#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Hen Party #TheHenParty – Maria Frankland @writermaria_f

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

The Hen Party BT Poster

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

About the Author :

Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

• Publisher ‏ : ‎ Autonomy Press (8 May 2021)
• Language ‏ : ‎ English
• Paperback ‏ : ‎ 266 pages
• ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 191622489X
• ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1916224896

The Hen Party CoverHave you ever been to a party… and deeply regretted it?
Caitlyn and her nine hens arrive in Dublin for a never-to-be-forgotten weekend.
As the drink flows and the laughter echoes, her attendees put aside their buried resentments and secret dark agendas.
But one of these disturbing agendas will be executed – no matter what.
Ten is about to become nine. Who will be the one?

Amazon

Excerpt :

Prologue

It takes a moment for my eyes to grow accustomed to the darkness. My heart rate quickens and I hear the hiss of my breath in my ears. As I tiptoe to her side, she doesn’t stir.
I hold the pillow, my hands gripping either edge as I prepare to lower it.
She barely flinches to start with. I wonder if she will just drift into an eternal sleep without waking first.
Her body becomes rigid, but then, some fight kicks in, her arms and legs flail in all directions. Taken aback, I press down. Hard. I hear her gasps beneath the pillow. She doesn’t thrash for long before going limp. Then. Silence.
I hardly dare move the pillow for a moment. When I do, I know there’s no going back.
She’s gone.

Chapter Two

We seem to make our presence felt in Bella Mia, filling the foyer with our eight suitcases and coats, before taking over a long table in the centre of the restaurant.
“Special occasion?” asks the waitress.
“She’s getting married in three weeks.” I point at Caitlyn. “So, we’ll start with some bubbly please.” I’m determined that she’ll have a good time this weekend. Caitlyn really should look happier. She’s in remission, getting married, and here with us, for the weekend.
“Cheers ladies.” Karen holds her glass aloft.
“Speeeeeech.” Michaela looks at Caitlyn. “Come on future sister-in-law. You’ve dragged us all the way to Dublin.”
It’s nice to hear her being friendly for a change.
“I don’t do speeches,” Caitlyn says.
“Ah come on.” I join in now. Between us all, we must be able to bring her out of herself.
“You’ve all got a glass of fizz in your hand – what more do you want?”
“A speech from the bride-to-be.” It’s the first time Adele has joined in with anything. Her voice is so quiet that I think only I heard her.
“Speeeeech!” Michaela taps the side of her glass with a spoon.
“Alright, alright.” Caitlyn stands. “Anyway, yes, I’d just like to say, thank you all for coming…”
“Booooring.” Lucy sips her prosecco, smearing the glass with red lipstick. She’s got fully-laden Pandora bracelets on each wrist and seriously big hair. I can’t believe she’s only seventeen.
“Don’t forget Lucy – I’m going to be your wicked stepmother before long.” Caitlyn’s face bears an expression I can’t quite put my finger on. So does Lucy’s. It seems to say yeah, right.
Canned laughter rises amongst us. Caitlyn places her hands on her hips and appears to be waiting for a pause. The whole restaurant falls quiet. “Oh gosh, everyone’s listening.” She colours up. She’s been looking pale throughout the journey, so the colour makes her look better. “Anyway, as I was saying… I’ve got all the ladies here this weekend who have made the most impact on my life.”
There’s an edge to her words which appears to be lost on the others.
“To those of you who’ve supported me during my illness – thank you. I know I haven’t been easy.”
Annette coughs, and Caitlyn glares at her.
“But you’re all here this weekend to celebrate with me, and I’m glad you’ve all come along. We’ll have a weekend never to be forgotten.” She raises her glass. “I’d like to propose a toast… to my hens.”

Giveaway :

As readers always love a free gift, anyone who answers a question (at the back of the book) and follows the link before 20th August 2021 will be entered into a prize draw to win a Yorkshire Reader’s goodie bag, pictured below.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Hit And Run #HitAndRun – Maria Frankland @writermaria_f

– ‘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 on the ‘Hit And Run’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

Twitter
Website

Synopsis :

He took his dark secrets and lies to the grave…
Fiona keeps herself to herself – it is safer that way. She allows few people to get close, having learned the hard way that most have their own agendas.
Lowering her barriers and trusting her husband Rob, is a decision she has reason to regret. His indiscretions were coming to light even before the news of his hit and run killing one summer afternoon.
In the aftermath, blame and hostility is shown to her by many. The relationship with her mother is unravelling and she has shut herself away from any friends she once had. Who can she turn to? Who will believe her? Other than her son Jack and her father, there is nobody she can count on.
Can Fiona stay away from her oldest and most faithful friend, the bottle? Or is her life as over as her husband’s?
Only the truth of Rob’s untimely death can decide that.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Prologue

All couples have issues, don’t they? Everyone has their ups and downs. That’s life. I’ll get through this. But how?
A bike ride usually calms me down. As I ride out of Otley towards Ilkley, I don’t feel the hill that normally challenges me. Today I’m at the top before I notice that my breathing is laboured.
On any other day, I would enjoy the freewheel down the other side, the summer air whooshing in my ears, impressive scenery as far as the eye can see.
I’m always grateful that I live around here. But today I don’t feel grateful for anything. The demons that have been chasing me have finally caught up.
I pedal faster, as though trying to escape them, glancing over my shoulder to see how far away the approaching vehicle is. I’ve got time to get around the narrow bend onto a straight and wider run. Give it room to get past me. I know this stretch well and enjoy getting my speed up. My tracker normally clocks me at forty miles an hour here. As I take the corner, I glance around again to the roar of the engine, now right behind me, the sound feeling as though it’s vibrating through my chest. The driver is not slowing and is not going around me.
I don’t know whether the sickening crunch is caused at the point of impact or as my body lands. Agonising pain shoots through me, and the world turns black.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Yorkshire Dipper #TheYorkshireDipper – Maria Frankland @writermaria_f

– ‘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 on the ‘The Yorkshire Dipper’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Maria Frankland Author PicMaria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

• Publisher : Autonomy Press (21 Dec. 2020)
• Language : English
• Paperback : 314 pages
• ISBN-10 : 1916224865
• ISBN-13 : 978-1916224865

Seven drownings. Three months. Who is to blame?
Lauren is fed up with covering local small-town news in Northern England. The bride-to-be and mother-of-one dreams of recognition and accolades as a national journalist.
Yet, the reporting opportunity that lands on her doorstep is one she would never have invited. When it is thrust on her,, she is duty bound, both professionally and personally to investigate.
Lauren is the voice for the women, whose lives have been cut short in the river Alder, and she will not stop until she finds the link that binds their deaths together and gets justice for them.
But she is a lone voice, overpowered by the police and other officials. Lauren has to make herself heard, even when this compromises her own safety. Her police sergeant fiancé begs her to step away and leave it to the police.
Seven drownings, she continues to argue, in three months, warrants blame. How can the deaths of these innocent women be deemed accidental?

Amazon

Excerpt :

Prologue

The cold is like a million knives slicing into me. I’ve never felt anything like it. I try to shout, but I can’t even breathe. How did I end up here? One minute I was cosy in the pub, knowing I’d had one too many, the next I was coming outside for some air, stumbling at the side of the river. Then, well, I don’t know if I will ever see the light of day again.
I see the faces of my family in my mind. Again, I try to scream. Not a whimper. I’m going to die. No, I am not. I’m going to fight. I try to kick, to tread the water. Pretend I’m a girl again, doing my level one at the local baths. One minute in the deep end. But I can’t move my limbs. I’m being frozen alive.
Something is sucking me under. A force is pulling me down. My foot lodges within something hard. I hold my breath. Try to kick again. All is silent apart from the terror inside me. I really am going to die. Here, in this river where people dispose of shoes and shopping trollies. I can’t move. All around me is inky black.
I see a faint moonlight filtering through the surface of the water. Thoughts won’t come anymore. My body is going to explode. I try, one last time, to return to the surface. To get another breath.
Instead, I choke as freezing liquid engulfs me. It fills my stomach, my lungs. I’m sinking further. This is it.

Chapter One
Joanne

Joanne looked around at her seven ‘hens.’ “I can’t believe so many have dropped out. You find out who your friends are at a time like this, don’t you?” Fifteen people were supposed to be coming. She had been looking forward to this evening for ages and couldn’t believe how many, one by one, had let her down. Particularly after her disastrous hen party the first time around. In truth, her entire first marriage had been disastrous. Thankfully, all that was behind her.
“It’s just our age,” her sister-in-law-to-be laughed. “It all becomes a bit of an effort to go out once you’re in your forties.”
“Yeah,” agreed her friend, Leah. “Not to mention the recovery time needed afterwards. I’m alright when I’m actually drinking, but nowadays, it takes me three days to get over it. Don’t take it personally.”
“Anyway, we’re here,” Wendy said. “And we’re having a good time, aren’t we? It’s quality, not quantity.”
“I guess so.” Joanne noticed her mum walking carefully towards the table, balancing a tray of cocktails and shot glasses. “Mother! What are you playing at? I’m already squiffy. I’ll be neither use nor ornament after that!”
Everyone laughed as Joanne’s mum placed the tray on the table. “Right girls,” she said, reaching for a shot glass. “I would like you all to raise your glasses to Joanne and Robin. Finally, she’s marrying someone decent. Even I approve of him!”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Joanne necked the shot in one, pulling a face as the liquid burned the back of her throat. She had always hated Sambuca. With it, she also tried to swallow the resentment that was bubbling up towards her mother. She had to be centre stage, no matter what the occasion. Joanne hoped she wouldn’t be like that on the wedding day itself.
She was draped in L-plates and a piece of old net curtain – her mother’s offering. When she had first got engaged, she had felt self-conscious and old, especially when looking at wedding dresses amongst the twenty-somethings. Being due to turn fifty in a few months, she was aware that she looked nowhere near that age.
Joanne enjoyed how people acknowledged their table with a smile as they walked past. Her hens had brought balloons and streamers, so there was no mistaking what sort of celebration was going on.
She watched as the rest of the hens pulled a similar face to hers whilst downing their Sambuca, then her mother started dishing out cocktail glasses. To say she had twenty-four years on Joanne, she was going strong this evening. She was going strong in general.
“Just drink it,” Wendy laughed. “It’s your hen night. Do you want to go home sober?”
“I’m a long way from sober,” Joanne replied. The more she got down the lethal cocktail provided by her mother, the more the pub lounge started to tilt to the left. She’d been teetotal after splitting with her ex-husband, wanting to keep a clear head whilst it all settled down and the divorce went through, particularly because he had repeatedly reappeared, either in anger or in begging mode.
As the cocktail neared its end, she accepted that the room had gone from a tilt to a spin. “I’m just going for a breath of fresh air. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Joanne staggered towards the exit, the echo of laughter and “lightweight” roaring in her ears. She gulped in the fresh air, trying to make out shapes in the rain and the darkness, whilst deciding that when she went back inside, she was going on to pints of water.

Giveaway :

Most readers like a giveaway so any readers of ‘The Yorkshire Dipper’ who buy an e-book or paperback in the first fortnight of release, (on or before 19/2/2021) can follow the link at the back of the book. This will enable entry into a prize draw to win this exclusive Yorkshire ‘goody bag, complete with reading socks!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #GuestPost : The Last Cuckoo #TheLastCuckoo – Maria Frankland @writermaria_f

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

The Last Cuckoo BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Last Cuckoo’ blogtour, organised by Random Things 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 Author :

Maria Frankland Author PicMaria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

• Format: Kindle Edition
• File Size: 7824 KB
• Print Length: 291 pages
• Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
• Publisher: Autonomy Press (4 Mar. 2020)

MAR1433 ArtworkDo you listen to your mother? Even after she’s dead?
Anna Hardaker is following you …
This seemingly innocent Tweet fills Jamie Hardaker with confusion and fear. After all, his mother Anna has been dead for nearly three weeks.
What follows is an orchestrated Twitter campaign to lead those Anna loved, and didn’t love so much, to the truth behind her “accidental” death.

Amazon

Guest Post :

Thank you for giving me the opportunity of writing this guest blog. It is a privilege to be featured amongst such a high calibre of authors that have written or been featured here before me.
This guest post is inspired by the title of your blog – the magic of worlds. I have written since my very difficult childhood, at which time, I loved nothing more than creating magical, dreamy, perfect worlds which I could escape to.
I was also drawn to read books that offered this experience like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and anything by Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl.
As a writer, I feel that the worlds we create in our novels are an essential component and it is vital to bring each setting to life in order that our readers can be immersed. I teach creative writing and often talk about the importance of readers experiencing our worlds through all the senses. Whilst visualisation is the most important aspect, readers must also be enabled to smell, hear, feel and even taste within the worlds we have created for them.
Once they are ‘there’ alongside the characters, they can then fully engage with the story and find the empathy and concern required to keep the pages turning.
I write domestic thrillers, therefore magical, escapist worlds do not exist in the writing I now do as an adult. My novels shine a light on the darkness that exists in situations that are supposed to be safe and secure. Even seemingly ordinary settings must be brought to life so the reader can inhabit them.
I always advise my writing students to try and write in the settings they are setting their books in, if possible. The Last Cuckoo (Autonomy Press) is set in my own house and I have also written in the pub, other people’s houses, the supermarket – all very ordinary places but which still need brining to life and with a unique edge. I have based certain scenes, such as in the chapel of rest and crematorium on personal experience.
As a writer, I naturally absorb my surroundings and then can breathe them back out into my writing in an authentic way. I try to treat setting as though it is almost another character in my story. It can really help to create and effect mood. The use of darkness, the weather and whether somewhere is silent or bustling sets a tone and helps foreshadow what is to come.
I realise that readers will read the words and create their own images and ideas on where the story is set based on their own experience and find it exciting. I am handing my settings over to them and allowing them to become theirs. I find, as well, that it’s the smaller details that bring a place to life. The creak on the stairs, the heated hallway on a winter evening or the view from a window. We gift these to our readers and draw them out of their own worlds and into ours for a while. It’s a wonderful partnership.
Here is an extract which focusses on setting from chapter three of ‘The Last Cuckoo.’

“I feel so alone as I walk up our path, bracing myself for the empty house. Normally it would smell of clean laundry, candles and dinner being prepared. As I push the door open, there’s the slightest whiff of our former life, the plug-in air freshener and hint of your perfume. Then as I walk into the lounge, I gag at the stench of lilies. They were OK when they first arrived after the funeral date was announced, but now that they’ve opened, they stink. I wrench them all from their vases, march back out the front door and dump them into the garden recycle bin.
I storm back in and gather up the sympathy cards. At first, they were a comfort but now I can’t stand looking at them anymore. I start doing the same with the framed photographs. They’re all over the place.”

I’ll end this guest blog by ‘interpretating’ the other meaning of the title of this blog, ‘the magic of words.’ Words have always been and always will be magical to me. Both as a reader and a writer, they have provided me with escapism, inspiration and therapy. But the biggest magic is the unsigned contract that exists between the writer and the reader. ‘If you stay with me, I will stay with you.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds