#BlogTour #GuestPost : The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade. @nicolasladeuk @rararesources #Giveaway

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Convalescent Corpse, such an unusual title and a quirky sounding book too. I’m trying to focus more on my existing to-read pile and therefore reviewing less on blog tours at the moment, therefore for my spot on the tour I have a guest post for you, on the background to the book.  And if that wasn’t enough there’s a giveaway as well!

the convalescent corpse

Blurb: 

A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.

Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all.  And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.

‘I love it. A delightfully unusual mystery with wonderful characterisation and historical detail.’ – LESLEY COOKMAN BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE LIBBY SARJEANT MYSTERY SERIES

Purchase Links

https://amzn.to/2RrkDoz     https://amzn.to/2ODJeYR

 

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Guest Post:

The Background to the book

Something that surprised me as the book began to develop was the age of my characters. They were so young! In previous books I’ve had a wide range of ages, including some feisty old ladies who have proved popular, and in my contemporary Harriet Quigley Mysteries I have a sleuth in her early sixties, as is her cousin and sidekick, the Rev Sam Hathaway. Discovering that I was dealing with young women still in their late teens came as a shock.

The eldest, Alix, is nineteen. She has a morning job as companion to a crochety old lady and in the afternoon, she volunteers at the nearby convalescent hospital for wounded officers. The middle sister, Christabel – the narrator is eighteen and spends her days typing her author mother’s books, writing her own ripping yarns for boys and young men, and helping her grandmother run the house. The youngest, Adelaide, is fifteen and still at school.

I didn’t set out to dream up characters that young, they just appeared and I gradually realised they fitted the time. When you think about the casualties of the First World War the thing that shocks us most, apart from the sheer scale of the dead and wounded, is how young they were, with tombstone after tombstone in the war cemeteries recording eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds, early twenties; not to mention the graves that make us all want to weep – the fifteen-and sixteen-year-olds who lied about their ages. A young man’s war meant a young woman’s war too, the girls they left behind them, and there was the reason for my girls’ youth.

I grew up reading Victorian and Edwardian novels, particularly the books that began to appear during and following WW1, school stories where girls were encouraged to think beyond marriage and children as their future, and romances and mysteries where young women branched out and seized hitherto unheard of opportunities. I didn’t want to write a school story; what I wanted to write about was how a family of women managed life in wartime, dealing with rationing, grief and other hardships, so my heroines are officially ‘out’, although in their circumstances that doesn’t mean being presented at Court or going to grand balls. Instead they ‘put their hair up’ and – in the case of my girls – they find jobs.

This book is about how my characters how they cope with those jobs when murder starts to stalk them!

 

Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of The House of Ladywell (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494174/?

the convalescent corpse - giveaway prize

 

 

 

About the author:

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Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames https://www.facebook.com/DeadlyDames/

Social Media Links – www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com   www.nicolaslade.com

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

https://www.facebook.com/nicolasladeuk/  https://www.pinterest.co.uk/nicola8703 (I have a board for each book)

 

 

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#BlogTour #GuestPost : My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber @byLizzyBarber @arrowpublishing

Today I’m on the blog tour for this intriguing book, which I have a copy of on my January read list. As I’ve not been able to read it yet I have a guest post from the author so read on and enjoy!

blog tour graphic final - my name is anna

Blurb:  ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.

She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads.Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth.

But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

cover image - my name is anna

 

Guest Post:

Lizzy Barber on Acting and Writing

My writing teacher once told me that there are two kinds of writers: character writers, and plot writers. I have always felt I fell within the former camp.

Writing, for me, has always begun with a character. A whisper of their voice in my head; a glimpse of what they look like; a burgeoning sense of how they think and act. All of this slowly takes root and grows stronger, until they are fully-formed, three-dimensional creatures. When my characters are wholly realised, I feel I can place them into a plot and know how they will behave in a given situation – for me, it’s when I don’t truly know my characters that the plot jars, a scene feels weak or untruthful, and I am tempted to give up.

I think I owe a lot of this approach to my training as an actress. As a small child, I spent a lot of timing playing vivid make-believe games. This playacting was quickly channelled into the drama classes which took up most of my spare time – Saturdays spent at Sylvia Young Theatre School, summer drama camps, school productions. I was lucky to have two incredible drama teachers at school who fuelled this love through theatre studies GCSE and A-level courses, sharing their admiration for Stanislavski, Artaud and Peter Brook, and introducing me to fantastic theatre companies such as Shared Experience and Cheek by Jowl. Theatre productions were rife when I was an undergrad at Cambridge, where I performed in at least three productions a term, and I channelled my English degree towards drama, studying everything from Greek tragedy to Shakespeare to modern American playwrights.

Throughout all of this training and performing, an understanding of the character was key. You may be given the lines a character is going to speak, but it is up to you, the actor, to get under their skin and know how they would say it – and this comes from knowing everything about them, from the inner workings of their minds, to something as simple as what they would eat for breakfast. Techniques such as improvisation can take you beyond the script, whereas exercises such as monologue writing, or selecting a prop as a stimulus to react to, can help you discover your character further. I remember a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in which I played Snug the Joiner (one of the mechanicals) as a bedraggled school child, because of decisions we made in the rehearsal room about his meekness, and the irony of him then performing as the lion in Pyramus and Thisbe.  

There are myriad ways to translate these techniques into writing. I have always valued writing prompts – a short suggestion or sentence which serves as a stimulus for you to respond to, sometimes within a set amount of time. I can highly recommend these, particularly if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired. They may seem like a diversion, but they can really help free your mind, and you never know, you might even discover a gem of a side plot or secondary character in the process. Similarly, jotting down ideas about your characters’ physicality may guide you to a better understanding of them. For example, in My Name Is Anna, Rosie’s inner angst manifests itself her a constant need to pick at the skin around her nails or bite her lips, whereas Mamma, a religious woman who believes strongly in purity, constantly washes her hands and dislikes touching other people. What do they wear? What sort of music do they listen to? Are they a dog or a cat person? These questions may seem trivial, but they can all work together to give you a complete picture of the person you’re trying to create.

 

About the author:

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Lizzy Barber studied English at Corpus Christ College, Cambridge University. After ‘previous lives’ acting and working in film development, she is now the Head of Brand and Marketing for a restaurant group, working with her brother, a restaurateur.

Her debut novel, MY NAME IS ANNA, was the winner of the Daily Mail crime writing competition, and will be published in hardbook in January 2019 by Century, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The North American edition, retitled ANNA IN THE DARK will be published in December 2019.

She is currently hard at work on her next thriller. Lizzy lives in London with her husband, George, food writer and strategy consultant. They are expecting their first child in January 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GuestPost: Why writers need book groups by Helen Matthews. @HelenMK7

Today I have an interesting and enlightening post on writers and book groups by Helen Matthews, author of After Leaving the Village. Information about the book and the author follows, after the post itself so read on and see if you agree with Helen or not.


Why writers need book groups

Writing can be a lonely existence. Living inside your head, closeted with the laptop, and snarling at family members when they ignore the ‘Writer at Work’ post-it note on your door and bring coffee, are all sure signs we need to get out more. 

So, where to go? Writers’ groups are a lifeline with tough love, honest feedback, supportive friendships and – frequently – alcohol. But, when writers meet to discuss work in progress we normally wear our critiquing hats. We get our kicks from drilling into the details of the writing, focusing on the trees so we don’t see the beauty of the wood. In our workshop sessions, we miss out on the reader’s thrill of getting lost in a novel for pure pleasure.   

All writers are urged to read widely and most of us don’t need telling. To expand our reading choices and keep up with trends, we need recommendations from other book lovers. These days you don’t even need to leave the house because there are book clubs on social media, particularly Facebook. I’m also aware there are book clubs in libraries, workplaces, colleges, and even postal groups, but I’m going to talk about two types of book group I’m familiar with: local groups that meet in person and book groups on Facebook.   

Let’s start with book clubs that meet in person – perhaps in a pub or in someone’s home. I confess it took me a long time to get around to joining one. I was wary because some had such bad press.

 “You’d think they could at least mention the book,” was a complaint I heard frequently, from people whose groups were thinly-disguised social gatherings. Don’t get me wrong – I love to go out, meet friends and socialise but, if I’ve committed to reading a book, not of my own choosing, I’d feel really cheated if my group didn’t even bother to discuss it.

Finally, I found a book group that was right for me. Members engage with the books and are prepared to talk about them, over a glass of wine, for a full two hours. After that, everyone’s ready for a social chat. My group’s been in existence since 1996 and, when I joined around five years ago, they gave me a spreadsheet listing all the books they’d read over those years. As I skimmed through it, I cross-checked their back list against my own reading and found many books I’d read but an equal number I’d yet to discover.

I’ve learnt so much from my book group about a reader’s perspective on fiction and this has helped me with my own writing. Here are some of the reasons why:

I’m lucky that my book group goes way beyond a Marmite reaction to the books we read. If they say they like, or don’t like, something about the book, the writing or a character, they’re able to explain why. This helps me identify and understand weaknesses and plot holes in other novelists’ work that annoy readers. I wish I could say this helps me to avoid falling into the same mistakes – but at least it raises my awareness!

Writers must learn to cope with crippling self-doubt so it’s reassuring to be reminded you can’t please all of the people all of the time. People are looking for very different things in their choice of fiction and the novel that you, as a writer, are labouring over may be disliked by some people. Some readers are plot-driven – they want a good story that gallops ahead without too much effort. Others are attuned to strong, realistic characters or prefer a more thought-provoking or literary read. In my book group we read everything from commercial psychological thrillers to award-winning literary fiction and classics. No one feels embarrassed to admit they struggle with Hilary Mantel, but many others love her books.

At meetings we have wide and thought-provoking discussions that often go beyond the novel we’ve read. Novels with strong or multiple themes are especially good for prompting debate and this suits me because I like to write about contemporary themes in my own work. Discussion also sparks new ideas and imaginative directions that I file in my memory and may return to later.

Members of my book group have diverse tastes. We don’t limit ourselves to fiction but have also read memoirs and biographies. Sometimes I’ve had to wade through books about witches (not my thing) or 800-page historical novels (life’s too short) but reading outside my preferences is a discipline that teaches me new techniques I can use in my own writing.

Writers who skimp on research do so at their peril. Members of my book group have different careers and professions. They’ve studied a variety of subjects and some have spent chunks of their life living overseas. Everyone brings their own experience to a work of fiction and their eagle eyes often identify factual inaccuracies or research lapses! This reminds me to be extra meticulous in my own research and to get important facts checked by an expert.

That’s my take on a physical book group. What about the book clubs on social media?

In the last twelve months, I’ve joined four book groups on Facebook.  A couple of these are very active and I confess I hang out in them, chatting to other members, when I should be working, writing or editing. These are closed groups, run by one or more administrators, who are first line defenders against the bots, trolls and spammers and all the other kinds of haters, who spoil the online experience for others. The administrators deserve the highest praise because they ensure the book clubs are calm, comfortable spaces where everyone is respectful. Some of the groups specialise in one specific genre of fiction, for example, UK Crime Book Club – which does what it says on the tin. Others cover all literature and the excellent Fiction Café Book Club is in that category. 

So, what is their value for a writer?

Their main aim is to share a love (and opinions – positive and negative) of books, through recommendations and reviews.  Misguided authors might join, thinking they can pitch their books to a captive readership BUT must proceed with caution. If you wade in and start posting ‘Buy my book’ along with Amazon links (known as ‘dropping spam’) without participating in the group, you will get a warning and your membership may be terminated. Online book clubs have strict rules. These may include a dedicated page where authors can post details of special price offers, or a certain day or time when you can blow your own trumpet. If you have exciting news to share outside of these times, the etiquette is to contact an administrator and ask for permission to post. If approved, your content will then get the badge ‘Posted with admin permission’.

For me, networking with readers and other writers has been the most valuable aspect of belonging to a social media book group. We all support one another. More experienced writers can often answer questions or give advice about publishers or agents. Like any relationship, a subtle approach is best and soon you’ll build a new bookish network.

Social media book groups offer live events where authors can talk to an audience using Facebook Live. The Fiction Café Book Club hosts an Author Live Q&A every Sunday evening. Members post questions in advance and the author answers them on camera. I’m hooked and try to watch every week. I’ve even appeared in one myself and found it a great way of connecting with potential readers and building skills in answering impromptu questions from the audience.

Whether you’re a writer or a reader, book groups are a place to share your love of books and discover authors. If you an enjoy an author’s work, why not start a conversation? Begin by liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter. Sharing their publication news or writing book reviews are hugely important for all authors. And if you are a writer yourself, maybe one day they will do the same for you. 

About the book:

Two women. Two villages. Different destinies. Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London. Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected. Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours. On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.

Buy link: Amazon UK

Throughout August this book is only 99p when bought as an ebook through Amazon.


About the author:


‘After Leaving the Village’ was published by Hashtag Press in October 2017. It is my debut novel and won first prize in the opening pages category at Winchester Writers’ Festival. My novel is a gritty contemporary suspense thriller so won’t suit all tastes but it’s been hailed by reviewers as ‘very much a novel of our times’ and ‘powerful’…one of the reasons ‘why it has been endorsed by anti-slavery charity, Unseen.’

I’m now an ambassador for the charity and available to give talks at festivals, author events and to local groups about the themes in my novel. 

As a writer, I often ask the question – how can a life change in an instant? Sometimes this leads me to explore some dark places. I’d love to know what you think, so please leave a review.

I’ve won several short story prizes and my story ‘Coal’ was published in Artificium literary magazine. You can read my writing and travel blogs over on http://www.helenmatthewswriter.com where you’ll also find my contact details and can tell me what you loved – or hated – about my novel.

#BlogTour #GuestPost : The Vanished Child by M J Lee. @rararesources @writermjlee

I am delighted to be involved in this blog tour today. I have a fascinating guest post from the author about the truth behind the story in The Vanished Child. It’s a really interesting, though sad, read that I would recommend everyone reads before reading the book itself.

Blurb:  What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?

On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children’s home. She returned later but he had vanished. 

What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go? 

Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.

Can she find the vanished child?

This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

Every childhood lasts a lifetime.

Purchase Link – myBook.to/vanishedchild


Guest post: How true is the family history in The Vanished Child?

Between 1869 and the end of the 1960s, around 130,000 British children, both boys and girls, and some as young as four years old, were sent to the former colonies. This is a best guess, as nobody has come up with an exact figure yet.

They were part of a child migration scheme involving children from problem families and single-parent families, illegitimate children and children whose parents had abandoned them. Despite their description at the time, very few of these child migrants were actually orphans. The majority still had at least one parent still alive in the United Kingdom.

Until 1987, the plight of these children lay buried beneath a shroud of official blindness, bureaucratic incompetence, official secrecy and downright lies. At this time, Margaret Humphreys, then working for Nottingham Council as a social worker, became aware of the children by accident when a case she was working on revealed their existence. She went on to form the Child Migrants Trust, which is still the leading charitable organisation for these children.

My own knowledge of their plight came by accident too. I was researching in Manchester Central Library one summer’s day, on June 30, 2016, when I came across an exhibition in the foyer of old inmate books, dated 1894, from a children’s charity. 

One of the books was open at the page for Mary Nettleship from Ardwick in Manchester. Her story was sad but unfortunately typical. Her mother had died and her father was an alcoholic. She and her sister were placed in a care home at the ages of 9 and 12. On May 9, 1895, both sisters were sent aboard the SS Vancouver, bound for Canada. There was a picture in the book taken of Mary, wearing a long black dress, with short, cropped hair and a lonely look in her eyes. On the next page were two reports from a Canadian inspector, detailing that Mary had been placed with a Canadian family in Adolphstown, Ontario to work as a domestic. She had also been separated from her younger sister.

My curiosity was aroused. How had a young girl from Manchester ended up across the Atlantic? How had her father allowed this? (In the book it stated that he couldn’t be found.) Had he given permission? Why were the sisters separated? What happened to young Mary?

A week later I was in London to meet with my editors and publishers at the HarperCollins summer party, being held in the Victoria and Albert Museum. By chance, I noticed the museum had an exhibition on child migrants. I went back the following day and spent the afternoon looking at the exhibits. 

The seed for the book was planted that day, and I spent the next two months researching the history and personal stories of the child migrants.

The more I researched, the more I became perturbed by their experiences of transportation to Australia.  The Australian Commission into the Child Migrants concluded that between 7,000 and 10,000 children were sent to the country in the post-war period, mostly in the 1950s. The organisations involved were the Catholic Child Welfare Society, the Fairbridge Society, Dr Barnado’s, the Salvation Army and the Church of England. 

In a difference from Canada, most were not sent to people’s homes or adopted. Instead, they were placed in institutions to be ‘trained’ as farmers and domestics before entering the workforce at the age of fifteen. Again, most were boys and girls, aged between four and fourteen at the time of transportation.

My book is a novel, and all the main characters are creations. However, I have tried to remain true to the experiences of the child migrants.

Harry’s early life with the Sisters of Mercy is based on contemporary memoirs and notes. The voyage out to Australia uses a wonderful book by David Hill, The Forgotten Children, as its main source, plus a host of archival material from government reports, Royal Commissions, oral histories and memoirs from the child migrants themselves.

The speech of welcome given to Harry and the child migrants in Perth is actually an earlier speech given in 1938 to a group of children by the Archbishop of Perth. But there are other examples in the post-war archives of the church’s involvement in the White Australia policy, and a desire to increase the population of young Catholics in Australia. 

Harry’s experiences in Bindoon Boys Town are shocking but unfortunately confirmed by the memoirs and evidence presented at a number of Royal Commissions. 

Emotional, physical and sexual abuse were all rife in the institution. The migrants were used as child labour to build the place itself; long hours of work were accompanied by severe beatings. Emotionally, they received little or no affection or love, and were treated as objects rather than children. 

Sexual abuse was also commonplace in the Boys Town. Several of the former brothers were convicted of the abuse of children, but others were not charged with any offence.

As a consequence of their treatment, many of the residents have reported the inability to form relationships with other human beings as a consequence of their treatment at Bindoon. Many have also experienced problems with alcohol, drugs or an inability to settle in one place. 

One of the most painful things to do is watch the  children arriving in Fremantle in the newsreels of the period, seeing the smiles on their faces as they looked forward to a new life in a new country and knowing what actually awaited them.

As a Roman Catholic myself, I have no desire to excoriate the church. In truth, the abuses of children and child migrants were systemic in government homes and in other charitable institutions, both in the United Kingdom and Australia. However, the treatment of the child migrants in the four Christian Brothers institutions in Western Australia was particularly cruel, calculating and abusive. 

And what happened to Mary Nettleship, the young girl who started me on this path?

I researched her history as far as I could through the documents available in Canada. She worked as an unpaid domestic until she was eighteen, and then she married a carpenter, with whom she had four children. She settled down in Toronto to bring up her family, but unfortunately died of heart disease in 1929, aged just 42. Her husband died later in the year, leaving their children as orphans. Was her death precipitated by her early life and the domestic labour she endured from twelve years of age? We will never know.

And what of Mary’s younger sister?

I have been unable to find her after the census of 1901. Did she marry? Did she die? I have not been able to find out what happened to her so far.

Perhaps, I will be able to discover the truth one day. So that she will not be forgotten like so many of the other migrant children from the cities of Great Britain.

I don’t believe any writer can do justice to the experience of the child migrants, but their story needs to be told.

As David Hall says in his book, ‘Every childhood lasts a lifetime.’

This is true for all of us.

About the author:

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Social Media Links – 

Website: http://www.writermjlee.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/WriterMJLee

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/writermjlee

#BlogTour #GuestPost : The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton. @NeverlandBT @bookish_yogi

Today I am thrilled to be involved in the blog tour for The Things We Need to Say.  Many thanks to Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours for letting me be involved.  As you probably know I have barely 5 minutes to myself these days so unfortunately haven’t been able to review this fabulous sounding book but I do have a guest post for you, about Costa Dorada and the authors three favourite things to do in the area so read on and enjoy!

things we need to say tour

A true novel of the heart, Rachel’s The Things We Need to Say is at once beautifully written and achingly honest. This is a story that carries you away, taking you on an incredibly poignant journey, and which stays with you long after you finish. Read it! Jenny Ashcroft, author of Beneath a Burning Sky

‘Devastatingly beautiful, inspiring and extremely thought provoking; Rachel Burton has written from the heart as she unintentionally becomes the voice of everything we need to say.’ The Writing Garnet

Blurb:  Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the way things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

From the best-selling author of The Many Colours of Us comes an emotional story perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Need-Say-emotional-bestselling-ebook/dp/B076PV3DZ7/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526812362&sr=1-1&keywords=the+things+we+need+to+say

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37669968-the-things-we-need-to-say?ac=1&from_search=true

 

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Guest post:  My top three things to do in Costa Dorada this summer

The Spanish region of Catalonia runs down the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada and takes in parts of the Pyrenees as well. It is made up of four regions BarcelonaGironaLleida, and Tarragona.

I decided to set part of my second novel in the area around Tarragona and the Costa Dorada as it is an area I know and love and have spent many happy summers there. The beaches of Salou and Cambrils are amazing and if you visit you will probably stay very near one of these.

If you do visit (and who knows, maybe reading The Things We Need to Say will make you want to!), here are my top three favourite things to do in the area:

  1. A Day in Tarragona

Tarrogona is the main city on this stretch of the coastline. It is a busy bustling place with many shops and, like so many Mediterranean cities, is absolutely brilliant for people watching. There are lots of lovely pavement restaurants, plenty of sangria, gorgeously painted squares, a sandy beach, a casino and a medieval cathedral – what more could you want of a city?!

It was also the capital of Roman Spain and, like Fran in my book, I’m fascinated by the Romans. The Museu Nacional Arqueoligic is well worth a visit to give you and idea of how magnificent this area was in the first century the Museu d’Historia de Tarragona covers the three main Roman sites that you can still visit – the Circus, the Forum and the Amphitheatre.

Booklover Worm Guest Post Photo

2. Cambrils

If you stay in the busier resort of Salou, where Fran and her friends stay, you might enjoy a day in the quieter seaside town of Cambrils. It still has a big fishing community and lots of amazing tapas restaurants. The beach is a lot quieter too! Cambrils is about 6km from Salou and you can get there on a boat or, if you’re feeling brave, you can hire a bike.

And speaking of bikes…

3. Salou Downhill Biking

Jake’s business in The Things We Need to Say is based directly on Salou Downhill Biking, which is one of the best days out you can have in the area. Like Jake, Rob and Co will take you up the mountains in the National Park and you can cycle back down again, passing through old Catalonian villages, vineyards and olive groves. It really is idyllic – it’s much cooler in the mountains and a lot less busy. You can even get to stop for a traditional Catalonian lunch or a wine tasting. Find out more at http://www.downhillbikessalou.com/

Finally, for those of you with perhaps more energy than me and who want a really fun family day out, Porta Ventura theme park is in Salou as well and you can even stay at the park itself.

I hope you love the Costa Dorada as much as I do, even if you only visit it through the pages of my book!

 

 

About Rachel Burton

IMG_o7m8wqRachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.
After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.
She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.
Her debut novel THE MANY COLOURS OF US was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second, THE THINGS WE NEED TO SAY, is out in May 2018. She is currently working on her third book about a woman who followed the love of her life to a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday…

http://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi

http://www.twitter.com/bookish_yogi

http://www.rachelburtonwrites.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BlogBlitz #Guestpost : Desperate Ground by L J Morris. @LesJMorris @Bloodhoundbook

I am thrilled today to be taking part in the blog blitz for Desperate Ground. Many of you will know that I’m really busy at the moment so I’ve been unable to review this book but I do have a guest post from the author in which he talks about Heroes and Villians.

Blurb:  When the secrecy of a nuclear weapon agreement is thrown into doubt, a disgraced intelligence operative is recruited to find out if the deal is still safe…

Ali Sinclair, wrongly convicted and on the run from a Mexican prison, is enlisted to infiltrate her old friend’s inner circle and find the evidence.

The only people on her side are an ex-Cold War spook and the former Royal Marine that was sent to find her. Together they discover that the stakes are much higher than anyone knew, and the fate of the world is at risk…

But when you live in the shadows who can you trust?


Guest post: Heroes and Villains. 

I’ve always preferred stories with an anti-hero as the protagonist. Someone who is unconventional or outside of the system. Characters who have flaws and imperfections. From the rebel who isn’t afraid to break the rules (Jack Reacher) to the character who is, in fact, bad (Dexter Morgan). 

In my debut novel, Desperate Ground, the two main characters are in a similar mould. Ali Sinclair is a disgraced intelligence operative who is on the run from a Mexican prison where she has been wrongly serving a sentence for drug smuggling. Frank McGill is a former Royal Marine who has been investigated in connection with a number of killings. I think it’s safe to say that they both have questionable pasts.

However, in both of their cases, it is that questionable past that has given them the skills that turn them into the heroes of the novel. McGill, in particular, is only one step away from being one of the villain’s henchmen. He has a similar background to them and, given the right circumstances, could easily have ended up on the wrong side. 

McGill’s back story includes the murder of his wife and the revenge that he takes on the perpetrators. It shows that he is willing to break any law, in this case murder, to do what he thinks is right. In the eyes of the police, McGill is a criminal even though they don’t have enough evidence to lock him up.

McGill doesn’t see things as good or bad, right or wrong, he is only doing what is necessary to help Sinclair. She is all he cares about and that is the reason she is the only person who is 100% safe from him. Even those on his side. When Simeon Carter uses McGill to track down Sinclair, he is playing a dangerous game. If McGill suspects that he is being played or double crossed by Carter, especially where Sinclair is involved, he will turn against him.

Ali Sinclair, on the other hand, is now a criminal through no fault of her own. At the beginning of the story, she is serving seven years in a Mexican prison for a crime she didn’t commit. She has been abandoned by the people who she thought would help her. Even though she now has no problem with being on the wrong side of the law at times, she still has a very strong sense of right and wrong. She will always try and do the right thing and, in doing that, is the only person keeping McGill in check.

A few weeks ago, my friend, and fellow author, Graham Smith made a comment that I’ve never really considered before. He said that the film Die Hard is a heist movie when watched from the point of view of the film’s villain, Hans Gruber.

Now, leaving aside the argument over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film or not, most people would describe it as the story of a hero cop stopping a group of terrorists who’ve taken over a building. 

However, from Hans Gruber’s point of view, it is the story of a gang of would be thieves having their heist plans foiled by bad luck (John Maclean is only in the building to visit his wife). A story akin to Ocean’s 11 or The Italian Job with Gruber playing the George Clooney or Michael Cain part.

Similarly, in Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal, the character of The Jackal is, undoubtedly, bad, but there is no real difference between his character and Jack Higgins’ Sean Dillon. Dillon is an ex-assassin and terrorist who is now on the “good” side. In The Day of the Jackal, if the target of the assassination plot were changed from General De Gaulle, as it is in the book, to some third world dictator, The Jackal suddenly becomes the hero.

The villain in Desperate Ground, Viktor Bazarov, believes that what he is doing is right. He thinks that the world would be a better place if he achieved his goals. The same is true of his backer. Bazarov’s henchmen, on the other hand, are just there to take orders and get paid. The only difference between them and McGill is Sinclair. Without her influence, McGill could easily become a gun for hire.

I think a phrase that I’ve often heard sums it up pretty well, “Every character is the hero of their own story.” The best characters, hero and villain, are those who are convinced that they are in the right. Villains, even serial killers, don’t see themselves as evil and a henchman who thinks what he is doing is wrong can easily be turned or switch sides. 

The hero who could have been or could still become a villain and vice versa creates a level of conflict that makes for a great character.

About the author


L J Morris is an author with a love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child.

After a career in the Royal Navy, which spanned most of the 80s and 90s, he settled back in Cumbria and soon realised that an unsuccessful attempt to write a serial killer novel at the age of 12 hadn’t blunted his ambitions.

He started to write again and has enjoyed success with his short stories appearing in several anthologies. Although he still enjoys writing short stories, his passion has always been for thriller novels and he has spent the last few years following his dream of being a published novelist.


Links

Website:          www.ljmorrisauthor.com

Facebook:        www.facebook.com/LesJMorris

Twitter:           @LesJMorris



#BlogBlitz #Guestpost : Mark of the Devil by Tana Collins. @TanaCollins7 @Bloodhoundbook 

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for Tana Collins’ latest novel, Mark of the Devil. Unfortunately I’ve not had time to read this fabulous sounding book but I do have a guest post from Tana about her journey to getting published.

Blurb:  While Inspector Jim Carruthers and team are busy investigating a series of art thefts they receive an anonymous tip about the body of a young woman on a deserted beach.

The bizarre clues to her identity, and what might have happened to her, include a strange tattoo, a set of binoculars and slab of meat left on the cliffs.


The team’s investigations lead them to a local shooting estate and its wealthy owner Barry Cuthbert. However, Carruthers suspects Cuthbert is not all he seems and the DI soon starts to wonder if the cases of the missing works of art, the dead woman and the estate are connected.

 

Then when the body of a young gamekeeper is pulled from the sea tensions boil over. The trail of clues lead the team to the unlikely locale of Tallinn and into the sinister world of international crime and police corruption.


Needing answers Carruthers must look further afield than Fife. However, the closer he gets to discovering the truth the more danger he finds himself in.

 

Since everyone who crosses the vengeful killers seem to end up dead, can Carruthers solve the case with his life intact?



Guest post: My journey in to getting published.

It took me a long time to write my first book and as luck would have it a relatively short time to get published. I always think you need a bit of luck in order to get a publishing deal. For starters you need to hit the market at the right time with the right sort of book.


My luck came in the form of the decision to write three books in a series and get the first two professionally edited before even thinking about approaching publishing companies. That decision stood me in really good stead. I also had an excellent editor without whose structural guidance would have made my debut novel, Robbing the Dead, a completely different book. And a poorer one at that. After her first reading of Robbing the Dead she told me that I would have to do a massive rewrite if I wanted it to be good enough to get published. In actual fact I ended up rewriting it twice.  But I didn’t give up.

That’s the other thing about writing. You can’t be a quitter. I once heard the saying, “the writers who get published are the ones that never quit.” And that is so true. I’m living testament to that. In fact it took me ten years to write and rewrite my first book. In that time, to be fair, I had already written the second in the series, Care to Die. And it was on the strength of the second, not the first, that I got my publishing deal. I actually got turned down by my now publishers for Robbing the Dead. They told me that my work was too close to someone else they had on their books, but that if I didn’t have a deal with another publishing company by October of that year, (the year being 2016) I was to get back in touch with them.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Robbing the Dead, was released in February 2017 and became an Amazon Number One bestseller. Care to Die was published in June 2017 and became a Top 10 bestseller, endorsed by Peter Robinson, the author of the DCI Banks series. Mark of the Devil, the third novel in the series, is being published on 24th April. I am utterly delighted with the reviews I’ve received for the series from Amazon and Goodreads readers. I aim to write contemporary plots set in a Scottish setting with a cast of convincing characters. One reviewer said of my books that I write “hard hitting crime thrillers which have a deeply emotional side to the plot.” I love that. I think it sums up what I’m trying to achieve perfectly.


About the author:

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 bestseller for Scottish crime fiction.  Care to Die, the follow up in the series, also became a Top 10 Amazon bestseller. Published on 1st June 2017 Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks,  as  “A finely plotted mystery. Tana Collins racks up the suspense on this one. DI Jim Carruthers is a cop to watch.”  In September 2017 having won one of the coveted Spotlight places at Bloody Scotland Tana supported Lynda La Plante on stage.

Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018. Author Leigh Russell writes of it, “A cracking read. The suspense never lets up.”

Tana is a trained Massage Therapist and Stress Management Consultant.


Author Links: 

Website: tanacollins.com

Twitter: @TanaCollins7

Author Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829