was just a wee dream. Claire is so approachable and very generous with her time. When I hear that she is going to be at any events I attend I get goosebumps.  A genuine, talented and friendly lady.  I am most definitely in the Claire MacLeary fan club!

Kelly xoxo

Blogger, Book Blog, Kelly Talk

#Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag nominated by @Portybelle Portobello Book Blog

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Huge thanks to Joanne at Portobello Book Blog for the nomination. This looks to be fun and lovely to reflect back on the adventures I have had already this year.

So here are the questions and my answers

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017:

Perfect Remains By Helen Fields is top of my list for sure.

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2. Best sequel of 2017 so far:

I haven’t read one.

 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

Strange The Dreamer By Laini Taylor

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4. Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017:

Perfect Pray By Helen Fields  ~ No cover shot as it’s not been announced yet.

5. Biggest disappointment of 2017:

I haven’t one….. yet.

6. Biggest surprise:

The Gender Game By Bella Forrest

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7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you):

Kiera Cass

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8. Newest fictional crush:

I love Viggo in The Gender Game

 

9. Newest favourite character:

Alfred Warner ~ The Uncommon Life Of Alfred Warner By Juliet Conlin.

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10. Book that made you cry:

Lost For Words By Stephanie Butland

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11. Book that made you happy:

Laugh out loud funny. Disenchanted By Heidi Goody and Iain Grant.

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12. Favourite book to movie adaptation of 2017 you’ve seen

Not a movie, but rather a theatre production of Jane Eyre.

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Nadia Clifford (Jane Eyre) NT Jane Eyre Tour 2017. Photo by BrinkhoffM+Âgenburg

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year:

I loved my review for The Returning Tide, By Liz Fenwick. Another of my top picks this year.

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14. Most beautiful book you bought or received this year:

My Selection books by Kiera Cass

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15. Books you need to read by the end of this year:

Gosh there are so many patiently waiting on me.

True Story By Catherine Simpson is the one I am most eager to get to.

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So I am passing on the #MidYear Freak out Tag onto ~

Elementary V Watson Blog

Chapter In My Life Blog

The Suspense Is Thrilling Me Blog

Good Luck, I cannot wait to see your choices.

Author, Blogger, Book Blog, Interview

Exit Five From Charing Cross @ValerieKeogh1 #QA #Bookblog

Exit Five From Charing Cross By Valerie Keogh

The Real You By Valerie Keogh 

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Welcome to my blog Valerie, thank you so much for spending a little time here today.

Describe yourself using three words?

Imaginative, persistent,  self-doubting

What inspired you to write your first novel?

I’ve wanted to write for a long time. Fear of failure stopped me starting until  a few years ago – I haven’t stopped since and I’m now on my 9th novel.

What time of day do you like to write?

I try to do e-mails and promoting in the morning and get down to writing in the early afternoon.

What is your favourite book and why?

I love Kate Atkinson’s novel, Life after Life, a fascinating and challenging read. My all-time favourite novels are EF Benson’s Mapp and Lucia series of novels. Brilliant, witty and beautifully written.

How did you pick the title of your book?

I took the title for, That One May Smile, straight from Hamlet, I liked the sound of it and it seemed appropriate. Shakespeare is always a good one to borrow from.

I was sitting at a coffee shop outside exit five from Charing Cross when I came up with the idea for this novel so it seemed like a good idea to use it as the title for it. When I decide on a title I always check on Amazon to make sure it hasn’t been used already before I become too attached to it.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

The characters aren’t but I often use mannerisms or quirks that people have to add complexity to my characters.

What’s your favourite word?

I don’t have a favourite word but I often overuse words as my editor points out! I’ve stopped my characters ‘nodding’ all the time.

If you were a colour what would it be?

Sometimes bright yellow and sometimes dark grey.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

I usually have a vague idea of the plot but definitely go with it once I start and almost allow the characters take over. I knew That One May Smile was going to be a series so the characters needed to be ones that readers related to and cared about.

When I wrote Exit Five from Charing Cross I started with the last chapters and then backfilled the story.

Who is your favourite Author?

There are so many – EF Benson, Kate Atkinson, John Connolly, Steven King – a wide range as you can see!

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

Frankenstein’s monster – I think he was hard done by!

Are you working on a new project?

I’m always working on something but at the moment I’m working on three which is crazy! I’ve started the 4th in my Irish crime series plus two different stand-alone novels. I can’t decide which to focus on so hop from one to the other!

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

I’m going to the Dublin Writer’s Conference in Dublin, 23rd-25th June. It should be a great conference for any writers out thereFacebook Cover Page final

Back Of The Book 

A life built on a lie.
Rich investment banker, Jake, has everything he’s ever dreamed about. Money, a beautiful wife, two children.
But nothing in Jake’s world is as it seems. He dislikes his wife, never sees his children and is in so much debt there doesn’t appear to be a way out…unless….?
Faced with the only decision that seems to make sense, he makes a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Order your copy today ~

Huge thanks to Valerie for being on the blog today. Come back soon.

We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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Blogger, Book Blog, Excerpt, HQ Stories

Before You Were Mine @Quaintrellem @HQDigitalUK #ChapterExclusive

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On the blog today I have a chapter excerpt from Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin. Published in May this year, from HQ Stories.  Enjoy!

Before You Were Mine By Em Muslin ~ Chapter One 

Apparently, I was a breech birth and – according to who you speak to – they think that all my problems come from that. I had decided to be a pain right from the beginning. ‘An awkward little belle,’ they used to say. All my brothers popped out like bubbles in an ice-cream sundae. Pop pop pop. But me? Me? I dug my elbows in and jumped out feet first.

My saving grace was that I was tip to toe a girl. Ma Bell had dreamed of having a little girl to dress up in lacy frocks and cotton socks that she would spend her days darning, whilst the boys and my Pa lay under oily cars drinking beer. So no matter about my pointed elbows, my Ma’s face was a picture. Bell’s Belle. Belle of the ball.

It’s rumoured that when the matron tried to cut my cord, my Ma was so determined we wouldn’t be separated, that she grabbed hold of the surgical scissors and chased her from the room. Can you imagine that? Again, it depends on who you ask. My eldest brother, Bert, says that’s just nonsense and she couldn’t wait to get me out. Pop pop pop. Eight pound and four ounces of little girl Bell. Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes.

My Pa, at the time of my birth, was changing a cam belt on an old Chevrolet and on hearing I was a girl, decided that whilst he was under the car, he may as well show my middle brother, Samuel, how to check the brake pads too. Shucks, that fatherly bond was strong.

Bert was approaching seventeen when my Pa and Ma discovered she’d fallen. Samuel was fourteen and Payton eleven years old. I hadn’t been planned and apparently not very welcome, but my Ma hung on and prayed every day that I would be a girl, and by golly just look at me. The prettiest girl in the US of A. Except I was broad-shouldered, big-boned, and covered in puppy fat. But her prayers had been answered. Hallelujah. There is a God. Praise be to the Lord. Amen.

Our house is the fourth one on the right, just off the main drag. The one with the painted picket fence and star-spangled banner dangling from the front porch, just like in the movies. JFK would have been proud. Except I think the paint is probably peeling off the fence still. My Pa had promised my Ma a thousand times he’d paint that damn fence, but every year the thick grey-white mass would peel away, bubbling under the heat of the day.

My Ma would sit me on her knee on the porch and rock me to and fro, checking my forehead for a temperature. How she’d be able to feel a fever in that heat, heaven only knows.

Inside was just like a home should be. The smell of cooking simmering in the corner of the kitchen and a table in the middle, where we’d all sit and eat as a family. A first-class American family. I’ve seen them in the movies too. Across the table of food, I could always smell the gasoline from my Pa’s overalls, and it was a smell I’d associate with fine home cooking. Finger lickin’ good. That food just ain’t no good if you can’t smell the gas.

Until I was three, I slept in my parents’ room. My two younger brothers shared and Bert had a room to himself, but after Bert was drafted, it made more room for me.

Springfield had a population of approximately four thousand. Four thousand hot sweaty people in a stifling, dusty town. But as of my first day at Springfield High, there was only one person who mattered to me and that was Daisy Jones. Daisy was approximately one inch taller than me and about ten times as pretty – maybe more – and ten times more self-assured. Having three older brothers ain’t the biggest confidence booster, let me tell you, and perhaps it was that one inch that made me look up to her and decide to stay right by her side.

Looking back, my stocky build and plain Jane face were probably the reason why Daisy Jones elected me as her best friend. It doesn’t hurt to look prettier than the girl next to you and she sure was pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t what you call ugly. Now Penny Hansen, she was ugly and in hindsight, perhaps if I’d have picked her as my friend then I’d have looked a damn sight prettier than I was. But like all the children at Springfield High, I was struck by Daisy’s golden hair, delicate freckles, and the confident air with which she strode across that playground.

On the way home from school, we would run through the fields of cotton past the apple orchard, behind Mrs Melrose’s shack, and if we were lucky she’d come out and bring us a fruit ice to quench our dry tongues. We’d return home with sticky raspberry juice dripping from our mouths, thirsty for more. My Ma would be outside in the backyard, hanging out the washing that blew like ships’ sails and Daisy and I would run around the billowing sheets playing tag until it was time to help my Ma prepare the supper for the boys.

I would sit at the table peeling potatoes and my Ma would pop Daisy onto the pedestal by the kitchen window, so she could look out for her Pa returning from work. Daisy’s Ma had run off a number of years ago, leaving her Pa Harold to look after her on his own. By all accounts he had done a damn fine job. That’s if you didn’t count the all-day drinking, the numerous jobs he had been fired from, and the fact he hadn’t spoken more than two words to Daisy since her Ma had left.

So, Daisy would sit staring out onto the dusty road, fluttering her eyelashes, whilst my Ma looked adoringly at Daisy’s golden hair and wistfully wished I could be that little bit prettier, that little bit slimmer, that little bit, little bit …

I didn’t mind my Ma paying Daisy so much attention. Hell, in fact more often than not I would encourage it. The more she looked at Daisy, the less she looked at me. The less she looked at me, the less I did.

You see, I wanted to be the perfect daughter for her but my angular nose, wide shoulders, and the gap between my two front teeth made me less than perfect. But finding Daisy? Finding Daisy, was like discovering the missing piece in the jigsaw. I wasn’t her friend just because she made me laugh, or because she told me how to dress, or even because it made me that little bit more popular. I was Daisy’s friend simply because she filled the hole I was unable to.

We were inseparable. Two peas in a pod, ripe and ready for picking. We’d spend Sundays after church playing hopscotch drawn out on the dusty road, watched by gawky boys who didn’t dare approach us for fear of encountering Daisy’s sharp tongue. She would tease them by hitching up her skirt and jumping as high as she could and the boys would lie on the sandy road in their Sunday best, trying to get the finest view.

I, on the other hand, would skip awkwardly across the numbers, holding my skirt down in fear of being hollered at. After she had got their attention, she’d glance over her shoulder, flutter her eyelashes, and run as far and as fast as she could. I’d trail behind, with my skirt flapping between my legs, giggling, watching the boys clamber up from the road to chase after her. Running across the backyards, through the orchard, past Melrose’s shack and into the dense growth that surrounded the east side of
town, we ran until we knew we were safe.

Catching our breath, we’d lie on our backs and look up at the burning blue sky, daring the other to stare directly at the sun for as long as possible. Both blinded by the saffron light, we’d roll around giggling, unable to see each other for the inky squiggles that would appear before our eyes. I’d lie there, blinded, knowing that Daisy was right by my side and it was then, in that moment, that I knew I didn’t want anything to ever change.

What is it they say? If you want make God laugh, tell him about your plans.

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Back Of The Book

Sometimes hope has a way of changing everything…

Just hours after giving birth, Eli Bell is forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Devastated, she tries desperately to rebuild her shattered life.

Then, over thirty years later, Eli catches sight of her daughter. And she knows that she must do everything to find a way back into her life. Even if it means lying…

While her husband Tommy must grow to accept his own part in the events of her early life, he can only try to save her before her obsession with the young woman ruins them both.

Don’t miss the breathtaking debut Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin! Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Alice Peterson and Lucy Dillon.

Order your copy today ~

 

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Author, Blogger, Book Blog, Crime Fiction Takeover, Interview

*CRIME FICTION* Sewing The Shadows Together ~ @alisonbailliex #Interview @matadorbooks

Crime Fiction (1)

Every day we will have Authors from different genres answering my exclusive questionnaire.

Today on the blog, is Alison Baillie, author of Sewing The Shadows Together 

Alison Baillie~ Crime Fiction Takeover Interview

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Which crime novel stayed with you long after you had finished?

  • Miss Smilla’s feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg was the first Scandinavian crime novel I read (nearly thirty years ago) and I can still remember the intriguing main character and the haunting Greenland setting.

If you had, to sum up, Edinburgh in four words, what would they be?

  • Where my heart is

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

  • John Rebus – because he is so complex and human. Reading Ian Rankin’s books I feel that I really know him as a person I’d like to talk to in the Oxford Bar.

What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

  • Portobello. My mother came from there and I used to spend all my holidays there when I was a child. I love the beach and I make a ritual stroll along the prom every time I come to Scotland. It is also the setting for my book Sewing the Shadows Together.

If you could have dinner with four fictional crime characters who would they be?

  • John Rebus, of course, Roberta Steele (Stuart MacBride) Logan McLean (James Oswald) and Rhona MacLeod (Lin Anderson). I think we’d have a great conversation.

About your own work, where do you find inspiration for your books?

  • Mostly from places I’ve visited, people I’ve met and imagining ‘what if…’

If your current book had a theme song what would it be?

  • If you don’t know me by now (Simply Red)

Write the scene of a crime for us, set in Edinburgh, one paragraph long. Include these three items ~ Banana, Greyfriars Bobby and The Wash Bar.

Archie Kilbride walked up the Mound, watching the sun setting behind the dark silhouette of the castle. When he heard the sound of laughter coming from the Wash Bar he wished he could go in – Noir at the Bar was on tonight and listening to the readings might give him inspiration for his new career as a PI. But he was meeting his first client in the Greyfriar’s Bobby Bar in ten minutes and couldn’t be late.

Standing at the bar he sipped a pint, excited about meeting the man who was to give him his first case. A figure sidled up to him, his hand in the pocket of his long dark coat. The cloth bulged, pointing towards him. Archie felt a moment of panic. Was it a gun?

The stranger spoke in a low voice. ‘There’s no room for another PI in north Edinburgh. This is my patch.’

Archie gulped. Perhaps he’d been a little hasty in his decision to change career paths.

The other man withdrew his hand from his pocket. In it was a banana. ‘Remember you’re the monkey, and it’ll no be just a banana if I catch you on my pitch again.’  

Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?

  • I’m thrilled that I’m part of a FREE fringe event at Bloody Scotland. Sharon Bairden is moderating a panel on indie authors with Alan Jones (Bloq) David Videcette (The Detriment) and me. It takes place at 3.30 on Sunday 10th September at the Curly Coo pub. Hope to see you all there!

Could you tell us about your current novel and how you got inspired to write it?

  • My current novel, provisionally called Echoes of Other Lives, is a psychological suspense about a young Scottish mother living in Switzerland. As her perfect family life begins to crumble dark secrets from her past begin to catch up with her.

Often people go abroad to escape something in their past (not me!) and the inspiration came from imagining what would happen if somebody’s past caught up with them.

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From The Back Of The Book 

Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend? More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah. When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed… Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question: Do we ever really know the people closest to us?

Purchase your own copy at Amazon UK

Huge thanks to Alison Baillie for taking part in our Crime Fiction exclusive.

We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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Blogger, Cranachan, Interview

Nailing Jess @TScullyWriter @cranachanbooks #Review #QA #NailingJess

Nailing Jess By Triona Scully 
Published By Cranachan Publishing  26/06/17
Article By Kelly 

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Well I am overjoyed to be kick starting the Blog Tour party train for Nailing Jess by Triona Scully.  It’s published on the 26th of this month by Cranachan Publishing.

The Real You Interview with Triona Scully 

Hello Triona, thank you so much for taking the time to be on Love Books Group, I do hope it’s the first of many visits.

Could you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey  

As a first-time novelist, with no previous published work, I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to have been signed by my publishers, the wonderfully authentic Cranachan Publishing. I’ve always written, but before ‘Nailing Jess’ all my work was performance based- for the stage not the page. Writing and re-writing and re-writing some more has been a real challenge. Reading through a copy of ‘Nailing Jess’, and recognising how much better the book becomes with each edit is very gratifying. All those hours, trailing the floor, searching for yet another verb to describe the act of walking – you try it! It’s exhausting – have paid off, and before you me is a finished book. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Describe yourself using three words?

Kind. Curious. Easily distracted.

What inspired you to write your first novel?

The lack of over-weight, un-kempt, ill mannered, sexist role models for girls and young women has always been a source of concern to me, and with ‘Nailing Jess’ I have tried, in my own limited way, to redress the balance.

What time of day do you like to write? Morning.

What is your favourite book and why?

The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I re-read it every few years. I think it has the most perfect ending.

How did you pick the title of your book?  

Sadly, I can’t claim credit for ‘Nailing Jess’. The title was the brain-child of the lovely Anne Glennie from Cranachan. Anne felt that it was more in keeping with a crime novel than my previous more cryptic working title. And I agreed.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No. Absolutely not. Even the slightest. Ever. For me, it’s really hard not to have some-one in the back of my head that I have met that’s working as an arch type, but because I have this, I start to re-shape the characters to make sure they are very different. Or, at least I try to.

What’s your favourite word?

 That’s an outstanding question! Metaphysical.

If you were a colour what would it be?  Aqua.

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

With ‘Nailing Jess’ the first draft was flow and then I had to create structure.

Who is your favourite Author? Agatha Christie.

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?

Miss Marple ‘coz she’s seen some living! The Mum from ‘We need to talk about Kevin’, I’d tell her it wasn’t her fault, he was always a bad ‘un! Heathcliff ‘coz I never get past the first chapter of ‘Wuthering Heights’, and he could tell me what happens. Lastly, I’d pick Tony Hill from the Val McDermid series, if I couldn’t make Kevin’s Mum feel better, maybe he could.

What book are you reading at the moment? The Power by Naomi Alderman

Where in the world is your happy place? Wherever my son is.

If you had one superpower what would it be? This is so tragic but I’d be a super-cleaner, and get all the housework done in five minutes.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose? I’d have to say Heathcliff 😉

Are you working on a new project?  Yeah, but I keep my cards close to my chest when it comes to un finished work.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  ‘Nailing Jess’ is being launched by Blackwell’s, South Bridge Edinburgh at 6.30 p.m. All welcome.

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My Review of Nailing Jess by Triona Scully 

The Cover:

The cover stands out and I love the way it’s subtle yet impacting. 

My Thoughts:

This book is different from anything else I have ever read. Is that a good thing? Well it certainly made me sit up and pay attention. I started the book twice, I have to be honest and say from the start I had  some trouble grasping the swapping of genders.  But it certainly kept me on my toes and it was a welcomed challenge.
It is a genius plot idea and very well executed by Triona Scully.  To be such a unique book in today’s world is in itself to be applauded.  But having the added bonus that it is a well paced interesting read with memorable characters is the icing on the cake.
I wasn’t a fan of the  swearing, I do have to add that. But that’s my own personal preference.
I know for sure that Nailing Jess is merely the starter, all be it a tasty and tantalising one, of Triona Scully’s talents.  I do believe Cranachan Publishing have found a star!

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Back Of The Book

Welcome to Withering, a small town with a big problem in modern, matriarchal Britain. Here the women wear the trousers, while the men hold the handbags. Literally.

There’s a serial strangler on the loose and the bodies of teenage boys are piling up on maverick D.C.I. Jane Wayne’s patch.

Wayne needs to catch ‘The Withering Wringer’, but it’s not going to be easy. Demoted for her inappropriate behaviour, she must take orders from a man—and not just any man—an ugly one.

Still, at least she can rely on her drug stash from a recent police raid to keep her sane…

Shocking. Funny. Clever. A gender-bending, Agatha-Christie-meets-Chris-Brookmyre, mash-up. Simply genius.

Scully’s debut novel takes classic crime and turns it on its head with a deliciously absurd comic twist.

You can preorder you copy today ~ Amazon UK

Thank you to Triona Scully and Cranachan Books for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.

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We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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