‘Lizzie’s Daughters’ by Rosie Clarke (@AnneHerries) #Blogtour! #Extract @aria_fiction

Day 2 of Rosie Clarke’s blog tour for her new book, ‘Lizzie’s Daughters’! As part of the tour, I have an extract from the book to share with you. Enjoy!

Lizzie's Daughters cover

LONDON 1958. Lizzie Larch battles to keep her daughters safe and out of harm’s reach. Perfect for the fans of Nadine Dorries and Lyn Andrews.

Lizzie adores her beautiful and clever daughters and will do anything for them. Both possess a wonderful creative flair, but have fiercely different characters. Betty, the eldest is head strong like Lizzie’s first husband whilst Francie is talented and easily influenced.

When Betty runs away after an argument with Sebastian, heartbreak and worry descend on the family. At great risk to her health Lizzie finds herself pregnant but is determined to give Sebastian the son they craved. Sebastian meanwhile is plunged into a dangerous overseas mission using his old contacts to track Betty to Paris and to the lair of the rogue that seduced her?

Consumed with guilt can Sebastian right the wrongs of the past and finally unite his family and friends?

Links to buy

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2jzdalR

Get The Workshop Girls series here: http://amzn.to/2nwLwHT

Extract from ‘Lizzie’s Daughters’ by Rosie Clarke.

Sebastian looked at Marianne Gutiere and felt the pain of his failure strike him. He’d promised he would find Gretchen for his friend’s wife, but although he’d visited ten orphanages in West Germany,  that they had thought might have some knowledge of the girl, he’d drawn a blank.

‘She wasn’t there?’ Marianne asked, tears glistening in her eyes. ‘It’s a hopeless task, isn’t it? She would be eighteen now and I’m not sure I would know her, because she was only six years old when I left. When I escaped from Eastern Germany after the war, Karl promised he would follow with her the next day… but they arrested him and she was taken somewhere to a children’s home; he was told she would be quite safe. Karl was able to send only one letter, but he was sure that she would be cared for… ’ her voice caught on a sob.

‘I’m so sorry,’ Sebastian said and touched her hand in sympathy. ‘You know that Karl and I were very close before the war. I wanted him to get out before it started but he had a good job at the University in Berlin and he didn’t believe that Hitler would kill the Jews, even though he was stripping them of money, property and dignity…’

‘Did anyone believe it?’ Marianne asked sadly. ‘We none of us expected what happened, but Karl was right; his work was necessary to our masters and they kept us  as hostages to ensure he worked for them –  and so we lived, but when the war was over Karl sent me away. I was carrying another child. I begged to take Gretchen with me, but he said if we all went it might arouse suspicions and we weren’t sure about the Russians then. We thought they might be our friends. Neither of us thought they would accuse him of war crimes and execute him…’

‘Karl was a decent man and a brilliant physicist. Whatever the Nazis made him do I know he wasn’t a criminal by choice, Marianne.  Whatever he did was to keep you safe and I shall not condemn him – but you were innocent of any crime and so is Gretchen, and I promise I will find her, Marianne.’

‘But you’ve been searching for three years, ever since I first spoke to you – just before I got that letter to say that she was in an orphanage and alive…’

‘It was a such a pity that whoever sent it didn’t sign it,’ Sebastian said. ‘Had they done so we might have got more information – as it is, we just have to keep looking.’ 

‘I know there were so many displaced children after the war,’ Marianne said regretfully. ‘I wrote to everyone I could contact; some replied but no one knew where Gretchen had been taken. I should’ve come to you sooner, but I might never have had the courage had we not met by chance on that railway station in Western Germany and you recognised me…’

‘It was meant to be,’ he said.  ‘I’m glad you asked for my help. I intend to do all I can for you, and not just for Karl’s sake.’

‘I’m not the only one you’ve helped, am I?’

‘It’s something I can’t talk about, even to you,’ he said and frowned. ‘We have a different kind of enemy these days. Lives depend on secrecy, and not even my wife knows what I do when I’m away… you should understand the political situation out there better than anyone.’

‘I do, of course, and I shan’t ask. I know you love your wife very much and sometimes I feel guilty for taking up so much of your time.’

‘Lizzie knows I love her.’ Sebastian stood up and glanced at his watch. ‘I must leave I’m afraid. I’m so sorry not to have better news, but I have many friends who have contacts both in Germany and in other countries where Gretchen might have gone and I shall go on looking until we discover something… one way or the other…’

‘You are so kind, but your family need you. I must not ask too much of you…’

‘Karl would have done the same in my place. I could not leave you alone in Germany, Marianne. It took a while to arrange passports and permissions, but I got you here to London and I’ll find you a better job than waitressing – and I’ll do my best to find Gretchen.’ He frowned. ‘You need some decent clothes – no, I know you can’t afford them, but I can. I’m going to take you to the shop of a friend of mine. She will give me a discount and I’ll make sure you have what you need to look the part when you apply for a job.’

‘You’ve done so much already. I can’t let you do this…’

‘I want to help – and I feel bad that I let you down again. Let me do this one small thing, please?’

‘Thank you,’ she said with quiet dignity and Sebastian left the flat he’d rented for her when she first came to England two years earlier. He’d hoped then that she would soon have her daughter with her, but his efforts had so far been in vain. He might have to talk to someone who could help, though he was reluctant to involve Jack and the department, because it would only draw him deeper into their arms when he knew it was time for him to think of his own life and his family…

As he walked from the building and hailed a passing taxi, Sebastian thought about what he’d learned from his inquiries in Western Germany – the things he hadn’t told Marianne. He believed that if Gretchen was still alive she was in East Berlin and it was notoriously difficult to trace children who’d been separated from their parents during the troubled time just after the end of the war; some were placed in orphanages in the Russian sector, others had simply disappeared. The child would be a young woman now. If she’d imbibed the anti-West doctrine that had undoubtedly been fed her these past years since the Cold War had started to escalate, she might not want to come to England to meet her mother and if she hadn’t… it would still be very difficult to get her out. The Russians had no intention of letting the East Germans escape to the West in large numbers– and there were unbelievable rumours about what they were planning to prevent it.

Author bio

Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. Married at eighteen, she ran her own hairdressing business for many years. Rosie started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antique shop. She loves to write for her own enjoyment and to give pleasure to her millions of fans. Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the 2004 RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy.

Visit Rosie Clarke’s website


If you wish to follow the rest of the blog tour, the details for the rest of the tour hosts are below:

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#Guestpost Marcia Spillers @mysterwriter2 (Murder at the Mystery Bay Hotel) @brookcottagebks

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Murder_At_The_Myster_Cover_for_Kindle

Can Delphie Beauchamp, a Texas born research librarian fresh from a break-up with her two-timing boyfriend, help best friend and newly elected Chief of Police Em Landry, solve a double homicide in the old Mystery Bay Cemetery? Chief Landry needs Delphie’s help in solving the murders, along with determining why specific graves from the early eighteen-hundreds have been vandalized. Her canine best friend in tow, a twenty-two-pound dachshund named Huckleberry, Delphie heads for the tropical island of Mystery Bay, Florida where she begins a journey that includes a pinch of gold, a touch or romance, and a wallop of ghosts, in a race to solve the mystery, of the Mystery Bay Hotel.

EXCERPT

The smell of the ocean, crisp and briny like a jar of pickles, held just a hint of murder in the air. I picked up my luggage from the small carousel inside the terminal and opened the glass door of the Mystery Bay International Airport. The sultry, mid-October sunshine hit me all at once, along with the sweet fragrance of the red, frangipani trees that bordered the edges of the sidewalk. Amazing how paradise was just a plane ride away.

“God, what a beautiful day.” I dropped my suitcase on the pink-hued coral sidewalk and pulled out my sunglasses. Before I could slip them on, Huckleberry, my twenty-two pound, red Dachshund whined for me to take off his winter sweater. Poor little guy. The outfit worked great for the chilly October weather in central Texas but not the south Florida humidity.

“Sorry, Huck.” I unhooked his leash and pulled off the sweater. Stretching out his long body, Huckleberry trotted over to the nearest hibiscus bush and hunched over.  Seconds later he sighed in relief.  

I coughed and fanned the air. Guess he wasn’t that hot in his sweater after all.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

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Guest post from the author.

Craft vs. Creative Talent

Craft or creative talent was a burning question that was asked in many of the creative writing classes I attended when I first began to write. The instructor would begin the class by asking if a person could learn the craft of writing well enough to write a great book, or was creative talent the main factor in getting a book on a best sellers list regardless of how well the book was written?

For clarification, let’s get a few definitions going, so we’ll have a better idea of the two before we make a choice. Merriam-Webster defines the word “craft” as “an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill.”
The word “talent,” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a special ability that allows someone to do something well.”

Something to ponder, correct?  If you had to choose between the two, which one would you pick? One of the best classes I’ve taken for learning the craft of creative writing began with a simple exercise.  The exercise?  Write down twenty things that must happen in the book.  Simple, right?  But wait.  There was a problem. How do you know what twenty things to choose for your book?  Is that a function of craft or creative talent?

Once you decide on the twenty things, then the trick is to arrange them into a well-written, attention-grabbing, heart-pounding novel that involves sub-plots, character arcs, scene arcs, dialogue that rings true and forever changes the reader.

Again, craft or creative talent?

One of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of creative talent, is that a spectacular story can override a book that might not be quite as well written as it should.  The reader may have to struggle over improper grammar or sentence structure, weak plot or character development, but if they can do that, a page-turner could reside within that manuscript. Of course, one can also argue that a well written book may be so well done that it leeches any creativity out of the story line and leaves the reader dissatisfied without knowing why. I find each of these arguments to be true, although both leave something to be desired.  

When a reader decides to pick up our book, or download our e-book, we, as writers, are asking them to suspend their reality for a time and come into our world.  They are trusting us to provide them with an experience that makes it worth their time, and money.  When we don’t live up to their expectations, then we fall short as writers and leave them feeling disappointed and disjointed.  It’s not a good feeling, and something I don’t care to experience myself.

So, what is the answer?  For me, it’s caring enough about your work as a writer to provide the best experience possible for your reader.  It’s making sure you learn the craft of writing to turn your creative talent into an impossible to put down novel.  It’s taking the time to do the job right, without any shortcuts.  In other words, it’s combing the two, craft and creative talent, as well as you possibly can, so your reader will be left with an experience that will last them a life-time.

About the author.

Marcia Spillers has been a Librarian/Archivist for more than twenty years.  Currently a school librarian, she lives in Austin, Texas with her two chows, Bella and Susie Bear.  Marcia spent seventeen years in south Florida perfecting her writing skills, along with completing the Writer’s Program at UCLA.

Blog:  http://www.marciaspillers.com/blog/

Website:  www.MarciaSpillers.com

@mysterywriter2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.spillers.7

 

#AuthorInterview with Karen King (@Karen_king) for the ‘Perfect Summer’ #blogtour #extract

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Super excited to be hosting today’s stop on Karen King’s –  ‘Perfect Summer’ blog tour! Karen is definitely not a stranger to TWG HQ itself, but she is a stranger when it comes to a TWG interrogation! Well, she was ;). Enjoy!!

Hi Karen! Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today! Are you ready for your interrogation? I’ll be gentle, honest….
Thank you for inviting me along, Kaisha. I’m ready to go. *Takes a deep breath. *

Before we begin properly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you onto the path of writing?
Well I’ve always loved books, both reading and writing them. I had my first poem published when I was about eleven and that inspired me to carry on. As I got older, got married, had children, I still scribbled away but didn’t send anything off for years. Then I started sending stories and articles to children’s and teen magazines. Finally, Jackie magazine offered to buy an article off me. I was so chuffed! Then I wrote more for them, articles, stories, photo stories.

You write books for multiple audiences aside from women’s/contemporary fiction; could you tell us a little bit more about how you came about writing for multiple audiences?
I’ve always written for different genres because not long after I had my first article published in Jackie I was asked to write for young children’s comics and before I knew it I was writing for a living. But, with a family to support, that meant I had to keep writing, and selling my writing, so I often accepted commissioned work and wrote everything from picture books, joke books, story books, even plays. Now I find it difficult to write for one genre as I have so many ideas buzzing about in my head.

I will always hold your novel, ‘I do…or Do I?’ close to my heart as it’s such a fantastic novel (as well as the fact that my quote still gets tweeted to this day). What inspired you to write such a bold novel about such a relatable topic?
What a lovely thing to say. Thank you, Kaisha. And yes, your fabulous quote is very popular! The idea formed when I read somewhere that the night before her wedding Princess Diana was wondering if she was doing the right thing and her sister told her that she couldn’t pull out because her face was on the tea towel. I started wondering how many women got swept along with the wedding plans, maybe because of their partner, friends, or family, but it wasn’t really what they wanted. How many women were settling for marriage to ‘safe’ partners because they didn’t want to hurt their feelings. And gradually the idea fleshed out into a woman who is about to get married when she meets her first love again, and discovers they both have feelings for each other. I tweaked it a bit, made Timothy not so ‘safe’, brought in a pushy ‘monster in law’ and the story took off from there.

Between you and me, deep down did you secretly want to ruin a character’s life in the above book (or any others), or are you too nice for that?
Of course I’m too nice for that, Kaisha! 😊

Your new YA novel, ‘Perfect Summer’, is set to be published on the 10th May, congratulations! What awaits us beneath the front cover (totally not asking for spoilers)?
Don’t be fooled by the title as this is rather a gritty book.  It’s set about thirty years in the future when society is so totally obsessed by perfection that plastic surgery (now called body enhancement) is the norm and anyone who is slightly different, or disabled in any way is looked down upon. Morgan, the heroine, has a friend called Summer who is beautiful, rich, has cool parents and a seemingly perfect life whereas Morgan isn’t so beautiful or rich and her little brother Josh has Down’s syndrome.  Morgan and her family get a lot of hassle from the Ministry who want them to put Josh in a Residential Learning Centre, where most disabled children are sent, but Morgan’s family refuse. Then one day Josh goes missing and the authorities aren’t interested so Morgan and Sumer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager called Jamie whose little sister, Holly, has gone missing too, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late? Expect a few shocks and to shed a tear or two.

I have noticed that you also have a written a book which reminds me of shortbread, The Millionaire Plan. How difficult was it to write ‘millionaire plan’ instead of ‘millionaire shortbread’? This is a genuine question!!
It was quite difficult actually because the heroine Amber, had a ten-point plan to bag herself a millionaire and I quoted one of the ten ‘rules’ consecutively at the top of each chapter – so then of course I had to write the chapter to fit the rules! It was easier than making ‘millionaire shortbread’ though as I’m not a brilliant cook – I’m more of a ‘food heater’. You know, out of the freezer into the micro or oven.

Okay, ‘Perfect Summer’ is a YA novel, but if you could describe YOUR perfect summer in three words, what would they be?
Sun, sea and spritzer.

Some of your readers may be aware of one of the genres you write, and not the others. If a reader came to you asking you to persuade them to read your YA novel (they had never read that genre before), what would you tell them?
 A lot of adults read YA, in fact more than half the YA readership is adults according to the Guardian. I think this is mainly for two reasons, the escapist appeal of books like Harry Potter or Divergent, or the issues raised by books like The Fault in our Stars by John Green or Speak by Laure Halse Anderson – and by my own book, Perfect Summer. YA deals with topics in a lighter way than adult fiction and the books are often a pacier read so I’d say give it a go, what have you got to lose?

I have dabbled in a few YA novels in the past, do you have any favourite authors from that genre (aside from yourself obviously, goes without saying!)?
Yes, I’ve read quite a lot of YA but it’s hard to choose a favourite, there’s so much talent out there. I guess top of my list of YA books is Ash by Malinda Lo, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon and The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield – I was chuffed when one reviewer likened Perfect Summer to a cross between The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and The Uglies.

When you start planning your YA novels, how difficult is it to switch your mindset to ensure you do end up writing a story of that genre, and not any other genres?
It isn’t too difficult because for me the character always comes first, and it’s their story. I start writing straight away from ‘inside my character’s head’ so my mindset is in that genre and age group – hopefully!

I’m assuming you’re very well read (when you aren’t writing) what five things do you look for when it comes to other storylines by other authors? What keeps you hooked on a book?
I read in lots of different genres but the main things I look at are the title, cover, back blurb, first page and character voice. Those are what draw me in. And it’s the character that holds me, I need to care what happens to them, to want to find out if they make it through.

What five things are most likely to turn you off about a book?
A boring character, a story plot that’s going nowhere, too much blood and gore, graphically- detailed sex and lots of descriptive passages.

I ask this question to every author I interview; what was your most favourite book as a child and why?
The Just William books by Richmal Crompton because they made me laugh out loud.

Which books by other authors, if any, have stayed in your head long after you have finished reading them?
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, the Samaria series by Sharon Shinn, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J.Watson and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Do you look up to any authors, or secretly wish that you had written one of their books? (If yes, please share who and which one!!)
In the romance genre I love the work of Sophie Kinsella, Mandy Baggot and Sue Moorcroft. I can’t say there’s any book I wish I’d written because we all write differently so it wouldn’t be the same story if I wrote it – and probably not as successful!

A little birdie told me that July of this year will be when another book is added to your collection, you’re very busy! What exciting things can we expect with ‘A Cornish Hotel by the Sea’?
Yes I’m really excited about this one. I holidayed in Cornwall for years, and lived there for almost a decade so writing the book brought back many fond memories for me.

The blurb says ‘Ellie Truman’s widowed mum is struggling to keep Gwel Teg, the family hotel in Cornwall, afloat.  Ellie is determined to do everything in her power to help her, even if that means moving back to the sleepy Cornish village she fled from broken-hearted a few years ago. Things go wrong from the start and she’s grateful for the help from hunky guest, Reece Mitchell. But does Reece have ulterior motives? Will Ellie’s efforts be for nothing?’

So expect some clashes with a feisty, kind hearted heroine and a hunky not-quite-what-he-seems hero in a fantastic summer setting.

Are you preparing yourself already for readers to start saying ‘oh no, not another book set in Cornwall’? I have never been to Cornwall but it certainly seems a popular setting for books, does that concern you?
No not at all. It’s a lovely setting for a book. Sun, sea, sand and romance – what more can you want? Apart from a long, cool spritzer, of course!

TWG does like an exclusive, so, putting you on the spot now, do you have any exclusives for me? Do you have any new books being published after the July one? Please tell me alllllll; I won’t share your secrets….intentionally ;).
Well I am working on another three books; a YA, a chick lit and an emotional drama but that’s all I’m saying for now. 😊

Thank you so much for your time and good luck with the release of your new book, Perfect Summer, on the 10th May! As always I will cheer-lead you and your books. I hope to see you back on TWG soon, you’re welcome any time! Thank you for interviewing me, Kaisha, and for your support. It’s much appreciated. 😊

So today we have learnt that Karen is far too nice when it comes to ruining a characters life (hmmmm!!!! 😉 ), and how she struggled not to write ‘shortbread’ for one of her books! Write shortbread, eat shortbread; same thing really isn’t it? Mmmm I want some now! Thank you, Karen, for allowing me to interrogate you today!

For those of you who wish to find out more about Karen’s upcoming book, ‘Perfect Summer’, keep reading for the blurb and an extract!

perfectsummerBlurb

Set in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan is best friends with the
seemingly perfect Summer. But when Morgan’s brother, Josh, who has Down’s syndrome, is kidnapped, they uncover a sinister plot and find themselves in terrible danger.

Can they find Josh before it’s too late? And is Summer’s life as perfect as it seems?

Extract

Summer and I hurried upstairs while Josh was busy watching TV. Summer plonked herself down on my bed while I got my things ready.
“Want some music?” I asked, pressing the silver button on the comm-panel. The
latest hit from Krescendo, our favourite band, blasted out and a hologram of them playing beamed onto the wall. Then I pressed the green button, my wardrobe doors glided open, and a rail of clothes slid out. I glanced over at Summer, feeling awkward as always, that my room was so small and my wardrobe so sparse. Summer’s wardrobe was a huge walk-in affair full of designer clothes. Luckily, she was sprawled out watching Krescendo so I quickly grabbed the clothes I needed for the weekend and shoved them in my rucksack. Thank goodness I’d found an immaculate emerald green Maliko dress at the recycle store the other week. That would be perfect for Roxy’s. I knew Summer would let me borrow her clothes but felt better if I wore something of my own.
I took out the dress and zipped it into a freshpack to keep it crease-free. I glanced at
the image screen on my bedroom wall and grimaced. My make-up needed renewing and
some strands of my chestnut hair were escaping from the ponytail I’d swept it into. I swiftly fixed it and applied more make-up. I didn’t want to turn up at Summer’s looking a mess, Tamara and Leo expected everyone to always look their best.
“Ready.” I pressed the buttons on the CP again to close my wardrobe doors, and
switched off the music.
“Have a nice weekend,” Mum said as we popped in to say goodbye. She looked so
pale, with dark circles under her eyes. I could tell the visit from the Ministry had upset her and hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should stay. But Dad was due home soon and I was so looking forward to the weekend. I loved going to Summer’s house and being spoilt for a bit. It was like living in another world. She was so lucky.
“Thanks, we will.” I leaned over and tousled Josh’s chestnut curls. “Bye, Josh.”
“Play, Maw,” he said, scrambling up.
“Maw going out now. I’ll play with you when I come back.” He puckered his face as
if he was going to cry, but Mum took his hand. “Come on, Josh, let’s pick some tomatoes for tea.”
Josh’s face lit up. He loved helping Mum in the garden. Everyone had a vegetable
patch, compost and water butt by order of the Ministry as part of the Planet Protection
Programme. I hated gardening but Josh loved helping Mum water the plants with the rainwater collected in the butt, and picking the vegetables. Summer’s parents had a gardener, of course. Mum led Josh out into the garden while we went out the front door. before Josh could realise I was leaving. I had no idea how much I was going to regret not playing with Josh one more time. Or not kissing him goodbye.

Buy now from Amazon


Author Bio

Karen King is the author of over 120 children’s books and has had two YA’s published,
Perfect Summer and Sapphire Blue. Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA novel competition in 2011 and has just been republished by Accent Press.
Karen is also the author of two romance novels, and has been contracted for three chick lit novels by Accent Press. The first, I do?… or do I? was published in 2016 and the second, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, is due out in the Summer. In addition, Karen has written several short stories for women’s magazine and worked for many years on children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.
When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links


 

#Exclusive!! #Extract of Abi’s Neighbour by Jenny Kane (@JennyKaneAuthor) @AccentPress

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WHY HELLOOOOO EXCLUSIVE!! TWG does like an exclusive! If I’m honest I think Accent Press were quite aware of that little fact when they asked me to do this today, after all, I am their number 1 fan (coughwheresmybadgecough)! I am beyond thrilled to welcome back to TWG author, Jenny Kane! Not only is she a brilliant author, she is also fantastic to host posts for as she introduces herself! I can put my feet up for a few moments in Abi’s House as I hand you over to the lady herself, Jenny Kane!

Extract Exclusive:

I’m delighted to be here, on the wonderful Writing Garnet site, to share an exclusive extract from my forthcoming novel, Abi’s Neighbour! Out on the 4 th May, this is the second story to feature children’s picture book illustrator Abi Carter. In Abi’s House, Abi left an unhappy life in Surrey behind her, and headed to Cornwall for a much needed new start. A year later, and everything is going to plan…until the house next door goes up for sale.

Blurb for Abi’s Neighbour

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Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has
good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change
when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business.

Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get
along?

Complete with sun, sea and a gorgeous Cornwall setting, Abi’s Neighbour is the PERFECT
summer escape.

***

In Abi’s Neighbour, three brand new main characters join the Abi’s House regulars; Abi,
Max, Beth, Jacob and Stan. There is the unwelcome new neighbour, Cassandra Henley- Pinkerton; Dan Millfield, manager of the sheltered housing building where pensioner Stan Abbey lives, and feisty pensioner, Dora Henry.
Of all the characters I’ve ever invented, Dora Henry has to my one of my favourites. I hope you’ll love her as much as I do!

In this exclusive extract I’m going to introduce you to Dora for the first time.
We join the action as Abi joins her friend Stan Abbey, for their fortnightly dinner date in his sheltered housing flat.

Extract…

…As the front door opened, Sadie pushed her nose against her former owner’s legs,
and Stan beamed his ever-ready smile at his visitors as he affectionately ruffled the golden
retriever’s fur. ‘How are two of my favourite girls then?’
‘Well, Sadie here is just fine.’ Abi unfastened Sadie’s lead and followed Stan through
the hallway into his small open-plan living and dining room.
‘But I’m…’ About to tell Stan about her new neighbour, Abi abruptly stopped talking
as she realised they weren’t alone.
Stan’s grin became even broader, as he turned from Abi to the lady on the sofa, and
back again. ‘Dora, may I introduce you to my very dear friend, Abi Carter. Abi, this is Dora
Henry. And this beautiful creature is Sadie.’
Temporarily silent, Abi quickly came to her senses. ‘Hello, Dora, I’m very pleased to
meet you. You’re Stan’s bridge partner, isn’t that right?’
‘I’m a bit more than that, I hope.’ Dora winked at Stan, and Abi felt discomfort ripple
up her spine as she noticed that the table was laid for three and not two as usual.
Abi was spared from saying anything for a moment, as Dora said, ‘I’ve heard so much
about you. I’ve been dying to meet you. I hope you’re OK with me gatecrashing your
dinner?’
‘Of course!’ Abi wasn’t sure if she minded or not, but her inbuilt politeness had
automatically engaged, and anyway, she wouldn’t want to upset Stan for the world. Right
now he was looking more proud than she’d ever seen him. ‘I’ve heard plenty about you, too. I believe you’re the terror of the bridge club!’
‘Dora is something of a card shark,’ Stan said with a twinkle in his eye. Dora laughed.
‘I shall overlook that dubious accusation, seeing as you’re being so generous as to feed me,
Stanley Abbey.’
Then, speaking more seriously, she said, ‘I’m very pleased to meet you, Abi, but if
you object to me stealing some of your alone time with Stan, then I’m more than happy to
disappear.’
‘Not at all.’ Abi found her natural curiosity kicking in about this small, elegant
woman in Stan’s living room. ‘Shall I put the kettle on, Stan?’
‘It’s already on, Abi my girl. I tell you what, I’ll leave you two chatting, and I’ll make
the tea and get Sadie some water.’
Watching Stan disappear into the kitchen, Abi sat next to Dora. ‘I’m pleased to have
the chance to meet some of Stan’s friends.’
‘As am I.’ Dora focused her pale green eyes on Abi kindly. ‘Stan always keeps you all
to himself. He’s very protective of you, Abi.’
Abi’s initial disquiet at Dora’s presence eased as Dora received the Sadie seal of
approval. The dog, as if sensing Abi needed reassurance, padded across the room, and placed her chin on a delighted Dora’s knees.
‘You, my lovely,’ Dora stroked the retriever’s golden back, ‘are also at the top of
Stan’s list to talk about. And who can blame him? Not many blokes his age have two
beautiful females as regular visitors.’
Abi wasn’t sure what to say as she looked at Dora, who, although almost as old as
Stan himself, retained the air of a classic beauty. The tone of her words was gentle, and Abi
detected no sarcasm or jealousy, but there was something… something Abi couldn’t put her
finger on, that was hanging unsaid in the air. Deciding she was being ridiculous, Abi asked,
‘How long have you been living at Chalk Towers, Dora?’
‘Five years this coming Christmas.’ Dora’s warm smile lit up her eyes as Stan walked
about in with a tray of tea, and the unease Abi had felt instantly returned.
They aren’t… are they? Hoping she was letting her imagination run away with her,
Abi stuck firmly to small talk. ‘Do you like it here?’
‘I love it.’
With one eye on Stan as he sat down and served the tea, knowing he would never
have invited Dora to join them if he wasn’t very fond of her, Abi said, ‘I take it Stan has told
you how I ended up living in his house?’
‘It’s your house now, Abi.’ Stan passed her a mug.
‘True – but it took ages before I stopped feeling like I’d evicted you.’
Stan regarded his young friend. ‘I’ve said it before, and no doubt I’ll have to say it
again, but this is the best thing I’ve done in years. I was so lost after my Mary passed away.
You did me a favour, Abi, coming along when you did.’
Abi squeezed his hand, and passed a cup and saucer to Dora. ‘Do you take sugar?’
‘She’s sweet enough without!’ Stan said.
Abi was about to laugh at the old cliché, but the expression on Dora’s face stopped
her. There was no doubt about it – her suspicions had been correct…

***

To find out more about Dora, the poker queen, tall-tale teller, and secret service operative (maybe)…then grab your copy of Abi’s Neighbour!

Buy links-  Amazon UK // Amazon US
***

Many thanks again to Kaisha for hosting me today,
Jenny xxx

Bio
Jenny Kane is the author of the full length romance novels Abi’s Neighbour, (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the contemporary romance/medieval crime time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the best-selling contemporary romance novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015).

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.
Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee and historical crime as Jennifer Ash.

Social Media Links
Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

#BlogTour! #Review & #Extract – The Woman Who Met Her Match @FionaGibson @AvonBooksUK

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Fiona Gibson has drawn her own blog tour banner and OHMYGOD it’s GORGEOUS!!! SWOOOOOOOOOOOON! I am beyond excited to be today’s stop on Fiona’s blog tour for her new book, The Woman Who Met Her Match, which was published by #TeamAvon on the 20th April! Today I bring you not one but TWO exciting things in my post; a review of the book and an extract. I hope you enjoy! Big thanks to #TeamAvon for asking me to be on the tour!

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What if your first love came back on the scene . . . 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?

A wonderfully funny novel, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Joanna Bolouri and Milly Johnson.

What does TWG think?

I’ll admit, I was UBER excited about Fiona’s new book as soon as I saw it! Have you SEEN that font?! Vintage swirls meet bold and inspirational, that’s my take on the font anywhoo!

SO, the book!! Lorrie, a single mum to two teenagers that are adamant to get her love life rocketing from 0-100, with a little help from a certain online dating site. Little did she know what colourful men she would meet on the dates! Cringe! Being a single lady in her forties didn’t seem to worry Lorrie TOO much, yet when her past decided to reappear once again, her personal life decided to use a question mark for a hat.

Can you imagine that, having a question mark for a hat? Wouldn’t really keep your head dry if it rained though, eh?

Just like Fiona Gibson’s previous novels, TWWMHM (The Woman Who Met Her Match) was full of one liners, sarcastic humour and enough cringey moments to keep you full until dinner time (aka A LOT). Honestly! Some of the things Lorrie’s dates came out with caused my hand to fly up to my face so quickly due to embarrassment, I ended up slapping my own face! Classy TWG, classy.

I thought that the French addition to the storyline was a genius idea as I was able to see a different side to Lorrie. She seemed to have a larger than life personality and I wanted her to show it off!

What really hit home with Fiona’s novel was the underlying inspirational touch throughout the entire storyline. Instead of the frequent use of candyfloss inspirational messages, Fiona incorporated fictional kicks up the tooshes into her relatable, bold storyline. There didn’t seem to be any unattainable hidden messages about situations that could happen once in a blue moon; instead there were positivity outcomes to real life circumstances. What more could you want? For me, the real life edge gave the entire storyline its own special platform and made it stand out from the rest.

Whilst I enjoyed the overall storyline, there were a couple of moments where the storyline slowed down and I ended up wondering where it was heading. Luckily, it did get its little nudge and the storyline picked back up again but I did hope that Lorrie could have filled that gap with her big personality.

There were A LOT of things in this book that made me laugh out loud and think to myself , many things which could be seen as spoilers so I’ll keep it to myself. BUT, those thought-provoking moments in the storyline really did open my mind and helped me to see certain things in a different light.

TWWMHM is a bubbly, colourful, laugh out loud read which will keep you on your toes, and have you reaching for a slice of cake to support Lorrie. When the Spice Girls used the term ‘girl power’ back in the nineties, I ignored it, yet Fiona Gibson has just made ‘girl power’ popular again thanks to THIS novel.

Yet another delightful and insightful novel from the very talented, Fiona Gibson. Definitely NOT to be missed!

Thank you Avon Books!

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract!

30 Years Later

He’s done that thing.

That thing of using a really old photo on his dating profile. How long ago was it taken? Ten years? Fifteen? This could be a fun guessing game. As if I wouldn’t notice that his hair isn’t in fact a lush chestnut brown as it appears in his picture but actually silver.

‘Lorrie? Hi!’

‘Ralph, hi!’ Force a smile. Don’t look shocked. Don’t stare at the hair.

‘Lovely to meet you.’

‘You too . . .’

‘Shall we go in then?’ he asks brightly.

‘Yes, of course!’

As the two of us stride into the Nutmeg Gallery, I try to reconcile the fact that the man I’ve had lodged in my head – with whom I’ve been corresponding via email all week – isn’t the eerily youthful-looking Ralph I’d expected to meet. Dressed in a crisp white shirt, new-looking jeans and a blue cotton jacket, he is a perfectly presentable man of forty-eight. He has striking blue eyes, his teeth are notably good – shiny and white, probably flossed – and he’s in pretty decent shape, suggesting that he does a bit of light jogging and goes easy on the booze. So why dig out a picture from something like 2002? When someone does that – and it contravenes the trade descriptions act really – it doesn’t matter how attractive they are, because it’s all you can think about.

And you feel sort of duped.

It was Ralph’s suggestion to meet here, outside the gallery tucked away by a pretty stretch of the canal in Islington. Ideal, I thought. The art bit would feel pleasingly grown-up. I know I shouldn’t still regard galleries in that way, being forty-six myself. I mean, I am mother to two teenagers, for goodness’ sake. I shouldn’t need to do certain things – like look at art – in order to feel like a bona fide adult. Then, after we’d sped through the gallery, we could get to the part I was really looking forward to: a chat in the cafe he’d mentioned, with tables overlooking the canal. ‘Amazing home baking,’ he’d said.

I’d had a good feeling about today, and not just due to the cake element. Ralph had been chatty and interesting in his emails: a solicitor – again, pleasingly grown-up – with hints of poshness and a warm, likeable face. After a couple of dud dates with other men I’d allowed myself a glimmer of hope. But now, well, he’s just not what I expected.

‘I didn’t even know this place existed,’ I tell him as we wander into the first gallery room.

‘Oh, I’ve been here a few times. It’s a charming little place.’

As we study the paintings – at least, I pretend to study them – a sense of awkwardness settles over us.

‘So, how’s it been so far?’ I ask lightly. ‘The whole, um, online thing, I mean?’ An older couple are perusing the artworks, and my voice sounds terribly amplified in here. Perhaps it wasn’t such a great choice of venue after all.

‘Oh, I’ve just started really,’ Ralph says. ‘In fact, you’re the first person I’ve met.’

‘Really? Well, I’m flattered.’ Silly thing to say, I know. He probably just hasn’t got around to meeting anyone else yet.

‘What d’you think of these?’ He indicates a row of small paintings, all in similar beigey hues. They are close-ups of various body parts – a forearm, a thigh, a rather septic-looking finger – each bearing a plaster.

‘Not crazy about them,’ I admit. ‘It’s all a bit medical, isn’t it?’

Ralph chuckles. ‘Yes, it is a bit. The permanent collec­tion’s much better – let’s go take a look.’

We stroll through to an airier room filled with bright, splashy abstracts which are far more pleasing with their cheery colours. Ralph makes straight for a still life depicting a wobbly yolk-yellow circle on a sky blue back­ground.

‘That’s quite striking, isn’t it?’ I remark.

He nods. ‘Yes, it was always Belinda’s favourite.’

‘Belinda?’ I give him a quizzical look.

‘My wife,’ he explains.

‘Oh, right.’

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from ‘Deadly Game’ author Matt Johnson (@Matt_Johnson_UK) @OrendaBooks

Big thanks to author of ‘Deadly Game’, Matt Johnson, and Orenda Books, for having me host today’s stop on the blog tour! Matt Johnson has written a really insightful guest post for us here at TWG HQ! I am super excited to share with you Matt’s thoughts on editing books and having to decide whether all parts of the storyline make the final cut or not!

A darling killed – Matt Johnson.

The editing process can be hard, especially to a new author who is not used
to it. Those words that you have almost sweated blood to produce, that you
have agonised over, changed, improved … only to find they are despatched
to the edit room floor. But that is the very nature of the editor’s role, too look
dispassionately at the content and to make recommendations on what needs
to be changed, what needs to be added, and what should be cut. Editing
helps the story move smoothly, maintains pace and keeps the book on track.
It chops the padding, removes the irrelevant red herrings and polishes up
what remains. It turns a manuscript into a book.

This is an extract from Deadly Game, one that didn’t make the cut. I liked it,
and was sad to see it go, but the editing team were right. And so, my darling
was killed. In this chapter, the central character Robert Finlay has been sent to interview
a potential witness in Gloucester. He meets an old friend, Wendy Russell,
now in charge of policing for that area. This extract, describes and event from
when they first met.

***

Wendy Russell and I had been PCs together at Albany Street and, before
that, on the same intake for the police training school at Hendon in North
London. Early days as a constable consisted of a lot of classroom work, practical
assessments and exercises. After that, every evening was spent on book
study. As an older student, I hadn’t found the book-work easy. Wendy had
been a great help. We first met, one late evening, when I’d taken a break from
the studying to grab a quick beer in the recruit bar. A young redhead had
walked up beside me and offered to buy me a drink. It was Wendy. I accepted
the offer, of course. It’s not every day that kind of thing happens.

Our first hour together was spent talking about the course, why we’d joined
the police and other, ‘get to know you’ type things. Later, Wendy explained
that she’d only spoken to me out of sympathy; she felt sorry for me, sitting on
my own at the bar. I didn’t mind, and that first drink turned out to be the start
of a long friendship. My new friend was on the graduate entry scheme. I
hadn’t heard of it. She explained that by the time I would be eligible to try for a
promotion to sergeant, she would already have made inspector. As it
transpired, her prediction proved correct. Wendy was bright, articulate, and
attractive. She was also a lot younger than me, and was already engaged to
be married to a sergeant who worked in Central London.

Our friendship was cemented one day during ‘restraint’ training. One of the PT
staff had a dislike of female recruits and a resentment of what he called the
‘Bramshill flyers’, the fast-track promotion graduates who would be heading to
the police staff college as their careers progressed. To this particular
instructor, WPCs were all a ‘plonk’ or ‘Doris’ who should have been kept
inside the police stations to make the tea and to look after women and kids.
The fact that Wendy was both female and a ‘flyer’ caused her to be the
subject of much of this man’s attention. A former NCO from one of the infantry
regiments, his uniform tunic was adorned with several medal ribbons, some of
which I recognised. It wasn’t unusual; most of the ex-services lads wore their
ribbons. Almost all had completed tours in Ireland, so the green and blue
General Service ribbon was quite commonplace. Others sported NATO
medals and the Falkland Islands ribbon.

On the day in question, Wendy had been singled out by the PT instructor to
demonstrate restraint techniques. We were to be taught how to deal with
awkward prisoners using the ‘hammerlock and bar’ hold. It was simple
enough to use, but not if you were a rather diminutive female who’s
overpowering male instructor was set on showing you up.
As the rest of the class watched, our fellow recruit was teased, humiliated
and, repeatedly dumped on the gym floor in a bedraggled mess. Wendy tried
hard, very hard, but the instructor was strong, and he was determined to
make his point about the value of WPCs. I saw a tear in Wendy’s eye as she lay on the floor following her sixth or seventh attempt to apply the hold to her tormentor. Ignoring her, the instructor ordered us to form pairs and practise amongst ourselves. I went over to
Wendy and helped her up.
‘You ok?’ I asked.
‘One day, I’m going to come back here as an inspector, then we’ll see who’s
laughing,’ she answered, bravely.
‘Why wait that long?’
‘What do you mean?’

I moved Wendy to the back of the gym where we would be away from the rest
of the class. The instructor, I noticed, had nipped out to do something else
while we tried to master the hold he had been teaching. I had also noticed the
way he had been tipping Wendy on her back as she tried to place him in the
hold. He relied on brute strength. He was overconfident, certain of his strength
advantage and, as a result, was badly balanced on his feet. He didn’t consider
his adversary to be a threat. That left him vulnerable to surprise.
Over the course of the next few minutes, I allowed Wendy to practise on me.
The first time, I dumped her on her back, in the very same way that had
happened to her in front of the class. She made to storm off, but I held her
arm.
‘Stop,’ I said. ‘Now, try this.’
Using a simple sweeping movement of the leg, I showed Wendy how to knock
me off balance and onto my back. By the time the instructor returned, she was
becoming quite proficient at it.
‘OK you lot,’ came the call from our leader. ‘Who’s going to show me what
you’ve learnt?’
For a few seconds, nobody moved. Then Wendy stepped forward. ‘Mind if I
have another try, sergeant.’ The instructor and a couple of the younger male
recruits laughed, but Wendy continued her approach. Failing to anticipate that his stooge could have improved much in the time he had been absent, our teacher adopted the same casual approach to embarrassing his challenger. It was a mistake. Wendy was quick. What she
lacked in strength, she more than made up for in speed. In a flash, the
instructor was decked.

For good measure, Wendy stood for a moment, her right foot on her victim’s
neck and her fists in the air. She looked for all the world like a victorious
gladiator awaiting a command from her audience as to whether to spare her
unfortunate opponent. Two of the women laughed and gave the ‘thumbs
down’ sign. The rest of us cheered and clapped our hands enthusiastically.
In November that year, we were both posted out to Albany Street Police
Station, near Euston, to start our two-year probationary period as uniform
PCs. I had been placed on ‘C’ relief, Wendy was put with ‘D’. Over the coming
years, she inevitably encountered a lot more of the kind of attitude shown by
that instructor, but it didn’t faze her. We kept in contact until she left the Met
several years later, having been promoted to Superintendent.
And now, here she was. As large as life, with six years under her belt in
charge of policing in Gloucester.

Thanks again to Matt for the fantastic guest post! Read on to find out more about his book, Deadly Games, and the link to buy a copy for yourself!

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Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all… Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.

Buy now from Amazon

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#Blogtour! #Extract of #BornBad by Marnie Riches (@Marnie_Riches) @AvonBooksUK

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A powerful, darkly comic novel set in the criminal underworld of Manchester from bestselling author Marnie Riches.

The battle is on…

When gang leader Paddy O’Brien is stabbed in his brother’s famous nightclub, Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core. Tensions are running high, and as the body count begins to grow, the O’Brien family must face a tough decision – sell their side of the city to the infamous Boddlington gang or stick it out and risk losing their king.

But war comes easy to the bad boys, and they won’t go down without a fight. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands – but only the strongest will survive…

Buy now from Amazon UK

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Thank you to Helena, from Avon Books for inviting me on the blog tour today! I have an extract from ‘Born Bad’ to share with you, enjoy!

Extract
by Marnie Riches

Resignation in Tiffany’s voice. She turned to him, treating him to a dead-eyed stare. ‘All they can do is try to shrink it. Radiothingy. They said it’s grown into his nose and around the optic nerves. He’s going blind. Doc said there’s not a surgeon in England has got the savvy to get it out. He’s shafted …’

Lev looked down at Jay and felt tears leak onto his cheeks. Imagining the tumour within his son, wrapping itself around the boy’s beautiful green eyes, suffocating the healthy tissue, eating into space that his brain should by rights fill, replacing thoughts of Postman Pat and Chuggington and whatever other shit the kid watched on CBeebies with pain. Somehow, he had failed the boy. Somehow, it was his fault. There had to be a way to make it better. His mother had always told him the Lord was merciful.

‘… Unless we can get him to the States.’ Tiffany inhaled her cigarette deeply and blew the smoke over Lev’s closely shorn hair.

A glimmer of hope. ‘You what?’

She nodded slowly. Flicked her fingernails with her thumb. ‘There’s this brain surgeon in Baltimore. The place is called John Hopkins Brain Centre or summat.’

‘Right,’ Lev said, wiping the tears from his cheeks determinedly. ‘He’s going. We’ll take him.’

‘It’s a hundred and fifty grand. Maybe more. Where you gonna find that kind of cash, smart arse? Flogging baggies of coke in town on a Saturday night? Get a grip!’

Lev’s heart, buoyed instantly by the thought of a cure that glittered with promise on the other side of the Atlantic, took a slow trip back down to the soles of his Nike Air-Max trainers. He mentally rifled through the hiding places he had for cash in the Sweeney Hall high-rise he called home. The toilet cistern contained £2,500 and a gun that was worth a few quid, wrapped up in plastic bags. There was another £1,900 at the back of the gas meter in an old Brillo box. £5,000 in a carrier bag, gaffer-taped to the underside of his wardrobe. He couldn’t even make ten grand.

‘We’ll find it,’ he said. ‘I’ll ask Tariq and Jonny for more work. Maybe I can help out as muscle. The Fish Man gets paid a mint.’

Tiffany snorted. ‘You? Muscle? Where, in your pants? That’s the only place you ever had muscle, Le-viti-carse.’

His hours spent at the gym every week were clearly lost on that cheeky, head-wiggling cow. Or maybe she was bitching because she wasn’t getting it any more. Yes, that was it. The jibe stung less when he looked at it that way. But this was no time for hurt sensibilities over the quality of his six-pack.

‘I’ll have it saved, borrowed or stolen inside six months. I promise. The full whack.’ The words came out as a half-whisper, bound for his sleeping son’s ears.

‘Six months? You are joking,’ Tiffany said, picking her cigarette dimp out of the ashtray. She put it back inside her cigarette packet, stood and grabbed the empties from the table. No trace of emotion in her indifferent face. ‘The doctor reckons he’ll be dead in three, even with radiowhatsit. We need a miracle. How about you talk to that shithouse, your mother. She’s pretty fucking friendly with God, isn’t she?’

But the words he’ll be dead in three were ringing in Lev’s ears like bad tinnitus. He looked down at Jay, frowning in his sleep. Golden downy hairs on those honeyed, rubicund cheeks. The only beautiful thing in this godforsaken hole. The only beautiful thing in Lev’s entire beleaguered existence. Lev imagined his son lifeless and stiff, his eyes, staring blankly into the abyss, the childish shine all gone. His small body, interred in the autumn-hardening ground of Agecroft Cemetery, a fancy white coffin the only cold comfort remaining at the end of a life left unlived and mourned bitterly by wailing female relatives who should have looked after the poor little bastard better. Then, he pictured himself by his son’s graveside. Wearing his only suit, normally worn for court appearances, weddings and the odd stag night. Here is the homecoming for the son of Leviticus Bell – a pure soul begat by a sinner, snatched back to heaven by an unforgiving God that expects more from his flock than petty drug-dealing, cheap sex and knife crime.

Lev allowed the darkness to engulf him. Chastised himself for being useless at a time of need. Reminded him- self that he was one of life’s fighters. Remembered that Jay still had a chance while Dr Whateverhi‌sorhernamewas at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore existed. ‘Jesus Christ, Tiff. Our Jay can’t die. I won’t let him. I’m gonna sort this.

 

#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘Date with Death’ by Julia Chapman (@DalesWriter) @Panmacmillan

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Samson O’Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency while he fights to clear his name. However, the people of Bruncliffe aren’t that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating Agency, afloat – as well as trying to control her wayward Weimaraner dog, Tolpuddle. Then when Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn, and soon he discovers a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah’s agency.

With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, the two feuding neighbours soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. But working together is easier said than done . . .

Buy now from Amazon

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Thrilled to be able to share an extract of Julia Chapman’s ‘Date With Death, with you all today as the tour bus swings by TWG! Thank you to Alice Dewing from Panmacmillan for inviting me on the tour! Hope you enjoy the extract!

From Chapter One

‘Edith, is that . . . ? It can’t be . . .’

Edith Hird turned to see what had captured Clarissa’s attention, squinting across the road at the motorbike and the man sitting astride it. It should have been hard to tell, with the distance and her ageing eyesight. But she knew straight away, even with the mane of black hair that graced his shoulders. It was the defiant way he was staring down at the town, the familiar brooding intensity – which had grown into hostility as the years passed and he became branded as a renegade – accentuated by the livid bruising on his cheek. The motorbike was a giveaway, too. Everyone in Bruncliffe knew that bike.

As Titch and the two elderly sisters moved closer to the window to get a better view, Elaine Bullock was crossing the cafe to the only occupied table, her entire focus on the plates in her hands.

‘Here you go. Home-made cottage pie and chips,’ she announced cheerfully as she approached the waiting diners, relieved to have made it without any mishaps. Then she made the fatal mistake of glancing outside and her gaze was caught by the sight of the man on the motorbike. She only had time for a glimpse of his profile before he put his helmet on. It was enough.

‘Oh my God!’ she gasped, plates tilting in her hands to a precarious angle, everything sliding towards the edge. ‘It’s . . . that’s . . .’

‘Trouble,’ said Titch, oblivious to the dripping plates. ‘With a capital T.’

‘I need to make a phone call,’ said Elaine, hastily depositing the meals onto the now gravy-smeared table before hurrying over to the coat stand, grabbing her mobile from her jacket pocket and rushing towards the back door, leaving her customers bemused in her wake.

‘Well,’ said Edith, still transfixed by the man on the other side of the road, a smile growing on her face. ‘Looks like life in Bruncliffe is about to get interesting.’

Buy now from Amazon

[Julia Chapman is the author of Date with Death, the first novel in the Dales Detective Series, published March 9th (Pan). You can follow Julia on Twitter @DalesWriter, visit her website www.jstagg.com and find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/DalesDetective]