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French Letters Children of a Good War by Jack Woodville London

19 Jan

elizabeth and richard (1)

Synopsis:

Eleanor Hastings knew from experience that some bombs lie buried for decades before blowing up to hurt someone. Now, forty years after World War II, a cache of faded wartime letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Eleanor’s husband, Frank, to understand that he really was a bastard and sending him on a quest to find out who he really is — and to uncover his family’s long-buried secrets.

“Children of a Good War is like a giant puzzle you think you’ve solved, then find more unsettling pieces. Intelligent and engrossing, hard to put down, London’s best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and turn out the lights.”
— Author Joyce Faulkner, winner of the Howard-Johnson Prize for Historical Fiction

Best Novel of the Year — Military Writers Society of America
Best Novel of the South — Willie Morris, Finalist
Best Novel with a Romantic Element — Dear Author, Finalist

 

Purchase Links

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/French-Letters-Children-Good-War/dp/099061218X/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541876953&sr=8-1-fkmr3&keywords=french+letters+children+of+a+god+war

B&N:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/french-letters-jack-woodville-london/1129542078?ean=9780990612186

 




EXCERPT

 

Chapter Ten

i.

When Frank was nine years old he watched Peter shoot a BB gun at birds on a highline wire and wondered, Why don’t they just fly away? and then, Why doesn’t the electricity shock them?

Frank wondered a lot of things.  He wondered why Hercules liked to play fetch with him but not with Peter.  He wondered why he had a used bike but Tog had a new one.  He wondered why there were different churches for just one Bible, and why Tog seemed reasonably happy about not going to any of them.  He wondered why he was invisible whenever Peter was present (Sunday school class, junior high band, school cafeteria and assemblies, Saturday night at the movie theater, any time they went to The Corral), and why he had a learning disability (I’m retarded…), a concern raised by the requirement of Bridle High School that all students had to take trigonometry and chemistry, neither of which he intended to use in his grown-up life.

               He also wondered why he took little interest in the very things that Peter was so good at, such as football, basketball, track, girls, and Mother’s 1962 Chevrolet.  He wondered why he wasn’t kicked off the football team after mooning Peter at the Homecoming game, suspecting (rightly) that the coach knew that Tog depended on Frank to help him pass English and history during the football season. He next wondered why he was disinvited from the school sports banquet after the season was over, suspecting (rightly) that it had to do with mooning Peter at the Homecoming game. 

Frank once wondered, on a very cold and cloudless night one week after the sports banquet, why water does not freeze inside a town’s water tower, but when that same water is filled into the bed of Marshall’s pickup and then laid down in sheets on Main Street by driving the pickup back and forth as the water seeps out from the tailgate, it freezes on pavement like ice on a skating rink. 

He also wondered why a couple of gallons of very wet chicken manure added to a gallon of gasoline didn’t burn well but when fifteen pounds of dried manure, plus a box of saltpeter from the school cafeteria pantry, were added to gasoline, the mixture would scorch grass, chalk yard lines, dirt, subsoil, and everything beneath it in the shape of the letter ‘S,’ and continue to burn for quite a long time while the coach and superintendent slid around on the ice on Main Street before getting to the school football field to see what that  odd glow was, visible in the night sky.

The following Sunday, while squeezed onto a pew between Virginia and Will, listening to a sermon on the fires of Hell, Frank wondered why no one preached the chapter in Luke where Jesus told the multitudes that he had come to bring fire to the earth and wished it already were kindled or, about the Prince of Peace telling the Twelve Apostles in the book of Matthew that he came not to bring peace but a sword.  That Jesus sounded like someone interesting.

               In his last few months at home, before graduation, Frank wondered whether Tog would ever come back to him.  In his first few months at college he wondered why he had to take math and science, which he intended to never use in his grown-up life. 

As a sophomore, he wondered why they seemed to be having so much trouble beating Vietnam and, later, after graduation, whythey assigned to his birthday the very first number drawn in the draft lottery, the only lottery that Frank ever won.  He soon wondered why he was sent to infantry training and then why he was so bad at it.  He wondered if he would live to drive the used Volkswagen that Will had given him for college graduation and, when he did, whether going to graduate school and writing for a newspaper in Austin would give him the skill he

needed to write about what he really saw in Vietnam.  Frank soon came to wonder also why no one had told him sooner about live music, the Soap Creek Saloon, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnics, or longneck beers. 

               Frank’s curiosity was not purely inward looking.  He asked why, whenever anyone believed that if something could be separate but equal, they always wanted it to be separate.  He asked his editor why a highway divided East Austin from rich Austin and why Mexican laborers were paid less to roof houses and pour cement than scruffy white guys who didn’t work as hard or do as good a job; his editor said they were good questions.  He asked why farmers who depended on government subsidy checks always voted for the candidate who would cut the farm budget, and why anyone thought that it was Ronald Reagan rather than Ayatollah Khomeini and the Fedayeen who really had defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.  Pat C. Oh said they were rhetorical questions.  He genuinely wanted to know why President Reagan thought that death squads for democracy were more likely to work in El Salvador than they had in Vietnam and why a coup in once-British Grenada was an American problem; no one wanted to talk about those questions. 

Some of these wonders became files of clippings for stories that were never written.  When Frank pitched them, Mr. Burnam said that Frank needed to focus on city council meetings and school board hearings.

               Frank was not aware of everything, not even everything that mattered.  He was unaware of interest rates, unaware that plastic is not biodegradable, and unaware that security investment regulations usually were enacted after some investment firm had figured out a new way to cheat its investors. 

He was completely unaware when, during a graduate seminar on “Reporting Foreign Political Events,” in which he asked why Margaret Thatcher thought that putting huge swaths of coal workers and shipbuilders out of work would make England a better place for them to live on unemployment benefits, that a young woman was passing by the open doorway.  He didn’t know for a long time that she heard him question whether the rousing use of a crushing military action against a third-world banana republic would restore dignity to unemployed coal miners in Yorkshire and, hearing no answer to his question, that she stood in the doorway long enough to figure out which one of the people in the room had asked the very point she had read in a three-week-old copy of the Manchester Guardian, which she had stumbled across in the graduate school library reading room.  Of course, she was unaware that he had noticed her reading theGuardian and had wanted to find out for himself what interested a person who looked like her. 

               In short, like younger brothers everywhere, Frank grew up largely invisible but observant, standing out from the crowd more often by doing something that upset someone’s expectations rather by doing something that met them

Frank Hastings had no clear understanding that the purpose of his life was to be the person who asked why as a means to making the world a more open place, if not a better one.  Indeed, the only two people who clearly knew that were Eleanor, who for several weeks after hearing his voice in the seminar room had followed Frank at a discrete distance until he finally discovered her, and his father, Will, who now was dead.

 

About the Author:

 

jack w london headshot

Honored as Author of the Year, MWSA 2011-2012, and winner, Indie Excellence Award, 2013, is the author of the award-winning French Letters fiction series.  His novels are praised for their meticulous historical research and ability to capture the language, attitudes, and moral culture of their setting in prose described by reviewers as ‘beautiful, but not pretentious.’

The World War II-era novel Virginia’s War was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contests. His ‘parallel-quel’ novel Engaged in War won the silver medal at the London Book Festival for General Fiction and the Silver prize in the Stars and Flags Historical Fiction competition.  It was the Book of the Month by both Good Reads and the Military Writers Society of America and was the book for which the Indie Excellence Award was given to Jack in 2013.

The third volume in the series, Children of a Good War,  is on track for publication in 2018.  One pre-publication reader wrote “Intelligent and engrossing, it’s hard to put down, (his) best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and put out the lights.”  Look for pre-order information in the near future.

And, Jack’s non-fiction book on the craft of writing, A Novel Approach, won the e-Lit gold medal for non-fiction books in 2014-2015.  It is now the standard work for use by veterans in classes presented by the Military Writers Society of America on the craft of writing fiction.

He has published some thirty literary articles and fifty book reviews, all in addition to a lengthy career as a courtroom lawyer and a forty year writing career as the author of technical legal articles, beginning with his appointment as managing editor during law school of the University of Texas International Law Journal.

Jack shares his love of writing with presentations and lectures at writing conferences throughout the United States and abroad.  He has in the past presented at the Historical Novel Society Annual Convention; Military Writers Society of America; Historical Novel Society; Southwest Writers; Writers League of Texas; Central Texas Authors; University of Texas, San Diego State, Stanford, Herriott-Watt University in Edinburg, Scotland, and University of Padua, Italy, as well as US DOD schools and Navy bases in Europe.  He teaches writing classes to veterans who want to learn the conventions and devices of fiction writing so that they, too, can write their stories.

And, apart from literature, Jack also is the co-author of two of the most widely published and essential books for trial lawyers, the Pattern Jury Charge series for Business and Deceptive Practices and for Professional Negligence, Products Liability, and Premises.

Jack is a reader as well as a writer.   His cheeky, much-loved series of book reviews, ‘On the Nightstand,’ is on this website.  Jack reviews the books we all read, from New York Times best sellers to under-the-radar releases and the classics and rates them based on how well they keep him awake — a 100 watt book is a real page-turner and a 20 watt book helps Jack sleep by conking him out pretty quickly.   Click on the the tab for On the Nightstand and find some great reads.

And, Jack still is a student.  He is learning more of the craft of creative writing student at Rewley College, Oxford University, under his tutor, Dr. Jonathan Miles, who also is a critically acclaimed author.

Jack grew up in small town Texas before earning degrees at the University of Texas and West Texas State University and earning certificates at the Fiction Academy, St. Céré, France and Ecole Francaise, Trois Ponts, France.    He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Alice, and Junebug the writing cat.

 

Social Media 

Website: https://jwlbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrenchLetters

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JackWoodvilleLondon




Author Guest Post

 

Share the first sentence (or first three sentences) of the book and comment on it

There was a minor commotion in the street and she realized that she had no choice but to follow him outside. It was a relief, she felt, although she knew it was only a postponement. Miss Herald had gone to Faversham to tell Eldred Potts that she would no longer walk out with him, as it then was called.”

I set out to create a world for a woman named ‘Miss Herald.’ Who is she? She lived somewhere close to Faversham, which is an ancient village in England, ten miles or so from Canterbury and on the Roman road where the pilgrims of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales spent their last night before arriving in Canterbury proper. And, since she didn’t live in Faversham, where did she live? We soon learn that she lives in Canterbury where she attends the local ‘new’ university and studies archaeology. We also learn that Faversham is the site of a mostly-demolished ruin where in the 1100’s an English queen and king were patrons of the church and were buried; Miss Herald has undergraduate fantasies of fame from discovering their remains or unearthing some other hidden relic of the past.

So, what was she doing in Faversham when the book begins? Rather than an archaeological dig at the monastery, she was there to tell her boyfriend that she was through with him. I tried to infuse a bit of ‘bygonese’ into the paragraph by using the term ‘walk out’ as both a British term for dating and as a term that is now out of fashion.

Their names are clues. A ‘Herald’ is someone who brings news or is the sign that something is about to happen. I added another clue to the fact something was about to happen by saying her following Potts into the street because of a minor commotion was a ‘postponement.’ Potts is a reference to what most archaeological digs yield, shards of pottery.

What is it that she heralds? Her presence heralds that buried bombs can explode to injure people long after they’ve been forgotten. That is one of the major themes of the novel. And, before long, Potts is no longer with us, the victim of a cow that stepped on a buried bomb from World War II and landed on him. And, on a more intimate scale, she is not invited to Potts’ funeral; the locals said that his unfortunate demise was what might be expected as Potts should not have been trying to court Miss Herald in the first place, but should have stayed with ‘his own kind.’”

Miss Herald is indeed different, and things are about to happen.




Author Q & A

 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to race sports cars until I was about 14, then wanted to be a basketball player. Then I wanted to be a history professor. I always wanted to be a writer.

What is your education/career background?

Groom High School; BA in History and Foreign Relations at West Texas State University; jurisdoctor of law degree at the University of Texas; Certificat at Academy of Fiction, St. Séré, France; presently in graduate school in creative writing at Rewley College, Oxford.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.

What do you think makes a good story?

A flawed protagonist, a conflict, a solution, then disaster.

Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000 words. Repeat tomorrow.

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Wicked Game by Jo Lambert Blog Tour with Review & Giveaway (Win £15 Amazon Voucher (UK Only)

10 Jan

wicked game

 

Wicked Game

by Jo Lambert

 

Synopsis

Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court.

Managing his father’s European restaurant chain, Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman.  Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte. Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.

Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from everyone. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together.

Thérèse’s husband Gianlucca has invited the granddaughter of an old friend to stay as a house guest while he undergoes heart surgery. Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. Aware this would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if the plan is to have any chance of success first she needs to get rid of Charlotte…

Please note Wicked Game was previously published under the title The Other Side of Morning.


Christie’s Review

4 STARS

Wicked Game is a family saga full of betrayal and secrets, but at its heart, it’s an emotional love story between two individuals who have trust issues. Buckle up because this is a wild ride at times full of twists and turns.

Charlotte and Marco were not meant to be together. Charlotte is in a relationship with Christian Rosetti, but fate has other plans for these two. Their love story is emotional and at times quite sad as there are outside forces who are determined to keep these two apart. However, I never regretted the journey the author took me on. The ending was completely worth the emotions.

Marco and Charlotte are wonderful characters, very well fleshed out and very complex. They aren’t perfect and make plenty of mistakes. That makes them human and very easy to connect with. They really do love one another, but they are victims to the chaos and selfish ambitions of those around them.

Even though the heart of the book is about Marco and Charlotte, there are plenty of other characters who tell their stories and reveal their true motives in their own voices. Because of that, Lambert tugged at my emotions. I got angry, and my heart broke at times for Marco and Charlotte.

The book was well-written. There was a big cast of characters, but I never thought the book suffered for that. In fact, it made it better. I really like the way Lambert writes. The book takes place in several different settings, but the way it was written gave me a clear picture of each place. I love when a writer can do that for me.

I highly recommend this read if you like family sagas with romance. This book will definitely pull you into the story from beginning to end.

 




Purchase Link

wicked game cover large ebook

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wicked-Game-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07LD8XF75

US – https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Game-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07LD8XF75

Meet the Writer

jo author pic

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is the author of seven novels. The first five collectively known as the Little Court Series are saga/romances set in West Somerset. For book number six she ‘moved’ over the border into South Devon. Summer Moved On became the first of two linked contemporary romances. The second, Watercolours in the Rain was published in October 2016. In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her eighth novel, The Boys of Summer, set in North Cornwall will be published in 2019 under their Ruby imprint. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Follow Jo

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog:  http://jolambertwriter.com

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185

 

Giveaway – Win £15 Amazon Voucher (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494177/?

 

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway (Bertie Bear and his travel bag) OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

7 Nov

The Best Boomerville Hotel

 

The Best Boomerville Hotel

by Caroline James

Synopsis

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business! 

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself. 

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?




Christie’s Review

4 STARS

Quite the enjoyable read with delightful characters and a beautiful setting.

The Best Boomerville Hotel has been recently renovated by owner, Jo, and made into a retreat for people of retirement age. It offers many services to people who want to pursue new interests but in a very luxurious setting. Instead of being about just one character, there are several. The chapters are about different ones. There is Kate who comes to the hotel hoping to write a best seller and maybe find love. Jo, is the owner, and her friend, Hattie, is the manager. There is also James, Lucinda, Sir Henry, Pete, Andy Mack, and Hugo. Each one has their own story to tell.

Reading it reminded me of one of my favored authors, Maeve Binchy. She had a talent for delighting her readers with multiple characters and their stories. Caroline James has the same talent. The characters nor the storyline gets lost. In fact, she draws you into the story itself.

Thank you so much Caroline James for showing your readers that age is just a state of mind. It was a nice change to read a book about people who are older. The ones in the story prove that no matter what age you are, the world is still yours. There are still chances to take, experiences to be had, and dreams to come true!




Purchase Links

TBBH high res cover

Amazon: http://mybook.to/TBBH

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/VRh2XT

Ibooks/Google:  https://goo.gl/2aq7sz

Itunes:  https://apple.co/2lZrl6F

 

Author Bio:

CAROLINE JAMES (PROMO SHOOT 26.06.2018)

Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair.  The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Caroline James Links:

 

www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk   http://www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Twitter:@CarolineJames12  https://twitter.com/CarolineJames12

FaceBook:  Caroline James Author  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolineJames/

 

Giveaway

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Win Bertie Bear and his travel bag (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494154/?

 

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The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott Blog Tour with Q & A with Author

22 Aug

The Benevolent Dictator

The Benevolent Dictator

by Tom Trott

 

Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.

 

Purchase Links

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https://tomtrott.com/tbd

www.amazon.co.uk/Benevolent-Dictator-Tom-Trott-ebook/dp/B07BZQHTDB

Author Bio 

TBD - MePromoCollege5

Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.

Social Media Links –

www.twitter.com/tjtrott

 www.facebook.com/tomtrottbooks

www.tomtrott.com


Q & A With Tom Trott

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

This book was one of those lightbulb moments where the story arrived almost complete in a burst of inspiration. But there’s no way that would have happened if I hadn’t read The Great Gatsby, loved Ozymandias, and watched Adam Curtis’s documentary Hypernormalisation. The novel is some strange hybrid of those three very different things, all packed into a thriller.

 

What was your favorite thing about each character?

My favourite thing about Ben, the narrator, is that he is an entirely well-meaning person, he always wants what’s best for everyone. I had not written from the perspective of a character like that before and it’s a much nicer headspace to spend a year in; it’s also an enjoyable challenge to make a compelling character out of.

 

Do you have a playlist you listen to when writing?

No, but I often watch five minutes of a film before I write, in order to occupy the right tone. In this case it was Adam Curtis’s documentaries, both Hypernormalisation and Bitter Lake.

 

Any favorite foods/drinks you like while writing?

Just coffee. I treat myself to one from my Nespresso machine when I’m writing. I did eat raspberries whilst writing one chapter and they made it into the chapter in a really important way. In that case it was fortuitous, but another time it could be a disaster.

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Not until I had graduated from University. I always wanted to be a storyteller, but it took a lot of different forms before that: actor, director, etc. I finally decided to write a novel after reading Ian Rankin’s account of writing his first Rebus book. I would encourage any who is thinking of writing a novel to just throw caution to the wind and write it, and most important of all, finish it.

 

What are some are your favorite reads?

I love Raymond Chandler, and I’ll always go back to his books, particularly The Lady in the Lake. I also love Agatha Christie, J. K. Rowling, Tolkien, Philip Pullman, Arthur Conan Doyle, my tastes are all over the place. The book I read this year that I would recommend to everyone is Rebecca. I was overwhelmed by how good it was. In one particular paragraph I was completely transported to the point where I could smell the sea air she was describing and feel the breeze on my face! I haven’t had that kind of experience since I was a child.


 

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The Promise by Michelle Vernal Blog Tour

6 Aug

 

The Promise

The Promise

by Michelle Vernal 

 

Synopsis

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.

Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.

In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.  

When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

 

Purchase Links

The Promise Cover

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promise-Michelle-Vernal-ebook/dp/B07F5LQVYJ/

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Promise-Michelle-Vernal-ebook/dp/B07F5LQVYJ/

 

Author Bio –

bty

Michelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.

Social Media Links –

https://www.michellevernalbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/michellevernalnovelist/inbox/?selected_item_id=100012836923106

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The London Murder Mysteries Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway (Win signed copies of Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery- ONLY OPEN TO UK)

20 Jul

The London Murder Mysteries

 

Death in Dulwich

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. 

To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21.

Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

Death in Dulwich Cover


Purchase LinkMyBook.to/1DeathinDulwich

 


The Girl in the Gallery

 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

The Girl in the Gallery Cover

Purchase Link  – http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery

 


Christie’s Review of Books 1 & 2: 

4. 5 Stars

Very well-written and finely crafted mystery series!!!

The series center around main character, single mother, Beth, her son Ben, and her charming cat, Magpie.  As the series opens, she has just landed a great job as an assistant archivist at Wyatt’s, the boys’ Endowment school in Dulwich. She is really excited and hoping when the time comes, her son Ben, will be able to get in. It will also help her financially, adding to what she makes in doing odd jobs, such as editing a website or selling features to a newspaper. Imagine her surprise when she finds the body of her new boss on her very first day.  She becomes a possible suspect, so she finds herself trying to solve the mystery to clear her name and finds herself dealing with Inspector York who infuriates her. It’s a mystery at its finest! While investigating on her own, she discovers dark secrets looming just below the surface of the beautiful, affluent village of Dulwich.

In the second book, Girl in the Gallery, Beth once again finds herself at the center of a new mystery. Again, she finds herself at odds at times with Inspector York. However, they do make a great team, and they do work well together most of the time. Castle does a great job of continuing to build not only the main characters but the secondary characters as well.  Not only is this a great mystery, Castle also touches on some really important social issues. I love the setting, and as with the first book, I’m anticipating the next book in the series. As she asks, her friend, “And anyway, seriously, what else could possibly happen in Dulwich,” we all know Beth will be back. She has a knack for murder mysteries, and I for one can’t wait until she’s back.


Author Bio 

alice

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Other Social Links: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Giveaway 

Win signed copies of Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494106/?

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Saving Beck by Courtney Cole Release Blitz with Excerpt

17 Jul

 

Reminiscent of the beloved novels by Mary Kubica and Jodi Picoult comes a chilling portrayal of a son’s addiction and its harrowing effects on both him and his mother from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Cole. SAVING BECK is now available! Check out the excerpt below, and pick up your copy of SAVING BECK today!

 

SAVING BECK Synopsis:

There comes a time when offering your life for your child’s doesn’t work, when you realize that it’ll never be enough.

The cold needle in his warm vein was a welcome comfort to my son at first. But then it became the monster that kept us apart.

Heroin lied, and my son believed. It took him to a world where the last year didn’t happen, to a place where his father was still alive. What Beck didn’t understand was that it couldn’t bring his father back from the dead. It couldn’t take away his pain, not permanently.

You think it can’t happen to you, that your kids, your family, will never be in this situation.
I thought that too. But you’re wrong.

Step into our world, and see for yourself.
Watch my golden boy become a slave to this raging epidemic. Watch me try and save him.

Drug addiction comes with a price.
Trust me, you’re not equipped to pay it.

Don’t miss this heart wrenching, evocative, yet hopeful novel—it will leave you forever changed.

 

Grab your copy of SAVING BECK here!

Amazon Hardcover | Kindle | Nook | Barnes & Noble Hardcover

iBooks | B-A-M | Kobo | IndieBound | Audible

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

“Isn’t that Taps?” I asked finally, and my eyes were wet. I didn’t look up from Angel’s lap.

“My mom used to sing it to me when I couldn’t sleep. It was the only lullaby she knew,” Angels said, defensively.

“I’m not attacking your mother,” I told her.

“I know.”

“Why did your mother send you away?” I asked, because Angel’s song was so sad, and her voice was so broken. “She must’ve loved you.”

She shrugged and held me tight, her fingers afraid to let go of me.

“She said I was better off going back to foster care. That should she couldn’t afford to live on her own, and her boyfriend hated me. She said she wanted me to have a shot at life, and she couldn’t give to that to me.”

“I’m sorry.” I patted her back with my free hand. It was a mindless motion and it didn’t help, but I tried.“How long were you in foster care?”

“A while,” she answered. “The state thought I was better taken care of there. I lost my virginity to a foster father. I don’t have a sweet story like yours and Elin’s.”

Her voice was bitter now and she was so hurt and she was so used.

I wanted to pick her up and shield her from the world.

I told her that.

She laughed, a hard sound. “Too late, King,” she said.

“It’s never too late,” I argued.

She was thoughtful now.

“So why did you leave your home?” she asked. “If it’s never too late. Maybe you should go back?”

“It’s complicated,” I answered. “I can’t go back.”

“But why? Your mom is a good mom, right?”

I paused. “Yeah. She is. But she’s got her own shit going on. There’s a lot to deal with, you know. When someone dies.”

“Yeah, I bet,” she answered. “But she probably misses you.”

I shrugged. “It’s hard to say.”

The silence swallowed us up, and we wallowed in it, stretching our legs and swimming in it.

“I was thinking that when this is done,” and she gestured toward my crown royal bag that held our stash, “that we should give it up.”

That hit me in the face and I stared at her.

“Give it up?”

The idea was ludicrous, because without H, I’d feel everything. I wouldn’t be able to escape and there was nothing I wanted less than to do that. But Angel was nodding and she was serious.

“I think we should,” she said finally. “Look what it did to my mother. She gave up her own kid. You left a good life behind. For what? For this?” she swept her arm around gesturing to the rickety walls of the warehouse. “We’ve got to make good on ourselves, King.”

I eyed her.

“What’s your real name?” I asked, trying to change the subject. She scowled.

“Don’t do that. This is serious.”

“So is your name,” I answered.

“My name is Angel now,” she answered. “And I want us to get clean. We’ll have to do it together so we can help each other. We’ll get each other through it, King.”

I stared at her hard, and she was so solemn, so determined.

“You can’t be serious,” I said and I was shaky just thinking about it.

“I am,” she nodded. “You don’t know it because you haven’t seen it, but when I’m sober, I can do anything, King. We could get a little house, and be roommates. Winston can have his own little bed. You can go to college and I’ll get a GED, and we’ll have a life, King. A real life.”

I thought on that for a second.

A real life.

I studied the track marks in my arm, and I knew what I’d have to give up.

“I don’t know if I can,” I said truthfully. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough.”

“Of course you are,” Angel said firmly. “You just don’t know that right now. But I do, King.”

“My name isn’t really King,” I told her. She smiled and in this moment, she was pretty, even with her jagged extra-short hair.

“I know,” she answered. “I’m not stupid. But you’re my King, and I like it that way.”

“Do you want to know my real name?” I gave her the choice, but she squeezed my hand.

“No. That was then, and this is now. You’re King and I’m Angel.”

She fell asleep, so I was left awake alone.

I held her tight because she was all I had, and her breathing was soft and quick. It was still chilly enough in here to see her breaths in the air, but I kept her warm with my body.

She’s Angel and I’m King.

I thought about that.

Then I thought about a time when I was still Beck.

I was another person, with the world on a string and all the promises it had to offer sat on my lap.

Potential was a shiny thing and I’d been full of it then, so much so that I couldn’t see past the bright promises.

But with those promises came curses. If I hadn’t gone to Notre Dame that day, if we hadn’t stayed so long, then it wouldn’t have been so late when we drove home. Elin wouldn’t have called to check on me, and I wouldn’t have answered. My dad wouldn’t be dead.

My life would still be shiny and bright.

I would still be at home and my mom would be making me banana pancakes on Saturdays.

I was sure she’s still making them now for Dev and Annabelle. Thoughts of them hurt my heart and I missed them. I hadn’t allowed that for weeks and weeks, but it was true.

I missed them.

Looking down at Angel’s face, I wondered what they’d think of her.

But I already knew.

They’d take one look and know she’s an addict too, and I’d be just another disappointment. One of many.

No matter how much I missed my life, that was then. This was now.

Angel stirred and moaned a little and I soothed her quietly, my hand on her shoulder.

“Shhh,” I said into her ear. “It’s going to be all right.”

“King, promise me we’ll quit,” she said, half asleep. “Promise me.”

I didn’t want to. I wanted to. I didn’t want to.

“Okay,” I finally said. “Okay.”

She smiled and her lips were curved and pink in the night. She was happy now, I realized with a start.

“Sing to me,” she said. “Make me feel safe.”

I sang her mother’s lullaby and she closed her eyes to sleep.

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 
About Courtney Cole:

Courtney Cole grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where she writes beneath palm trees and is still in love with the idea of magic and happily-ever-after. She is the author of Saving Beck.

 

 

 

 

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