#BlogTour! Author @Catherine_ann_f shares her views on writer life @avonbooksUK #guestpost

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Author of the incredible novel; Four Weddings and a Fiasco, Catherine Ferguson, is back and she is bringing her brand new novel with her! ‘The Secrets of Ivy Garden’ was published on the 3rd April 2017 by Avon Books and is currently sporting a ‘Best Seller’ banner on Amazon UK already!! Today is day three of Catherine’s blog tour with me, TWG. I have a guest post from the lady herself where she shares her own personal thoughts about writer life, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Please follow the blog post until the end where there will be the all important new book details and to buy link for you!

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Fab and scary things about being a writer
by Catherine Ferguson.

Let’s get the scary things out of the way first …

That horrible first draft.

There’s a brilliant book on writing by Ann Lamott called Bird by Bird that explores all the high and lows of writing for a living – and her assertion that ‘all first drafts are shitty’ was a real relief moment when I read it. Because I realised it’s absolutely true – for me, at any rate. My first drafts are embarrassingly bad, and it can be quite scary when you’re right in the middle of it all and wondering why your sentences seem so dull and uninspiring this time round. You panic, thinking you’ve lost the knack altogether and you’ll never again be able to write a book that some people might actually enjoy.

                I used to agonise for ages over the opening chapter, polishing the same few thousand words over and over, aiming for perfection. But I’ve since realised that the trick, for me, is to just get it all down on the page, without stopping to read it back, no matter how childish it seems or how many holes in the plot I might suspect there are.

                Then, when I’ve got the words down (but not necessarily in the right order), I can go back to the beginning and transform my shambolic load of horse manure into something that makes sense and might even be emotionally engaging!

Self-motivation

You need this in spades to be a writer. As you’re usually working at home (with easy access to fridge, TV and social media, without a boss looking over your shoulder), it can be very hard to rev the engine and get motoring. I envy people who can be stern with themselves (no stopping until I’ve written a thousand words!) and actually carry through with it. I’ve found it helps to set a realistic word-count target that you know you can easily meet. Then, if you manage to actually exceed your target, you feel very pleased with yourself, which puts you in a helpfully positive frame of mind for the next day’s writing session!

            Reviews (bad)

It doesn’t matter how many great reviews you might already have, it’s the single bad one you will end up obsessing about. Scary!

And the fab things?

Light-bulb moments

These are the times I love best of all about being a writer.

                Light-bulb moments happen most often when I’m out walking to escape the screen for an hour. It can be anything from suddenly thinking of the most brilliant name for a character, to realising in a flash of inspiration exactly why I introduced the friendly post woman in chapter three. (When characters first come along, they’re not fully formed and it can take a while to get to know them and to find out what their motivation is.) I love it when a piece of the plot jigsaw suddenly falls into place and I realise, for example, that the friendly post woman would pair up perfectly with one of my male characters!

Publication day

There are butterflies in the stomach on publication day, when all your months of hard work are about to be revealed to the public. But they’re the deliciously scary kind rather than the exam-day dread type. Publication day is always exciting. And the perfect excuse for opening the champagne. I’m currently writing my sixth book but I know that when publication day arrives, I’ll be just as excited for this one as I was three years ago for my very first book …

Reviews (good)

Reviews mean so much to a writer – especially if they’re glowing! It can really make your day like nothing else if a reader takes the time to go on Amazon and tell the world that they really enjoyed reading your book. It makes you feel all months of the hard work were worth it.

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Whilst Catherine’s post made me chuckle, it was lovely to get an insight into a writer’s mind. If you thought that your one sentence opinion on a book (constructive) was irrelevant, think again. Reviews are what help authors get seen in a very busy market, although make sure your review is actually for the correct thing. I mean, you don’t want to review Catherine’s book with a line that should belong somewhere else now do you?

Thank you to Catherine Ferguson for the fabby-tastic guest post!
If Catherine’s Ivy Garden intrigues you with its secrets; here is the important ‘to buy’ link and the book information!

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The ebook bestseller is back with her next hilarious read – a fun, fresh tale of love, friendship and family secrets…

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#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! #WhatYouDontKnow by @joann_chaney @panmacmillan #TheSeeverEffect

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It’s Wednesday 8th February 2017 and TWG is here with some breaking news for you this morning. For the third day running, bloggers across the globe have been involved in the secretive Seever Effect. According to Ms.JoAnn Chaney, #WhatYouDontKnow is….still to be revealed.
NEWS JUST IN: PanMacmillan will be releasing #TheSeeverEffect into the spotlight on 9th February 2017; be on your guard.

GLORIA SEEVER CLAIMS INNOCENCE
By Sammie Peterson
In a Post exclusive, Gloria Seever has finally broken her silence over her husband Jacky’s arrest for serial homicide. They have been married for almost thirty years but since her husband’s arrest in December last year, Gloria Seever has declined to talk to the press.
Police inquiry has found no evidence to implicate Gloria as an accomplice to her husband’s crimes, but questions continue to be raised amongst members of the community as to how someone living in such close proximity to his victims could be oblivious to their existence.
There is, to begin with, the question of the smell some neighbours reported omitting from the house.
“I remember that happening once or twice,” admits Gloria. “On hot days.”
When pressed she explains, “We always had a rodent problem. Jacky would set out the poison, and the mice would crawl up in the walls and die. Having that pond out back attracted all kinds of pests.”
I ask Gloria whether it was her husband that told her about the mice.
“Yes,” she replies instantly. “That’s what Jacky told me. Why wouldn’t I believe him?”
I suggest that Seever’s reliability might be up for debate considering his confession to murdering thirty-one people in her own home.
“The police cleared me as a suspect,” she is quick to state, and while Gloria Seever has been consistently firm on the matter of her innocence, her continued silence on the finer details of her life and marriage to Denver’s most hated man, will do nothing to quash rumours of her complicity.

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Buy ‘What You Don’t Know’ from Amazon UK
Buy ‘What You Don’t Know’ from Amazon US

JoAnn Chaney’s dark debut, What You Don’t Know, tells the story of the three victims the murderer didn’t kill but whose lives he ruined all the same . . .

A crime like this isn’t only about the killer. There are others to consider . . .

Seven years ago, Detective Paul Hoskins and his larger-than-life partner solved one of the biggest serial killer cases of the decade. They dug up 31 bodies in a crawlspace belonging to the beloved Jacky Seever, a pillar of the community and a successful businessman. Sammie Peterson was the lead reporter on the case. Her byline was on the front page of the newspaper every day. Seever’s wife, Gloria, claimed to be as surprised as everyone else.

But when you get that close to a killer, can you really just move on?

Today, Hoskins has been banished to the basement of the police station, Sammie is selling make-up at the shopping mall, and Gloria is trying to navigate a world where she can’t escape condemnation.

Then a series of copycat killings take place, with the victims all connected to Seever. While Gloria is determined not to be forced into the spotlight again, Hoskins and Sammie see a chance to get their lives back. But it could mean forfeiting their humanity in the process . . .

It isn’t over. It’ll never be over.

#Tour! #Guestpost from @LizTrenow, author of ‘The Silk Weaver’. @panmacmillan

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I really think we should all take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the tour banner and book cover are!

I am absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on Liz Trenow’s blog tour for her upcoming novel, The Silk Weaver, which will be published on the 26th January by Panmacmillan. If you haven’t come across the book as of yet, here is the blurb:

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1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.

As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .

Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval

The Silk Weaver by Liz Trenow can be pre-ordered now from Amazon , ready for publication on the 26th January (e-book & paperback).

Today, my tour stop consists of a guest post which lets us into Liz’s inspiration behind her novel, The Silk Weaver. Thank you Liz!
I was researching the history of my family’s silk weaving business, which started in

Spitalfields, East London, in the early 1700s (and is still weaving today in Sudbury, Suffolk)
and discovered that the first address was in Wilkes Street. Just a few yards away is the
house where the eminent silk designer Anna Maria Garthwaite lived at around the same
time. It was so exciting to imagine that she would have known and worked with my
ancestors.

Anna Maria was one of the most celebrated textile designers of the eighteenth century, her
silks were worn by royalty and nearly a thousand of her designs are in the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London. Yet no-one knows how she learned her craft or how an unmarried
middle-aged woman managed to develop such a successful business in a male dominated
industry.

It is this mystery that sparked the idea for the novel.

About the author.

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Liz Trenow is the author of three previous historical novels: The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress and The Poppy Factory. Liz’s family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up in the house next to the mill in Suffolk, England, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions.

This unique history inspired her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel.

Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia, UK, with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughter.


#BlogTour #Guestpost from author of ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ @Laura_E_James @ChocLitUK

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Absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Laura E James’ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’, alongside other fabulous bloggers. Laura’s latest released was published by ChocLitUK on the 9th January and is currently sporting a whopping 42 five star reviews on Amazon (figure correct as of 12/01/17)! Before I share the guest post, here is a little bit more about the book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ link:

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath- taking shores of Dorset. It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.

Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

Buy from Amazon

Laura James has written a post especially for TWG, so without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to hand you over to the lady herself.

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Griff – Getting To Know You.

Thank you so much for inviting me to The Writing Garnet to celebrate the launch of the paperback of my third novel in the Chesil Beach Books, What Doesn’t Kill You.

I was looking through the notebook in which I’d started writing What Doesn’t Kill You, as I remembered asking my main character, Griff Hendry, a series of questions, to fix his personality and backstory in my mind. I’d not used the technique before, but it’s interesting to look back a couple of years later to see if the answers given are relevant to the fully formed Griff and whether the technique worked.

This is what I discovered then: When Griff was a boy his bedroom was decorated with wallpaper depicting the history of planes, the main colours being blues, greys and greens. He suffered a broken ankle at the age of sixteen, and the film he watch repeatedly was Top Gun. The most disgusting food he’d ever eaten was octopus – the tentacles appeared to be alive. He liked to visit the remote Scottish Highlands although he hates snow, and he’s kept awake at night worrying about his wife’s emotional distance and his step-daughter’s deep disregard for him. He loves his dog, healthy food and his job – he works for HM Coastguard. Slackers annoy him, his star sign is Aries and he’s a natural leader.

What I know now: Not once in WDKY did Griff refer to his bedroom wallpaper, Top Gun, or eating octopus tentacles. His father, Logan, was born in Scotland, so that’s probably from where Griff’s love of the Highlands stems. He does lie awake at night worrying and trying to work out how on earth he can fix his relationship with his wife, Evie. The problem is Griff has no idea why or how it fractured. He’s a man who needs a dog, and his Old English sheepdog, Ozzy, is his best friend. Since the age of sixteen, Griff wanted to work for HM Coastguard and now holds a senior position. His natural leadership serves him well. His birthday is in April, and he falls under the sign of the ram – Aries.

Although Griff’s wallpaper doesn’t crop up in the novel, and until I wrote this post, he and I were the only ones who knew about the planes, it helped me get a handle on who Griff Hendry is.

I like to know my characters’ backstories and often have reams of paper with lists and spider diagrams detailing their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, and their fears and anxieties. From that point I work out what’s happened to them to make them the way they are. What happened to Griff that made him want to be a coastguard? What makes him so keen to save everyone? Why does he carry the weight of responsibility on his shoulders? It’s important to me that the backstories are authentic. There has to be an element of, ‘Oh, that explains why he did that,’ rather than, ‘Well, that wouldn’t happen just because he …’

I research far more information than I put on the page. It might not be essential to the plot that Griff had the history of airplanes plastered around his childhood bedroom, but it gives me an important insight into his character which allows me to develop him as an adult. For me the wallpaper and his love of the film, Top Gun, indicates he has a sense of adventure, a sense of history, that he likes military order and precision, and that, perhaps, he likes the companionship and loyalty one gains when working in a team – that friendship, dependability and honesty are important to him in all areas of his life. I hope I’ve shown those values through Griff’s words and actions.

So, back to my original thought; are Griff’s answers to the interview questions, given at the early stages of his development, relevant to his much later and fully formed character? Yes. The interview technique worked for me and it’s been interesting looking back and seeing how Griff Hendry grew as a main character. It’s certainly something I will do again with new characters.

Now, would you like to know the state of Griff’s underwear drawer?

Interesting guest post, thank you Laura!

Make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour!


From novel ‘The Gift’ to her own ‘Gift’ @Fab_fiction – (LJ) talks from the heart #guestpost

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As I’m sure a lot of you are aware, Louise Jensen’s latest novel, ‘The Gift’, has made itself known in the Amazon charts (it may have peaked at numero uno…. 😉 ). Quite rightly so! If you still haven’t read this book, you can find my review: #Review of The Gift by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @Bookouture #psychologicalthriller.

Seeing as the book title is about a gift, I wanted to know what Louise’s own personal thoughts were in regards to her ‘gift’. As always, the talented author delivered; here is her very honest yet incredibly heart-warming guest post, especially for TWG.

Guest post by Louise Jensen.

My new novel, The Gift centres around Jenna, a 30-year-old woman who receives a transplanted heart. She is overcome with gratitude at this chance of a second life but, over time, she starts to experiences flashbacks of things that haven’t happened to her. Jenna learns about cellular memory, the phenomena that the cells of a heart can retain memories, and organ recipients can inherit these memories and she begins to believe that Callie, the donor, didn’t die in an accident as purported. Jenna is convinced Callie was murdered.  Jenna becomes obsessed with Callie’s family, desperate to uncover the truth, and as she alienates her own family and friends, and begins to lose her grip on reality, she questions whether, if she could go back, she would want this gifted heart. 

Writing this novel really gave me food for thought. It is human nature to compartmentalise things as they happen and often the things we think are the greatest things ever can leave us utterly bereft if they don’t work out, and things we class as terrible can sometimes turn out to be the greatest gift of all. 

Becoming disabled in my 30’s left me feeling utterly lost and utterly alone. With a lack of mobility and chronic pain my future felt bleak and in those dark, early days, I thought I would never be happy again. I was always very active and I was at a loss to know how to occupy my time and depression swamped me. A blackness I just couldn’t shift.  As time passed I knew I had to try to piece my life together again, for my children as much as me, and tentatively I began to write. As I wrote I became completely absorbed in the characters I was creating and I momentarily forgot my pain, I momentarily forgot I can’t just get up and go for a walk, and little by little life became brighter. 

My change of health wasn’t a gift as such, but an opportunity, and one I ended up grasping with both hands. 

In the mindfulness courses I teach I often tell the story of The Farmer and the Horse, a lesson that there often isn’t good or bad, some things just are; but if you look, sometimes ever so closely, there is often a silver lining after all.

A farmer had one old horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbours heard about it, they sympathised with the old man over his bad luck. “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” said the farmer.

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, “Bad Luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer’s good luck.

Louise is an incredible author and such an inspiration, I am in awe of her strength through the good days and bad.
Thank you Louise for your wonderful piece.

Author & book links.

Twitter
Website
Amazon UK
Amazon US

‘And now, the end is near..’ #SavingSophie #Blogtour @sam_carrington1 @avonbooksUK

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It is time, unfortunately, for the final curtain ladies and gents! I began to arrange this blog tour back in October, the first ever blog tour that I had organised, and it’s safe to say I was bricking it. I wanted it to be well received as both the author and book, are fabulous.

Kicking off the tour was a blogger a lot of you have come to know, and love; Jo Robertson from My Chestnut Reading Tree. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all of the support during the tour and for kicking it off with a fantastic review.
In case you missed her review, you can read it HERE.

Day 2 of the tour saw two bloggers taking part:
Nerdish Mum who shared her review and a guest post which you can read HERE
AND
Lauren, who was popping her blog tour cherry with a review of the book. You can read it HERE.
HUGE thank you to both of the fabulous bloggers for supporting the tour and getting involved. Really means a lot.

Day 3 of the tour brought us to the PAPERBACK PUBLICATION DAY! Woot!! Two lovely bloggers took part on that day!
Linda from Linda’s Book Bag is sharing a guest post to make you think, as well as a review. You can read both HERE. Very special thanks to Linda for the constant retweeting throughout the day and all the shares. Phenomenal, thank you.
AND
The rather fabulous Emma, aka Damppebbles shared an extract and a review! You can read both HERE. I think she enjoyed the book, don’t you? ;). Thank you for being involved Emma, your enthusiasm for the tour was exceptional.

Onto day 4 and Susan Hampson (Books From Dusk till Dawn) shared her corker of a review which you can find HERE. Thank you so much for being involved in the tour Susan, and for your fabulous review!

On the fifth day of the blog tour, two bloggers gave to meeeee;

Swirl and Thread posted her review over on her blog, and it is incredible! You can read it HERE. The support that Mairead has given the blog tour and I, is amazing. Thank you so much for being involved!
AND
Emma Mitchell was talking about non-crime books with Sam Carrington, in the form of a guest post! Intrigued? You can read that HERE. Thank you for being involved in the tour and all of the sharing/tweets and general shouting, Emma!!

Day 6 saw another two bloggers supporting Sam Carrington and Saving Sophie! They were:

The rather lovely Victoria Goldman and her fabulous review (can be found HERE). Thank you for being involved in the tour Victoria!
AND
Rae Broughton was brave and brought up the ever so controversial topic of ‘book to film adaptations’ in the form of a guest post from the author herself! Take a nose HERE! Thank you Rae for being involved in the tour, and for being such a support! Means a lot.

Still with me? Good. That now brings us to today, the final day on the tour. Alongside my own stop on the tour, two other bloggers wanted to accompany me and give the tour a good send off. At the time of writing this, I didn’t have their post links on me, HOWEVER, you can hop on over to their twitter accounts for their posts.
BibliomaniacUK aka Katherine
Alison Drew
Thank you both for being extremely patient and being so eager to be on the tour, truly means a lot.

Thank you to all of the bloggers for taking part in the Saving Sophie Paperback Blog tour, your support and dedication to the tour and Sam has been incredible. Also, thank you to EVERYONE that has tweeted, shared blogger posts, liked the tour posts or supported the tour in any other way. Without those shares and constant retweeting, the blog tour wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.
Lastly, thank you to the author of Saving Sophie, Sam Carrington, for writing such an incredible book and for putting your trust in me to organise your blog tour!

Saving Sophie is out NOW in both e-book and paperback formats, both of which can be bought from Amazon UK. Or, if you’re ever in your local Asda, the paperback can be picked up there too. Perfect Christmas treat.

Thank you all again and please continue to shout about the book! Oh, go and buy it too obviously!!

#Tour! Guest post by author of #SavingSophie @Sam_carrington1 & #extract! @avonbooksuk

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I cannot believe that we are at the end of this blog tour already! This tour was set up to help celebrate the publication of Saving Sophie in PAPERBACK! If you pop into your local Asda, you’ll be able to pick up your very own copy! How brilliant is that!
Seeing as I am actually a tour stop today, please do keep an eye out for another post later with all the thank yous, and so on. For now though, I have a fab guest post from the lady herself, Sam Carrington, AND an extract from Saving Sophie! Enjoy!

My advice for aspiring writers
By Sam Carrington
 

As a writer, you often get asked for your top writing tips. I’ve compiled the ones I’ve given out so far in one list:

  *-*   Search for information online  

There’s so much advice readily available for writers! I spent a lot of time online searching for tips and ‘How To’ books, and I attended some workshops which were really useful. 

*-*  Get social media savvy 

I find social media a Godsend. It’s an amazing source of support that I would advise writers to tap in to because writing can feel a lonely process at times, particularly when you’re first starting out.

*-*  Join a writing group

This can be beneficial as gaining feedback is invaluable. I would say, however, that you might receive a lot of differing advice, so in the end it’s about learning what will work for you and what won’t – I think there’s an element of trial and error here! 

*-* DO NOT rush to submit your work to agents.  

It’s so exciting to have finished a novel, so much so that it can be hard to hold back! But agents receive so many submission packages you don’t want to give them an easy reason to reject yours. Make sure you read the individual agent’s requirements, have a strong covering letter, a succinct synopsis to the length they ask, and make sure your opening chapters are polished, polished, polished! I DID send my work too early and received a number of rejections quite quickly. Then I was lucky enough to have my work edited by a newly qualified editor and afterwards I began getting requests for my full manuscript. It can be costly, but personally I think it’s worth it.

*-* Enter competitions. 

I entered my opening chapters of Saving Sophie (then titled Portrayal) in to the CWA Debut Dagger award and was longlisted. It was an amazing feeling to have my work recognised. Being placed in a competition validates you as a writer and gives a huge boost to your confidence. Even though my agent was already interested in my writing, I believe that being able to tell her I’d been longlisted was a factor in her decision to sign me.

*-* Learn the art of patience

You’ll need a lot of it (although I’ve yet to master this myself!)

*-* Learn to take constructive criticism. 

But also know that a dozen people could read your MS and each one of them might suggest a different way to ‘improve’ it. You have to try and be subjective, sit back, think about the comments you’ve been given – if there are similarities, then it’s likely that part of your MS is an issue that needs reworking. But DO NOT change your MS after each and every bit of feedback. You’ll end up in a mess. If you can, get a professional editor, or use a manuscript assessment service. I was lucky to have an editor who had just qualified and was taking on work in order to gain experience. I realise this was great timing – and a lot of people won’t get such good luck. But money spent at this stage could prevent a lot of heartache later down the line when the rejections roll in! 

*-* Tell yourself every day that you are a writer.

Act like one, and you will be one! Grit, determination and self-belief are key. 

*-* Get organised and make time to write. 

Although I’m giving this tip – I am the world’s worst and need to heed my own advice. When people ask ‘So, you write full time then?’ and I answer ‘yes’, I’m sure they think that I do nothing other than sit at my keyboard and hammer out page after page of a novel. But there is so much more to being a writer than that. You might like to visit a blog piece I wrote on fitting everything in: (http://samcarrington.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/settling-into-life-as-published-author.html) The key, I think, is to have a schedule that fits around your everyday life – and do your best to stick to it!

*-* Don’t forget to eat properly, drink and exercise!

I have been known to get to 4pm and realise I have only consumed coffee and chocolate bars. Add the sedentary lifestyle of sitting for hours at your desk, and you have a very unhealthy writer! Take regular breaks.  

*-* Write what you love to read. 

Coming up with around 90,000 words will be far easier if you are enjoying it. Your readers will be able to tell if you are bored, and they will be too. Skip the boring parts.

Above allENJOY WRITING AND NEVER GIVE UP!

To wet your appetite for the headfunk that is ‘Saving Sophie’, here is an extract for you to read, as well as the all important book links!

Extract from SAVING SOPHIE 

DI Wade slid back the curtain, slowly, as if it could make a difference. Prevent the inevitable for a moment longer, give this couple a few more precious seconds before their lives plunged into the black hole of grief. She’d been here before. Only once during her time as DI, thankfully, but it’d burned a cavity in her consciousness, which had never been fully refilled. She could still see the small body – battered, discoloured, the skin beginning to deteriorate; the image branded on to her retinas. His killer hadn’t been found, the case now a cold one. Lindsay Wade wasn’t prepared to let it happen again.

Standing inches away from Liz Howard, Lindsay could feel her shaking. Not a tremble, but a full-body tremor. Her husband held on to her, to stop her collapsing. A few hours ago, her daughter was merely missing. A terrible thing: the fear of what might be, the not knowing, the constant eyes peeled in the hopes of catching a glimpse. Some people went through it for years, never finding their loved ones. Did it make these parents lucky that their daughter had at least been found? They might gain an element of closure. But then, the next stage: who did this to their beautiful girl? And what if the perpetrator was never brought to justice – what kind of closure was that?

Lindsay placed a hand on Liz’s shoulder. ‘Are you ready?’ The words seemed ridiculous even as she spoke them. How can anyone ever be ready to view a dead body – a body they are expecting to be their child? The woman and man took hold of each other’s hands, took deep breaths, and stepped closer to the window.

Lindsay closed her eyes, not able to watch their pain. She waited for the scream she knew was coming.

A brief, sharp wail emitted from Liz’s open mouth before the man lost his grip and she slumped to the floor.

Featured Image -- 6267Blurb.

A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?

Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

Buy:
Amazon UK
WHSmith Online
Amazon US


#Tour! Author @Marnie_Riches, talks about book series in a #pubday guest post! @HQStories

congrats

There is no better way of starting this blog post, other than by a HUGE congratulations to author Marnie Riches! Today is the day that Marnie’s FOURTH book, ‘The Girl Who Had No Fear’, is released and available for you all to buy (more details further down). To help celebrate the fact that #GeorgeIsBack, HarperCollins have set up a blog tour!
Popping her TWG cherry, Marnie has written a guest post about writing a continuing series, hope you enjoy!

Three’s company, four’s a crowd? : Writing a Continuing Series by Marnie Riches

I’m lucky. I have a successful series with a wonderful cast of returning characters. It’s like playing God over your own private soap opera or, more appropriately, long-running TV crime drama. George McKenzie has evolved into a satisfyingly complex character in the course of four books, with an often entertaining extended family to bounce off or clash against.

One of the wonderful things about writing a series is that you have the space in which to allow your main character’s backstory to keep unspooling, revealing new surprises. Certainly, where George is concerned, I hope never to run out of character arc with which to frame an entire series. As her hidden past unravels, her future unfolds before us too, so the possibilities for story-telling continue. The same can be said for Van den Bergen. He too has all sorts of conflict and pain buried in the past. The past has a way of catching up with you and influencing how you behave on your day-to-day present, so I am lucky to be able to explore fraught and broken relationships that I had only hinted at in The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – such as Van den Bergen’s relationship with his dying father, and George’s relationship with her own father – in subsequent George books.

But you have to keep things fresh, don’t you? Consequently, I’ve striven to shift some of the focus onto lesser characters in each book, so that we get to know people better. In The Girl Who Broke the Rules, we learn a great deal about Aunty Sharon, with whom George lodges for some of the year. In The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, Marie, Van den Bergen’s IT specialist, plays a much more important role. In The Girl Who Had No Fear, Elvis, Van den Bergen’s sidekick junior detective is a key player when the stakes are raised, revealing much about his private life.

Each George novel has similar themes within it – family, sexuality and the effects of trafficking, for example. But though there are flashbacks to previous novels and George’s personal story continues, each instalment has a different, standalone main plot. And this is what keeps the series fresh, I hope. In The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, the story was about an apparent suicide bomber. In The Girl Who Broke the Rules, George and Van den Bergen were on the hunt for a possible serial killer of trafficked people and sex workers. In The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, the mystery revolved around two missing toddlers. Now, in The Girl Who Had No Fear, we’re dealing with another apparent serial killer of gay men – or is it?

Well, I don’t mind telling you that you’re in for a surprise, some sex, a lot of drug-taking and a trip to Central America in search of…well, not just the killer of six Dutch men! You’ll have to read it and tell me if I’ve managed to keep it fresh!

A big thank you to Marnie for writing the guest post and featuring on TWG. If you fancy nabbing a copy of Marnie’s latest book, all the important details are below:

mr

The fourth gripping thriller in the Georgina McKenzie series.

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

Buy now from – Amazon UK

@millsandboon author @EllieDarkins, talks about the ‘perfect ring’! @RNATweets #tuesnews

It’s very close to publication day for author Ellie Darkins and her latest release; Holiday with the Mystery Italian, courtesy of Mills and Boon! Ellie Darkins has written a guest post especially for TWG about choosing the perfect engagement ring. An important ring to choose…so I hear! I don’t know about you, but I am rather intrigued…

Choosing the perfect engagement ring
By
Ellie Darkins

One of my favouring things to do when I’m writing a brand new Happy Ever After is to think about what would make the perfect proposal and engagement ring for my heroine. I’m a diamond solitaire girl myself – classic, timeless, goes with anything. But I know that that’s not the choice that’s right for everyone. And then there are so many other things to consider for a proposal – does the hero buy the ring in advance, or pop the question without any forward planning? So, each of my happy couples, here’s what I consider!

Is the hero a planner?        

My husband definitely was. In fact, he put a good eight years of thought into deciding to propose (but that’s another story…). There was crafting involved in the ring box. Spontaneity wasn’t the order of the day, but he scored very high for effort! Some of my heroes have been planners, some haven’t. One hero was even proposed to by his very spontaneous heroine! In some ways, I think the more of a planner the hero is, the bigger risk he has to take. My BFF’s hubby was a planner and a researcher. Not only did he want to find the perfect diamond, he found a jeweller who used the same technique as is used to make samurai swords – so so perfect for my comic-loving friend. I was commandeered to provide advice on design and sizing, and – oh my goodness the pressure! Luckily, he got it totally spot on and she still loves her totally unique ring.

Is the heroine quite … particular?

Ahem, this may have applied to me (something to do with spending my teenage years working Saturdays in a jewellery shop). After all the planning and crafting, and eight years to think about it, my husband decided he wanted to choose our ring together. So my hand-made ring box held a placeholder ring, and then we had an amazing day out in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham, looking at tiny (and not so tiny!) diamonds displayed in glass cases and wrapped in folds of paper. Quite a few of my friends felt the same – if you’re going to wear something for the rest of your life, you better be sure that you like it! But a fair few of the others were in the opposite camp – they’d been surprised, loved what their other half had chosen, and were happy not to have the pressure of choosing something!

What makes their love story unique?

This is where I really get to have fun as a writer. For the sculptor hero in my second book, who worked mostly in wood, I knew that this had to influence the ring that he designed for his love. And for my latest hero and heroine, whose love was forged on the side of an active volcano, I knew that nothing short of a fire opal would capture the heat and the spark of their relationship. And as for how he proposes? You’ll have to read their story to find out!

How can anyone fall in love on the side of an ACTIVE volcano?! Surely that is enough to get anyone to read! If you feel like picking up the book when it is released on Thursday 1st December, here are a few more details as well as the all important buy link.

Thank you to Ellie Darkins for her glitzy guest post!

mi

HOLIDAY WITH THE MYSTERY ITALIAN – OUT 1 DECEMBER 2016

Since the accident that paralyzed him, Italian tycoon Mauro Evans vowed to embrace life. So when he stars in a dating show for charity, picking prickly journalist Amber Harris as the winner to take on holiday is a challenge he can’t resist!  In Amber’s experience, relationships equal pain, so she’s determined to ignore her attraction to charismatic Mauro. But his bravery and strength threaten to tear down her defenses, giving her a new Christmas dream—ringing in the New Year with wedding bells!

Buy from Amazon

About the author.

Ellie Darkins  writes heart-warming stories about falling in love, finding your soul mate and fighting hard to make real relationships work. The HEA is guaranteed, but nothing else along the way is. Expect to see surprise babies, breath-taking settings and alpha heroes by the bucketload. Plus steamy kisses, heaps of sensual tension, and fireworks just audible from behind a closed bedroom door.

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