#BlogTour #Review Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee @RichardDockett1 @rararesources

LifeDreams-EBOOK

Title: Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

Date Published: 14th February 2019

Genre: Sci-fi/Thriller

Description:

Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.

In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa. 
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

You can buy your copy here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Other-Dreams-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B07KVHG384

US- https://www.amazon.com/Life-Other-Dreams-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B07KVHG384

Life and Other Dreams Full Tour Banner

Review:

In life and other dreams, we follow Rick in his seemingly ordinary life on Earth. When he sleeps he had vivid dreams of a paradise like planet called Ecais and a couple named Dan and Vanessa. Their life is full of adventure and spontaneity but that all ends when a group of plant hunters come to the planet and Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

The lines between dreams and reality blur and Rick finds his life is falling apart. What is real and what’s not?

I always enjoy when an author combines two genres I enjoy, in this case sci-fi and thrillers, to make a really original and intriguing novel. I won’t lie, it is a bit of head trip but in a good way.

There’s some fantastic world building too, Richard Dee takes the normal and the not so normal, to create the planet Ecais, it was so vivid I could almost picture it in my head.

I have to be honest, the pacing in this novel was a little up and down. Sometimes I was on the edge of my seat, only to be distracted by a lot of information or a change in perspective, which slowed the pace down but of course that’s just my opinion.

Life and other dreams is an original and out of the box sci-fi thriller for anyone who is looking for something a bit different.

About The Author:

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea andAuthor 1200 travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects. 

You can find out more about me on my website at richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi

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#Review This Little Piggy (Rosalind Kray 2) by Rob Ashman @bloodhoundbook @RobAshmanAuthor

Title: This Little Piggy (DI Rosalind Kray 2) by Rob Ashman

Date Published: 19th June 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

“an adrenaline-filled, nail-biting read that had me on the edge of my seat”

Best-selling author, Rob Ashman, is back with a serial killer thriller you don’t want to miss.

Kevin Palmer is a regular sort of guy, or he was until his life fell apart. His wife, his money, his business and his reputation are all taken away from him. He tries to fight back and ends up in prison.

There he concocts elaborate fantasies to wreak vengeance. He is sent to work in an abattoir and the final piece of the jigsaw falls into place with chilling consequences. Then a cruel twist of fate changes everything.

DI Rosalind Kray is battling her own demons having returned to work following a brutal attack. She finds herself on the trail of a sick and twisted killer and cracks the macabre pattern of murders. But her boss is unconvinced.

Kray has Palmer squarely in her sights. But he has other ideas …

Can Kray break him in time to save the final victim?

Time is running out.

Review:

I received a copy this book from Bloodhound Books via NetGalley.

Today I’m reviewing This Little Piggy in an attempt to clear my NetGalley shelf and get that elusive 80% feedback ratio.

So I’m back with DI Roz Kray, I read the first novel Faceless (you can read my review here) last year and I have finally got round to reading the next in the series. I will say it works well as a standalone but I would highly recommend reading the first just because it’s such a good book.

This Little Piggy is bloody, brilliant and brutal and I just couldn’t put it down! I’m suffering from a hell of a book hangover right now.

I was equal parts disturbed and fascinated by this novel. A quick warning for those of you who don’t like their books too violent, you should maybe give this one a miss because the killer is one of the most brutal I’ve read for a while, (all I can say I’m never eating bacon again!).

So those of you who don’t know anything about the character, Roz lost her husband and almost died herself after an attack in broad daylight. Now she’s back in the police force, as acting DCI after her boss was put on sick leave after her previous case. She drinks and smokes too much, eats very little and can be a little rude and irascible but she’s also a good detective and tries her best for the victims (just how I like my detectives, apart from the eating bit, I wish she would just eat something!).

The killer’s perspective is weaved into the story and even though you find out who it is about half way through, the motive (the most important part in my opinion) is not clear until the end.

Overall This Little Piggy is a compelling serial killer thriller that will keep you hooked from beginning until the end. Now I’m off to buy the next in the series Suspended Retribution.

About The Author:

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-twodownload (2) years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

Rob has published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written Faceless, This Little Piggy and Suspended Retribution which will also be published by Bloodhound.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

#BlogTour #BookSpotlight Clarissa’s Warning by Isobel Blackthorn @IBlackthorn @rararesources

Today I’m bring you a spotlight for Gothic mystery Clarissa’s warning by Isobel Blackthorn.

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Title: Clarissa’s Warning by Isobel Blackthorn

Date Published: 30th November 2018

Genre: Mystery/Supernatural

Description:

Clarissa’s Warning is a haunted-house gothic mystery set on Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.

A lottery jackpot changes Claire Bennett’s life.

She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.

Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn’t want her there.

But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?

You can buy your copy here viewbook.at/ClarissaWarning

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About The Author

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of brilliant, original fiction across a range of genres,Isobel Blackthorn Headshot 1 copy including dark psychological thrillers, gripping mystery novels, captivating travel fiction, and hilarious dark satire. Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism and carries a lifelong passion for the Canary Islands, Spain. A Londoner originally, Isobel currently lives near Melbourne, Australia, with her little white cat. 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

Twitter: @IBlackthorn

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Serial Dater’s Shopping List by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk @BOTBSPublicity

Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post from Morgen Bailey but first a little about her book:

Title: The Serial Dater’s Shopping List by Morgen Bailey

Publisher: Bombshell Books

Date Published: 12th July 2018

Genre: Humour

Description:

Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

You can buy your copy here: 

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Serial-Daters-Shopping-List-comedy-ebook/dp/B07F8VRRYY/

US: https://www.amazon.com/Serial-Daters-Shopping-List-comedy-ebook/dp/B07F8VRRYY/

B L O G T O U R

Guest Post:

The Reluctant Serial Novelist:

I’d never planned to be a novelist as I loved short stories so much (and still do – I’ve written over 400). I’d heard the average novel takes a year and didn’t want to spend that long on one story but then I discovered NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org), the yearly 50,000+ words in a month project. I ‘had a go’ in November 2008, with a comic crime, which ended up being just over the minimum and I self-published as Hitman Sam.

After writing another standalone, After Jessica, inspired by a true event, it was then late October 2009 and another NaNo was looming so I needed to come up with something to write next. I had a Word document crammed with ideas, amongst which was a variety of ‘weird’ men. After two crime novels, I wanted to write something fun so created Izzy to meet this assemblage, and The Serial Dater’s Shopping List was born. It ended up being a 115,640-word first draft, written with three days to spare! I took over a year to edit (and re-edit) it down to just over 100,000 words while continuing to write short stories.

In November 2018 and half of January this year, I wrote the first draft of the follow-up, The Serial Dieter’s Shopping List, which has Izzy’s sidekick, health and beauty columnist, Donna set with the task of eating thirty-one under-five-hundred-calorie dishes in thirty-one days, a year on… the following May. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, she’s sent to the sister newspaper at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, not far from where I grew up so semi-familiar territory. She works there during the week but stays with her wacky mother, Lesley, in nearby Tring, where my mum lives.

They say to write what you know and while my knowledge influences my writing, I haven’t dated thirty-one men in thirty-one days… despite my brother calling Serial Dater my autobiography. I also haven’t tested that many ‘healthy’ dishes, even as a member of Weight Watchers and Slimming World – not at the same time!

One upside of writing a series is that you already have a bank of familiar characters – familiar to you and to the reader… so they have to be consistent. Series are so popular because most readers (and authors) feel bereft at the end of a novel they’ve enjoyed and want more. Izzy still features in Serial Dieter but Donna and her boyfriend (I won’t say who he is but they get together in Serial Dater) are the main characters so get more airtime although Donna more so because they’re apart during the week.

One downside is that once your first book is published (Serial Dater is published by Bombshell Books), the details are then set in the proverbial stone so if you want to change anyone’s name, a location or other key feature, you’d have to change it in the first book. There was no way with all the office staff, Izzy’s family and her dates, that I wasn’t going to repeat the first letter of some of the names used – it’s how readers remember names best – and in the Serial Daters case I’d like to have changed a couple of the names as they do appear in the second but not in the same scenes so I’m hoping there’ll be no confusion.

I do plan others in the series – the next two being crime rather than women’s fiction, although the lead characters may be women, one certainly can be, but Izzy and Donna will have a rest while I create a whole new set of characters and thus have more freedom, albeit staying within the same ‘Shopping List’ concept. Watch this space!

Morgen’s website is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com and email is morgen@morgenbailey.com. She is morgenwriteruk on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where she also runs a free mentoring group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/morgensmondaymentorship. She’s happy to hear from anyone interested in writing and / or reading. Morgen makes a point of the ‘Morgen with an E’ because MorgAn Baileys include a rocket scientist (female) and male: athlete, Green politician, basketball player, and transsexual porn star!

Author Bio:

Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing 2 Morgen July 2017guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course. Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, and email address morgen@morgenbailey.com.

#BlogTour #Excerpt #Giveaway The Onyx Crown by Alan Hurst @AlanHurstJr @RRBookTours1

Today I’m bringing you an excerpt from The Onyx Crown by Alan Hurst and a giveaway (see bottom of post) but first a little about the book:

Front Cover

Title: The Onyx Crown #1 by Alan Hurst

Publication Date: 27th January 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

Description:

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43863506-the-onyx-crown

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578411210?pf_rd_p=1581d9f4-062f-453c-b69e-0f3e00ba2652&pf_rd_r=EX1WATF316TJ0V8B1ZB8

Nook:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130619075;jsessionid=F7EEA04D780543692E4A306B6D0F2001.prodny_store02-atgap12?ean=2940161390238

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Excerpt: Gesemni’s Conflict

For the next few days, the three of them did virtually everything together, including games, horse riding, and spear training with the First Knight, who seemed to be getting sterner and tougher on them with every lesson. The First Knight, whose given name was Jorell Boro, was famed throughout the fourteen provinces as one of the best living warriors of all time. He’d made his name fighting for the upstart Regent Okon in his war of usurpation against the High King Toloron.

After Toloron was defeated, the regent rewarded Boro with the titles of First Knight of the Crown, Protector of the House of the First Prince, and the moniker “the Bloodless Death,” because supposedly his bladed spear could kill a person so quickly and with such precision that they would be dead before any blood was even visible.

Okon, along with the ruling conclave, also granted a treaty to Pala Jorell’s home kingdom of East Rhydor, including a guarantee that no Numerian troops would invade as long as the East Rhydor king or his son, the prince, were in power.

The First Prince had asked Pala Jorell to begin instructing Zadeemo in the ways of knighthood, and also Gesemni himself, most likely reasoning that Zadeemo would need a sparring partner when the First Prince was absent.

The First Knight had been reluctant to train a “commoner” in the higher arts of warfare but, at the insistence of both the First Prince and Zadeemo, had relented. Still, one could tell he took The Onyx Crown -26- great pains to make sure that Zadeemo understood some of the finer points of the moves he instructed, while not deigning to help Gesi.

Luckily for Gesi, he had tremendous aptitude and seemingly a womb-borne comprehension of instinctual combat. As such, he rarely needed the extra tutoring that Zadeemo couldn’t seem to do without. On this day, the two of them were instructed for quite some time on hand-spear counters, an ancient method of grappling that involved an unarmed warrior wresting the control of spears and other long objects away from their adversary. It was an extremely rough and unpolished method of fighting, and the First Knight took the better part of the morning explaining it to them.

Finally, the paladin suggested they work the puzzling elements out with a few rounds of sparring. Boro handed him a bladed spear and marked out a circle four en-yawo in diameter with his carving knife. Zadeemo was given a pair of lyocell gloves, which felt like silk but were made from the toughest fibers in existence. These were to be used to protect his hands from blade cuts.

Gesi shifted nervously. Always when they’d fought before they’d both been armed. Oddly, there’s a certain amount of safety involved when two weapons compete against each other. But with Zadeemo being unarmed, Gesi felt he’d have to be very careful. He was also very conscious of Zoe sitting on her tilbury, watching them both amusedly.

Engage!” The First Knight’s voice rang out through the square as the boys stepped into the circle. Zadeemo immediately lowered his stance, thrusting the heel of his boot inside Gesi’s left calf to disrupt his balance, simultaneously snatching at the bladed spear handle.

Shuffle-stepping to counter, Gesi twisted the blade ninety degrees, forcing Zadeemo to withdraw his hands. He knew he was supposed to be nothing more than a punching target for Zadeemo, but in situations like this, his stubborn, competitive imoya always got in the way of things, and yes…he also wanted to show off a bit in front of Zoe.

Surprisingly, Zadeemo must’ve anticipated his counter because he nimbly moved to his left, crashing his knee into Gesi’s right thigh and causing him to grimace. Ducking underneath the spear, Zadeemo swung his right elbow fiercely into Gesi’s solar plexus. The few servants and townspeople who were looking on cheered loudly, including Zoe.

At that second, he felt like he was going to black out. Zadeemo may have been slower than a stuck rhino, but he had strength far beyond what most twelve-year-olds could muster.

Instinctively, he twisted his bladed spear to block the next grasping move he felt was coming, slid his left knee under Zadeemo’s right, and reverse-swung the spear in a sweeping arc toward Zadeemo’s chest. The cheering stopped, followed by a deathly silence as Zadeemo crashed down to the dirt awkwardly. Everyone was staring at Gesi. Some looked angry, some fearful, some puzzled. Even he didn’t know how he’d won.

About The Author:

Alan Hurst is an author and entrepreneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian Author Pic (6)wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker.  When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

Website: https://www.alanhurstjr.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanHurstJr

@AlanHurstJr

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajhurstjr/

@ajhurstjr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/882960.Alan_Hurst

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway: Win A Digital Copy of The Onyx Crown:

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f70/?

Dream Relations PR:

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Tour Organised by:

R&R Book Tours

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#BlogTour #BookSpotlight Killing State by Judith O’Reilly #LoveBooksGroupTours

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Title: Killing State by Judith O’Reilly

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Date Published: 15th August 2018

Genre: Thriller

Description:

WHAT IF THE PERSON YOU’RE ORDERED TO KILL IS THE WOMAN YOU WANT TO PROTECT?

Michael North, assassin and spy-for-hire, is very good at killing bad guys. But what happens when his shadowy bosses at the dark heart of the post-Brexit British government, order him to kill an innocent woman and North can’t bring himself to do it?

The woman is a rising political star, Honor Jones, MP. She has started asking dangerous questions about the powerful men running her country. The trouble is, Honour doesn’t know when to stop. And, now that he’s met her, neither does North…

Praise for Killing State:

A terrific future-shock thriller.’ LEE CHILD

A gritty, action-packed page-turner.’ ANDY MCNAB

New thriller writers come and go. I suspect this lady will stick around.” FREDERICK FORSYTH

“Thought-provoking, pacy and thrilling.” SUNDAY MIRROR

“Gripping and twisty” INDIA KNIGHT

“Grabs you from page one and won’t let you go… Action-packed from start to finish – but with tenderness and great characterisation too. Fast, sharply-written, clever and intense.” JEREMY VINE, BBC2

“A high-octane plot that centres around the dark heart of British political power. A great debut.” SUNDAY TIMES

You can buy your copy here:

https://amzn.to/2US2ilA

killing-state

About The Author:

Judith O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North, a top-three Sunday Times bestseller and BBCJudith Radio 4 Book of the Week. Judith is a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News, and, when she isn’t writing novels, she writes forThe Sunday Times. Judith lives in Durham.

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost #NowhereGirls by Teuta Metra @Teuta_Metra @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post and extract from Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra but first a little about the book:

Title: Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra

Date Published: 8th February 2019

Genre: Literary Fiction

Description:

Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies.

When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?

NOWHERE GIRLS is a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nowhere-Girls-Teuta-Metra-ebook/dp/B07NCY2Q26/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1549383008&sr=1-1&keywords=nowhere+girls+teuta+metra

Nowhere Girls Blog Tour Poster

Guest Post:

This is one of my favourite parts of the book. Ina sends her best friend Sara a letter from beyond the grave. Like many women in Albania, Ina is suffering at the hands of an abusive husband with no way to defend herself, no money and no support network. It’s easy for those living in other countries to expect a woman in her position to have somewhere to go – but in Albania, most women don’t have a voice. This letter was hard to write because I’ve known many women in her position. I needed to readers to understand her plight.

It’s also the turning point in the book. It’s this letter that forces Sara to work with Alba and rescue her godson from a country they all fear.

Dear Sara,

If you are reading this letter, then I’m already gone. I knew my luck would run out eventually with that man. Please don’t judge Ardit too harshly. He wasn’t always this bad, but life, the people he hung around with and the suffering we have endured have made him like that. He started drinking more in Thessaloniki. Things went from bad to worse when we arrived back in Albania. We lost everything in Greece because of the crisis – our jobs, money, our home. When we got back to Albania, he started gambling, telling me he would make everything right again. He lost us the last of our savings I’d somehow managed to gather in Greece. Any guilt or remorse he felt he just drank away, blotted it out. It made him forget how bad things really were.

I rang him one night. Johan was very ill with fever and I was afraid. His friends mocked him: you better run home to your wife. Your boss. He became more violent that night, and ever since then, the violence never stopped. He hit me hard. I ended up with a black eye and a cracked rib. I felt sorry for Johan. He cried and screamed, ‘Daddy, please don’t.’ That boy has seen things no child should see. I didn’t know how to walk away without making things worse for the children.

You were right, Sara, I rushed into marrying him and didn’t listen to anyone’s advice. I cheated. Yes, I cheated on him. Only once, I swear. He never found out. You’re the only one I’m telling my secret to. Please keep this to yourself. Don’t misuse my trust. I don’t want my children to ever find out. I often ask myself why I did it? At the time I saw it as an escape, I convinced myself that this handsome Russian man would rescue me and the children and whisk us away from our horrible lives. But in reality he only wanted one thing – and if I’m honest with myself, it was just nice to feel free and wanted for a short while. Afterwards I treasured that liaison, it was my secret revenge on Ardit. My own silent rebellion.

There’s something else I haven’t told him about. Alba has been putting money into my two grown children’s accounts. She is helping me a lot and, I must say, I never expected that from her. Perhaps I judged her poorly and she’s a lot kinder than I gave her credit for. This is why I kept it from you, Alba said you would be suspicious and I didn’t want to worry you.

Sara, here is the important part, if you’re reading this and something has happened to me – please look after Johan. He is your Godson and it pains me that the two of you never got to meet. I know we never managed to hold a proper baptism for him, but I’m sure God will forgive us under the circumstances.

I’m counting down the days until Ardit kills me. Isn’t that a terrible thing to say? I did what I could, I even told the police. I don’t know why I bothered. They laughed at me every time I went to the station, with black eyes and torn lips. There’s that whore again; they would say to one another. I wonder what she did this time to piss her poor husband off. I gave up expecting any help from them eventually.

My dear friend, I hope you are not crying. This letter wasn’t written to make you sad, but to ask for your help – you’re the only person who never pushed me away. I’m including 200 euros in this envelope – I know it’s not much but perhaps you can buy Johan a prom suit for his graduation. He’s seven now, but who knows how old he will be when you read this. I like the idea of Johan wearing something from me on his special day that I don’t expect to ever see, even if it’s only a pair of socks.

Please tell him that he had a mother who loved him very much. Take care of him, now that I am gone. And I love you too, so much. Never forget that. You were like my mother, my sister, my everything.

Ina x

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Now a fiction writer, Teuta Metra’s experience as an Albanian journalist has made her an expertTeuta Metra Author Picture on the struggles of women from her country. Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons. 

Twitter @Teuta_Metra

Website : http://www.teutametra.com/