Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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Shallow Waters…

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When catching a killer isn’t enough…
The naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway and post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team in the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock, they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?

 

Shallow Waters is a crime thriller, one of my favourite genres. The blurb on Amazon had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention, so I knew I had to read it.

The story opens with the discovery of the naked body of a woman, and DI Hannah Robbins and her team are going through the preliminaries. The body was found dumped in an alley, and it was interesting to watch the team gradually come together to gather all the information, from the initial findings and through to the post mortem. These usually revealed far more about the victim.

Along with the details of the murder, we are introduced to the rest of the members of the cast and their secrets and the level of detail was astounding.

The storyline for Sally, the police officer, was interesting in that she decides to keep so many secrets from her husband and the people she works with, a mistake that will cost her dearly. It can’t be easy to do the right thing, especially when your heart disagrees with your head.

The author is a master of character description, using a few well-chosen words to show glimpses of their inner fears. Their vulnerabilities made the cast real, far too real in some instances.

The fact that the author is a retired detective has lent a strong authenticity to the storyline, and as a crime writer myself, I really liked this story, despite the sad ending. Just enough drama and more than enough tension kept me reading way past my bedtime.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves this genre…


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The Last Life…#Free on Amazon!

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From today, 19th April to 25th, the second book of Jaye’s trilogy is #Free on Amazon.   This is a brilliant book, well worth a read!

 Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Last-Life-Introducing-detective-Thriller-ebook/dp/B017DNXBXE/

Book description

Kate Devereau wakes up in a hospital, unable to speak or move. Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge her dark and disturbing past, concealing a web of painful secrets.

Michael Barratt brought her to the hospital, insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her. And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too. He had been searching for Kate for years, ever since their doomed love affair, only to discover someone else had been hunting her too.

With the help of the DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her life back together, only to discover the nightmare is far from over.

Her first instinct is to run, but David Snow convinces her to stay and help him put an end to the nightmare. A nightmare that will get progressively worse before it gets better.

Haunted by his own demons, will the Snowman manage to catch the twisted killer?

Evil lurks in this story and people die, but amidst the tears and heartache, a lost love struggles to survive…

Book Excerpt

Kate sat at the table in the Vestry with her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe Jack had found her again, in spite of all the Snowman’s security. She kept seeing the ivory roses, Michael’s blood dripping from the petals, laid on the altar like an offering. Only Jack could have thought of something that macabre. The blood reminded her of what had happened to her beloved Dylan, her silver tabby. Jack had ripped him apart in her kitchen, strewing blood and fur all over the floor for her to find. At least this time, she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess.

Why had Michael gone outside?

She knew he was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that their relationship was over. After all this time it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. But going against David Snow’s specific orders was foolish and irresponsible. Maybe his depression had grown bad enough to warrant taking such a risk. Or had he wanted to die?

The voice in her head disapproved. ‘I did ask you to try and be kind to Michael, Kate. Even though you couldn’t love him, you, of all people, should have treated him better than that…’

It was true; she could remember feeling that bad. Jack had that effect on most people. Just knowing he was out there somewhere had made her suicidal in the past, and the feeling wasn’t too far away at the moment.

The Snowman should have let her see Michael, her imagination couldn’t be worse than the real thing. Right then, it didn’t seem real, and she kept expecting to see him come through the door at any minute. She wished with all her heart that she had run away the first time she suspected Jack was back on the scene. Michael’s sudden reappearance had reawakened all her old desires and dreams, rendering her incapable of thinking straight.

Fate was too cruel. Why had it conspired to bring Jack back into her life at that particular time? If he hadn’t arrived when he did, her brother would not have died, and the chain of destruction would have broken. She wanted to run away but suspected there was no point. Jack would find her wherever she went. The knowledge sunk in that none of them were safe anymore if they ever were. What would it take to be rid of Jack for good?

Kate heard the door open but realised the noise had come from the wrong side of the room. As she raised her head to investigate, a damp, sweet-smelling cloth covered her face. She struggled against it, but he was too strong. The room went dark and then faded away.

When Kate opened her eyes again several hours later, she was lying on a bed in what looked like a bedroom. It seemed familiar somehow as if she had been there before. Her memories stirred, and she began to recognise the bare walls and drab carpet, the austerity and soulless quality. It was or had been her son’s bedroom, the sad little room he had died in. On that morning, so long ago now, she had come to wake him for school. She found him lying on a pillow stained with vomit, and his skin felt cold. Too cold, she thought, pulling him into her arms to warm him. When she realised her son was dead, her hatred for Jack Holland finally overflowed, and she ran screaming from the house.  The house Jack had bought for her, where her dreams had died along with her son. How cruel to bring her back here, to remind her of everything he had done to her.

 

Is Amazon Changing How We Write Books, As Well As How We Buy Them?

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Tara Sparling writes

Is Amazon Changing The Way We Write Books, As Well As How We Buy Them? Yay for uniformity!

The other day, I tried a little experiment, and attempted to browse Amazon as though it were a good old-fashioned, bricks-and-mortar bookshop. It didn’t end well. It’s a miracle that my laptop survived the experiment, given my frustration.

Most bookshops I know, whatever the size, broadly have 3 sections for adult fiction: ‘Bestsellers’, ‘General Fiction’, and the perennially popular* ‘Crime’.

The bigger bookshops, in this country at least, might have further sections for ‘Sci-Fi/Fantasy’ or ‘Irish Interest’: but broadly, and for decades, booksellers simply used to separate ‘Fiction’ from ‘Non-Fiction’ and ‘Children’s’.

My experiment on Amazon went broadly as follows: first I stupidly thought I’d browse through ‘Bestsellers’. But Amazon said ‘No’. Amazon decreed that I couldn’t merely browse by ‘Fiction’ bestsellers from their home page. There were only 5 Fiction bestsellers available on the landing page, and no option to click through to a longer list.

Is Amazon Changing The Way We Write Books, As Well As How We Buy Them?

With some effort I eventually…

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Bucket of Dreams… reposted

The First Dream has happened again… so I’m reposting

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I have reached the time of life when you start to think of all the things you wish you had done. The proverbial Bucket List.
Usually this consists of something you have never done, but always wished you had. The one I am going to tell you about is something I have been trying to do for a very long time.
As a keen bonsai grower, the exquisitely beautiful flowering trees have always fascinated me. Usually far too expensive, so I didn’t have one in my collection.
So I tried the next best thing. I planted seeds, pips, fruit stones, anything I could get my hands on. Some of them did grow, but a lot of them didn’t. Peach stones in particular, are impossible, and what they never tell you, is that it can take years for a seedling to produce any flowers.
I have two cherry seedlings that I planted four years ago, and every Spring I watch and watch as the first buds appear. But so far, none of them have been flowers buds.
It tests your patience to the absolute limit, but you do it anyway, repeatedly.
Apple pips are never very successful I have found, for some reason, they get mildew and gradually die.

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The Year one Dream Came True

When we first moved to our present house in Hampshire, in the south of England six years ago, I noticed a Laburnum tree on a roundabout in the middle of town. You don’t see many of these anymore, as people are a bit put off by the fact that the seed pods are poisonous. Silly really, when you consider that most of the plants in our gardens wouldn’t do you any good either.
I love the Laburnum. Such pretty leaves, and in the Spring, long spikes of drooping yellow flowers cascade like a sunshine shower. I had to wait until the flowers had finished and the seed pods were ripe, and then I went and retrieved some.
To cut a long story short, they started to grow. The years passed, and every Spring I waited for the buds to appear. When no flowers appeared, I just assumed they would come along when nature was ready.
But this year something was different. What I first thought were just leaf buds began to change shape, becoming pointed. I showed them to Anita, but she doesn’t really share my passion for bonsai. She took a quick look and said I was imagining it.
But I was having none of it. I believed.

Gradually, the flower shoots emerged, growing steadily longer with each day that passed, some even had a faint tinge of yellow. Every day I watched as they grew bigger. I had finally done it. Something I had grown from the seed I collected had finally flowered.

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I wonder what will be next?

I look at it every day and marvel. Now I keep thinking about all the other things that should be on my list…

This is what a full grown tree looks like…

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Where I find Courage…

Whenever I am down or feeling one of many shades of blue, I usually need a piece of music to get my soul moving again. I have had many favourites over the years, both songs and instrumental, but this piece has kept me going now for years.

I defy anyone listening to it, to ignore the challenge it presents. The challenge to rise above yourself and take wing is overpowering and always fixes all my broken bits.

So today, on this special day of resurrection, I pass on to you my gift of a moment I will remember forever…

 


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Cover Trouble…

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We were looking at our website the other day, as you do… and it was decided that the small sliding show of all our book covers looked a bit puny. We decided to remove the offending article and reinstate our book covers down the sidebar, complete with clickable links to Amazon.
Should be easy, I thought. I had done it before and remembered how to do it. A little fiddly, but not too difficult. We have eleven books between us so it would take me a while.
I managed to upload four of the covers before the trouble started. The fifth cover uploaded okay, but somehow it removed cover number four. How was this even possible, I thought?
I tried again, and the same thing happened. I kept on trying, because I’m stubborn, but couldn’t get it to work. I swear something happens whenever I try to do the simplest of jobs but thought I would retreat and see what happens tomorrow, before I lost it completely.
The following day, it seemed worse, so I decided to have a word with WP ‘happiness engineers’, and it makes interesting reading!

Me: “I am trying to add some images to my sidebar, but they just don’t appear…is there a limit to how many images you can have?”

WP: “Hi there, let me take a look…”

WP: “Is this the site you’re referring to? https://jenanita01.com/”

Me: “Yes.” (we only have the one…)

WP: “And you are trying to customise it here, is that correct?” https://wordpress.com/customise/jenanita01.com

Me: “I get an image from media and then go to widgets and images, I fill in the boxes and save, but then they just vanish…”

WP: “I see that one of the images is not displaying. The URL appears to be incorrect.”

Me: “but I get the URL from the media screen…”

WP: “Is this the image?” https://jenanita01.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/nl-kindle-x1.jpg

Me: “That one was successful, so was the Simple cover, and Bad Moon. I would like to add more.”

WP: “I don’t think ‘The Ninth Life’ is added correctly. I don’t see it on your page. Do you see it at https://jenanita01.com/ ?”

Me: “Yes.”

WP: “I see a broken image, like this: https://cloudup.com/cLWUMnMMqRV

Me: “I don’t understand, it looks all right to me. Why am I having a problem adding new images? I just clicked on the previous link and the image is not there. This happened a lot yesterday too.”

WP: “You should be able to add more images. I’m unaware of a limit. I’m testing right now and don’t see any problems. Can you tell me the steps you’re going through when you have problems?”

Me: “Something is wrong. Images that do appear suddenly vanish and others won’t upload at all. I choose an image from media (haven’t I said this already?) then I go to widgets and image, add the URL from the media page, fill in the boxes and save. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it works but removes an image already there in the sidebar.”

WP: “Are you using the media browser at https://wordpress.com/media/jenanita01.com ?”

Me: “Yes.” (Slowly losing the will to live round about now…)

WP: “It’s important that you open the image and by selecting the image and clicking ‘Edit’. From the image editor, you can copy the URL (gosh I would never have thought of that…) Is this the process you follow?”

Me: (trying very hard to keep my patience and my sense of humour) “I don’t usually have to click on ‘edit’ as the URL is in the box already, so I just copy and paste. Is this wrong?”

WP: “The image for ‘The Last Life’ didn’t have the correct URL. You may need to change how you get the URL. This is how I get the correct URL: https://cloudup.com/clX8WY03S8V

Me: “That one didn’t upload at all. I will try this, and thank you for your help. Going now…”

WP: “Ok. If you have any more difficulty, we’re here to help. Have a great day!”

I love using these new ‘live chat’ thingies, so much better than an email, especially for a thick head like me. You see, not only do I hate technology (because I swear it hated me first) I have trouble understanding it too, even when someone tries to explain it to me. So having someone on the end of the line is usually better. I can keep asking the same question until something clicks into place.

I have to add, that WP is normally very helpful, often hitting the nail on the head when I have made a stupid mistake, so not exactly sure why it was different this time. But if anyone knows what I am doing wrong, or has a better way of explaining it, I am all ears!


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Good, Bad, or indifferent?

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What is the most important achievement in an author’s life?

I can think of many thinks that are equally important, like

Completing a novel

Seeing your book in print

Being published, either traditionally or self

These are all important of course, but the one I’m thinking about is receiving good reviews for your work.

But apparently, according to Tara Sparling, there are better reviews we could get. Reviews that could sell more books than any of those 5-star reviews.

These are the bad reviews.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and history has proved this to be true. The minute someone says how much they hated something, people immediately want to see for themselves.

Think of all the books that have been banned. People will break their necks to get a copy. Some of the best-selling books in the world started out by being banned.

Bad reviews actually contain more useful information for prospective readers, like…

“I didn’t like the main character, he didn’t have to be so mean…”

“this book is so depressing. Don’t read it unless you want to end up being miserable…”

“I hated the ending. Can’t understand why the author did that…”

“Too much violence/sex/ swearing in this book for me…”

So, I want someone to give one of our books a bad review, just to prove this theory…

Any takers?        (#Free copies available on request)