I am over the moon today to bring you two posts from two fabulous authors, Tana Collins and Rebecca Raisin. I’ve only recently discovered Tana’s books so not yet had time to read any but I am a huge fan of Rebecca’s work and already have her next book on my kindle waiting to be read. So grab a mug of something hot, it’s too cold for anything else, settle down and enjoy!
Guest Blog – Tana Collins
It’s hard to follow 2017 which has been a truly phenomenal year for me. I’ve had two books published following the thrill of receiving a three book publishing deal with Bloodhound Books in October 2016.
What is there to look forward to in 2018? I’m delighted that I will be appearing both at Noir at the Bar in Edinburgh in March and at the Newcastle Crime Writers Festival in April. The same month also sees the publication of my third novel in the Inspector Jim Carruthers series, Mark of the Devil, so it will be a busy time. I’d say my books are a cross between police procedurals and crime/thrillers! They can be read as standalones but the personal lives of the characters do move on in the storyline so some people may want to read them in order.
I’ll be attending Crimefest in May and hopefully Iceland Noir and Bloody Scotland. There’s also the possibility of other exciting things afoot but they are only in the discussion stage at the moment so I have to do my best to keep quiet!
As with the other two books I’ve really enjoyed both the writing and researching of my third novel and I’m very excited about its forthcoming release. My books are very personal to me in the sense that I always incorporate true life events that have really happened to my family. As some of you will know our main protagonist, Detective Inspector Jim Carruthers has a brother who has a shock heart attack in the second book, Care to Die, which is modelled on my own Mum’s recent heart attack. It was Allan Guthrie who came up with that idea! He thought I would be able to write convincingly about it as I was my mother’s main carer. I could see the sense in that but it was nonetheless very difficult to do as she was still recovering in bed at the time. However, I do feel he was right and I believe it makes for a stronger novel.
And part of the storyline of Mark of the Devil, publication date 24th April 2018, was inspired by a true life crime that occurred about fifteen years ago in the South East of England. Sadly my lovely Mum (why does it always happen to my Mum?) was the victim of a serious and heartbreaking antique theft. Five masked men broke in to her house in the middle of the night and made off with her beloved grandfather clock which had been in the family for over 70 years!
Apart from having to research international art crime for my third book the research also took me to Tallinn, a destination I fell in love with, having previously been there on a summer crime writing course with British writer, Peter Robinson. I’ve managed to weave in quite a bit about the fascinating political history of Estonia under Soviet rule. It’s been wonderful to see the novel take shape. The next thing to look forward to will be the book cover reveal. I have absolutely no idea what it looks like yet!
New Year’s resolutions for 2018?
Perhaps take a breather before I seriously start book 4 and try to claw a bit of time back for myself? I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do that though. The ideas for the storyline for the fourth book are already starting to fizz around my brain although I suspect that Jim Carruthers may stay in Scotland this time. After all, he’s already been to both Iceland and Estonia in the last two novels. I do love to write books where I manage to incorporate a wee bit of a Nordic or European theme.
On a personal level I would love to get out and do some environmental work but it’s just finding the time. For the last few years I’ve wanted to become a recorder for Butterfly Conservation having been a member for several years. And I have a bucket list of things I’d like to do as long as your arm which includes going panning for gold and metal detecting (don’t ask me why. I know this all sounds a bit odd. I blame the Detectorists!) but let’s not get too carried away here. I suspect I might have to reign myself in and focus on publicising the books instead!
Oh goodness and if I had a chance to visit my beloved Arsenal at the Emirates that would be great. Now I feel as if I’m writing my wish list to Santa!
All in all there’s a whole heap of wonderful things to look forward to in 2018. I’m also looking forward to spending more time with fellow authors, bloggers and readers. It really is a wonderfully supportive family and I really am blessed to be part of it.
The Book Bit:
Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi.
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve-year-old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
Edinburgh based Tana Collins is the author of the popular Jim Carruthers detective series, set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017, became a No 1 Amazon kindle bestseller and her follow up Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson as “A finely plotted mystery.” Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018.
My plans for 2018 -Rebecca Raisin
Thank you for having me on your blog, Sandra! I’m really pumped for a busy year ahead, with lots of work projects and also some personal projects to look forward to. While I didn’t make resolutions per se, I have got in mind some goals I want to achieve and to work towards for the coming year and beyond.
Learn Indonesian: we travel to Bali every year because it’s only a three-hour plane ride away and a very cheap place to holiday. We have Indonesian friends who we adore, and we love heading over there to just chill out. Each visit we’ve picked up more of the language but I’d like to make it a priority to learn more so I can have a conversation in Bahasa whenever we go back!
Get fitter: I know, I know, yawn, right? I’ve been doing Muay Thai for a year now and I love it so much, but feel like I really have to step up my training this year if I want to grade. It’s a great personal challenge for me because I am the Queen of excuses, this hurts, that hurts, I’m tired… You name it, I’ve said it! But this year I want to cut the excuses and push myself harder and see what results I get!
Focus on work: It’s so easy to be distracted when you work from home. In saying that, I’m fairly good at sitting down for the day and working, however, I could really focus more and Facebook less! So this year I’m going to aim to double my word count and switch off social media until my writing is done for the day! Can I do it…?
I also want to be more organised in terms of all the other things that go along with writing, like updating my newsletters and building my networks, things that tend to get overlooked when you’re on a deadline. I have a shiny new diary so I’m sure this will solve all my problems!
Switch off more: Like most writers I’m glued to my phone 24/7. This year I want to keep weekends tech-free if I can. Or at least switch off a lot more and be present for my family. It’s tricky when I’m in a different time zone and all my blogger friends are awake as I’m sitting down for the evening, and I love chatting to them!
Say yes more: I tend to avoid going out much, especially at night. I like hanging out with my family more than anything, and then I miss out on all these social events, especially writing catch ups, because I just want to chill out after a long day. This year I will make more of an effort to say yes to these events and try and expand myself socially.
What are some of your goals for 2018?
The Book Bit
I’d love to share with you the blurb for The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees which is being published in March!
What is French for falling in love?
When Del leaves small town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!
Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…
Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?
About the author: Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.
Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.
Facebook – Rebecca Raisin