Candles and Roses by Alex Walters #BlogTour #BookReview @MikeWalters60 @Bloodhoundbook @baatyabtbooks

Candles and Roses by Alex Walters #BlogTour #BookReview @MikeWalters60 @Bloodhoundbook @baatyabtbooks

I have this on my kindle – can’t wait!

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About this book…

Who will live and who will die? 

DI Alec McKay is a man haunted by the loss of his daughter.  As he obsesses over a missing person case that is going nowhere, McKay’s investigation is interrupted when bodies start appearing on the Scottish Black Isle. Soon McKay and his team start to identify a disturbing pattern behind the killings.

Why are candles and roses placed around the bodies?

What is this twisted murderer trying to achieve?

While the police follow their own leads, a young woman who discovered the first victim begins an investigation of her own.

As the case unfolds McKay will be forced to face his own demons.

To catch the killer McKay must discover the true motive and untangle the web of truth and lies.

Candles and Roses is the first book in the explosive new DI McKay Series.

My review…

I haven’t read…

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Flash Fiction Friday 181: batch 37 of 6-word stories

MorgEn Bailey - Editor, Comp Columnist/Judge, Writing Guru

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and eighty-first piece in this series. This week’s is the thirty-seventh bunch of 6-word stories by a variety of authors, together with their 6-word biographies!

6-word stories

by Chong Teck SIM – aspiring Singaporean writer

  • 1-egg-575756_640Swollen lips. Wheezing. Bad food allergy.
  • My fried egg: burnt. Speechless mother-in-law.
  • Night out with buddies. Unhappy wife.
  • The breakup scarred him for life.
  • His eyes; Her eyes: inter-locking embrace.
  • Huge waves. Frightened cruise passengers.
  • A loud crash. Screaming voices.
  • Dark alleyway. Growling dogs. Defensive snake.
  • Bad-tempered crab. Curious human: Ouch! Ouch!
  • Colourful birds. Playful cats. Hide-and-seek ensues.

by Mark K – a writer? Trying hard.

Awkward things that kids sometimes say (usually in front of other people):

  • 2-hear-71330_640Mummy, what does brazen hussy mean?
  • Daddy, are you really my daddy?
  • Grandma says Daddy drinks too much.
  • Mummy says Daddy needs some viagra.
  • Grandad, what is a…

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Author Interview – Kim Lain

Today I am chatting to the lovely Kim Lain, who is a fellow writer and member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I met Kim at the York Tea last year, and she is a lovely person inside and out. Find more about her here, and on her blog https://theblogbykimelizabethlain.blogspot.co.uk

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Hi Rachel, thanks for having me! I’m a proud member of the RNA. This is my fourth year on their fantastic New Writer’s Scheme.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

Well, after having just submitted A Bombshell for the Barrister to Harlequin M&B for their consideration, I’ve just started something new.  As with every new book I start, I get quite excited and can’t wait to get the words down on to the paper. I’m aiming for the Modern/Presents line and this is an amnesia story.

Q2. What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently? 

It’s not far off November, so (unofficially) I always try to do NaNoWriMo – National November Writing Month.  This where I attempt to write 50,000 words in a month. I’m just at the stage of interviewing my hero and heroine to prepare for this.  Asking them all sorts of intrusive questions about their private life is great.  Only yesterday, I looked down at the word count for my hero and I’d written 5,000 words! I use a lot of it in the actual book though.

 

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

I left school at sixteen and went straight into Local Government for many years.  After I’d had my two boys I was determined to be a stay-at-home Mum. When I eventually returned to the workplace in 1999, I worked with young people in a sixth-form college. After that I managed attendance in a secondary school, and now I work two days a week in a university.

 

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like? 

Depends.  On a working day I’m up with the lark and at my desk by eight.  My husband works three days and I’ve just reduced to two, so on our days off together we might drive out to the coast and have a long walk, followed by lunch somewhere.  Wednesday is my official writing day. As soon as the house is quiet, I make a start. I might be updating my monthly blog, adding more words to my WIP, or other lovely writerly related things, such as answering your questions. Of course, I try and stay off social media, but I never succeed. Why is Facebook so addictive?

 

Q5.  I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course) – do you have something you collect?

Apart from the dust, you mean? No, seriously, after 36 years of marriage, DH and I now are at the stage of getting rid of stuff. Only recently, I’ve made him dispose of 36 years of bank statements, which broke his heart, so no, as I get older, collecting more things is not on my agenda. In the next two years, when hopefully the two sons have flown the nest, DH and I are hoping to downsize. And – at the moment – much to his chagrin – I’m going through the house with a fine tooth comb. It’s great.

 

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work? 

Yes, I’ve come across this. Although I try to keep my day job and my writing life completely separate, when I have mentioned that I’m aiming to write for Harlequin M&B, I’ve definitely seen the odd eyebrow raised. I’ve also had both female and male colleagues ask me outright about the amount of sex in my books.

 

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

As a child I loved to write ghost stories, and this carried on into my teenage years.  At school, my English teacher was always keen for me to develop my writing, but then I left education and life got in the way. Now, I’m not so sure if I could ever return to that genre, but you can never say never!

 

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this? 

Yes, they should definitely join the RNA New Writers’ Scheme.  The subscription might seem pricey, but it does include a full critique of your novel, which is invaluable for a new writer.  If you can, try and attend a couple of writing courses to learn technique and to hone your craft.  Personally, I attend courses run by Kate Walker who writes for Harlequin M&B.  At first, I did her basic romance course, and then progressed to the advanced course last February in Fishguard.  Through her wonderful courses, and the RNA, I have made so many friends, and gained a fantastic support network, which is so important.

 

Q9.  What are you reading currently? 

Well, I’m about to go on holiday so have my Kindle ready-loaded with romance.  I’m on the Choc Lit readers’ panel, so will review a story whilst I am away.  I read Mills and Boon of course, but don’t just stick to Presents – I like a lot of their other lines too.  At the moment  though I’m reading ‘Can’t Buy me Love’ by Jane Lovering.

 

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life?  If so, what is it? 

When I got back into my writing a couple of years ago, I was a bit casual about it all.  I certainly didn’t write every day. I wouldn’t write for weeks sometimes, but now I am more determined, more focussed.  My dream is to be published, and if that never happens then so be it, but it won’t be for the want of trying.

 

 I wish you every success Kim!

A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

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The other week on Twitter, I saw a post about reviews for a new dark comedy book, and I jumped at the chance. The cover, as you can see, is eye goggingly good, and the title immediately entices you to know more. It is very apt for the book too!

I shan’t tell you any details about the book, as I detest spoiler reviews, but this book made me laughing from the first page. I would LOVE to see this made into television, and I think it works so well. Caimh himself talks about being able to pull off comedy and crime together, and this one has it in spades. A unique plot, you will love this book. I haven’t stopped laughing yet!

5 stars from me!

So Caimh, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

I am currently working on the follow-up to A Man With One of Those Faces provisionally entitled The Day That Never Comes. I’ve finished a rough first draft and I currently am sitting beside a pinboard covered in 67 cards with various chapters mapped out on it. Those are in-turn, buried under layers of multi-coloured post-it notes with things I need to clarify, rework, insert or dump. I really like the rewriting process, it’s where the whole thing starts to take shape.

Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?

The Day That Never Comes featuring the three main characters from my last novel, plus some recurring secondary characters. I’m really excited about that as I’ve had numerous sitcoms optioned by TV development companies over the years but, for a vast array of reasons, none of them ever got commissioned. Essentially, I’ve been longing to write a second episode for about a decade now and I’m relishing it. The plot of the second book also feels like it is progressing into darker and more interesting areas. It is based around the idea that there are a lot of people who made a lot of money through dodgy business practices in Ireland, which resulted in our economy crashing a lot harder than it would have otherwise. The question at the heart of this novel is, what would happen if somebody tried to take their revenge on those people?

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

I’ve been a professional stand-up and TV writer for about 15 years now. I’ve performed stand-up all over the world and I’ve written for a mix of mainstream topical shows on British TV and I’ve also created a lot of kid’s TV too. I take a great deal of pride in being a jobbing writer and whatever the task, being able to get the job done.

I’m also ‘The Voice of London Irish’ – the professional rugby club so I’m down making announcements in a stadium and rallying our fans every couple of weeks.

I’m very lucky in the sense that I have no hobbies. Through a combination of hard slog and luck, I’ve managed to make everything I love to do into a career.

Previous to all of that, I worked in IT. My last job was as a disaster recovery specialist for a large multinational. Hand-on-heart, I’d no idea what the hell I was doing. I used to sit in a stand-by building in Canary Wharf two days of every week, looking at millions of pounds of stop-end hardware and wonder if I could go to prison if they ever figured out how much I was bluffing.

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?

It varies wildly, but most days I get up about 9 am and head to my office for about ten. I’m lucky enough to be a member of a communal office space in Manchester that I share with cartoonists, composers and medical researchers – they’re a diverse and interesting bunch. I prefer it to having an office on my own as that can get a bit lonely. I’ll work away for a few hours, normally doing admin or booking gigs, unless I’ve got a specific writing job on the go. I then go for a sixty to ninety minute walk at some time in the middle of the day, which I am really getting into. If I’m writing, I’ll often record myself talking through stuff on my phone as I walk, then listen to it back and record more thoughts. I basically brainstorm with myself. That’s if I’m in the middle of a writing project, if not it is podcasts or an audiobook.

It’s then back to the office for a few more hours writing and either off to a gig that night or home to spend some quality time with the missus.

 

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

Pokemon! Or at least it used be until a couple of weeks ago, I’m thoroughly bored of it now. Outside of that, since I stopped buying DVDs, nothing really. My wife gets very annoyed because I am an absolute nightmare to buy gifts for.

 

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

While not a woman (sorry!), I guess I do get pigeonholed in my own way. Agents and publishers I’ve discovered seem to have very set and limited ideas on how comedy and crime writing can be combined. I’m a passionate believer that plot and character is the be-all and end-all and I think those can be mixed with comedy to give an enriching experience for the reader. The inclusion of comedy does not preclude a novel from being either dark or gripping. Fiction, like life, is all about light and dark.

 

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

When I write short stories, they tend a lot more towards the science fiction side of things. I think that’s because sci-fi is pretty much based on the principle of exploring new ideas and I think short stories are wonderful for doing that.

 

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

From the feedback I get, most people seem to think that dialogue is the strongest part of my writing, which isn’t a big surprise I guess given my TV background. I never had any formal training in that but I did religiously acquire every book of TV and film scripts I could get hold of and I’d highly recommend that. Dialogue should be a living, breathing thing and seeing it done well really helps develop that. Devour absolutely everything ever written by Aaron Sorkin, for my money he is the greatest writer of dialogue there’s ever been.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

I have The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey on the go as an audiobook which I’m loving and I have the latest book by the brilliant Adrian McKinty waiting for me on my kindle, once I get a spare moment where I’m not working, sleeping or driving between those two things.

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

Honestly, I want to take my lovely wife on a holiday. She loves to travel and she is overdue because living with a writer isn’t the easiest of lives!

 

Cover Reveal – Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

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Today on my blog we have the lovely Sandra Danby, talking about her new book, and book covers. I must confess, I have at least ten different editions of P & P, so I know just what she means!

What do you think about the cover? Fantastic isn’t it!

And now I hand over to Sandra…

There must be literally hundreds of different covers for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Not counting the foreign language editions or the Zombie one. A quick online search revealed a flower-decorated straw bonnet lined with pink fabric [Wordsworth Classics], red and white peonies [Harper Teen], and beautiful designs by Jessica Hische for the Penguin Drop Caps series. Many of the very early editions featured peacock feathers, my favourite is the 1895 edition illustrated by Hugh Thompson for Macmillan. Pride equals peacock, you see.

Why am I talking about Pride and Prejudice? Because a book cover sticks in your head and becomes a part of that book’s personality. When I think about Pride and Prejudice my mind immediately pictures my battered old Penguin copy with the orange spine and a detail from Henry Raeburn’s portrait of Lady Colville. To me, Lady Colville is Elizabeth Bennet.

My own novel Ignoring Gravity has a new cover and hopefully it too has its own personality. Based on the tagline ‘Two pairs of sisters, separated by a generation of secrets’, it shows two sisters side-by-side. Hanging over their heads is a tree. Trees, for me, symbolize family connections, relationships, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. Ignoring Gravity’s modern-day sisters, Rose and Lily, haven’t given a moment’s thought to their ancestry, to the roots and branches of their family tree. They take it for granted, as many of us do. But what if you are not who you think you are?

 

About ‘Ignoring Gravity’

Rose Haldane is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it. Ignoring Gravity connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister Lily. Then just when she thinks there can’t be any more secrets…

 

Next in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series

In Connectedness, the sequel to Ignoring Gravity, Rose Haldane turns detective to solve an identity puzzle. Employed by controversial artist Justine Tree, Rose must find the birth child given away when Justine was an art student. Connectedness will be published in 2017.

 

Author bio

Proud Yorkshirewoman, tennis nut, tea drinker. Unlike Rose Haldane, in Ignoring Gravity, she is not adopted.

If you want to hear more or get in touch with Sandra, here are her details:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

‘Ignoring Gravity’ is available at:-

Amazon

Guest Post: Top 5 Writing Tips by Eva Woods

Guest Post: Top 5 Writing Tips by Eva Woods

Some great tips here!

Bookaholic Confessions

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Top 5 writing tips by Eva Woods

1. Keep going, keep going, keep going

The days when I sit down and the words flow out like water are maybe once a month, if I’m lucky. All the rest of the time is spent plodding along, trying things, seeing what happens. I aim to write a thousand words a day, without editing, checking, or worrying if it’s any good. I’m always amazed at how a book grows using this method, even when most days it feels like you’ve just typed a random assortment of words that don’t make any sense. If you keep the momentum up, your sub-conscious develops the story without you noticing.

2. Everything can be fixed in an edit

There’s always another draft you can do, so if you get stuck on something just leave it for now and keep moving forward. When you’ve done what you can…

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