Better Late than Never!

All the indications are pointing towards a much better week for all of us, a little more freedom in the world and less problems for us to deal with, so feeling extremely optimistic.

Last week I really found myself rolling with the punches so often I lost track of everything. The truckload of family troubles had gathered momentum and what with worrying about Anita’s health, a large part of me wanted to just crawl into a dark cupboard and stay there.

The weekend was a game changer for most of our troubles. Fate obviously decided to play fair for once and with a bit of wangling, most of the bigger problems have faded away like a bad smell.

No news from the hospital yet about the MRI, but Anita seems to get a little stronger each day. She is really fed up with all the restrictions (and me being on her case!) I must be really careful not to overdo the nagging as she is a bit like a dodgy stick of dynamite! I mean, how do you stop someone worrying, when they were obviously born to worry?

The book tour for Anita’s new book, Annie’s Song began on Saturday. We will be posting all the websites involved every day to allow people to comment. This is the first time we have enlisted the help of Silver Dagger Tours, which has turned out to be more than lucky, for one way or another we didn’t get to do much promoting of Annie’s Song.

Best laid plans, eh?

With the dust barely settling, my mind is already wondering what to do next. I had some serious thoughts about the current WIP and might shelve it to make way for something different. Maybe something that has nothing to do with detectives?

We have been a bit lax with the newsletters this year, so must do better there too…

And finally, has anyone anything to say about STORY ORIGIN?

Sounds a bit like Book Funnel, but is it something we should be looking at?

Hoping this is a much better week for all our readers too!

Our Review for The Attic Room by Linda Huber #Kidnapping Crime Fiction @LindaHuber19

A father’s secret… a mother’s lie… a family mystery.
An unexpected phone call – and Nina’s life takes a disturbing twist. Who is John Moore? And how does he know her name?
Nina travels south to see the house she inherited, but sinister letters arrive and she finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. With her identity called into question, Nina uncovers a shocking crime. But what, exactly, happened in the attic room, all those years ago? The answer could lie close to home.

A fast-moving, chilling suspense novel by the author of The Cold Cold Sea, The Paradise Trees , Chosen Child, and others.

Our Review

The Attic Room is the first book I have read by Linda Huber, although most of her books are on my reading list as I love psychological thrillers, and this is one of the best!

Just weeks after her mother dies, Nina is told of another death, only this man is a stranger. A stranger who had left her his house, a large depressing building that might reveal a clue as to who he was, and why he knew her.

This was where the tension began to grow into a strangle hold, as the mysterious secrets begin to unfold. The atmosphere of the house, leaking it’s evil memories of the past came through strongly and chilled me to the bone.

Beautifully written and superbly plotted, I thoroughly enjoyed The Attic Room…

© Jaye Marie 2020


Amazon Review

4.0 out of 5 stars

Murky pasts and unpleasant family histories

The Attic Room is mostly told from the point of view of Nina who is struggling with having just lost her mother, Claire, and who lives with her daughter Naomi on the beautiful Isle of Arran. She gets a telephone call which turns her world upside down and has to head off to Bedford to try and uncover what appears to be a family secret, the truth of which has died along with her mother.

Nina knows nothing of any extended family she may have and is keen to find out more but when she does she is in for an unpleasant discovery. It is a surprise that Claire never told her the truth however unpalatable but I can understand how that can happen. You always think one day I shall tell them then something can happen which snatches that chance away from you. I liked the chapters told from Claire’s point of view which filled in some of the gaps for the readers, if not for Nina.

I enjoyed the settings in this book. I love the thought of Arran, and while I intend on making it there one day I already know the second setting, Bedford, very well. Not as idyllic perhaps but I liked picturing the locations and knew just where the house that Nina inherits is located.


Book Tour and Giveaway with Silver Dagger Tours…

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/annies-song-tour-sign-ups

Annie’s Song is still on presale on Amazon https://mybook.to/AnniesSong until 1st July and Silver Dagger Tours are running a Book Tour and giveaway for a month, starting on 4th July.

We had planned a big promotion for this book, but this was before our world began to crumble… I will do what I can, of course, but if you would be so kind as to share the Silver Dagger linkaround a bit, it would help a lot!

If you click on the Silver Dagger link, you could even be a host and take part in the giveaway!

Best wishes

The Longest Day of the Year…

Image by Witchgarden from Pixabay

Today is the Summer Solstice, which means we are mid way through the year already.

When did this happen?

We have all been so busy worrying about so many things, that the year is half gone, and in a hurry to finish, if you ask me.

There is also a brand new moon tonight, so maybe the rest of 2020 will start well and produce some good results.

And speaking of good results, we thought we would celebrate the Solstice with some positive news. We have started the process of publishing Anita’s book, Annie’s Song.

Family or freedom, which would you choose?

Life in the backwoods of Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect,
until Annie discovers a nasty family secret.
Something her family have been doing for years.
She knows she cannot live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears
and her struggle to change everything only makes life so much worse,
Forcing her to try and escape…

Annie’s song echoes through the mountains
Her sorrow falls with every drop of rain
Pieces of her heart lie scattered throughout the forest
Will her footsteps lead her to the freedom she seeks?



We would love some help with the book launch for Annie’s Song, now on Presale on Amazon until Ist July…

This is probably not the best time to publish a book, but we are constantly being told to concentrate on our writing, at least until the world has stopped cringing. Annie’s Song is ready, so why not launch it now, then we can both move on to the next story…

We will supply all the usual material, so if you can help in any way, please let us know by email: jenanita01@btinternet.com or in the comments at the end of this post.


#Book of the Week! Himself by Jess Kidd #Greco-Roman Myth & Legend Fantasy eBooks

A charming ne’er-do-well returns to his haunted Irish hometown to uncover the truth about his mother in this “supernaturally skilled debut” (Vanity Fair) and turns the town–and his life–upside down.

Having been abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, Mahony assumed all his life that his mother wanted nothing to do with him. That is, until one night in 1976 while drinking a pint at a Dublin pub, he receives an anonymous note implying that she may have been forced to give him up. Determined to find out what really happened, Mahony embarks on a pilgrimage back to his hometown, the rural village of Mulderrig. Neither he nor Mulderrig can possibly prepare for what’s in store…

From the moment he arrives, Mahony’s presence completely changes the village. Women fall all over themselves. The real and the fantastic are blurred. Chatty ghosts rise from their graves with secrets to tell, and local preacher Father Quinn will do anything to get rid of the slippery young man who is threatening the moral purity of his parish.

A spectacular new addition to the grand Irish storytelling tradition, Himself “is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy…wickedly funny” (Daily Express).

Our Review

From the first word of the powerfully written prologue, I couldn’t stop reading Himself.

I fell completely under the spell of this mysterious story, all about the living and the dead and the search for truth in a quaint Irish village.

The star of Himself is Mahony, a young Irishman searching for the truth about his birth, assisted by the colourful characters and ghosts in Mulderrig, a place with more secrets and mysteries than most.

I loved the way the people in this story speak, such wonderful vocabulary and fascinating insight into the minds of Irish people. What at first seems light-hearted banter, soon changes into dark, menacing humour and a terrifying journey as Mahony uncovers the truth he seeks…

©Jaye Marie 2020

Our Review for Wild Horses on the Salt by Anne Montgomery #Women’s Action & Adventure Fiction @amontgomery8

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress but is enthralled by the splendour and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.
Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?


Our Review

This isn’t the first book by Anne Montgomery I have been lucky enough to read, so I already knew I would enjoy Wild Horses on the Salt.

The Scent of Rain on Amazon about a young girl’s life in a fundamentalist community literally had me gripped by the throat, so I was expecting a gentler read this time!

Brilliant opening chapter, full of questions that I had to know the answers to…
Becca has run away from a horrible situation, turning to a family friend in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. She was safe, but not happy. She didn’t belong there, had nothing to do and no plans for her future, if that was even possible.
The author’s brilliant world building soon had me relaxing and enjoying the desert, the wilderness with so many horses. This was the kind of story I knew I wouldn’t want to end.
I loved the delightful chapters voiced by the horses, and although I was enjoying this beautifully written story, I knew trouble was brewing, simply biding its time. When it finally arrived, I wondered if Becca would manage to find a way to be free, once and for all…

I recommend Wild Horses on the Salt to readers of great fiction!

You can find more information about
Anne Montgomery and her novels at the following sites:

https://www.facebook.com/anne.montgomery.359

annemontgomeryauthor (@amontgomery8) | Twitter

https://amazon.com/author/annebutlermontgomery

https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-montgomery-1b995b23/

www.goodreads.com/author/show/14081564.Anne_Montgomery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Montgomery

annemontgomeryauthor@gmail.com


Excerpt from Wild Horses on the Salt…

Becca curled into a ball beneath the soft cotton sheets and the horse-adorned bedspread. She didn’t want to move, but then her stomach growled. How long had it been since she’d eaten?
She stretched, and her assorted injuries made her wince. She crawled from beneath the bedding, holding her side, surprised to see that she had fallen asleep in her clothes. Becca eyed the small garment bag that rested unopened on a chair in the corner. She needed to brush her teeth. She eased herself slowly off the bed. The bruises on her hip and shoulder were still fresh and achy. Becca didn’t glance in the mirror as she crossed the room. She’d had a black eye before. Understood the rainbow transformation that would render the area purple, green, then a sickly yellow-brown before the wound would finally disappear from her skin, but not from her soul.
Becca ran her fingers through her hair, then opened the door.

“Hello, Becca.” Gabriella Strand was tall with streaks of gray in her dark hair that was cut short and looped behind her ears. She wore teardrop-shaped turquoise earrings set in silver, a black sweatshirt that boasted a herd of galloping horses, black jeans, and a pair of worn black cowboy boots.
If the woman standing before her was surprised by her appearance, she didn’t show it. Becca turned her bruised eye away. “Ms. Strand.”
Gabriella laughed. “Oh, honey, no one has called me Ms. Strand in a very long time. It’s Gaby. Didn’t your aunt tell you?”

“Yes. I’m sorry. She did…Gaby.”

“No need to be sorry. Now, let’s get you something to eat.”

Later, Becca stared at the empty plate before her. She’d devoured the ham, egg, and cheese scramble, four pieces of thick smoked bacon, a stack of fluffy pancakes smothered in real maple syrup, and a large pot of hot black tea.
Gaby sat and wrapped her large hands around a mug of strong coffee. The older woman gazed at Becca with dark eyes, her face etched with fine lines that indicated a lifetime spent outdoors in the Arizona sun.
Becca didn’t know what to say to this woman who she knew only through stories told by her Aunt Ruthie. The two women had been college roommates, both history majors at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, a continent had come between them, with Ruthie moving back to New Jersey and Gaby remaining in her home state. But the two women never lost contact, had often visited over the years. When it became clear that Becca needed to leave, her aunt had insisted she would be safe with Gaby.

“You don’t have to say anything.” Gaby smiled. “I left some towels in your room. You can shower or take a bath, if you’d like. Then, rest. We’ll talk later.”
All Becca could do was nod.

Review for Viral Blues by C S Boyack #HumourousDarkComedy @virgilante

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.
They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.
Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?
Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Our Review

I wasn’t sure about the premise for Viral Blues, considering the state of the planet right now. I thought it might be just a little too close for comfort, but the cast of characters soon grabbed me by my coat tails and pulled me into the story with wonderful enthusiasm!

Such an interesting idea, bringing all your favourite characters together in one book. They all fit together well, apart from the Hat, who, lets face it, has never been a team player but did his level best to rule the roost!

That extra chapter at the end was worthy of being compared to some of Hollywood’s best (and cringe-making) finales. It is extremely well written but nasty in the extreme, but villains should always get their comeuppance, shouldn’t they? And what happened to Danny O’Malley was poetic!

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Simple by Anita Dawes #Suspense #FamilyDrama

Image by BookBrush

This is the story of one mans painful nightmare…
A man ill-equipped to survive the brutal cruelty of his family.
Together with his sister Leanne, they struggle to escape the daily torment, fleeing into the sanctuary of the forest.
But they are hunted down like animals, and almost burned alive…
Will they ever find the joy of freedom?

Amazon Review

“This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.”

Simple is still .99p on Amazon, but not for much longer!

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

SHADES OF DELIVERANCE MEETS THE WALTONS…
Simple’s life is a painful nightmare.
He is one huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child. He suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.
Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.
Will they ever discover the joy of freedom?

Photo by Connor Danylenko on Pexels.com

My Review

Life in the backwoods of Eastern USA is not easy. The hardscrabble country folk live by their own set of tough rules and there is a price to pay for breaking them.

Leanne’s family are as much a part of the woods as the trees and carnivores of the forest. They are rough, cruel, and frightening except for Simple, a big brute of a man with a soft…

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Two new Tallis Steelyard stories… @JimWebster6

Today, it is our turn to tell you all about Jim Webster’s two new books!

We have always been a fan of his stories and we have been blessed with a new one, The Bait Digger, just for this post!

If any of you haven’t had the pleasure of Jim’s wonderful stories, now would be the time to start. You won’t be disappointed…

 

the bait digger.jpg

 

The Bait Digger

It often surprises me how people manage to make a living in this city. Take, for example, Esmielle Parthong. She sells bait, both bait-balls and worms. The bait balls she makes herself. She uses a little old bread that she gets from a bakery for the cost of taking it away. This she moistens with a little water, and mixes in some old cheese rind that the grocer is left with. This is all chopped up with some fish guts if she has them, mixed well, then squeezed into small pellets and allowed to almost dry. Apparently, she has customers who swear by them. But mostly she sells worms. Thus we will see her down on the Old Esplanade most days, sometimes twice a day, depending upon the tide. The shore-combers accept her. Whilst she digs more deeply in pursuit of her worms than they do in their searches, she works methodically across the shore. Thus anybody can search ahead of her if they want. Thus it is generally felt that if she did find anything, nobody could claim that she had taken it out of their area by stealth.

Once she has dug her worms, she will take them to the fish market down off the far end of the Old Esplanade. She doesn’t have a stall there, she merely stands with two buckets, one with bait-balls, one containing worms. She will always appear to be in conversation with a stallholder so that the stewards might think she was a customer rather than a trader. How many of the stewards are fooled is a moot point. Still, I think most of them accepted she was trying to make a living on small margins and allowed themselves to be convinced by her act. Most of her customers are amateur fishermen, and she maintains a good name amongst them for the freshness of her bait. Indeed it was not unknown for a gentleman fisherman to send a maid or manservant down to the market to buy bait.  Later in the day, she will make her way round the city, dropping off orders she has from her regular clients.

If there is anything left over at the end of the day, she will drop it off what is left with a neighbour, Adlan Shack, who is a long-line fisherman. He always needs bait for his hooks. Most of the long-line folk use the guts of the fish they have just caught to bait the line, but Adlan always claims that a variety of bait produced a variety of fish. He never actually paid for the bait, but he always drops a couple of nice fish off for Esmielle and her two young daughters as payment. It has to be admitted that they eat a lot of fish. She managed to get her daughters into one of the cheaper dame schools. Again their fees were paid through barter. In the evenings, Esmielle does some carpentry. Her father was a carpenter. He taught her the basics of the trade and when he died, she inherited his tools. Thus to pay her daughter’s fees, she will go in and mend desks and chairs. She was married at one time. Her husband was a drunkard, and apparently, she threw him out when he wanted to sell her father’s tools to pay for drink. I met her because she knows my lady wife, Shena. But also if the tide is right, she will drop into the old dried grape and carpet warehouse which serves as a hall for the Society of Minor Poets and avail herself of our, ‘all day breakfast.’

Admittedly its normally just porridge made from whatever grain we can salvage but it is good ballast for time spent out on the estuary in all weathers. But perhaps more importantly she will come when we put on our entertainments, and will sit there, almost visibly absorbing poetry. It is obvious that she loves poetry, and indeed I have tried to get her to attend some of the small informal poetry societies I perform for. These are not wealthy people meeting in fine houses, instead they are normally just a handful of ladies gathered in one of their numbers’ kitchen. She would enjoy it, and they would like her, but she always claims she is too busy. Still I was chatting to her one day and was discussing her business. I confess that I am one of those people who just has to understand how these things work, (perhaps a legacy of my apprenticeship with Miser Mumster) and her business fascinated me. It seemed to work because she is a genuinely pleasant person, and this disarms people. I never met anybody who didn’t like her. Perhaps my interest got her to open up more than she usually did, because we got into a somewhat detailed discussion on various baits.

I asked why she didn’t offer a wider range. She thought for a while and then commented, “After my husband disappeared, I did offer maggots for a while, but frankly they are more trouble than they’re worth and the smell seems to linger everywhere.”

#####

And now a brief note from Jim Webster. It’s really just to inform you that
I’ve just published two more collections of stories.

Tallis Steelyard. Preparing the ground, and other stories.jpg

 

The first, available on kindle, is ‘Tallis Steelyard, preparing the ground,
and other stories.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0872GGLF9

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Meet a vengeful Lady Bountiful, an artist who smokes only the finest hallucinogenic
lichens, and wonder at the audacity of the rogue who attempts to drown a poet!

Indeed after reading this book you may never look at young boys and
their dogs, onions, lumberjacks or usurers in quite the same way again.
A book that plumbs the depths of degradation, from murder to folk dancing, from the theft of pastry cooks to the playing of a bladder pipe in public.

Maljie just one thing after another.jpg

 

The second, available on Kindle or as a paperback, is ‘Maljie. Just one
thing after another.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maljie-Just-thing-after-another/dp/B0875JSJVM/
Once more Tallis Steelyard chronicles the life of Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. Discover the wonders of the Hermeneutic Catherine Wheel,
marvel at the use of eye-watering quantities of hot spices. We have bell ringers, pop-up book shops, exploding sedan chairs, jobbing builders, literary criticism, horse theft and a revolutionary mob. We also discover what happens when a maiden, riding a white palfrey led by a dwarf, appears on the scene.

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Our Review for Eventide by Mae Clair ~ #SuspenseThriller @MaeClair1

 

Eventide (A Hode's Hill Novel Book 3) Kindle Edition

 

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her.

She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil.

An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

my-thoughts-divider2.png

 

Eventide, the last story in Mae Clair’s terrifying trilogy reminded me of a Victorian melodrama, all dark and very mysterious.

The dual timeline ramped up the tension and stretched my nerves so thin, I thought they would break. But I loved the way the past seemed to mirror the present and that they combined at the end in one breathtaking chapter…

Perfectly written and calculated to give anyone nightmares, these books should probably come with a health warning for all those of a nervous disposition!

I loved the part when Madison tackled the weeds in the flowerbeds of her new house, something I love to do to relax my mind. Mae Clair described it all so well too, but the peace wasn’t to last. The tension returns as Madison feels she is being watched, and things begin to happen…

The ghosts start coming out of the woodwork and in no time at all this story becomes icy with terrifying chills coming in quick succession.

Eventide is one of the best ghost stories I have ever read!