Saturday, 19 May 2018

Blog Tour Dead and Gone by D.L. Michaels, Guest Post: The Write Stuff by D. L. Michaels

Dead and Gone by D. L. Michaels
Published: 1st May 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 648
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

In a world bulit on lies, who can you ever trust? A nail-biting thriller introducing DI Annie Parker. For fans of Angela Marsons and Tess Gerritson, Dead and Gone delivers twists at every deliciously unredictable turn.

Paula Smith could have had it all. Hugely successful in her fashion business, she lives the kind of life she could never have imagined. Her world should have been an idyllic one if it weren’t for her husband Danny who is resentful of her success and increasingly prone to alcoholic rages. Paula knows she should leave him but she if she did, he would pick up the phone to the police and her life would come crashing down around her.

Sarah has found the kind of happiness with Martin she never thought possible. He is everything she could have wished for in an man. Caring, sensitive and loving, yet he has a secret that could threaten everything they share. But he is not the only one with a secret….

 DI Annie Parker, mother, grandmother and widow, has plenty of baggage of her own, but she’s still determined to be the best police officer she can be. When she and her sergeant Nisha Patel hear about a 20-year-old murder that nobody knew about, nothing will stop them from tracking down the killer, even if it brings them up against one of the most dangerous crime families in the country.

The Write Stuff by D.L. Michaels

How do you go about penning a novel of around 100,000 words if you’ve never done it before?
There are dozens, maybe hundreds of pieces of advice (and books) online about how to emerge from the chrysalis of being a voracious reader into a book-writing butterfly. For what it’s worth, here’s a snapshot of rules I followed (and sometimes broke).
Tip 1. If you only write 300 words a day (about a page of a published novel), you’ll write 2,100 words a week, 8,400 a month, and will hit 100,800 over a year.  Do 600 a day and you have your novel in six months.  It’s that easy.  No, really, it is that easy!
Most writers write because they have the urge to.  Like runners, they just have to get out there and do it. So, I suppose a book is a writer’s marathon.  It’s a big haul. But anyone can do it. There’s no magic to it. No singular style. No right or wrong way. It’s simply about putting one word down after the other, just like one foot after the other. Your style is your style. You might be a literary pronator or supinator. You might roll this way or that. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong – it just means it’s you!
Tip 2. You can write any time you feel like it, and you DO have the time.
I used to convince myself that I didn’t have time to write. There was so much going on in my life – full-time job, family spread across the country, friends to see, plus an effort to stay reasonably fit. Then I realized how much travelling I did on trains, planes and in the passenger seats of cars or back of taxis. So, I wrote while in transit.  Instead of reading or watching movies, I flipped open the laptop and did my words. Next, I cut down on some of the awful TV I simply vegged out in front of.  Then, I found that when I woke in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, I could get up and write for an hour (or so) and afterward feel satisfied that I’d actually done something with that ‘dead’ time when I just lay there trying to get back to sleep. The hours are there. You just have to hunt them down.
Tip 3. You don’t need to know all your characters and all your plot before you start writing.
One international best-selling author told me that she only ever knows her lead character and ‘the  main twist’ when she starts writing.  The twist could be something as simple as say a first time (serial) killer confessing a murder to his brother who is a Catholic priest. The priest will be excommunicated if he breaks the sanctity of the Confessional – but he fears more lives will be lost if he doesn’t. The brother fears the priest may go to the cops and thinks about killing him.  There you have two characters and a plot (a dose of jeopardy always helps). That would be enough for my writer friend to start her thriller.  But not for me. I’m a major planner (it’s probably due to my years of making TV programmes). I need the comfort of knowing my beginning, middle and end – plus at least four characters and their roles in the action, before I even start! I make a grid (on a whiteboard and on paper) and I split my 100,000 words into blocks – 20 x 5,000.  Again, to use the running analogy, I do this because I know I can ‘run’ 5k easily enough, but I’m not confident of how I’d perform over 50k without lots of supporting notes. That said, I sometimes stray up to 10k, and new characters simply spring out of the writing and introduce themselves (one of the most exciting parts of storytelling). By the way, there’s a lot of software packages out there that can help with plotting and character profiles, etc.
Tip 4. Don’t start copy editing until you’ve finished the entire story.
Let’s say you write 300 words a day. On day 2, you’ll most likely re-read your first page. You’ll spot spelling/grammar mistakes and possibly some phrasing you want to improve. I suggest you don’t. Ignore them. Just plough on. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a cycle of rewriting that will destroy your determination to finish. Imagine running the 20th mile of your marathon (what runners call The Wall) and then feeling so unhappy with your mile time, that you go back and do that mile again.  You’ll never finish your marathon. Resist major revision until you reach the end of your story. And even then, give yourself a break of a few days (a week or two, if possible) then when you’ve seen everything in context, and only then, start your re-write and corrections.
Tip 5. Get yourself an agent.
Aside from expert advice, impartial criticism (you won’t get it and shouldn’t seek it from family), agents understand the industry. They know where to take your book and who is most likely to publish it.  Search the Writers and Artists Yearbook for the right agent for your genre and be absolutely sure you’ve written the very best draft before you submit it to them.
Oh, and if you get this far, remember that everyone, even the JK Rowlings of this world get rejected by publishers. Publication doesn’t matter. You’ve run your own literary marathon in your own style and in your own time. That makes you a champion!

About the Author

D.L. Michaels is a former award-winning TV executive, who married in Tuscany, has one teenage son and lives on an old converted farm in the Peak District. Favourite writers include Harlan Coben, Patricia Cornwell and Nicci French.
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Friday, 11 May 2018

Blog Tour Review: What Did I Do? by Jessica Jarlvi

What Did I Do? by Jessica Jarlvi
Published: 1st May 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 420
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5


“Kristin is on the run. From her life. From herself.

 When two murders happen in Chicago, a witch-hunt ensues, and Kristin quickly finds herself at the centre.

The problem is she isn't sure of what she did or didn't do. Armed with a life insurance payout, she runs away to Sweden to start her life over.

But it's not that easy to escape the past. And whatever she's done, someone is on her tail, wanting her to pay...

The question is: could she be a killer and not even remember?

Dark, intense and plot twists galore Jessica Jarlvi’s new novel What Did I Do? is not one to be missed.  Utterly gripping throughout this was a book I adored.

Split between three narratives it did take a while to settle into this book, but once I was I was desperate to know how these three very different tales were linked. Firstly, with have Kirsten whose husband has died from poisoning in mysterious circumstances, she knows she’s a suspect, but nobody can prove anything, or can they? With her husband’s life insurance money, she heads off to Sweden to start a new life. Then we have Frank, married to Birgitta in a seemingly happy marriage until their son Anders is found dead, was it and accident or was it murder? The third narrative comes from an unknown female who has got herself in a difficult situation.

As the story unfolds these three very different stories begin to connect as the author gives us subtle clues linking them all. I absolutely loved these and trying to work everything out, when it all blows up at the end and is explained I was shocked, it was utterly brilliant.

This is a fantastic novel full of secre3ts, lies and coincidences which build up to an amazing ending. It’s a book quite unlike anything I’ve read before and for that I cannot wait for Jessica Jarlvi to write more as this new to me author definitely hit the spot.  

Thank you so much to Aria for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me on the blog tour.

About the Author

Born in Sweden, Jessica moved to London at the age of 18 to obtain a BSc Hons degree in Publishing and Business. She worked in publishing in the UK for a number of years before heading to Chicago where she edited a magazine for expats. Back in Sweden, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Since 2010, Jessica has taught journalism and media at a local university, and has spent the last five years as the marketing and PR manager for a British firm. Last year, she was one of the winners in the Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Jessica is married with three spirited children, and although she’s known for her positivity, her writing tends to be rather dark!

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Thursday, 10 May 2018

A Clean Sweep by Audrey Davis

A Clean Sweep by Audrey Davis
Published: June 2017
Pages: 314
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5 

A CLEAN SWEEP is a laugh-out-loud tale of love, lies and second chances.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn't expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn't quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she's found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily's sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don't get another try, do you?
Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a book that will grab your heart, make you smile and wish you had a chimney to sweep.

A Clean Sweep is a heart warming tale centred around the relationships of five women. Emily the main character is a fifty-something widow who on the outside appears to be fine on her own after the death of husband Jim, but deep down she’s looks for something to put the sparkle back in her life. Along comes Joe a thirty-something hunk who comes to sweep her chimney (yes really) and the pair just seem it to hit off. But can they actually have a relationship?

Emily’s daughter Tabitha is staring to find fault with her long-term relationship with boyfriend Tom, can they put the magic back in their relationship or is it time to call it done. Tabitha’s boss Meryl is still searching for her hero, but has she finally found someone who’s perfect for her in tall dark and handsome Miroslaw? Susan is an over weight and lonely woman who is approaching 50, she still dreams about the love she once had with Jonathon. When theirs paths cross again is it second time lucky for this pair? Emily’s sister Celeste believes she has the perfect marriage to Michael, but when a fitness tracker leads her to a hasty conclusion can she fight to get her perfect marriage back on track.

All of these women are very ordinary and experience highs and lows in their lives which many of us can relate to. This along with Audrey Davis’ fabulous comedy writing this made for an addictive and very enjoyable read. I laughed all the way through this book and can highly recommend it if your looking for something which will leave you with a smile on your face.

Everything ties up well at the end, which was good but left me a little sad as I’d love a sequel with these characters as they’d begun to feel like friends.

Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy to review honestly, which is what I have done.

About the Author

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.
Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: 'There's been a murrrrder!'

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancĂ©. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for 'artistic' use of naked men's bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn't bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it's packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we'll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.

It wasn't until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in May/June. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Blog Tour Extract: A Warriner to Seduce Her by Virginia Heath

A Warriner to Seduce Her by Virginia Heath
Published: 1st May 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon
Pages: 368
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
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A sensible schoolmistress… Awakened by the notorious rake!
In this The Wild Warriners story, schoolmistress Felicity Blunt feels old beyond her years―and desperately dull. Meeting confirmed rake Jacob Warriner brings her gloriously alive, and yet no matter his allure she must remain immune to his obvious charms and unashamed flirtation. But is Jacob merely a mischievous scoundrel? Or is there much more to this Warriner than meets the eye…?


Hi and thanks for inviting me to That Thing She Reads! Here’s a little snippet in the lead up to the first kiss. Enjoy!

Bouncing in a Hackney through the city…

“I am famously irresistible to all women.”

“And yet here I am, resisting you.” One wheel hit a pothole and she groped for the strap to steady herself as it bounced out, forcing Jake to watch certain parts of her bounce as well. “Gracious- this is a dreadful carriage!”

He grabbed his own strap as the tired, corroded springs did little to stop the shoddy road surface rattling his bones. “You’d think in a city as rich as this one they could manage to make a decent road… Ah look! We’re passing St Paul’s.” Jake put his hand up to point then instantly used it to brace himself on the seat as they rumbled along possibly the worst stretch of road in the whole capital.

As she stared out at the massive cathedral in wonder, he took the opportunity to shuffle closer, ostensibly to point things out but more because the sight of one of England’s greatest edifices reminded him that he was supposed to be seducing vital information out of her. “Did you know it is the fourth St Paul’s to sit on the site? The first was built over a thousand years ago, sometime after the Romans left.”

“Really?” Her head whipped around to grin at him then quickly returned to the building. “You truly are a font of knowledge on the history of London Jake.” It was the first time she had used his name and he like the sound of it on her lips.

“Everybody knows this building was designed by Wren, but few know he was still designing it even as it was being built. Especially the dome. He wanted to create the dome without any visible supports inside. You should see it. It’s a shame we have run out of time today as I would love to show you around it. We could climb up to the top and whisper at each other across the gallery.”

“I’d love to.” She turned her head and he recognised the instant she became aware of his close proximity, because she unconsciously licked her lips and looked down at her hands. “I’d have to bring Cressida and Daphne of course. Today has been highly improper.”

If that was intended as his cue to move back to his side of the seat, Jake skilfully ignored it. “Hardly improper. I’ve been a perfect gentleman. Why- I’ve barely even flirted.” But there were other ways to flirt which required no words, and his eyes were currently gazing deeply into hers. “But we have laughed a lot, haven’t we?” Humour was another excellent way of cutting through a lady’s defences. Jake had laughed a few into his bed in his time too. A goodly few.

 She smiled at him and began to relax in the seat. “It has been a perfectly lovely after n-oooh!” The Hackney lunged to the right and tilted, sending Fliss sliding across the bench towards him. Jake only just caught her before they both slammed into the side, her forehead bashing against his chin and making him yelp.

“I’m so sorry!” As she looked up at him, her spectacles were dangling at an odd angle on her face. The engaging sight did a great deal to alleviate the brief, sharp pain of bone hitting bone. Because she wasn’t looking through the lenses, she instinctively leaned nearer to see if he was hurt. “Are you bleeding?”

“No. No, I’m fine.”

A lie. Being so close to her was playing havoc with his senses. That perfume- fat summer roses, fresh air and sunshine- so uniquely her and divine. Those stormy green short-sighted eyes. The honey gold hair. Those damned erotic spectacles which haunted his dreams. Everything made his body yearn and his heart pump. Her fingers touched his lip. If ever fate had presented him with the perfect opportunity to kiss her, this was it. Yet he hesitated, feeling suddenly awkward.

“Are you sure. I gave you quite a clonk.” And now she was torturing him. The sensitive skin tingled beneath her gentle touch, her face inches from his as she studied his mouth. “I have a very hard head.” Gentlemanly good manners dictated he didn’t tell her which part of him was currently harder. Jake stifled the groan. His fingers went to the spectacles and righted them, then simply stared at her mouth.


He wanted to kiss her. Desperately wanted to kiss her. Slowly he moved his face closer, watched her lips part. Was she game?


Her eyes drifted to his mouth again. She didn’t move away.

Good grief why was he lingering? He should jolly well get on with it… the bad taste and the uncharacteristic guilt churning in his gut made him sit back instead. She deserved better. Honesty at least. A sobering thought for a man who made a living from lying. “I have a very stiff upper lip.” As well as a stiff bulge in his breaches. “I’m sorry for my appalling choice of Hackney… still at least it’s an adventure. Of sorts.”

“It is that.” He watched her blink, her long lashes and fine eyes made his heart stutter. “I hope we survive it. Being shaken to death in a Hackney is not how I had planned on leaving this mortal coil.” She was so very beautiful he found himself looking away because he couldn’t think of a single sensible thing to say which did not make him sound gauche. Not a single witticism sprung to mind. No flattering words. Nothing flirtatious. Just nothing. The memorised script of seduction had disappeared out of his mind, or been buried under a whole swathe of new thoughts. Questioning thoughts which had him second-guessing himself. Jake had never felt so strange in his own skin. It was like it didn’t fit. There was at least another twenty minutes till they hit Mayfair. Twenty painful, awkward minutes now that he had apparently lost his ability for seduction thanks to the distasteful flavour of his deception.

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin Mills & Boon took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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Giveaway – Win 3 x E-copies of A Warriner to Seduce Her (Open Internationally)

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

Monday, 30 April 2018

Publication Day Review: The Weekend Spa break by Anne John-Ligali

The Weekend Spa Break by Anne John-Ligali
Published: 30th April 2018
Publisher: Book and Authors Publishing UK
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Friendships Online Series
Part Two
After finally meeting in person at the publishing party of the season, Constance and Estelle are determined not to let their friendship return to mere virtual champagne bottles and uploaded pictures of food.
It’s been a busy year, and Constance feels it’s time to reward herself with the spa break Estelle gave her for Christmas. Naturally, Constance wouldn’t dream of taking anyone other than Estelle, and this will provide the perfect opportunity to bond with her new chum.
As the excited pair spend some quality time together, they realise it’s not just writing books they have in common, but something that goes much deeper. After a few Jacuzzi sessions, facials, pedicures, and a massage by sexy Senior Therapist, Julio, everything seems to be peachy until an unexpected visitor turns Constance’s weekend of bliss … on its head.
A two-day spa break.

Sparkling water on tap.

And the perfect massage.

But who’s rubbing who up the wrong way?

Constance Jefferies a romance writer is ready for a spa break and what better person to take than her online bestie Estelle, the very person who gave her a spa voucher for Christmas. As these two head off for a luxurious weekend at the Glitzy’s spa their friendship deepens as they confide their biggest fears to each other and Constance gets more than she bargained for when her past comes back to haunt her.
I loved this, it’s the perfect follow on to The Big Event the first story in the series where Constance and Estelle first meet. These two really highlight what true friendship is about and I loved sharing their bonding in the most fabulous place. Reading this has made me want a spa break of my own, Glitzy’s sounds the perfect place to unwind surrounded by the height of luxury.
The twist at the end was a real shocker and I can’t wait for the next instalment of this fun series to find out how it all is explained.  Anne John- Ligali has done a great job with this fast paced and fun read.
Thank you to Rachel’s Radom Resources for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

About the Author

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews.  She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.
Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series.  Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007.
Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

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To watch a book trailer for The Weekend Spa Click here.


To mark the release of part two in the friendships series,
I’m giving away a Sanctuary Spa gift set and a signed printed and binded copy
of The Weekend Spa Break to one lucky winner. At present, there are no physical copies of The Weekend Spa Break
available, so this is a treat.

To enter you only have to do is visit my Twitter page
and retweet the pinned tweet showing this GIVEAWAY.

A winner will be chosen at random by Tweet Draw
and announced on Saturday the 19th of May at 20:00hrs.

Competition is open worldwide.

Good luck!