A Visitation…

 

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A Visitation

 

One of my characters has been in my head a lot lately, constantly nagging me about something. He has featured in three of my books, and I think anyone who has read my work will remember DI Snow. The detective who helped Kate Devereau in Nine Lives, saved her life in Out of Time, and failed miserably to forget her in CrossFire.

He turned up again in Silent PayBack, happily married and recovered from the serious life-threatening injuries he sustained in CrossFire.

I wondered what was on his mind.

I invited him to my office to find out.

‘You have exactly five minutes to say what is on your mind, David, as I am trying to work.’

He looked wonderful, but then he has always been one of my favourite people. Looking just like Tom Selleck from the Jesse Stone tv series, he sprawled in my writing chair, slowly moving it backwards and forwards, his eyes never leaving my face.

‘I want to know when you will be writing another story for me?’ The corners of his mouth lifted slightly, along with one eyebrow. ‘I have missed seeing you every day, Jaye.’

My insides were melting fast, and right then I would have agreed to anything.

‘There is the small matter of a decent plot…’

He shrugged, as if that was of no consequence.

‘Do you have any idea how hard it is to create a plausible detective story?’

He stood up, towering over me as I sat on the uncomfortable visitor’s chair. ‘You have managed it very well up to now, Jaye. Anyway, I do have an idea, or rather a desire. My marriage is over, mainly because I cannot forget Kate. I want to find her again. You do know where she is?’

I was speechless, which was just as well, for I was desperately trying to imagine what Kate might be doing now. The last time I saw her, she was going to find somewhere to paint herself better. Supposing I couldn’t find her?

There was also the not so small matter of the work I was supposed to be doing. Like Anita’s new poetry book, and the impending release of her new fiction book, Running Moon.

As if he could read my mind, David Snow sat back down in my chair.

‘I know how busy you are, Jaye. You probably have several projects on the go, but I’m hoping writing a new story could be one of them. I’m not leaving until we have an agreement.’

 

To be continued

©JayeMarie  2020

 

The Outsider…

 

The Outsider…

 

When I found out that one of my favourite authors had written a new story, and that it was being serialised on tv, I knew I had something good to look forward to. Having to wait for each episode might stretch my patience into a wafer, as I don’t like to stop reading when enjoying a good book, but I was already hooked.

 

Stephen King is best known for horror stories like Carrie, It, and The Shining.

Based on the first two episodes, The Outsider is a classic King story and in structure and tone, it feels more like a murder mystery than a horror story. Mild spoiler alert: it’s both.

What’s the story about?

The Outsider tells the story of the gruesome murder of a young boy in the fictional town of Flint City, Oklahoma. Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) investigates, though it’s not a tough case to crack as mountains of forensic and eyewitness evidence point to beloved local teacher and baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman, who also executive produced the series and directed its first two episodes). But Maitland has a solid alibi for the crime, which means that it looks like Frankie was murdered by a man who was somehow in two places at once.

 

The series is loyal to the novel’s dryly grim tone, with Mendelsohn perfect as the weary but honourable small-town cop and Jason Bateman coolly moving as a man who’s watching his life explode in front of him. The first two episodes play out pretty much like the beginning of the book, slowly unfurling the mystery: after the discovery of Frankie Peterson’s body, witness after witness can tie local coach and family man Maitland to the crime. He was spotted offering the kid a ride in his van, and then later seen covered with blood. The crime scene is finger-painted in his prints, his blood type was present, too. But Maitland was also captured on video in a totally different town at the time the crime was committed, attending a teaching conference with countless colleagues who can all vouch for his presence. And his fingerprints are found at the conference site, too.

It would seem that the coach was in two places at the same time, but this can’t be possible, even for Stephen King.  The title begs a question too, who is this outsider?

 

I will be reviewing The Outsider when the series ends…

 

 

Sir Chocolate and the Baby Cookie Monster Story and Cookbook

We are reviewing Robbie’s book as part of last weeks promotion on Streets Ahead Book Promotion… https://mewe.com/join/streetsaheadbookpromotionclub

 

Book 2 of the Sir Chocolate series: Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.

 

Our Review

 

Robbie and Michael Cheadle love to cook.

I know this for I have watched them in action when I needed a recipe for a Christmas cake. I found an amazing video and watched as Robbie carried me through the most delightful cookery lesson. (and the cake I made was delicious!)

They love to write about the fondant characters they make too, featuring them in a lovely series of children’s books.

This review is for book two of the Sir Chocolate series, and I can’t wait to share the rest of the books with my grandchildren!

I would love to buy the series in paperback to get the full beauty of the illustrations and know I won’t be disappointed.

You should also check out Robbie’s website for more images and recipes from The World of Sir Chocolate… https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

#Tuesday Book Blog: Blue Lake Christmas Mystery (Blue Lake Series)  by Cynthia Harrison #RomanticSuspense @CynthiaHarriso1

 

All Holly wants for Christmas is to prove to her parents that her pricey college education was worth it. When she lands a reporting job in tiny Blue Lake, where the chill winds blow off Lake Huron all winter long, and a guest dies at a dinner party, she isn’t sure she can meet that goal. Holly has a second writing gig as a true crime reporter in mind, but there’s only one problem: the new love interest keeping her warm is determined she should not write about the one thing her heart desires.

Bob has one goal: to get his life back on track after a train wreck of a relationship with a fragile first love named Lily. Oh, it would also be nice to feel excited about work again. Not to mention Christmas. Holly’s new in town and she stirs something cheerfully seasonal in him, but when he realizes she’s willing to take down Lily for her own purposes, he decides a holiday romance is the last thing he needs.

 

Our Review

 

Towards the end of last year, I noticed the arrival of several seasonal books on the run up to Christmas. Most of them a fun, light-hearted read for the holidays.

Blue Lake Christmas Mystery is so much better than that.

A clever, well- written mystery that twists and turns, with a fast-moving complicated plot that I couldn’t put down and I loved how the last chapter sorted out all the loose ends!

Holly Fass is ambitious, devious and hopeless at getting what she wants out of life in this Hollywood style romcom/detective novel, but she gets top marks from me for trying!

This is book four in the Blue Lake series, and I was late coming to the party as I hadn’t read any of the others. (something I will be catching up on soon)

I have also read and thoroughly enjoyed Cynthia Harrison’s brilliant detective thriller, Lily White in Detroit.

 

A word from the author… Along with a twenty-year career as an English teacher, I have been a staff reviewer for Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly and written features for popular magazines, including Woman’s World. BLUE LAKE CHRISTMAS MYSTERY is my fifth novel for The Wild Rose Press. I live in metro Detroit with my husband, Al. We have two grown sons. Since 2002, I’ve blogged at http://www.cynthiaharrison.com. Email me anytime at cindy@cynthiaharrison.com. http://www.cynthiaharrison.com

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Book Cover on Picmonkey.com My Way…

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The idea for this post came about after the amazing launch of my mystery thriller book, Silent PayBack. So many people admired the cover, and Colleen Chesebro wondered if I could write a post describing how I did it.

I have tried to make it as user friendly as I could and really hope it inspires you to make great covers too.

Picmonkey.com is an amazing site and has a free option, so you can play around and get used to all the lovely effects they have. It is possible to make covers and posters with the free option, but for a very reasonable £7 a month, you get a lot more choice of techniques.

It took me an age to decide what the cover for SPB should look like, and even longer to make it. I’m not that clever with technology, and if a process is too complicated, I tend to run for the hills! I have tried several other sites in my search for one I could learn to use, but always return to Picmonkey.com

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First, open Picmonkey.com. Once you log in, you are presented with the work area.

Choose a blank template: Up on the left, by the Picmonkey symbol, I clicked on CREATE NEW and chose a blank template 1000 x 1600 (kindle size)

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Also on the left, just beneath CREATE NEW, I selected Add an image. Added my background image and stretched it to fit the blank template.

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I clicked on Add an image again and added the first man’s face to the background image. I chose erase from the box on the right and removed everything from the right side of his face.

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Then I added the heroes face using the same method and removed the material from the side of his face too. You will have noticed by now that I am working in layers, all of which can be selected in the box on the right if I need to go back and change anything.

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When I was happy with each layer, I started to add the text. Title, subtitle and author name, all added individually as layers. Finally, I downloaded the finished cover image to my pc.

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All the image layers can be faded individually if necessary. The ability to create these layers on Picmonkey.com enables you to make some great effects.

There is so much more on offer too, so many great ideas and effects, and the best part is, its so easy to use with all the many step by step tutorials.

I should also mention that all the images I use come from Pixabay.com.


 

There is an alternative (easier) method of removing unwanted background, something that comes in very handy for all manner of ideas.

CREATE NEW < size < choose translucent background < Add an image < erase unwanted bits< save

This saves to your hub to used later.

Creating book covers and promotional posters has never been this much fun!

 

©jayemarie

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog Review for Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner @StevieTurner6

 

 

Jill Hayes discovers that not all is as it seems in her new post as a college examinations administrator. When she turns whistle-blower and tries to report her findings to the authorities, she is horrified to discover that some people will stop at nothing to ensure her silence.

 

Our Review

Starting a new job is always fraught with tension, you worry whether you will be liked, and more importantly, are you able to convince them of your competence?

Jill Hayes is met with total disdain from her new superior, so when she questions something that doesn’t seem right, she is met with hostility on many levels.

If you discover something is wrong, could you be a whistle-blower, or would you hope that someone else would do it instead?

This story has it all, corruption and greed, and an interesting cast of fascinating and true to life characters. Although Examining Kitchen Cupboards is a work of fiction at its finest, you could be forgiven for thinking it seems far too real to be comfortable, and I’m sure some of it must be based on fact, which of course, makes it all the more chilling…

 

About the Author

Stevie Turner is a British author of suspense, paranormal, women’s fiction family dramas, and darkly humorous novels. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. Some of Stevie’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
On her website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk you can find a free suspense novella to read so that you can check out her writing style. You can also find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com and you can sign up to her mailing list at http://eepurl.com/dvNklL

 

 

 

This week on Streets Ahead ~ Wisp by Adele Marie Park

This week on Streets Ahead we’re promoting Adele Park’s fantasy novel ‘Wisp:

Edra; a world where magic flourishes and where dark secrets are concealed by those who rule. Secrets which can get the innocent killed without a thought.

When the body of an elf is discovered in a treacherous area of the city, Wisp a young Law Enforcer is assigned the case. He soon realises the case is far from simple. As soon as he finds one thread another one leads him to unravel a tapestry woven from lies, secrets, corruption and evil. When friendship turns to love, Wisp`s life, as he knew it will completely change.

What started out as a murder case ends in a grisly battle which Wisp and his companions seem to have no chance of winning.

 

A wonderful Review on Amazon

Meet Wisp, a law enforcer in the land of Edra, where magic is encouraged to flourish and is often needed for sheer survival. A mages council rules Edra compared to the neighboring area of Finah, who prefers humans to control their resources. After a bloody civil war, many years ago, the two lands exist beside each other in a fragile peace.

Wisp is a marsh fairy (YES! Can you believe it?) with raven hair and pointy ears pierced with silver earrings. Marsh fairies are rare and possess special powers. Wisp keeps his real identity under wraps, known only to his superiors. Abandoned as a child, the “Senior” Law enforcement officer raised him ensuring his survival.

In a desolate area filled with putrefying rubbish, Wisp comes across the body of a High Elf, a member of the Thorns, who was a high-ranking council member found murdered in the circle. The elf’s throat had been brutally cut. Wisp sets out to solve the murder not realizing he is to play an integral part in solving the mystery.

Wisp meets Finn Redhaven, the lover of the murdered elf, Sammiel Thorn, and feels an immediate attraction to him. Wisp and Finn fall in love and discover a wealth of magical abilities enabled by their relationship. And, they are going to need all the help they can get to battle the evil that has descended on Edra.

As fantasy novels go, Wisp stands out to me in its originality and political intrigue. Ms. Park creates a world where love is considered to be one of the greatest powers of all. I enjoyed that the two main characters were male and embraced their love and desire for each other, which was a refreshing approach to solving a mystery in a magical land. The reader discovers along with Wisp the extent of his abilities which I anticipate will increase over time.

I’ve added Wisp to my list of favorite fantasy novels. I loved the story and the characters. The ending is a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next volume to find out what happens to Wisp and Finn. Hopefully, Ms. Park won’t keep us in suspense for long.

( I could have sworn I had read this amazing story, something I shall put right forthwith!)

 

Shattered Figurines… (Det. Jo Naylor Series Book 1) Our 5* review for Allan Hudson’s brilliant new #Adventure Story @hudson_allan

 

 

Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong…

Our Review

The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.

The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.

Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.

Smashing Smashwords!

Feeling mighty proud of myself today, as I have beaten the dreaded meatgrinder!

For those who don’t know, this is the complicated system that all books must go through to be included on Smashwords.com and Silent PayBack made it on the second attempt!

The first time, the cover image was too small and that was easily fixed.

Now, you don’t have to buy a copy, just read a bit and say what you think. Pretty please?

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/992834

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More Reviews Wanted: Serang by Craig Boyack #Adventure & Action @coldhandboyack

We are running this post again to try and encourage some more reviews for Craig’s wonderful adventure story. We loved it and know a lot of you did too, so if you have been meaning to write a review, just a few words will do, please show Serang some love?

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Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus, begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.


 

Today, we are delighted to host Craig Boyack, the author of so many of our favourite books, many of which have been reviewed here on our website.

Serang, the main character in this new book, was first introduced in The Voyage of the Lanternfish, the very popular and amazing adventure story.

While Craig is here today, I am sure you are dying to know how he came up with such an unusual idea!

Over to you, Craig!

 

Thanks for inviting me over today to talk about my newest book. Serang is a supporting story for Voyage of the Lanternfish, which is destined to become a trilogy.

Lanternfish, and therefore Serang, is set in a fantasy world, but that isn’t descriptive enough. This isn’t one of those medieval fantasy tales like you might be used to. Lanternfish is a pirate adventure, so there are tall ships, sea monsters, and magic. I’ve heard the term “flintlock fantasy” before, and that’s a bit more accurate.

I touched upon Di Guo Qishi in Lanternfish. This is the country Serang was born in. The area intrigued me as I wrote it, and I wanted to explore more of it myself. This bodes well for Serang, because it’s an interesting place. I’m not even trying to hide the fact that it’s based upon China. China is huge and covers many different climates and ecological zones. In Serang we get to explore some of those, from Bamboo forests to mountainous areas, to frozen deserts.

Wildlife is part of a setting like this, too. There are some creatures you might expect, like monkeys. There are some that I twisted a bit, like the night parrots. I don’t really delve deeply into many of these things, but they enhance the setting greatly. I used a few real creatures that live in Asia today. There are some strange creatures that didn’t need a lot of manipulation, like the saiga antelope or the goonch catfish. I ramped up some creatures, like camel spiders. In this story they’re deadly poisonous. This isn’t to say a couple of fantasy creatures don’t play larger roles. The child of the dragon came across quite well, I think. I also came up with some unique creatures like saltwater moles who live along the beaches, and the bearcoon. Then there are the Fu Dogs.

The political climate in Di Guo Qishi is that of war. A new emperor ascended the throne, and he’s hell bent on westernizing. This means the introduction of firearms to a culture that never had them before. He is waging war on the Island Prefectures, and it isn’t going well. He’s pressing men into military service, impounding things like food for his armies, and making life pretty miserable. I’m not hiding the concept that the Island Prefectures are based upon Japan. We don’t get to visit them, but I may do that in the Lanternfish trilogy.

The other part of this request was for supporting characters. Young Serang is raised in a monastery by some militaristic monks. She learns to read, write, and perfect her martial arts skills. In this segment of the story, she has a couple of masters, and a few youthful friends.

When she leaves the monastery, she is fleeing for her life. She runs across a wandering monk named Yong. He is a grouchy older fellow who has no desire to take on a student. He soon comes to the conclusion that Serang has no other options and takes her under his wing. His methods are brutal, but efficient. Yong has a certain charm about him, and I think readers will enjoy him.

There are other characters involved, but they come and go from the story. There is a doctor and her daughter who help our wandering monks at the edge of the frozen desert. This was fun, because I got to explore some ancient medical techniques, like using honey as an antibiotic.

They join a camel caravan along the Silk Road, and it’s led by the brother of a man who appeared in Lanternfish. There is no requirement to read Lanternfish first, and Carlos Velasco carries his own weight without meeting Don Velasco first.

There is also an elderly monk who is from the Island Prefectures. She plays a pivotal role in Sarang’s journey.

Serang is a coming of age story involving one of the more interesting characters from Voyage of the Lanternfish. I hope your readers will give it a chance.

 

Wow, that was some introduction, Craig!

Thank you so much for coming along to tell us all about Serang. I am sure everyone will want to read about her!

 

Purchase Link http://mybook.to/Serang

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Our Review

I first encountered Serang in Craig Boyack’s thoroughly enjoyable adventure story of pirates and monsters, The Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Serang was one of the crew and although she was a fascinating albeit enigmatic character, I jumped at the chance to get to know her better.

The daughter of a fisherman, her life changes dramatically after he is lost at sea.

She ends up in the care of an elderly monk called Yong, to learn the ways of the monastery. When the monastery is destroyed, to escape persecution, they begin one of the strangest of adventures.

Outspoken and a nimble footed ninja, Serang is fiercely loyal, but also addicted to something called Huangjiu, which I suspect is Saki, or something equally lethal. Her escapades while under the influence are hilarious!

 

This review fails miserably to convey the brilliance of this adventure, and it deserves to be made into a film, for the fight scenes are some of the best I have ever read.