Author Guest Post, Book Blog, Choc-Lit

Kirsty Ferry ~ Author Guest Post Special @kirsty_ferry @ChocLituk

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Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale Enchantment. She has also written North East based novels, short stories and articles for magazines such as Weekly News, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices and It’s Fate.
Her timeslip novel, 
Some Veil Did Fall, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit time slip, The Girl in the Painting in February 2016 and The Girl in the Photograph in March 2017. The experience of signing Some Veil Did Fall in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!

Kirsty’s day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.

 

The Ending’s By Kirsty Ferry 

I’ve recently had an interesting discussion about the endings of books. We wondered, ultimately, if it would be a good thing to have a sort of Director’s Cut Repository of old manuscripts, and people could dip into it to see what the ending originally was.

The discussion occurred because we were talking about books set during WW2. One of the books I am currently editing has a WW2 thread running through it – it’s part of a trilogy and I’ve had to do a lot of work on it, including changing it to third person point of view from first person point of view – and doubling the length of it, because it started off as a contemporary novella and now I am adding in a timeslip/historical element. I’ve also had to alter the original ending for the historical characters; because to quote a ‘short summary’ of Romeo and Juliet, “they all died”! This isn’t exactly what readers want to see in a book, so, in the edited version, “they survive hurrah!”. I blame my Wuthering Heights obsession, personally. There was something very romantic, I thought, about Catherine dying and Heathcliff loving her so desperately until he too died and they were finally together. But that was the nineteenth century – a Gothic, fanciful time, and this is twenty-first century commercial, romantic fiction.

The premise of the historical thread in my WW2 book was something which has been niggling at me for I would say a couple of decades at least. I was on holiday one year and we visited a stately home – I really can’t remember which one it was, and it’s been annoying me ever since – and I was drawn to a wonderful family portrait. It was a painting which included a young man sitting on the floor at the feet of a young woman. He was, however, no member of the family. He was a young poet, desperately in love with the young woman who was the daughter of the house. When war broke out, he proposed to her. She rejected him, and, distraught he joined up. He was killed in action very soon afterwards, never having made up properly with the girl.

For years, as I say, I’ve been trying to discover who this young man was. I wish I’d written it down at the time. I believe he was quite famous, but despite many hours looking for him, and her, and the house itself, I forever draw a blank.

The closest I can come up with is a poet called Drummond Allison, who loved girls, poetry and cricket. He wrote a lengthy series of poems to a girl called Cynthia Clarke – but it seems, after further research, she was one of many, many muses. Drummond loved life and loved ladies. He was described by one of his friends as a “grown up Just William” and “an extrovert, a rackety enfant terrible with tow-coloured hair”. He was killed in action after just two weeks at the front, at the age of twenty-two.

Now, I know, deep down, that Drummond isn’t the chap in the portrait. I know Cynthia wasn’t the girl in the painting (oops – slight plug for one of my books there! The Girl in the Painting, no less!), but it’s a story that chimes with sickening regularity with these young men in that era. Sidney Keyes was another one – deeply in love with an artist called Milein Cosman who felt dreadful as she couldn’t return his affection. I found this passage in a book written by Milein, which is a story in itself, I think.

“I had fallen ill (psychosomatically) and had been nursed by my parents when Sidney was due to arrive for his last leave. On my return to the Studio, meeting him briefly, he told me that he had fallen in love with a mutual friend, whereupon, for the first time ever, I hugged him – jubilantly joyous at the news of liberation. It was thoughtless and cruel and I’ve often been saddened by my show of delighted relief. A day later I found a note from Sidney on the stairs: ‘See you in Spring or in Walhall.’

Of course, she never saw him again.

Keyes and Allison were friends at Oxford University – and this gave rise to the idea of another ‘lost generation’ of young men who had loved and lost during WW2. A character comprised of a little bit of Allison and a little bit of my mystery poet became the historical hero of the book I’m editing.

However, as I said earlier, we needed to give him a happy ending – and he gets one, and I’m so pleased for him and Stella, his love interest! It does make a much nicer story – and it may not be exactly true to life with my mystery poet – but at least, in some way, I’ve done what I promised him I’d do, so many years ago when I stared at his portrait, trying to read his mind; trying to understand how he could be so much part of the family he was in a painting with them; yet so far removed that he was never destined to have his happy ending with the girl he was sitting at the feet of. I’ve written a book about him and told the world his story.

If anybody reading this can suggest who the poet and the girl and the house were, really, I would be absolutely forever grateful – and if it turns out to be correct, I’ll send you a signed copy of one of my paperbacks! I promise!

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Book Jacket 

What if you recalled memories from a life that wasn’t yours, from a life before …?
When Becky steps into Jonathon Nelson’s atmospheric photography studio in Whitby, she is simply a freelance journalist in search of a story. But as soon as she puts on the beautiful Victorian dress and poses for a photograph, she becomes somebody quite different …
From that moment on, Becky is overcome with visions and flashbacks from a life that isn’t her own – some disturbing and filled with fear.
As she and Jon begin to unravel the tragic mystery behind her strange experiences, the natural affinity they have for each other continues to grow and leads them to question … have they met somewhere before? Perhaps not just in this life but in another?

You can use the handy link below to order and read a sneak peek ~

Thank you to Kirsty for taking the time to visit us today. Do come back soon.

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Author Guest Spot, Book Blog

Chantelle Atkins ~ Author Guest Spot Special ~ @Chanatkins #YALit

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Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere, This Is The Day and has recently released a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories.Her next release will be the YA dystopian adventure The Tree Of Rebels.

From Seeds to Themes; How a Book Evolves By Chantelle Atkins 

It’s often easy to recall when and how you got the seed of an idea for a novel. For my new release, The Tree Of Rebels, the memory is very clear. I was scrolling through Facebook and clicked on a link about Monsanto and their controversial bid to patent seeds. I knew nothing about this subject but had been seeing various posts and petitions for some time, so finally clicked on one, read the information and duly signed the petition. I then started thinking about seeds and who should or could own them. How strange it seemed that a company or corporation could own part of nature. I started to imagine a scary dystopian future where nature is owned and held under lock and key, with the obedient people completely alien to it.

The seed of an idea stays with you, but the themes of a book are harder to track. Often, authors do not realise they are building and weaving themes and ideas, until much further into the book. I knew I wanted to write a dystopian book my teenage girls would enjoy, and I knew I wanted to take the seed owning idea and explore it further. But the themes of rebellion and critical thinking emerged organically as the book and the characters progressed.

In order for the main character Lissie to find out the truth, she must assume her community is lying to her. She must try to work out who is lying about what, and why. As the plot developed, I realised Lissie thought differently to her obedient and grateful parents. Their futuristic world is a happy one. People are content. There has not been a war for 70 years since the Endless war almost destroyed the entire human race. The survivors, Lissie’s ancestors, started again. They threw out technology, imagination and critical thinking and went backwards. They went back to a simpler time, where homes were made of mud and straw and children became adults and went to work at age 14. Lissie’s community views itself as perfect. There is no war and no violence and very little crime. Everyone has a home, a job and enough to eat. No questions are asked and no rules are broken.

As I wrote the book, I had to allow Lissie to rebel. I had to consider what rebellion is and I had to think about why rebellion is so incredibly important to society. Teenage rebellion is something parents dread. Their sweet little angel turning into a sulky and questioning adolescent who refuses to do as they are told, and questions the rules they have adhered to through their childhood. But I think rebellion is to be encouraged and celebrated. We should not allow anyone to just accept the status quo, and we should not attempt to placate young people with the response ‘it’s always been this way.’ Young people should be taught to ask why. Why? Why has it always been this way? Who decided this? Why did they decide it? Who does it benefit? Why?

In short, I believe young people should be applauded when they ask questions and refuse to accept what they are told. A questioning mind keeps a society on its toes. This theme of rebellion, of turning her back on her parents, if only momentarily, of seeking truth and answers from people she had been warned of, evolved with the book and excited me. A seed of an idea had blossomed by itself into a recurring theme of rebellion and breaking away from accepted social norms.

This was never the intention when I got the idea for the story, but it is what I ended up with, and as an author, I find that transition from the seed of an idea to an entire world, endlessly fascinating.

Author Links:
Twitter; https://twitter.com/Chanatkins
Website; https://chantelleatkins.com/

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Book Jacket

‘There will always be those who say no, Lissie. There will always be those who do not believe what they are told. There will always be those who rebel.’

It’s 2145. 13-year-old Lissie Turner lives in the peaceful community of Province 5. Everyone is provided for and everyone is grateful. Everyone obeys the rules.

Lissie has never questioned her society until she falls into a daydream and wanders beyond the fence that keeps them safe. She finds an apple tree which changes her life and threatens to blow her world apart. Growing food has been forbidden since the last war ended 70 years ago. All food is raised under the Domes.

With the discovery of the tree, Lissie finds herself breaking the rules. And if she believes what her dying Great-Grandmother has been trying to tell her, she must question everything she has ever been told. Who really started the Endless War? And it is really over? As she uncovers the shocking truth, Lissie must choose between conformity and rebellion, between living a lie and tearing her peaceful community apart…

A YA dystopian adventure set in a future disconnected from nature

To order your copy click the links below ~

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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Author, Book Blog, Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Fact Of Body @alexandriaml @valmcdermid @edbookfest #Review

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Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich was inspired to write her book after viewing a video tape of Rick Langley confessing to the murder of a six-year-old boy and having an overwhelming feeling of wanting him to die for his crime.

Val McDermid chaired the event which I surprisingly found to be very emotional. Val was the perfect person for this event. Fully informed and with cracking questions. Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich and Val McDermid were the perfect fit.

The Fact of a Body takes us on a journey over many years with Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich as she tries to discover the person behind Rick Langley and the slow realisation that her own childhood abuse at the hands of her grandfather was an actual crime.

Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich is truly fascinating to listen to and I didn’t want the event to end. I had so many questions to ask. But I guess I will just have to read the book to get my own answers.

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I’ve never left a book event teary eyed before and with a heavy heart. I was truly inspired by Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich and her story. The message I guess is that everyone’s story is important and you should never hide from it or keep it a secret. But truly it’s having the courage to tell it. Much praise to Alexandria Marzano ~ Lesnevich for telling hers.

You can order your copy here ~

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Chasing Time Writing Retreats ~ Love Books Group Blogger In Residence

Connect with Chasing Time Writer Retreats for more information or to book yourself that much need writing getaway.  More writing retreats are available~

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Email: chasingtimescotland@gmail.com
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Author, Book Blog, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Event Review

Reading The City @Edbookfest @RonButlinMakar @oldnorthroad @fivekingdoms #Review

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READING THE CITY ~ BOSCO THEATRE ~ 12/08/2017

IMG_9179Kick starting my  Edinburgh Book Festival 2017 was an amazing event with James Loxley, Ron Butlin and Vivian French.  The event focused on the influence the New Town has had on Authors and Poets.

A fully packed Bosco Theatre and I were entranced as James Loxley told us a little history of the New Town, regaling us with fascinating tales of its previous inhabitants.

Vivian French read from A Song For Little Toad which was inspired after a walk at the water of Leith.  Ms French also enlightened us with tales from Catherine Sinclair who lived in Edinburgh in the 1800’s and was one of 13 children.  In fact, her home is now Browns Resturant on George Street.  The readings from Ms French were fascinating as we learnt of Lady Howard.

Ron Butlin read from Billionaires Banquet, Trainspotting and also the poem The Lamplighter by Robert Louis Stevenson which I really enjoyed.  Hearing and watching Mr Butlin read is a magical experience.  He has the audience in the palm of his hand. If you get the chance to see Mr Butlin perform then do jump a the chance you will not be disappointed.

The Lamplighter 

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

Robert Louis Stevenson

A brilliant start to our Edinburgh Book Festival 2017.

You can book for the next Reading The City event on the 19th of August. Just click the link to book your ticket ~ Click to order.

Vivien French 

To order your Vivien French books click here.

 

Ron Butlins Books 

To order  Ron Butlins books ~ click here.

 

Before you go, please check out our previous interview with Mr Ron Butlin ~ Click here.

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If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Chasing Time Writing Retreats ~ Love Books Group Blogger In Residence

Connect with Chasing Time Writer Retreats for more information or to book yourself that much need writing getaway.  More writing retreats are available~

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Tweet: @ChasingTimeScot
Email: chasingtimescotland@gmail.com
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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Legend Press

She Be Damned @mjtjia @legend_press #Review #BookBlog

Review

Hello, my review of She Be Damned today, it’s written by M.J. Tjia and published by Legend Press. Enjoy,

Kelly xoxo

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Book Jacket 

London, 1863: prostitutes in the Waterloo area are turning up dead, their sexual organs mutilated and removed. When another girl goes missing, fears grow that the killer may have claimed their latest victim.

The police are at a loss and so it falls to courtesan and professional detective, Heloise Chancey,

With the assistance of her trusty Chinese maid, Amah Li Leen, Heloise inches closer to the truth. But when Amah is implicated in the brutal plot, Heloise must reconsider who she can trust, before the killer strikes again.

My Review 

Firstly the cover is striking and with the embossed rich gold lettering and silhouette of Ms Chancey, it pops right off the page. A truly beautiful cover and even if I had not been on the blog tour it’s one I would have picked up myself. I found the cover extremely appealing.

As always I don’t like to read the book jacket, I like to jump into my book adventures with excitement and anticipation. She Be Damned ticked each box of a list of everything a reader could possibly want from a book.  Heloise Chancey is fantastic, memorable and a strong female protagonist with a gritty past that does not define her but only makes her stronger in who she is now.

I was floored to read that this is a debut novel, I even googled to find out which book in the series it was. To my astonishment, it’s only book 1.  M. J. Tjia has left me wanting so much more and I hope it’s the first of many. There could even be a prequel of Heloise’s early years.

It’s clever and engaging with a different and refreshing plot. If you love crime fiction that has bite then this is for you. Believe me, it grabs you from page one and doesn’t leave. I still think of Heloise now.

M. J. Tjia has certainly made a noise in the literary world with She Be Damned. I thoroughly recommend this uniquely wonderful adventure.

If you would like to order your own copy, here is your handy links ~

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If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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Chasing Time Writing Retreats ~ Love Books Group Blogger In Residence

Connect with Chasing Time Writer Retreats for more information or to book yourself that much need writing getaway.  More writing retreats are available~

Telephone: ~ 07548 710980
Tweet: @ChasingTimeScot
Email: chasingtimescotland@gmail.com
Blog: Chasing Time Writing Retreats Blog

 

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Book Blog, Bookouture, Excerpt

The Forgotten Family @PamHowes1 @Bookouture #Excerpt #Bookblog

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Hello Lovelies,
I have so happy to be on the blog tour for The Forgotten Family by Pam Howes. On my stop I have a wee excerpt for you, to whet your appetite.
Enjoy,

Kelly xoxo

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Book Jacket

The war is over – but are their troubles just beginning?

It’s 1951 and rationing is finally coming to an end. But while Liverpool is recovering from the ferocity of war, a family is about to be torn apart…

Dora Rodgers is adjusting to a new life in Liverpool with her young daughters Carol and Jackie. After the fear of the war years and a difficult break up with her husband Joe, Dora is finally building a future with her children.

But then an unexpected knock at the door rips her family in two.

To Dora’s horror, Carol is taken away by a welfare officer to live with Joe. She is determined to fight for her child, but when a tragic accident leaves her mother in the hospital, and shocking news from Joe breaks her heart again, she struggles to cope.

With her family in pieces and her marriage over for good, will Dora ever manage to get her daughter Carol home where she belongs?

Sneak Peek ~ The Forgotten Family By Pam Howes

Chapter One

Kirkby, Liverpool, June 1952

Dora Rodgers looped her long blonde hair behind her ears, banged on the kitchen window and wagged a warning finger. Her daughters were squabbling over the doll’s pram again, with five-year-old Carol hanging onto the handle for dear life, while two-year-old Jackie screamed at the top of her voice. She turned back to the washing. It was over a year since her husband Joe’s departure from the marital home, following a breakdown in their relationship, which had seen dressmaker Dora sink to the depths of despair. She had since found within herself a grim determination to prove that she didn’t need him and could care for their daughters on her own. Sometimes though, like today, when she had housework and the washing to see to, as well as a skirt and blouse to finish making for one of her customers, it all felt too much to cope with. It was all right for Joe, living the life of a single man, apart from when he took the kids out for the day. He only had himself to think about.

She folded the dry towels she’d brought in from the line and laid them on the table, then picked up the basket of washing she’d just put through the mangle. One day, when she was better off, she’d treat herself to a new washing machine with an electric mangle on top, like the one her pal Agnes had. Agnes said it made washdays a doddle. Joe had told her he’d get her one, but she’d refused and said she’d buy one herself when she could afford it. Mam said she was cutting her nose off to spite her face and to let Joe pay for it. But Dora was stubborn, and she was already living in the house Joe had got through his job at the Royal Ordnance Factory; she didn’t want to take anything else from him.

She went out into the garden and dropped the basket onto the small lawn. Jackie hurled herself at her legs, crying. Carol, looking smug, was pushing the doll’s pram up the path towards the shed.

‘Carol, share. Let Jackie have a turn, there’s a good girl,’ Dora said, giving her youngest a comforting hug. But Carol chose to ignore her. Dora put Jackie down and went to stand in front of Carol, who scowled and rammed the pram hard into her legs, laddering a stocking. ‘Ouch,’ Dora cried, jumping backwards. ‘Right, you naughty little madam; go to your room, this minute.’

Carol let out a howl and stomped indoors, her plaits bouncing on her shoulders. Jackie gave a delighted squeal and ran to grab the pram. Dora watched as she pushed it up the path, her earlier tears forgotten. She turned back to pegging out her washing. Mam would be arriving soon. Maybe she’d take Carol to the shops with her. She was hard work that one always had been, although now and again, when the fancy took her, she could be a proper little angel.

Jackie soon lost interest in the pram, just as Dora expected she would, and picked up some clothes pegs to hand to her mother. ‘You’re a little monkey, you are,’ Dora said. ‘You didn’t really want that pram at all.’ Jackie giggled and ran off with a handful of pegs. ‘Bring them back here or you can go and sit in the bedroom as well.’

‘Are they playing you up, gel?’ a voice called from a couple of gardens further along.

Dora looked up and saw her neighbour Dolly hanging over the fence. ‘Just a bit,’ she called back. ‘Though no more than usual.’

‘Not too long now before Carol starts school. Then you’ll have more time to relax with just your Jackie to see to. I miss our Alice, but I love the peace and quiet now she’s at school all day. I’ll pop down for a cuppa when I’ve finished hanging this lot out.’

‘Okay.’ Dora nodded and rolled her eyes as she turned her back on Dolly. That’d be half the morning gone before she got rid of her, no doubt. Although her neighbour was kind and helped her out with the children, she could talk the hind legs off a donkey once she got going. Dora pegged the final tea towel on the line and went back inside to put the kettle on. As she spooned tea into the pot she heard the front door opening.

‘Only me, chuck,’ a voice called from the hallway.

‘I’m in the kitchen, Mam,’ Dora called back. ‘Just about to make a brew. Dolly’s popping round in a minute.’

‘Oh, okay, well I’ll nip to the shops while the pair of you have a gossip. Where’s our Carol?’ she asked, peering out of the back door and seeing only Jackie playing in the garden.

Dora jerked a thumb towards the second bedroom door. ‘Been a right naughty girl, look.’ She lifted her leg with the laddered stocking and a red mark where the metal pram had hit her.

Mam frowned. ‘That’ll bruise; you need arnica on it. I’ll get some from the chemist, and I’ll take Carol to the shops with me. We’ll have a bit of dinner in the café and then I’ll take her to the library. It’s story time this afternoon, she’ll enjoy that. Give you a break while Jackie has her nap.’

‘Thanks, Mam, I was really hoping you’d suggest something like that,’ Dora said. As the kettle whistled on the gas hob, Dolly knocked and walked in the front door.

‘Have a seat, Dolly, while I see to Carol,’ Dora said. She went into the bedroom where Carol was sprawled on the bed, her lips pouting and her cheeks red and tear-stained.

‘Sowwy, Mammy,’ she sobbed, holding her arms out.

Dora gave her a hug and lifted her off the bed. Her heart skipped a beat as she looked at her daughter’s woebegone expression. Carol was so like Joe with her soft brown hair and big hazel eyes, while blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jackie was Dora’s double. ‘Right, monkey; let’s have no more being naughty and I’ll let you go shopping with Granny. Okay?’

Carol nodded and wiped her snotty nose on her cardigan sleeve.

Dora sighed and led her contrite daughter into the bathroom, where she washed her face and brushed her hair. ‘Now no messing about, and make sure you hold Granny’s hand, or else.’ She lowered her voice as they left the bathroom. ‘Daddy’s coming for tea tonight, and he’ll want to know that you’ve been a good girl for me. All right?’

Carol nodded again and ran into the sitting room where her granny was talking to Dolly.

‘Come on then, Carol,’ Granny said, giving her granddaughter a hug. ‘Have you made a list, Dora?’

‘It’s on the table, with some money. I only want sausages, spuds and custard powder.’

‘Okay, chuck, we’ll see you in a bit.’

Dora closed the front door behind them and went to pour the tea. She handed Dolly a well-sugared mug, thanking God that sugar rationing was over. She offered her a ginger snap and sat down next to her on the sofa.

Dolly took two biscuits and put her mug down on the coffee table. ‘So, Joe’s coming for tea, is he?’ She tucked a straying red curl back under her turban.

Dora looked at her in surprise. ‘How do you know that?’

‘I heard you telling Carol.’

‘Oh.’ Dora took a sip from her mug. God, the woman had ears like a bat. She’d spoken to Carol in a low voice, or thought she had. ‘Yes, he’s coming to see the girls. He didn’t see them on Sunday because the band was playing out of town at an afternoon garden party.’

Dolly pursed her lips. ‘Was she with him?’

‘I’ve no idea. I didn’t ask. I’m not interested even if she was. He can do what he likes now we’re separated.’ She being Ivy Bennett, who managed the canteen at the Royal Ordnance Factory where Joe worked, and with whom he’d had a brief relationship when Dora had suffered depression after Jackie’s birth.

‘She’s got a lot to answer for, that one.’

‘Yes, so you keep telling me, Dolly. But that’s Joe’s business now, not mine.

If you would like to order please use the handy link below ~

Thank you to Pam Howes and the cracking Bookouture Team for having me on the blog tour.

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Before you go please check out our interview with Anna Mansell and find out more about her novel How To Mend A Broken Heart ~ Click here.

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Author Guest Post, Book Blog, Noir At The Bar Dundee, Saraband Books

Noir At The Bar #Dundee #Author @ClaireMacLeary #Authors #Scottish 26th July 2017 #Guestpost

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Hello Lovelies,
I am extremely excited for Wednesday’s Noir At The Bar Dundee if crime fiction floats your boat then sail along for an evening filled with top notch crime fiction authors reading from their novels.  Today on the blog I have a special guest post by Claire MacLeary author of the Cross Purpose which was longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize 2017. I am so grateful to Claire for writing the article and for being on my blog today.

Enjoy

Kelly xo

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Dundee By Claire MacLeary 

Dundee holds a special place in my heart. Why? It’s where I became a writer. Like so much in life, it happened by chance. Born in Glasgow, I’d worked in London and Edinburgh, married and ended up in Fife. 


I’d always wanted to write. Won essay prizes at school, read English at university, held down jobs in advertising. But for years I was too busy running my own business and raising a family to contemplate anything more. It was only when my children reached senior school that I joined a Dundee University Continuing Education class in Creative Writing. At the end of the year, the group – Nethergate Writers – published an anthology of short stories. I was back in print!


In 2009 the University conferred an honorary degree on William Boyd. A literary hero of mine, I went along to his reading. Chaired by acclaimed novelist, Kirsty Gunn, Professor of Writing Practice and Study, it was a seminal moment. Talking afterwards to Kirsty about my writing, she said, ‘Do my MLitt.’ So in 2010 I did.

The next year was full-on. My days revolved around Kirsty’s Writing Room and were a whirl of lectures and intensive writing sessions. Literary salons afforded the opportunity to network with noted authors, publishers and agents. In 2011, I graduated MLitt with distinction.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Over the next few years, a number of my short stories were published. As my confidence grew, I set out to write a crime novel. Featuring two ill-matched ‘women of a certain age’, Cross Purpose bucks the trend of jaded detectives and smart forensic scientists, celebrating instead the fortitude and resilience of the many ordinary women who juggle part-time work with family life.

The road to publication demands not only dogged persistence but an element of luck. My first break came when I pitched to agent Jenny Brown at an event sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust, my next when I met the redoubtable Sara Hunt of Saraband, who was to become my publisher.

Cross Purpose launched in February under the Contraband imprint to five-star reviews. It has recently been longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, proof that readers have taken my unlikely crime due, Maggie and Big Wilma, to their hearts. A sequel, Burnout, is due for publication next spring.

Now living in Glasgow, I’m delighted to be reading on 26 July at NoirAtTheBar, back in Dundee, where my journey began.

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Cross Purpose 

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Book Jacket 

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.

To order your copy and have sneak peek, click below ~

Before you go please check out an interview we did with Claire MacLearly last month, Click to read.

Please be sure to check out more titles brought to you by Saraband ~ Website

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Not A Sound By Heather Gudenkauf #NotASound @hgudenkauf & @midaspr @HQstories #BookReview

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Hello Lovelies,

Today I have my review of Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf. I do love it when my week of adventures jumps from cheeky chick lit to keep me up all night thrillers.

Check out my review below and also a sneak peek of the novel.

Thank you for stopping by today, I really do appreciate it.

Kelly xoxo

Meet Author Heather Gudenkauf 

Heather Gudenkauf

Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment Heather tended to use books as a retreat. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and is currently a Literacy Coach, an educator who provides curricular and professional development support to teachers.

Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her third novel.

Heather’s first novel The Weight of Silence was a TV Book Club pick.

Not A Sound ~ A Review By Kelly 

 

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This was my first experience of Heather Gudenkauf’s work. For a thriller, her writing style was very different. The book is not filled with unrealistic dramatic events chapter after chapter. The events come to us unexpectedly and they are shocking and at times scary. But so well timed and perfectly positioned in the book. I loved that we got to know and love the main protagonist.  We get very close to Amelia almost from chapter one.We get to know Amelia the main protagonist, from chapter one. The story is from her point of view. After becoming deaf due to a hit and run driver, Amelia has struggled to come to terms with her situation which has resulted in some upsetting circumstances for her.  I loved Amelia, she’s so strong but just doesn’t know it. I didn’t ever feel sorry for her ending up being deaf, but I did hurt for her having to face and live day to day with the consequences of her actions.

I did not know who the killer was and usually, I am pretty good at figuring it out. So another bonus for the writing. I have to add that I felt the cold snow biting my nose and the cold water lapping at my legs. I was there every beat, beside Amelia almost like a ghost.

I don’t get it often but I have a book hangover with Not A Sound. I want more more more, but even I know ‘I want’ doesn’t get. So instead I will shamelessly beg Ms Gudenkauf to please let there be another Amelia Winn book.

If you love a thriller with true to life, damaged characters and loajalni servisni pes (Stitch) then jump right into Not A Sound.

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Book Jacket 

‘I’m going to die tonight. But I won’t go quietly.’

Amelia Winn has a lot of regrets. She regrets the first drink after she lost her hearing. She regrets destroying her family as she spiralled into depression. Mostly, she regrets not calling Gwen Locke back.

Because now Gwen is dead. And as Amelia begins to unearth the terrible secrets that led to Gwen’s naked body being dumped in the freezing water, she realises that she might be next.

But how do you catch a killer when you can’t hear him coming?

To order your copy and read a sneak peek please use the links below. Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts.  Tweet us on @lovebooksgroup.

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Before you leave, please check out our #HQStories Blog for An Almond For A Parrot and enter to #WIN a copy. #HQStories ~ An Almond For A Parrot

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download Visit HQ Stories Twitter and find more adventures to dive into.

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Accent Press, Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Romance, Sneak Peek

The Cornish Hotel @karen_king @AccentPress #Review #SneakPeek

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Today I am so happy to be on the blog tour for The Cornish Hotel by Karen King.  It is published today! Congratulations Karen on the big day!

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A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, fun, heart-warming romance. The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is her second chicklit for Accent Press, her first – I do?… or do I? was published last year and there is another one in the process of publication. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

 

Sneak Peek 

The Cornish Hotel by the Sea

Ellie was determined to get Gwel Teg back into shape before Mum came out of hospital. And first stop was to check all the rooms and see what repairs needed doing. She didn’t want to give any of the other guests cause to complain. Bad reviews on TripAdvisor wouldn’t help gain more bookings.

Mandy wasn’t at the reception desk. Guessing she’d gone for a loo break, Ellie picked up a notebook and the set of master keys. As it was a sunny day she imagined that their guests would probably be out so she should be able to check all the rooms before the cleaners did their rounds.

She made her way around the first floor, most of the rooms were unoccupied. Before she entered the ones that were occupied, she checked that the ‘Do Not Disturb’ label wasn’t on the door then knocked loudly and called out before entering. Careful not to touch anything personal, she noted any repairs that needed doing. There were quite a few but they were mostly minor things that Harry could tackle. She was dismayed to see how dated and shabby the rooms looked though.

It looks like the whole hotel needs refurbishing, she thought as she made her way to the second floor.  

She hesitated outside Room 12. Had Reece Mitchell left yet? She really didn’t want another run-in with him. He might have been pleasant last night but her first impressions of him weren’t good and she definitely didn’t want a repeat performance.

She glanced at her watch. 10.45. Guests had to vacate the rooms by ten so he should be long gone. Even so, she banged on the door and listened intently just to be sure. Nope, there was no sound coming from the room. She unlocked the door and stepped inside. Glancing around, she immediately spotted that a couple of drawer handles were missing on the bedside cabinet, a plug socket was loose and the carpet was threadbare in one corner. Not good. It’s a wonder he hadn’t complained about that.

She made a note of them and starred them as urgent. She’d ask Harry to do them this afternoon, at least they wouldn’t cost anything. And perhaps she could find a small cupboard to put over the threadbare patch of carpet.

She looked over at the closed ensuite door.  She’d better check the shower too, and the one in the connecting room. Best to make sure they’d both been fixed before she booked anyone else into the room.

As she walked over to the ensuite the door handle turned. She stared at it, horrified. Oh heck – he wasn’t?

The door started to open.

She’d better get out of here. Fast.

But before she could move the door was thrust open and Reece Mitchell walked out, completely naked, rubbing his hair with a towel.

My Review 

I really enjoyed my time at The Cornish Hotel, with lady leading Ellie. I worked in a hotel many moons ago so I could relate to some of the tricky situations that arise at Gwel Teg. With an accompanying cast of stand-out characters that compliment the story well. I really felt this could be the basis of a series of books about Ellie and her life, therefore I didn’t need the five years section later.  What I would have loved/love is a follow-up book. There is of course much potential for my wish.

The writing style of Karen King is superb, it’s easy flowing nature captures us from page one. There is always something new occurring to keep our attention.  It was refreshing not to know the end of the book half way through, I really had no idea what would happen and it added more to the book for me.

The core of the story is trust and how fragile and important it is. Who we give it to and what they do with it. With an interwinding thread of family and love. This really is stonking great read that will leave you wanting more.

A well thought out story with unforgettable characters.  I may have checked out for now at The Cornish Hotel but I sure hope I will be able to spend time there again and catch up with Ellie and her friends.

I thoroughly recommend The Cornish Hotel By Karen King.

Kelly xo

 

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The Cornish Hotel by the Sea: Escape to Cornwall with this perfect summer read

“A feel-good summer escape.” Mandy Baggot

Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat.  Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago.
Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell. But does Reece have ulterior motives? Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?

Buy your copy today ~

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

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Book Blog, Giveaway, Sneak Peek

Twitter #International #Giveaway @DavidVidecette #Goodies – The Theseus Paradox – The Detriment

Hello Lovelies,

A fabulous new week ahead for you all to have some adventure. I have something to start your week off right. Our #giveaway this week is brought to you in association with David Videcette.

David has very kindly given us a plethora of wonderful prizes for you to win.

  • 1st Edition ~ The Theseus Paradox
  • The Detriment
  • Signed Photos
  • Limited Edtion Pens

Super easy for you to enter, head over to our Twitter Page and follow the instructions on the pinned post.

Good Luck

Worldwide  ~ Ends 17/07/17

Kelly xo

If you want to buy your own copies or read a sneak peak sample of the books here you go ~

The Detriment 

 

The Theseus Paradox

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Connect with David Videcette on these platforms ~

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