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Showing posts from July, 2022

Book Review: All That Was Lost - Alison May

I'm a huge fan of Alison May’s romantic fiction and this is definitely a change in pace, but wow, the result is an incredibly moving and powerful novel. I read All That Was Lost in one day. Well, technically it may have been gone midnight when I reached the end, but as I couldn’t sleep until I'd finished it, to me that still counts as one day! It’s not often that a book can keep me up at night, but Patience’s story drove all sleepiness from my brain, kept my eyes wide open and my gaze firmly fixed on the kindle screen, while tears streamed down my cheeks. And yes, I do mean streamed. Alison didn’t just bring a tear to my eye with this one. All That Was Lost is definitely a story about loss, but it’s beautifully told. I felt such a connection to the characters and they stayed with me long after I’d finished reading.  An amazing, emotional, 5 star read.

Guest Blog - Catherine Miller

T he original title for The Girl Who Couldn’t Leave was Six Yards from Home. I wanted to create a love story for someone who was unable to leave their house beyond their own front garden. Having a close friend with agoraphobia, I wanted to see this in fiction.   Because of something that happened to her, Fiona becomes reluctant to leave the house, even to go out for medical appointments. It takes someone coming in to start opening up her world again. A neighbour, Bethany, is desperate for child care and asks Fiona to help. She does so last minute and it starts to become a more regular arrangement.   Even though I’d submitted the idea prior to any lockdowns, I was writing it having been asked to isolate as one of those classed as extremely clinically vulnerable. It gave me an insight I’d never previously had as to how difficult that existence could be in terms of logistics.    I had my friend with agoraphobia read the manuscript early to make sure that I’d dealt with that aspect sensiti

Book Review: Dead Inside - Noelle Holten

A deeply insightful and disturbing delve into domestic abuse. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ As a probation officer Lucy is used to being firm when dealing with the perpetrators of domestic abuse. But when it comes to her own marriage it's a different story. This well written, gripping novel delves into the complex reality of toxic relationships and how abuse can be excused, rationalised away and kept hidden. Following your own advice can sometimes feel cripplingly impossible. Book Blurb When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet. The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband. Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer? Purchase Link -  https://amzn.to/2ENZsZr

Author Life - The RNA Conference 2022 & The Joan Hessayon Award

I spent last weekend at the incredible RNA conference at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. After 2 years apart, it was fantastic to finally be able to meet up with all my writing friends, as well as meet so many lovely new people. It had been a bit touch and go as to whether I would make it to the conference this year. I've been battling with pneumonia since April, and this was my first outing (besides hospital appointments) in two and a half months. I lacked my usual conference energy, so wasn't able to attend as many sessions as I had hoped, but nevertheless it was a fantastic weekend and I am so glad that I went. It was even worth the 5 hour journey from Bournemouth. Though I have to say, I am hugely grateful for fellow Joan Hessayon Award runner up, Laura R Leeson for giving me a ride back towards home, and saving me the hassle of catching yet more trains. This was my first conference attending as a published author. One of the main highlights for me in the past were t

Guest Blog - Karen King

Today I'm thrilled to welcome author Karen King to the blog to talk about writing the light and dark of relationships: I write psychological thrillers and contemporary romance novels. At first glance it might seem that I write for two completely different genres, but to me they are two sides of the same coin, they’re both about relationships. When you meet someone whether it be a potential lover, friend, neighbour, work colleague or in-law the relationship could go two ways. You either get on or you don’t. Most of the time if you don’t get on it’s no big deal and you will simply try to avoid each other, and be polite if you do have to meet, but I hone in on this situation for my stories. If I’m writing a romance novel this situation will add a bit of conflict that puts obstacles in the way of the leading couple and adds an element of ‘will they or won’t they to’ their course of true love. If I’m writing a psychological novel, on the other hand, this situation could be deadly. Let’s

Guest Blog - Diane Saxon

I don’t write characters. Characters come to me warts and all, and yes, this may sound mad to some, but many writers will tell you the same thing. I’m not a plotter and I don’t sit for hours wracking my brains over how I can squeeze in a character with specific issues. These characters are normally already fully rounded and personal to me. Research has always been a key factor in any of the characters I write whether this is their job, their hobby, their habits, behaviour etc. I don’t mean by reading the NHS guidelines on what a particular definition is, but I speak with people who have a relationship or indeed are the person with special characteristics. Most the time I write with confidence as I normally have a certain personal knowledge too. When I first started to write My Little Brother, it was from a memory of childhood. I was late home from school with my friend. My bike had a puncture and I had to walk it home. My friend left me on a dark, rainy winter’s night. I recall the ter

Book Review: My Little Brother - Diane Saxon

A complex, dark and disturbing thriller, full of intrigue, toxic relationships and jaw dropping twists. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ A family torn apart by a twenty year old mystery is now forced to re-examine their pasts. Having been blamed by her parents and herself for the disappearance of her little brother when she was just ten, Caryn is now trying to unlock the secrets of what really happened that day. It's a deeply emotional and disturbing story of family dynamics. A gripping mystery with a shocking ending. Book Blurb Two siblings, both missing for 20 years turn up within one day of each other. One dead. One alive. It was an ordinary school day, the day I lost my little brother.  One moment he was on the roundabout and then was gone. Gone. Missing. They all blamed me. I was in charge. Even though I was only ten years old. They sent me away. The hurt, the shame, the questions. The not knowing. I tried to move on. It’s been nineteen years in exile and now somebody w ants me back. Someone wit

Behind The Book - Meet The Author

With my second psychological thriller out at the end of July, I'm in party planning mode. I wasn't able to do a real life party for my debut last year, so I'm absolutely thrilled that Westbourne Bookshop are hosting a party for the release of my second book, The Other Girlfriend. It's taking place at Westbourne Bookshop on Thursday 28th July from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. It's free to attend. No booking required. Prosecco and snacks provided. And of course, it will be your chance to get a signed copy of The Other Girlfriend. Do come down and say hi, it would be lovely to meet you! But, if Dorset is just a bit too far to travel to, I'm also going to be hosting a pre-launch party on the evening before publication. It's taking place on Wednesday 27th July at 7pm-8pm. Click here to request an invite. I look forward to meeting you at one of these events!  

Behind The Book - The Perfect Daughter Dorset Tour

Today I’m going to take you on a tour of Dorset. I moved here in 2018, and it became the inspiration and setting for my psychological suspense novel; The Perfect Daughter. So, I thought I’d show you around some of Jess’s favourite places that feature in the novel. The centre of Bournemouth is a special spot for Jess. It’s where she had her first date with the charming Adam and where they walked hand in hand through the lower gardens to the pier. From there they walked along the beach, dodging the waves as they lapped against the shore. The West Cliff offers spectacular views of Bournemouth’s seven miles of sandy beach. The Isle of Wight is in the distance to the left, while to the right lies Old Harry Rocks. As a child, Jess and her Dad sat at the end of their garden, staring out at this view, watching the waves while they daydreamed about the boats on the horizon and the adventures they may be having. Anvil Point is of course a critical setting in The Perfect Daughter. It’s where she