#PublicationDay Aroha by L.C. Conn @ConnLoraine @btwnthelinespub @rrbooktours1 #Aroha #Books #Fantasy #RRBookTours

Huge congratulations to author, L.C. Conn on the release of her epic conclusion to the One True Child Series, Aroha! To celebrate, the entire One True Child series is on sale today!

Read on for more details and a sneak peek at chapter one!

Cover (13)

Title: Aroha (One True Child Series #7) by L.C. Conn

Publication Date: 28th April 2020 

Genre: Fantasy

Description:

Aroha, born of the Universe, needs her godmother’s help. Danger is once more swirling around Claire and her family as Chaos seeks domination over the world. The continuing quest to protect them all will take them on a journey around the world, discovering things about themselves of which they had no prior knowledge. But will it be enough to finally defeat Chaos in the battle that will decide all?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE 

As she stared out of the kitchen window drinking her coffee, Claire Drummond was feeling a little pensive. There was something happening up at the stones that sat on the hill behind the cottage, hidden away in a valley in the highlands of Scotland, her adoptive home. For days now she had felt the changes slowly emerging and spreading out to encompass its surroundings, including the old house in which she now stood. If she were asked how to describe it, Claire honestly did not think she could give a coherent answer that anyone would be able to understand. It was just a feeling.

Claire and her husband, Matt, now lived in the house that had been the home of his mother and grandmother. They split their time between Glasgow ‒ where they both worked at the university ‒ and the small hidden valley. But the cottage always felt more like home to her. Having been born and raised in New Zealand ‒ which Claire still loved fondly ‒ Scotland was where she felt she belonged and needed to be. There was a connection to the land, especially the valley, that she had never felt anywhere else. 

Reflecting back over her life, she was in awe at how much it had changed since she had discovered the beginnings of her Abilities at the age of seventeen. The many Talents that were once buried deep inside had grown from the initial two: Hide and Flight. Claire had been born into a very special group of people; so too her husband and their children. Her studies in the library in the outbuildings of the farm had revealed a rich history and insight into this group, more than she could ever have hoped. 

Claire and her family were descended from an ancient race of people, the first to live in these lands, and created by the Coimheadair. These people had openly used their Abilities until it was necessary to hide them away, as the rest of the world came to their shores. Claire had read with fascination the references to the Coimheadair, the Guardians of the lands, the creators of this world and, now, a new name she had discovered: Ancient Ones. She had just finished reading an account of an old creation story that had fascinated her and was still wondering if it were true or just some fanciful way of explaining how things had come to be. The Coimheadair were real – of that she was certain; she had seen and spoken to them herself.

Claire had emerged from the library with new wonder and, as always, she looked up to where the two hills joined behind the house. The large upthrust of rock was clearly visible and standing guard as it hid the stones, marking where the brook started with the spring at the top and tumbling down the rocks into the length of the valley. 

She placed the empty mug down on the bench and looked at the brook once more. It sparkled under the weak winter sun that had managed to push its way through the clouds. According to the story it had been opened up by an Ancient One to give water and life to the family of people who would guard the stones. Before she knew what she was doing, Claire was out of the house and flying through the air, finding herself already halfway up the hill. She rose up and landed carefully beside the spring. It burbled and bubbled up from the depths under the hill, tumbling down the first few rocks and disappearing over the edge.

Kneeling down she plunged her hand under the cold water and lifted it to her lips. It tasted sweet and crisp. Claire stood and slowly, almost hesitantly, made her way around the guarding rock. They stood as they had done since the beginning of time, tall and straight; they were dark pillars, with only the clinging lichen giving any hint as to how old they really were. The standing stones still called strongly to her; she could feel their vibrations and the anticipation of her touch. She felt the energy swirling around and inside them as they reached out for her, pulling her closer. They had always healed and calmed Claire in her times of need.

Now she reached out her hands that seemed to have aged since the first time she had touched the stones. The energy immediately raced through her fingers and into her body; it filled her up and she felt revitalised. The energy surged and Claire felt the stones searching, seeking more of her. The feeling frightened her. With great effort she pulled her hands away from the dark stone. Always she was wary of touching them for too long, afraid of being lost to them. She walked around the large stones on the outside, touching each one briefly as she went. 

This time as she walked it was different. The peace she normally felt was interrupted by voices. Faintly the murmuring came to her as if carried on a breeze from far away, and she frowned as she tried to hear them, only for it to slip away each time, just as she thought she could make out what they were saying. Reaching the entrance stones, she stopped in the gap. Very rarely did she step inside the circle. The last time had been with her family when Aroha, her niece, had been given the blessing of the Coimheadair of the north and south. It was also when Claire had pulled evil from Aroha that had lain hidden away in the depths of her soul, something she had inherited from her great-grandfather.

Stepping through the entrance Claire made her way to the centre of the circle. She stood and looked around her. The change she had felt grew and increased in intensity. It was urgent now. She wanted to turn and leave, it was expectant and weighed heavily on her, holding her in place.

From around the rocks a procession came, seven beings in all, dressed in dark hooded cloaks that covered them from head to toe. Their faces, hands and feet were concealed under the heavy robes. They entered the circle in single file and arranged themselves around her, standing in the gaps between the large stones. Claire did not fear them; she knew they were the Coimheadair.

“Greetings to the One True Child,” they called in unison.

“My greetings to the Guardians of these lands,” she replied.

“Carling,” One of the figures stepped forward, greeting her with the name she had been told was hers. “You once asked that we give you an explanation of what has happened to you.” 

“I remember. It was shortly before I disposed of Marcus’s remains,” Claire said, nodding.

“It is now time that you knew everything, Carling. That you were made aware of who and what you truly are. The many lives you have lived down the ages have been hidden from you, your actions and deeds only hinted at and drawn on when those skills were needed. You are so much more than just a wife, mother and scholar. You are the Protector, the Staff and Sword of Order. Your spirit born from two who stand here and sent out into the world to guard against the darkness.”

“I don’t understand. What do you mean, ‘born from two who stand here’? I knew my parents. Is part of them still with me in my mind?”

“We know, we helped them be there to guide you and love you,” the figure said gently. “The time for your education to begin is now, Carling. It is time for you to come into your full potential in order for you to act as Guide and Protector to the Ultimate One, to help her achieve her goal. It has been written in the Book of Destiny and cannot be erased.”

“The Ultimate One is Aroha, our god-daughter?” Claire asked, seeking confirmation to what she already suspected about her niece.

“Yes, it is she that the world has been waiting for. The Universe has sent her daughter to us.”

“What is the task that lies ahead of her?” Claire asked, feeling anxious for her niece.

“That will be part of your education,” another cloaked figure said in a deep male voice.

Claire looked at each Coimheadair that was present; they all stood upright, taller than her. Never once had she glimpsed what was hidden in the depths of those cowls.

“When does my education start?” she asked them.

“When Galen arrives.” A third figure stepped forward, referring to Matt’s true first name. “He will need to be with you. You need to draw on his strength and his love as it has always been between you. That is the reason my son was born.”

“That is tonight,” Claire said quietly, biting her lip a little.

“It is the reason we called you up to the stones. There is so much you must learn, so much you must understand and not one piece can you doubt or reject. The writings in the library are all true, Carling. They were made so that you could read them now, to prepare for tonight. We cannot lie; it will be hard on you, and maybe a little painful. But the time is coming when you need to use everything you have learned over all of your lives to survive and protect Aroha.” Yet another figure spoke now, in a woman’s voice this time.

“You have told me in the past that you are the Coimheadair, the Guardians. But you are so much more, aren’t you?” she asked them.

“We are, Carling, and so are you,” the first figure said. “We must leave now and will meet you here tonight. You will know when it is time. Galen is not far away.” 

Slowly the host of beings began to file out of the entrance to the stones and Claire was left in the middle as she watched them disappear around the rocks. All she could hear was the wind as it wound around the stones and the lonely, haunting cry of an eagle on the wing, high up in the cloud-strewn sky above.

Claire made her way back down the hill, taking her time as she pondered on the Guardians’ mysterious words. The texts she had been deciphering came to mind and she flicked through the pages in her mind. It was part of the Abilities she had acquired – understanding their ancient language. It was knowledge that she had shared with her father-in-law and with his help she had made great inroads into the myriad volumes in the family library. 

Walking around the house to the front she saw a car making its way up over the rise in the track that led to the ford and the main road. She waited by the door of the cottage for it to arrive and smiled broadly as her husband got out of the car. Claire ran to him and flung her arms around his neck. Matt Drummond was tall; his dark hair now showing traces of grey and the beard he had grown was now almost completely white. He was still the most handsome man to her, still so full of life and love for her. Claire clung to him.

“Hey, what’s up?” he asked, pulling away. He placed his hands on the side of her face, leaned down and kissed her gently. He could always tell when something had happened.

“Just when I thought I was free to live my life, they called me back,” she told him.

“They said… They told you that you were free.” 

She could see the agitation growing in him. His hands dropped from her face and he stepped back from her embrace.

“We have to be at the stones tonight. Apparently, I have to finish my education and I get to learn who I am.”

“But we know who you are. They told you that your tasks were done!” Matt said, a little forcefully. 

He reached out and took her hand. They walked together into the house and headed to the kitchen, which always felt warm and comforting. The traces of Matt’s grandmother were still there, and Claire had never tried to erase them.

“They want me to guide and protect Aroha as she faces her own task,” Claire informed him.

“This is not fair, Claire,” Matt growled. “You have already done so much for them. You have done everything they asked of you, and it almost destroyed you. They ask too much!”

The deaths of Jack and his father Marcus had affected her greatly, as had the ordeals that Marcus had put Claire and their family through. They were things that they had not spoken of for years; the memories were still too painful, and they had actively sought to suppress them.

She leaned up against the bench and looked out of the window up to the hill. Matt came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, his lips seeking the spot between her neck and shoulder.

“They want so much from you,” he whispered to her. “I fear they want your life, that you will leave me behind. I can’t live without you, Claire. I love you.”

Claire turned in his arms and wrapped her own around him. “I love you, too. I couldn’t have done what I did back then without you, without knowing how much you love me and feeling it within my heart. I still feel the rose that you created for me; it still surrounds my heart and protects me. It fills me with love and hope every day.”

“That is not just my love, but everyone’s.”

“But the rose and dewdrop from your tear is from you. It is the source of my strength and my love.”

“I guess we must go, then, and find out what they want,” Matt said, seeming resigned to the fact. “I’m pleased that they want me there too. In the past they have kept me in the dark and I’ve been floundering around trying to help you.”

“I know they have. I will make sure they include you in this; you have every right to know. Our lives are shared, we are one,” she told him and kissed him again.

They stood in the centre and waited. Inside the circle it felt warm; the wind and rain that blustered in the darkness beyond the stones did not affect them. Matt clasped her hand in his and was growing impatient. Claire turned to face him, her arms going about his waist as she drew him into her. He looked down at his wife and smiled, his bright blue eyes sparkling in the fleeting moonlight and showing the love he felt for her. He reached up and pushed her blond hair away her face and kissed her. 

There was no need for words, they had been together for twenty-eight years and they knew each other too well. The connection between them ran deep inside their minds and was unbreakable. Claire rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes, taking comfort from his arms and his presence. Memories of their times at the stones came floating up and she smiled at the ones that meant the most to her.

“Claire,” Matt said, softly bringing her out of her memories. 

Pulling away from the warmth of his body reluctantly, she watched the Coimheadair enter the circle. Each figure took their place once more in the gaps between the large stones and faced the couple. With increasing nervousness Claire waited for the Guardians to begin. 

“Greetings to the One True Child, daughter and sister of the Sentinels, Staff and Sword of Order, Guardian of the Stones and wife of Galen the Protector,” one of the hosts proclaimed, as he stepped forward from his place.

“My greetings to the Guardians of the lands,” Claire said.

“Greetings to Galen of the Boar, Protector and husband of the One True Child,” another said, moving forward.

“Greetings to the Guardians of these lands,” Matt said.

“That is a lot of titles and some I have never heard before,” Claire spoke to the first. 

“The time for all knowledge is now. What once was hidden and kept from you, will now be laid out and revealed to you, Carling,” he replied

“Before we begin, there is something I must ask,” Claire said, her hand still clasping that of Matt’s.

“If it is within our Abilities to grant it to you, Carling, then we shall,” the first Guardian told her.

“I ask that the knowledge is also passed on to Galen,” she requested, using her husband’s real name. “He has a right to know what I do, we share everything, and we are one.”

“My son shall know what you do as far as your joined history together. But there is still knowledge that my son will not be able to comprehend or understand. I do not intend to insult you, Galen, but some of the knowledge is specific for Carling to do with her Abilities,” the second Guardian replied.

“I understand, Guardian,” Matt inclined his head.

“I thank you, Guardians.” Claire bowed her head to them.

“Carling and Galen, it may pay that you sit. I fear that the knowledge will be weighty and hard for you.” Yet another figure spoke with a gentle feminine voice.

The couple sat facing each other, legs crossed, and hands held together. Their knees were touching, and Claire couldn’t tell if it were her hands that were shaking or Matt’s. She gave him a small smile of encouragement and closed her eyes.

The Guardians’ chanting started slowly and quietly, rising in tempo and volume. Some the words Claire understood and recognised as a blessing. The words then formed a request from a higher being than the host gathered, to grant knowledge to the couple. The pressure inside her mind increased as she saw her beginnings here in the stones. Claire witnessed her birth from a great being clothed in sunshine yellow, surrounded by others in multiple hues. Lights under their skin swirled as a storm raged overhead and around the stones. The scene shifted before her, showing Carling as a child with golden hair, her small hand clasped in that of a tall boy with bright blue eyes. Claire recognised the spirit of her husband. They had been destined for each other from the moment of her conception. 

Deeds played out before her, travels and people. Marveling as she recognised the spirits of so many, linking them with those she knew in this life. They had followed her down through the ages to be at her side, to support and love her. So many were there her mind began to rebel at the enormity of it and a flash of pain seared through her.

“Peace, Carling. Accept it,” a gentle voice called to her. It was familiar and she relaxed under its smooth tones.

The imprisonment of Chaos was before her. The crystal cave and its bright light she understood. Order was still standing guard over its brother, who was bound to two large pillars of pure clear crystal that pushed their way up through the floor of the cave. 

The scene changed quickly. She saw the lives of her children and that of her husband, the love she felt for her ultimate parents, and the Guardians. She saw them once more transform into the seven great trees to stand guard around the sacred lands.

Another life rose to meet Claire. Another called Carling. The same in every single way. The house which sat over the water, flames leaping from the thatched roof and the roar that frightened the small child, the fire that claimed her family. The scene changed and once again she saw the spear as it pierced her grandmother, the blood and the sound of her cries. The man who had taken her and who wanted to possess her. The hazel eyes, the face the same as the Marcus Claire had known, only younger. She saw the evil begin in him.

She saw the great fire she had caused at the Roman fort and the final battle. Galen killing the man, the first Marcus, as he cried out for him to do so. The darkness had not fully possessed his soul; there was a part that was still human and capable of love. Claire also understood where that love had come from: the Guardians.

The aftermath of the great fire and the life as she lived it with Galen with their children on the side of the mountain. The broch she recognised, the little village she knew, and had helped to rediscover, where she had dug the stones from the earth with her own hands. The pendant Matt had found, with the image of a boar, the one she had once worn at her throat, the work of her husband Galen. It all came to her and she smiled at the memories.

Other lives she had lived: in the area around Loch Tay; some later on, further afield in America. She saw the lines of her children. Galen and her offspring spread far and wide across the world, so many now. One she recognised and she stood before its spirit – that of Maddison, her brother Tony’s first wife.

She saw her own home. The small settlement in the valley in New Zealand. The stones as they had once stood at the head of the gully, green stones from the ground, polished and gleaming in the southern sun. She felt the Sentinels of the south as they gathered there, joining their energy to that of the north as they imparted all their knowledge to her. 

With the memories finished, it was now time for the truth. In the darkness of her mind, in a small corner, where the glow from the crystal that was the facilitator for her Abilities could not reach, she found herself. It was there that Claire tried to centre herself and accept the new memories. 

From the shadows of that corner came another to stand in front of her. Identical to herself in every way except for golden points of light which danced and swirled under her skin. Her hair was the same, her eyes the same shade of blue. Dressed like one of the Sentinels she smiled at Claire.

“We are one,” she said.

“I take it you are the one I call Crystal?”

“I am. It was necessary for the Sentinel side of us to manifest itself in such a way. It was too early for us to understand and accept it. Our first life showed us that the human side would take a little convincing.”

“This is what the Sentinels look like?”

“It is. They were born of the light of Order, although for ourselves we were born from the bodies of Yellow and Blue.”

“This is a lot for us to take on, Carling,” Claire said to her twin.

“It is, Claire. There is more – the Abilities that we used in our first life must now be released. It will be painful as our mind grows to accept them all. To do this, Claire, we must wake from here and open ourselves up to the Stones. Do not be afraid of losing ourselves to them, they will not absorb us. The energy we have felt inside the stones is that which has been stored for us, to draw on at this moment.”

“We shall trust in the knowledge that is stored in your side of our spirit.” Claire told the glittering being.

“Are we ready?”

“We are ready,” Claire nodded and opened her eyes.

Matt was sitting watching her, still clasping her hands in his own. His bright blue eyes widened as he came to terms with his own history and that of his wife.

“The time is now, Carling,” one of the male Sentinels intoned. “Open yourself to the stones and take the knowledge that is yours. Use it well and protect the world and the Ultimate One. The task is yours to take on and once more we ask you to be the Staff and Sword of Order.” 

“I accept the task,” she told them and turned to Matt. “I must do this, Galen, it is the reason I was created and born.”

“I understand, Claire. And where you go, so do I, as your support, love and protector.”

“We cannot touch you, Carling, while you are communing with the Stones. This task is for Galen to support you. You must hold her onto the stones, my son, and do not let her release until it is time.”

“I understand, my Ancestor,” he nodded to the Sentinel.

“I’m ready, Galen,” Claire told him, and he walked with her to the largest of the stones.

Standing in front of it and feeling very small in comparison, Claire could sense the knowledge already reaching out to her. She raised her hands and placed them on the flat hard surface and found it warm to the touch. It vibrated with energy as it started to impart knowledge, releasing all the Abilities and so much more. In her mind a bell began to toll, it was a sound she had heard before at the stones and the understanding of where it came from washed over her. The Universe herself was giving Claire her blessing. 

When Claire was first granted access to some of her Abilities, she had trouble controlling the influx of information. It was the same feeling she was now experiencing. Everything around her was blocked out, including the feeling of Matt holding her.

“Let it in and do not try to control it. Accept it,” the calming voice told her. 

“We are trying to,” Claire replied gritting her teeth and she forced herself to relax, and the pressure eased some.

Beads of sweat appeared on her brow as she concentrated on the knowledge. Her body shook with the force and weight of it. Matt held his wife tightly and was amazed at the capacity she had. He noticed small points of lights flickering to life just under the skin of her hands. They spun and swirled as they made their way slowly up her arms. Looking around at the Sentinels who stood guard over them, he was concerned and sought their guidance.

“The side that has been hidden from her, she is now accepting, my son. Keep her there, the time is not right to release her,” the Guardian reassured him.

“What are they?”

“They are the lights of the Universe. When Order created us, he took the light from his own body, the light that was created from the explosion of the old world and split it into its many facets. We are those facets. A rainbow of colours to stand guard over this world and protect it from the darkness. Carling’s light is purer than ours, her light is greater. It burns brighter and the Abilities she has been granted by our Mother Universe far exceeds our own. She is a gift from the Universe to help bring back balance. Chaos was never meant to be only darkness, the Universe created Order from Chaos’s destruction to bring balance. But unfortunately, it never came to pass. The great plan of Carling was only the beginning. She was always meant to be a tool to be honed and used to prepare and protect the Ultimate One. Aroha is meant to replace Chaos and Order. The balance shall be returned when she has banished them.”

“And what is to become of Claire when it is over?” Matt asked with a great fear beginning to grow inside him.

“It will be decided on the day of the banishment. We cannot see the outcome. Carling, when she does pass, will join us and take her rightful place with the Sentinels, at our side to continue our work. This has been seen.”

“So, I will lose her…?” He looked at Claire. The love he had for her was written clearly on his face, and the pain of knowing they would be separated from one another.

“We cannot see that,” another spoke gently.

“But you said…”

“Yes, it is written in the Book of Destiny, but we cannot see what becomes of either of you,” she told him.

The lights that had started underneath the skin on Claire’s hands were now spreading faster up her arms. They pushed their way with a surging force, advancing and then retreating a little until Matt saw them reach under the pushed-up sleeves of her jacket. They emerged at her throat and he could see them seeking out the rest of her body. The moment they reached her face she grimaced in pain and he almost pulled her off the stone.

“A little longer, my son.” A thin, bony hand was raised over Claire’s head and a spark of light jumped from the hand to Claire, like a little piece of golden lightening. The Guardian pulled back and held the hand under its robe.

The others stood their ground, waiting for the moment when all knowledge had been passed onto Claire. Matt could feel her tremble under the pressure, and she began to weaken. He held onto her, holding her in place. The weight of her body slightly pushing him off balance as he tried to adjust. The lights were now rushing through her body, streaking and pulsating like a meteor shower in the heavens. Under his hands he could feel her racing heartbeat as she absorbed all that she should be, and it became a part of her.

“Now, Galen.” One of the gathered hosts placed a hand on his shoulder and gently pulled him back.

Claire’s hands released their hold on the stone, and she collapsed into his arms. Matt gently lowered her to the ground and cradled her, smoothing the damp hair from her face. Claire’s eyes flickered opened and the lights had even invaded the soft blue of her iris. They flashed for a moment before disappearing and she focused on his face.

“Claire,” he said softly to her.

“Galen, my Galen. So long have we loved,” she said in wonder as her golden laced hand reached up to his face.

“And we shall continue forever more,” he promised as he bent and kissed her lips. 

Now Available!

OTC Series

You can buy your copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0874QP2FV

https://btwnthelines.com/liminalbooks/

About the Author:

L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyardL C Conn - Author Photo encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, and became a stay at home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a story was born from the kernel of a dream. The first book of The One True Child Series was begun, and just kept blooming into seven completed stories.

Author Links:

L.C. Conn: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17714374.L_C_Conn

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnLoraine

Email: raindropc1970@gmail.com

The One True Child Series: https://www.amazon.com/One-True-Child-Book/dp/B07NJD8X6K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=L.C.+Conn&qid=1587909572&sr=8-1

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Happy #PublicationDay A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Biggs @rararesources @PaperDollWrites #Giveaway

Hello lovelies! Wishing a happy publication day to Laura Biggs for her new book A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores. I have an exclusive Q&A with the author herself plus an amazing giveaway (see bottom of post) but first a little about the book:

A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores Amazon Cover

Title: A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 2) by Laura Biggs

Date Published: 23rd July 2019

Genre: Chicklit

Description:

It looks like a perfect Cornish autumn, with aspiring novelist Maisie Clark still finding inspiration as a maid at the historic Penmarrow Hotel. Between the staff of quirky co-workers, glamorous and unusual guests, and her growing friendship with the charming but mysterious Sidney Daniels, Maisie is living out adventures instead of just penning them in the pages of her would-be novel’s growing number of chapters.

And then there’s the slight problem of keeping the balance between friendship and ‘something more’ with Sidney, who’s helping introduce her to the village’s version of a Cornish Halloween, and has recently taken an interest in Maisie’s secret that may change things between them. But even Maisie’s imagination can’t conjure the unusual event this Halloween brings to the Penmarrow. An eccentric earl has chosen this site to host his lavish birthday celebration that includes a pretty (and perceptive) young psychic whose predictions seem to have everyone on edge — and, to Maisie’s delight, the elusive novelist Alistair Davies is rumored to be part of the guest list! But with the earl’s bickering relatives and illustrious friends on hand— and more than one ghost of the past waiting to be revealed — it’s anyone’s guess what the festivities will bring before the party is over.

Will the psychic foretell doom for the earl’s gathering—and is her ‘gift’ as genuine as it seems? Will Maisie finally meet her favorite author face to face? And, more importantly, what about the romantic sparks that fly between Maisie and Sidney?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

Q&A with Laura Biggs

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

It’s the second book in a series about an American waitress and aspiring novelist who ends up working across the Pond in a beautiful Cornish hotel. It has a little bit of a Halloween theme, with some spooky events taking place when an eccentric and wealthy guest at the hotel hires a famous psychic as part of their elaborate birthday celebration.


Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

I think it came partly from my long-time fondness for light-hearted, mildly scary stories. Growing up, I adored classic films like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Blackbeard’s Ghost. And the idea of a wealthy earl’s bickering relatives gathering at a historic hotel for a haunted birthday party seemed very Agatha Christie somehow, even if there was no real mystery involved.


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

A feel-good romance with a dash of Halloween fun!


What is a typical writing day like for you?

Well, it usually consists of about six to eight hours of writing on a laptop. I sometimes have a music playlist to work to or maybe some television to run in the background. And, of course, other obligations surface throughout the day, so it’s not complete solitude and screen time, thankfully!

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

As far as fiction books go, I wouldn’t know where to start. There are so many I love and feel are prime examples of certain genres, such as Jane Austen for romance and Agatha Christie for mystery. It would be too hard to choose just one, I’m afraid!


Who are your favouriteauthors?

I’d have to say Jane Austen is among my all-time favourites authors. Her novel Sense and Sensibility is one I will never get tired of reading.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

Hmmm, let’s see. This isn’t so much interesting as a bit unconventional, BUT…I didn’t own a cell phone until 2018. So, yeah, I’ve been behind the times for awhile now, LOL!


What are you currently working on?

Right now, more books for my series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’ are in the works (including a Christmas one for the end of the year!).

About The Author:

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especiallyA Little Hotel in Cornwall Author Pic ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

Giveaway to Win one of 3 Cornish themed prizes (Open Internationally)

1st Prize: A Ross Poldark collectible Knitdark character doll (Open Internationally) –1 winner

Perfect for fans of all-things Cornwall, this Ross Poldark doll with tricorn hat is made by AngelaA Spirited - Ross Poldark Knitdark Giveaway Blay, whose popular Knitdark creations have been featured on The Graham Norton Show. Since each doll is hand made, the Ross the winner receives may vary slightly in appearance from the one in the picture. Readers can learn more about the Knitdarks at Angela’s Twitter page @kwerkyknits as well as her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kwerkyknits

 

2nd Prize: A decorative tin T.A.R.D.I.S (Open Internationally) –1 winnerA Spiritted - T.A.R.D.I.S. tin Giveaway

A tin T.A.R.D.I.S similar to the keepsake Maisie is gifted by Sidney in Book 1, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Designed by Etsy artist KittyConduitt81 and perfect for fans of Doctor Who! Being a unique, hand made item, the final design may vary slightly in appearance from the one pictured. Learn about KittyConduittDesigns on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KittyConduittDesigns

3rd Prize: A Kindle/Tablet case featuring cover art from A Little Hotel in Cornwall (Open Internationally) –1 winner

A Spirited - Cover art for Kindle or Tablet GiveawayA specially designed case for a Kindle or Tablet featuring the cover art for Book 1 in the series A Little Hotel in Cornwall. The final product’s size, texture, and color will depend on the winner’s device.

*All 3 winners will also receive a digital copy of Book 1 in the series, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494258/?

#BlogBlitz #Review How NOT To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @rararesources

How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V. Hay

Title: How NOT to write female characters by Lucy V Hay

Date Published: 23rd August 2018

Genre: Non-Fiction/Writing

Description:

Female characters. When fifty per cent of your potential target audience is female, if you’re not writing them in your screenplay or novel? You’re making a BIG mistake!

But how should you approach your female characters? That’s the million-dollar question … After all, women in real life are complex, varied and flawed. Knowing where to start in creating three dimensional female characters for your story is extremely difficult. 

So … perhaps it’s easier to figure out how NOT to write female characters?

Script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog http://www.bang2write.com, Lucy V Hay has spent the last fifteen years reading the slush pile. She has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why.

In How Not To Write Female Characters, Lucy outlines: 

•WHO your character is & how to avoid “classic” traps and pitfalls
•WHAT mistakes writers typically make with female characters
•WHERE you can find great female characters in produced and published content
•WHEN to let go of gender politics and agendas
•WHY female characters are more important than ever

Lucy is on a mission to improve your writing, as well as enable diverse voices and characters to rise to the top of the spec pile. 

REVIEWS FOR LUCY V’S WRITING ADVICE: 

‘A timely guide to creating original characters and reinvigorating tired storylines. ‘
– Debbie Moon, creator and showrunner, Wolfblood (BBC)  

‘Lucy V. Hay nails it’
– Stephen Volk, BAFTA-winning screenwriter: Ghostwatch, Afterlife, The Awakening 

‘Packed with practical and inspirational insights’
– Karol Griffiths, development consultant and script editor, clients include ITV, BBC, Warner Brothers 

‘A top-notch, cutting-edge guide to writing and selling, not just practical but inspirational. Lucy’s distinctive voice infuses the entire journey. Quite brilliant. Here’s the woman who’ll help you make things happen.’
– Barbara Machin, award-winning writer & creator of Waking the Dead 

‘Delivers the stirring call to arms that writers must not only write, but take their work to the next level themselves, making sacrifices and taking risks if they want to see their stories on screen.’
– Chris Jones, Filmmaker, Screenwriter & Creative Director at the London Screenwriters Festival 

‘Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays is a must-read for any writer, producer or director looking to create (or in the process of creating) a thriller production. It could also be immensely useful for those generally curious about the genre or looking to learn more.’ – Film Doctor

‘Lucy V Hay explains what a script reader and editor’s role in filmmaking, tells you to work on your concepts and that dialogue is the last thing to work on in her new book.’ – Brit Flicks

Review:

So as a wannabe author, I’m always on the lookout for books to help with my writing journey. How NOT to write female characters is definitely one of those books.

The focus of the book is looking at clichés surrounding female characters from kiss ass hottie to adding a female just for the sake of it.

Even though I am female, I still found this book extremely helpful and Lucy V Hay really uses her years of writing expertise to create this informative read. It’s a quick, straight to the point read, written in a no nonsense style which took me less than an hour to read.

I feel like a lot of the advice can be used not just for female characters, but to create any fully rounded character in general, so it’s definitely worth a read.

How NOT to write female character is a quick read, written in a clear and straight to the point style that I’d recommend to anyone who has an interest in writing.

About The Author –

Lucy V. Hay is an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write How Not - hands in the air, looking upconsultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of  WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS.

Social Media Links –

www.instagram.com/Bang2write

www.twitter.com/Bang2write

www.facebook.com/groups/Bang2writers

#BlogBlitz Happy Publication Day Black Matter by GD Parker @GDParker_Author @rararesources #Promo #BookSpotlight

Happy Publication day GD Parker🎉🎉🎉 Today I’ll be shining a spotlight on his debut novel Black Matter:

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Title: Black Matter by GD Parker

Date Published: 28th January 2019

Genre: Thriller

Description:

The future is now… it’s terrifying!!! Humanity locks jaws with the ever-increasing human desires towards highly advanced technological innovations making the world a dangerous place. Unanticipated horrific consequences unfold for Tommy McGregor when he partakes in a new high-tech innovation to enhance his health and wellbeing. He thought it would make him healthier, better looking and live forever…DI Valentina is out of her comfort zone when she’s tasked to track down a killer, unknown to her, hidden behind a digital mask. The future has already fallen upon humanity as she soon discovers, nothing is as it seems anymore as society embarks in technology that’s already here. A terrifying mystery, it feeds your imaginative mind’s eye – a fast-paced “whoisit” thrilling crime, novel that will leave you guessing until the end, (or will it?) As it leaves the hairs on your arms stand on end as you uncontrollably turn each page in this 3 part series.

You Can Buy Your Copy Here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Matter-order-must-read-thriller-ebook/dp/B07KJNDX1P

US – https://www.amazon.com/Black-Matter-order-must-read-thriller-ebook/dp/B07KJNDX1P

About The Author –

GD Parker is the author of his debut novel, Black Matter. Book one of a three-part series that explores the depths of the unfolding high-tech world we now live in, making it a dangerousimg_zbygh6 place.

The novel will be available to purchase in e-book and paperback formats on the Amazon store.

Gareth was born in the UK in 1981. A family man spent much of his working life in South Wales working in a professional capacity. One day he made the decision write about an idea he dreamt about.

Still working full time for a large organisation, he enjoys reading all manner of books, and spending time with his world – his family.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GDParker_Author and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gd.parker_author/

#BlogTour #Review Homicide In Herne Hill by Alice Castle @DDsDiary @rararesources @crookedcatbooks

Homicide in Herne Hill Cover

I’ve very excited to be sharing my review of Homicide In Herne Hill, the fourth in the London mystery series, today (thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour) with a giveaway to win a copy of the book (see bottom of the post) but first a little about the book:

Title: Homicide In Herne Hill by Alice Castle.

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Date Published: 28th September 2018

Genre: Cosy Mystery

Description:

Beth Haldane, SE21’s premier – and only – single mum amateur sleuth, is really pleased to find a new friend at the school gates, in the shape of irrepressibly bouncy Nina. As well as a way with words, Nina has a puzzle she wants Beth to solve, centred on the solicitor’s office where Nina works in Herne Hill.

But as the mystery thickens, threatening to drag in not just Nina and her boss, but the yummy mummies of Dulwich, too, Beth is about to find out just how far some people will go to keep up appearances.

Join Beth in this fourth instalment in the London Murder Mystery series for her toughest case yet.

You can read my reviews of the previous three novels here (just click on the links)

Death In Dulwich

The Girl In The Gallery

Calamity In Camberwell

Review:

So I’m a huge fan of this series having read all four of the instalments but I do feel like Homicide In Herne Hill can be read as a stand-alone without missing too much. I will recommend that you start at the beginning because it’s such a good series!

It’s coming up to Christmas and Beth Haldane’s best friend Katie has gone away until new year leaving Beth feeling a little lonely. A chance encounter at her son Ben’s Nativity play and she meets another single mum, Nina.

Nina is the polar opposite of Katie, she’s loud, bouncy, eats processed food and doesn’t associate with the so called yummy mummy society of Dulwich. Knowing Beth’s reputation for solving mysteries Nina tells her she feels something dodgy is going on at the solicitor’s she works at. Unable to resist a puzzle, she puts herself and her new relationship on the line to get to the bottom of it.

It’s nice to be back in Dulwich with Beth. It feels like I’m visiting an old friend!

I liked the addition of Nina, she’s down to earth and fun, okay she lets her six year old have fizzy drinks and a diet that consists of pretty much junk food but nobody’s perfect! I wonder if her and Beth’s other friend Katie will meet in the next book, I’d like to see that.

Now much as I love this series, I didn’t feel like the mystery was quite as strong as the previous ones, with the majority of the juicy bits happening in the second half of the book but of course that is just my opinion. Also I’d like to see a bit more from the dishy detective Harry Young who Beth is now in a relationship with, but seemed noticeably absent for most of the book.

Overall Homicide In Herne Hill is a fun cosy mystery, full of great characters, witty observations and perfect for curling up with during these chilly nights.

Purchase Link myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GPGBSC6

Homicide in Herne Hill Full Tour Banner

About The Author:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice grew up inauthor pic south London and, after a brief stint in Brussels (where her first novel, Hot Chocolate, is set) she is back where she belongs, dreaming up adventures for her heroine, amateur detective and single mum Beth Haldane. Alice is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats. Find out more about her London Murder Mystery series on her website, http://www.alicecastleauthor.com. Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books and was #1 in the Amazon Satire/Detective charts in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. The Girl in the Gallery came out in December 2017 and the third in the series, Calamity in Camberwell, was published on 13th August 2018. Revenge on the Rye will follow in 2019, with more books in the pipeline.

Social Media Links – http://www.alicecastleauthor.com

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

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

Links to buy books: http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery.

myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich, myBook.to/GirlintheGallery, myBook.to/CiC myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of Homicide in Herne Hill (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click Here To Enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494158/?

#BlogTour #Review Anonymity by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook #Newrelease

Title: Anonymity by John Nicholl

Publisher: Bloodhound books

Date Published: 6th November 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

When Mia, a successful novelist, is targeted by a stalker, her life begins to unravel.

Unaware that the predatory psychopath has placed cameras in her home, the stalker sends untraceable emails, including photos of her and her four-year-old daughter, demanding Mia performs outlandish tasks, threatening dire consequences if she refuses or approaches the police.

As the pressure builds, Adam, Mia’s sister’s boyfriend, offers to accompany her to stay in Italy with her parents. But when the villa is burnt down, Mia fears the stalker has followed her and decides to return to Wales.

Meanwhile, the police are investigating the murder of three women in the area, and when DI Gravel’s daughter is threatened, he takes matters into his own hands.

With his health failing and his career coming to an end, just how far will Gravel go to protect his daughter and catch a vicious killer?

Review:

When we meet Mia she’s a bit of a mess. Addicted to pain killers, recovering from breast cancer and struggling to write her next book, when a sinister email pops up in her inbox from her ‘number one fan’ she replies in no uncertain terms for them to get lost. What she doesn’t know is the person behind the email is hell bent on destroying her mentally and physically and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

At breaking point she turns to old family friend DI Gareth (Grav) Gravel, who is currently on sick leave, for help.

So this is the fourth in the DI Gravel series but can be read as a stand-alone without missing too much. I have only read one other book in the series myself, which incidentally is also the first, A Cold, Cold Heart (you can read my review here) at the beginning of the year.

Anonymity is one of those books that you think to yourself, that could really happen, which now I think about it makes it that much more scary! As I said with the first one this is one of those genre defy books, part psychological thriller, part police procedural and if you enjoy those two, I think you’ll love this one! But be warned, I know I say this a lot, it does have a few uncomfortable and slightly gruesome scenes.

The story is told from several different POV’s including the killer who I have got to say is a pretty much EVIL! I do also like the way John Nicholl doesn’t try to explain too much why he became this way, the killer is just a nasty manipulative character who you can just really hate.

DI Gravel is really struggling with his health in this book, both physical and mental. He’s suffering the aftermath of his third heart attack, he wants to work but his boss, who has a massive dislike of him, wants to pension him off. He’s drinking the day away when Mia comes to him and he begins to feel the old fire again, especially when his daughter is sent threatening packages.

I have to be honest I didn’t much like Mia. Don’t get me wrong she’s a well drawn character with plenty of flaws but considering she’d meant to be quite an intelligent character, she makes a lot of dumb and naive decisions.

I did feel that it sort of lost it’s way a little in the middle and sort of lost the tension a little bit but it certainly picked up by the end, with a tense, action packed and very emotional ending!

Anonymity is a realistic and gritty novel that packs an emotional punch.

Anonymity Blog Blitz banner

About The Author:

John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller.fullsizeoutput_8

John’s books are set in the UK and have a strong Welsh flavour. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John has publishing deals with Bloodhound Books, W.F. Howes Ltd, and Hungarian publisher – konyvmolykepzo. His latest novel, Anonymity, will be published by Bloodhound Books in November 2018.

John’s Social Media Links:

Author website: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.nicholl.988

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13795294.John_Nicholl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholl06 @nicholl06

Agent: http://tma-agency.com

#CoverReveal The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien @ScribblerJB @rararesources

I’m very excited to be part of the cover reveal for Jenny O’Brien’s novel The Stepsister, (which I will be reviewing in November) I even have a sneak peek at the novel further down but first a little about the novel:

Title: The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien

Publication Date: 29th October 2018

Genre: Thriller

Description:

When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.

But there’s no mistake when Ness goes missing.

Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?

But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead. 

Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late?

Pre-order on Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H3TH4HT

And now for the cover:

stepsister cover

As promised too, a sneak peek of the novel:

Prologue:

I died yesterday, or so I’ve been told.

Yesterday is the day my life changed but how or why is still a mystery. There are things I know and there are things that they’ve told me but I can’t seem to trust any of it.

I know I’m a woman but I don’t know my age. I know how to hold a cup in the same way I know it’s rude to stick the end of a knife in my mouth. So, somewhere along the way, someone cared enough to drill manners into me. Those are the things I know, the things I can trust but as for the rest…

They tell me I’m in Holland but can I believe them? I don’t remember if I’m Dutch but I also don’t remember if I’m not. I can’t speak Dutch. I’ve been trying all morning but can one lose a language overnight? I seem to have lost everything else. Who knows? Maybe I took the wrong train or something and just rolled up in the wrong city. That would make sense except that it’s not just my sense of place that’s missing. It’s my sense of everything. I have no name, no age and no identity. Yesterday I died and today I’m still here.

They’ve left me alone now while they try to puzzle out what to do and in the meantime I’m going to try to remember stuff. I don’t know how long they’ll leave me alone but I need to take this opportunity to come up with some answers to all the questions they’ve been throwing at me like who the hell I am.

Slipping out of bed I recoil as bare feet meets cold tiles, but that’s not going to stop me. Pulling the back of the hospital gown closed in an effort to retain some degree of dignity, I shuffle over to the bathroom and then the mirror only to stare into the face of a stranger.

It doesn’t matter what I look like or that I’m suffering from the worst case of bed-head known to man. It doesn’t matter that my eyes are green or that my hair is that shade of nondescript mouse that keeps colourists in business. The only thing that matters is my reflection, which holds no clues as to my identity. I’m a stranger to them. I’m a stranger to me.

My body holds a clue though – just one.

I push up my sleeve again to stare at the tattoo on my arm. The tattoo puzzles me. It’s not me, or part of me or who I think I am and yet it’s there, a large indelible letter V.

I have no idea what it stands for. Oh, I’m not stupid or anything or, at least I don’t think I am. I can’t quote which exams I’ve passed or if indeed I’ve ever attended school but I do know V stands for victory. But what does it mean to me? Am I victorious? Am I making a statement about something? It must be important because it’s the only tattoo I have. It’s also the only clue.

I’m tired now. My eyelids collapse over my eyes even as I struggle to shift them upwards as I remember the cocktail the nurse told me to swallow like a good girl. I want everything to go away. I want to hide under the blankets and forget. I’ve already forgotten…

About The Author:

Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She’s an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
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She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her books.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off.

Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog: https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblerJB


#BlogTour #Excerpt w/ #Giveaway Death In Vermilion by Barbara Elle @shanannigans81 @barbaraelleauth

Today I’m very excited to bring you an extract from Death In Vermilion plus a giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of the book (see bottom of the post)

Title: Death in Vermilion by Barbara Elle.

Publication Date: 16th April 2018

Genre: Murder Mystery

Description:

A psychological mystery about art and obsession…

Artist Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When she’s interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When Leila discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, she becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists—competitive, jealous and hypocritical—are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,” Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever, twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Code town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863595-death-in-vermilion?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase Link:

Amazon: https://goo.gl/CYrR5V

Death in Vermillion Cover

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Bellies and Strips

There was no glance more cutting or cruel. The narrowing of unsympathetic eyes a shade of cool, blue slate, like Dylan’s on the cover of Highway 61 Revisited. The imperceptible flare of nostrils, followed by a slow yoga exhalation in Savasana, the corpse. It wasn’t going well.

Leila Goodfriend was laying down the bones of a painting. She took a step back from her easel. A no-name clam shack clung fearlessly as a barnacle to the edge of the old East End pier. A forlorn wooden structure, barely bigger than a Punch & Judy puppet stage, had withstood the fierce winds whipping off the water in the dead of winter. The pier was deserted. Anyone could paint a sunny day.

After outlining the shack in ghostly charcoal strokes, she stood, hand on hip, poised with a palette loaded with ultramarine and cobalt blues for the sky, sap green for foliage, a transparent manganese blue hue for waves in the water, Van Dyck brown for the pier’s planks and Naples Yellow Hue for sunlight. Flake white blobs dabbed in the foreground could be gulls, or children, or discarded clam containers. She hadn’t decided which. Leila loved that shack, the rough pier, and the view of dotted Race Point Lighthouse off the distance. Painting was all about execution, feeling a connection to the subject, the composition, the angles of light. Though local artists mostly painted popular summer scenes of boats and beaches.

That’s what the summer birds, vacationers who nested in the Cape Cod dunes from June until the end of August, bought. Her husband Joe dubbed them the dorks of summer. Leila didn’t care what unflattering name Joe had for them, or whether the summer birds cared as much about this place she called home as she did. She wanted to sell them a painting capturing what she loved about this place.

If she was lucky, and painting was largely a matter of luck, random strokes on the canvas would become a painting, At the Clam Bar: Succulent Bellies and Strips. If one of the summer birds bought her painting, she’d be happy. Even the most dedicated of artists needs affirmation sometimes.

A loud whacking thump overhead jarred Leila rudely from her thoughts; the thud traveled like a jolt of electricity down her spine Immediately, Leila knew the disturbance, of course, was Iris. Iris again. Always Iris. Of the six other artists who called the Red Barn home, her studio had to be, unfortunately, overhead.

And inevitably, as Iris worked, the creaking old floorboards quaked under her relentless assault with her flapping Birkenstock sandals.

Leila complained about Iris to Joe more than once, actually almost every day. It was impossible for someone who barely grazed five feet could make so much noise. Iris could be quiet if she tried, she’d say. She was inconsiderate. She was pompous. “Art,” Iris would say, “has a life of its own and an artist owes his life to his art.” Quoting Iris was good for a laugh.

If Iris bothered her so much, Joe would say, why keep talking about it? Why not rent a different studio? That would make sense, except Leila loved her space, had been there for nearly five years, and was lucky to have found it in this touristy town. Besides, she hated giving in to her own annoyance; she’d learn to ignore Iris if it killed her. Maybe, someday, Iris would just float away like a child’s birthday balloon. No such luck; gravity worked overtime with every tread Iris inflicted in her flapping Birkenstock sandals. Leila fought her first instinct, which was to grab the long, telescoping pole by the casement window, stand on a stool and bang her weapon of choice sharply on the lofty ceiling, twice. It wouldn’t work. It never did. Iris would ignore her.

Instead, Leila turned up NPR on the radio. She could drown out Iris with the sound of undemanding human voices on the radio. NPR was excellent company and, when necessary, excellent white noise. The hourly news, a lengthy interview, a personal piece affected in that breathless NPR accent was the perfect antidote for distraction. And the distraction was usually Iris.

Iris McNeil Thornton was a fellow member of the Red Barn Art Cooperative at Castle Road, which was housed in the happily dilapidated Red Barn Studio. It was high on a hill, overlooking Pamet Marsh, close enough to spy the flights of blue herons and egrets wheeling through the Aliziran Crimson sky, the sun an orb of Cadmium Yellow falling into the salt marshes from her window.

Among the Red Barn’s many charms were the old building’s quirky twists and turns, the sizeable studio spaces with high ceilings from its former life as the Southwind Bros. Button and Snap factory. Leila loved the patina on the old, uneven oak floorboards, the room secreted under the stairwell, doors that jammed and staircases that creaked.

But it was the heady mix of gesso, turp, linseed, pigments, primer, developers and emulsions, the fat smell of oil layered with acrylic resin and a faint dash of watercolor, an acrid, chemical concoction heady in the nasal passages, smells as familiar as the scent of a baby, that made it home.

Not that the Red Barn was without its problems. The daily irritations of artistry and intimacy meant the Red Barn artists were often less than happy. And when the Red Barn artists were less than happy, which occurred as frequently as the tides, they would reach for anything on hand brooms, clogs, slammed doors, sighs in the hallways, post-it notes on the bulletin board, giggles behind a back, and any combination thereof to convey their displeasure. Under other circumstances such communications might be considered rude, but the Red Barn operated by its own set of rules.

It wasn’t that the Red Barn, a collective space of otherwise solitary individuals, didn’t have its share of fellowship and communal spirit. Sometimes it was nice to see a friendly face.

But, recently, their friendships had been called into question by a series of items gone missing, small stuff, seemingly at random, from their studios, Daklon paintbrush, a can of gesso, and unused tube of paint and a half-used tube of paint. A box of plastic gloves was now empty; which Leila was sure had been half-full. No one said theft, not at first. It was more like, did I leave this in your studio? did you find this in the bathroom? I must be a little crazy because I was sure I had it, but as the missing items mounted, minor though they were, so did whispering, suspicion, and an uneasy sense someone, maybe one of them, was a thief.

It made Leila uneasy; maybe someone was invading her studio, without her knowing. She debated whether, like Iris, she should lock her door at the end of the day. But she shook it off as unnecessary paranoia and decided to ignore it.

Leila took a deep breath, brushed back her unruly, graying curls, squinting at her canvas. When she painted, the circling steps of the heavy woman upstairs receded from consciousness, and time was suspended.

The wood planks of the pier were muddied. The perspective wasn’t quite right. The colors weren’t right. Leila waggled the end of her paintbrush like a cigar between her lips. It was a messy habit. She looked down at the black-and-white photo of the shack, not that she had any intention of painting the snapshot, any more than a musician only plays the notes.

Leila picked up her palette knife. Shaped like a small trowel for digging in the dirt, its usefulness came from its versatility in blending colors, creating textural effects, or scraping across the surface of a painting to obliterate an offense. Artists can be rough on their work; Leila was her own toughest critic.

The pier had to go. Leila wielded the knife, scraping hard until she hit the tooth of the canvas. She preferred working on a good, tightly woven cotton duck. It wasn’t an inert surface, so it recovered quickly after Leila’s brief attack. She dabbed a rag soaked in turpentine on the wound. The reconstruction of the pier could wait until tomorrow.

What time was it? Leila lost track of time as she worked. She never wore a watch in the studio.

But if she left too late, Joe would be annoyed his port wine reduction for the seared tuna had broken. It wasn’t the sauce—he could revive with a quick whisk of butter on a low heat—it was her spending more and more time at the studio and coming home later. The sky over Cape Cod Bay was a wistful grey heading into night.

Leila put down her palette knife, turned down her radio, and listened. There was quiet, finally quiet, blissful silence.

Now, at the end of the day, Leila had to steel herself for the most infuriating moment of the day: Iris leaving. The torrential thumps of Iris’ flapping Birkenstocks as she gathered up her belongings, slammed the window, searched for her purse, and slammed her door. The old oak boards were punished as as Iris clomped overhead.

The stomp was followed by the slam. Iris was incapable of doing anything quietly. There was some relief in the slam—it meant Iris was no longer overhead. The Red Barn artists never said good night, pretending not to notice each other’s comings and goings. So Leila didn’t expect Iris to poke her head in, or wave when she passed by. However, the daily drama of the swirling clamor that was Iris, like a performer doing a star turn on the stage, made it impossible not to notice her entrances and exits.

Leila walked to the window. The light of an Indian summer day was fading. Sailboats moored in the bay listed drunkenly. Had the final thump earlier signaled Iris’ departure? Leila walked back to her canvas. She recognized this as the same solitary circling as that of her neighbor overhead. It was ironic, but that didn’t stop Iris from being an annoyance.

She put her tools on her workbench. She should rinse them in turpentine and water in the bathroom at the end of the hall—the brushes would be tackier and difficult to clean after drying overnight. Oh well, she’d deal with that in the morning. Grabbing her backpack, she turned out the lights and closed her door. The hallway was silent. The other studio doors on her floor were closed. No Philomena, no Dové.

But something in the quality of the jarring loud noise earlier somehow made the quiet louder.

The stairs were poorly lit, even after Leila switched on the bare bulb dangling overhead. The whole damn place was a fire hazard. She climbed to the second floor. No Liz, no Gretchen. Later, she couldn’t quite explain why hadn’t she gone home.

The crap fixture in the upstairs hall, that never worked right, was out, as usual. The damn, dusty moose head Iris had mounted above her door stared down dolefully through its blind, button eyes. Its antlers wore a fine coat of dust.

Iris’ door was open a crack, which surprised Leila. Iris worked behind closed, locked doors, all day, every day. The other Red Barn artists left their doors open at least a smidgen, not exactly an invitation, but not a deliberately antisocial act. Iris had no such compunctions.

Leila knocked. Silence. She hesitated. Should she leave Iris alone? She took a few steps back toward the stairs, but turned around. What harm was it peeking inside? “Iris, its only me, Leila. ” No answer. “Iris, are you there?”

Leila stared through the crack in the door. At first, she thought the room was empty, but as her eyes adjusted, Leila made out a shape, or maybe a shadow, in the center of the studio.

The value of the only available light source, through the far window, made it difficult to see. Iris refused to use artificial light. She insisted on painting ‘as the Old Masters had’, that is, only by natural light. For a time, she had painted by candlelight, until the Red Barn got wind of it, banning burning candles before Iris burned the place down.

Leila stared at the shape. It didn’t move. Iris never left her door unlocked. Maybe she’d left something behind and would come back for it. Leila pushed the door open further, venturing into the silent studio, under the disapproving gaze of the mildewed moose, inching towards the shadow.

Iris, who incurred the Red Barn artists’ collective ire by deprecating the work of her fellow artists, neglecting to lock the front door, leaving puddles around communal hall sink, and far worse, as the prime suspect in the ongoing war of toilet squatting accusations, that same annoying Iris, was splayed on the floor, eyes wide open, inert as a tube of sepia.

It was a body. Iris’ body. Later, Leila recalled the body like a dead deer, abandoned on the side of the road after an accident. She remembered noting the color of Iris’ skin, like the underpainting of flesh in a neutral shade—what artists called grisaille, or dead coloring.

Ironically, under the circumstances, the scene is not unlike Iris’ own brooding assemblages: the carnage of death, overripe fruit in silver bowls, bird carcasses on platters, and game animals, fresh and bloodied, trophies of the hunt hung in the background, rendered in the style of the Old Masters.

And later, Leila was vaguely ashamed of her observations, her detachment. But, she thought defensively, isn’t observation was a habit developed over a lifetime?

Tentatively, Leila inched forward, reaching out her hand to touch the body. She yanked it back as if it was submerged in a shark tank. Iris was surprisingly warm, alive warm.

As her eyes adjusted to the low light, Leila saw Iris’ blood was a seeping stain from her flowing blue dress onto the floorboards. The red was the red every paint manufacturer had tried, but failed, to capture in a tube. Brilliant, blood red. But the eyes were dead, even if the heart was beating. Leila’s heart dropped a beat. Fear crept up her throat. Leila had to look away; she couldn’t look at those eyes. Should she call out? Is anyone here? But it was better she was alone, even if it was with a dead body. But, Iris wasn’t alone.

A small figure stood—as if on guard—over the body. Leila bent down to look at it: it was a wooden artist’s mannequin, no bigger than a child’s toy, standing guard over Iris. She recognized him immediately.

Jesus, it was Fred, fucking Fred— Leila, in a fanciful mood, had painted the figure to be anatomically correct, as well as well-endowed—who had gone missing from her studio months ago.

But poor Fred, as an eyewitness to a crime, could have nothing to say. There was no doubt he was Fred, and that he belonged to her. Bending down to pick up her missing mannequin, Leila gazed into his dead eyes. What to do?

In truth, she was both embarrassed by her handiwork, and concerned his presence could be construed as evidence at the scene of the crime; she pocketed Fred and in a sleight of hand he disappeared.

Leila didn’t need Fred to paint the picture. Iris prone. The blood. The burnished wood handle of a knife stuck in an ample left breast. Iris had been murdered. Leila didn’t scream. Leila wasn’t a screamer

Enter for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Death in Vermilion!

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About the Author

Barbara Elle grew up in Boston, but as an adult became a New Yorker. Barbara loves writing barbaraelleabout people and places she remembers, so Death In Vermilion is set on Cape Cod, a place of many memories. She continues collecting memories and places, traveling the world with her touring musician husband, whether exploring Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna or Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, in search of new stories to write about. She invariably packs a notebook and her laptop.

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

Twitter: @barbaraelleauth

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#BlogTour #Review #SalazarMysteries A Dead American In Paris by Seth Lynch @fahrenheitpress @SethALynch

Title: A Dead American In Paris (Salazar Book 2) by Seth Lynch

Publisher: Fahrenheit Press

Date Published: 9th April 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Historical

Description:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

Dead American Paris

Review:

I want to say a huge thank you to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour.

It was no surprise to anyone that Arty Homebrook ended up stabbed to death in his dingy little flat. He had affairs with married women, blackmailed desperate people and ran scheme after scheme. The police only have one suspect, Harry Fulton who had been overheard threatening to kill anyone who slept with his wife, something Homebrook had been doing for months. Salazar is tasked by Fulton’s rich father to investigate but he isn’t convinced of Harry Fulton’s innocence.

The more Salazar digs, the deeper he becomes embroiled in Arty’s lies and deceit. Can he solve the case without losing himself?

So this is the second in the Salazar series but to me it worked perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Now this is how you write a historical novel! The language fit, the setting was vivid and the characters felt right for the time period. It is a beautifully written, almost poetic at times but it is also quite dark. Set in the 1930’s, an era I’m fond of, it shows the real seedy underbelly and seemingly unending poverty of Paris, a place usually associated with romance.

This really reminds me of those hardboiled detective novels of the 1950’s, the murder victim is utterly despicable but the people around him are not much better either!

Then we have the detective. Salazar is sarcastic, intelligent but also a damaged soul. Still suffering from what we’d call post traumatic stress disorder, back in those days they’d probably call it melancholy, from the first world war everyday is a battle for him. He sees ghosts, suffers from paranoia and often blacks out not remembering what he’s done which for a private investigator makes his job that much harder but he never gives up.

The book also deals with the dark topic of back street abortion, women being told not to use contraception but shunned if they ended up with an unwanted pregnancy and what they had to suffer through to terminate a child was absolutely barbaric!

I did cringe a little at the way crime scenes were treated by the police. People smoking, ransacking and stealing from them with little regard for persevering evidence but I suppose back in those days there wasn’t much in the way of forensics.

Overall a dark and compelling historical mystery that you can lose yourself in.

Rating: 4/5
About Seth Lynch:

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich andseth lynch the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Seth’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor/
Buy Seth Lynch’s book direct from Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

#BlogTour #BookReview Pressure by Betsy Reavley @Bloodhoundbook @BetsyReavley

I’m going to apologise before you start reading this, I’m full of cold and my brain feels a bit fuzzy so my review may not be the best x

Title: Pressure by Betsy Reavley

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Date Published: 4th May 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller.

Description:

When the submarine departed, none of the ten people on board knew it would turn into a nightmare.

Trapped on the sunken vessel on the bottom of the ocean and unable to escape, one of them is discovered dead. The tension escalates as the survivors realise there is a murderer among them, who is preparing to strike again and again…

With mounting desperation, people begin to turn on each other. While they struggle to identify who is responsible, each must contend with their own past, the claustrophobia and the secrets they are hiding.

But who is who?  And which of them will be next to die?

Below the surface, the pressure is building and time is running out…

‘Betsy Reavley is back with a novel of such impact and power; nothing is clear, the tension so strong it holds you from the first page to the last. Pressure delivers on every level, leaving breathless readers in its wake.’  Bestselling author of Captor and 34 Days Anita Waller

4th May_BookstormerBooks Of All KindsBits About BooksChelle's Book ReviewsDamppebblesCheekypee Reads And ReviewsKeeper Of Pages

Review:

The adventure started when Frank Holden, a bigwig film producer decides to make a low budget movie under the sea. He gathers together a rather ragtag group of actors, production crew and submariners but disaster strikes when there is a malfunction. Now ten people are trapped inside a Pica Explorer submarine at the bottom of the ocean. entrapped within its walls with no escape, a murderer begins picking off the passengers one by one. Who will survive?

This is an utterly addictive read! The feeling of claustrophobia and the tension of being trapped somewhere without knowing exactly where you are sent shivers down my spine throughout. I think it would make an amazingly good horror movie.

There are quite a lot of different points of view, each character gets their own chapter, essentially tell you how each one ends up on the submarine. There is also a child which at first threw me a little, like who is this child and what’s it got to do with the people trapped on the sub? It took me a few chapters to figure it out but I’m not going to spoil it, you’ll just have to read it yourself and see.

I did feel there might have been one too many characters but of course that’s just my opinion.

Overall a tense, addictive read that will have you gripped throughout.

Rating: 4.5/5

 Author Bio:

Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Frailty,Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.29542254_1223580694445443_136203202607473190_n

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford, where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in London, with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat and chickens.

You can follow her on Twitter @BetsyReavley