#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #Excerpt : Unspoken #Unspoken – T. A. Belshaw @tabelshaw

– ‘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 ‘Unspoken’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

TA BelshawT. A. Belshaw is from Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Trevor writes for both children and adults. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out Of Control. His new novel, the family saga, Unspoken, was released in July, 2020.
His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck The Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return in 2014. 
Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s books written under the name of Trevor Forest. The latest. Magic Molly The Curse of Cranberry Cottage was released in August 2015.
His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.
Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.
Trevor is currently working on the sequel to Unspoken and the third book in the Tracy series; Tracy’s Euro Hot Mail.

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Synopsis :

Unspoken Cover LARGE EBOOKA heart-warming, dramatic family saga. Unspoken is a tale of secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.
Unspoken means something that cannot be uttered aloud. Unspoken is the dark secret a woman must keep, for life.
Alice is fast approaching her one hundredth birthday and she is dying. Her strange, graphic dreams of ghostly figures trying to pull her into a tunnel of blinding light are becoming more and more vivid and terrifying. Alice knows she only has a short time left and is desperate to unburden herself of a dark secret, one she has lived with for eighty years.
Jessica, a journalist, is her great granddaughter and a mirror image of a young Alice. They share dreadful luck in the types of men that come into their lives.
Alice decides to share her terrible secret with Jessica and sends her to the attic to retrieve a set of handwritten notebooks detailing her young life during the late 1930s. Following the death of her invalid mother and her father’s decline into depression and alcoholism, she is forced, at 18 to take control of the farm. On her birthday, she meets Frank, a man with a drink problem and a violent temper.
When Frank’s abusive behaviour steps up a level. Alice seeks solace in the arms of her smooth, ‘gangster lawyer’ Godfrey, and when Frank discovers the couple together, he vows to get his revenge.
Unspoken. A tale that spans two eras and binds two women, born eighty years apart.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in digital and paperback formats on 30th July 2020.

Excerpt :

Back in Sheerness, Frank led me to a shabby-fronted-jewellers with a torn, washed-out awning that flapped about in the stiff breeze.
There were a number of new and second hand rings in the window.
‘You have to be wearing one when we go back or we won’t get away with our little subterfuge,’ said Frank, who surprised me at times with his intelligent conversation. He’d been well schooled by his mother, that was for sure. I was pretty well educated myself; I’d been awarded the National School Certificate when I was sixteen, and I had achieved credit passes in Mathematics and English, but I had never heard of a ‘subterfuge’. I assumed it meant a crafty plan.
Inside, the shop was dimly lit. The stock was displayed in smeared, glass cabinets along one wall. We walked along them slowly, examining the price labels on each of the worn velvet pads that the rings were seated on. He finally spotted one priced at one pound, seven shillings, and eleven pence.
Behind a desk, at the far end of the shop, sat a white-haired, bespectacled jeweller who had been watching us like a hawk, presumably in case Frank produced a hammer, or worse, a gun.
Frank called him over and asked to look at the ring we had picked out. The man produced a bunch of about ten small keys and immediately found the right one. He passed the ring to Frank who lifted my left hand and slipped it easily onto my ring finger. It felt strange, I had never worn a ring in my life. it was slightly too big, I could spin it around quite easily, but I doubted it would fall off.
‘I’ll give you fifteen shillings for it,’ said Frank.
I thought the jeweller was going to have a heart attack. ‘The price is on the label,’ he said.
Frank tried again. ‘Seventeen and six,’ he offered.
‘I can’t take anything less than twenty-five shillings,’ said the man.
Frank screwed up his face and shook his head. ‘It’s tarnished,’ he said. He held up my hand to show him. ‘I’m beginning to wonder if it’s brass, not gold.’
The jeweller produced his little magnifier and offered to show Frank the hallmark on the inside of the ring. He pointed to my bulging stomach. ‘You’ll need it quite soon by the looks of her, so you shouldn’t quibble too much about the price.’
I thought Frank would take umbrage at that remark, but when he spoke again, his voice was calmness personified.
‘A guinea… Twenty-one shillings. My final offer.’
‘I can’t, I paid more than that for it.’ The old man wrung his hands. If he was looking for sympathy, he’d picked the wrong man.
‘Sorry, love,’ Frank said, softly. ‘It looks like we’ll be using that brass curtain ring you found at your gran’s.’ He turned his back on the jeweller, pulled a sad face, and pointed at mine. I got the idea straight away.
I slipped the ring from my finger, and wiping a fake tear from my eye, I handed it back to the jeweller. As we walked slowly to the door, Frank slipped his arm around my shoulders.
‘Never mind, love. I bet there’s something in the junk shop.’
I made a noise I hoped sounded like a sob as we reached the door.
‘One moment.’ The old man walked towards us; the ring nestled on the palm of his right hand as if to display it in its best light.
‘Twenty-two shillings and eleven pence,’ he said. Shopkeepers have always loved to price things one penny short of a shilling. I suppose it was to make an item look somewhat cheaper than it actually was.
‘I gave you my final offer,’ said Frank. ‘We’ve only got enough left to pay the registrar, and if we don’t hurry, he’ll have gone home. We got the last appointment of the day.’ He looked at me and winked. ‘As you said, we’re pretty desperate to get it done.’
‘All right, all right. Twenty-one shillings, but I’m robbing myself,’ said the jeweller.
I turned my back on him, so he couldn’t see the folded money in my purse, and produced two ten-shilling notes and a single silver shilling. He gave us a hand-written receipt, and Frank slipped the ring into his pocket.
‘Hurry now, My Sweetness,’ he said. ‘The registrar is waiting.’
Frank had no idea where the registry office was, but he asked a local passer-by, who gave him the name of a street that he had no idea how to find.
‘Why do we need the registry, Frank?’ I asked, puzzled. ‘We’re not getting married.’
‘I know that,’ Frank replied. He grinned at me and took hold of my hand. ‘Come on,’ he said, ‘I know where we’ll go. We passed it earlier on.’
‘Where are we going?’ I asked as he pulled me along the street back towards the Marine Parade.
‘You’ll see soon enough,’ he replied, still wearing that stupid grin of his.
When we were outside the door of a Catholic church called The Saint Henry and Saint Elizabeth, he suddenly produced the ring from his pocket and got down on one knee.
‘Will you bloody well marry me, Alice?’ he said with a chuckle in his throat.
‘No, I bloody well won’t,’ I replied.
He got back to his feet and slipped the ring onto my finger again.
‘I now pronounce us man and wife,’ he said.
We got back to The Railway at about five o’clock, walked past the all-seeing eyes of Irene, and climbed the stairs to our room. I immediately threw off my coat, kicked my shoes across the threadbare carpet, and sat on the end of the bed massaging my swollen feet.
I looked at the foreign object on the finger of my left hand and laughed. I can guarantee no other girl has ever had a wedding ceremony quite like that one.
Frank picked up the battered enamel bowl and carried it out of the room. When he came back five minutes later, he placed the now full, steaming basin at my feet.
‘There’s an Ascot boiler in the bathroom,’ he said. ‘No bath, sadly.’
I eased my aching, swollen feet into the piping hot water and sighed with contentment. Frank could be a really thoughtful man at times.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #GuestPost : The Dentist (DS George Cross #1) #TheDentist – Tim Sullivan @TimJRSullivan

– ‘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 Dentist’ 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 :

Tim SullivanTIM SULLIVAN made his first short film before graduating from Cambridge University. His ambition to become a screenwriter was formed not so much by this experience but as an attempt to foil his father’s determination to turn him into a lawyer.
Within weeks of leaving university armed with a law degree he had met the film maker Derek Jarman and persuaded him to commission an original screenplay from him entitled BOB UPADOWN and so a career was born.
A few months later he joined Granada Television as a researcher. Here he was commissioned to write the first of many television scripts for the company. Two sitcoms entitled THE TRAIN NOW LEAVING and THE GREASY SPOON followed by the crime dramas MYSTERIOUS WAYS and MAIGRET.
While at Granada he was selected for the prestigious Directors’ Training scheme when only 26. Previous encumbents had included Mike Newell, Roland Joffe, and Michael Apted, more recently Julian Farino. Among other credits he directed CORONATION STREET, MADE IN HEAVEN, THATCHER THE FINAL DAYS and THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES with Jeremy Brett.
During this time he also co wrote the screenplays for the movies A HANDFUL OF DUST starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Judi Dench and Alec Guinness and WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter, both with producer the legendary TV producer Derek Granger (BRIDESHEAD REVISITED).
Upon leaving the bosom of Granada and venturing into the wild wide world of the freelance film maker he wrote and directed the movie JACK AND SARAH starring Richard E Grant, Samantha Mathis, Ian Mckellen, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins. This led to a commission from New Line Pictures to write the screenplay WALKING PAPERS based on the Jay Cronley novel of the same name.
This screenplay came to the attention of execs at Universal and Imagine who then asked Tim to do a page one rewrite of a western for Ron Howard entitled THE PRETENDERS. Tim enjoyed working with Ron for over a year on this.
He then wrote an original screenplay, PERSONAL SHOPPING, which was promptly snapped up by Paramount for producer Scott Rudin.
He spent four months working for and with Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks animation as a production writer on the movie FLUSHED AWAY. Impressed by his work Katzenberg commissioned him to write a script for SHREK 4 which wasn’t used as a different storyline was decided upon as a director came on board.
During this time he was actively involved in British television directing the last ever ninety minute episode of the BAFTA award winning series COLD FEET. As well as a TV movie for ITV called CATWALK DOGS written by Simon Nye.
He was commissioned by the BBC to write a pilot for a TV series he invented called BACKSTORY as well as another pilot for the ITV network entitled OFFSPRING.
He also wrote HIS MASTER’S VOICE for the BBC as a radio play starring Rob Brydon which was broadcast in 2015.
He recently wrote the screenplay for LETTERS TO JULIET starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave.
Oscar winning producers of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman then commissioned an original screenplay from him entitled THE WEDDING DRESS.
Tim is writing and co-producing and co-writing an animated feature screenplay for Hasbro and Paramount which is in production and scheduled for release in 2021.
He has now embarked on a series of crime novels featuring the eccentric and socially-awkward, but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross. Set in Bristol in the south west of England, Cross’ methods often infuriate his colleagues and superiors “not so much a thorn in my side as a pain in my arse,” according to his boss DCI Carson. But his conviction rate, thanks to his dogged persistence and attention to detail, is the best in the force. The DENTIST is in the first of a series.
Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and PIONEER WOMAN.
He is currently the UK chair of the Writers’ Guild of America (West).

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Synopsis :

DentistbiggerpixelA homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.
An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man’s connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with.
Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail.
Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross.
Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved.
Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Waterstones
B&N
Book Depository

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 15th June 2020.

Additional Information:
The Cyclist (DS George Cross #2) was published on 2nd September 2020 and is available to purchase NOW!

Guest Post :

SCREENWRITING AND THE FEAR OF BEING FOUND OUT

I never set out to be a screenwriter, never really planned it, I think it was mainly to avoid my father’s fiendish masterplan to make me a lawyer.
Any day now I expect to get the chilling call that says – “Hey Tim we just read your script, which we paid no small amount of cash for by the way, great idea as we thought when we sent the cheque, but here’s the thing, the writing, it stinks. Has no-one really ever told you that before? Anyway, you’ll be hearing from our lawyers.” It’s at this point that I start researching the age limit for becoming a paramedic, the one that comes with a motorbike, obviously.
Anyway I digress. As a screenwriter one thing I get asked a lot is “What do you actually do?”. I initially thought it’s obvious isn’t it? But clearly not so I’m going to talk you through it, if I can.
Everything starts with an idea, however vague. But how many of those ideas stand up to actual scrutiny? How many of them will, have the power to play?
Because a good screenplay needs to have the power to entertain, the power to move. Make you laugh and make you cry, in an ideal world at the same time. But how do you know if that idea has staying power? It’s like everything in life, you need to have a inkling of where it’s going and where, not necessarily how, it’s going to end. But how do you judge this?
Everyone has or has had an idea for a movie at some point in their lives. It’s generally the second statement they make to me after the ”What do you do?” question. This is what I call the habitual occupational hazard question. You know the thing. You’re a doctor and you’re at a dinner party as soon as the guest next to you discovers what you do, out it blurts – I’ve got this terrible pain in my back, or at my age do you think it wise to have a colonoscopy? All this before the starter’s arrived. If you’re a lawyer it’s – I’m going through this terrible divorce and I have a question. Even a car mechanic gets the – I’m so glad to meet you I’ve got this problem with my timing – actually that could apply equally to a comedian as well…. Maybe not.
With a screenwriter it’s – I’ve got this great idea for a movie. They’ve read an article, or a book, and apparently before I do anything else with my life I need to make it into a movie. Everything else must be put on hold, that’s how good this idea is. I am of course polite and I listen but nine times out of ten their passion for a particular idea is not enough to make it anything other that just that – an idea. They clearly think they’ve just cast pearls before the swine by telling me and show an expression of pain that is weirdly familiar to the seasoned screenwriter. Pain in the face of rejection, but come on they’ve spent a full five minutes thinking about this movie to end all movies. Not eight months writing the wretched thing.
At the same time you have to be careful to listen and pay attention because you never know when that gem is going to be put your way.
One of my favourite stories involves the film director Tom Hooper. His mother had been to a reading of a small fringe stage play. When she next saw him she told him that she had his next film and gave him the play. I’m pretty sure this won’t have been the first time she’d suggested an idea for a movie to her son. Anyway Tom wearily thanked his mother and didn’t read it. Every time he saw her for the next six months she would nag him about the play. Finally knowing he was going to see her later he reluctantly sat down one day, to read the play. He loved what he read and realised his mother was right, this should indeed be his next film. And it was. It was called The King’s Speech and went on to win four Oscars, including Best film and Tom as best director.
There must be a lesson in there. I guess it’s listen to Tom Hooper’s mother.
Okay so let’s put this to the test. How many people in this room have, or have had at some point in their lives have thought – this would make a GREAT movie? I won’t ask what it is I promise, show of hands. (Nothing like having a little social experiment blow up in your face).
Now some of you may do something about your idea, but most of you won’t and that brings me back to the question of how do you know whether an idea can be made into or is sufficiently good enough to make a good movie? If it’s a book you have a fairly good idea. The first two produced movies I co-wrote were classic English novels so you’ve got a head start, people read the books and liked them. The challenge then is how do I do justice to the original and not let it down?
But how do you know if your original idea, or even the seed of an idea will make a movie?
The first film I wrote and also directed came about after I made a small observation at work. A male colleague brought his six month old baby into work because day care arrangements had gone awry. What was interesting was the effect this had on our female colleagues. They were all over him and his baby. He suddenly seemed so much more attractive, they saw him in a totally different light and therein was the seed of an idea, but that was all it was a man with a baby – so what?
A couple of years later something extraordinary happened in my life. I got married and my father died at my wedding, in my arms. A terrible, terrible thing. There he is, happy and relaxed. Weird to think that five minutes after this photograph was taken he was dead. People’s reactions there and then and afterwards were astonishing, touching, weird, moving. We were going to walk from the church to the reception with a Dixie Land band leading the way. As my father was dying it was playing “As the Saints Go Marching in”. I kid you not. You couldn’t write it – people just wouldn’t believe it.
Things like my father’s death aren’t supposed to happen particularly in that context – a moment of joy and celebration, but it had. I was talking to my agent about it the next week and he was like everyone else deeply sorry but one thing he did say was – you should write about this. I thought I should. But I didn’t have a context in which to put it.
Sure something truly dramatic had happened but that in itself was not enough to make a movie. My Dad died at my wedding, what else was there to say? A powerful scene indeed but not a movie.
My lingering grief over the next few years informed a lot of what I thought and did and in the end I realised that grief and bereavement was something I at that time understood all too well and that I needed to write about it. My wife became pregnant and this got me thinking back to my friend with his baby at work and my wedding and I came up with the idea of a young couple who are having a baby, a wonderful time in anyone’s lives, they’re moving into a new house everything to look forward to and then I killed her in childbirth.
A man is bereaved at exactly the wrong moment in his life struggles with coming to terms with his wife’s death at the same time as having the need to move on while caring for a small baby. It was called Jack and Sarah and people related to it not because they knew someone whose wife had died in childbirth but they had all at some point grieved and they understood it.
So man brings baby into work. My father dies. My wife gets pregnant. Somehow there was my movie.
Funnily enough a few years after my wedding I recommended to my mother that she go and see a movie another client of my agent’s had written, Richard Curtis. It was doing really well, number one movie in the country, and was supposed to be really funny I thought it would cheer her up. So she duly went and then I got this extremely irate phone call from my her – not an unusual occurrence as it happens – what had I been thinking of sending her to that movie. Hadn’t I seen it? No, wasn’t it funny? Well it was until Simon Callow dropped dead at a wedding – how do you think that made me feel?
Now I’ve often wondered, though never asked, whether back in 1989 my agent had told Richard of my eventful nuptials and whether Richard at the same time as being properly sympathetic had filed that scene in the back of his mind for future use. When he came to write Four Weddings and a Funeral he had a context for that scene. It’s not what the movie is about, but it’s a really important piece of the jigsaw of the movie. Richard had found a context for such a scene.
So good and original observation is important, but it’s not always successful.
I was in a supermarket in my early twenties in North London with a writer friend James who happens to be gay. As we walked in he asked we if we could shop separately although we were in act shopping for a meal we were going to cook together. I asked him why. He said if we shopped together people would think we were gay. I stopped in my tracks, surely that was my problem as I wasn’t the gay one in the equation. But he was quite serious which was a red light to a bull for me. I promptly swanned down the aisles enquired whether we were going to have thighs or breasts for dinner. There was a look of horror in his face and he fled.
Afterwards we decided this was a great idea for a sit com or movie. Two young men who live together and think they are completely at home with each other’s sexuality but aren’t under close analysis, because there are differences between their sexualities manifested in different and often comic ways.
For example James as was the fashion in those days, often dressed in a leather biker outfit with flat leather cap as worn by a member of the Village People pop group, most of you are too young to remember them. But anyway I had complained that walking down the street with him dressed in that way was embarrassing for me because of all the looks we got. He stated that this was arrant nonsense so I decided to prove it.
I put on all of his gear and we set off down Holland Park. Anyway we hadn’t been walking for longer than five minutes when to my horror I saw an old girlfriend from university approaching us. I should give you an idea of what I looked like for the full effect, it was something like this, without the moustache. So dressed like this my ex girlfriend is walking slowly towards me. There is no way out.
Now my friends profess that I’ve always been a little camp which may account for the sound of her jaw hitting the pavement which could be heard from about fifty yards. How could I explain myself? Would she believe that I was simply conducting a sociological experiment? Well there was no time to find out as James had vengefully moved into full on boyfriend mode. It didn’t help that he was a good looking young man, but his politeness in being introduced to my ex with just the slightest touch on my arm was enough. That little gesture and my costume would make me forever gay in her eyes.
Now to me there are two funny scenes the supermarket and the uniform, but what was this film about? A series of funny moments and friendship just didn’t seem enough. We wrote both a sitcom and a movie script entitled Who’s Your Friend, but in the end it came down to the same question – what’s this actually about and it wasn’t about enough.
Writing a screenplay is from beginning to end about selling. When you have an idea for a film, as with anything else in life, the first person you have to convince and sell the idea to is yourself. It’s a major mistake if you don’t, because you’re going to pour so much energy and time into this that you owe it to yourself to thoroughly cross examine yourself right up front. If there’s a flaw, or a tiny crack which you gloss over and manage to paper over in the script it will come back to bite you on the bum at precisely the worst time and you will have no ammo to fight back with because you’ll know it’s true.
After you’ve sold it to yourself you have to sell the idea to a producer who in turn has to sell it to a studio or financier to fund development.
Once you have a script if you’re not directing it yourself you have to sell the script to a director, who in turn sells it to the actors he wants to cast, the cast then sells it for a greenlight to the aforementioned studio or financier and then comes the final most important sale of all – to the audience.
This comes in two stages, firstly selling it to them so they come to the cinema and then when they watching the movie selling the idea or concept.
People actually talk about this being the BUY. A high concept example of this is Groundhog Day where the audience are asked to buy into the idea that Bill Murray’s character will wake up and live the same day again and again for the duration of the movie. If they don’t buy into an obviously unrealistic premise they won’t enjoy the film. But as we know they did in their masses. Respect to the late Harold Ramis who co wrote and directed it.
So it’s a long way from the people in this room having their great ideas to getting them onto the screen.
I hope it doesn’t sound crass, actually I don’t care if it does but there are a couple of things that I believe give film scripts the power to play. The first is without a doubt – truth. The modern cinema audience is very cinema literate and savvy. Try and manipulate them emotionally or in any other way and you will lose them.
Secondly I believe the power of a screenplay to play is in direct proportion to the universality of it themes. Does it deal with something in say a family situation in which people will relate to, or in an action or fantasy film that people will aspire to in the same way in Edinburgh, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Tokyo or New York.
So here are my five principles on how to get on in life based on screenwriting.
Take on board criticism, especially if it comes from someone with no axe to grind.
If you ever overreact to a note or comment about something it’s probably because it’s touched a nerve and deep down it’s something you’ve always felt yourself.
Never be overawed by celebrity or people in authority but always deal with them with respect.
Accept help from others graciously and be prepared to help others when the opportunity arises.
There’s no excuse for being unpleasant or rude to those junior to you not in the least because they may be your boss at some stage in the future.
I’m going to end with an anecdote about my daughters. Many years ago we were in the car and that morning a project had bitten the dust for some reason as they often do. My daughters were four and five and this little voice piped up fro the back saying –
“Daddy, I’ve had an idea about your work.”
“Oh yes, and what would that be?”
“Why don’t you write something that people actually want to make?”
Out of the mouths of babes. It is of course a great idea but if only it were that simple!!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : The Quality of Mercy (A Lady Evelyn Mystery #5) #TheQualityOfMercy #LadyEvelynMysteries – Malia Zaidi @MaliaZaidi

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

The Quality of Mercy banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Quality of Mercy’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Version 2Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford.
Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

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Synopsis :

The Quality of Mercy coverAfter years spent away, Lady Evelyn is at long last back in her home city of London and she has returned with a rather controversial plan. The Carlisle Detective Agency is born, and it does not take long for the bodies… ahem, cases, to start piling up. With her friend and assistant Hugh, Evelyn embarks on the quest to solve the crimes. Yet the London she encounters is not the London of her coddled youth, and she is forced to learn that there is more to discover than the identity of a murderer. It isn’t only her city which reveals it is not what she always believed it to be, but the people she encounters as well. Secrets are revealed that have her thinking twice about everything she thought she knew about the society in which she grew up.
Evelyn’s love for her hard-won independence confronts her with yet another mystery, whether she is ready or willing to give up any of it for marriage. And then there is the arrival of rather a familiar face in London, one Daniel is none to pleased to see. Evelyn must find not one but two murderers, as well as make a decision that could determine her future. From the mansions of Mayfair to the dark alleys of Whitechapel, can Evelyn catch the killers before another life is taken?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
B&N
Book Depository

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats by BookBaby on 25th August 2020.

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Thanks for the opportunity to appear on your blog! I am the author of a series of historical mysteries, the latest of which is called The Quality of Mercy. The books are set in the 1920s with Lady Evelyn, the amateur sleuth, as the protagonist.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I grew up partly in Germany, and we read a lot of books by the author Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote Pippi Longstocking. When I moved to the US and was a teenager, I read the Harry Potter books and was really interested in the fantasy genre for a while. I kind of wish I still was, it’s great escapism, but these days I read a lot more mysteries, nonfiction and literary fiction. One of the best books I’ve read this year so far was Circe by Madeline Miller.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Oh, interesting! Sometimes I feel you can get insight into an author’s mind when reading his or her book. When people who know me read my books, they will definitely recognize some of my own philosophies in my protagonist. I would be curious how Stephen King’s mind works, though his books tend to be a little too scary for me. His mind might be a frightening place!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own book, I think I would like to meet Hugh, lady Evelyn’s assistant. He is one of the characters that took on a life of his own. I intended for him to play a small role in one of the books, but he really grew on me and I didn’t want to give him up. In terms of other books, I wouldn’t mind a chat with Hermione from the Harry Potter books. I feel we would get along well and have lots to talk about.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I wouldn’t say I have rituals, but I make a habit of writing around the same time every day. I like to be alone or in a quiet space when I do so. If I try to work in a café for a change of scenery, I get distracted, because I love to people watch (you never know who has the potential to be turned into a character!).

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Haha, that’s a good question! I don’t think they need to worry, but some people might wonder why my search history includes questions such as: How to poison someone slowly…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Before I begin a new novel, I create a very rough outline. I am mostly concerned with a few key events and the characters at that point. As the story progresses, I flesh out the outline. It sounds like I am working a bit in reverse that way, but it’s worked for me so far. I can totally understand writers who prefer to plot everything out ahead of time, though. Everyone has their methods.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
One of the most important and probably fairly unoriginal tips I can offer is to read A LOT. Don’t just read in the genre in which you want to write but widely and across the board. In my opinion, exposure to different styles of writing and different techniques is the best teaching tool. If you’re serious about writing, I also recommend really building it into your routine as much as you can. Life is busy, but writing every day, even if it’s just half a page, even if it’s rubbish, is a good way to keep the momentum going.

What are your future plans as an author?
I hope to continue writing books in the Lady Evelyn series, however, I also have a few other, more contemporary projects in the works. Keep your eyes peeled!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
There may or may not be a wedding in this book…

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

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

 

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #GuestPost : The Moscow Whisper #TheMoscowWhisper – Michael Jenkins @FailsafeQuery

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

The Moscow Whisper banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Moscow Whisper’ 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 :

yyDFL3QQI started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

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Synopsis :

jpeg low MB‘Sometimes you have to enter the death zone to save the innocent.’
A top-secret clique of former spies meet for dinner to hatch a plan to murder a competitor, not knowing that they are under surveillance from a covert arm of British Intelligence. Hours later, with bodies strewn across a terrace, a piece of secret intelligence reveals an international plot of colossal magnitude.
For disgraced agent Sean Richardson, this is the beginning of a deniable mission to infiltrate and disrupt a group of Russian mercenaries who are working clandestinely to take over a nation state.
Acting covertly as an illicit arms trafficker, Sean is dropped into a deadly cauldron of terrorism and high-tech weaponry that will take a nation down. As the bullets fly and the chaos rains in, can Sean take down the merchants of death…or has he finally met his match?
The third in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 7th June 2020.

Guest Post :

The Moscow Whisper

Spies, Mercenaries, Weapons smuggling, and Forensics
A unique mixture of espionage

For those that have read the book, I hope you enjoyed the mixture of geo-politics, mysterious locations, and the fascinating mission that Sean, the main character, has to achieve set against tumultuous odds. A task he felt was impossible from the outset.
I thought for many months about how I might fuse some of the modern-day geo-forensics, bomb disposal, weapons smuggling, and Russian mercenaries into such a story. I wanted to immerse the reader with a rich insight into the modern-day world of intelligence operations, from strategic level and national assets, right down to simple and applied forensics on the ground, with a smattering of bomb disposal and weapons smuggling scenes too. Of course, most spy and espionage novels don’t have such a unique mixture, so what led me to explore these themes?
For many of my years, I was privileged to serve on operations with some incredible forensic and bomb disposal experts, both during my days on counter terrorist operations with the police, and also on overseas operations acting with the intelligence services and the military. Hence nearly all of the search, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), weapons and forensic scenes are authentic, but have of course been adapted to the theme of the story where Sean comes up against a set of highly trained Russian mercenaries, a long way from home on another continent.
I really enjoyed showing some of the capabilities of modern-day cyber operations – highly trained operators using cutting edge technology to conduct intelligence gathering roles in support of covert missions. It’s no secret that many of these techniques are employed by many nations, and there have been lost of media coverage and articles about the power of cyber operations, hacking, and stealing secrets that are embedded in servers, networks and IT systems. Cyber espionage is very much alive.
But how does Sean use all these techniques and procedures to achieve the mission that Jack, his MI5 handler gave him? One of the main themes here is that he needs trusted friends and experts to achieve the mission, something he could never do alone. And so he brings in his team of eclectic, erratic, and eccentric operators together. I loved creating their oddities in the first novel, The Failsafe Query, and then bring them together again for their second high-octane mission in the Kompromat Kill, before completing the trilogy with The Moscow Whisper. Each of them can be read as standalone novels, and each are based on people I served with, and I blended in multiple characters to make them who they are today in the story. I always chuckle when I meet up with some of them for a drink and I’ve included most of their own personal traits into each character. The characters feel real because of it.
It was important to me that Sean did not become the tired ‘lone wolf’ superspy that you usually find in spy thrillers, but I wanted him to use his charisma and flair to lead a team of highly skilled geo-forensics and bomb disposal operators. Sean is a highly skilled professional, who pulls off his missions by selecting and leading the right team of people for the job. He is flawed, he makes mistakes, pays his dues, and has to find ways to live with the extensive trauma his profession has caused him.
The activities of Sean hunting down the merchants of death, are based upon my experiences of working in the world of Intelliegnce, weapons intelligence, bomb disposal and high-risk search for counter terrorist operations. But I adapted the principles to make a story out of it, and used the skills of what is known as Search Advisors to create the conditions for him to succeed. Police and military search advisors are those officers who conduct investigations into missing persons and finding criminal items – and they are superbly trained and lead the world in this type of activity.
It was great fun to blend in the military and geo-forensic aspects of the operation into the novel, and I hope you enjoy those scenesa mongst exotic landscapes. What exactly does it all reveal though……the twists and turns will eventually lead you to a very dramatic finale. Sean’s route to success and contentment is blocked by many disturbing and hidden facets that he didn’t know were in play. It seems an almost impossible mission. And just as you thought it couldn’t be any worse, along comes a standoff that needs Sean to somehow find a way out of.
Just as all seems lost, Sean senses an opportunity and gets some help he didn’t expect… .

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#CoverReveal #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs : Not the Deaths Imagined #NotTheDeathsImagined – Anne Pettigrew @pettigrew_anne @RingwoodPublish

– ‘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 Damppebbles Blog Tour, to reveal the cover of

Not the Deaths Imagined
by
Anne Pettigrew

But first some information

About the Author :

Anne PettigrewGlasgow-born, 31 years a Greenock GP, graduate of University of Glasgow (Medicine 1974) and Oxford (MSc Medical Anthropology 2004). Worked also in psychiatry, women’s health, and journalism (Herald, Pulse, Doctor, Channel 4). In retirement took Creative Writing tuition at Glasgow University aiming to pen novels about women doctors (rare in literature except as pathologists or in Mills & Boon). Runner-up in SAW Constable Award 2018, chosen as a 2019 Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and a short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

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Synopsis :

In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.
Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and family – are put at risk.
Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?
From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the

blog-cover reveal

because this is happening

right now!

NTDI Cover

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be available on August 1st, 2020, but you can already pre-order on Ringwood Publishing.

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#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #GuestPost : The Jansson Tapes (Terry Bell Mysteries #3) #TheJanssonTapes #TerryBellMysteries – Colin Garrow @colingarrow

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

The Jansson Tapes banner

Today I’m on the ‘The Jansson Tapes’ 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 :

Colin-GarrowTrue-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin has published three stage plays, six adventures for middle grade readers, two books of short stories, the Watson Letters series and the Terry Bell Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in North East Scotland where he writes novels, stories. poems and the occasional song.

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Synopsis :

The Jansson Tapes COVER ebook March 2020 smallerWhen a familiar leggy blonde slides onto the back seat of his cab with the offer of work, taxi-driver and amateur sleuth Terry Bell isn’t keen. However, compared to the tedium of driving a cab all day, the lure of another mystery is too strong to resist, and Terry agrees to help. Tracking down a missing writer and his tape recorder sounds simple enough, but following the clues to a remote village, the case takes a dangerous turn when the man turns up dead. After the police take over, Terry and his sidekick Carol return home to find their flat ransacked—and that’s not the only surprise. Caught between a suspicious detective inspector and the machinations of a mysterious woman, can the wily investigator unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Smashwords

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 9th May 2020.

The Jansson tapes PAPERBACK cover April 2020

Excerpt :

Making a Hero

Back in the early 1990s, I spent a bit of time driving a taxi in a nice, quiet seaside town on the Suffolk coast. I got to drive a new car, swan around during the summer months in shirt-sleeves and sunglasses and pick up a lot of young women. Trouble is, I also picked up drunks, pimps, villains and the occasional prostitute. It wasn’t a glamorous lifestyle and I soon tired of it, but I saw a side to the town that intrigued me, so it was inevitable that the place would, at some point, make its way into one of my books.
As it happens, I did write about it at the time, though the narrative poem that emerged did the place no favours—painting it as an unpleasant mix of crappy little council houses and newer poorly-built boxes thrown up by cowboy builders to cope with the increasing population. The inhabitants of those same little boxes were likewise tarred with my unglamorous brush, colouring them as sly, untrustworthy folk, generally unkempt and troll-like. And of course, most of them spent their time in the roles of pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers.
As my creative skills were then still in their infancy, the poem was little more than self-indulgent crap, mostly reflecting not the town itself, but (following a failed marriage) my own petty irritations and disgruntlement at having to live there, and in retrospect, I freely admit it was a lovely little town inhabited by (mostly) lovely people. However, there did exist a certain group of characters with the kind of notable behaviours and personalities that novelists adore, and who were, therefore, ripe for inclusion in something literary. I just didn’t know what.
In late 2016, I had a yearning to create a murder mystery series loosely based on some of the aforementioned characters, but when I did start writing, the seaside town that kept popping into my imagination wasn’t the one I’d been thinking about for years, but one much nearer home on the northeast coast near Newcastle—Whitley Bay. I lived there for a couple of years during my drama-worker days and always thought the place had an appealingly down-at-heel atmosphere, perfect for a down-at-heel amateur sleuth. Consequently, Terry Bell’s stomping ground ended up being a kind of fictitious mix of people and places, with several of the people I’d met back in the 1990s morphing into roles in my dramatis personae.
These include the character of Ralph, the bald-headed minder of Caravan Queen Sheila Carver. Loosely based on a massive ex-doorman who tended to hit people rather than speak to them, I used the same mould for another recurring character, Joe Spud, a taxi driver who has a tendency to speak with his fists, but is otherwise a (reasonably) charming and amiable fellow. Others, such as Big Ronnie and the Fish Twins were an amalgam of various villains and drug-dealers I met, while my initial description of Detective Inspector Charis Brown—She was small and graceful, with an elfin-like smile and eyes that could melt a Mr Whippy at fifty paces—was inspired by a girl I knew at school who had an elfin-like smile etc.
Terry himself isn’t based on anyone, but was originally intended to be a younger, nicer, more intelligent and better-looking version of me, with a different personality and more hair. The main difference though, is that he’s better at solving mysteries, even if it takes him a while to fit all the pieces together.
How long Terry will continue solving murders and tracking down bad guys remains to be seen, but for the moment both he and I are having too much fun to stop.

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#SubmissionCall #PMPress @PMPress1 @damppebbles

– ‘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 not on a blogtour, but helping PM Press to promote their submission call.

PM Press Logo

We are a Kindle-First imprint of Holland House Books that specialises in crime, thriller and dystopian fiction. Phaidra Robinson and Mia Skevington set up PM Press in April 2020 in order to pursue their respective loves of true crime and detective fiction. Our background of Literary Fiction at Holland House Books means that we bring an expectation of and experience in producing high quality books to these genres. An inaugural imprint, this is the time for authors to submit their work for the chance to be one of our founding book releases.
We are looking for most types of crime and thriller fiction, from the classic English whodunit through to police procedurals, or classic noir through to mind-bending psychological thrillers. Maybe you want to introduce us to a dystopian future. We want well-written, satisfying work – a good twist and convincing characters are the ways to our hearts. It may be cosy and comfortable or dark and disturbing… or something completely different.
If you have a completed novel or novella which you believe may fit, then send us:
1) The first fifty pages of your work.
2) A synopsis of your work (maximum two pages).
3) A covering letter with a brief overview – we do NOT need you to do a brilliant ‘pitch’ or the kind of blurb which would go on the back of the book. The basic story, main character(s) and the general themes is all we need.
These documents should be Word Documents, size 12 in a standard font, with a line spacing of 1.5.
Please email us at pmpress@hhousebooks.com and address them to the Editor Phaidra Robinson.

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Good luck sending your work out into the world!

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#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Ground Rules #GroundRules – Richard Whittle @richard1whittle

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

Ground Rules banner V2

Today I’m on the ‘Ground Rules’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Richard WhittleRichard has been a policeman, diesel engine tester, university student and engineering geologist. Writing as Alan Frost he was shortlisted from several hundred international competitors for the CWA (Crime Writers Association) Debut Dagger Award.

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Synopsis :

Ground RulesCalled out one night in the hope that she can identify the body of a man found in a field, Edinburgh forensic geologist Jessica Spargo – Jez – inadvertently becomes involved in the investigation of a university lecturer’s murder. The investigating officer, Tom Curtis, hands her a small glass vial and asks her to analyse its contents. She agrees to do it. The results confound everyone.
Media attention around a seemingly unconnected incident on a construction site near Edinburgh means that all work has stopped. An object discovered beneath the site confounds everyone, including the police. Employed by the firm’s owner to attempt to solve the mystery, Jez falls foul of an uncooperative site manager. Unruffled, she perseveres. Meanwhile, the murder mystery deepens. Despite her reluctance to become further involved, she has her own theories about the origin of the vial’s contents, theories the police do not accept.
To Jez’s dismay there are more deaths. As she says to Curtis, ‘I don’t do bodies. I’m a geologist, I look at rocks. If I’d wanted to look at bits of body then I would have become a surgeon or a pathologist.’

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats on 9th March 2020.

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was around forty years old when I first sat down to write a full-length novel. I wrote it because I wanted to, not because I wanted it published. I don’t know what became of it. I do remember that I typed it on a portable typewriter!
I was a policeman in a big city for around ten years. My hobbies were geology, caving and rock-hunting, and what I really wanted to be was an engineer. I studied to enter university and eventually became an engineering geologist.
Around twenty years ago I entered one of my novels for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award and was shortlisted from a few hundred others. I didn’t win, but it encouraged me to keep writing.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
From an early age I was a public library member. Each time I visited I took out as many books as they allowed. I remember being given a copy of ‘Jennie’ by writer Paul Gallico, a novel that made me realise how powerful writing could be, and how it could raise such strong emotions. When I was older I started to read crime, mystery and adventure novels. For a while, because of my work, I tended to read (and write) a lot of technical and scientific stuff.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would like to chat with Kate Atkinson, to find out how she gets her head around such complicated plots. Also J. K. Rowling, to ask how she conjured up such stories – though I’m sure her answer would be “after many years of hard work.”

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It can’t really be from one of my own books, because I would know the answers to all the questions already. So let’s think about this… who would I invite for tea? I’m going to be boring here. Because I worked as an engineering geologist I’m going to say Marcus Attilius Primus, the aqueduct engineer in Robert Harris’s ‘Pompeii’, and ask him about the tunnels that took water to cities in ancient Italy. Not impressed? Okay. Then how about Hagrid? I did wonder about Severus Snape, but Hagrid would be much more fun.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Medium latte in a coffee shop. Comfy chair if possible (out of the sun, because if not, the sun’s either in my eyes or blanking out my laptop screen). Earplugs too, I don’t like using them, but I have to if a nearby customer talks too loudly. No earbuds or headphones with music, because I tend to listen to the music instead of writing. I manage to write intensely for two to three hours a day. I do not aim for a certain number of words, that’s for newspaper columnists and school essays. Instead I like to get things right. I can spend an hour on one page if I need to.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I base much of my work on personal experience. I was a policeman for ten years, then worked on the shop floor of an engineering firm. I became a mature uni student, then an engineering geologist. I worked in 20 countries, I have seen a lot of things (not always nice ones). Nobody in my life needs to be worried. I twist and turn the facts, the names and the dates. The personal experiences are only a trigger.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
A mix of the two. I like to think I’m a plotter, but really the plot is loose, I go with the flow and the plot comes in chunks – I plot the next bit. Only when I get around 2/3 way through do I start to develop an ending.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write what you love. It shouldn’t be a struggle. And write what you know about – or if you don’t know about it, research it thoroughly. Don’t beat yourself up if the words don’t come. Try writing something else. Sometimes I write two novels at once – I have about six half-done ones, but that’s from over thirty-or-so years! If I want to, I can pick them up later, or use bits of them.

What are your future plans as an author?
I just want to keep writing. I write because I love doing it, I find it relaxing, I can’t stop doing it. I suppose I write for myself but with the reader in mind. I see myself as a storyteller, so what I write must appeal to others. I will never make money from writing, that rarely happens.

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Forensic Geologist Jessica Spargo (Jez) is handed a container by Edinburgh Detective Chief Inspector Curtis. When he tells her what is in it, she says she can’t analyse it and doesn’t want it. Why is that? And why are its contents a key clue to the murder Curtis is investigating?

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

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

 

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Paper Soldiers (DCI Priest #3) #PaperSoldiers #DCIPriest – Mark Pettinger @m_pettinger

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

Paper Soldiers banner

Today I’m on the ‘Paper Soldiers’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mark PettingerMark Pettinger is a crime fiction writer of the DCI Priest novels. His debut The Decalogue entered the Amazon Bestseller Top 100 list in December 2015, and the Top 10 on the sub-genre of ‘police procedurals’.
Mark was born in a maternity ward attached to RAF Manston in Kent. His father was in the Royal Air Force, and for the first few years of his life, he lived on a number of RAF bases on the east coast of the UK with his parents and sister. Skip forward a few years; now married and with children he lives in a small village in East Yorkshire.
Fitting his writing around his ‘day job’; Mark’s writing pattern is somewhat sporadic, and he writes when he can, which currently is in hotel rooms / foyer, or in an airport lounge trying to keep one eye on the departure board to ensure he doesn’t miss his flight!
Mark’s interest in the murky world of crime started a number of years ago when he was attracted to reading true crime. He became fascinated with the exploits of the Yorkshire Ripper, Dennis Nilsen, John Wayne Gacy, Andrei Chikatilo etc. An avid reader of many genre’s, but his attention turned to favouring crime fiction; and his reading list includes Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Lynda La Plante, Jo Nesbo, and latterly CJ Tudor (for something just that little bit special).
Mark has openly credited Ian Rankin as the primary inspiration for not only stirring his interest in reading crime fiction, but also ‘picking up the pen’.
Mark has published two hugely successful crime fiction novels: The Decalogue in 2012, and Tick Tock, Time’s Up in 2015. Long overdue, critics have noted, Mark published the third instalment in the DCI Priest series Paper Soldiers in March 2020.
Next on his list is a standalone crime thriller, due for publication in summer 2021.

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Synopsis :

Paper Soldiers ebook completeThe streets of Greater Manchester are awash with drugs and weapons, and the gangs that control this multi-million pound business will stop at nothing to protect and grow their business. The Dolsen family are one such gang.
When the head of a rival Yardie gang is found brutally murdered, revenge attacks were always likely to follow, and gang members were unlikely to be the only ones hurt.
DCI Priest teams up with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); but they soon admit to conflicting objectives which may unravel their alliance, and prove to it be more of a hindrance than a help.
Was DCI Priest was about to undertake his most challenging investigation to date?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Publishing Information:
Published in digital format by BookBaby on 16th March 2020.

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Mark Pettinger and I live in a rural village in East Yorkshire, UK. I do have a ‘day job’ so I write whenever I have time, which is usually when I am away on business trips – hotel bar, airport lounge etc.
A number of years ago I was travelling long distances by car, and was struggling for time to read, so I came across audiobooks. During long journeys I would devour many crime fiction books, most notably the entire works of Ian Rankin. One day, travelling home, I thought ‘I can do this, I’ll give it a try’, and from there the journey began.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I was fascinated by all things ‘military’ and ‘war’. I read mainly non-fiction books, reading about various battles or wars fought over the centuries, and the soldiers that fought in those wars.
Now, as an adult, I tend to read crime fiction, which itself has many sub-genres. I enjoy police procedurals, psychological thrillers and the dark and creepy ones that you wouldn’t read alone in the dark.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Despite having met him on a couple of occasions, a lengthy chat over a pint with Ian Rankin would be the one for me. The million dollar question would be ‘how do you keep coming up with storylines and maintain the longevity of a character over a long running series, such as Rebus?’

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It would definitely be Detective Sergeant Stephens (from my own DCI Priest series). The three books so far in the series have seen her relationship with Priest move from ‘having a fling’ to something more formal, to now living together. So many questions to ask about what it is like to live with DCI Priest? Does he ever switch off? Can she see herself in that lofty senior role in the near future?

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. As I noted earlier I do have a ‘day job’ so I need to fit my writing around that. As such, that doesn’t really allow for many rituals or habits – I just open up the laptop, read back the last 4 of 5 pages to get back into the story, and crack on!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
You should see my internet browser history…no, really you should!
Crime fiction is probably the easiest and conversely the hardest genre to create ideas. The murky world of crime provides an abundance of opportunities, but the challenge is always to find a new angle. If you look at ‘ways to murder someone’ – it has all been done before, multiple times. The author needs to weave a number of sub plots and ensure that the characters are foremost in the storyline.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
100% a plotter. At the start of a new book I will spend a lot of time planning the end to end story. Don’t get me wrong, as I write the story may meander off somewhat but I’m OK with that if I’m happy with where it is going. I try and break the story up into 10-15 chunks (not yet chapters) and will add a dozen or so bullet points to each section to help me as I write.
Starting with a blank page without any planning would leave me with severe writers block.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I know that it’s not original, but my best advice is simply: Stop talking about writing, and just write. You’ll gain more confidence as you write, and learn so much. None of which will happen if you don’t start.
My second tip, again nothing ground breaking, is: the first draft of anything is rubbish. The first draft simply gets the story out of your head and on paper, and by its very nature is the end of phase one, your ‘brain dump’. Don’t expect your first draft to be good. From there you can review and develop the story that you wanted to write.

What are your future plans as an author?
Having published book 3 in the DCI Priest series, I am currently writing a standalone crime novel which I expect will be published in summer 2021. After which I do expect to return to the DCI Priest series.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
A teaser……right! Well, both beta readers and early readers of the published book have all noted that the ‘torture scene’ will send you one way or the other (engrossed and lapping it up….or quickly turning the page) – let me know which one you are.

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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

 

#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Trembleath #Trembleath – Ruth Shedwick @ruthshedwick

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

Trembleath banner

Today I’m on the ‘Trembleath’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ruth Shedwick - 5Graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in Environmental Planning, her passion for the natural environment and love for creatures great and small is evident in her writing. She currently lives on rural moorland on the edge of ancient woodland and shares her home with four cats and a wolf and spends most of her time ‘earthing’. Since an early age, Ruth has been intrigued by the ancient world, folklore, myths and legends and explores the unknown.
As well as writing, Ruth dabbles in Graphic Design and has worked with local charities including South Lancashire Bat Group and Rooley Heritage.
Ruth is also the creative mind behind Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival (first Chocolate Festival in the UK). She organised the event for the first 5 years, winning an award for Best Small Event in Greater Manchester. Capitalising on her passion for the paranormal, Ruth organised the Whitefield Halloween Festival whose specially commissioned beer by Outstanding Beers went on to win awards. Building partnerships with local community groups and businesses for over 20 years, promoting Town Centres and staging large-scale events to boost the local economy and bring communities together.

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Synopsis :

TREMBLEATH CoverAmelia Scott is re-building her life in Southern England following a disastrous relationship. It was going to be an adventure, but when she hears news of a young girl found dead and another goes missing, she quickly begins to learn there is more to Creek Bay than she could ever imagine.
A village hiding a dark secret, two families at war, Amelia Scott gets caught up in a murder investigation with dire consequences.

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Publishing Information:
Published in paperback format by Hygge Media on 11th November 2019.

Creek Bay Gazette

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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My background is Environmental Planning where I worked as a Senior Planner for local government over 20 years. During that time my passion for art transcribed into graphic design and so I used this in my every day to produce trail booklets, information boards and exhibitions on the environmental projects I worked on. As an avid project manager my organisational skills were then used to design, develop and solely organise events to bring in large footfall to boost the local economy. I organised the UK’s first ever Chocolate Festival and did so for the first five years until I was made redundant. It was a particularly dark time in both my work and personal life if I am honest and I guess you either use that to your advantage or let it eat you whole. I began writing in 2010 when I had a recurring dream that wouldn’t leave me. It was then that I decided to put pen to paper (or rather fingertips to keyboard) and put it down for therapeutic purposes. It worked, and as I let the words flow, the dreams progressed. In my first sitting I wrote 20,000 words and had no idea I had that in me, every day I would take the steps to the study and immerse myself in their world – it was a welcomed distraction to my current predicament, it was my escape, and my freedom. As I became more focussed it was not before long that I had a fully constructed novel on my desktop and more stories flowed from there.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My mother had a great bookshelf, as a little girl I would sit with my legs crossed and flick through the pages of the books that I could reach. Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology were the first books I began to take interest in and still are to this day. I was hooked, fascinated and intrigued by the stories, so much so that I couldn’t wait to find out more. She also had books on British history linked to the supernatural, I guess this is where my interest into witchcraft and the natural world stems from. My personal book collections are wide and varied, but I must confess I love a good horror book as well as crime fiction.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I do have a few favourite authors sitting on my shelves, namely Stephen King, James Herbert, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Lynsay Sands, Tom Cox. Of course I would like to pick all of them for advice, but if I was only given one, then I think it would be Anne Rice. She writes passages as though she has lived that time and it draws you into that world, the characters and believe everything is possible.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Invite for tea, or BECOME tea (haha). I would invite The Vampire Lestat (Anne Rice) and William Henry Malloy (from my novel Trembleath). These two characters (or should I say gentlemen), have a wealth of experience between them, have seen many things over the years and though they have a darkness within them, they are also torn between the light. I would also like to think that they know one another in some form through the years, so hearing about their first thoughts of one another would be interesting and whether they are friends or foes. They both excite me and scare me – the right mix of entertainment for any gathering.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing rituals have always been based around force dreaming. So I will lay completely still, take deep breaths and run through the scene in my mind, its at that point they take over and I’m merely there to record what is happening. I would literally be lost if it wasn’t for the notes app on my phone, the second I hear a conversation I have to write it down. The concern is that I have so many notes I have to make sense of before the traction is lost. Armed with a large pot of black coffee or peppermint tea I sit in my office and let the words flow. I do however get distracted with research so I can often sit for days contemplating differing scenarios or just end up reading about forensics and think wow, that isn’t relevant for this story, but I will park that info for another time.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I think the people in my life ARE worried (haha). Those that know me know of my love for the natural world and my affinity with animals. I harness this in my writing and let the environment speak to me. I am a huge fan of Earthing – walking barefoot and let the earth’s energies filter through you. I live in a remote hamlet on the moors surrounded by farm and woodland, I find inspiration in everything around me, from listening to the birds, the deer or just the wind through the trees. If there is one gift I have, it is listening and observing – so when I am around people I simply watch, take in their mannerisms and their body language, their interactions with one another and their reactions, people watching is a great past time.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m actually a little of both. What I have found when I am writing a series, the first novel simply flows, and although I know how the series ends, the subsequent novels in that series tend to have a more plotting structure to them. This is because I need to ensure questions are answered, and information is revealed. I lay breadcrumbs for the reader, some may be very subtle while others are literally screaming at you, and I enjoy seeing whether the reader picks up on the hints along the way.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Thank you for asking. I would say just go for it. Writing is amazing therapy. Write, write, and write some more. The more you hone your craft, the better you will become. Writing short stories and flash fiction is a great way to get your creativity flowing. My one piece of advice on the don’t – is don’t overthink it, let the story come to you, never force anything.

What are your future plans as an author?
I have three books in the Trembleath series, so I am working on completing those at the moment. Trembleath has been shortlisted for the Cornish Book Awards and currently in discussions with literary festivals, I was also due to be in Cornwall 20 April – 1 May with talks and promotion of Trembleath, however, due to Covid-19 the scheduling for 2020 has been put on hold, so who knows what the future holds. With other completed series I am looking to revisit those and see if there is any representation, but for now I am focussing on getting through my 9-5 job, my writing, and staying motivated during these difficult times.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
A teaser… Mmm.
Creek Bay is not your average quaint Cornish seaside village. It holds a dark secret steeped in Pagan history ruled by a powerful family. As Amelia mourns the loss of her previous life, a new one is thrust upon her without fully understanding the consequences. The deaths of two young women will soon reveal the horror she faces, but just when you may think you have secrets to the mystery all wrapped up, an old foe rolls into town.

As she ran down the cobbled street into misty darkness, clouds consumed light cast out from the waning moon into the night sky. Her ragged breathing filled the air, her heartbeat pounded in her ears and her panic filled their nostrils; they were hungry for the kill. The slapping of their large feet against the cold wet stone echoed around her. She tried to ignore the sound and focused on making it to the village, where she knew she’d be safe. The pounding continued from her pursuers bringing new life to her tired legs, humming from the pain now fuelled with adrenaline. She could make out a light in the distance, and another, and another; the village she grew up in, people she called friends, family, loved ones were just within reach. The thought of being in the warm embrace of her parent’s arms spurred her on.
She didn’t see the pothole beneath her feet, she sprawled forwards tumbling hard onto the cobbles, her kneecap shattered on impact sending waves of agony down her leg. The girl howled, as pain coursed through her body, muscles convulsing tightening her limbs; she rolled on the ground in fetal position panting out the pain. Tears ran down her cheeks. The rain hadn’t registered until she saw the ripples in the puddle beside her. With a sigh she raised her head skywards watching the drops descend. She knew she had to keep moving, had to get away, put some distance between her and…
Silence, deathly silence. Like someone had clicked the mute button on life. And then she felt it. The hairs all over her body stood to attention; a tingling sensation ran up her spine, rising up the back of her neck; she shuddered as a breath of cold air passed over her, she could smell the stench of death in its wake.
Death was coming for her and there was nothing she could do about it. She thought of her mum and dad at home with her little sister, waiting for her bedtime story. But there would be no story. Not tonight. Not any night. She knew she would not survive. She hung her head low in submission and waited for death’s grip, a prayer forming on her lips,

“Bless me father for I have sinned…”

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

dpbt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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