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 

Italy Sep 16 (33)

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

Before You Were Mine @Quaintrellem @HQDigitalUK #ChapterExclusive


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.


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

me portobello

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.


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, Interview, Review

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

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

NJ postcard back

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!


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.



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


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Blogger, Exclusive, Interview

Duplicity @LisaJHobmanAuth #RealYou #QA

june 29, 2016 (3).png

Duplicity By Lisa J Hobman
Published 03/01/2017

I  would like to welcome Lisa author of  Duplicity to my blog today.  Thank you for being part of making my blog special.

The Real You ~ Interview


Lisa J Hobman’s debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic was shortlisted in the Romantic Novelists Association’s Romance Novel of the Year 2014 (The RoNAs) – Contemporary Romance Category. A happily married mum of one with two crazy dogs, Lisa especially enjoys being creative and now writes almost full time. In 2012 Lisa and her family relocated from England to their beloved Scotland; a place of happy holidays and memories for them and her new location now features in most of her books. Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics. Some of which appear in her stories. The story in her debut novel, Bridge Over the Atlantic, was building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white. The move north of the border has certainly given Lisa the opportunity to pursue her dream. Being signed to 5 Prince Publishing in 2013 made that dream a reality but she has since self published works also.


Describe yourself using three words?

Untidy, creative, lovable

What inspired you to write your first novel?

Scotland! We moved up here in 2012 and I started to write and haven’t stopped since! Most of my books are set in this beautiful place I now call home.

What time of day do you like to write?

Any time of day the ideas come or the motivation strikes. I don’t have a set writing pattern but I probably should have!

What is your favourite book and why?

Yikes! So many. I think it would have to be Catcher in the Rye as it reminds me of my youth.

How did you pick the title of your book?

The main male character has two sides to his personality. And the title hopefully expresses that.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

Nope. Never. That’s not to say there aren’t elements of personalities  meet in the traits of some of my characters but I never base my characters on people I know.

What’s your favourite word?

Passion. The word just conjures up so many images, whether it’s a passion for something like writing or the passion between two people. It’s a very evocative word.

If you were a colour what would it be?

Red. My workspace at home is usually a mess! I should be surrounded by signs that say “Writer at work! Approach area with caution!”

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

I try to plan at the beginning but the story usually ends up going in a totally different direction! 

Who is your favourite Author?

As far as contemporary authors go it would have to be Melynda Price. Her words are just wonderful.

Are you working on a new project?

Always! I usually have several projects on the go at once and I move from one to another when the mood takes me in that direction.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?

Dedicated Ink Author signing, Newcastle in June 2017

JPG Kindle Cover

Fin Hunter has spent his life striving for his father’s elusive love and approval by following a life path set out for him and not of his own choosing. However, when he is yet again blamed for something out of his control, he snaps.
Deciding to stand on his own two feet, he chooses to follow his true passion – music. But will he find real happiness?
Star Mendoza is living her dream in Edinburgh, a place she discovered in British novels while growing up in a small USA town. Now working in a city coffee shop, the tattooed, pink-haired young woman fantasises about the handsome businessman she serves daily. He’s totally out of her league but a girl can dream.
Suddenly he stops calling in only to show up again in the most unlikely of places. Could her fantasy now become a reality? Or is the attraction of opposites doomed to fail?

You can purchase your copy here Amazon UK

Huge thanks to Lisa for taking part on my blog. 

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


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Tuesday Talk is back after its May break and today I’m chatting to Kelly Lacey, the face behind the Love Books Group blog…

My Guest Post on Jo Lambert’s wonderful blog.


16463640_10154068276831008_718298163441721356_oGood morning Kelly and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?

My name is Kelly and I am the person behind the scenes of the blog Love Books Group. I live on the outskirts of Edinburgh with my three cats Tilly, Pawkey, and Poppet. My blog came to fruition in January, I needed an outlet to talk about all things books. I thoroughly enjoy the world it has let me become a part of. Getting to meet new people, authors, readers and fellow bloggers has been marvellous. It is now an everyday part of my life and I would be lost without it. It really fills my heart with so much love. I love social media and connecting with other book lovers. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. My favourite book is The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, it’s a very…

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Blogger, Crime Fiction Takeover, Scotland

#CrimeFictionTakeover #QA #FeaturedBlogger ~ @sbairden #Exclusive

Crime Fiction

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

Today on the blog, is our featured blogger for the event, the fabulous, talented and gorgeous Sharon Bairden!  You can check out Sharon’s blog ~ Chapters In My Life. 

Sharon Bairden  ~ Crime Fiction TakeOver Interview


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

Oh, what a question! I’m a massive crime fiction fan and there are so many out there that have stayed with me for a long time! But you have asked me to narrow it down to just one then I’m going to opt for “Untouchable” by Sibel Hodge. This is not a comfortable read but it is a compulsive read.  Untouchable may be a work of fiction but it is based on a horrific reality and people need to be aware that this is real, this happened and still, happens to this day and if this book encourages more people to speak out, come forward and take action then all the better. I don’t think this is a book that you can say that you “enjoyed” as the subject matter is harrowing and upsetting but this is certainly a book that will evoke intense emotions as you follow the story of Maya and Jamie. Sadly I was not shocked as this book is inspired by events and cover-ups that continue to be reported widely, however, I was moved to tears and driven to anger and a feeling of great shame that this is still happening and that perpetrators still escape justice.


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

Vibrant; energetic; cosmopolitan and historic

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

You do know that this is like asking me to choose my favourite child, don’t you! Again there are so many out there that have a special place in my heart but I’m going to choose Davie McCall from the Douglas Skelton series (Blood City, Crow Bait; Devil’s Knock and Open Wounds). Davie is one of the bad guys but he is the strong silent type and underneath the dark exterior there is a vulnerability and a sense of goodness about him that is just itching to get out! He’s probably (one of) my all-time favourite fictional crushes!


Sharon Bairden



What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

My favourite part of Edinburgh is Princess St  Gardens and Cockburn Street as they conjure up memories of a perfect day I had there many years ago with an old flame – in fact, every time I hear Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” I think of these two places….OH MY, I’m getting Goosebumps now just thinking about it!

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

Oh, lovely question! OK, it would be Damon Brook (from Steven Dunne’s Reaper series). As a fictional detective, he absolutely fascinates me, he is a bit of an enigma but has a passion and quest for justice and isn’t afraid to bend the rules to achieve it – I’d love to spend some time getting to know him better! Secondly would be Kenny O’Neill who features in Michael J Malone’s Ray McBain series – Kenny is a bad boy but there is something about him that just draws you to his character; he comes across as a bit cold hearted and ruthless but I’d love to spend some time over dinner with him and find out just what makes him tick! Thirdly, I’m going to go for DI Harry Evans from Graham Smith – he is blunt, brash and straight to the point – I think he’d ruffle a few feathers and get the temperature rising at the table! And finally, I’m going to ask DI Marnie Rome from Sarah Hilary’s series. She is one of my favourite UK female detectives and a bit of a dark horse – I think she would certainly be a great dinner guest and help me keep my unruly guests under some form of control (while at the same time adding to the tension around the table!)


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Sharon Bairden & Vic Watson 


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

I’ve been a passionate reader for as long as I can remember and want to tell the world and his aunty about all the brilliant books out there! When I joined some online book clubs I came across the blogging community and thought – wow what a great way to spread the word! There are so many fabulous bloggers out there and they are all ready and willing to lend a hand and give some great advice to newbies – and in their own way they all gave me the inspiration to start off my own – but of course I have to give a special mention to my #Twinnie Noelle of #Crimebookjunkie – we just clicked as soon as we met online and having met in real time, I know that I have made a friend for life!

If your blog had a theme song what would it be?

Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello – it just fits me and my blog perfectly! The song was written about a crime fiction lover who would rather sit about all day watching detectives on TV than hanging about with friends – this is me to a T – though it’s sitting around reading about crime all day! Mind you, I have been known to be sociable when it comes to book events!


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.


The wind was howling and the rain was pelting down as DI Cooper stood watch over Greyfriars Bobby waiting for the rest of his team to arrive. The stench of death could not be washed away by the rain. It was a thankless task and one that he had been loath to agree to as the hunt continued for crime lord “Mike “Banana” McGovern. McGovern had been terrorising the streets of Edinburgh for the last 3 months and had earned his nickname from his fondness of the Chimpanzee enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. DI Cooper was determined that this would be the night that he caught McGovern. A last minute tip off from the barman at The Wash Bar had led him to the small statue of Edinburgh’s most famous dog where the body lay. Was he too late?

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

My top 3 book events to recommend to others would have to be:

Bloody Scotland – held in Stirling every year in September and brings together some of the top names in crime fiction.

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – held in Harrogate every year in July and it is the top place for just hanging around chilling with some amazing authors, bloggers and readers!

Aye Write Book Festival – held in Glasgow, every March; it is not specifically a crime writer’s festival but it is one of my favourite festivals for the venue (The Mitchell Library in Glasgow); the atmosphere and the variety of events taking place!

You can find me at all of the above every year!

Could you tell us about your journey to blogging?

When I first started reviewing books, I refused to share them publicly, other than on that big old anonymous River #Amazon. I mean, who would want to read my reviews, they are not wordy literary critiques and who really cares what little old me thinks anyway. Besides if folk seen them they would just laugh at them wouldn’t they?

So when I set up my blog I didn’t share it or make it public, I just left it sitting there in the ethers of the t’internet world, after all, it was just a load of waffle really, wasn’t it?

Anyway, then I discovered online book clubs and was amazed at the interaction between authors and readers! Wow I thought, other people are keen to hear thoughts and views on books, whether it’s as a means of recommending a book as a reader, constructive feedback and that well needed pat on the back for authors and their publishers (and there is nothing wrong with that – as an employee it is always good to be told you have done a good job or to be given some constructive feedback on how you might develop further). So I started reading other people’s reviews as a means of finding new books to read (like I really ever needed to expand my TBR pile!) Wow, I thought, these are like just ordinary people writing just ordinary words about the books they have read – nobody seems to be laughing at them and they are getting great feedback about their reviews – and they are not academic literary masterpieces full of jargon and references (my uni days are long over and I don’t really want to go back to all that!) Hmmm, wonder if anyone would like any of my reviews I thought?

And then I took the plunge and shared one of my reviews from my blog – guess what – nobody laughed, people even liked it and commented on it, some folk even shared it…and other bloggers said “Well done you, good job” and that was me….I was hooked!

How can my readers connect with you?



Twitter: @sbairden

I was very lucky to meet Sharon just last week at Noir@TheBar#3 in Edinburgh. Although it was brief it was lovely to connect. Hopefully next time we can have a real blether.


HUGE thanks and much love to Sharon for taking the time to be on my blog today.

Kelly xx

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Blogger, Crime Authors, Crime Fiction Takeover, Exclusive

#CrimeFictionTakeover #QA @EdinburghAuthor #Special Feature #Exclusive #Blog

Crime Fiction

Please welcome Paul Elliott to my blog today, he’s debut novel is Paul McGraw: Kid To Killer.

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

Paul Elliott~ Crime Fiction TakeOver Interview


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

I’m actually ashamed to say I haven’t read a book before, it was always something I meant to do but I always had busy jobs so a movie just seemed easier.

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

Beautiful, Home, Cultural and Historic

Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?

Chuck Bartowski, I loved the fact that he was just a normal person who was suddenly thrown into a world of danger, deception and complicated relationships.

What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?

Roseburn as it is pretty near the City Centre but you have the Water of Leith footpath that after walking for two minutes in lets you forget you are in the middle of the city.

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

Bruce Wayne, Frank Castle, John Wick and Eric Draven.

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

Having suffered from anxiety for many years makes me see many scenarios from a very ordinary situation, writing allows me to turn what started as a curse into a gift.

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

Come join the murder by The White Buffalo and the Forest Rangers.

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.


I followed the trail of blood from the Wash Bar where I had wounded Jake.

The trail led me down Victoria Street and as I got to the bottom of the street I could see my wounded target crossing the road and heading up Candlemaker Row.

I raised my Glock 17 and fired once more, the bullet struck him in the left kidney.

He was now crawling rather than running and had received a fatal wound but I couldn’t risk someone helping him before he bled to death.

As I approached him he was slumped at the bottom of the Greyfriars Bobby statue.

“Please, I don’t deserve to die, I can’t help what I am.” he pleaded.

Jake had tortured his victims for three days before killing them, there was no way I was going to let him live nor grant him a quick death.

“Open your mouth.” I said to him calmly while picking up a banana that someone had left on the ground.

“I promise I’ll stop killing.” He begged.

“I know you will Jake.” I said as I held his nose and forced the banana into his mouth.

He started wriggling around as I pushed it deeper down his throat.

I watched the life fade from his eyes before I let go of his nose.

Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?
I have no events lined up at the moment but I would be happy to do so in the future as I love engaging people and hearing their reactions to the book.

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

Paul McGraw: Kid To Killer is about a boy who even at a young age sees there is a lack of justice in a neighbourhood he loves and believes he can change things.

The thing that inspired me to write the book was mostly from real world situations I came across when spending time in Wester Hailes.

I attended thirteen different schools and saw so many sides to the city.

How can we find out more about you?

My Facebook is

My Twitter is

A fifteen-year-old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that preys on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear, loss and betrayal.

He will soon discover things aren’t always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.


You can buy your copy today here: Amazon UK

Thank you, Paul, for taking part in my blog special.

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Blogger, Coastword Festival, Event Review, Kelly Talk, Poetry, Written Word

COASTWORD 2017 Dunbar @CoastWordFest @cath_simpson13 @PascaleBientot #Day3

Dunbar © Kelly Lacey

Our final day was my absolute favourite of all three. I was filled with so much excitement of the thought that I would get to meet Shelley Day again, I first met and heard about her novel The Confessions Of Stella Moon earlier this year at the Linlithgow Festival. There is something so very special about Ms Day, she has this unique calming quality. I think she’s amazing!

The Festival events kicked off with the phenomenal Catherine Simpson, Karen Dietz and the Dunbar Writing Mums with The Places Between Them. Reading from their anthology Nourish Me, Sister. Each Mum taking to the stage to read their work, with beautiful accompanying music from Karen Dietz.  One that resonated with me at the time and has stayed with me was Deborah Ritchie’s Reattachment, it was deeply moving and honest.  Up next was Catherine Simpson with readings from her new pamphlet Mrs Carlyle Had Many Lovers when she was asked to be the writer in residence at this year’s festival, she toured Dunbar, absorbing the feeling and core of the town. Catherine did research of the older local records and discovered very little mentions of the woman. This inspired her pamphlet. It’s lovely to add that her daughter designed the cover. Catherine is warm and approachable, it was wonderful to see and hear her read her wonderful work.

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©Catherine Simpson & Joanne Baird (@Portybelle)  Photo By Kelly Lacey

We were then treated to three songs by the Dubar Sings Choir, with Karen Dietz. My favourite was Imagine Me & You. A harmonious delight to my ears.

Now my favourite event of the whole festival was next up, Confessions and True Stories with Shelley Day and Catherine Simpson. 

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©Catherine Simpson ~ Shelley Day By Kelly Lacey 

With the ladies talking about their books The Confessions Of Stella Moon By Shelley Day and True Story By Catherine Simpson. The hour was simply not long enough. It was extremely surprising to hear just how very hard and anxiety filled the publishing and marketing process really is. Catherine is working on her second novel and has a memoir being published very soon. Shelley has a collection of short stories being released in November and although everyone is shouting from the rooftops for more Stella, she is starting something new, however, Shelley does not rule it out more Stella, perhaps even Moira (Stella’s Mum) in the future.

I was star/ author struck, at being sat in the front row watching and listening to these two impressive, inspirational, genuine ladies. Both with hearts of gold.  It was a real honour and a true highlight of my blogging career.

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©Catherine Simpson ~ Shelley Day By Kelly Lacey 
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©Kelly Lacey

You can purchase the books today.

True Story ~ Catherine SimpsonAmazon UK
The Confession Of Stella Moon Shelley Day~ Amazon UK

To end my Festival visit and review I had another luxury of hearing Val McDermid in conversation with Lorna Hill.

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©Val McDermid ~ Lorna Hill By Kelly Lacey 

Val McDermid shocked me by being extremely funny, her anecdotes of her time as a child growing up in Kirkcaldy and running out of children’s books to read in the library and pinching her mother’s library card were just one of the very funny stories she told. Val explained only the previous night she has finished work on her new Tony Hill & Carol Jordan novel ~ Insidious Intent.  It was an interesting hour and a great end to my journey a the CoastWord Festival.

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You can purchase your own copy of Out Of Bounds by Val McDermid here Amazon UK

Huge thanks from me to Catherine Simpson and Hannah Lavery for inviting myself and Joanne ~ Portobello Book Blog to be CoastWord Festival, 2017 Bloggers.  It was a life moment I will cherish forever. What I take away is how brave all the participants were so open, honest with their words and saying “hello world this is me” with love at the core and how being you is enough!  Lovely for the community to come together and celebrate.

Thanks to my other blogging half of this adventure Joanne Portobello Book Blog   it was a delight to learn more about you and spend time with you.  You made the three days extra special. Thank you.


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© @Portybelle & @Lovebooksgroup ~ Kelly Lacey


Much Love CoastWord, see you next year

Kelly xx

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© Dunbar By Kelly Lacey 

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Blogger, Event Review, Kelly Talk, Music, Poetry, Scotland, Written Word

COASTWORD 2017 Dunbar @CoastWordFest #Day2

Dunbar Harbour ©Kelly Lacey

CoastWord Festival Day 2 

We arrived For Day 2 at the Dunmuir Hotel, Dunbar. Joanne from PortobelloBookBlog and I claimed our familiar front row seats, today would be a smorgasbord of poetry, written word and song.

First up was Magi Gibson with local poets Melissa Goodbourne, Jo Gibson, Pen Reid and Ruth Gilchrist.  First up I need to say that I was unaware of how brave poets were. They open their very soul to us through their words and thoughts. So naked and raw, for us to reflect and judge. Telling us how this made them feel or think. It’s beautiful and I was really educated over the whole of the CoastWord festival, it was very enlightening for me.  The hearts of the ladies poems were varied from loss, parents, hysterectomies, slate roofs and even fruit.  Pen Reid had music to accompany her set with Emma on violin. Which was hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric.  My favourite poem from the hour came from Magi Gibson.

My Mother’s Funeral

January. Twelve below. Cold seeps through our coats.
We shuffle, cough, crack quiet graveside jokes
to keep our grief at bay, our breath ballooning white
before our mouths like misty lungs, as if we’re trying
to say, we are the living, we persist.

And then the minister comes, cantillates his dust-to-dust,
and we stand solemnly, prepared to trust
your soul to God, when a blackbird in a frost-encrusted
tree bursts into song. And I remember you, not dead,
not lying in a frozen grave, but in the garden you so loved,
planting, pruning, weeding. Whistling like a bird.

The minister lifts his hands, intones, now let us pray.
From the tree the blackbird flies away.

©Ruth Gilchrist By Kelly Lacey
©Jo Gibson By Kelly Lacey
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©Pen Reid By Kelly Lacey
©Magi Gibson By Kelly Lacey

An Audience with Chris Brookmyre, hosted by Nigel Bird was next on today’s agenda.

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©Nigel Bird & Chris Brookmyre By Kelly Lacey

Nigel Bird started by saying he had previously been in a reading slump, but after picking up three of Chris Brookmyres books he felt he had a literary enema.  Chris Brookmyre was very engaging and funny.  I learned all about how hackers use fun social media games to infiltrate our safety. We’ve all played the ‘What’s your porn star name’ game, right? Well, the answers to the two questions, asked in the game are the most used security questions used by companies to protect us.  I had never thought about that. So it goes to show when we are at our most relaxed, chatting with our friends on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, clicking share me links that if you don’t you will grow warts and webbed feet, we are in fact vulnerable and that’s exactly the time to be more vigilant and ask why am I doing this.  Chris read from his new novel Want You Gone. I was impressed by Chris’s down to earth nature and his humour.

Janice Galloway, Marjorie Gill, Nadine Aisha and Hannah Lavery had an hour filled with short stories and poems.  From Racism, Sexism, Names, Belonging and Oak Tables all being varied themes.  At the core for most were the sense of not fitting into society’s mould.  It was an empowering hour, Marjorie Gill has a beautiful, warm voice that is like a warm blanket on a chilly night. Its tone makes you relax and feel like nothing could ever be wrong in the world.


Joanne and I had a wee break before the night times entertainment began, we chose to dine at The Dunmuir Hotel, and I am so glad we did.  We both chose the Steak & Ale Pie with Chunky Chips. We followed this up with some glorious desserts, Joanne has the deconstructed cranachan which has tiny real flowers that you could eat (Joanne was very kind and just could not bring herself to eat them)  and I chose the sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream and treacle sauce. It was all scrumptious and we will definitely be back!

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On Saturday CoastWord Night we had a full three hours of music and performances from Jenny Lindsay, Scott Tyrrell, Faith Eliott, Colin McGuire, Richard Klein and Karen Dietz and Emile Robson.  All hosted by Carey Douglas and Graham Cairns, aka Ant and Dec.

It was a varied night of entertainment, poetry and music. My favourite performance of the night was by Scott Tyrrell. I had tears of laughter on my face from his fantastically funny poetry.  I really enjoyed Karen Dietz and Richard Klein as they took as on a journey of song through American Short Stories. They are perfect together, both unique with their own talents but together they blend with ease.

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©Graham Cairns By Kelly Lacey
©Faith Eliott By Kelly Lacey
©Emilie Robson By Kelly Lacey

A terrific evening, if you would like to know more about all the artists please visit CoastWord Festival 2017

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©Dunbar By Kelly Lacey

Find Love Books Group here too:

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