#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 

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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)

#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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#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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