#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Captured By Her Enemy Knight – Nicole Locke @NicoleLockeNews @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon

– ‘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 ‘Captured By Her Enemy Knight’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

ocBgtkswNicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly).
If she isn’t working on the next book in her historical series, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com!

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Synopsis :

VsCDiwjQFalling for the man
Cressida Howe, the Archer, is a well-tuned weapon. But she’s also a woman captivated by a man—Eldric of Hawskmoor, the warrior knight her father ordered her to kill. Instead, for years, Cressida has simply watched him… Now she’s been captured by her formidable enemy, and her well-ordered world comes crashing down, for Eldric is even more compelling up close. Cressida curses her traitorous heart—this assassin has fallen for her target!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Harlequin

Guest Post :

Top Ten things about the hero Eldric of Hawksmoor:

1. He looks like Brock O’Hurn, so yeah, I loved doing the research, and describing him, and…and…and.
2. Eldric was in a previous book: Her Christmas Knight as a friend of Hugh’s.
3. Whilst talking to Hugh, he mentions that the three perfect scars on his arm are caused by an Archer who will pay for his dishonourable deeds.
4. Little does he know the Archer is a woman.
5. He also doesn’t know he dances with that same woman at a Christmas Ball (she’s in disguise). He kinda liked dancing with her…and thinks about her a lot.
6. So when he meets this Archer (aka the fight), he’s a little torn and intrigued, full of lust and loathing, and…and…and.
7. Instead of killing her, he captures her. Romance ensues.
8. The problem with the Archer’s secrets, which involves the scars on the arm, is that they are juicy secrets. They also conflict with all of Eldric’s secrets.
9. Oh! And he whistles. All the time. In fact, that’s how the Archer first noticed Eldric…when she was a child. And over the years, she observes him again, and again, and again.
10. You see…she’s always loved him, and though he realises their connection may be a bit stronger than revenge, all those secrets may keep them from their HEA.

Giveaway :

Win 5 x PB copies of Captured By Her Enemy Knight (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : An Implacable Woman – KT Findlay @KtFindlay

– ‘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 ‘An Implacable Woman’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

VoUTNEq0K.T. Findlay lives on a small farm where he dovetails his writing with fighting the blackberry and convincing the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a vital part of its job description.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

CjJcTa5QIf a tooth costs a tooth and an eye costs an eye
When a man hits his wife, then it’s his turn to die

Furious that the courts and police can’t prevent respected surgeon John Kirby from beating his wife, Sally Mellors steps in to save her. Permanently…
But Grace Kirby isn’t the only one who needs saving and Sally quickly discovers she’s taken on a much bigger job than she’d thought.
With her unique ability to blend justice with fun, Sally sets joyfully about the business of removing the monsters from women’s lives, but is she in danger of becoming a monster herself?
As her friends in the police get ever closer, Sally has some serious questions of her own to answer.

Additional Maps of where An Implacable Woman

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon India
Amazon Canada

Guest Post :

It’s the little things that get you.
Like the spider I encountered the other day. She was so quick that I never laid eyes on her, but she managed to sink her fangs into the back of my knee three times before I knew she’d done it. That made for an interesting week…
Don’t get me wrong. I like spiders. A Lot. I look out for them, and in return they do their share of removing insects from the house. But on this occasion she’d settled down to hunt inside my clothes. That was fine overnight, but she took serious offence when I started to get dressed the following morning, hence the bites.
We’ve not spoken since.
And we’re not likely to either, given I don’t know which one she is, and she herself has shown no interest in furthering our communication. She appears to be satisfied that as long as the message has been taken on board, there’s no need to lecture me further on my shortcomings.
Thinking about it, things could have been considerably worse than they actually were!
I can live quite happily with most of the little things around me, but I draw the line at mosquitoes. In my country they’re just an itchy, whiney nuisance, but that’s quite enough to get them squished. I don’t begrudge them the odd drop of blood, but throwing in a days long itch like a “but wait, there’s more!” TV salesman, isn’t at all reasonable. And if I lived in a bit of the world where their free offers included malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever etc. then I’d be even less inclined to give them house room. Did you know that the mosquito has killed more human beings than anything else in history? Not the same one… obviously… but something to ponder none the less.
We authors are faced by a different kind of tiny terror, that lurks amongst the sentences, stalks the paragraphs, and nibbles quietly away at the marks on the page. Spelling and wording errors seem to have a will to survive that matches the most determined plant and animal species on the planet. No matter how many times you go through the manuscript, or how many beta readers you have, or how good your editors are, somehow, at least one the little blighters will manage to sneak through to the final work.
Did you see that!? There’s even one in the previous sentence, so well hidden that you can’t actually see it! The swine! That’s just not playing fair. Well, we can’t have that. I’m going to put it back right now! “… somehow, at least one of the little blighters will manage to sneak through to the final work.”
Yep, I’m more certain than ever. It’s the little things that get you. Every single time…

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #Booktamins @booktamins / #GuestPost : Behind Blue Eyes – Anna Mocikat @anna_mocikat

– ‘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 ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ blogtour, organised by Booktamins.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Anna MocikatAnna Mocikat was born in Warsaw, Poland, but spent most of her life in Germany where she attended film school, worked as a screenwriter and a game writer for several years. Her “MUC” novels have been nominated for the most prestigious awards for Fantasy and Science-Fiction in Germany. In 2016 Anna moved to the USA where she continued her writing career. “Shadow City” was her debut in English in 2019. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and is a proud dog-mom of three rescues who assist her when she’s writing.

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Synopsis :

Title: Behind Blue Eyes
Publication day: 20th May 2020
Genres: Science Fiction

front coverThey are the perfect hybrid between human and machine. They are the next step in the evolution of mankind. And when they come after you, nothing in the world will save you… Welcome to the year 2095. Society has overcome everything that made human life miserable. It has become a utopia — so perfect that it needs killer cyborgs to hunt down anyone who disagrees with it. Nephilim isn’t just any elite death squad member, she is the best. Genetically and cybernetically enhanced, she and others like her strike terror wherever they go. Knowing nothing besides this lifestyle, Nephilim believes that she’s part of a righteous cause. But everything changes for her after a hostile EMP attack. She suffers a severe system glitch. Disconnected from the grid, for the first time in her life, she begins doubting the system. Shortly after the attack, she meets Jake. He is a 100% biological human, and she falls in love with him. Jake helps her discover that everything she had believed in was a lie. But there is no walking away from the system. And soon, Nephilim finds herself hunted by members of her own death squad. In an era of deception, who can she trust? And in this brave new world, is there a place for love between a human and a cyborg? Behind Blue Eyes is a fast-paced, cinematic action story in a dystopian setting. It’s a modern-day version of 1984 – on steroids.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

GoodReads

Guest Post :

My new book Behind Blue Eyes is a Cyberpunk Noir Thriller in the tradition of Phillip K. Dick and his classic, Blade Runner.
However, it’s also a completely different story with a new approach.
The main character is female, but no damsel in distress; her motives are ambiguous. Nephilim is a killer-cyborg, a cold-blooded enforcer for a totalitarian, dystopian system.
It was my intention to create a heroine, who is also a villain – at least at the beginning of the story.
Behind Blue Eyes is set in a future in which three mega-corporations have taken over the world. They are in constant war with each other, and their proxies in this never-ending battle are genetically and cybernetically enhanced super-soldiers – cyborgs.
The location for the story is a futuristic Atlanta, now called Olympias City I. I picked Atlanta purposely because it’s an uncommon location for a Sci-Fi/Cyberpunk story and because I know the city quite well. Living in South Carolina, I visit Atlanta frequently.
Olympias City I, a gigantic mega-city, has been built over former Atlanta, leaving only parts of the former metropolis standing, such as, for example, Downtown, which is now called Oldtown, because it’s so old-fashioned in the year 2095.
Locals will recognize many locations that I used and modified into a futuristic world, such as the subway system MARTA, the Underground Mall, and the famous Atlanta Aquarium.
Everybody else will hopefully have fun exploring a futuristic mega-city like none they have ever seen before!

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#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Along Came A Soldier – Brenda Davies @authorbrenda1

– ‘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 ‘Along Came A Soldier’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

ivq1pfzsBrenda Davies can trace her Cornish heritage back to the 17th century. She loves to indulge her passion of history and all things Cornish by delving into the past and bringing it alive for the reader to experience, which inspired her to write her debut novel Along Came a Soldier. She enjoys whiskey, chocolate, going to the theatre, and losing herself in a good book. She resides in Bristol, England, where she is currently working on her next novel.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

8qbQW0Y8When murder stalks St. Merryn, no secrets are safe…
A forbidden romance…
Set in 1820 Cornwall, Charity Perrow lives a sheltered life in the village of St. Merryn. When she meets and falls for Jethro Ennor, they soon learn their families are bitter enemies, and Charity finds herself torn between remaining loyal to her family and giving into her growing desire for a man they hate.
A village with hidden secrets…
A battle-scarred redcoat is lurking In Greenoak Woods. Struggling to keep his grip on sanity, he’s come home to settle the score with those responsible for the heavy burden he’s been carrying all these years.
An innocent man accused…
When a villager is murdered, the suspicion falls on Jethro. Now Charity must risk everything, including being disowned by her family, to prove his innocence and save him from the gallows.
But as Charity hunts for the truth, she begins to uncover secrets over a decade old—secrets that will change everything.

Purchase Links:
BHC Press
Amazon
Google Play

Guest Post :

Thank you, Stefanie for letting me share some of my thoughts with your readers.
My novel, Along Came A Soldier, is set in Cornwall in 1820. I love writing historical fiction and making the past come alive. It all began when I started researching my family tree. I discovered that the British Newspaper Archive held many historic newspapers that could be read online, including The West Briton, Cornwall’s principal county newspaper at the time.
I was fascinated to read true stories that ranged from press gangs to hangings at the ‘county drop’ in Bodmin, wife selling, and body-snatching. The list of stories is endless as are the many characters that appeared in the papers, some on a regular basis. Such as a John Parkyn who was hung for stealing a pony that he had no use for, or Sydney Guelph Churchill, a quack doctor who treated wounds with cobwebs. It was a time of highway robbers and simple beliefs in curses and witches and wizards.
The skill in writing about the past is to bring it believably alive without making it a history text. Most of the research I do will be valuable for me as a writer, so I can imagine the world I’m creating, but it doesn’t necessarily make it into the book.
I prefer to write about the working class and the struggles they had. Many labourers could not read or write and their belief in superstition was strong. If crops failed or animals died, they usually sought the help of a scatterer of witch spells instead of looking to remedies for disease or sickness. There are many stories of boys as young as ten being sent to prison and whipped, just for stealing sweets and the threats of cholera or typhoid that could wipe out whole families were ever-present. I may not tell the reader all of this, but I do need the reader to see the characters in the setting of 1820. My characters may not react the way you or I would, they cannot consult the internet or even a book, they did not have television or radio, they made their own entertainment if they had the time. Villages would often set themselves against each other just for fun and the clashes between them were often violent.
The people were simple and uneducated and often small-minded. They had pox marked faces and rotten black teeth, lice, and nits, and crabs were common, so was disease and accidents; health and safety did not exist. You grabbed at life, at what was offered, knowing that life was often short.
So my book tries to reflect these times. I do cover the violence that occurred and the different way people died, but these are true newspaper stories that I have incorporated into my own. Times were tough and I want my book to show this. One of my characters is a battle-scarred redcoat who’s struggling to keep a grip on his sanity. He’s fought in many battles from the age of fifteen, and this violent and brutal life has taken its toll.
At the same time, I do believe that friendship and love and loyalty were always present. When two of my characters discover a chance for happiness and love they seize the opportunity. My character Charity’s world rarely extends beyond her village boundary and the local cemetery is a constant reminder of how cruel disease can be, so when the chance of love presents itself, she risks everything to get it and keep it. In a village where everyone knows everyone, friends come together and help each other, and loyalty and bonds are strong.
I do hope you enjoy my novel, Along Came A Soldier.

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#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Sometimes in Bath – Charles Nevin @charlesnevin

– ‘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 ‘Sometimes in Bath’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

9gZLp0mwCharles Nevin is a freelance journalist, author, exiled northerner and generally bemused observer of life and its turns.

Twitter

Synopsis :

4F5rHGfcThe stories and History of ‘Britain’s most elegant and intriguing city’. Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist. Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years. Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations. Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

Amazon

Guest Post :

Bath

Everyone who knows England knows Bath. Indeed, they know it so well that they are pleasingly oblivious to the oddness of its name. We don’t, for example, have anywhere called Shower, or Sink, or Bed. No, everyone knows Bath because Bath has always been there, or at least was there well before we started writing our history down. And so, exactly like an old and familiar piece of furniture, Bath goes unnoticed and unremarked, its unique peculiarities unconsidered.
That was certainly the case for me when I came to live nearby, not because of Bath, although I had been a couple of times before on day trips. Why I wasn’t smitten then, I cannot say. Probably something to do with the chippiness of someone from a northern industrial town confronted by age and beauty that seem a touch unfair. Similarly, a certain smugness about the place. And, possibly, a slight resentment that it was almost an obligation for a Briton to visit the place.
Whatever, somewhere that’s been around for over 2,000 years and has endured or enjoyed any number of charmers, chancers and charlatans can afford to be magnificently untroubled by carping from some Johnny Come Lately. This is a city that knows how to wait.
And, sure enough, that old Bath magic soon got me under its spell. It’s in the look of the place, the way it sits in and climbs the mighty green natural amphitheatre that holds and surrounds it, the way its buildings and pasts nudge each other, and you, all within a walk, Georgian elegances next to Roman remains next to Medieval survivals like the magnificent Abbey.
Once you begin to appreciate this, you also start to take notice of other unique and extraordinary aspects of Bath, not least its reason for being, the hot springs that have fed its baths for so many centuries and made it the oldest holiday resort in Britain and quite possibly Europe. The water arrives from thousands of feet below the Mendip Hills at a temperature of at least 45° C and at a rate of a quarter of a million gallons of water a day, channelling the result of rain that fell 6,000 years ago. How could there not be magic here?
Then, of course, there are those charmers, chancers and charlatans: what a collection of characters! From the legendary King Bladud, founder of the city and the man, who among much else tried to fly, through Romans and Saxons, including the great Alfred, through the Abbey builders to the Georgian era of Beau Nash, John Wood and the stream of visitors, Elizabeth I, Dr Johnson, Horatio Nelson, Charles Dickens, the Emperor Haile Selassie, John Betjeman…what else would a writer of short stories do but write a series of stories about them set in Bath through its time?
Stories. But, being a journalist, I also wanted to be clear how much fiction was going on without spoiling the magic. Which is why I hit on the idea of giving each story an afterword setting out the history of its era, with suggestions for further reading and where to go in Bath to see where the action takes place. This has the useful added function of building up a history and guide to the city.
It’s an unusual format, but one which I think works rather well. But then I would, wouldn’t I? So why not see for yourself?

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#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Lazarus Charter – Tony Bassett @tonybassett1

– ‘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 ‘The Lazarus Charter’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

CZ-6FcZgTony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years. He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

0Jrk7VTQBob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?
This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne. They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of ‘Smile of the Stowaway’.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Guest Post :

The main inspiration for writing The Lazarus Charter came to me in February 2019. I was waiting on a London Underground platform as a train came in. One of the passengers stepping out of the compartment vaguely resembled a friend of mine. It would have been an amazing coincidence if it had been my friend, I thought, and, of course, we would have stopped and had a chat.
But then I wondered what would happen if someone spotted a friend on a train who couldn’t possibly be there because they were no longer alive. In other words, someone whose funeral they had been to.
This became the starting point for my novel. In my mind, teacher Bob Shaw (who featured in my first book, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway) became the man standing on the Underground platform and his close friend Professor Gus Morley became the man on the train.
I went home and the next day, as soon as I started writing, the rest of the plot simply fell into place. Three months later, in May of last year, the first draft was completed.
I like to think that this spy thriller, The Lazarus Charter, is a natural sequel to Smile Of The Stowaway. The first book began with the marriage of Bob and Anne Shaw being sorely put to the test by the arrival in their midst of immigrant Yusuf Osman.
In this second book, their marriage is severely challenged again – this time by Bob’s absurd-sounding claim that, weeks after they attended the funeral, he has seen his friend Morley alive.
And in the same way that Anne took charge of events in the first book when Osman became a murder suspect, Anne at once assumes responsibility – embarking upon an in-depth investigation into whether the professor has faked his own death.
As the story develops, the couple’s lives are turned upside down and they are forced to leave their home. But who is behind the threats against them? And who or what is the dreaded Eagle’s Claw?
The latter part of the story was partly influenced by a series of poisoning incidents in Britain over the past decade and a half. An attempt was made in 2018 to poison former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury with the nerve agent Novichok. But there have been many other macabre events involving Russians living in the UK– in particular, the murder with polonium of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. I was working as a freelance reporter in London at the time of Litvinenko’s death and can recall the grim scene in Muswell Hill as scenes of crime officers erected a white tent outside the Litvinenko family home.
Russian intelligence agents were reportedly involved in these deaths – the kind of incidents we used to associate with the Cold War between Russia and the West.
The peak of the Cold War came in the 1950s and early 1960s with the unmasking of Soviet spies like Burgess, Maclean and Philby. But it was finally believed the Cold War had come to an end when the Berlin Wall came down in Germany in 1989 and Russian Communism came crashing down with it. How wrong we were! It seems (although no longer associated with Communism) the Cold War never really went away.
The Russian intelligence officers that appear in The Lazarus Charter, Dmitry Bogdanov and Sergei Petrenko, are not based on any real-life figures, but their characters have been inspired by some of the events I have outlined here.

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#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #GuestPost : The Watch List #TheWatchList – Joseph Mitcham @MitchamJoseph

– ‘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 ‘The Watch List’ 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 :

Joseph Mitcham - reducedJoseph Mitcham served with the British military in elite and technical units for over 16 years. His service not only gave him a thorough tactical and technical understanding of some of techniques and processes employed in his first novel, it also provided him with the opportunity to develop himself, earning a first class honours degree in business leadership by the end of his service.
The inspiration for writing ‘The Watch List’ was taken from personal experiences from the roles that he has served in and characteristics from some of the people that he has served with. Joseph has written an incredible, yet compellingly credible story that plays out in our world as he sees it today.

Social Media:
Twitter
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Amazon Author Page

Synopsis :

watch list cover newSixty-eight dead and nearly 300 injured in a hostile vehicle and bomb attack on a community festival in Birmingham, the country is in shock.
Battling the mental turmoil of the aftermath, Alex, a former Army communications specialist, stumbles across the UK Terror Watch List – he cannot resist the challenge of stealing the list from under the nose of his contract supervisor, Lucy Butler, a razor sharp and headstrong Intelligence Corps corporal with big ambitions.
Wrestling with his conscience and the ethics of tackling unconvicted suspects, Alex enlists the help of famed former UK Special Forces Warrant Officer, Craig Medhurst. Alex struggles to win the respect of Craig’s core team, but together they hatch a daring plan to act on their selected targets.
Can Alex use his charm to persuade Corporal Butler to join them?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 2nd December 2019.

Guest Post :

SOLDIER, OFFICER, AUTHOR

I left the Regular Army in 2015 and found my feet in civvy street working for Sunderland Council, preparing the city to host The Tall Ships Races; it was great doing something new and interesting, and being able to live at home with my young family for the first time since meeting my wife in 2010.
In 2017, I’d just finished an online business degree, so had twenty hours a week back that I had no immediate use for. There had been several high profile terror attacks in the UK and on the continent, and there had been a lot of press around what the authorities knew about the perpetrators of these terror attacks. On the evening of the Monday 22nd May, and I started making notes for a story that had been bouncing around in my head; it was about what might happen if the UK Terror Watch List got into the hands of some over-exuberant ex-squaddies. As I wrote, news broke on the TV that an explosion had happened at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena. I was shocked by the scenes and fallout from the attack, but enthused to write on in earnest.
Writing fiction was not a hobby that I would have envisioned myself getting into, but I became so involved with the characters that I had dreamt up, and felt that my story line was so compelling, current and evocative, that I became addicted to spewing my thoughts out onto my laptop. I soon found myself sitting for hours at a time, no music, no TV, just the keyboard and the screen. It gave me a new sense of release and helped me to unwind my brain after difficult days at work.
I had no idea whether what I was writing would end up as, or if my naturally developing style of writing would be popular, or even readable, but I did feel that it was going to be different from anything else on the market. I consider my background as a Private soldier in the Parachute Regiment, coming through to commission as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals, as my ‘unique selling point’ as an author. Military authors are usually from one of two broad camps; commissioned officers who have great stories of leadership to tell, and non-commissioned soldiers, with fantastically gritty stories, usually based on their own lived experiences.
The former group are predominantly well-educated and quite capable of penning good quality memoires or factual accounts, but don’t have that raw edge to their work that a soldier might have. Typically speaking, soldiers of the ranks’ stories are about super-tough Special Forces guys, not often showing vulnerability or weakness to their characters. Alex, the hero of my book is a young, technical veteran who is not as mentally robust as he might wish to be, and he has great trouble dealing with the issues that his chosen mission presents him. There are plenty of ‘super-tough’ characters in ‘The Watch List’, but even some of these have clear and problematic weaknesses. The strongest character in the story is the female lead; Lucy has a personality based on a blend of real Army women who are not to be crossed!
There are few, if any, military techno-thrillers written directly by Armed Forces personnel without writing support, and who retain one hundred percent of the grass-root soldier’s writing authenticity. I hope that I have achieved this with what I have produced. I concede that my writing is not ‘Masters level’ English, but certainly good enough for the intended audience to enjoy.
‘The Watch List’ is peppered with insights of how our stereotypically rough and ready soldiers interact and behave. It was very important to me to communicate my views on how they regard their experiences of live ‘contact’ with the enemy, and how they cope with the death of comrades in action. These insights are taken primarily from my own limited experience in Afghanistan, and from observing the reactions and manifestations of guilt, sorrow and sadness expressed by fellow soldiers. I want my non-military readers to gain insight and understanding from this, but I would be over-joyed if military readers of the book can say ‘wow, that’s how I feel’.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#VirtualBookTour #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #GuestPost : Venom! (A Natalie McMasters Mystery) #Venom – Thomas A. Burns, Jr @3Mdetective #ThomasABurnsJr

– ‘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 ‘Venom! (A Natalie McMasters Mystery)’ blogtour, organised by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Guest Post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

connemara_papaThomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s truly on his own as a novelist, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second most favorite detective to the MX anthology of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.

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Synopsis :

venom_kindle_coverA spooky mansion in the Georgia mountains with an outrageous cast of characters. Spiders, snakes, meth-heads and serial killers, oh my! Venom! ain’t your average gothic mystery, folks.
But who would expect it to be when Natalie McMasters is involved? She’s fallen madly in love with two people—her wife, Lupe, and Danny, her partner at the 3M Detective Agency. Rather than choose one of them as her life partner, she’s decided to have them both, and roped them into a relationship retreat in rural Georgia to learn how to live as a polyamorous family.
But Nattie finds more than she bargained for in the sleepy town of Greypeak. A methamphetamine operation. A snake-handling preacher. A retired FBI agent hunting a serial killer. And a charismatic psychologist who just might have his own agenda for his clients.
Nattie ultimately finds herself in the most dangerous situation she’s ever faced, which may well solve her relationship problems by costing her life. Is this really the last book in the Natalie McMasters series?

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Guest Post :

An Indie Author Tackles Audiobooks

I’m the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium. Currently, the series comprises four books. In the first volume, Stripper!, Nattie is twenty, short and blonde (OK, it’s bleached!), way cute, and a pre-law student at State. She’s also straight, or at least she thinks so. To put herself through school, she’s moonlighting as a private detective trainee at her uncle Amos Murdoch’s 3M Detective Agency, where the most exciting thing she does is sit in a car, staking out people who’ve claimed workers’ compensation to be sure they’re hurt as badly as they say. It’s the perfect gig for a college student, because she can study on the job. But one day she directly confronts a subject on a stakeout, and Amos fires her. Then she meets another student who bears an uncanny resemblance to her, and everything in her life changes. When her new best friend is brutally murdered and Amos is critically injured, Nattie immerses herself in the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt the killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself. Nattie eventually exposes a drug ring, police corruption, and an assassin-for-hire online. Then she stumbles upon the true face of evil, and her encounter does not leave her unscathed…
I was 65 when I finished Stripper!, so after a year of querying agents with no takers, I decided to publish it on Amazon myself, on April 2018. Since then, I’ve released three more novels, Revenge!, Trafficked! and Venom!, and I’m working on the fifth book, Sniper! No way I could have had such a rapid production schedule if I had to deal with an agent and a publisher. The Natalie McMasters Mysteries have done fairly well, with about 11,000 copies in circulation world-wide.
I decided to enter the audiobook market, currently the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, with Stripper! Audiobooks are available as downloads and some also as CDs. Downloaded files can be played on multiple devices without losing your place. Some Audible books (Amazon) also have the Whispersync feature, which lets you listen and read your book on Kindle, and updates either the print or the audio file as you switch back and forth.
ACX, Audible’s publishing platform, allows you to sell your book on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. After you register on the website, you make your title available for auditions. Narrators (aka producers), can review available titles and contact you. However, I found it much more effective to survey potential producers myself and invite those I liked to audition by reading some excerpts I provided. You can narrow the list of over 100, 000 producers by gender, voice style, accent and other parameters. The Natalie McMasters books are written in first person, so I wanted a female narrator with a youthful, hip voice with a slight Southern accent.
You can pay your producer three different ways—by straight royalty share, a royalty share plus a one-time payment, or with a straight payment. The amount is determined according to the finished length of the audiobook (not how long the producer takes to produce it), which ACX estimates for you according to the word count. For Stripper at 93K words, the audio length estimate was 10 hours.
A royalty share agreement lasts for seven years, during which time the author and the producer split a 40% royalty. Many established producers, some of whom who are also professional voice actors, prefer either royalty share plus or straight payment, and you will see this when you are screening potential producers so you don’t waste time negotiating with someone who wants a different deal than you are offering. If you do a royalty share, you must commit to sell the audiobook on ACX only. If you elect a straight payment deal, the royalty percentage is 25%, and the author keeps all of it. To get my royalty share deal, I contacted over a hundred potential producers and got about ten replies.
When you contract with a narrator, you agree on delivery dates for the first 15 minutes of the recording and for the final version. The author has to accept the first 15 minutes for the project to proceed, and the contract can be cancelled without penalty if it is unacceptable. The author the reviews the final version when it is ready, mostly making sure that it tracks closely with the Kindle edition (for Whispersync to work, the audio version must track the Kindle version at nearly 100%). Some producers may send individual chapters as they finish them, some the whole book at once, depending on how they work.
Once the final file is approved, ACX quality checks it and produces the final audio version, which takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The author must provide a cover that meets ACX’s specs. It must be square, and if the book is exclusive to ACX, they may add a triangular badge in the lower right-hand corner stating so. Therefore, the author must ensure that the ACX triangle does not obscure important information.
The narrator of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries is the talented Lisa Ware (Voices from lsware), who captures Nattie’s voice perfectly, as well as those of the other diverse characters in the books. I’m sure you’ll find her work enjoyable.
The audio version of Stripper! was released in November, 2019. You can find it on Amazon. The big news is that the audio version of the second Natalie McMasters Mystery, Revenge!, should also be available when this article is posted.

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon gift card / 3 signed Venom! paperbacks

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Virtual Book Tour Organized By:

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RABT Book Tours

#BlogTour #BeastHeartBlogTour #MeerkatPress @MeerkatPress / #GuestPost : Beast Heart #BeastHeart – Kyle Richardson @KyleWritesBooks

– ‘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 ‘Beast Heart’ blogtour, organised by Meerkat Press.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

BEASTHEART - Kyle Richardson - Author PhotoKyle Richardson lives in the suburban wilds of Canada with his adorable wife, their rambunctious son, and their adventurous daughter. He writes about shapeshifters, superheroes, and the occasional clockwork beast, moonlights as an editor at Meerkat Press, and has a terrible habit of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments. His short fiction has appeared in places such as Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology and Daily Science Fiction.

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Synopsis :

Title: Beast Heart by Kyle Richardson
Release Date: 3/31/20
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Steampunk

BEASTHEART - COVERWhen the girl with the clockwork hand meets the boy with the beast heart, sparks fly in this poignant, adventure-filled debut.
Book 1 of the Steambound Trilogy.
When Gabby’s hand turns to steam, her mom hires an engineer to build her a clockwork glove. It’s the last thing Gabby wants—if only she could be normal. But when her mom is attacked by something monstrous, normal is no longer an option. Now the only person she can turn to is a grizzled detective, who promises to help her become something … more.
Meanwhile, Kemple’s foster dad treats him like a slave. And the beatings are getting worse. So when a rebellious girl named Josephyn arrives—with a plan to escape to the city—he doesn’t hesitate. But there are creatures in Iron Bay whose slashes are worse than skin-deep. And as Kemple evolves into something inhuman, his search for a cure begins.
They are strangers in a city where carriages rattle, airships rumble, and where their own dark pasts continue to haunt them. Soon their paths will collide, and the girl who slays monsters will come face to face with the boy who is becoming a beast.

Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Guest Post :

What’s the biggest challenge of writing from the viewpoints of two different characters?

I’d say the biggest challenge of a dual-POV narrative is a matter of harmony. How do these perspectives compliment each other? How do they challenge each other? How do their edges fit, when nestled side by side?
The easiest writing path is, of course, to simply not worry about such things. To tell the characters’ stories naturally, and to let the chips fall where they may. But a lot of readers expect more than that. They want cohesion. Meaning. Purpose. They might not be consciously aware of these things while reading, but the desire for some sort of purposeful story architecture is still there. Without it, readers are likely to complain that the tale felt “confusing”, “aimless”, or, worst of all: “boring”!
There’s a risk, however, of a writer trying too hard to make a story line up in a meaningful way. If the structure is too obvious, then readers are likely to complain that things felt “forced”, “unnatural”, or “preachy”.
So what’s a writer to do?
For me, the key is to focus on something simple: something small and distinct to keep in mind when dealing with both characters. In Beast Heart, that happened to be their self-identities. How does Gabrielle see herself, in relation to the world? How about Kemple? And how do they view themselves, in relation to each other?
The reader is being asked to travel on a journey with two different POVs as their literary “eyes”, so it makes sense to treat both perspectives as two ends of a scale: push and pull. Weight and counterweight. Opposite ends of a spectrum, with the reader in the unique position of existing in the middle.
Usually, readers expect two perspectives like this will eventually come together, either in a clash of conflict, or in a unifying merge. Possibly a mixture of both. Whatever the outcome, the story needs to reach some kind of satisfying cadence, one that can only be created by the combining of notes that, until that point, seemed completely discordant.
I’d like to say that I achieved that in Beast Heart, but a lot depends on the reader. What sounds like steam whistling through gears, to one ear, might very well sound like claws tearing through skin, to another.
And in the end, they’d both be right.

Giveaway :

$50 Book Shopping Spree!

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : One Last Shot – Stephen Anthony Brotherton @FreddieJoJo1

– ‘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 ‘One Last Shot’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Stephen Anthony Brotherton, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

g2mAPdzwI was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.
After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.
The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.
Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

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Synopsis :

DN8KAyPwCAN FIRST LOVE EVER BE REIGNITED?
One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well…

Purchase Links:
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Waterstones
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Guest Post :

An original, unpublished short story by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, Author of the Shots trilogy

Dancing with Dad

My big sister, Emma, was always sitting on Dad’s knee. I’d watch them. ‘She’s getting too big,’ I’d tell myself. ‘It’ll soon be my turn.’ That’s what I thought right up until our Tina’s seventh birthday party when I walked into the front room and there she was, the baby, sitting on his lap. ‘Take a big breath our Tina and blow out your candles.’
She blew spit all over the cake.
I waited for him to scold her, but he tousled her hair and tickled her until she giggled. ‘You’re my favourite,’ he said. ‘You’re my special girl.’
Emma gave me a strange look and Mum looked at the floor. I went and sat on the bottom step of the stairs and Mum came and sat next to me. I buried my face in her housecoat. She smelt of Pledge and Fairy Liquid. ‘Why doesn’t he love me, Mum?’
‘I love you,’ she said, stroking my hair and making a shushing noise.

****

I remember when I first noticed the thing between Dad and Emma. I got home early from school, went to the sink to get a glass of water and I could see them through the kitchen window. They were playing swing. Dad was pushing her higher and higher and she was squealing louder and louder.
‘Stop it, Dad. Stop it.’
He moved to the front of the swing and held out his arms.
‘Jump, my darling. Jump.’
Emma shook her head and laughed as the swing went back up.
‘Jump,’ he said again.
She let go and two seconds later he caught her and slid her slowly to the floor. He kissed her forehead. ‘Well done,’ he said. ‘My big, brave girl.’
‘That was great, Dad. Can we do again?’
‘Of course we can, sweetheart.’
I ran outside. ‘Can I have a go, Dad?’
‘After me,’ said Emma, running back to the swing. ‘I want to go higher this time.’
‘Perhaps later,’ he said. ‘You both need to get ready for tea.’
He walked into the house.
Emma glared at me. ‘Why do you have spoil everything?’ she said.

****

A few weeks before Tina’s party, we were at my cousin Tanya’s wedding. Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ started up and Dad walked across the dance floor towards me. He put his arm around my waist and started waltzing me round the room.
‘You’re so headstrong,’ he whispered. ‘Why can’t you be more like your sisters?’
‘I can, Dad.’
I could smell his tangy Aramis aftershave as he spun me faster and faster. I had to concentrate really hard to keep up with him. ‘Don’t let him down,’ I kept telling myself. I couldn’t see Mum, but I knew she was watching, and our Emma, and our Tina. And then he stopped dancing and held me at arm’s length. ‘You’re no good at keeping secrets, Becky,’ he said. ‘I could never trust you.’
‘I am, Dad. I am.’
He walked away in the direction of the bar.
Mum came over and hugged me. ‘What does he mean, Mum? I can keep secrets.’
‘It’s not you sweetheart,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing wrong with any of you.’
I spent the rest of the night trying to work it out, watching him drinking beer with my uncles, everyone patting him on the back and laughing at his jokes.

****

The day it all came out, I’d been out shopping with Mum. Dad said the cup final was on telly and he’d stayed at home with Tina. Mum got one of her headaches and we came back early.
‘We’re back, Joe,’ she shouted, throwing the carrier bags on the hall floor.
Silence.
‘Where’s Dad?’ I said.
We heard a floorboard creak in the spare room and then we heard Tina’s voice.
‘They’re upstairs,’ I said, walking up a few steps.
Dad appeared on the landing. He wasn’t wearing his tie and the top three buttons of his shirt were undone. I could see his grey chest hairs and the start of his anchor tattoo.
‘Hello love,’ he said.
Mum ran upstairs and started punching him. ‘Get out of my house,’ she shouted. ‘Get out of my house.’

****

When I last saw Dad, I was taking our Katy to the doctors for her asthma check and he was standing at the bus stop.
Prison had wrinkled him, given him a stoop.
I pulled my little girl closer as I walked by.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds