#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #GuestPost : The Gene Wizards (The Wizards Series #2) #TheGeneWizards #TheWizardsSeries – Clare Blanchard @CBcrime

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Gene Wizards banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Gene Wizards (The Wizards Series #2)’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Dr Clare KrojzlOriginally from the North Yorkshire coast in England, Clare Blanchard spent half her lifetime in Czechia in Central Europe, where her books are mainly set. Inspired by noir fiction, her settings are often like another character in the plot. She writes crime mysteries and dark urban fantasy with a historical twist.
Clare loves beautiful landscapes and architecture, cross-country skiing, the wine of South Moravia, and of course Czech beer. When she’s not being literary she knits funky socks.

Social Media:
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Instagram

Synopsis :

Gene wizardsNEWIt’s bad enough you’re from a family of rich bankers, without having to deal with secret genetic engineering factories in the Dakotas.
Especially when you wake up one morning after a tab of E and find you’re thinking in Hebrew.
Follow the adventures of the Vanpyre family as they wrestle with the Dark Side of money and power.

Purchase Links:
Scribd
Nook
Kobo

Publishing Information:
Published in ebook format by CB Books on 18th September 2019.

Additional Information:
The Gene Wizards will be reduced in price from $2.99 to $0.99 until 1st March 2020.

Guest Post :

Advice you would give your younger self

I’ll start with the most important one of the all:
1) Trust your instincts!
I’ve lost count of the number of times I had a gut feeling about something and tried to rationalise it by saying things like: “Oh, you’re exaggerating”, or: “You’re making too much of it.” I’ve lived to regret not trusting my instincts more times than I can count. I’ve never once lived to regret trusting them. Treat yourself and your feelings with respect. They’re there for a reason.
2) Don’t negotiate with bullies. You’re a target, not a victim
Over several decades I’ve met my fair share of bullies. These are the usual stages: your first thought is that you’re probably imagining it, but your gut is telling you you’re not, and your gut is always right. Your second thought is to start agonising about what you might have done to deserve this treatment. The answer, always, is absolutely nothing. The only reason you are being bullied is because you are physically available for it. Once you understand this simple truth, you stop being a paralysed victim and start being a target. And the great thing about being a target is that you can move! A major part of bullying is the con trick being played on you: that you have to engage with it. You don’t.
When I was about fourteen, I entered a short story competition at my school. The retired teacher who came to judge the competition decided to demolish my story in front of the whole school with a torrent of ridicule, saying it was like a trashy magazine story. As you can imagine, I was absolutely mortified – and furious. So furious, in fact, that I decided then and there to become a writer. It took me many years, but I am now a published author with a modest but enthusiastic following. So there’s another piece of advice I could have given my younger self: the people who make fun of you may actually be doing you more of a favour than they are doing themselves. Oh, and classy people like bringing other people up to their level, not dragging them down to theirs.
3) This one might sound cynical, but it’s on my list:
99.9% of romantic relationships are a total waste of time and energy.
Harsh words? Look around you at the anguish caused by ‘romance’! Think of all the time you could have spent doing other things – hang gliding, walking in the Welsh hills, learning how to cross-country ski or paint watercolours, learn a new language, back pack through Peru ……
4) Which brings me to the next piece of advice: Learn, learn and keep on learning!
This is the one piece of advice my younger self actually did follow and continues to follow as my older self. Learning new things keeps us young in heart and mind, keeps our outlook fresh, and keeps us humble. It takes courage, humility and persistence to learn new things. All real learning starts with character.
5) Don’t confuse your career with your life’s work. This one is for the artists and innovators among us. The second biggest time waster in life, in my experience, is trying to climb a career ladder. Especially in today’s corporate culture. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a great believer in developing knowledge and skills, as I wrote in point 4. It’s just that I’m more interested in the quality of what I’m delivering than in point scoring competitions.
6) While we’re on the subject of working for a living, many of us neglect to educate ourselves about financial prudence until we’re already in trouble in one way or another. That said, it’s way better to pursue prosperity than wealth. Prosperity is a bit like beauty: it’s more to do with proportions and ratio than with absolute numbers. As a general rule of thumb: if you’re working more than eight hours a day (averaged out over a week), your job is going to start costing you more than it’s making you. When we put ourselves in ‘time famine’, we’re sacrificing the time we would otherwise have had to shop around, cook decent meals at home, walk to work, keep fit, keep up with friendships and generally take care of ourselves properly. Quality of life is way more important than absolute income on the bottom line. Also, when we budget carefully with our time and our money, we make it work for us, not against us. I read somewhere that about 40% of Lottery winners end up going bankrupt. There’s a moral in there somewhere! If you lose money or property, you have the chance to replace it. Lost time is lost forever.
7) Last, but definitely not least: I would advise my younger self not to take myself too seriously. I keep meaning to get myself a custom-made T-shirt with the acronym DTIP on it: Don’t Take it Personally!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Fateful Coincidence – Lasairiona E. McMaster @QueenofFireLas

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Fateful Coincidence’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

Ml6OPnBALasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Social Media Links :
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Website

Synopsis :

NeulckdAFive thousand miles from her ex, Lisa is living with her decision to call it quits and leave both AJ and Alabama behind. She believes she’s finally ready to put her broken heart back together and move forward with her life as a single woman. But when she meets a seemingly too-good-to-be-true doctor, she feels both unsure of herself and guilty for moving on so quickly from her engagement to AJ. Lisa finds herself at a cross roads, does she give up all hope of ever reconciling with AJ and take a chance on love again with someone new? Or is her heart destined to be forever entwined with the married man she met on the internet?

Purchase Links

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#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : The Blood Dimmed Tide #TheBloodDimmedTide – Michael R. Johnston @MREJohnston @flametreepress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Blood Dimmed Tide BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Blood Dimmed Tide’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Michael R JohnstonBorn in the San Francisco bay area and raised in Napa, California, Michael R. Johnston grew up steeped in everything Science Fiction and Fantasy from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as endless terrible SF TV shows he still has a slightly embarrassed fondness for.
In the early 90s, he took “a year” off from college. He spent time as a court process server, a retail sales associate, a sandwich maker, and a data entry tech, before finding himself in a management position with a research firm.
A decade later, burnt out from his job in political research and facing 30, he decided he’d had enough and returned to college, graduating with honors from California State University, Sacramento.
In fall 2006, he became a high school English teacher, a job he likens to herding a swarm of angry bees. It’s the best job he’s ever had.
He currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter. When he’s not writing or teaching, he spends time with his family, plays video games and tabletop RPGs, and reads.
He can be found here and on Twitter.

Synopsis :

Blood Dimmed Tide CoverThe sequel to The Widening Gyre, praised by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal and more!
Reclaiming Earth from the Zhen was only the first battle. Now Tajen Hunt and his fellow colonists must fight for their fledgling colony’s survival. Tajen’s mission to seek aid from the Kelvaki Assembly is cut short when the Zhen invade Earth. Now he, Liam, and Kiri must return to Earth and liberate the colony from brutal occupation. When Tajen learns the Zhen plan to destroy a human fleet amassing in preparation to help Earth, he and his crew must escape the planet once more and warn them.

Amazon

Excerpt :

…The new Earth Council gathered in the colony administration centre’s conference room an hour later, mugs of steaming tea in our hands. Since we’d defeated the Zhen force that had tried to pry us off the reclaimed Earth a year ago, we’d been rebuilding the civilisation they’d destroyed over a thousand years before. Many humans had left Zhen and Terra, the human colony world in the Zhen Empire, and taken up residence on our ancestral homeworld.
It was still a rough world, with a lot to be rediscovered, but it was coming along nicely. We’d built a small city, with the astoundingly unoriginal name ‘Landing’, and were moving outward slowly. There were some isolated settlements on other parts of the planet, some with reclaimed Old Earth names, and some with names inspired in the years of what was now becoming known as ‘the Big Lie’, the period of time in which we’d thought of the Zhen as our saviours, and not the architects of our misfortunes. I had never intended to become the leader of a colony, so when the original group of colonists who arrived with me had tried to make me the colony’s head, I immediately, without reservation, refused. We held elections a few weeks later, and chose Diana Adakai, a woman from Terra who had come with the first wave of humans, to join us. She headed a large group of people she called ‘Diné’, who she told me had worked very hard to remain ‘whole’ during the eight hundred years of the Big Lie. Ben had joined them, and was learning the language. It turned out his mother had been one of them, but he’d been raised by his father and hadn’t learned as a child.
Diana sat in her place at the head of the table and looked around the table. “While we have urgent matters to discuss, let us begin with the standard reports, please,” she said, setting her cup down on the table.
Kiri, to her immediate left, spoke first. “Network security has been upgraded with a new cypher,” she said, brushing her red hair back from her face. “I removed the Zhen back doors from all the software – and, by the way, you’re not paying me enough. It was damned difficult to do without crashing the whole system. We’re continuing to scour the system for more software traps, but I think we’ve got them all. We’re also replacing some of the most vulnerable Zhen equipment with Kelvaki equivalents, giving us another layer of security.”
“What about comms?” I asked, from beside her.
“All the ships in the fleet are now using the same comms equipment, and they’re protected by a Kelvaki encryption code. So far as we or the Kelvaki are aware, the Zhen haven’t broken this encryption. We’ll continue to update the keys and frequencies often.”
Diana nodded. “All the ships in the fleet,” she repeated softly. Her eyes met mine, and she sighed. “How many is that now, Tajen?”
I took a deep breath as I composed my answer. “Not enough,” I said. “We’ve only got two squads left – twenty-four ships in total. The Zhen attacks of the last month have been whittling us down even before today’s disaster.”
“What are they doing?” she asked.
I frowned; we’d discussed this before. I realised she was asking for the benefit of the others around the table. “It’s an attrition tactic,” I said.
“They could just come in with a huge fleet and overwhelm us, but the Zhen like to toy with their enemies when they can. This is designed to brutalise us psychologically. They want us at the edge so they can just push us over. They don’t just want to take Earth back. They want to break us completely as a people.”
“How many personnel did we lose today?”
“One hundred and fifteen,” I said.
“How long can we survive with our current numbers?”
“If they continue this campaign?” I bit my lip. “Maybe six months, at the current rate. But I’d say probably less – a lot less. My pilots were already beginning to fray. Today may have accelerated the process.”
She frowned. “So. We need more ships.”
“Yes.”…

The-Blood-Dimmed-Tide-ISBN-9781787583122.99.0

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#CoverReveal @MeerkatPress : Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons – Keith Rosson @keith_rosson

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press, to reveal the cover of

Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons
by
Keith Rosson

But first some information

About the Author :

radio_rosson_keith_5491-1-e1474903961116_upm1ssKeith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, and his short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, December, The Nervous Breakdown, and more. He’s been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a finalist for the Birdwhistle Prize for Short Fiction. He’s also an illustrator and graphic designer, with clients that include Green Day, Against Me, the Goo Goo Dolls, and others. A fierce advocate of public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at his website or on Twitter.

Synopsis :

With the Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson delves into notions of family, grief, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and in “High Tide,” a grieving man ruminates on his brother’s life as a monster terrorizes their coastal town. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes a number of Rosson’s unpublished stories, as well as award-winning favorites.

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the cover reveal, because this is happening

right now!

9781946154521

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be released in 2021 by Meerkat Press.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#ReleaseBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : The Lady is Trouble #TheLadyisTrouble – Tracy Sumner #TracySumner @sumnertrac

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Lady is Trouble Blitz Banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Lady is Trouble’ blogtour, organised by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

The Colonel and The Enchantress on tablet with book cover background 2Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A couple of degrees (BA, Journalism-MA, Media Arts) and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.
Tracy has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, HOLT Medallion, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish.
She lives in the south, but after spending a few years in NYC, considers herself a New Yorker at heart. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other or that great novel she simply must read.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Promo Link

Synopsis :

The Lady is TroubleIn the first in Tracy Sumner’s sizzling League of Lords historical series, mysticism and paranormal abilities in Victorian England set the stage for a captivating love affair …
He’s a viscount with a dark past who yearns for the one woman he can’t have. She’s a psychic firebrand. Rebellious, spurned by society and determined to change his mind.
What’s a defiant woman to do when the man she’s meant for doesn’t believe in love?
After three years of waiting for Julian Alexander to realize they are destined to be together, Lady Piper Scott takes matters into her own hands. Because her gift as a healer has never done anything but distance her from the most principled man in England. A meaningless diversion as a medium, all done to gain a certain wandering viscount’s attention, backfires. As most endeavors have for a woman known in the ton as Scandalous Scott.
What’s a reluctant viscount to do when the woman he can’t have becomes the woman he can’t live without?
Julian Alexander, Lord Beauchamp, battled his way from the lowliest slum to assume his title. He carries not only a turbulent past, but a mystical psychic gift that separates him from society. Honorable to his core, he is committed to protecting a community of outcasts with abilities like his own. He has no time, no place, for love. Or repeatedly rescuing the most outrageous, beguiling woman he’s ever known. Even if she needs his protection most—and he desires her above all others.
Seduction, intrigue and desire lead to an explosive passion…
Julian vowed to shield Piper from the deadly foes seeking to possess her powerful gift. Although he needs her help in controlling his own, the mix could be deadly. Soon what was once a simple agreement to work together becomes enchantingly complex as they surrender to a timeless love…

Purchase Links:
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

The Lady is Trouble Extra

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Release Blitz Organized By:

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RABT Book Tours

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : The Celestial Assignment #TheCelestialAssignment – Theresa Braun @TBraun_Author #WiHM #Paranormal

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Celestial Assignment’ blogtour, organised by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Author PicHmmm. What’s this? Looks like Ms. Braun left her computer on and her Goodreads bio open.
This should be fun.
What can we say about Theresa? I mean other than the fact that she’s weirdly obsessed with smiley faces 🙂 . Like, seriously obsessed 😗 . It’s kinda scary 😮 .
I think she thinks she’s from Renaissance England or Venice or something. I never could figure out which one it was. (She’s really bad at doing accents.)
She likes romance novels and crime TV, which are pretty much the same thing when you think about it. Ha! Am I right?
She has a hell of a singing voice. Seriously. It’s, like, seventh circle of hell bad.
She likes editing. A lot. Just wait till she gets a load a this.
Cats. Shoes. Chips and salsa. In that order.
Yeah, that last part didn’t make sense to me either.

Author Links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

The Celestial Assignment CoverTitle: The Celestial Assignment
Genre: Short Story / Urban Fantasy / Paranormal

After a sudden death, Will, a misguided angel, is tasked with protecting a baby girl. Watching over her as she grows up and navigates the world appears a harsh punishment for his past failings. Can he redeem himself, or will he fall further from grace?

“I devoured this phenomenal sorrow-filled piece in one sitting, but Braun left me with so many questions I had to think about. She creates a world that’s vivid, lush and visceral, while setting the reader up for heartbreak and despair. Amazing read, can’t recommend ‘The Celestial Assignment’ enough.”
– Steve Stred, author of Ritual

Goodreads

Amazon

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

wYZbIRKANick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Social Media Links:
Amazon
Facebook
Facebook Page
Website
Instagram
Twitter
Website 2
GoodReads
Blogspot
YouTube

Synopsis :

CNa8HzwgNick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Purchase Links:
UK
Kindle
Paperback
Audible
USA
Kindle
Paperback
Audible

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
You’re most welcome.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell us something about yourself and how you became an author?
The story of how I became an author, is very much linked to how we came to be living in a run-down farmhouse in rural Ireland.
Back in 2004, my wife and I lived near Colchester in England. We were ‘empty-nesters’, our grown-up daughter had her own home and a great job, so Lesley and I only had to care for our two dogs and each other. Although our life was outwardly wonderful – I had a successful career, a lovely home, a desirable car and so on – my wife and I couldn’t get away from the feeling it was all just window dressing, a meaningless sham. Then, within a few short months, I experienced several upsetting events. My father passed away, a close friend was killed in a car crash, another friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and several thousand of my workmates were made redundant. When I had my own health scare, I found my perspective had altered irrevocably. That change in perspective jump-started a sequence of decisions culminating in my wife and I beginning a new life here in rural Ireland.
In search of a simpler way of living, we cashed in our investments, sold our home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country we had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, we set about renovating our new home, where we now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly but delightful rescue dogs.
Did I decide to put pen to paper just because of what happened? No. I’ve always been a writer. My first book, “The Adventures of Sticky, The Stick Insect,” was completed when I was eight. At just five pages long and sprinkled with spelling errors, it was not a big hit with the critics! Undaunted, over the next 53 years I have continued to write, gradually developing my skills, but not my spelling! What moving to Ireland gave me was the time I needed to write. Since then I’ve written hundreds of articles for the newspaper, a book on sports instruction and a twisty thriller called ‘Wrecking Crew’. In 2017 I signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about my life here in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I have always been a veracious reader, it’s an absolute must for any aspiring author. As a child, I was introduced to the wonderful world of books by my sister, when she gave me her well-thumbed copy of Winnie-the-Pooh. A short while later, I discovered The Story of Doctor Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting. I believe I read all 13 books in the series in a month. Introducing a child to the joys of reading is the greatest gift anyone can ever give.
When I was a student living in Norwich, England, my first flat was next door to the best second-hand bookshop in the city. What heaven! Back then I read a lot of sci-fi books and thrillers, purely for the escapism. Because I was from a forces family, I collected hundreds of military biographies. Other favourites in my collection were Clive James, David Niven and Spike Milligan. These books were treasured possessions, I still have most of them now.
My collection is obviously somewhat eclectic, I’m not sure what that says about me. As well as piles of golf books, I have a library and dozens of stacked boxes bulging with biographies featuring authors from all walks of life, loads of thrillers, some sci-fi and the complete works of Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and William Shakespeare. I’m never without a book. One secret I can reveal, if I’m writing comedy, I’ll only read thrillers – and vice versa.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’d pick Beth Haslam. She’s the author of the excellent Fat Dogs and French Estates series. Beth is a fellow Ant Press memoirist and very much an inspiration to me as an author. She was brought up on a country estate in Wales. Her childhood was spent either on horseback, helping the gamekeepers raise pheasants, or out sailing. After a serious car crash, she set up her own consultancy business. As semi-retirement beckoned, Beth and her husband decided to buy a second home in France. This became a life-changing event where computers and mobile phones swapped places with understanding the foibles of the French, and tackling the language. Somehow, she found the time to write a bestselling series of memoirs. In many ways our journeys are similar. We’ve only chatted online, but I think she’d be great company over a glass of wine. I’m sure she could help me with my time management – in particular, how she balances her social media responsibilities with the demands of being a published author.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d love to meet Arthur Dent from the fantastic Douglas Adams series ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. I’m a huge fan of this sort of British tea-and-cricket escapist humour. Poor Arthur Dent is just a harmless nice-guy, who unwittingly gets sucked into this wonderful story. I’m sure he’d have some interesting stories to tell.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like my routines and need to have a clear desk and a focused mind before I begin writing. Every morning after breakfast, I take my dogs for a long walk through the forest or across the moorland surrounding our house. After some exercise and a shower, I’m usually ready to write by around 11am. Ideally, I’ll start my workday by catching up with emails, fan mail, social media and other marketing tasks. It’s amazing how much stuff authors have to do these days, outside of research and writing. On a good day, my desk is clear and I’m ready to write by around 2pm. I have a strict rule not to work beyond 6pm, except for when my wife is away in England visiting family. If I’m close to a print deadline and feeling the need for a little more writing time, I’ll announce a period of ‘Digital Detox’. It’s rather a false economy as there’s usually a bunch of catching up to do when I go back online, but sometimes the writing has to take priority.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Obviously the books in my Fresh Eggs series are all based on real events, albeit viewed through the prism of my quirky mind. The characters are all real too, but I will admit to a little genetic manipulation, to save any blushes – and keep me out of court! When I’m writing thrillers, the places and characters usually have at least one foot in reality, but with a little spice added to keep things interesting. Do the people in my life need to be worried? Not really. I’ve never threatened to make someone a character in one of my books, just so I can kill them off. On the other hand, I haven’t finished writing yet…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter. Before I start writing any book, I create voluminous lists and flowcharts. It’s a long and arduous process but essential to create the framework for my story. Once the fingers are flying and the words flowing, I can permit my butterfly mind to occasionally flit off-track, secure in the knowledge I will never lose my way. Having a plan isn’t restrictive, quite the opposite, it encourages creativity. When I was writing Wrecking Crew, there were a couple of times when I was astonished by an event that just popped into my head, particularly as it slotted perfectly into the storyline. About halfway through the book, the protagonist Eric Stone opens the trunk of a car and there was… well, I won’t spoil the surprise. I recall sitting back in astonishment as I really had no idea what was about to happen. Of course, it was just my imagination running along ahead for my fingers, something that could only happen because it had a clear path to follow.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Before you write, read – a lot. Read what you enjoy. Read the kind of books you would like to write but be sure to observe the authors craft as you read. Take note of how they mix dialog with narration, how they paint their pictures and how they guide your mind. Try to look beyond the words to understand how the story was constructed. Do all this and more, before you put pen to paper.
When you begin writing, remember it is a craft, one that needs developing. No matter how talented you are at the beginning, your writing should always improve over time. You should expect your last book to be much better than your first. Never let anyone tell you that you are unworthy.
Understanding the difference between dreams and goals can make your task considerably less stressful. Dreams are the things we would like to achieve, but have very little control over – like winning the lottery. Goals are the steps we take towards achieving our dream – like buying that lottery ticket. Goals you control, dreams you don’t. That distinction is important. As a writer, you must focus your efforts and evaluate your success based only on the things you can control. Trying to do otherwise is a recipe for disaster.
Many excellent writers have given up because they made getting published their goal and failed. Trying to get published won’t make you a better writer, but being a better writer, and building a large social media following of people who like your work, will definitely help you to get published. Focus on what you can control.

What are your future plans as an author?
My ‘ideas folder’ is bulging with interesting storylines, but it would be a mistake to take on too much. Just now I’m writing the fourth book in the five-part Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds series. It is progressing well and due out in mid-2020. In the background I’m researching a book about my father’s fascinating life in the RAF. I’m also working on Stone Façade, the second in my Eric Stone thriller series. I am very excited about the twisty plot, which will bring Stone to Ireland in search of a missing journalist, but not all is as it seems…
I hope I’ll still be writing 30 years from now. If I am, perhaps my spelling will improve. If I can average a book a year until I’m 90, that would be something special to look back on.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is how Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds begins…

With a deep sigh, Doctor David Harrison dropped my medical chart back onto his desk, where it threatened to overbalance several piles of papers. My GP looked around his cluttered consulting room and casually ran his fingers through his thick blond hair, momentarily pulling the wavy locks away from his forehead. This simple action suggested he was relaxed and confident in the diagnosis he was about to deliver. It also drew my attention to his clear blue eyes. Their normally humorous twinkle had been replaced by the steady gaze of someone who had something serious to say. Yesterday had been a bad day, my chest still hurt and the bitter taste of bile was burning my throat. Dave had my attention. Nevertheless, I noticed he changed his posture, leaning forward to emphasise his point. He gave me a thin smile, but his voice was serious.
“Nick, if you carry on like this, you will be dead in six months – or at best, in a padded cell with nothing but a packet of crayons to keep you entertained.”
He made a fist and brought it to his mouth, for a moment I thought he was going to burp, but he leaned forwards and firmly patted my knee with the heel of his fist to emphasise his point. One fist thump for each word.
“Sort – your – life – out, – or – else.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but for once words failed me. Dave gave a nod, acknowledging his message had been delivered, then he abruptly stood and strode to the door.
“Now, come outside and see my new car!”
This is where it all started.
For more than ten years, I had been a manager at a multinational pensions and investment firm. When they hired me, it was one of the proudest days of my life. They were a famous and respected brand, with a proud tradition of being one of the best employers in Britain. Now, it seemed like the lunatic accountants had taken over the asylum, constantly changing departments, reassigning responsibilities and outsourcing customer support, IT functions, and the office of spectacular cock-ups to some distant city in India. There the telesales staff have more qualifications than an astronaut, but cost less to keep than an anorexic hamster.
To add to the fun, I was frequently dragged halfway across the country for meetings that did little but add to my workload and frustration. Commuting in England had become a reoccurring nightmare of stress and delay. The traffic is appalling, the trains are expensive and unreliable, and the London underground can be horribly hot and overcrowded. There are few less pleasant ways of not getting around London than standing for two hours on a stationary underground train, with your face jammed into some fat guy’s sweaty armpit, whilst wondering how long it’s medically safe to hold on to a fart.
In a fast-changing world, staffing levels across our industry were being slashed repeatedly. I had been made redundant eight times in six years, but on each occasion I had successfully fought for one of the few remaining positions. Sadly, more than 6,000 of my friends and colleagues had been less fortunate, and many of them had been unable to find suitable employment. Now I was one of only six survivors from a staff off several hundred in my division. At times, it seemed like I was the last man standing on the battlefield, just waiting for the sniper’s bullet. I could feel that red laser dot itching at the back of my neck, as the accountants identified the next cost saving required to create the illusion of more profits.
The constant fear of forced redundancy, unemployment, and the catastrophe it could bring to our finely-balanced finances, was gnawing away at my sense of humour and undermining my previously robust health. In an effort to replenish our savings, I had begun teaching golf again. That skill was a remnant of a dream that fizzled out in favour of a proper job, not long after I married Lesley and she gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Joanne. Although it was nice to earn a little extra money, suddenly I had no spare time. Life didn’t feel like fun anymore; weekends and evenings spent giving lessons at the driving range left me little time for family, no time to play golf, and no place to blow off a little steam. And now the company was entering yet another round of cuts. It was evident that my job would soon cease to exist, probably within months, and I could either fight again for another position, or simply accept redundancy and try to get on with a new life.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Nick Albert.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!