#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #GuestPost : Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood – Heide Goody & Iain Grant @HeideGoody @IainMGrant

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

Candy canes and blood (1)

Today I’m on the ‘Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Group Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Authors :

Iain and Heide by Pete C b+wHeide lives in North Warwickshire with her husband and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. Iain lives in South Birmingham with his wife and a fluctuating mix of offspring and animals. They aren’t sure how many novels they’ve written together since 2011 but it’s a surprisingly large number.

Synopsis :

Elf Story cover 4Christmas is a time for families to come together.
Guin Roberts can’t think of anything worse than visiting a Christmas market with her new family. Guin is perfectly happy with her own company and doesn’t want that disrupted by her wisecracking stepbrother and his earnest mum.
Their Christmas celebrations are invaded by a sleigh full of murderous elves. And it doesn’t matter if they’ve been naughty or nice — these elves are out for blood.
Can the family band together to survive the night? Or will Santa’s little helpers make mincemeat of them all?


Guest Post :


The locations in which stories take place are important. Many of the stories Heide and I write take place in very specific and real locations. In our Clovenhoof series of books, the action takes place in Sutton Coldfield and you can go to the pub Clovenhoof drinks in or the church he causes all manner of trouble in. The Oddjobs books we write take place in the utterly real Birmingham I live in. The tunnels and hidden spaces and pieces of crazy history Morag and the gang encounter are really real and really there — we even have an Authors’ Notes section at the back to make this clear.
Candy Canes and Buckets of Blood is one of the other stories. We don’t make it clear where it’s set and some of the names are made up. And yet, it is based on some very real places. There are two very clear and very different locations that inspired Candy Canes.
The first is the village of Castleton in Derbyshire. I’ve just had to Google to check it’s a village, not a town because it’s a very busy village. The countryside around is dominated by sheep-covered hillsides, steep passes that are closed with the first snows and deep and dramatic caves that you won’t see anywhere else in the country. The village sits in a valley beneath a small but imposing castle. A river runs through it. Such a place is naturally popular with tourists so the village has several fine pubs and plenty of the kinds of tea shops I like. I like Castleton. It’s a distilled version of what people expect from the Peak District and from the English countryside. It is, for want of a better word, quaint.
For the purposes of our story, it was ideal. It was the kind of place our story family would choose to visit for a night away and its cutesy quaint charms hide the fact that, when it gets dark and the weather closes in, that corner of England can be an isolated and dangerous place. Britain doesn’t have much true wilderness but we city-dwellers forget that, out in the country, it’s quite easy to be stuck somewhere where doctors, police, tow trucks and food supplies can’t be swiftly summoned. Isolation is a key element of horror.
The other location that Candy Canes draws from is the German Christmas Market in Birmingham. It’s become a growing trend over the past twenty years for British cities to hold German-style markets in the city centre in the run up to Christmas. Birmingham’s is the largest such market in the UK, attracting 5.5 million visitors in 2018. It’s huge. Whether you like it or not is a matter of taste. Some people would argue that the stalls are the same stalls every year, that the ‘craftsmanship’ on offer is manufactured, that its horribly over-crowded and if you visit on a weekend, it’s like fighting through Black Friday sales. These people are correct. Other people would argue that its little alpine chalet stalls and German accoutrement transform the city into a charming village, that the food is delicious, the rides are entertaining and that it has a genuine Christmassy buzz about it. These people are also correct. Each year, I take my daughters there and we know exactly what we’re doing — get in early before the crowds, get a hot dog, a crepe, go on a carousel and buy a wooden instrument in the shape of an animal and a candle ornament for their mum. Fifty minutes later, I’m fifty quid poorer but it’s a true part of the Christmas experience.
For our book, we wanted to create a town that was 100% Christmas, as though the Birmingham Christmas Market had taken on a life of its own. Glühwein, gingerbread, nutcrackers, stollen, mead, baubles, lights — all of it, everywhere. We transplanted the heart of the German Market and placed it in our fictional town of Alvestowe (secretly Castleton).
Together, we hope we created the perfect setting for our Candy Canes story — a town overloaded with the quaintness and charm of Christmas in a rural village idyll but where, behind the scenes, wild dangers and secret figures lurk. And elves. Lots and lots of evil Christmas elves.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Rachel’s Random Resources / Guest Post : A Heart in the Right Place – Heide Goody & Iain Grant

a heart in the right place

Today I’m on the ‘A Heart in the Right Place’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Heide Goody & Iain Grant, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Authors :

a heart -iain and heide by pete c b+wHeide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.
The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.
Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Social Media Links:
Twitter HeideGoody and Twitter IainMGrant

Synopsis :

a heart kindle coverAll Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.
However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place – a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.

Guest Post :

When research becomes too much fun.

It is a dilemma that can slow writers right down. The pattern goes something like this:
1. “I need a specific detail for my book. Some kind of XXX”
2. Search for an XXX that will fit the bill.
3. Get enormously distracted by the entertaining possibilities that exist.
We knew that we wanted a somewhat ludicrous car for our characters to drive on their road trip in A Heart in the Right Place. As a subject, ludicrous cars is a huge one. Even if we just reflect on the car choices that we’ve seen amongst our family and friends, there is a wealth of material.
There was the converted Dodge van that Heide’s uncle owned in the 1980s, with tables, chairs and thick pile carpet that went across the floor and up the walls. It was the unofficial tour bus of the Tiswas presenters for a while and (in an age before normal people went anywhere near stretch limos) was possibly the most hedonistic vehicle that Heide had ever seen.
There were childhood family cars, that almost certainly got their MOTs out of a Christmas cracker. If you can see the road through the holes in the floor pan as you sit in the back seat, is it OK? No, it is not OK.
There was the wonderful camper van that Heide had for a few years, with its zebra stripe seat covers, its patchwork curtains and its unfortunate rust problems.
Anyone here have a friend who’s bought a car principally because “it’s a bit different”? Has that friend spent way too much money, discovering that a car that is a bit different commands a high price for spares and even the most routine maintenance? Thought so.
So we turned to Facebook and asked the wisdom of the crowd. We do this quite often, and the crowd turns out to be pretty adept at coming up with some amazing options.
We stipulated that we had an imaginary budget below £10k, wanted something with a boot (for the body) and that it must be capable of long distance motorway driving at normal speeds. We had some excellent suggestions including a hearse, a Renault Twizy (which is a bizarre electric cross between a moped and a car), an ice cream van created from a vintage mini and a beach buggy. What won our hearts however was a 1970s Cadillac. Big enough to install an upright piano as your in-car entertainment? CHECK! Ridiculously impractical if you take it off-road (as our poor unfortunate characters are forced to)? CHECK! Riotous upholstery in colourways that would embarrass Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch? CHECK!
Heide’s husband captured some pictures of a suitable vehicle at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, so we know there’s at least one of these cars in the UK.
We were set with a car, so all that we had to do was write the detail into the novel. After we’d just googled a few more pictures…

The Magic Of Wor(l)ds