Shanghai Tang #BlogTour Mick Bose @sbasu13 #CharacterSpotlight @emmamitchellfpr

Today I have the pleasure of joining in with Mick Bose’s Shanghai Teng blog tour! 

Shanghai Tang Banner (1)

Many thanks to Emma Mitchell for the opportunity to take part.

Character Spotlight…..

Dan Roy

I originally intended Dan to be an English soldier. Specifically, an SAS man, who was trying to find his way out of trouble when a mission goes wrong. But I wanted him to tie in with an American corruption scandal, and a terrorist plot that originated there. It took time and some deliberation, but in the end, I envisaged Dan as the type of person who has spent most of his battling inner demons, like many soldiers do.
He was always going to have an American mother and an English father, but finally he became a fully American one. I saw his lonesome, brooding character as someone similar to an old western hero. The type who is disillusioned with the world, and wants to escape. I had a vision of a man on horseback, going through the deserts of western plains, with only the creaking of his saddle, and his ride, for company. Then I imagined him as a special forces soldier in the same situation. Left to die, and fighting back to clear his name.
Parts of Dan’s character was forged from my conversation with a soldier I met while waiting for the doctor. He was a Gurkha, in fact, and listening to his stories of training in the highest regions of the world – in Nepal, gave me an idea to base part of Dan’s childhood there. Gurkha’s have extraordinary fitness as they run up and down mountain slopes of the Himalayas. Dan did the same with his parents, who worked for United Nations, and were based at a Nepalese village while he was a teenager. Carrying a doko bag on his head, and scrambling up the hills in low oxygen environments was to give Dan a level of physical fitness far superior to his army contemporaries.
The training continued when he was chosen to join Delta Forces, similar to the SAS in England. Special Forces soldiers train very hard, and have fitness levels similar to professional athletes. They often speak foreign languages, and are skilled at surviving in extreme environments. Dan is fluent in Russian, and in his very first novella, he is based in a remote district of Afghanistan, where a Russian plot is discovered.
In the next novel, Hidden Agenda, Dan is in London, and he is betrayed.
He doesn’t spend too much time wallowing in the past however. Doing that would be counterproductive. He is a man of action after all, and as he falls into trouble, his natural instinct is to get out of it.
By the time “Shanghai Tang” comes around, Dan has faded to the far East. It is something he has always wanted to do. Personally, I have some experience of living in Asia, and that comes out strongly in the novel.
Dan is a physical man, and staying in shape came with his army training, the only training he’s ever had. In Hong Kong, it becomes natural for him to take up Muay Thai, or Thai Style Kick Boxing, similar to Tae Kwon Do. He enjoys the hard work, and slowly gravitates towards the underground blood sport tournament called the Kumite. It’s illegal, and the Triads are involved
in betting and collecting money. At first, Dan is treated with wariness, as there is no dearth of occidentals who join the Kumite, only to fail miserably. But Dan succeeds, and even gains himself a nick name – Ju Long, the Dragon Slayer.
To be honest, Dan finds peace in the far East. He is anonymous, a stranger in a sea of humanity. The open markets, the crowds, the culture, everything is easy to adapt to. People don’t judge him. Yes, he does fall into trouble, but he doesn’t go looking for it, it happens. He makes plenty of friends as well. There is a protective streak in his personality, and in the previous novel, The Tonkin Protocol, he helps a little girl called Maya.
In this book, his comes across a Chinese woman called Xei Wai-Ling. As he gets to know her, he finds out more about the Chinese way of life. He gets deeper into Chinese customs, how they think, in fact, how they run their country. Chinese have a very communal way of thinking. Individuals don’t really consider themselves separate from the rest of society. Privacy has a very different meaning in China.
As Dan discovers, there is a saying – An upright nail gets hammered down.
A lot of Shanghai Tang is about Dan getting to know the Chinese culture, and how he changes as a result of that experience.

Shanghai Tang cover

Blurb:

Shanghai Tang – a fast paced and heart pounding action thriller from the wildly popular Dan Roy Series. A betrayed assassin is thrust into the secret life of Shanghai’s underworld. Dan Roy, ex Black Ops legend, is becoming a new legend in the infamous blood fight tournament called Kumite, in Hong Kong. He is carving himself a new life, when disaster strikes his loved ones back home. He gets a phone call, and he cannot deny Kimberly Smith’s plea for help. Not only is Kim’s life endangered, the rumbles of discontent have reached the White House… A devastating secret lurks inside the glamorous night life of Shanghai. Political interests are involved, and soon Dan finds himself in a ruthless and twisted struggle for survival. He gets help from Xiao WeiLing, A Chinese woman who is on the run herself. An ambitious Triad boss is making a bid to overrule the whole of Shanghai, and Dan Roy has become a thorn in his side. The Triads have help from the police, and all eyes are on Dan – alone in a foreign land. Get prepared for a white-knuckle ride from Hong Kong and Shanghai to the corridors of power in Washington, as we follow Dan on a terrifying adventure that could be his last. Will Dan meet his nemesis in the murky underworld of Shanghai? Or will he fight to live another day?

Buy your copy…..

About the author:

Mick Bose

If you are enthralled by Lee Child, David Baldacci and mesmerised by Vince Flynn, then you will like Mick Bose. Mick Bose is a writer in London who can often be found jogging around the parks of Wimbledon, when he is not writing.

The popular and well received series about Dan Roy is a tornado of hard action and military secrets. A novella introducing Dan is now out, which is available to subscribers free at http://www.mickbose.com.

He also has a standalone thriller, Enemy Within, which is a nail biting, fast paced manhunt about a secret weapon that can change World War 1. It is also a gesture of respect to the 100-year anniversary of the Great War.

Mick Bose’s Amazon Author Page

Enjoy!

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Her Last Secret #BlogBlitz Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture #BookReview

I am absolutely over the moon to be taking part in Barbara Copperthwaite’s Her Last Secret blog blitz! 🙂 🙂 🙂  So chuffed to be able to share my review of this amazing book with you all!

Her Last Secret - Blog Tour

My review…..

Written Monday 18th September 2017

OH MY WORD! This is a fantastic read! It’s the most intense and terrifying countdown to Christmas Day I have ever experienced.

In Her Last Secret we meet the Thomas family. On the surface, a loving family enjoying Ben’s success. It just goes to show you never know what might be going on behind closed doors.

The story alternates between Christmas Day and the days on the run up to it. I knew something terrible had happened, but exactly what and why was drip fed to me along the way, making this an absolutely gripping read. I was totally immersed in the Thomas family’s story. I read it in 2 days which might not be unusual for some, but is quick for me.

Ruby seems like a typical teenager to start with, but it soon becomes obvious that her mental health is a serious issue. She has been the victim of bullying and although she comes across as a bit of a spoilt brat, I really sympathised with her. My son was bullied all through high school and I will never know what that really did to him. He has always struggled to make friends and this has a seriously negative impact on his self esteem. I pray to God that he finds the strength to move on and not allow his past to consume him, as Ruby does.

As a parent, I can empathise with Ben and Dominique, as it’s easy to assume our teenagers are just being their usual stroppy selves and it’s easy to miss what might really be going on. You never really know what’s going on in their heads, especially if they are reluctant to talk and constantly shut you out. I can totally see how frustrating it is for Ruby though, feeling like she’s not listened to when she tries to involve her parents. I try my hardest to always listen when my children need to talk, but there is no handbook and non of us are perfect parents. I get things wrong. A LOT!

Anyway, I’m rambling, sorry.

Dominique is a likeable character on the whole. I have no idea how I would cope with finding out my world is falling apart around me whilst trying to keep a smile on my face in the hope of making Christmas special still, despite being desperately unhappy. She does it mostly for the sake of Mouse (Amber) her youngest, as she doesn’t want her to remember Christmas in any negative way. Mouse is the most lovely character. She’s a beautiful little girl who loves to hide in her wardrobe with her ted, torch and a book. She’s very confused why Ruby no longer wants to spend any time with her and is often left disappointed when her mother seems disinterested in anything she has to say. She doesn’t understand the heart-break her mother is facing. She seems quite used to her Dad not being around much though.

Ben is a much less likeable character. His greed and selfishness have landed him, his colleagues and family in a right mess. When things start catching up with him he isn’t left with many options.

This is a very emotional read. It sometimes made me smile, but also made me feel sad, angry and shocked. I did cry at the end! Outstanding, I highly recommend!

Many thanks to the author for my ARC of Her Last Secret and for inviting me to a part of her fab blog blitz. It’s an honour.

Her Last Secret cover

Description:

There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

Amazon Links:

UK 🇬🇬 http://amzn.to/2eOtJtF

US 🇬🇬 http://amzn.to/2jhcE0G

Author Bio:

Barbara Copperthwaite author picture

What people say about Barbara’s books:

“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror

“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine

“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine

Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCopperthwait

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_barbara_copperthwaite/

Website: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

Previous posts on Chat About Books featuring Barbara Copperthwaite and her books…..

Q&A with author, Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait

#CoverReveal #HerLastSecret @BCopperthwait @bookouture

 

 

The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #Extract

I am thrilled to be joining in with Bookouture’s campaign to fill social media with an extract from Shalini Boland’s The Secret Mother! 🙂 

Enjoy, and share if you can!

Many thanks to Kim Nash, at Bookouture, for the opportunity to take part.

The-Secret-Mother-Kindle.jpeg

Blurb…..

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

Extract…..

THE SECRET MOTHER

By Shalini Boland

Chapter One The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things. It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet. Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before. Almost home. My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.
At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead. Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house? I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more. Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe. Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair. He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment. ‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks. I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’ ‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains. ‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’ ‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’ Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now
a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears. ‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’ His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks. ‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’ ‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter. ‘And who did you come with?’ I ask. ‘The angel.’ I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’ ‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’ ‘The angel?’ He nods. I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’ ‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’ I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere. ‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes. Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’ ‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’ I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’ ‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’ My heart squeezes at his politeness. ‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’ ‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate,
so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’ He grins and slides off the stool. What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry. He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts. ‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’ ‘Oh, okay.’ ‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’ He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice. ‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary. ‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’ ‘What? Now?’ ‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’ ‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’ ‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him? ‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making. ‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’ His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’
‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’ My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from? I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here. ‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes. ‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’ He eagerly does as I ask. ‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’ He stares at the pans in the drawer. ‘Harry?’ I prompt. ‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction. ‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’ No reply. ‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’ ‘No.’ ‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’ He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor. ‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can. He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’ I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’ ‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers. ‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’ He nods vigorously and sniffs. I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?
And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine. I don’t have a child. Not any more.

THE SECRET MOTHER
UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2xrkDu4
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2vXeg3W

What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

‘Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 am. I literally could not put it down!!!! The story line and the twists and the way it’s written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it’s going I couldn’t read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant and an end I didn’t see coming. This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I’m usually never surprised by an ending, but this one blew me away. I am totally in shock and think I’ll have a hangover from this book for a while. A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word.’ Stacey Harrell, Goodreads 

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author… massive five stars from me.’ Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club, 5 stars

‘The ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down.’ For the Love of Books, 5 stars

‘The plot is gripping and once you’ve started reading, you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end.’ Bits About Books, 5 Stars
 
… one of the most chilling reads of the year for me.’Ajoobacats Blog, 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down!’ Bookishly Ever After, 5 stars
 
‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve read. It is full of suspense and has more twists and turns than a fairground ride.’ Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club, 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the jaw dropping moment happened!… unputdownable!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the twists and turns… an outstanding explosive read!’ Mello and June, 5 Stars

Shalini Boland

Chat About Books is 2 today! :-) #Blogiversary #Giveaway

Two years today.jpg

Chat About Books is 2 years old today! I can’t quite believe it!

I just want to say a big, huge thank you to all you lovely people who follow my little blog, read my posts, like my posts, share my posts and join in with giveaways etc. Also to everyone who nominated and voted for my blog in this years Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. Your support means more to me than you’ll ever know and I am so blessed to know you all!

To all the fabulous authors, publishers & book publicists, it is an honour to work with you all!

Giveaway…..

I haven’t yet decided on the prize exactly, but anyone who comments on this post will have their name put in the hat for the chance to win a surprise parcel.

Thank you! 🙂

Love

Kerry. x

The Visitors #BlogTour Catherine Burns @C_Burnzi #AuthorInterview #Giveaway @Legend_Press

I am delighted to be today’s stop on Catherine Burns’s The Visitors blog tour! 🙂

the visitors Blog Tour Banner jpeg

Interview with Catherine Burns…..

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I was born in Manchester, I studied law at Cambridge then worked in the City of London for several years. Later in life I became a university lecturer. I only recently started writing and The Visitors is my first novel. My book is about a lonely middle aged woman called Marion Zetland. She lives with her brother John in a crumbling mansion. Her brother is keeping a terrible secret down in the cellar of the house and Marion faces the moral dilemma of whether to expose it or protect her brother.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I was inspired by several true life-crime stories – Josef Fritzl and Marc Dutroux. Also I have always been intrigued by the question of how far someone would go to protect a loved one, even if they did something really terrible.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

There is one character in the book, I’m not saying who it is but I’ll be interested to see if they recognise themselves when they read it!

How do you pick your characters names?

I try to imagine what names their parents would pick!

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

I like to write a really quick first draft to get the story down then edit, edit, edit. I must have written twenty drafts of The Visitors. But once you get the first draft down the process doesn’t seem so daunting. Also, like Marion, I daydream a lot!

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Shirley Jackson Donna Tartt Joyce Carol Oates Anton Chekhov Thomas Mann

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Mikhail Bulgakov author of The Master and Margarita to ask what it was like working in Stalinist Russia. It must be dreadful to write in fear that you might be killed or sent to a prison camp if you upset the authorities.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes I devoured books. I loved C.S. Lewis, but I also enjoyed stuff that was probably too old for me like Stephen King. Always been a big horror fan.

When did you start to write?

Not until I was over forty, never too late!

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

That would be sacrilege to change someone else’s book!

Is there a book you wish you had written?

Plenty! But I think it’s a bad idea to compare oneself to other authors; everyone needs to write their own story.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

I wouldn’t!

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

Vronsky from Anna Karenina and we’d go for cocktails.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a thriller with a supernatural twist set in London.

Do you have a new release due?

Not yet.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I haven’t had one yet but I am sure there will be champagne involved.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

https://www.facebook.com/cburnsbooks/

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Catherine! 🙂

The Visitors cover

Publisher: Legend Press (3rd October 2017)

Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.

Fancy winning yourself a paperback copy?

Just comment ‘Yes please’ on this post and I’ll pick a winner at random! (open until Saturday 14th October 2017)

Thanks in advance for joining in & Good Luck!

Not lucky enough to win…..

Buy your copy…..

Enjoy!

Oh! What A Pavlova #BlogTour Isabella May @IsabellaMayBks #Extract @emmamitchellfpr

Today I have the pleasure of being one of two stops on Isabella May’s Oh! What A Pavlova blog tour!

Oh! What a pavlova Tour Banner

Many thanks to Emma Mitchell for the opportunity to join in.

Extract…..

(Mine is extract 2. Make sure you check out extract 1 on My Eclectric Reads)

It was then that I realised I had my arms around a croque-en-bouche, a rich tower of haute couture, the height of which was simply too majestic for a girl like me to scale. And it was as if my thoughts cast an immediate and irreversible spell on him too, reminding him that I – and not Radiohead’s lead singer – ‘didn’t belong here’.

We finally retreated to the bedroom and he drifted off to sleep. I tried and tried, somewhat embarrassingly in retrospect, to weld myself into him, hoping to resurrect his libido, but all I got was a frustrating:

Desolée, je suis bloqué…” followed by “Il faut que je t’explique quelquechose… en fait, j’ai une copine. Elle s’appelle Chantelle.”

So he couldn’t perform, because it had just dawned on him that actually, he had a girlfriend. And why did he have to say her name? I didn’t care if she was called Pascal and wore a sailor’s hat. Now I would cast scorn upon every future Chantelle I encountered.

Oh,” I replied, the bottom falling out of my world, “Oh.”

But there was more to come. In fact, the whole thing was a farce. He’d also lied to me about the apartment being his: it was his parents’; they were simply in Paris for the weekend, so he wanted to feel like un homme, inviting a young English Rose over for a bit of romance. Was there anything about him that was real? I began to doubt he was even a student of engineering. The worst thing of all though was I’d been beached there like a whale until the buses were up and running again. It must have been two or three in the morning. And I definitely didn’t have the fare for a taxi.

Somehow I slept remarkably well. It’s not as if things could have got worse or there was any more of my dignity to lose.

Next morning I woke to an empty bed. What a relief to be able to slink off to the bathroom to reapply My Face before he spotted me. I could hear him already pottering about in some other part of his folks’ lavish quarters.

They must be absolutely minted,” I said to my reflection, avoiding my disappointed eyes in the mirror by taking in the colossal tower of designer aftershaves and balms once again.

This was proper perfume; none of the cheap and cheerful stuff that I was used to. I cunningly opened a bottle, dabbing a hint on my wrists, as well as the pulse points of my neck – not that he’d be kissing me there anymore

Just what had caused this sudden turnaround in his predilection for me? Surely Radiohead alone couldn’t be held accountable. And then I remembered – the effects of the wine no longer clouding events; he had undressed me, taken in the contours of my body, and pulled away.

So I wasn’t stick thin like his waif of a girlfriend (I assumed Chantelle was one of those enviable little things sporting a wasp’s waist, anyway – Lyon, and the Rhône and Saône’s banks, were overflowing with them), but I certainly didn’t have a spare tyre either. Had that honestly been the reason he’d suddenly turned himself off? Or was it just that everything seemed safe, a bit of fumbling around, until, that was, we’d moved into the dormitoire? Whatever the reason, I didn’t much care to think about it. He’d dented my pride and all I wanted to do was get myself out of there as soon as possible, back to my little sardine tin of a room to wallow under the duvet in self-pity and despondency, with a bucket load of chocolate and tea on tap.

I chanced to inspect myself a little longer in the mirror. Undeniably, I was a little jaded, but I still looked kind of cute.

Yet he hardly looked my way when I entered the kitchen, too busy percolating his gourmet coffee.

T’as dormé bien?” he said, obviously feeling the need to pierce the air with some kind of sound other than that of the beans doing their thing.

I told him I had slept well, thank you very much.

Tu veux quelquechose a manger, du café?”

I couldn’t think of anything worse than eating in front of him. But when he handed me a Mars bar, I let appearances slide. Clearly that was his expectation of me, after all. And so the buxom English Rose chomped her way through its entirety, hastily swigged at her far too strong coffee and politely bade Pierre farewell – sans bisou – he’d had quite enough of those in the night.

The whole debacle was like taking five giant leaps forward and seven even larger ones back. The insignificant yet significant fling with Pierre shattered my confidence into mosaic-sized pieces. He gave me that first tantalising glimpse of a life – and a love – cut off from my puppeteer, and then he cruelly locked the door very firmly, threw away the key and rendered me hostage once more. I’d been depicted as fat and wholly un-beddable. I’d been deceived. And I’d developed a venomous hatred of svelte French women, scowling at them all on my forays in and around Lyon; that one of them might be her, the one who could turn him on.

Pavlova Book Cover

Blurb…..

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Buying links…..

UK

US

About the author…..

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!

 

#FlashbackFriday with @RSinclairAuthor @Dchandlerauthor @writermels @keefstuart @CPhilippou123 @mredwards @KatCroft

Welcome to my #FlashbackFriday feature 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading at the same time the previous year. This is the first month I will be featuring books from two previous years, as I started my blog back in October 2015!

Here are my reviews from October 2016 & 2015…..

2016…..

Dark Fragments

Dark Fragments

Moondance

moondance-cover

The Girls Next Door

The Girls Next Door

A Boy Made Of Blocks

A Boy Made Of Blocks

Lost In Static

Lost In Static

2015…..

Written In The Scars

Written In The Scars

Follow You Home

Follow You Home

My first ever blog review…..

The Girl With No Past

The Girl With No Past

Have you read any of the above?

What were you reading a year ago? Please feel free to join in with #FlashbackFriday and share you post with us in the comments 🙂

Thanks, as always, for reading, following, commenting, liking and sharing my posts!

Kerry. x

 

The Madam by Jaime Raven @JaimeRaven1 #BookReview @AvonBooksUK

The Madam

Publisher: Avon; UK edition (19th May 2016)

My review…..

The Madam is another review copy which has been on my list for a long time. My apologies to Jaime Raven for the delay in reading, but it has definitely been worth the wait for me.

Lizzie Wells has served a jail sentence for a crime she hasn’t committed. She was framed and once she is released she is determined to prove her innocence and to make those responsible for setting her up pay.

Lizzie is a likeable character. I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating it must be to be convicted of a crime when you’re completely innocent. Even more so when you know it was a stitch up. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to take the steps Lizzie takes to prove her innocence. Then again, given other heart-breaking news Lizzie receives whilst still inside, it’s no surprise that she feels like there’s no way she can move on with her life until she gets the justice she deserves. Will it be worth sacrificing her freedom and her promising future with Scar, though? At the same time as putting herself and her family at risk from those determined to prevent her from uncovering the truth.

This was quite a tense read and it’s quite difficult to review without giving too much away, but I was routing for Lizzie the whole time and hoped she would find her peace.

A gripping storyline, well written with great characterisation. The twists along the way certainly came as a shock!

I would definitely recommend to other crime thriller lovers and I will be adding Jaime Raven’s other books to my list.

Many thanks to Jaime Raven for my review copy.

For more details and to buy a copy…..

Enjoy!

The Magician’s Lie #BlogTour Greer Macallister @theladygreer @Legend_Press #AuthorInterview #Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of joining in with Legend Press’s blog tour for Greer Macallister’s paperback release of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE.

The Magician's Lie paperback Blog Tour Banner jpeg

I have a Q&A with the author herself, as well as the opportunity for you to win a hardcopy of the book, courtesy of Legend Press.

Interview with Greer Macallister…..

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

My debut novel The Magician’s Lie is sometimes described as Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus. It’s set in 1905 and it’s about a notorious female illusionist accused of her husband’s murder – with only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

The Magician’s Lie was inspired by an absence – I realized I’d seen countless images of and references to male illusionists cutting women in half, but never anything about a female magician cutting a man in half. So I wondered “What if?” and started writing about a woman working in the golden age of stage magic in the US, around 1900. And very early on in the process I realized that such a woman would be very controversial, so if she were accused of murder, everyone would believe she did it, whether she did or not. So the whole time I wanted the reader to be wondering about her guilt or innocence.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Not really! To help with visual descriptions, though, I’ll often pick out an actor for each character. Then I’m not just talking about their brown hair or blue eyes every single time the character comes up. Some of my characters are based on real people who existed, like Adelaide Herrmann, the Queen of Magic, but given the timeframe, I don’t actually know them.

How do you pick your characters names?

Names are tough, but that’s one of my favorite parts of the process. For historical fiction I always start with lists of names that were popular at the time. The Social Security Administration in the US has lists of the most popular baby names from every year after 1880, and I rely on those heavily for inspiration.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

I’m a sloppy writer. I get things down on the page quickly and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until I get the book to where it needs to be. For The Magician’s Lie, that took five years.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

So hard to choose, but I love nearly everything by Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Madeleine L’Engle, Barbara Kingsolver and Jane Austen.

Were you a big reader as a child?

Absolutely, from the very beginning. I was reading before I turned three and haven’t slowed down since.

When did you start to write?

Not quite as early as I was reading, but close. I was writing poems in second grade, short stories in fourth. I wasn’t a good writer for many, many years after that, but the passion was there.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

Ooh, great question! Nothing really comes to mind, but I will mention a fabulous novel by Carolyn Parkhurst called The Nobodies Album, which is about an author who decides to go back and rewrite the endings to all of her novels. As a writer it can be hard to let go of books and I love how she spins this idea into a fascinating, dark meditation.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

In the US, The Magician’s Lie came out on the same day as The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which you may have heard of, as it’s sold approximately a gazillion copies. I don’t mind telling you I wish I had that level of success.

Do you have a new release due?

My second book, Girl in Disguise, is out in the US – it’s inspired by the real-life first female detective, Kate Warne. Not sure when it’s due to come out in the UK, but I do hope my UK readers will be able to get their hands on it!

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

A fancy lunch is always nice. I know a lot of people don’t like to eat in restaurants by themselves, but I find it really lovely and indulgent. Of course I take a book with me to read, so I’m not really alone. A good book, a nice lunch, a glass of champagne – that’s how I celebrate.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

My website greermacallister.com is a great place to see what I’m up to, and there’s a contact form on the site for anyone who wants to reach out. I’m on Twitter and Instagram at @theladygreer and on Facebook at facebook.com/greermacallister. I feel very lucky to be writing and publishing now when it’s so easy for readers and writers to connect—it’s pretty amazing!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Greer 🙂

The Magician's Lie cover

Publisher: Legend Press (2nd October 2017) – Paperback

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. But one night she swaps her trademark saw for an axe.

When Arden’s husband is found dead later that night, the answer seems clear, most of all to young policeman Virgil Holt.

Captured and taken into custody, all seems set for Arden’s swift confession. But she has a different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless, and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding.

A magical and mysterious historical thriller, perfect for fans of The Night Circus and Water for Elephants.

Fancy winning yourself a paperback copy?

Just comment ‘Yes please!’ on this post and I’ll pick a winner at random. (Open until Monday 9th October)

Thanks is advance for joining in!

Good Luck!

If you’re not lucky enough to win, buy your copy here…..

Enjoy!

#CoverReveal Hell To Pay @RachelAmphlett @emmamitchellfpr

#CoverReveal…..

 

…..Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett!!

I am SO thrilled to be joining in with the Hell To Pay cover reveal today! A big thank you to Rachel Amphlett and Emma Mitchell for the opportunity to take part.

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her. Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH

2. WILL TO LIVE

3. ONE TO WATCH

4. HELL TO PAY

A page-turning whodunit for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

Hell to Pay (Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series Book 4)

Imprint: Saxon Publishing

Publication date: 16 November 2017

Availability: Worldwide

ISBN eBook: 978-0-9945479-5-8

ISBN paperback: 978-0-9945479-4-1

ISBN audiobook: 978-0-9945479-6-5

Praise for the Kay Hunter series:

“Thrilling start to a new series. Scared to Death is a stylish, smart and gripping crime thriller”

Robert Bryndza, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice

About the author…..

rachel-amphlett

Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

As featured on ABC 612 Brisbane – listen here: https://soundcloud.com/abc_radio/rachelamphlett-female-thriller-writer

As featured on BBC Radio Kent – listen here: http://www.rachelamphlett.com/uploads/7/7/9/0/7790161/rachel_amplett_on_bbc_rk.mp3

Contact details

Email: info@rachelamphlett.com

Website: http://www.rachelamphlett.com

Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

Facebook: Rachel Amphlett

Check. This. Out…..

↓↓↓↓↓

Hell to Pay Cover LARGE EBOOK

Check out all of Rachel Amplett’s books HERE

Enjoy!