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Why Rachel isn’t Bitter at all!

Bitter Edge Book Cover Bitter Edge
DI Kelly Porter #4
Rachel Lynch
Crime Fiction
Canelo Escape
Release Date: 25th February 2019

DI Kelly Porter is back, but so is an old foe and this time he won’t back down... When a teenage girl flings herself off a cliff in pursuit of a gruesome death, DI Kelly Porter is left asking why. Ruled a suicide, there’s no official reason for Kelly to chase answers, but as several of her team’s cases converge on the girl’s school, a new, darker story emerges. One which will bring Kelly face-to-face with an old foe determined to take back what is rightfully his – no matter the cost. Mired in her pursuit of justice for the growing list of victims, Kelly finds security in Johnny, her family and the father she has only just discovered. But just as she draws close to unearthing the dark truth at the heart of her investigation, a single moment on a cold winter’s night shatters the notion that anything in Kelly’s world can ever truly be safe. Don't miss this gripping crime thriller featuring a phenomenal detective. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Patricia Gibney and Robert Bryndza.

Interview with Rachel

Questions for Authors: choose from list

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
    The crime genre is something that has fascinated me since I was a teenage reader. It’s something about the ancient battle between good and evil that captivates me and urges me to create my own protagonists and antagonists. I think my approach is unique because the protagonist remains the same (Kelly Porter) but the plot line changes dramatically from one book to the next to keep readers attentive. I’ve tackled subjects such as sex slavery, teenage drug abuse, domestic abuse, PTSD and aristocratic angst, and each book can stand alone.
  2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
    An idea can come from something as simple as climbing a mountain in the Lakes, or visiting a waterfall; and that becomes my next backdrop. The baddies and their dark deeds come as I’m writing.
  3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
    My research never stops. I’m always reading about police procedural methods and forensic science, as well as criminal psychology and profiling. Before I start, I guess I spend around four weeks planning what shape the book might take, but this could be in the form of day dreaming about it on a train journey into London.
  4. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
    The best resource available is the internet. It’s quick, quirky and I can pretty much find out anything I need to from there. Occasionally, I’ll refer to a history book (I used to teach the subject), or check a map of the Lakes. I also like talking to people and I interview police officers regularly.
  5. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
    Police officers, in my experience, are more than happy to chat about what they do. It’s one of the most satisfying elements of my work, because they share their instincts and passion for solving a riddle.
  6.  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
    Before publishing with Canelo, my biggest achievement was finding my agent: Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, in 2016. Before that, I reckon my work had been rejected at least fifty times.
  7. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
    No.
  8. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
    It depends what you’re trying to achieve. If you want exposure then you need a team behind you and so the first thing I would recommend is reading the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook and getting an agent.
  9. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
    No!
  10. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?
    I’m digital only until my books are released in paperback later this year, so I’ve never done one, apart from Twitter. Generally reviewers are lovely on Twitter.
  11. What do you read when you are ill in bed?
    Cookery books!
  12. What is your favourite genre?
    This question is a bit like I approach art: it has to touch me, so if I connect with it; any genre. It might make me laugh, cry, recoil or dream about it, but it has to grab me else I’ll put it down.
  13. If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

    Living author- Stephen King. Dead author- Thomas Hardy
  14. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?
    I have developed my own style through hundreds of edits and good old fashioned hard work. If I tried to be like anyone, else I would fail. I reckon I wrote about a million words (ten books) before I produced anything any good.
  15. In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
    Ben Elton
  16. Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

    No. It wouldn’t be convincing.
  17. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
    Lost them!
  18. Do you have any pets?
    1. If so, what are they?
    2. And what are they called?
    3. Do they help you write?
  1. Yes, a dog, she’s called Poppy and she’s a border/Jack Russell cross. She watches me write and guards my door! She scared the life out of me one day when she started barking and scratching the door- she’d seen something in the garden. I let her out, after tutting loudly and probably swearing like Kelly Porter, and she caught a squirrel! Oops. Instinct: it can’t be tame

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

Twitter: @r_lynchcrime

Previous Books: Dark Game, Deep Fear and Dead End

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Animals and Farms – what’s not to like? The author explains

ReInventing HillWilla Book Cover ReInventing HillWilla
Hillwilla Trilogy #3
Melanie Forde
Literary/Women's Contemporary
Independently published
(November 4, 2018)

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwill trilogy -- all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

Questions for Authors:

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

There’s been no set time-frame for thinking through novel ideas. Once an idea seems to have legs, I set up a “fermenting file,” which will collect odd bits of research (90 percent of it never used) and random notes to myself. My initial idea may change dramatically even before I start writing, as well as during the writing process. I’ve published four novels now (and am currently working sporadically on two at the same time) and with every one, I start out knowing how the novel should begin and how it should end. So far, that certainty has not changed. It’s that large space in the middle that gets tricky. After the first few chapters, I inevitably get stuck. This is probably because my novels are so character-driven and the characters start having minds of their own and taking me places I didn’t anticipate going. If I let them talk to me, without my losing control completely, the workflow changes halfway through the novel. At that mystical halfway point, I suddenly know how to get to that previously envisioned final chapter. Suddenly, I’m able to chart out six or seven chapters at a time. The main challenge then becomes keeping up with the flow. I may still get stuck occasionally, but nowhere near as profoundly or frequently as in the first half of the writing process.

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

The research time frame varies with every book. My first two books were non-fiction, ghostwritten with a deadline and overall subject area someone else proposed. That was a much more structured process than for fiction writing. With both of those non-fiction projects, I had six months to deliver the draft. In both cases, I spent four of those months researching and two months writing. Although there was some spillover, the research and writing phases were largely segregated.

With fiction, there’s much less compartmentalization. Reinventing Hillwilla required the least amount of research time of any of my books. Even though I wrote it as a standalone, it is, after all, the third in a series, with the same venue and same principal characters. So those characters were well-developed by the time Chapter 1 ended up on paper. Nevertheless, there were lots of facts I had to check — for example, about the legal system, about the exotic locales Tanner visits, etc. And before I plunked Clara in the middle of Wellesley College, I trekked up to Massachusetts and chatted with students to get a better sense of the current campus culture. That way I had something firmer than memories of my own college years, and I learned about some key changes in campus venues and dormitory life.

One final comment about research… My most valuable research tool is bald observation. A favorite pastime is to park myself, solo, in a restaurant, in a region that will be the venue for part of a novel. Then I shamelessly eavesdrop on conversations at nearby tables. I’ll make mental notes of vocabulary choices, pronunciation, phrasing. At one point, I overheard a local speak about the need to “ponder” something before finding the solution to a problem. That verb struck me as downright eloquent, uniquely West Virginian. And you’ll hear it coming out of Ben Buckhalter’s mouth.

  • What is your favourite genre?

My favorite genre? Hmmm, depends on my mood. I’ve certainly had my cop-shop whodunit phase, cozy mystery phase, family saga phase, biography/autobiography phase and period novel phase. Literary novels are a constant, however. Especially those involving flawed, complicated characters with dark pasts. Not surprisingly, those are the kind of novels I want to write, too.

  • If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

Recommendation of a living author? When it comes to wordsmithing chops, the first name that pops up is Alexander McCall Smith, author of the Botswana lady detective agency series and the Scotland Street series (my favorite), among many, many others. That man can string words together so eloquently, combining both economy of language and lyrical flow, he just makes my jaw drop. He also has a talent for delicately tweaking certain social trends, without coming across as preachy.

As for dead authors, oy, so many. If I focus on economy of language, John Cheever and Emily Dickinson come to mind. Both could pack so much into so few words, in very different ways. Both had an appealingly dark sense of irony, too. Writers who stretched my brain — but made that painful effort worthwhile — include such greats as Shakespeare, Goethe, Rilke, Eliot. I’m sure I’m forgetting others who had a major influence on me.

  • Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

No, I’ve never tried to imitate another writer’s style. But I’m sure I’ve subconsciously absorbed elements from other authors. Perhaps because I spent most of my professional life as a nonfiction ghostwriter, it’s really important for me to speak in my own (unique, I hope) voice as a novelist.

  • Do you have any pets?

Do I have pets? Is accounting boring? The numbers are down to a precious few these days: one soft-eyed English setter who looks a lot like Ralph (but was born years after Ralph); one English cocker spaniel with the swagger of a rhinoceros and a great sense of irony; and one gray barn cat who has staff.

  1. If so, what are they?

Over the years, my life has been blessed by llamas; a string of English setters, one Old English Sheepdog (hmmm, there seems to be a pattern here of English-bred dogs), one mutt; one ginormous Newfoundland; a bunch of rescue and feral cats; a series of fancy long-haired cats (Himalayan and Birman); one Peruvian guinea pig (whom I named Fash, short for Fascist Pig); and two parakeets, who got me through the terrible five-year era when my childhood family was dogless.

  • Do they help you write?

Yes, my pets help me write. I can’t remember how many dog-walks have freed up writer’s block. Mainly, my animal companions have safeguarded my sanity, which fiction-writing constantly undermines.

Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A?

If you’re interested in pictures, you need look no further than the cover of Reinventing Hillwilla. My current setter Finnegan ably stepped up to portray the spectral Ralph. But, yes, I had to bribe him with treats.

Author Details:

Melanie Forde is a veteran writer, ghosting in diverse formats—from academic white papers to advertising copy. Under her own name, she has published numerous features and commentaries about the natural world, as well as the first two novels in the Hillwilla trilogy (Hillwillaand On the Hillwilla Road). She lives in Hillsboro, West Virginia.

Connect with Melanie:

Website:  https://bit.ly/2Aokmfm 

Facebook: https://bit.ly/2LLPOsj

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Vnr2TS 

Twitter: https://bit.ly/2C0dJjA 

Purchase Reinventing Hillwilla on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QkqLgH 

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Giving Birth: True

Hard Pushed Book Cover Hard Pushed
Leah Hazard
memoir, medical, science, nursing
Hutchinson
May 2, 2019
304

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.  Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all. Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward. Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.

A true memoir by a Canadian/English midwife about her work in the NHS. Her book shows us just how underfunded, understaffed, under waged and under resourced midwives are. They are perhaps the least recognised area of nursing for its strains and difficulties that come from being there at the time of birth – literally your babies’ lives are in their hands – and they are overworked. There aren’t enough beds now that just about every birth is in a hospital.

Home births are now a rarity (except perhaps in very rural areas of Scotland where getting to a hospital is tricky). And yet, given the right circumstances, and assuming that the birth is not expected to be difficult, a home birth can be much less traumatic for all, including the baby. The next best thing is what was offered when I was pregnant. The GP ward. Where you are quiet and attended by your GP and a midwife rather than the high tech version. And you can easily move into the high tech version if needed. Giving birth can be hazardous for some and unexpected occurrences happen quickly. Which bis where the poor midwife is on hand – hopefully, to sort the issue out.

Though I did appreciate the high tech version when I had to have epidurals and caesareans.

I found this a genuine and moving book. I know a young midwife and met her several times as she was training, and know how hard it was for her and what long hours she worked.

Leah told her story in a very accessible style. Her words were clear and not flowery – but compassionate and truthful.

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Which Testament?: Extract

A Testament to Murder Book Cover A Testament to Murder
A Murder Will Follow Mystery Book 1
Vivian Conroy
Cosy Crime
Canelo
18th February 2019

Book Blurb: Suspenseful from the first page to the last, A Testament to Murder is perfect for fans of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Crooked House A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize...  At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever. Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize. As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…

A 1920s murder mystery to keep you guessing

“Anna!” Kenneth ran up to the figure in white who was cutting a few roses at the back of the garden. “I didn’t see you at breakfast. I was worried that you had left anyway.”

She didn’t look at him as she reached out for another soft yellow rose, resting it in the palm of her hand a moment, before cutting it and putting it with the others in the basket on her arm.

“Anna?” Kenneth studied her tight profile. “Is something wrong?”

“Of course not. I had breakfast in the kitchen earlier with the other servants. I was only at dinner last night because Mr Bryce-Rutherford wanted to make his revelation.”

“He can’t let you eat with the servants. You’re not like them.”

“How would you know?” Anna asked, but he saw the smile tugging at her lips.

Encouraged, he continued, “I’ll ask Uncle Malcolm if you can eat with us every day. I bet he’ll think it’s a great idea. He must like you. He doesn’t have any people around him who are…” Young, fresh, breathtaking. “Who can cheer him up. I think he needs that. He thinks he’s dying. But perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he’s only depressed because everything is so sad here and everybody treats him like an invalid. We could make things different for him.”

“You honestly think he isn’t dying?” Anna asked. A frown hovered over her eyes.

Kenneth shrugged. “I would feel ill if everybody treated me like I was ill all of the time. Theodora with her things that he has to eat because they are good for him. And that darkened room. He needs to do something fun.”

Anna held his gaze. “Can we take him on our boat trip?”

Kenneth suddenly saw his whole boat trip where he would impress Anna with his skills and his strength ruined by the presence of a nagging old man. Or worse even, an old man who would look at him with knowing eyes, smirking at the schoolboy trying to win a woman of the world.

He said quickly, “I think that would be too dangerous. The sea could be rough and rock the boat. What if he fell out of the boat and drowned?”

Anna’s eyes were a deep endless blue. “Yes,” she said slowly, “what if…”

Here outside the house her smooth skin didn’t seem so porcelain-like but had more of a tan, a healthy glow, blending out her freckles. Her hands moved with quick determination as she chose just the right rose to snip off and put in her basket.

One threatened to slip off from the top of the bunch and she grabbed it. “Ouch!” She retracted her hand and a drop of blood sat on her fingertip. She stared at it with a pained expression.

Kenneth pulled out his handkerchief and offered it to her. She used it to dab at the blood, leaving a bright red stain on the handkerchief. She smiled at him as she handed it back to him. “Thank you. How clumsy of me.”

Kenneth put the handkerchief back in his pocket and studied the blue skies above. “We could go boating now. Uncle Malcolm doesn’t need you right away.” He said it in a blunt, confident tone.

Anna looked doubtful. “I promised to bring in these roses and arrange them for him in a vase.”

“Theodora can do it. There she is.” Kenneth pointed at the drab figure in grey which had come out of the house and stood on the terrace.

“She doesn’t like me,” Anna said. “I don’t know why. I take good care of my patient.”

Kenneth shrugged. “Some people think they can do everything better. That’s just the way they are. Let me take the basket to her. You go get a cardigan or something. It can be chilly on the water.”

Anna suddenly laughed out loud. She handed him the basket and the cutting tool and then threw her arms up in the air and cheered. “Ken, you’re a doll.” She ran off around the house to where the kitchen entrance was.

Kenneth stood motionless, his cheek burning as if she had leaned in and kissed him there and then. He thought she might have wanted to do that if Theodora hadn’t been watching them.

He turned to the woman with resentment clawing at his stomach. That ugly old witch had to ruin everything for everyone. If anybody ought to die here, it ought to be her.

He carried the basket to her, holding the tool out like a weapon.

Theodora was studying the view and only noticed him at the last moment. She yelped and clutched her hands together. “Kenneth! What are you doing?”

“Here are some roses for Uncle Malcolm. I thought you would like to arrange them in a vase and take them up to him.” Kenneth held the tool and basket out to her. “He’ll appreciate all the trouble you go through for him.”

Something lit in those dull eyes over the long, forever sniffing nose. She said in a surprised tone, “That’s very kind of you, Kenneth.”

He shrugged. Her eyes made him uncomfortable as if she could see right through him. “I think you care very much for him. And he needs that.”

The eyes lit even more. “Yes, he needs that.” Theodora ran a finger over the soft petals of one of the roses. “Even if he will never admit it.”

Kenneth pulled back his shoulders and repeated something he had heard his mother say to her friends, “A man will never admit he needs a woman.”

Theodora nodded. “How true. You’re extremely intelligent for your age.” She cast a long loving look at the roses and then turned away. Before she entered the house, she called to him, “Remember one thing though: Anna can’t swim.”

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Armed with cheese and chocolate, Vivian Conroy sits down to create the aspirational settings, characters with secrets up their sleeves, and clever plots which took several of her mysteries to #1 bestseller in multiple categories on Amazon US and Canada. Away from the keyboard, Vivian likes to hike (especially in the Swiss mountains), hunt for the perfect cheesecake and experience the joy in every-day life, be it a fiery sunset, a gorgeous full moon or that errant butterfly descending on the windowsill.

Twitter: @VivWrites

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Books and Coffee – great!

Little Book Cafe: Amy's Story Book Cover Little Book Cafe: Amy's Story
Little Book Cafe
Georgia Hill
women's fiction romance
harper impulse
19 Oct 2018

Escape to the seaside for a new three-part series for fans of The Canal Boat Cafe and Willow Cottage

Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, is a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.

With her friends Tash and Emma, not to mention their shared love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, Amy might just find the courage to fall for a real life romance this time…

Amy's Story is the final instalment of The Little Book Cafe series so wrap up warm this Autumn and treasure this wonderful book.

This cafe is actually next door to the bookshop even though you can purchase coffee and cakes inside the bookshop. I found this rather confusing as I could not decide where the coffee came from.. but as the premises were jointly owned..

This book is set in a fictional south coast UK town which is all too nice and neat for reality – where these towns are struggling and not so nice any more – but some of the economic difficulties were mentioned as were the lack of anything for youngsters to do – which led them to petty vandalism.

 A cosy book that lacked any ‘bite’ with a very ‘soft’ style. Very much in older style of traditional romances which include a Cinderella hiding from the world in baggy clothes etc with a weight problem – she thinks. And a rescuer.

Sweet but could have been better.

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