#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #PromoPost : Blackout #Blackout – Simon Scarrow @SimonScarrow @headlinepg @colinbookshaped

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

Blackout BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Blackout’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Simon Scarrow Author PicSimon Scarrow is one of the most successful British historical novelists of the 21st Century and a multiple Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. After a childhood spent travelling the world, he pursued his great love of history first as a schoolteacher, before becoming a full-time writer. His Roman era Eagles of the Empire series has sold over 4million copies of the books in the UK alone, and his work has been translated into 24 languages. He is also the author of a quartet of novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, Young Bloods, The Generals, Fire And Sword and The Fields Of Death; a novel about the 1565 Siege of Malta, Sword & Scimitar; Hearts Of Stone, set in Greece during the Second World War; and Playing With Death, a contemporary thriller written with Lee Francis. He also wrote the novels Arena and Invader with T. J. Andrews.

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

Blackout CoverBerlin, December 1939
As Germany goes to war, the Nazis tighten their terrifying grip. Paranoia in the capital is intensified by the rigidly enforced blackout – Die Verdunkelung – that plunges the city into oppressive darkness every night, as the bleak winter sun sets.
When a young woman is found brutally murdered, Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is under immense pressure to solve the case, swiftly. Treated with suspicion by his superiors for his failure to join the Nazi Party, Schenke walks a perilous line – for disloyalty is a death sentence. The discovery of a second victim confirms Schenke’s worst fears. He must uncover the truth before evil strikes again.
As the investigation takes him closer to the sinister heart of the regime, Schenke realises there is danger everywhere – and the warring factions of the Reich can be as deadly as a killer stalking the streets…
In the tradition of writers like Robert Harris and Len Deighton, Simon Scarrow brings a bygone era to life with rich clarity, lightly worn historical research and an eye for intrigue. Blackout, the first in a new series is sure to win new fans while also appealing to readers of his Eagles of the Empire books.

Amazon

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Wolf Tones #WolfTones – JJ Marsh @JJMarsh1

– ‘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 ‘Wolf Tones’ blogtour, organized by Random Things 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 :

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator.
My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.
Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence.
The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.
I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese.

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

You escaped the past. Here comes the present.
Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter.
His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects.
All because of her.
Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it.
Neither will she.
She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?
While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself.
Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?
Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past.
A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Amazon

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! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Jill and I write as JJ Marsh. I’ve published twelve books in the Beatrice Stubbs series, three standalone novels and am embarking on a new series of international thrillers. Writing has always been a part of my life, as has reading. I’ve been a teacher, and actor and a theatre director – all those involve storytelling. Becoming an author was a natural progression.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm is a book I read as a child and still love as an adult. From Enid Blyton through Stephen King and Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières and Milan Kundera, I learned something from all of them about the way to use words.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
J.M. Coetzee. He tackles the most heart-rending topics with a clear eye. I’ve attended one of his readings and he’s searingly intelligent. If I ever met the man, I’d probably be too intimidated to utter a squeak.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and I could have a fun afternoon in a London tea-room, as long as they serve prosecco.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing process is pretty dull. Mindmap themes, outline the plot, fill the storyboard, get the words on the page, then edit, edit, edit. But my non-writing habits are those of a magpie. I’m always aware of conversations, signposts, unusual names and unexpected images, specific tastes or atmospheres, peculiar encounters and odd experiences. My notebooks are crammed with random observations and saved for the day they come in useful. I’m a kleptomaniac in the Supermarket of Ideas.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
See above. Concepts for a novel tend to ferment a while until I can see a way of telling the story. It can be a moral dilemma, a life-changing event or a social or political point that interests me. The starting point must come from a character. As for people in my life, I have stolen names and appearances on occasion, but never from anyone genuinely close.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Plotter who lets the pants take over when the time is right. I was almost at the end of White Heron when my subconscious poked me in the ribs and pointed out how I could use one character as a ‘didn’t see that coming’ moment.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, online or in person. Learn how to think critically, to give and receive feedback, to constantly remember the author’s intention and help them reach their goal. After years of doing this, good habits become second nature and first drafts need fewer edits. Read books on craft and test out those theories with a short story or perfectly honed flash fiction. Pay attention to what’s happening in the publishing world and read as widely and deeply as you can. There is no one way to be a writer so make sure you’re aware of the options.

What are your futureplans as an author?
My current focus is on getting Wolf Tones in front of the right audience which will absorb most of August and September. Then in October, the second in my Run and Hide series comes out. Black River is a thriller set in the Amazon rainforest. I have sketched outlines for six books in that series so will get to work on No.3. Towards the end of the year, I’m bringing out a novella as a Christmas special for fans of Beatrice Stubbs.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is when my main character, Rolf, has just arrived at his new apartment in Salzburg.

Three streets away, he found a Thai restaurant offering takeaway packages. He ordered in passable German and asked if there was shop nearby where he could buy wine. The young girl behind the counter was helpful and patient and assured him he could get to the mini-market and back in the ten minutes it would take the kitchen to cook their order.
Half an hour or so after he’d left, he unlocked the front door and ran upstairs, carrying a brown paper bag filled with containers of Thai curry and rice. In his right hand, he held a bottle of champagne. The apartment was empty so he went onto the balcony to see if she was there.
Down in the garden, Leonor was sitting at a wrought-iron table, laughing with a young man. Rolf didn’t even know how to get into the garden.
“Food is ready!” he shouted, brandishing the bag.
She looked up and her face broke into a beautiful smile. “Bring it down here with plates and glasses. I want you to meet our neighbour.”
The guy lifted his face and gave a salute. “Hi! My name is Anton, I live downstairs. I don’t want to intrude on your first night. Just wanted to say hello.”
“Give me a minute.” Rolf collected two plates, two sets of cutlery and two glasses. The gesture was pointed. Tonight they did not want company. But when he got downstairs and found the door to the garden, he saw Leonor and Anton were already drinking cocktails from martini glasses.
“Hi,” said Anton, saluting again.
“Meet Rolf, the one I’ve been telling you about.”
“Hello, Anton,” said Rolf, forcing a smile.
Leonor took the bag and inhaled. “Mmm, I love Thai food. Would you like to join us? I’m sure we can stretch this for three.”
Anton held up both palms. “Thank you, but no. I’ve already eaten and I really don’t like spicy food. I have a typical Austrian palate, I’m afraid. I’ll leave you in peace to enjoy your meal. Just so you know, there’s a house cat called Blue. He’s currently favouring my place, but changes his mind about where he sleeps quite frequently.”
Leonor waggled a glass at Rolf. “Are you ever going to open that bottle? That’s fine with us, we love animals. Thanks for the martini. Cocktails before champagne, I could get used to Salzburg.” She laughed up at him with the sparkle in her eye she always used when she wanted to charm someone.
Anton laughed with her, evidently spellbound. “Great to meet you and I’m so pleased to have friendly neighbours again. The last woman was a miserable old bag. Hey, do you two fancy going out for a drink next week? I could show you some local bars and warn you which ones to avoid.”
Leonor tilted her face to Rolf, her mouth an O of delight. She was handing him the mic and he couldn’t see a way out.
“That’s kind of you. It would be useful to learn a bit more about the area.” He twisted the bottle and the cork popped out. He poured the overflow straight into a wine glass, aware of Leonor’s giddy laughter.
Anton took his cocktail glasses, wished them a good evening and went inside his own apartment. There was no sign of any cat.
They emptied the cartons onto their plates, drank champagne and toasted their new start. As the twilight deepened and lights came on in the apartments on the other side of the hedge, their building remained in darkness. Presumably Anton had gone out for the evening. Why not? Young, not bad looking and obviously familiar with the local nightlife. What reason would he have to stay home? Rolf relaxed a little and let go of the feeling they were being watched.

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Targets of Treachery (Lord Edward’s Archer series, Book 4) #TargetsOfTreachery – Griff Hosker @HoskerGriff @lume_books

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

Targets of Treachery BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Targets of Treachery’ 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 :

Griff Hosker Author PicGriff Hosker was born in 1950 in Lancashire and attended a boy’s grammar school. After qualifying as an English and Drama teacher in 1972, he worked in the North East of England for the next 35 years. During that time he did write, mainly plays, pantos and musicals for the students at the three schools in which I worked. When he stopped teaching he set up his own consultancy firm and worked as an adviser in schools and colleges in the North East of England. The new Conservative Government ended that avenue of work and in 2010 he found that he had time on his hands; having started work at the age of 15 he found the lack of work not to my liking and used the time to research the Roman invasion of Britain and begin to create a novel. The result was The Sword of Cartimandua.

Website
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Synopsis :

Targets of TreacheryThe next book in the bestselling series, Lord Edward’s Archer.
Captain Gerald has proven himself an unrivalled archer, but now he is married, he longs to enjoy life’s simpler pursuits, raising a family and tending his land.
But life on the borderlands brings complications, and King Edward has different ideas for Gerald. Prince Llywelyn of Wales will not toe the line, and once more, Gerald is chosen as royal envoy. He must cross the treacherous Welsh Marches to make strategic allegiances and request Llywelyn bend the knee to the English crown.
When those allegiances fail to protect England from Welsh rebellion, King Edward abandons diplomacy and seizes Welsh land to erect and capture castles, imbuing the landscape with intimidation.
As Gerald assists in this military tug-of-war, his thoughts are back home with his family, where personal vendettas threaten his own fortifications. Can he help wrest power back into English hands before the Welsh mob descends on all he holds dear?

Buy Link

Excerpt :

England, 1274

It was January and when I returned to England, with the woman who would be my wife and my men from the Crusades, I could not know that the new King of England, my master, Edward, and his wife, Eleanor, would take two years to return to England. In contrast to our new king, my men and I could not wait to get home, for we had invested our money wisely in silks and spices. We hoped that when we reached England, we would make ten times the price we had paid for them in the Holy Land. Due to many events beyond our control, we made even more, for we returned to a land that was more lawless than when we had left.
Robert Burnell, who had been left in charge of the country when King Henry became ill, was a fine administrator, but he was not a ruthless man and that was what was needed. As a result, we feared for our safety on the roads of England.
We stayed in London for just three days, but it was necessary, for we had goods to sell and items to buy. We hired a carter to take out purchases and our belongings with us. We rode through our homeland, heading for my village of Yarpole, as though we were going to war. My men were protective of Mary, the slave I had rescued from the Turks, as well as me, their paymaster. I had earned two wounds in the war, one in my back and one in my leg. Neither had threatened my life and would not impair me as an archer, but my men were concerned that I should not suffer another before I reached home.
Sarah, my housekeeper, and her son, James, my steward, were delighted to see me but Father Paul, my priest, was overjoyed when he saw I had brought a bride-to-be, for he had long thought that I should not be a bachelor.
The object of my affections, Mary, was overawed by it all; it was as warm a welcome as she could have hoped, and it contrasted with the weather. Although the weather in England was clement for the time of year, she had been brought up in hot climes and she found it almost bone-chillingly cold. That first evening, as we sat in my hall, having enjoyed a hastily prepared but nonetheless delightful meal, we two spoke. Sarah and James were preparing a chamber for her. My priest had made it quite clear that Mary had to be alone before we wed.
“I am so lucky, Gerald. I have a home for the first time in my life and it is a magnificent home. You are surrounded by the best of people, but yet I fear that I will let you down.”
“How can you do that? All you have to do is to be yourself.”
“You are a great lord. You told me that you were an archer, but I should have known from the way the queen spoke of you that you are more than that. You are close to the man who rules this land and I know that I will have to meet great ladies. They will see that I was a slave, and it will reflect badly upon you.”
I took her hand and kissed it. “I told you on the voyage home of my life. There are no secrets between us. I am a humble archer who has now been made a gentleman. I have done things which might have seen me hanged if events turned out differently. All that you endured was no fault of yours! No more talk of letting me down.” I waved a hand around the room. “While the banns are being read and we prepare for the wedding, give thought to how you would like to decorate our hall. I am a man who has neither the experience nor the eye to furnish a hall. In a day or two, we will ride to Wigmore and I will introduce you to Baron Mortimer and Lady Maud. He is the lord of the manor, but Lady Maud is the one who runs it! I think that you should meet. You will get on!”
I was proved correct. I knew not why, but Lady Maud had great affection for me, and it was not just because I had done great service for her. I believe she saw me as another child. She took to Mary immediately and as soon as she heard our news, she whisked her off to meet her ladies and to hear the details of our romance. Lady Maud ruled this part of the Marches because she knew all that was going on. The lords of the land told their wives their innermost thoughts and none could keep that information from Lady Maud.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Review : The Gathering Storm #TheGatheringStorm #SturmtaucherTrilogy – Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.
He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.
He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.
His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.
He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.
He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

Website

Synopsis :

The Gathering Storm: Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy, a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.
The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.
As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.
The Nussbaums are Jews.
The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.
When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.
As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Review :

‘The Gathering Storm’ is the 1st book in ‘The Sturmtaucher Trilogy’ and I’m not sure how to review this book without doing Alan Jones injustice with my words.
I’ve read already a lot of books about WW2, but none so vast and interesting as this one and it’s only the first part of the trilogy!
It blows my mind just thinking about the sheer amount of research the author must have done to be able to write such a vivid, detailed and informative, but very readable story.
From page one this book captured my attention and although it sometimes is very heartbreaking and difficult to read it’s also very beautiful in a way.
I guess that’s is mainly because of the way Alan Jones writes and because of the fact he really knows his stuff and can go in deep.
I really had the feeling that everything happened as I’ve read it although I know that some stuff is fictitious and I certainly believe that this is the strength of the book.
It’s maybe a substancial book to read, but I definitely recommend everyone, especially the youngster, to read it as we can’t / mustn’t forget what happened during the war.
I believe it’s a bit weird saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but I did, and I love to read the 2 other books too as this is by far one of the best books out there about WW2.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#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.

Afbeelding1

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Dead To Me #DeadToMe – Pamela Murray @pamelamurraywr1 @darkedgepress

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

Dead To Me BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Dead To Me’ 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 :

Pamela Murray Author PicPamela Murray is from the North East of England and has spent most of her life living in Boldon, a semi-rural village mid-way between Newcastle, Sunderland, and the coastal town of South Shields.
She began writing in her teens, when she and a school friend used to write short stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years, but was only reignited within the last decade when the same school friend introduced her to her local writers group.
She had intended to enter journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a public library instead, so there’s always been more than a passing interest in books, writing, and literature.

Synopsis :

Dead To Me CoverWhen four friends meet up for a girls’ night out, only three of them make it home alive.
Maria Turnbull’s friends think her death was the result of a heart condition, but the pathologist thinks otherwise.
When other people close to the astrologer they visited that night are murdered, detectives Burton and Fielding begin to suspect her. But is it misdirection on the part of the killer and, if so, why is she being implicated?

Amazon UK

Excerpt :

CHAPTER ONE

Caroline Watkins liked to be in control. She liked to be in charge at work, and she liked to be in charge of her friends. It was hardly surprising that she had taken it upon herself to book a night out with her girlfriends without telling them what it would entail. Bearing in mind that they hadn’t met up since Maria’s wedding last year, it might have gone down a whole lot better if she’d thought to include them in the decision.
This was typical of the kind of person she had become. She’d always been a bit domineering, but after successfully climbing her way up the career ladder, she had immersed herself in her work. In doing so, she had become even more self-indulgent. But somewhere down the line she seemed to have forgotten the true nature of friendship.
Perhaps if her friends had had the courage to stand up to her and her supercilious whims, the events of the night might have played out differently. Perhaps then, one of them would still be alive.

*****

‘I’m not really sure about this,’ Maria Turnbull began nervously chewing at the skin around her thumb nail after hearing of the evening’s plans.
‘What have you got to be unsure of?’ Caroline Watkins laughed, looking towards the other two women in the room. She jerked her head in Maria’s direction, hoping that they’d get the hint and say something to back her up.
Selena Douglas was the first to pick up on it and oblige. ‘It’s only for a laugh and a bit of fun, Maria; it’s not like we’re going to take it seriously or anything. Isn’t that right, Barbara?’ she said, turning to the fourth person present.
‘Yes…it is,’ Barbara McKay said through gritted teeth, giving Selena a stern look that could have turned her to stone on the spot. She hadn’t wanted to be dragged into this, or push Maria into something that she didn’t want to do, but found herself now having to go along with it for the others’ sakes. ‘It’s only make-believe anyway. I hear there’s a knack to reading those things, like the way a magician or a mind reader performs their act. How can it be anything other than a party trick, as we all know there’s no such thing as being able to predict the future?’
‘But you know I don’t like anything weird like that,’ Maria insisted, biting down harder on her skin with just enough pressure to draw a spot of blood.
‘Listen to what Barbara and Selina have just said,’ Caroline’s voice hardened. She wasn’t going to let anyone ruin her plans for the evening, especially when she’d paid out an inordinate amount of money for it. She didn’t believe in this stuff either, but she’d heard interesting things about this woman and had been wanting to go and see her for a long time. There was no way anybody was going to prevent her from doing so this evening, and that included her best friend. ‘It’s not real, just a bit of harmless fun that’s all, and it’ll be a good laugh. Come on Maria, stop being such a spoilsport. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us!’
Maria stopped the chewing and looked at her three friends whose eyes were now all on her, each of them eagerly waiting for a response. She couldn’t let them down, she knew that; so, she finally agreed to go with them.
‘But if I get spooked, I’m straight out of there,’ she added warily.
‘Good girl, that’s more like it!’ Caroline walked over and put an arm around her shoulder. ‘You’ll be laughing about this by the end of the night, just you mark my words.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Restless Dead #RestlessDead #DCIHarryGrimm – David Gatward @davidgatward

– ‘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 ‘Restless Dead’ blogtour, organized by Random Things 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 :

David J. Gatward lives in Somerset and is the award-winning author of the DCI Harry Grimm crime novels, and the Padre horror trilogy. He has also written numerous books for children, teenagers and young adults.

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Synopsis :

• ASIN ‏ : ‎ B093RZGH5C
• Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (29 April 2021)
• Language ‏ : ‎ English
• Paperback ‏ : ‎ 290 pages
• ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8742125907

Be careful what you wish for.
When no nonsense retired Army Colonel James Fletcher starts seeing his recently deceased wife around the house again, his friends and family are more than a little worried.But when James turns up dead, and the accident that killed him is found to be anything but, DCI Harry Grimm and his team must uncover the grisly truth before anyone else falls prey.In a house torn in two by ghosts and betrayal, Harry may soon find that death isn’t always the end. Sometimes, it’s only the beginning . . .
Restless Dead is the fifth book in the DCI Harry Grimm crime thriller series, set in the Yorkshire Dales, and perfect for fans of L. J. Ross, J.R. Ellis, Margaret Mayhew, Jeanne M. Dams, J. M. Dalgliesh, Roger Silverwood, J. D. Kirk, Adam Croft, and Simon McCleave

Amazon

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! 🙂
A pleasure!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Oooh, the hard ones first, eh? I’m David J. Gatward, and tbh I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer, certainly from primary school. English was my favourite subject, loved telling stories. I did I year out between A-Levels and Uni, during which I worked at an outdoor centre, and had my first book published. Then I went to college to study outdoor eduction, after which I took on various publishing roles. My first children’s fiction was published in 2009, then I wrote various children’s and teen/YA books, as well as ghostwriting some for a properly famous person. Now I write crime full time and I love it!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child/teen, Dr Seuss, anything by Alan Garner, Asterix, Wilard Price, the Dragonlance Chronicles. Now? Jeepers, I’m all over the place! Sometimes I’ll read action stuff, next I’m into horror, then sci-fi, crime… I’m a member of a horror book club (The Abominable Book Club) so I get a monthly collection of creepy words, which is nice. I’ve usually got a couple of books on the go.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Agatha Christie, simply because she completely nailed the who whodunnit genre. But there are others: Clive Barker, Gary A. Braunbeck, Stephen King, Susan Hill…

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
My books? Well, there was this alcoholic angel in my teen ‘Dead’ trilogy, who was quite fun, and an undead priest called Abaddon, just because they have crazy stories to tell. I think Matt would be great from the Grimm series because he’s just such a dependable, great bloke, and I think it would be a laugh. Someone else’s book? Hoon, from JD Kirk’s ‘Logan’ series, because that man is a nutjob!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Only that I usually write with music on. That’s about it.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas come from everywhere. I research stuff (so I’m in the thick of researching dog fights and sheep rustling), watch a lot of films, read, think, dream, but also just force myself to come up with stuff. This is my job, it’s my livelihood, so no time for being all pretentious about it: crack on, Gatward! As for people in my life being worried? Well, a few of us authors have known each other for years, so we do like to kill each other off in our books now and again. And Aled Jones is a mate, so I decided to kill a famous singer who used to be a choirboy!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Yes. By which I mean, I’m both! I plot, I write random chapters, I go by the seat of my pants, I let my characters take control. It’s a bit messy, but it works.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read. Read. Read. Keep reading. Read some more. Read. Think you’ve learned enough? Wrong! Keep reading! And write. Write a lot. Write a little. But write. A friend said to me once that knowing me had really shown them what being a writer is all about. At the time I wasn’t exactly doing well, hadn’t had anything published for years, and yet I still wrote. It’s what I did, it’s what I do. It’s as important as breathing. Writers don’t constantly talk about writing a book, coming up with excuses as to why they haven’t, how they need to take six months off to just get it done, because they actually just write. For fun. That’s where it begins: you do it because you love it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m keeping on with Grimm for a good while yet and would love to get to 24 books in the series. I’ve another crime idea that I want to explore, set in the Lake District (I lived in Ambleside for four years). That’s it, really, just to keep on writing books readers enjoy. I’m not trying to win prizes or be world famous or any of that. My aim is to simply write a decent yarn filled with characters that readers not only buy into for one book, but want to follow through subsequent stories.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Well, two romances blossom, but not the ones you expect (assuming you’ve read the other books in the series!) and the detective sergeant, Matt, has some life-changing news by the end (news that even I didn’t see coming, to be honest!) How’s that?

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

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Behind The Mask #BehindTheMask – Jeanette Taylor Ford @jeanetteford51

– ‘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 ‘Behind The Mask’ blogtour, organized by Random Things 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 :

I’m a lifetime bookworm! From reading to my children to now creating stories of my own, books have always been a large, important part of my life. Those who have read my stories have enjoyed them, so I finally decided to inflict them upon the world in general. Some of them are ghostly tales, combined with loveable characters and interesting situations which make them ghost stories with a difference. However, I also write children’s stories, the first of which, ‘Robin’s Ring’ is published and I’m working on another Robin story. My new series, The River View Series, presents mild mysteries with a difference – and are set in my beloved Herefordshire.
Much to our youngest daughter’s disgust, I love old buildings, castles, mansions, historical places, especially ruined buildings and they are often the inspiration for my stories.
My retirement from my job as a teaching assistant has given me the opportunity to indulge my love of writing and I ask for no more than to give pleasure to my readers. When not writing, I’m making cards, singing in a ladies’ choir, doing Family History and all sorts of other things. I am married to Tony, a retired teacher, and we have six children and seven grandchildren. We live near Nottingham, England.

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Synopsis :

• Publisher ‏ : ‎ Samona Publishing (11 Mar. 2021)
• Language ‏ : ‎ English
• Paperback ‏ : ‎ 274 pages
• ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1999310756
• ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1999310752

Gary Roper is a man behind a mask. His wife, Daisy, knows what’s underneath that mask, and finally manages to run away, to establish a new life at River View, working for Lucy Baxter. Roper is determined to find her, but in the meantime, he has to toe the line to his boss, gangster Terence Johns. The many faces of Roper are employed on his journey to find his wife, leaving chaos in his wake. In her place of security, Daisy finds firm friends and a new love, unaware that he, also, wears a mask…

Amazon

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?
Hello, I am Jeanette, a retired teaching assistant. I’m married to Tony, a retired teacher, and we have six children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We live halfway between Nottingham and Derby.
I’ve always loved writing and over the years I’ve written memories of events in my childhood, many, very long letters, which my parents and grandmother loved, and so on. I really enjoyed the three-year course I took (at the age of 50) to become a teaching assistant because of the writing involved, which was the part most of my fellow students hated! Although I loved my work, I found it somewhat frustrating, trying to help children write stories when I’d found it very easy to write them when I was at school, and found myself wanting to write the stories they’d been asked to do! I connected with the brother of two of my old school mates over the facebook group of the school we’d been to and we talked a lot about writing because it was a mutual interest. We joined a poetry group, then a fast fiction group and each step led us both towards writing a full-length book. I wrote my first one in 2010, quickly followed by three others and a book for children. At that time I had no thoughts of publishing; I felt at the age I was, I didn’t want another career as I’d retired by then, and also felt I didn’t have enough years to wait for a publisher to be interested in me, being well aware of other people’s experience. Then we discovered it was possible to self-publish; David used Lulu and I decided on CreateSpace, which is now Kindle Direct Publishing. I first published in 2014, but it was the fourth book I’d written. David and I supported each other throughout our ventures and I’d published five books by the time he died in Jan 2016. I have now published 12 books for adults and 3 for children. So it seems I do have another career after all.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Inevitably, I grew up on Enid Blyton. My favourites were the Famous Five Books and the ‘Mystery’ books. I loved how inventive she was with adventures and also adored the idea of a private island. I’ve read so many books as an adult; I can’t possibly remember them all! I enjoyed ‘nice’ books, such as Rebecca Shaw’s ‘Village’ series, Christine Marion Fraser’s ‘Island’ series, but also, the Angelique books by Sergeane Golon, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon series, Mary Stewart, Barbara Erskine, Tolkien, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry P and so on. More recently I like Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Kate Mosse, Simon Toyne, Santa Montifiore, and many others. None of these are crime, but I love many crime writers too. We’d be here all day if I named them all!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’m so lucky that I’m in touch, through the magic of Facebook, with many authors, and most of them are very willing to help with advice; they’re such lovely people. I assume you meant writing advice, but I’ve found, since taking on writing a series about crime (for goodness sake, why?) that I already have a wonderful ‘go to’ writer when I need to know anything about police procedures, and everything connected, and that’s the lovely Roger A. Price, who is an ex-detective turned crime writer. He’s always patient and helpful, which I’m so grateful for.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Oh, that’s a hard one! I’ve read about so many really great characters over the years. But perhaps I might be allowed to be invited for tea by Lucy and Kenny Baxter instead of me inviting them? For two reasons – one, because they live in the gorgeous old farmhouse I once lived in and I’d love to spend some time there again, and two, because Lucy is an amazing cook! But if I went to River View for tea with them, I’d like Tom, Sheila, Joseph, DI Dan and Linda Cooke and DS Grant and his wife, Jenny, to come too. In face, I’d love to meet all the characters in the River View Series, so it would have to be a garden party!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
No rituals! But I am prone to nibbling while I write, mostly chocolate or sweets, which I’m trying hard to stop doing because I’ve put on so much weight and my teeth are objecting to it too.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha ha! No, so far my people are safe! I admit there are one or two ‘real’ people in the River View series which are cameo roles and included with their permission. I generally find most people are happy to be put in a book and some even ask if they can be a murderer! (None of them want to be victims, strangely.) I think most writers hate to be asked how they get their ideas because often we don’t really know. I suppose in my case, my stories are often inspired by buildings – for instance, my Castell Glas Trilogy was inspired by Gwych Castle, which I fell in love with quite a few years ago, long before ‘I’m a Celebrity’ had anything to do with it, ‘Rosa’, was inspired by Blickling Hall in Norfolk, ‘Bell of Warning’ by ruins of a drowned village off the Norfolk coast, ‘The Ghosts of Roseby Hall’ was inspired by a ruined mansion in Derbyshire and the first one of this River View series was inspired by a the whattle and daub farmhouse I lived in when I was a teenager.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m both, really. If I get an idea, I will think around it for a while, sometimes weeks, until I know what the story is going to be about. Sometimes, when I begin to write, I only have the beginning and the end and some idea on what will happen throughout the story to bring it to the conclusion. I don’t write notes and I don’t use a story board, I keep it all in my head. To a certain extent, I go with the flow while making sure my desired events happen, but in between, my characters often do what they want. And sometimes, they will insist that some of the planned events come out differently. But as long as it all makes sense in the end, I don’t mind. I do keep notes of the names of my characters and if a timeline is needed, I’ll do one, but I write those things as I go along.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t trust any publisher who wants you to pay. If you want to be conventionally published, don’t give up, keep trying. Whether you try for publishing or whether you publish yourself, put as good a quality product out there as you can. Get a good editor and have several proof readers; relying on one proof reader isn’t enough. Also, don’t be put off, after you’ve published, by the one-star review. Remember that we can’t please all the people all the time. Oh, and if you self-publish with Amazon but you dream of having your books in a shop in the UK, don’t use the free ISBN they will offer you. Buy your own.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I try not to look too far ahead, but at the moment, I’m writing River View book 6, which I hope will be out by the end of the year or early next year. Then I’ll be doing book 7, which I intend to be the last book in the series – unless another idea comes up. But I think it’s better to finish a series than to continue flogging a dead horse. I have some other ideas I may try after that but I’m reluctant to talk about them in case they don’t actually happen.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Yes, indeed. This is from Chapter 10:

It took half an hour or so to cut the hedge and a further twenty minutes to clear away all the cuttings. She tidied the trimmers away in the shed and went into the house to have a drink of cool water. Then it was back out to the shed where she gathered her gardening gloves, a lightweight fork, her trowel and a plastic bin and began work on a bed at the side of the house. Humming quietly to herself, she pulled out the weeds that had dared to appear between the busy lizzies with the help of the fork. Reaching the other end of the bed, she stopped to admire her work, when a shadow fell over her. She looked up and her heart leaped into her mouth when she saw Gary Roper standing by her.
“What – how did you get in? What do you want? I’ll call my husband!”
“Call him – I don’t care! I got some information the other day – do you want to know what that was?”
She stood up. “Not really, but I think you’re going to tell me. Have you found Daisy?”
“No, I haven’t found Daisy,” he spat. “I found the taxi firm that took her to the station.”
“And?” She held her breath, knowing what was coming, dammit.
“I found out that you lied to me. They picked her up from here – this posh house of yours. So, you lied when you said you hadn’t seen her, didn’t you?”
She said nothing. His large stride took him to her and he grabbed her arms, his fingers digging into her flesh. “Didn’t you?”
Trying not to cry out at the pain, she nodded. “She came to me because you had brutalised her. She couldn’t take any more. You should be in prison, you brute!”
He punched her, full in the face. She felt her nose crunch and screamed as she fell to the ground.
“I told you what would happen if I found out you’d lied to me, police or no police!” She curled in pain as his foot met her stomach. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him pick up the fork. In fear she murmured: ‘Oh, God, no!’ and the moment of agony propelled her into oblivion.

*****

Roper was shocked when he saw what he’d done in his blinding temper. Eying the woman bleeding at his feet, he took off, running as fast as he could. He’d found his way into the garden from the field behind the house and that was the way he went, pushing through the hawthorn hedge, oblivious to the vicious scratches. His scalp prickled as he heard the loud, unearthly keening of an animal – was it a cat?
He ran across the field, scaring the sheep grazing peacefully, and over the fence into the lane beyond where he’d parked his car.
Hardly had he gained the driver’s seat, when he slammed the car into gear and was off, scattering small stones as the tyres spun, trying to grip the road. He had to get home, fetch his stuff and leave. As soon as the woman was discovered, they’d come for him. He had every intention of not being there when they did.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Jeanette Taylor Ford.
Thank you so much for having me.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen #RoryHobble #Haligogen – Maximilian Hawker @MaxHawker @unbounders

– ‘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 ‘Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen’ 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 :

Maximilian Hawker works in frontline children’s social care in Croydon, where he lives with his wife and two children; he also studies for an MA in Social Work at the University of Greenwich and does work in partnership with the charity OCD Action. He has been a sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since he was a child.
In April 2018, his debut novel, Breaking The Foals, was published by Unbound.
He has had poetry and short stories – occasionally nominated for awards – appear in publications run by Dog Horn Publishing, Kingston University Press, Arachne Press and Rebel Poetry, among others. He holds an MA by Research in English Literature from Kingston University, where he also studied at undergraduate level, and has previously worked in editing and education.

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Synopsis :

Eleven-year-old Rory Hobble has it tough: he gets upsetting thoughts all the time and they won’t go away – ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)’, the head doctors call it. His mum hasn’t been very well for a long while either. Perhaps it’s his fault… Maybe that’s why she doesn’t always feed him; maybe that’s why she screams at him. At least Rory has his telescope – gazing at the unchanging stars keeps him calm. But, one night, Rory sees something impossible in the sky: mysterious lights – artificial and definitely not of earthly origin.
When his mum is abducted by the shadowy Whiffetsnatcher, Rory – accompanied by his space-faring, care-experienced social worker, Limmy – travels beyond the Earth, chasing those mysterious lights to the frozen ends of the Solar System. Along the way he must outwit a breakaway human civilisation living on a Martian moon; survive the threat of otherworldly monsters; and learn to speak to alien whales.
But his greatest challenge left Earth with him and it will take all the courage he has not only to overcome his OCD, but to decide whether he wants to rescue an abusive mother if he gets his chance…

Amazon

Excerpt :

It is a sharp November night when Rory Hobble spots something impossible in the night sky.
He drops his binoculars, glancing at the bedside digital clock, which projects an eerie, red 23:38. The only sound is the occasional yell of his mum from the other side of the bedroom, struggling through yet another bad dream. Shuffling over the bed, he leans his arms into the chill windowsill. Far, far below is what seems such a little world, barbed in shadow. Unfastening the latch, Rory pushes the window open, the bedroom warmth depressurised into the night and replaced with the wind’s bitter breath. Goosebumps assemble over his skin like inverted meteor craters. This always wakes him, when the cold snaps at his cheeks, clawing the sleep from sore eyes. But more than anything, he adores craning his neck towards the clouds, hungering for all the wonders that await beyond the sky.
Rory glances at his mum, whose face is twisted and sweaty. She doesn’t wake.
Then it comes…that voice, that doubt which sickens his mind:
Rooory, Rooory. Mum might get cold. Then she might get ill. Then she might–
No, Rory. Deep breath, he tells himself. The thought will go.
But an image flickers into his mind: his mum, pale and lifeless in an Arctic bedroom. He closes his eyes, shakes his head.
After several controlled breaths, the thought – the voice – fades into the background of his mind.
Nonetheless, he hops off his bed and steps over to his mum. But her chest still lifts and drops. She’s fine. He knew that, deep down. In sleep, she looks vulnerable – a far cry from the daytime carnivore he knows her to be.
He creeps back across the floor, careful not to stand on the creaky bits he’s memorised, and avoiding the wire of the tatty, oil-heated radiator.
From under his bed, he drags out the Thought Diary. It’s where he jots down all those peculiar thoughts that fill his head. All those thoughts that he gets and ‘normal’ people – or so he sees them – don’t. He was advised by his last head doctor to write out every fear and every doubt that fills his mind, assured that it would help him to see them for what they really are: farce. It’s a nice diary too, leather.
So, he opens the pages. Moonlight helps him guide a biro through the dark:
I was scared Mum would die of hyperthermia cos I opened the window at night.
Okay, it’s only a four out of ten on the anxiety scale – the thoughts are always weaker when he’s tired – and Rory is able to offer at least three rational responses to counter the discomfort. It helps, a little.
Before long, he’s back at the window. But the voice will not be quiet.
Rooory, Rooory. Mum might get cold. Then she might get ill. Then she might–
Nope, I’m keeping it open, Rory argues.
Rooory, Roo–
And as the voice finally fades, Rory once more turns his attention to astronomical matters.
Above the ruffing dogs and mechanical shoreline of distant cars, there is the sky – his sky. It’s the same sky that covers all the world and all its people, whether they’re of sound mind or not.
Of course, living in South London, lights-beyond-count throw up an obstructive pink glow, which makes it hard to see the stars. But if he stares long enough his eyes adapt and he can still find them. And name the constellations.
He lifts a finger, tracing the little salt-granule lights.
Right, right, right, his finger moves. Orion’s Belt.
Right, down, down, right, down, left, up, this time. The Plough.
Sometimes, Rory takes a piece of black card, pops out his medication from those little foil blisters, and lines the pills up in the shape of Cetus or Ursa Major or some such other arrangement of stars. But the Plough he makes tonight looks more like a saucepan. For one absurd moment, Rory wonders if supernovas and black holes boil and bubble inside the real Plough all those light years away.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Masterpiece (A Mikky dos Santos Thriller Book 1) #Masterpiece #MikkyDosSantos – Janet Pywell @JanPywellAuthor

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

Masterpiece BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Masterpiece’ 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 :

Janet Pywell Author PicAuthor Janet Pywell’s storytelling is as mesmerizing and complex as her characters.
In her international crime thriller series – art forger, artist and photographer Mikky dos Santos is a uniquely lovable female: a tough, tattooed, yet vulnerable heroine who will steal your heart.
Each book is a stand-alone exciting action-adventure novel, set in three uniquely different countries/ locations.
These books are a must-read for devotees of complex female sleuths – an emotional female James Bond.
Janet has a background in travel and tourism and she writes using her knowledge of foreign places gained from living abroad and travelling extensively.
She draws on all her experiences of people and places to create exciting crime thrillers with great characters and all the plot twists and turns any reader could ask for.
Janet honed her writing skills by studying for a Masters degree at Queen’s University, Belfast – one of the Russell Group of universities.
Janet researches meticulously and often takes courses in subjects to ensure that her facts are detailed and accurate and it is this attention to detail that makes her novels so readable, authentic and thrilling.

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Synopsis :

Masterpiece CoverNOT EVERYONE GETS A CHANCE AT A FORTUNE. BUT SHE’S ONLY ONE BURGLARY AWAY…
Photographer, artist and art forger Mikky dos Santos has had a tough life and now she’s about to steal the world’s most famous stolen painting – Vermeer’s The Concert – worth $200 million.
When Mikky’s flatmate is commissioned to paint one of the world’s most famous divas her life begins to spiral into chaos. An evil investigative journalist and a dangerous businessman are on the hunt to uncover Mikky’s darkest secrets and threaten her detailed plans.
The race is on.
This breathtaking protagonist is exhilarating and has attitude, yet underlying it all, a longing for human connection that makes you love her despite her own best efforts to push you away.
There are rich glimpses into European cities, a savvy feel for the international art world and an electrifying female sleuth who blasts into your life with explosive excitement. This thrilling page-turner will shock you with the stunning twist at the end.
Set in London (England), Mallorca (Spain) and Dresden (Germany) – this international crime thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat until the twist at the very end.

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Excerpt :

‘Mrs Green?’ I knock hard. The net curtains won’t allow me to see in, and the windows are all locked securely. Downstairs, all the rooms appear empty. I move away, but then through the middle pane, I think I see a shadow on the floor, illuminated by the yellow light of a streetlamp filtering in through the front window. It looks like she is lying in the hallway between the lounge and the kitchen. I hammer on the window, but the figure doesn’t move, so I take off my duffel coat, wrap it around my fist, and smash it against the glass. Nothing happens, so I unzip my boot and smack it against the window. On the third attempt, it cracks, and I use my elbow to splinter it, smashing, pushing, and pulling jagged shards of glass until there’s a hole wide enough for me to scramble through. I ease myself inside but catch my calf, and a slash rips open in my skin and blood begins to pour down my leg. I don’t pause, but instead heave myself harder through the gap and roll forward, landing face down on the carpet.
‘Oh my g—’ I whisper, crawling over to her.
She’s curled on her side, unmoving like a sleeping child, only a few metres from me.
‘Mrs Green? Mrs Green, are you okay?’ Her pulse is weak and she doesn’t move. ‘Mrs Green, can you hear me?’ Instinct makes me pull out my mobile and with bloody fingers I type in 999.
The operator’s voice is calm, and I answer her questions, but it’s as though I am merely acting a role, watching myself from above, from somewhere in the corner, up near the ceiling. While I wait, I smooth the old lady’s thin white hair from her mask-like face. She murmurs as if in a deep and troubled sleep, but she’s alive. Very gently, I rub her arm and hold her fingers.
‘Don’t worry, Mrs Green. You’ll be fine. The ambulance is on its way. You’ll be okay.’ This becomes my mantra that I repeat as I go into the kitchen. I wet a tea towel under the cold tap and press it against her forehead, dabbing her temples and wiping her cheeks. I test her pulse, then sit beside her on the floor and cradle her head in my lap, willing the ambulance to hurry. It seems to take ages until I hear a siren, then I lower her head onto my duffel coat so that I can go over and open the front door.
I stand aside for the ambulance crew to enter.
The girl is dark and chubby. She has a colourful eagle tattoo on the back of her hand, and when she sees me looking at it, she says, ‘It fascinates everyone. It takes their mind off what’s happening.’
I nod.
The boy is younger – in his early twenties. There’s a gap between his teeth, and he wears an earring with a diamond stud. He raises his voice to the old lady. ‘We’ll take you to A&E, Mrs Green. They’ll probably keep you in for a while.’
They ask me questions as they place her onto a stretcher. Once she is secure, and an oxygen mask is covering her face, the boy turns to me.
‘Let’s have a look at your cuts while we’re here. That one on your leg looks quite deep.’
‘I’ll be fine. It’s only a scratch. Will Mrs Green be okay?’
‘It could just be a blackout. Mrs Green seems to be coming round, but they’ll check her out fully at the hospital and make sure it’s not a stroke or anything more serious,’ he replies.
‘Has she got any family?’ asks the girl.
‘I believe she has a son.’
‘Right, we’d better get his contact details then. Would you have any idea where the lady would keep an address book?’ she asks.
‘She probably keeps it beside the phone,’ I reply.
I wait in the street.
‘They are estranged,’ I say, when the girl returns clutching a tattered address book in her eagle-tattooed hand.
‘What’s that?’ The boy frowns.
‘They don’t speak to each other – haven’t done so for years. Mrs Green told me they don’t get on,’ I reply.
‘Well, if he’s the next of kin they’ll have to speak now, won’t they?’ He grins. ‘No point in falling out with an old woman like that, is there?’
‘None at all,’ I reply.
My mind is racing.
The ambulance doors slam shut like Mrs Green’s eyes, and I wait until it disappears, out of sight, before venturing back inside her house. I call a glazier from her landline. As I wait in the hallway for the voice on the other end of the phone to confirm the time of his visit, I listen to the gentle tick of an old grandfather clock measuring seconds and counting minutes. It whirls and chimes the half hour, and I drum the mahogany table with my nails to the rhythm of ‘Go with the Flow’, my favourite track by Queens of the Stone Age, that is carousing through my head.
My gaze travels over Mrs Green’s unfamiliar home, and I compare the layout to my flat next door. Her kitchen is at the back of the house where my bedroom is; it’s modern and tidy, with navy-blue units, and walls the colour of a dying daffodil. A comfortable rocking chair stuffed with knitted cushions has been placed at the window beside the back door, where she often sits and looks out at a bird table decked with multiple hanging feeders.
‘This afternoon at six-thirty,’ the glazier confirms.
‘Thank you.’ I hang up the phone.
I walk to the front door, thinking of my plan and weighing up my options, and I slide the bolt shut. The lounge is cramped and dark, so different from my open-plan and modern design, and I wonder how she navigates around the room. There’s a chintz three-piece suite in the middle of the room, and four mahogany glass cabinet display cases along the right wall that house porcelain vases, snuffboxes, and silver cigar cases.
When I flick on the table lamp, a pair of blue reading glasses and a stack of folded, cryptic Daily Telegraph crosswords tumble to the floor. I pile them back up and walk to a waist-high shelf to admire a cut-glass fruit bowl, a decanter, and matching glasses. I run my finger over a silver goblet; dust collects under my nail, and I blow it away. I pick up a two-foot-tall porcelain statue of a young naked woman reclining on a chaise longue with only a silk scarf covering her thighs and breasts. I examine its base, deliberately delaying the moment. I know it’s there waiting. It’s calling me. Then very slowly, unable to postpone the moment any longer, I look up. It hangs, where I thought it would, in an ornate gilt-edged frame above the white marble mantlepiece. Although my heart is pumping rapidly, I move very, very slowly and take a step closer.
It is striking, stunning. It’s Vermeer’s The Concert.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds