#suspense · blog tour · bloodhoundbooks · book blogger · guest spotlight

#BlogBlitz! #GuestPost from author of #HesAtYourDoor, Alex Sinclair (@ASinclairAuthor) @BloodHoundBook

Here is a guest post from Alex Sinclair, author of ‘He’s At Your Door’, for the first day of the blog tour. Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the invite.

Karen Rainey lives a sheltered life on the edge of the city. For the last five years, she has rarely left the home unless it was unavoidable. She has her food and anything else she needs delivered to the front door. She works from home to avoid venturing outside.

But Karen isn’t agoraphobic. She’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, Zach, who is serving a life sentence in prison for a string of bank robberies after Karen testified against him. With the constant threat that Zach might send someone to find and kill her, Karen keeps a low profile.

To aid her in paying the rent each month, Karen takes in the occasional housemate, opting for students from the local university. Her current housemate, Beth, is a young student who has no idea about Karen’s past.

But when a mysterious package is left of her doorstep, it sends Karen’s world into turmoil.

Has Zack found her?

Isolated and frightened, Karen befriends Beth but refuses to tell her everything about her past.

Trapped inside their home, Karen and Beth soon begin to lose their minds.

But is the threat really outside or is it closer to home?

Guest post.

The Five a.m. start

I’m not a morning person. When it’s dark outside before the sun rises, like most people, I’d rather be sound asleep. But when you are an author who still works a full-time job, you have little choice.

When my daughter was born a little over three years ago, she had a lot of trouble early on sleeping. We were lucky if she lasted two hours at a time despite having enough food in her belly to see her through to the next feed. Because of this, my wife and I took turns attempting to help her go back to sleep. To say it exhausted us was an understatement.

When you have your first child, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming change your life will undertake to accommodate a tiny human’s every need. It’s amazing how such a small thing impacts not only your lifestyle but the way you see the world. Each person handles the transition differently. But for me, it was the moment I resolved to take my writing seriously and put in the hard yards.

I was up one morning around four with my daughter on my chest, trying my hardest to coax her back to sleep. I was reclined in the feeding chair with my laptop within reach. While my bundled-up daughter drifted off on me, I decided to do some writing to keep myself awake while she settled into a deep slumber. The light rattling of the keyboard seemed to help settle her. This became a nightly ritual until I realized something: I was getting more work completed than ever before.

Prior to this new and bizarre habit, I would write when I felt like it, typically at night. I’d be lucky to put down four hundred words over several hours, often distracted by the TV or my wife. It would take me six months to complete a first draft of anything. But when I wrote in the early hours of the morning, the words flowed. The absolute calm and quiet of the dark before the sun came up allowed me to move into a focused zone. Once my daughter slept through the night, I decided to get up every morning at five to spend two hours writing before work or before the day started with my family.

That was three years ago. In that time, I’ve written seven novels and three novellas while working full time and helping to raise our child. Life is busy. I had three novels published in 2018. I have another two being published in 2019 so far. It’s thanks to this seven-day-a-week writing habit. Unless something else needs to be prioritized or I’m sick, I don’t sleep in. The early starts have helped me achieve far more than I ever imagined possible and are charging me toward my goal of becoming a full-time author.

I’ll admit, it’s not an easy thing to do every day. I’ve had my difficulties. Some mornings, I can produce three thousand words in less than two hours. On others, I’m lucky if I break through to the one-thousand-word mark. But the most important factor is consistency. You must write every day if you want to improve your craft and be capable of producing anything worthy of publication. It’s no different from putting in the hours at a job. If you fail to show up consistently, you can’t expect to get ahead.

I wish I had understood the importance of treating writing like a career and not a hobby when I first started a novel back in 2011. I have my daughter to thank for showing me what was possible. I’m sure she just wanted a warm chest to snuggle into, but one day I’ll tell her how much she motivated her dad to take his writing to the next level.

Alex Sinclair

blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #Promo – Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Cursed Serpent by Columbkill Noonan (@columbkillnoon1) @RaRaResources

Happy first day of the blog tour, Columbkill Noonan! For my stop on the tour I will be doing a little bit of promo by sharing all the details of the book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links.

“For Queen, for Country, and for….Uncle Rabbit?”

Just when Barnabas and Wilfred thought the world was safe at last, along comes a new threat: the Mayan Lords of Death have hatched a plan to overthrow the natural order of things, involving a cursed serpent god, two untrustworthy sets of twins, and a dead bunny that must be resuscitated at all costs. Only Barnabas and Wilfred can possibly unravel the convoluted plot, but they face danger after danger as they attempt to do so. If they fail, up will be down and down will be up, and the evil Lords of Death will take over the heavens.

Do Barnabas and Wilfred have the courage, skill (and luck!) to save the world yet again?

Buy now from Amazon US

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling “Barnabas Tew” series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

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blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #GuestPost ‘Novels Can’t Triumph Without These 4 Essentials’ by Celia Moore (@celiamoorebooks) @rararesources

I am super excited to be closing Celia Moore’s blog tour today with a guest post from the lady herself. Huge thanks to Rachel, as always, for the blog tour invite. Before I share the guest post, here is a little bit more information about Celia’s novel, ‘Fox Halt Farm’:

Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened. Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.

Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?
Fox Halt Farm is hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start. If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this novel too!

Buy now from Amazon

Guest post.

Thank you, Kaisha for allowing me to be a guest on your blog. I am a big fan of The Writing Garnet so it’s a real privilege for me to be here. I want to talk about something I feel was vital to making my novel as good as it could be.

I first published Fox Halt Farm in November 2017, and a few months ago I completed its sequel, but having written this second book, learnt and developed new skills, and having scrutinised my original novel, I had to admit the awful truth to myself that Fox Halt Farm wasn’t perfect.

I am sharing here the 4 reasons that helped me see its failings.

1. Honest feedback. – having been wholly delighted with Fox Halt Farm when I published it – I sought feedback from a few people I trusted to give me an honest review so I could improve the way I wrote the sequel. The people I approached were ones I respected for their expertise but they still found it hard to criticise, knowing how much Fox Halt Farm meant to me – they were all wholly positive and encouraging but luckily, they were also brave enough to show me where I had gone wrong.

2. Standing back and time to reflect. – having written the sequel, time had passed which allowed me to see my debut novel from a new perspective, looking at it objectively, no longer as emotionally attached as I had been when I first published it. Time and a new viewpoint as a reader, rather than as the author, made me look at the words and the way I had written the story in a whole new light.

3. Writing group, classes, books and my peers. I joined my local writing group and discovered great advice, encouragement and support. I read books about how to write effectively and I met other authors too. Creative writing is a craft and all these pointers helped me grasp a better understanding of ways to improve my work.

4. Courage to admit the truth to myself – knowing that Fox Halt Farm could be improved was initially difficult for me to accept. At first, I couldn’t get past all the work I had put in getting it just so. I was delighted with my story. My long dreamt of debut was finished and I was desperate to move forward with the next part of the story. But inside, I knew I’d never be happy unless I did something about the niggling concerns, I had.

After hours of rewriting, not to change the story but to make my first novel easier to read, more polished and interesting, I have a wonderful book that I am proud of again. A triumph in my eyes. I am so happy to have been brave enough to say, ‘No this isn’t good enough.’

About the author.

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

Social Media Links –


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book blogger · guest spotlight · lifestyle · real life · RNA · TWG's thoughts · Uncategorized

Happy birthday, The Writing Garnet! #TWGTurnsThree #TheWritingGarnet #BlogBirthday #ThankYou

Happy 3rd birthday The Writing Garnet! #TWGTurnsThree
Happy birthday TWG,
Happy birthday TWG,
Happy birthday to TWGGGGGG,
Happy birthday TWG!!

I cannot believe my little blog turns THREE today! Never in a million years did I think, three years ago, that I would be sitting here celebrating my blogs third birthday. I started TWG one night because I wanted to say thank you to the authors who continue to allow me to escape by reading their books, and because I adore books!

I am completely overwhelmed (yes, still) by the response to my blog and I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting me, being my friend, cheerleading the good things, and being there through the bad. I have met such wonderful people through blogging and the book community, and yes, there have been times where I have thought to myself ‘is it worth it?’ in amongst the blogger bashing and what not. I’m only human. But, I adore my books and my blog too much to disappear now. Sorry – you’re stuck with me!

So, the last 12 months have been insane! I have found myself being quoted on the FRONT cover of a book, quoted in paperbacks and e-books, and found myself in multiple acknowledgements. Thank you to the authors, publishers and publicists for making that happen!

I have had the pleasure of meeting authors and bloggers at various book events, with the most recent one being the Orenda Roadshow in Edinburgh. I am a very anxious person but I am so proud of myself for taking myself out of my comfort zone to meet up with some truly wonderful people. Thank you, Karen!

Last November TWG won an award, making the blog a multi-award WINNING blog! Now I didn’t blog about it at the time because I was at the receiving end of a few not so nice things, which meant that I chose to hide away. In hindsight I totally regret doing that – why shouldn’t I be proud?! I was amazed to win Media/Blog Star of the Year at the RNA (Romantics Novelist Association) Industry Awards, and I won a glass award with my name on it. I cried. I was in complete shock. I never expected to win as I was up against two of the biggest names in the blogging community, so when Mandy Baggot facetimed me with the news I just couldn’t believe it. Thank you to everyone at the RNA for nominating me, making your winner and for being utterly fabulous. Thank you to Sue Heath for picking up my award on my behalf. I still look at the award on the window sill and think that they’ve made a mistake. Such an honour!

What else has happened in the last 12 months? Well, TWG became a fully fledged published writer, courtesy of the online Honeymoon Book Club and Brides Magazine (again, pinch me!). You can check it out here!

Blogging aside, the last year has been a rollercoaster for me and my health. I have had bad news after bad news, scan after scan….and I have still got a long road ahead of me as I push for diagnosis’ for more things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware ‘it could be worse’, but contrary to popular belief – I don’t post ALL of my health things on Facebook! I am very self-conscious by the fact that I am losing my mobility even more thanks to more muscle wastage in my legs, but because I am such a stubborn ass, limping is my thang. It gets me down, which is exactly why I turned to blogging. Of course, back then, I was nowhere near as poorly as what I am now, which is why you’ll probably find me with my nose in multiple books at one time!

So yes, TWG has now turned three and once again I want to thank you all for helping me make TWG what it is. Without you reading my posts, sharing them, commenting, liking my Facebook page, giving me book recommendations and so on, there would be a high chance of me sitting here talking to myself. Thank you for believing in me!

It’s crazy to think that next year when the blog turns four, I would have just turned 30!

Here’s to another year of fabulous books, fabulous book events, and just being ourselves – Happy birthday TWG!!

blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #QandA with author of ‘Dark and Fluffy’, Janet Stock @rararesources

Fifth blog tour of the day! Thank you for all of the shares and support for the previous blog posts today – much appreciated. I am back with my second RaRaResources blog tour of the day, a Q&A with author of Dark and Fluffy, Janet Stock. Before all of that, here is a little more information about the book:

Following on from Dark & Fluffy, this collection is a further nine short fiction pieces. The title Dark & Fluffy II, reflects the general styles of the stories/prose in the book. Some are a bit darker, and may be a bit uncomfortable to read, Death by Testing and The Broken Arrangement fall into this category. Others are happier, feel good pieces like The Disney Club. Whatever your preference, I’m sure you’ll find something that will grab your attention.

Purchase Links

UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Fluffy-II-Janet-Stock-ebook/dp/B07LDRKL5D

US  https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Fluffy-II-Janet-Stock-ebook/dp/B07LDRKL5D

Q&A with Janet Stock

Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?

I’m a 51 year old mum of a teenage son. I started writing as a child and took it up again about 10 years ago. I decided last year, to take my writing seriously and self-publish at least one book. I ended up self-publishing 3 books last year, Dark & Fluffy, Dark & Fluffy Vol II and 500 Words. The Dark & Fluffy 1 & 2 are an assortment of short fiction works, and 500 Words consists of 5 flash fiction pieces that I wrote for my website. I am currently promoting Dark & Fluffy II. I work part-time in an engineering company in Lincoln, but I hope to become a writer full-time in the near future. 

Have you always wanted to become a published writer?

Yes, that’s always been my dream

What made you decide to write your new novel?

I always promised myself that I would become a writer and get something out into the public domain. I turned 50 last year and decided to do it then. My current book is a collection of short fiction works. Some of the stories in the books have been on my computer for many years, and I decided to dust them off and publish them in an anthology. There are also some new pieces and a couple of stories actually showcase future works of mine, Queens of England and Gisella in Dark & Fluffy II are examples of these.

How hard was it to find the inspiration for your book?

I always have ideas for stories, ideas are always floating around in my head, and I don’t always know where they come from, they just pop in. Alternatively, I deliberately take a topical subject such as the Windrush scandal and the suffragette commemorations and write stories around those themes. 

If you could pick a favourite character from your novel, who would it be and why?

I think Elizabeth Bennet is a timeless character. I think that whatever kind of woman you are, you can identify with and recognise some of her characteristics in yourself. 

Did you ever regret writing a character into your story after it was published?

That hasn’t happened yet! I think getting to know your characters is key, especially when writing a novel, if you know them inside out you shouldn’t really have cause for regretting adding them.

Did you find yourself under any personal pressure for your debut novel to succeed and be liked by many? 

I try not to worry too much about whether people will like what I write. That may sound funny as we all want our writing to be well-received, but if I worried too much about what people thought I probably wouldn’t write at all. I have put quite a punishing plan in place with regards to getting my first novel finished. I always give myself deadlines, I find I work better that way, my writing become the priority then.

Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?

That’s not too tough. I would choose to be the author of the Harry Potter series of books. To be that successful, famous and rich from writing books, doing something that you love has surely got to be every writers dream!

What does your ‘writing space’ look like?

A laptop surrounded by notebooks, folders, bits of paper and reference books. With a pot of coffee in there somewhere.

Were there any authors you wanted to be like, when you were a child?

Probably Enid Blyton. I loved her imagination and the fact that she wrote so many successful books.

If you had to sum up your book to a stranger in five words, what would they be and why?

Quirky, amusing, historical, dark and universal.

What’s coming up next for you? Any exclusives?

My main focus this year is to complete book 1 of my 12th century trilogy mentioned above, I intend finishing it this year. I have been writing this book on and off for 10 years, and self-publishing Dark & Fluffy II has given me the confidence to pursue bigger things. I hope to publish my novel the traditional way, i.e. with an agent and a publishing house. This is my ultimate dream. 

I will also be self-publishing Alternative Histories later this year, a book that takes pivotal moments in history and looks at what-if scenarios. I have already showcased this idea in Dark & Fluffy II, in the story Queens of England. This is a story based around the idea of what could have happened if Queen Elizabeth I had not executed Mary Queen of Scots.

Looking further into the future, I will be self-publishing a novella called The Rue Stone. I have already self-published this as a short story, in the first Dark & Fluffy, and I have had lots of feedback all with a common thread; people felt a bit short changed after finishing the story and they would like to read more. I’ve taken on this feedback, which I agree with, and will now work on this to extend the story into a longer format.

After that, then it will be back to books 2 and 3 of my historical trilogy. 

Interwoven with completing these books is an idea I have for a novella called A Tale of Two. This will be a story of two people, a man and a woman, who have an affair. The story will be told in two distinct parts, one from his point of view and one from hers.

And..I have literally just found a synopsis for a novel set in the dark ages that I must have wrote years ago. So, after all ofthe above, look out for a character called Morjena in the future!

One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?

Just write. If you want to do it, just sit down, write, and then just write some more.

Accent Press · book blogger · guest spotlight · TWG Talks · Uncategorized

#TWGPresents – How Sweet It Is To Be Loved by…Books! With author Lynne Shelby (@LynneB1) #letstalkbooks #thewritinggarnet

How sweet it is to be loved by.. Books!!
I am absolutely delighted to welcome you all to TWG’s brand NEW feature, ‘How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By….Books!’ Sometimes life can get so busy, we often forget about books which have stayed with us through thick and thin, which is exactly why I wanted to do this feature. Over the next few weeks (hopefully longer if anyone else wants to take part), both authors and bloggers will be sharing their top two reads from the past and the present, as well as two books they’re eager to read in the future, and two books that they would read again no questions asked.

Kicking off TWG’s new feature is contemporary fiction author, Lynne Shelby. Here is a little bit more about her and how she got into reading:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her latest novel, ‘The One That I Want,’ is the first of a series of stand-alone books set in the world of showbusiness. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city, with a writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

How I Got Into Reading:

As a child, I only learnt to read fluently after I went to school, but once I could read, I always had my head in a book. My parents were great readers and my childhood home was lined with bookcases full of novels – as is my house now – and I read my way along the shelves. I also remember visits to the local library, and the thrill of choosing a new book. The books that captured my imagination as a child – I still have some of them – led to the love of reading that I still have today.


To keep up to date with Lynne on social media, you can follow her via the links below:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Lynne Shelby’s Amazon

Top two favourite reads from the past:

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Top two favourite reads from the present:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Two Books I’m eager to read in the future:

Still Me by JoJo Moyes

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Two Books I’ll read more than once with no questions asked:

Second Nature by Alice Hoffman

Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand

Have you read any of the books Lynne has listed, or are you now venturing onto your favourite bookselling website to find a copy for yourself? Let me know in the comments! Huge thanks to Lynne for kicking off this feature, and thank you to you all for reading it!

If you wish to take part please send an email to kaishajayneh@gmail.com with the subject ‘Feature’, along with:

Your bio, including how you started reading and any links you wish to include.
Your top two favourite reads from the past.
Your top two favourite reads from the present.
Your top two books you’re eager to read in the future.
And lastly, two books you’ll read more than once with no questions asked.

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Until next time,


blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #QandA with the author of ‘Awakening the Trinity’, Brittany Elise (@BrittanyElise23) @RaRaResources

awakening the triniity
Today for my stop on the ‘Awakening the Trinity’ blog tour, I have a Q and A with the author, Brittany Elise. Before we get down to the ‘interrogation’, here is a little bit more information about her book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links:

awakening cover1
In the seventeenth-century, an all-powerful witch called Rionach the Dark ruled the Celtic nations with an army of enslaved werewolves. In order to restore balance between Light and Dark, the Trinity of Light was summoned to vanquish the Dark Witch and end the Battle of the Dark Ages.

Seventeen-year-old Quinn Callaghan lives in the small, rustic town of Silver Mountain. Its
location may be rural, but it is home to an ancient pine forest that surrounds a supernatural hotspot–a nexus of raw and powerful energy.
When a charismatic witch from Ireland, and a mysterious guy with a secret of his own are drawn to the area, Quinn finds out that she inherited her rare abilities from a revered ancestor.

Could it be that she shares a bloodline with the Original Trinity? Nearly 300 years later, the Darkness is returning to Silver Mountain, and the Trinity must stop it.

Purchase Links

Amazon US
Amazon UK 

Q and A with Brittany Elise.

TWG – Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a young girl, but I suppose I didn’t pursue it as a career choice until I was out of college. I actually graduated with a degree in photography, and later became a certified obedience instructor. I also manage an FBO at a small-town airport and I’ve been there for almost eleven years.

TWG – Have you always wanted to become a published writer?

   Always. There’s nothing I adore more than writing, and having those dreams realized has been such a blessing for me. It’s not an easy industry to break into. There’s still a lot more I hope to accomplish with future publications.

TWG – What made you decide to write your new novel?

  I love the world of supernatural fiction. It’s my go-to favorite for writing just because I get to use my imagination and write about a world I wish was real. I actually owe a great deal to the novel’s spark (so to speak) to one of Aqualung’s songs called Strange and Beautiful.

TWG – How hard was it to find the inspiration for your book?

Not hard at all. I find inspiration in so many different areas of life, and as soon as I get an idea it grows and I have a hard time actually shutting it off.

TWG – If you could pick a favourite character from your novel, who would it be and why?

I would have to say that my favorite character in this novel is probably Wren. He was such a fun character to create. To me, he’s kind of that perfect male lead for a YA novel. He’s confident, he’s gorgeous, he’s caring, and he sort of has that bad-boy persona going for him but there’s many layers that make him a unique character.

TWG – Did you ever regret writing a character into your story after it was published?

So far, I have no regrets with the character’s I’ve created. There’s characters that I might love to hate, but they are there for a reason.

TWG – Did you find yourself under any personal pressure for your debut novel to succeed and be liked by many?

I think as a writer, you always have hope that people will love your writing, or the story that you are trying to tell. But you have to go into that knowing that you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – and that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. You should always be learning and growing. Even if I never get published again, I will always write. It’s who I am, and I don’t need anyone to tell me that.  

TWG – Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?

Oh, I have a few on the list… Hmm, probably The Hunger Games. Those novels are incredible, and I love the storyline. (And of course, Harry Potter) haha.

TWG – What does your ‘writing space’ look like?

I like to write at the kitchen table when I’m home. It’s really the only place in my house that has a lot of natural light, and I like curling up with a blanket and a cup of coffee or tea in the early hours of the morning to work. Here lately I have been taking over my husband’s office and using his desk. (His chair is more comfortable, haha.)

TWG – Were there any authors you wanted to be like, when you were a child?

      Sarah Dessen is my teenage-self’s hero. I love everything she’s written, and I still aspire to put something out in the world of similar caliber.

TWG – If you had to sum up your book to a stranger in five words, what would they be and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Writers aren’t good with short answers, haha. I don’t think I can do it. There’s so many elements in my novel, I wouldn’t want to leave anything out. I had a hard enough time coming up with a short synopsis. ;P

TWG – What’s coming up next for you? Any exclusives?

     I am actually working on the prequel and sequel to Awakening the Trinity (simultaneously) and hope to have at least one of those released by fall of 2019. I’m also working on some New Adult romance novels though, so we’ll see what’s in the cards for me.

TWG – One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?

Never give up. Remind yourself why you wanted it so badly in the first place, and don’t let other people discourage you. You will have days where you absolutely loathe everything you are writing – walk away from the keyboard when that happens. Read everything. You can only grow when you’re learning.

Huge thanks to Brittany Elise for stopping by for a chat! Good luck with the book!!

About the author.

My love for writing began at a very young age–way before I could even type
on a keyboard. I was always writing short stories and poems with a fan club of one (my
mom.) I never stopped writing, but I don’t think I believed in myself enough to actually
pursue it as a career. When I enrolled in college, I took as many creative writing classes as they offered, and ended up graduating with a degree in photography and minoring in English.

I enjoy art in all its forms, but writing has always been my first love. Even when I was
pursuing other careers, writing was always my go-to comfort. I later became an animal
obedience instructor and met a children’s author through my dog training. She helped me get my foot through the door, so to speak, and I haven’t turned back since. During the day, I manage an FBO at my local hometown airport, and by night, I dive into my writing with my husband and my four-legged children by my side.

You can find me on Facebook ( BrittanyEliseAuthor ) my Instagram handle is Carbon_Stardust and I also have a website: BrittanyEliseAuthor.com

#suspense · blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #TheLiarsGirl, Catherine Ryan Howard (@cathryanhoward) @CorvusBooks @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

Today I am delighted to be sharing a guest post written by author of ‘The Liar’s Girl’, Catherine Ryan Howard. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and I hope you all enjoy reading the post. Before you get stuck in, here is a little bit more information about the book, as well as the all important ‘buy’ link:

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

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Guest post.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?


The question ‘where do you get your ideas?’ is a running joke among writers, partly because we’re asked it all the time, and partly because it takes so long to write a book and things change so much during the process that it can be hard to remember what exactly the original idea was. Its origins may be even trickier to pin down, because for many writers idea-generating is like looking for shapes in the fog: sometimes something emerges, and you’ve no idea how or why, but your deadline is in six months’ time so you don’t ask any questions and just go with it. (This analogy may have broken down somewhat… ANYWAY.) I, however, relish being asked this question – because I know the answer. I’ve written three books, the second of which, The Liar’s Girl, has just been published in paperback, and the idea for all three have come from the same place: real life. 


In July 2013, I read an article in GQ magazine called ‘The Serial Killer Has Second Thoughts’ by Chris Heath. Above the article itself was a little introduction:


In a remote psychiatric hospital in Sweden, there is a man known as Thomas Quick who has been convicted of unspeakable crimes. Over the course of multiple trials, he would tell his brutal stories—of stabbings, stranglings, rape, incest, cannibalism—to almost anyone who would listen. Then … he went silent for nearly a decade. In the last few years, though, he has been thinking about all he has said and done, and now he has something new to confess: He left out the worst part of all.


I immediately thought: if I was browsing for a book in a bookshop and I picked up one with that blurb on the back, I would RUN to the cash register with it – because I would have to know what the ‘worst part of all’ could possibly be, considering what this man had already admitted to. 


Flash-forward now to April 2015. I’ve written a novel about a serial killer on a cruise ship (Distress Signals, more on that in a minute) and got a 2-bookdeal with Corvus Books. I meet my editor for the first time over lunch and everything’s going great until she says, ‘What about Book 2?’ I mumble something vague about a half-baked idea of mine,but she doesn’t look too impressed and I start to panic slightly. Then I remember: Thomas Quick. I tell her about the article, about the introductory paragraph. I say I want to write a book where that is the blurb – and she says, ‘Wow, I just got chills.’


(Me too, especially when I got out onto the street afterwards and realised that the blurb was ALL I had, that I’d no idea what the plot of the book was, or who would be in it, etc. etc. so mine were different chills, of the panicky kind. But that’s another story…)

The idea for Distress Signals had, four years earlier, also come from an article – this one being ‘Lost At Sea’ by Jon Ronson, about cruise ship disappearances. It mentioned an organisation called International Cruise Victims. That stopped me in my tracks because I wondered what on earth was happening on cruise ships – happy, relaxing places, I would’ve thought – that was creating victims and creating so many of them that this organisation needed to exist. I started Googling…And an idea began to form. A cruise ship is the perfect place to get away with murder. 


I’m currently working on Rewind, my third novel which will be out next year, and the idea for that came from an image on PostSecret.com. PostSecret is best described as an art project; people write their secrets on a postcard, anonymously, and mail them in. A few years ago I saw a PostSecret that was an image of a hotel room, on which someone had written, ‘I trade hidden sex-cam footage with other Air B&B hosts.’ A thought struck me: what if you were doing that, not because you were a terrible person but because you were desperate, maybe financially or becauseyou were being blackmailed, and one night you captured a murder on tape? What would you do? What could you do, without getting yourself in trouble?


The actual plot of The Liar’s Girl bears no real resemblance to Thomas Quick. It’s the story of Alison Smith who, ten years ago, was a freshman in college in Dublin and in the throes of first love. But her boyfriend, Will Hurley, subsequently confessed to being the Canal Killer who’d drowned five girls in the waters of the Grand Canal. Now, there’s been a copycat murder and, out of desperation, the Gardaí go to visit Will in prison. He says he has information that can help them but will only give it to one person – Alison, who reluctantly returns to Dublin to face the man she’s spend a decade trying to forget. And that’s when she learns that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of it all… 


@cathryanhoward on Twitter & Instagram




Link to The Serial Killer Has Second Thoughts:



Link to Lost at Sea:


blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of ‘The Other Miss Bates’, Allie Cresswell (@alliescribbler) @RaRaResources

Another RaRaResources blog tour for you all this afternoon, and another guest post! Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Allie Cresswell’s ‘The Other Miss Bates’. I have a guest post to share with you all for my stop on the tour. First, here is a bit more information on Allie’s book:

Jane Bates has left Highbury to become the companion of the invalid widow Mrs Sealy in Brighton. Life in the new, fashionable seaside resort is exciting indeed. A wide circle of interesting acquaintance and a rich tapestry of new experiences – balls at the Assembly rooms, carriage rides and promenades on the Steyne – make her new life all Jane had hoped for. 

While Jane’s sister Hetty can be a tiresome conversationalist she proves to be a surprisingly good correspondent and Jane is kept minutely up-to-date with developments in Highbury, particularly the tragic news from Donwell Abbey.

When handsome Lieutenant Weston returns to Brighton Jane expects their attachment to pick up where it left off in Highbury the previous Christmas, but the determined Miss Louisa Churchill, newly arrived with her brother and sister-in-law from Enscombe in Yorkshire, seems to have a different plan in mind.

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Guest post.

I can think of no character in Jane Austen’s completed works who would qualify as what we understand today as being ‘disabled’. And yet it seemed to me that a book set in Brighton in the 1780s would be unrealistic if it did not include at least one character physically incapacitated in some way. 

Brighton was a town just beginning to be fashionable as a health resort due to the recent discovery of the healthful properties of sea water; the sea was used for bathing and for drinking – which must have been revolting. The fashionable folk of Georgian England began to use seaside towns as an alternative to spas like Bath and Cheltenham. The medical profession burgeoned to take advantage of the new obsession with health, and doctors  some of questionable qualifications – congregated at health resorts where patients were numerous.In Brighton, as elsewhere at this time, with the American war of Independence being fought as well as wars with Spain, France and Holland, it is inevitable that wounded soldiers would have been commonplace. Add to this that life in Georgian England was dangerous, even for the well-to-do. Carriage and horse-riding accidents were everyday occurrences, claiming many victims.

Having decided to set The Other Miss Bates in Brighton and because it was inspired by Jane Austen’s fourth novel, Emma,it was inevitable that illness should play an important part in it. Illness – real or imagined – is a frequent theme. Imagined illness – such as that suffered by Mary Musgrave in Persuasion, is used to imply weakness of character, a lack of fibre, selfishness or at least self-absorption, all characteristics to be mildly disapproved of. Actual illness occurs infrequently in Jane Austen’s books but always to great dramatic effect. (Think of Louisa Musgrave’s concussion in Persuasion, Tom Bertram’s illness in Mansfield Park and of Marianne Dashwood’s fever in Sense and Sensibility.) The plot of these books absolutely pivots on the life-threatening illnesses depicted in each, and, crucially, on the way the principal characters respond to it. The illnesses themselves are generally a physical result of some morally reprehensible behaviour, like Marianne’s unchecked ardour for Willoughby.That Jane Austen was interested in the narrative possibilities of illness and the influence of illness on character is illustrated by her final – unfinished – novel Sanditon, which is set in an imaginary seaside town and peopled by characters variously unwell or believing themselves to be so.

I felt justified, then, in tackling it, but wanted to explore a different aspect of the subject, so I invented two characters who are confined to wheelchairs. Mrs Sealy is a young and wealthy widow, rendered disabled  by a carriage accident. Captain Bates is a casualty of war whose initial injury was compounded by poor medical treatment to leave him an amputee.

Disabled people are not necessarily ‘ill’ although of course sometimes their disability is a consequence of illness or causes issues of ill health. I didn’t want my wheel-chair bound characters’ disability to be a tool of the plot; that would have been cynical and patronising. Their being in wheeled chairs affects their actions just as much as their behaviour, choices, attitudes and values. Like all Jane Austen’s characters they are weighed morally. Although both are ‘victims’, ie, were not born with a disability, they deal with their situations very differently. Mrs Sealy is without self-pity; she is always cheerful, dressed beautifully, attends balls and parties a-plenty and has herself carried from one place to another by an extremely handsome, well-muscled young footman by the name of Ironside. Her being a woman of her time – not her disability – makes her vulnerable to the terrible machinations of her step-son. 

Captain Bates on the other hand has allowed his life-affecting injury to rule his life. In an effort to compensate for the admittedly terrible time he had under the surgeon’s knife he treats himself constantly to food, drink, fine clothes and expensive trinkets. It is this self-indulgence – especially to food – which is the real cause of his incapacity; he has become too fat to move, even with a rudimentary prosthetic (wooden leg).

I think the way I have handled these characters is true to Jane Austen’s technique. They are not judged by who or what they are, their birth, wealth or cleverness but by how they behave. I agonised over them, though. I did not want them to be pitiful, nor villainous, nor ridiculous. Just because Jane Austen chose not to represent the disabled in her books did not seem a valid reason for me to omit them from mine although in all other aspects – plot, character, tone and language – I have attempted to reflect her style.

With trepidation, I invite you to read The Other Miss Batesand let me know how you think.

About the author.

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England. 

The Other Miss Bates is her eighth novel and the second in the Highbury series

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blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #BoneLines; Stephanie Bretherton (@BrethertonWords) @unbounders @annecater

It’s my turn to host Stephanie Bretherton and ‘Bone Lines’ as part of the blog tour organised by Anne Cater (RandomThingsTours). Many thanks to Anne for inviting me to take part in the blog tour where I have a guest post from the author herself. But first, here is more information about ‘Bone Lines’ and how you can purchase it:

 A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluftwrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life.  A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters:  One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery. 

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love. 

Bone Lines stands alone as a novel but also marks the beginning of the intended ‘Children of Sarah’ series.

Buy now!

Guest post.

A life in the day of a character


How do fictional characters come to life? Readers may wonder whether they are pure invention or drawn from ‘biography’ (whether the writer’s own, or from observation, or research). I can speak only from my own perspective, but sometimes there are varying levels of both and sometimes it’s all imagination. My debut novel, Bone Lines, is a dual timeline featuring two very different – yet connected – women: a prehistoric ancestor and a modern-day doctor of genetics. 


One is young, vital, active, in danger, but with particular skills and gifts. She is a mother, hunter, shaman, survivor. The other is middle-aged, dedicated and ambitious, wrapped up in thoughts and memories, working through contemporary challenges. She is a scientist, thinker, lover, seeker. Both are independent and isolated but driven by a sense of purpose.


Mirror, mirror?

I am often asked how much my character, Dr Eloise Kluft,and I might have in common (and friends often try to identify any real events or people in her world) and while there are many crucial differences and inventions, there are certainparallels when it comes to age, location, passions and concerns. In order to make contemporary characters feel authentic or relatable a writer will often draw on the familiar. However, what intrigues me most is that no one asks whether the prehistoric character (‘Sarah’ – as her bones have been named) is based on me, when both women have emerged from the same source.


While Eloise has a few traits that are quite close to home (and her overthinking is certainly a shared flaw) in a strange way, I feel that Sarah may be drawn from an even deeper self – or perhaps a best self – as she arrived almost fully formed and began writing herself, and while I had to wonder what I might do in her situation, she also very much told me what she wanted to do – and how. Some aspects or actions are inspired by research, but only a few details, here and there. (There is also some ‘essence of Holly’ here too, my amazing Aussie niece, who is a park ranger in NSW – and the kind of kick-ass, earth-connected sister who could definitely be one of the ‘Children of Sarah.’) One quality Sarah has that I aspire to (and which many of us may yearn for today?) is her freedom and ability to live in the moment, deeply in tune with the natural landscape.


If you imagine it, they will come

It was after watching a documentary about the Toba supervolano in Indonesia 74,000 years ago that the seed was planted for the book. An image came into my mind of a young woman with a child walking away from the fallout of a natural disaster. Then it was the idea of finding a set of ancient remains in the present day – and what we might learn from them – that brought the contemporary narrative into focus. It may have been said by many other writers, but for me, once characters begin to form they have a powerfultendency to make to their own way.


Sometimes it can be a battle to channel them back towards your original concepts for the plot, and sometimes they change the plot as they develop. For example, certain lessons Eloise learns during her story had a significant effect on how she would react in a couple of crucial scenes toward the end. Research is also instrumental to the character/plot axis,however, and can help to rein in the self-determination of your creations with a sharp reality check. But also, this can inform particular details or idiosyncrasies in a character. One of the most vital tools in the writer’s workshop, however, is observation. We are such terrible gazers and eavesdroppers! But it’s all those little gestures, nuances, tones and phrases that can make even a minor character recognisable or memorable.


And the award for best supporting role…

Protagonists are one thing, but then there’s all the supporting characters, and while the primary purpose of some may be to move the plot along or to demonstrate a key theme, it helps ifthey’re not merely ciphers, but have some intriguing ‘dimensions’ to them, even if only glimpsed. I recently came across a great tip that said all supporting characters should be written as though they think the book is all about them. I like that. However, for the sake of narrative efficiency sometimes you have to combine characters, places and jobs in a way that might not reflect the real world.


While accessing a real-life point of view can give you important information and options, whether it changes your fictional characters fundamentally or not depends on your overall objectives for the book – and intended audience. A writer can never hope to please all those involved in a certain profession or activity, especially where dramatic licence may be needed. In every job, vocation or cultural tribe, there are unique individuals. My father was a policeman and while he would enjoy a good story for the story’s sake (as long as there was reasonable plausibility) there were very few fictional police characters that he felt he could relate to personally, apart from Morse.


Flaws in Focus

On the subject of real-life research, I had a fascinatingmeeting recently with the lablit society at the Royal Institution, who did me the great honour of choosing Bone Lines for their bookclub. The group included several practising scientists and one or two (very gently) let me know what they might have done differently with Eloise. The book club also kindly offered to act as a focus group for the next book in terms of making sure not only the science is right (which to my great relief seems to be the case with Bones Lines) but also the finer actualities of the life scientific.’ The most heart-warming reaction, however, was to hear how brave they thought it was to choose subjects and characters – so far (and yet so near?) from my own experience – and to bring them to life through something they recognised as ‘a book of ideas’ as much as a story about two curious, courageous – and flawed – women.


And that, perhaps, is one of the most important things with which a writer can grace a character – the kind of flaws we might find in ourselves and others – but which we (and others) can hopefully learn to forgive? There’s nothing like the possibility of redemption to give hope to our human story.


About the author

Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)


Website: http://www.stephaniebretherton.com/

Twitter : @BrethertonWords

Instagram: @brethertonwords2