#BlogTour | #GuestPost | BELLA by R M Francis @rmfrancis (Spring 2020) @Wildpressed @LoveBooksTours

Blurb:

A spectre has haunted Netherton for generations.

Everyone has a theory, no one has an answer.

The woods that frame the housing estate uncover a series of heinous acts, drawing onlookers into a space of clandestine, queer sexuality: a liminal space of abject and uncanny experience.

A question echoes in the odd borderlands of being, of fear-fascination, attraction-repulsion, of sex and death…

Who put Bella down the Wych-Elm?

Guest Post:

BLACK COUNTRY GOTHIC

I think of myself as a landscape writer, so the inspiration for Bella started there – the strange landscape of my home, the Black Country. In Dudley and its surrounding areas there’s an unusual mix of rural and urban, domestic and wild, industrial, post-industrial and hyper-modern. It’s off-kilter, in-between, not-quite-one-thing-not-quite-another. And this weird geography makes the sense of place odd too – both old and new, ruined and re-purposed, safe and unsafe, familiar and unfamiliar, attractive and repulsive. For a writer, these grounds are rich, charged and irresistible – the liminal arena of transition, transformation and transgression. I see it as the fertiliser and seedbed for narrative, drama and poetry – especially Weird tales like Bella. It’s a post-industrial sublime. A Black Country Gothic.

Writers like Joel Lane, Roy McFarlane, Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Liz Berry and Meera Syall all share a fascination and preoccupation with this region, and use its peculiar culture, topography, dialect and spirit of place as symbolic and literal setting for their explorations of sex, identity, murder, mayhem, joy and terror. In Bella, I’m trying to play my own part in this uniquely Black Country literary tradition. All of the writers above, but especially Lane, have been huge inspirations to my poetics and vision.

Speaking of cultural antecedents, this novella plays its part in another region specific literary tradition. The part-fact-part-fable mystery of Bella and the Wych-Elm; an unsolved murder of a woman whose remains were found in the hulk of tree. This story branches into witchcraft, satanism, Cold War espionage and domestic abuse in rhizomes that remain so enigmatic writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists continue to be pulled into her echoing orbit. As did I.

Bella’s secrets, set within the borderless Black Country are the limestone foundations of this love song to my home, its ghosts and its people.

Author Bio:

R. M. Francis is a writer from Dudley. He completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton for a project titled Queering the Black Country and graduated from Teesside University for his Creative Writing MA.

He’s the author of four poetry chapbooks, Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015), Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016), Corvus’ Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018) and Lamella, (Original Plus, 2019).

Follow Rob on Twitter @rmfrancis 

——-

You can buy Bella from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

Why #books are the price they are…. #thepriceofbooks @GunnCrime #WritingCommunity

I spotted this on twitter and got permission from the author Ali Gunn to share on the blog.

I am always liking a bargain, but never realised just how the money was divvied up, distributed around.

***

I’ve been asked why my books are “so expensive” at £2.99 for the #eBook. Here’s why. Authors have bills to pay too. Pay the damned writer. #WritingCommunity #Sustainability #Fairness #MinimumWage

But if you pay £2.99 – less than a sandwich or a pint of beer – the author only has to sell 9,363 to make minimum wage. It’s still a HUGE ask for a very meagre reward but it’s much closer to being fair.

So then, what is a fair(er) rate? How about £4.99? That’s roughly a pint of beer here in #London. Authors still need to sell a remarkable 5,559 #books per year in order to make #minimumwage (BEFORE costs – which aren’t small). Still think £2.99 is “too much”? #WritingCommunity

What about £9.99? Apart from the fact NOBODY is paying that much for an eBook (except academic textbooks), it still takes a lot of book sales to make a living. NB – above £10, Amazon DROP the royalty rate to 35% killing the prospect of pricing above £9.99. #WritingCommunity

All the above numbers are off by a massive margin: they ignore all the COSTS that professional authors incur. Here are a few of them. These can quickly add up to thousands per year… and that’s before I tackle discretionary spending like advertising. #WritingCommunity

And then we’ve got discretionary spending. No graphic this time because I can’t show you how long a piece of string is. Think book signings (unpaid time, travel expenses, hotel costs, etc). Think festival (often unpaid). Think PPC advertising (which can be extortionate).

The reality is that writing books is a high risk, low reward industry for the VAST majority of authors because the industry relies on spec work. Editors, publishers, publicists get paid a wage. Authors don’t. But there’s no option to work ‘in house’ as a fiction novelist.

And the final thorn in my own numbers: I’m using minimum wage. Minimum wage isn’t enough to live on here in London and writing is a highly skilled job (as evidenced by the fact there are so many authors in the top 100 with postgraduate degrees). Perhaps “fair” is thus 3x above.

***

After reading this, I have definitely been educated

Thank you very much to Ali for allowing me to share on the blog and for opening my eyes

[K]

#GuestPost | #BlogTour | BROTHERS by Kirk Weddell @Storysurfer NOVEMBER 26TH 2019) @FAYEROGERSPR @AUTHORIGHT

Summary:

Owen Kerrigan – the cantankerous lighthouse keeper of a remote Irish island has been estranged from his only brother Patrick for most of his adult life. His only solace has come from immersing himself in the legend of a long lost treasure belonging to the wreck of a Spanish Armada galleon that is rumored to be hidden beneath his light.

But after tunneling in vain for years, Owen is issued with a sudden eviction notice. In desperation, with only days left to find the gold, Owen begrudgingly asks his brother for help. Hoping it may help to rebuild their relationship after more than thirty years of silence, Patrick reluctantly agrees. 

As they attempt to unearth the fortune, Owen becomes increasingly drawn to Ellen, an enchanting descendant of the Pirate Queen – Grace O’Malley, who ruled the island at the time of the Armada.

As Owen’s imminent eviction looms, they race to solve the riddles ingrained in the ancient folklore of the island and realize that Ellen may unwittingly hold a vital clue to finding the treasure. But the rift which kept the brothers apart for so long threatens to thwart both Patrick’s hopes of reconciliation and Owen’s dream of finding the fabled hoard.

Information about the Book

Title: Brothers

Author: Kirk Weddell

Release Date: 26th November 2019

Genre: Literary Fiction

Page Count: 332

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads  | Amazon  

Guest Post:

Favourite Things About My Protagonist

Burying his emotional scar

I wanted to explore the lengths that we go to in a bid to avoid dealing with our emotional scars. Many of us seek help in some form or other whether it be professional counsel or catharsis through conversation with friends and we generally finally find a way through the traumatic event and heal. Unfortunately for Owen the feelings of betrayal and humiliation resulting from his brother Patrick running away with Owen’s fiancé was just too much to bare. He chose a different path; complete distraction to avoid ever having to face up to his devastating emotional rift by opting for a life of solitude as a lighthouse keeper where no one would ask him any uncomfortable questions and where he would be able immerse himself in his work. But even then thoughts of his past continued to gnaw away at his psyche. Desperate for escape he found it in the legend of the long lost treasure of the Spanish Armada galleon – El Gran Grin that was rumoured to be buried on Clare Island and managed to convince himself that it was actually deep under his lighthouse which was built on the site of an ancient watchtower. For the first time in years he found solace as he escaped to another world – one of gold doubloons and adventure. 

Obsessive

His obsessive drive was fascinating to explore. An asset in his work as a lighthouse keeper which requires meticulous record keeping and caring for his life saving machinery but when does that obsessive drive start to become unhealthy… all consuming to the point where we become dissociated from our lives. What can possibly trigger us to wake up and drag us back into reality? Owen has cared for the lighthouse as if it was his spouse or child. An almost unhealthy bond. The one reliable constant that has protected and nurtured him for the past 30 years. It is his loving care and attention that has kept the 200 year old lighthouse ticking over every day and night. It’s never faltered once in his hands and never will and what thanks does he get? Eviction by the council when they build a new automatic lighthouse on the north of the island. His two obsessions collide after his tunnel beneath the lighthouse collapses with just days left to finish the dig and uncover the treasure. His only chance of success is to rip the very heart out of his light, the lantern drive mechanism, and fashion it into a huge drill. An impossible choice. Can he sacrifice his light to fulfil his dream?

Love again

Owen didn’t just lose his brother but his fiancé as well. The only woman he had ever loved or at least thought he did at the time. After more than 30 years of self-imposed emotional exile what chance could a man in his 60s have of ever being brave enough to find love again? To risk being betrayed and humiliated all over. Yet that desire for love and companionship that burns within us all, that flame that was almost extinguished in Owen, that he had desperately tried to snuff out becomes rekindled forcing him to face up to suppressed feelings and emotions he had long since buried. How does someone that scarred summon the courage to trust someone enough to allow themselves to fall in love again? Try as he might to extinguish the twinkle in his eye, to quell the flutter in his heart, he becomes drawn to Ellen, a descendant of Grace O’Malley who ruled the island at the time of the Spanish Armada. A moth with chard and battered wings who has been so badly burnt by the flame before but can’t resist its allure. Tentatively edging towards it, knowing he may well suffer the same consequence but finding the courage to do it anyway and risk having his heart crushed all over again.

Cantankerous

I so enjoyed writing his cantankerous character. Someone who has lived, loved and been hurt enough not to bother with some of the social etiquette that some people find unsettling. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, he’s just done with small talk and so immersed in his own thoughts that he has become impervious to the noise of life. People might judge him and see him as cantankerous, even rude at times but he can’t bare to waist a moment in idle chit chat, after all – he has a treasure chest to unearth and god forbid he was actually drawn into a conversation and someone asked him about his past, his family, why he wasn’t married. Best to keep his head down and plough on through life as he drops the occasional social hand grenade.

Child at heart

Social pressure to conform, to act our age, forces us to suppress the inner child that is buried deep within us all. We all know someone who refuses to conform, who allows their inner child to brighten their day and everyone else’s around them. Owen has that playful, adventurous side, the young boy in him that wants to dig for buried treasure, and play out his childhood fantasies. As he starts to redeem with his brother and they work together to unravel the riddles and clues and get closer to finding the treasure, Owen and Patrick rekindle their childhood personas. Owen remembers what it is like to laugh from the heart, something that he has long since forgotten how to do. To swim naked, dance, sing and feel truly alive. It’s like he had been in a self-induced slumber for a big portion of his life. 

It is the seemingly impossible choices in life that really interest me. The ones that change our lives. No clear right or wrong just a fork in the road and we have to decide which way to turn, forcing us to dig deep and try to understand who we are. Every choice we make bringing us a little closer to understanding ourselves.

Author Information:

Kirk Weddell is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker; Brothers is his first novel and is based on his earlier Writers Store Grand Prize winning screenplay. After graduating with a degree in neuroscience, Weddell moved into writing; his science fiction screenplay Alone was shortlisted for the prestigious Oscar Academy Nicholl Fellowship in 2016 and is entering production next year, and his short film Dutch Bird won numerous awards at International Film Festivals. Weddell lives in Wimbledon, South London.

Website: www.brothersnovel.com 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/storysurfer 

Tour Schedule

#GuestPost | #BlogTour | DEMONS FIRE (The DS Taylor Nicks and DC Marcus Black Series #3) by Lee Cockburn @lee_leecockburn (November 7th 2019) @fayerogerspr @authoright

Demon's Fire (The DS Taylor Nicks and DC Marcus Black Series) by [Cockburn, Lee]

Summary: 

Demon’s Fire is the third instalment in the crime thriller series featuring DS Taylor Nicks and DC Marcus Black.

The City had barely settled back to normal when the sky turned orange as flames licked upwards and smoke billowed out from a quiet industrial estate in Edinburgh.

Blood-curdling screams of those trapped within were muffled by the sound-proofed room as the women climbed desperately over one another to try and escape, their efforts futile against their prison walls, their captors slain where they sat, bullet holes in their heads.

Human trafficking, prostitution, drug dealing, kidnapping, violence and murder hidden in plain sight in Edinburgh City Centre.

Drug dealer Burnett’s grip on the city has no limits, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that remains the case. 

Nicks and Black struggle to secure evidence against him within the confines of the law, but an enemy of Burnett, hell-bent on revenge, doesn’t have to play by their rules.

A thrilling story of crime and retribution, good versus evil, Demon’s Fire will have you on the edge of your seat as the tentacles of despair take hold of your emotions.

Hearts are broken and others mended as the tale gathers momentum, the lives of the officers forever entwined by fate.

Information about the Book:

Title: Demon’s Fire (The DS Taylor Nicks and DC Marcus Black Series #3)

Author: Lee Cockburn

Release Date: 7th November 2019

Genre: Thriller

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads | Amazon

Guest Post:

A day in the life of Author – Lee Cockburn

My day usually starts less that 5 hours after the end of the one before, at all times of the day, bed-times range from 0700 in the morning to 4 am in the morning, missing out only 3 hours that are left alone.  No matter what time I go to bed, I will be up at 7.30 to get my two 9-year-old boys up, teeth, hair, clothes, breakfast, coffee, cut fruit, make pack lunches, go to the loo, and walk to school, and if I’m night shift, then I have to stay up after my shift to do the morning routine. If I haven’t been night shift I will exercise, and either write or take my mum for lunch, possibly shop and clean the house.  After all that, it’s time get the boys from school after 3pm, then transport to clubs and activities, make tea, clean up after tea, have half an hour to myself and then the bedtime routine begins. Eventually once that’s all done, I get downstairs about 21.30 hours either to sit for a little while and have a cup of tea before bed on an early shift, or if nightshift I would have left an hour earlier for a nightshift or the last option I’m not there at all, as I am backshift until after midnight, getting to bed after 0100 hrs to do it all again at 07.30.  My fit bit tells me regularly that my sleep quality is very poor and short, but these are the sacrifices we make to spend time with the children. In the summer-time we can add hours of gardening, chopping and weeding to my list of chores. 

Unfortunately, I clearly don’t have time to write every day, or week or even every month, as it all depends on the many other commitments in my life, and I never let my writing take time away from the children.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I am due to have a major knee operation soon, where I will try and utilise the time off sick to write for longer.

Once in a while I will see Emily, my civil partner of nearly ten years, when she rolls over in the dark to say hello after a back shift, and she leaves for work before I get up as she is leaving for her work, time together is limited, 4 days off together every five weeks and these days, that are not guaranteed if our rest days are cancelled. There are many days when we don’t see each other at all or even chat face to face, although face time is handy for bedtime with the boys.

Holiday time is precious, as we get to spend 24 hours a day together as a family which is special, then back to reality when the worst days limit my time with the children to one hour and no time with Emily as she doesn’t go to school!

Family is the most important thing in the world, but the lack of time from working the professions we do, just highlights the issues and problems faced by us with shift work.  That is why I cannot write regularly, as the children come first, and we need to work to live and it is only when I am backshift or days off, that I write, but never weekends, that’s family time, thus the length of time it takes to write a book. My life is hectic at the best of times and like many I’m just so busy and pretty tired quite a lot.  ;-( 

Author Information:

Lee Cockburn is a serving officer with Police Scotland with over nineteen years’ experience, both front line and specialist. She is a Sergeant carrying out Acting Inspector duties, working in Edinburgh City Centre. Lee has been involved in drug raids, large scale disorder and serious incidents with high levels of risk and violence. As a six foot one, ex-international rugby player with eighty-one caps for Scotland and the British Lionesses, she is ideally suited to helping serve the public and preventing crime. Lee lives with her civil partner Emily and their young sons in Edinburgh; their boys are three months apart in age, with Lee and Emily both carrying a son. She is the author of Devil’s Demise (2014) and Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents (2017), both published by Clink Street, and has been widely featured in the media, including BBC Radio 2, Daily Record, Evening News and The Herald.

Tour Schedule

#GuestPost | #BlogTour | THE BLIGHTED FORTRESS (The Allies Of Theo #2) by David E Dresner @davidedresner (November 7th 2019) @fayerogerspr @authoright

Summary: 

This story begins in modern Chicago then moves to fifth-century Transylvania.

The teenage protagonists, Glenda and Traveler, are sent by Theo, their sanctuary god, deep into the primeval forests of the Carpathian Mountains. They must locate then neutralize an ancient demi-god called a “fire beast”.

The two must also survive the daunting challenges of isolated fifth-century Transylvania. Rome is now in its final death throes and the hoof beats of Attila the Hun echo across Europe. Civilization and Pax Romana are distant memories.

Magic, wits, and youthful courage must combine to face the fire creature. Survival, much less winning, is up for grabs.

Information about the Book

Title: The Blighted Fortress (The Allies of Theo #2)

Author: David E. Dresner

Release Date: 7th November 2019

Genre: YA

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads | Amazon

Guest Post:

Five Favorite Protagonist Things 

There are two central protagonists, Glenda and Traveler. These teens share equal billing throughout The Allies of Theo series. I’ll present five favorites for each.

Before jumping to their profiles, there are a couple of related series comments. The series follows two interrelated plot lines. 

First, it is an adventure story which uses magic, history, and a little science to create a backdrop. The series’ ongoing action theme is tied to a catlike god-being, Theo, who predates the Big Bang. Theo is pursued by a cosmic demigod intent on absorbing him for his knowledge. 

The second plot line tracks the relationship that gradually develops between the two teens. Having recently been in a middle school classroom teaching math to 7th and 8th graders, these fictional teen relationships track well in today’s world. 

The two protagonists are developed early on in Book One, The Discovered Sanctuary. Their personalities and their relationship continue to develop in Book Two, The Blighted Fortress.  The following ‘favorites’ highlight who they are and what’s engaging about each.

Traveler

1. Traveler is an alpha male, at least in his own mind. He’s well over six feet, athletic, and intelligent. He is a science and math geek despite his athleticism. Science has all the answers for him at the beginning of the series. 

2. He likes to show off. He uses his science skills to humble ‘Big Bob’ the star football player during the magic show he presents to the whole high school. 

3. While confident in many arenas, he is awkward regarding social behavior with modern girls.  He conforms to an older generation of male courtesy, which backfires with Glenda. Trying to impress her, he pulls out her chair and gets chastised for the effort. Confused and embarrassed he mutters, “I’m being a gentleman, what did I do wrong?”

4. Traveler is playful. An early skill taught by the sentient books is the ability to disappear or ‘go stealth.’ He enjoys using stealth to surprise and startle the serious Glenda. 

5. He is a warrior. He pictures himself as a knight or the early Roman Horatio, both prepared to stand alone against overwhelming odds.

Glenda

1. Glenda is a tall, athletic (she beats Traveler running up a long museum staircase), and intelligent. She is a mature 17-year-old, red-haired Norwegian who presents a striking appearance.  Traveler finds a frog appears in his throat when she comes in for their first shared dinner hosted by M.  

2. She is confident — with good reason. She relies on no one and assumes leadership easily. While Traveler grew up in a stable household with terrific parents, Glenda has been raised in a Norwegian orphanage. She has had early responsibilities to help with housekeeping as well as tutoring younger children. She was challenged at an early age.

3. She initially finds Traveler shallow and immature. His various playful pranks are more annoying to her than humorous. She enjoys sophisticated shopping in downtown Chicago with Traveler’s very cool mother. 

4. She is a dedicated student. The sentient books demand absolute commitment and she relishes the study challenge. 

5. Her bravery matches Traveler. She can commit to actions that put her life directly at risk. She remains controlled in the face of danger and acts with self- assured focus. 

Author Information:

David E. Dresner was born and raised in rural Ohio. He was an Eagle Scout and later high school president in both his junior and senior years. The social mores, the friendships, and the rivalries of his youth were character building and era defining and have stayed with him into adulthood. Dresner studied physics and mathematics at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon, earning a B.S. and M.S, before training to become an actuary. Dresner enjoyed considerable professional success, working at major business consultancy firms at CEO and COO level before taking early retirement and starting a family. He has since dedicated himself to giving back to his community, supporting small businesses, churches and schools by developing their strategic plans, as well as tutoring children in core academic studies. Having travelled extensively and lived in France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, today David and his wife Nancy live in a rural part of Virginia, near Charlottesville. He is currently working on the fourth instalment of The Allies of Theo series; he will publish his third novel in 2020.

Tour Schedule

#GuestPost | #ExcerptReveal | #BlogTour | THE ISLAND PRINCE by Gregory James Clark (October 1st 2019 @Authoright @FayeRogersPR )

The Island Prince by [Clark, Gregory James]

Summary: 

In the Spring of 2108, Australian Defence Minister Aub Ryman resigns from his post, committed to an alternative system for determining the sovereignty of nations that would end warfare forever. In order to lead this transformation he must first marry Queen Katie of Kamchatka, whose many fans throughout the world have given her the power to approve or remove governments to achieve her objectives under a system known as The New Game. Before he can assume his role as King, however, The Island Prince must first convince The Queen’s Ministers and the prestigious Kamchatka Parliament that he is indeed the right choice. On the ice, and with the world’s eyes upon them, they express their love for each other and reinforce their message for world peace.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48406488-the-island-prince?ac=1&from_search=true  

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Island-Prince-Gregory-James-Clark-ebook/dp/B07XKVWSZZ 


Guest Post

MY FAVOURITE PROTAGONISTS

My favourite fictional protagonist would have to be Number Six from the 1967 TV series The Prisoner, which provided the inspiration for both of my books ‘The Island Prince’ and ‘The Island of Dreams’.

Number Six was a determined character who was forever incited to rebel against those who sought to suppress the freedom of the individual. At the end of the series he earned the respect of his captors as the ultimate revolutionary – one of a different kind from any that had gone before – to the point where he was invited to lead this mysterious organisation, the head of which (Number One) was never truly revealed.

The Prisoner still has a fan club today in the memory of Patrick McGoohan, who played this contentious character and provided the input for many of the ideas encapsulated in the series. The fan club meets annually in Portmeirion in North Wales where the series was set, and which features on the cover of The Island of Dreams, providing the backdrop for The Island. It was of course also the setting for the fictitious Village featured in The Prisoner.

In real life my favourite protagonists – if you could call them that – would have to be William Edwards Deming and Joseph Moses Juran. Both are now deceased, but their legacies have been carefully woven into both The Island Prince and The Island of Dreams.

Within the world of Quality Management both of these ‘gurus’ have been referred to as the twentieth century’s most unsung heroes, following their remarkable contribution to one of the world’s less well-known revolutions, namely the Quality Revolution that transformed Japan in the latter half of the twentieth century. The main reason, perhaps, why this revolution has fallen into obscurity is because it was neither fast nor violent, but carefully sustained over several decades. It was a highly constructive revolution, the results of which can still be seen today. Modern day Japan did not happen by accident. At the end of the Second World War Japan had nothing left – except for its people, who were desperately poor. The role of Deming and Juran in leading the transformation that followed is well documented, but sadly is not widely recognised outside academia and the Quality profession. Their teaching needs to be more widely promoted and made known to future generations.

The Island Prince and The Island of Dreams therefore combine the real-life concepts of Deming and Juran, and the idea of a slow-moving, almost imperceptible revolution, with the determination and tenacity of Number Six and his desire to lead change, which is revealed during the course of the seventeen brilliantly compiled episodes of The Prisoner. The character Aub Ryman therefore retains aspects of the character of Number Six, albeit with a different objective. He too is a protagonist of an unusual kind, throwing a different perspective on the one party state.


Excerpt Reveal

A Kamchatskiy Silver Shadow limousine conveyed him swiftly through Perth’s northern suburbs to the airport. “Good luck Prince Regent,” said the chauffeur as he alighted at the terminal building, his suitcase now in his hand.

A pathway had been planned for him to by-pass airport security before boarding the supersonic plane otherwise known as the Hebden Three, that would convey him to his Atlantic destination. This, however, did not stop two less informed security officials from approaching him.

“Excuse me sir,” one of them said to him, “You cannot go there. There are no flights from gate six today. I’m afraid you must return to airport security at once.”

It was just as well, therefore, that he was able to remove from his jacket the small case that his bride-to-be had given to him a year before. He opened it and flashed the bright gold on blue hologram of Saturn at the guards. It was so bright that it almost dazzled them, but, more importantly even these two ill-informed guards, who had somehow managed to miss that this sole passenger was scheduled to proceed to gate six without hindrance, knew without hesitation that the authority of this badge was not in question. It could only belong to one person.

“I’m so sorry. This way Your Royal Highness,” replied one of the guards, who then directed him along a short deserted passageway to the awaiting plane, which was parked discreetly by gate six.

The plane was one of a fleet of thirty, but this one was special as it was owned by the girl that he was soon to marry, twenty-three-year-old Queen Katie of Kamchatka. It was sky blue and its tail bore the same Saturnian logo as his hologram badge. Inside it was much the same as the other first-class only Hebden Threes, only with a few more luxuries, as one might expect of a royal jet.

As the aircraft took off it followed a north-westerly path before reaching supersonic speed some one hundred miles northwest of Perth. From there it followed a more westerly trajectory as it headed towards South Africa before following the west African coastline northwards towards its final destination, The Island of Dreams, a small eightmile-long island to the north of the Azores, yet a place that had recently gained enormous worldwide significance.

On The Island, from her sanctuary of The Great Dome, the slim, dark haired forty-one-year old Prime Minister Joanie Carmichael prepared to inform The Queen that her Prince would be touching down on The Islands beach runway, two miles northwest of The Town, shortly after two o’clock local time. The royal train, hauled by the aptly named steam locomotive Prince, would then bring her from her Royal Palace to meet him.

On board the aircraft the petite Korean hostess Su Lin greeted him first with a commemorative bottle of Prince Regent lager, on the label of which was an imprint of his face, and then with a document, which he scrutinised carefully.

He noted that the form had the effect of transferring ownership of the aircraft from The Queen to himself.

“What if I don’t want to own the plane?” he asked.

“Then too bad. Queen will transfer it to you anyway,” replied Su Lin.

“So the form is meaningless?”

“No. Form very important. It show Queen that you respect her wishes.”

“I see. Then I suppose I had better sign it.”


Author Information

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Born in Lancashire, England, in 1962, Gregory James Clark is a former Quality Management correspondent, trainer and presenter. Having written on the subject for over thirty years, he has recently branched into fiction, publishing The Island of Dreams in 2017.With an interest in ice skating he is now in the process of utilising a unique combination of knowledge to develop a new theory of political economy based on the principles of Quality that it is hoped will one day end poverty and warfare by providing a realistic, credible and fair alternative to capitalism. The Island Prince provides a fictional context to present the ideas, along with some interesting scientific concepts.

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#BlogBlitz| #BookReview | #IncidentReport | GUILTY….UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (DI Braddick #3) by Conrad Jones @ConradJones (September 11th 2018, Bloodhound Books @bloodhoundbook)

Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for the release of GUILTY…UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (DI Braddick #3) by Conrad Jones.

I would like to say that it is truly my pleasure to be invited onto this blog tour! Particular thanks to Sarah Hardy & Emma Welton, Bloodhound Books and of course Conrad Jones who have arranged this extract of GUILTY…UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (DI Braddick #3).

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To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

Following a storm, a body is washed up on a beach, intricately wrapped in wire mesh. DS Marcus Braddick is struck by the similarities to a triple murder case from 7 years before – A case that eluded his predecessor, Alec Ramsay.

Across the city, a teacher is accused online by a Predator hunting group. As his life unravels, a killer stalks the hunters.

Braddick and Ramsay have to work out how the two worlds are entwined and discover who are the innocent and who are the guilty before it’s too late…

Now it’s time for an exclusive extract!

PROLOGUE

He turned down the radio so he could hear the muffled cries for help coming from the boot. The victim’s voice had been strong at first, full of anger. The energy and venom were waning. He was incoherent now, sounding almost demented. A thin smile touched his lips as he listened to the anguish. He would drive around for a while, taking an hour or so to reach his lair; it would feel like an age for his victim. There was fear in his voice and he savoured his fear. Listening to him plead for help excited him. He had no sympathy for him, only hatred and anger. It was his own fault that he was where he was; he had asked for everything that was about to happen to him. Retribution. That’s what it was. He would make him understand what he had done when he was broken, when he was helpless. It wouldn’t take long to break this one. He could tell. Some were stronger than others. At the end, they were always the same: sorry and apologetic, but their apologies were too late. They would beg for mercy at the end but there was none to be had. Where was the mercy when he had needed it? Nowhere, that’s where.

He had realised a long time ago that the world was short on mercy. Mercy and giving the benefit of the doubt were gifts that humans talked about, but rarely delivered. People are fickle. One minute you’re loved and respected, the next you’re a pariah. Given the right circumstances, lifelong friends could become enemies in the blink of an eye. Innocent until proven guilty – that was how it was supposed to be. It was bullshit. Mercy and forgiveness were rare. They were commodities that not many could afford.

He could hear him sobbing again. The anger had dissipated and burnt out – it always did. They always started out angry, shouting abuse and screaming threats. That was when they realised they were in the grip of evil. There was no going back. This was where they would meet their end, screaming, begging for mercy. Yet still they threatened him. He had heard it all. It didn’t matter. Nothing would stop him. That was the point: to show them how it felt to be helpless. They had to feel the total desolation of being helpless and alone, teetering on a knife edge between life and death, the pain so intense that death was the desirable option. Being helpless was all part of the horror they had to suffer so they could understand what they had done. Fear blurred the reality in their minds. When they realised that they couldn’t break the wire that was bound around their wrists and ankles, they would change; they couldn’t stop him hurting them, and they couldn’t talk their way out. Once that was accepted, the threats would subside. They would realise that he wasn’t about to release them, not now, not soon, not ever. Once it had sunk in that this wasn’t a situation with a happy ending, their spirit would weaken, and eventually break. The adrenalin waned from their bloodstream and they would resort to seeking mercy. But there was no mercy.

They had nothing but pain and suffering to look forward to. Pain and suffering and fear. The fear in their eyes was what drove him. It fuelled him. It was the price they paid for what they had done. They would never be found. Their loved ones would never know why they didn’t come home. They would suffer too. They would always wonder where they were and what had happened to them. They would always miss them, always grieve for them. That made him happy. He had suffered and now it was their turn. Every action had a reaction: yin and yang, karma, an eye for an eye, whichever universal power people believed in. This was revenge, and it worked for him. It would be a long night for his victim, a very long night indeed. He lit a cigarette while he listened to the dulcet tones of suffering coming from the boot.

I cannot wait to read this book in full!

I hope you enjoyed this extract and it’s spurring you on to get your hands on a copy 🙂
About Conrad Jones; 

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Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.

He signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.

 

You can buy GUILTY…UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (DI Braddick #3) from the following booksellers;

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

-S.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!

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#RisqueReads | #ReleaseBlitz | Night Before by Dani Wyatt @ddwyattauthor (December 16th 2017, Indie Published @ArdentPRose)

NIGHT BEFORE by Dani Wyatt
Published December 16th 2017

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Until Malcolm Knight set his eyes upon the curvy cherub of a Christmas elf in his department store’s Santa’s Village, Christmas meant nothing to him except what it did for the bottom line.  Now, his inner Scrooge is melting away.  Replaced by thoughts of her sugar-plums and if they taste as good as they look.

Penny Evergreen lives for Christmas.  When her parents jet off for the holidays, sending her all alone to New York for a month-long training to relieve the piano prodigy of her paralyzing stage fright, she takes one look at the elaborate Christmas Village at the prestigious Knight & Knight department store, and she hatches a holiday plan of her own.

Will these two star-crossed opposites attract?  Or will their deceptions be the end of this holiday fairy tale before it has a chance to take off?

Author’s Note:   Grab your candy canes and sit in front of the fire.  This sugary sweet Christmas story will warm your heart and melt your panties.  This May-December quick holiday romance is sure to have you asking Santa for some Malcolm of your very own.  Complete with insta-everything, safe and always a happy ending. Or two.  Or ten.

Night Before

In anticipation of the release of NIGHT BEFORE – we have been an exclusive excerpt!! Be warned that it does contain some strong language and some rather steamy chemistry! We are looking forward to reading the full story – giving us all our steamy feels right before Christmas!

My vision is filled with a thousand twinkling lights as I glance over my shoulder to see Malcolm’s enormous form to the side of me.  He’s got one arm outstretched behind my back, not touching me—not yet—but I feel where his hand hovers in the air just above my back side.  It’s that chivalrous, gentlemanly motion that nearly buckles my knees.
My vision is drowsy as my eyes fall to the front of his jeans where I see an enormous bulge.

I draw in a sharp breath and jerk my head back up to face forward, embarrassed by my own forwardness but unable to resist the thought: could his erection be because of me?
No.

Do not be a fool, Elf Penny.

Maybe he’s got some crazy elf kink or something.  Because no way a man like him would be interested in a pudgy elf like me.  Still, the thought of his enormous erection leaves me speechless and breathless as he guides us toward a table in the back of the sitting area that surrounds where Randall is already playing happily with another couple of boys about his own age.

“Sit,”  Malcolm orders and his bossy tone causes a shiver of delight wrestling through me.  It feels as if my bones are liquefying as I melt into the chair and wait for whatever comes next.

“Sitting,”  I manage as he takes a seat in front of me.  The same sort of position as yesterday, only this time he’s closer. His legs spread around as my knees nearly bump into his crotch.  I do everything in my power to avert my eyes from the fullness there, but at the same time as he sits, he lets out an uncomfortable chuff in his throat, and I can only imagine it must be difficult to bend something that hard and long.

Heat rises up my legs where they connect to his.  The same heartbeat that is deafening in my ears is also wildly distracting as it thumps between my legs.  My mouth is watering as well and I lick my lips as I try to make sense of what’s happening right now.

Malcolm sits quietly.  There’s a vibration growing in the empty space between us and my heart is thundering in my chest.

“What do you want to talk about?”  I blurt out, unable to stand the silence another moment.

He bites into his bottom lip.  Dark eyes fasten to me.  “Fuck.”  He bows his head then looks up at the ceiling, then back to me.

My belly tightens.  The muscles in my neck feel like metal cords ready to snap.

“What?”  I lean in, compelled—even though he’s a near stranger—to relieve him of whatever the strain is I hear in his voice.  “Whatever it is, you can tell me.  I want to know.”

“Penny.”  He looks at me and I see the tangle of conflict in his eyes. “Just promise me, I won’t scare the shit out of you.”

I raise my eyebrows, wondering what it could be, but still deep in my heart wanting to know.

“Okay.  I promise.  As long as it doesn’t involve you decapitating me, dismembering me, or any other sort of felonious thing regarding me.”

A strained chuckle rumbles from him, and a genuine smile spreads up into his eyes.  Then he nods before he continues.  “My nephew didn’t even want to come here today.”
“Really?”  I blink, wondering what’s coming next.  Because I can feel most definitely something is coming next.

“Really.  I wanted to come.  To see you.”

I sit, silent, as he tightens his legs around mine and sends my nipples into points yet again.

He raises a hand to brush down where my hair rests against the side of my face, raising goosebumps all over my skin.

“That’s not completely true,”  he adds.  “The truth is, I came here to kiss you.  Because that’s all I’ve thought about. Are you ready for that?”

NB 3

About DANI WYATT;

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA — any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani’s private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

http://eepurl.com/bubxzz

She’s a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

When she’s not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can’t have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.

Author Links; Facebook  Amazon page  Goodreads

You can buy NIGHT BEFORE from the following booksellers;

Amazon (UK) | Amazon | Amazon (AUS)

-S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour| #GuestContent | WE HAVE LOST THE CHIHUAHUAS (We Have Lost #4) by Paul Mathews @QuiteFunnyGuy (November 28th 2017)

Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for WE HAVE LOST THE CHIHUAHUAS – the lastest novel int he WE HAVE LOST series from Paul Mathews.

Big thanks to Emma Mitchell and author Paul Mathews for inviting me onto this tour!

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Firstly, what is this book about?

London, 2046. The British Republic has a new First Lady. She’s Californian, ‘in-your-face, for sure’ and she’s got big plans for a Buckingham Palace refurb. When her three Chihuahuas go missing, one man is determined to avoid getting dragged into it all. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – presidential spokesperson, retired secret agent and cat lover.

Meanwhile, Howie’s wife Britt is handed her first assignment as a National Security and Intelligence Service rookie – to solve the mystery of the missing canine trio.

Will Howie manage to slope off to the pub before he can be roped into help? Will Britt unmask the dog-napper and grab the glory? Find out, in the latest, crazy comedy-thriller from dog-loving British author Paul Mathews.

 

Want to know what I thought?

Well today –  I will be sharing some background into Paul – in particular, some of his favourite things!

“Cheese is one of my great loves. There’s even a piece of Camembert called Norman in my latest novel..! But Cheddar is, of course, the king of cheeses. But a well-fried block of mozzarella – Eastern-European style – can more than compete. I still eat small cubes of cheese with brown sauce as a snack – a childhood treat. I’m told cheese is addictive and I can well believe it. I was vegetarian for 20 years but I could never give up cheese.

Beer is another love. Eastern Europe has various types of black beer which are thinner than Guinness and a little sweeter, in most cases. Black beer rarely gives me a major hangover. And it goes very well with cheese! When the beer runs out, it’s Jack Daniels with coke or a gin and tonic.

If it’s food, it has to be spaghetti Bolognese. Although I will happily swap minced beef for turkey. My wife also adds ginger. She makes a huge pan and I progressively eat it over a period of three days!

In terms of my non-edible loves, I used to be a dog person. However, my wife owned a cat called Lulu when I met her. And now Lulu is more my cat than hers (I think Lulu appreciates someone else lounging round the flat all day). Cats are perfect for writers, because they don’t have to be walked when you’re in the middle of writing a chapter. With Lulu, I just let her wander round our balcony and she’s happy.

Sports-wise, I play a lot of pool (occasionally snooker) and watch a tonne of football. I also enjoy sampling other sports. I’m going to the US in 2018 where I’m be experiencing American ice hockey, basketball and, hopefully, baseball.”

Want to know a little more about Paul?

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Hello. My name is Paul Mathews. I’m a 45-year-old British writer who gave up his 9-to-5 job in London in the summer of 2015 to write comedy-thriller novels.

After a year of procrastination, good-living, occasional writing, editing and daydreaming, I published my first novel, We Have Lost The President, in July 2016. Since then, I’ve surprised myself and many others – as well as annoyed several people –  by publishing two more novels, writing a fourth, and selling books to thousands of people who appreciate good humour (and a few dozen people who wouldn’t know a good joke if it blew a raspberry in their face).

But we British don’t enjoy blowing own our trumpets too much, so let’s delve deep into my past (well, the bits of it I can remember) and tell you a bit more about me.

Before I gave up my job for a life of writing, I worked as a Government press officer for 16 years – generally avoiding emails, answering phones or any kind of contact whatsoever with journalists. That was so I could concentrate on the creative bits, such as writing news releases and features. When I wasn’t doing that, I was telling jokes, making people laugh and dreaming of a life that didn’t involve 100+ emails a day, photocopiers that kept jamming and phones that didn’t stop ringing.

Prior to that, in the days before the internet and mobile phones – so long ago, Justin Bieber wasn’t even born – I was an accountant. But I don’t like to talk about that (it brings back too many horrible memories of corporation tax calculations and balance sheets). And going back even further, when I had a ponytail and wore flowery shirts, I studied philosophy at Cambridge University after winning a place to study mathematics but deciding I was bored with solving equations by the time I arrived. How a budding writer ended up in that philosophical predicament is a long story, but one mainly based on the idea that academic subjects were considered superior to others – such as creative writing – which are a lot more useful if you want to write words for a living.

That’s enough about the past. What about the present? Well, I am married and have an eight-year-old called Lulu. She’s got four legs, purrs a lot and is a bit fussy with her food. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know her as my assistant. She is my constant companion at home and lets me know if I need a break from the laptop, I’m spending too many hours on social media, or it’s time to stop writing and play hide and seek. But mostly she just sleeps. Even more than I do.

You can buy WE HAVE LOST THE CHIHUAHUAS from November 28th at the following retailers;

Amazon (UK) | Amazon.com

-S.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!

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