#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

 

 

 

#BlogBattle ~ Innocent

Read. Inspire. #BlogBattle

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Excerpt from CrossFire, by Jaye Marie

Ann Taylor had made a remarkable effort with her appearance. Her hair was clean and brushed, her clothes also clean and in good condition. Nothing she could do about her nerves though, her hands clutched at the sleeves of her cardigan and her face was as pale as death. She came across as a weak, ineffective woman. Not someone you would ever suspect of harming a child. But Ruth knew only too well that appearances could be misleading and this woman was not as innocent as she made out.

Ruth thought back to her time in prison and all the different women she had shared her existence with. You would think all criminals would look the same, whether they were male or female. She had learned the hard way not to make any assumptions when dealing with them. Some of the hardest and roughest women were the ones who ever showed her any kindness at all. Women like Ann Taylor were usually the worst and best avoided.

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

©jayemarie

 

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

Social Media:

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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.

 

Our 5* Review for The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #hard-boiled mystery @greenwoodross

 

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‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Praise for The Snow Killer:

Move over Rebus and Morse; a new entry has joined the list of great crime investigators in the form of Detective Inspector John Barton. A rich cast of characters and an explosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.’ author Richard Burke

‘With The Snow Killer, master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog

‘Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that’s spiced with a lot of humour.’ author Kath Middleton


 

Our Review

Detective John Barton is overworked and overweight, but one of the most likeable characters I have met in a long while. We discover that he is a happily married family man, most unusual in his line of work. His relationship with his family and colleagues is a delight to read about and a lovely contrast to the job he does.

The opening chapters are set fifty years ago in a snowstorm and sets a serious tone for the story, as a child watches in silent horror as his family is brutally slaughtered. Fifty years later, people begin to die every time it snows. But who is the Snow Killer?

The Snow Killer is a brilliantly written detective story with perfect pace and just the right amount of tension. Although, saying that, the end of the story will have you gasping for breath as the drama goes through the roof with such a twisting finale that I really didn’t see coming!

This is a story that will chill you to the bone and not just because the drama intensifies every time it snows.

I will be eagerly watching for next story in the DI Barton series…

 

This week on Streets Ahead Book Promotion Club…The Curse of Time by M J Mallon #Mystery @Marjorie_Mallon

This week, over on MEWe, The Streets Ahead Book Promotion Club is focussing on M J Mallon’s wonderful story, The Curse of Time.

Now on our reading list, and should be on yours too?

 

A unique, imaginative mystery full of crystal magic-wielding, and dark elements.

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl Esme who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting Amelina to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger. With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness. A magical YA/paranormal fantasy with dark elements set in Cambridge, England.

#curse #time #crystals #shadows #self-harm #mentalhealth

Goodreads Review quotes:

“Amelina is a teenage girl whose world has been turned upside down by a curse within a world where magic is hidden and most don’t seem to know of its existence. In fact, it seems she’s a descendant of a line of magic-wielding enchanters who have a special relationship with crystals. But with this curse, her father is time-ravaged, a girl is trapped in her mirror, and her family is falling apart. There are a lot of unanswered questions come the end of the book, so be on the lookout for more in the series. There are mentions of delicate issues such as cutting and anorexia, both handled with care, and a séance, but I’d recommend this book for older teens and people who love magical stories that involve power within crystals, curses, and unexplainable happenings.”

“The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon is an intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read. I had a great time reading this novel and exploring the magical world of Amelina full of magic crystals and enchanted mirrors.”

“This novel would be great for teenagers, or young adults and it follows the magical story of teenager Amelina as she steps into a world of crystals, magic and wonderment. There are some likeable and not so likeable characters and both are really well written. The book weaves a story of the main character learning new skills and you see her personal growth throughout the story. Nothing is what is seems and you want to find out how Amelina will use her enchanted gifts and learn who she can trust. A book packed full of intrigue, believable characters and poetic verse.”

“This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror.”

“Beautifully written and poetic fantasy novel that perfectly sustains mystery and drama throughout the pages. The characters are very vivid and the world is rich in detail and atmosphere. Marjorie is excellent at painting imaginative and believable scenes with words and magic. A fantastic debut! Looking forward to her next book.”

“The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere.
There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action.
The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.”

“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

Tallis Steelyard, Bringing The Joys Of Civilisation #BlogTour

Yesterday was our turn to present Tallis Steelyard’s last story in this book tour, Getting to the bottom of it all, but due to unforeseen confusion on someone’s part, it was posted very late in the day. So, in an effort to finish this amazing blog tour in style, we are posting it again!

These wonderful stories are a lovely way to introduce three new novellas from Jim Webster, the man responsible for most of Tallis’ adventures…

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Getting to the bottom of it all.

I now had a task to perform. I had to arrange a pie eating contest in which Flobbard Wangil could participate. My problem was that I hadn’t the funds just to buy the pies and organise one, so I needed a patron to support it.
Unfortunately my patrons are not the sort of people who normally run that sort of contest. Indeed to be fair, many would look askance if I introduced Flobbard into their house.
Then I had a stroke of luck, Flobbard’s sister, Malinflua, whom I’d not seen since we arrived back in Port Naain, got in touch with me. She had very recently purchased a rather large house, number eighteen, on Grettan Walk. This is a pleasant street in the Merchant quarter. She wanted a word with me about possibly working together.
I walked up to the house I glanced at the abandoned building site that was number sixteen. Out of curiosity I peered between the boards that screened the location from view. Somebody had obviously started work again. I could see large piles of fresh spoil. Perhaps they were already working on new foundations? Here in Port Naain, given the soil is largely the clay of the estuary, we take foundations very seriously. I continued on to Malinflua’s house and discovered that she had already had her ground floor converted into a restaurant. It was open for business and there were quite a few diners. She showed me round with genuine pride in what she had created, and then we went into her office and she poured us both coffee.

I had been doing some thinking. Malinflua had spent a lot of money.
Now nobody ever recovered the three gemstones that had disappeared from Slipshade keep, and I did wonder about them. Now I knew I hadn’t taken them. I was now pretty certain that Flobbard hadn’t taken them, so really that only left Malinflua, who had suddenly come into funds. So as I stirred my coffee I asked the obvious question. “So I assume you got the three stones out of Slipshade?”
“Oh yes, it was easy enough.”
I raised both hands in front of me, palms up, to show my bafflement.”
“So how did you do it?”
“As I joined you, I dropped them into your jacket pocket. Then after they searched me and before they searched you, I took them back again and kept them in a pocket in my skirt.”
All I can say is that I’m just glad I didn’t know at the time. Still I think she was pleased by my expression.
“Anyway the reason I called you here Tallis, is that I’ve an idea to do something new. If I just run a restaurant then I’ll do reasonably well. Yes, I’ll struggle to keep a good cook, and I’ll have to join in the game of stealing a cook off somebody to replace the cook somebody just stole off me. Well I want to break out of that.”
It seemed entirely reasonable to me.

She continued, “So what I am going to do is to put on shows as well. I will walk amongst the diners doing magic tricks, pulling coins out of their ears or whatever, but I don’t want to
have to do that all the time. So I’ll have musicians and singers, and various other performers.”
I shook my head. “Make damned sure they’re house musicians, paid on a regular basis and reliant upon you, or you’ll find yourself dealing with crisis after crisis as they get drunk, fight, seduce your customers, or whatever.”
“And that’s why I invited you here, Tallis. You’ve a lot of experience in the field and I wondered if you would organise things, at least until we get properly up and running.”
It was then I had my idea. “And of course you’ll need a pie eating contest.”
She looked at me as if I had suggested she open as a bordello serving the cheaper end of the market. “Are you serious?”
“Yes.”
“What sort of establishment do you think this is.”
“Exactly. You’re aiming to be the best. So you’ve got to do things others don’t. So you put on the finest pie eating contest. The very best pies. A waiter on hand to top up your glass as you eat. Another waiter serving you pies, whilst a third ensures you have the appropriate condiments. The
contest would be on a long table down the centre of the dining room whilst your other guests could eat at tables spread around the periphery. They could then eat, watch, and bet; all at the same time. Not only that but it’ll keep both me and your brother out of jail.”
That did it.

Malinflua was genuinely fond of her brother. I believe that when they were both children, he used to regularly get beaten up protecting her. All he achieved was to give her a head start and time to find somewhere to hide, but I don’t think she’d ever forgotten his actions.
Now I had to set about organising the event. I needed a small group of performers, but they had to be carefully chosen. I contacted Old Jerky and asked him to fetch three reliable musicians and a competent singer. Unlike my usual patrons, Malinflua was not going to be daunted by Old Jerky’s battered appearance. She knew him and valued him. Similarly I could rely on his ability to pick players who could be relied upon to remain sober.
Then I needed somebody else. It chanced that as I sat in the Misanthropes, Illus Wheelburn was holding forth about his time in Prae Ducis. His tale was amusing, self-deprecating and he interspersed it with a few short verses that were both thought provoking and droll. I had a discussion with him after he’d finished and asked him if he could work his tale up into a fifteen minute performance. He was certain he could, and I booked him.
Then there was the pie eating competition. The pies I discussed with Malinflua’s cook. Out of a sense of duty towards Flobbard, I suggested the pies be large enough to be held easily in two hands thus allowing for perhaps four or five good bites, and not too heavily spiced. Also the meat would be well chopped up with no bits of bone. The cook could see no problem with this and ordered in plenty of well hung horrocks. This she intended to marinate in ale for at least a full day.
When it came to getting competitors, I allowed word to circulate amongst the gentlemen who attended upon my patrons. Whilst they would never admit to it in polite company, I suspected several of them fancied themselves to be redoubtable trenchermen. A number of them discreetly let me know that they would compete. Indeed I think they were glad of a chance, after all a well-bred individual rarely gets the opportunity to take part in such things. I also suggested to Flobbard that he find a couple of competitors as well. I stressed to him that I wanted people who were neat in their person and delicate in their eating habits. I stressed we didn’t want any of those competitors who claim to have eaten a pie but actually have left at least half of it spread in a thin layer over the table, their shirt front, and their neighbours.
Less than a week later, everything was prepared. I helped Malinflua’s kitchen staff rearrange the dining room. We had a long table for the competitors down the middle. The other tables around the edge and a small stage for performers at one end. As the guests (tickets only and sold out) arrived, we had the musicians play. Once people were gathered, I had Illus tell his tale and give his verses. It helped create an atmosphere and allowed people to order drinks to their tables and get comfortable. Then I announced the pie eating competition.
This is where I hit the first snag. Old Gaffer Alfen, one of the spectators, asked about rules. I confess this had never occurred to me. I rather assumed people just knew what to do. As it was, Gaffer admitted that he wasn’t taking part, even though in his youth he’d been an occasional competitor, but it struck him that the rules ought to be set out plain and simple for everyone. I turned to Flobbard who suggested that the entire pie must be eaten, that there must be no physical contact with other competitors, and anybody feeling nauseous must move at once from the table. This seemed entirely reasonable and they were agreed by all the competitors.
Old Gaffer, rather diffidently, then asked about the counting of the pies. He explained that when he had been in competition, everybody ate their first pie, then their second, but at the same time. So if you had finished your fourth, you waited for the others to finish their fourth before you started your fifth.

Thus because everybody had eaten the same number of pies, everybody knew the score. Finally if you could eat no more, you took off your napkin and folded it in front of you so the waiters knew. They would write your total on a piece of paper and give it to you. There was some discussion amongst the competitors about this as some felt that this might stop them getting into their routine. But others felt it meant that you did at least get time to belch before eating the next. So this too was agreed.
Finally Gaffer asked about the chant. We all looked a bit blank, so he explained that during the competition everybody would clap their hands to create a rhythm. It was slap, slap, slap, with the third slap being by far the loudest. So a lot of competitors would follow the beat with bite, bite, swallow. The competitors were intrigued by this idea and they agreed this as well. Gaffer was thanked for his wisdom and his contribution and I asked Old Jerky if he could do something with that sort of beat.
I gave the order to the waiters, Old Jerky picked up a drum, the first pies were served, (to diners as well as to competitors) and battle was commenced. To be fair to Gaffer, his system worked really well and I would recommend it to everybody running a pie eating contest. Those watching got caught up in it, clapping in time. The singer dredged something suitable from his repertoire and regaled us with what was probably a Partannese pirate shanty.

At the table, the competitors set to work with a will. One or two complimented the staff on the quality of the pies. Apparently, one normally tries not to taste them. After four or five, some of the competitors had to fold their napkins. They were largely the men who had last done this sort of thing two decades before or who had never done it. But they stayed at the table and joined in the clapping. Nobody had yet had to flee to the jakes. By the time we got to ten pies, there were only three competitors still in the game. Flobbard, the Partannese chap who won at Slipslade, and a sailor called Diggan. By now people were not merely clapping, they were standing up and stamping their feet. Even those who had folded their napkins were stamping in time, but from a seated position. The excitement was intense, and the three men reached for their twelfth pie. Even I was on my feet and was walking around the competitors’ table, encouraging them to greater efforts.
At this point I was certain I heard a creaking, but it was difficult to be sure over the hubbub. Then on the third great stamp, the floor started to fall away beneath me. I ran towards the side and jumped onto the main entrance where the stone doorstep showed no signs of moving. I clutched the door and looked behind me. The section of the floor under the competitors’ table had sagged about six feet, below me it had torn away completely and I was looking into a ragged hole. Four men, holding shovels and standing next to a wheelbarrow looked up at me. I hung over the lip of the hole to get a better look. Next to them was a battered table. On the table there was a lighted lantern illuminating what I recognised to be the map that Illus had drawn and that I had further annotated.
It was at this point that I became aware of the shouting and shrieking. Some of the diners were beginning to panic as they too started to slide down the hole. To be fair, it was unlikely they  were going to come to much harm, if only because when they hit one of the well upholstered pie-eaters, they would come to a safe, if somewhat inappropriate, halt.
Others were moving now, Malinflua was at the kitchen door shouting for a rope so they could pull people out and evacuate them through the scullery. The four men with shovels had fled, probably back along the tunnel they had dug from next door. Illus had slid down the slope and was examining his map in great detail. I noticed one or two of the Partannese were exchanging comments and were glaring at me in what I felt was a significant manner. It was obvious that any number of people were going to come to what I felt were unwarranted conclusions. I quietly left, closing the door behind me.
On mature consideration I decided not to go back to the barge but wrote a note for one of the street children to deliver to Shena explaining the situation. I decided against a season in Avitas or elsewhere in Partann. There were doubtless too many people on the roads of Partann who had no reason to remember me fondly. I decided to make my way to Oiphallarian, and managed to board one of the smaller steamers, even as the gangplank was being pulled aboard.
A somewhat offensive petty officer asked, in what I felt was a menacing fashion, if I intended to pay for my passage. I put my hand in my britches pocket and at that point remembered that Malinflua had already paid me. I took this as a sign that matters were not as bad as they could have been. I paid him for deck passage, with meals and a chance to root through the slop chest. Thus dressed in a manner befitting an ordinary seaman, I could preserve my good clothes for when I arrived in Oiphallarian. There I could seek out new patrons, renew my acquaintance with old ones, perform my work and wait for time to pass. In due course, Port Naain would grow forgetful and I would return home. In the meantime, it was surely my duty to bring the joys of civilisation to Oiphallarian.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.
So here I am again with another blog tour. Not one book but three.
The first is another of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection. These
stories are a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. You can read them in any
order.

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On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Port-Naain-Intelligencer-ebook/dp/B07ZKYD7TR
When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a
problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important
artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral
people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times
when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as
reassuring as you might hope.

Then we have a Tallis Steelyard novella.
Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKYMG1G/
When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten
Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have
finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of
his generation.
Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too
much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail
and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful
countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

And finally, for the first time in print we proudly present
Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZKVXP24/

In his own well-chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of
Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her
bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the
difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We
enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation,
and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul smelling birds. Oh
yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.

All a mere 99p each

 

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ CrossFire…with poem by Anita #MysteryThriller

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Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

CrossFire

Snow has a target on his back

A female finger on the bow.

He may not have long to go

This life a clock ticking fast.

Blood and sand made of paint.

Does Kate still factor in his fate?

Alas, she is taken by the wind

A new female wants her pound of flesh

With arrow poised, she lets it fly

Snow is hit, his trap undone

Ruth has fled, now on the run…

©anitadawes

 

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Our Review of House Without Windows by Stevie Turner #RomanticSuspense @StevieTurner6

 

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Dr Beth Nichols thinks she has been held captive by Edwin Evans for about 8 or 9 years now.

Amidst her grief, she often looks back and thinks about her fiancé Liam.

She lies awake at night staring at the one light bulb that is never switched off and prays that Liam is still out there somewhere searching for her.

 

Our Review

This is an incredibly sad yet powerful, well-written story.

One that will shred your nerves and try repeatedly to break your heart.

Most of us couldn’t begin to imagine what happens to Beth, or how she manages to cope with it all and remain sane.

I don’t think I would have, for simply reading this story has left scars on my emotions. You keep telling yourself it is fiction and didn’t really happen, but we know only too well that it does. This story is probably far too close to the truth than is comfortable. The characters and their suffering are devastatingly real, made all the more so because we know situations like this have happened to people just like Beth and her daughter.

This story reminds us that this world can be cruel and disturbing, but that we can somehow survive and rise above the despair if we can keep love in our hearts…


Biography

Stevie Turner is a British author of suspense, 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, and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com
You can sign up to her newsletter here: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/app/100265896690345/

 

#TuesdayBookBlog… #Review for Let it Go by Anita Dawes #FamilyDrama

ddr.jpgYou read about families where everyone is happy and life is wonderful.
That wasn’t my family.
My mother coped patiently with a drunken, obsessive gambler of a husband and a daughter with an insatiable sexual appetite. I loved my father, but he kept us one step away from the poor house. Loving my sister was harder, basically because she hated me and constantly brought trouble to our door.
Me ? I couldn’t wait to grow up and live my own life.
Then everything changed. Dad won a guest house in a card game, and suddenly we were off to a new life in Cornwall. A beautiful place, steeped in legend and mystery.
Would trouble leave us alone now, or was it merely biding its time?

 

This is one of my favourite books from Anita, mainly because I love Cornwall, and reading this story always takes me right back there!

Georgia Rose has written a lovely review for Let it Go, and I am sharing it here…

 

Georgia Rose

4.0 out of 5 stars

A colourful family embark on a whole new life

21 October 2019

Right from the start of this story, you know you’re off on an interesting journey with a colourful family. The tale is told from the daughter, Mary’s, point of view. She has an older sister called Sally who she doesn’t think too much of because of her promiscuous behaviour. A drunken gambler for a father and a mother with a temper. One day, after the father has gone on a bender and been missing for a few days he comes home having won a guest house in a card game and just like that a whole new life beckons for the family.

Mary loves the new life in Cornwall where she gets to live with her beloved Nan in a caravan at the end of the garden. The village offers her new freedoms and her first fledging attempts at romance but of course nothing is going to run that smoothly. Sally is soon up to her old tricks which brings trouble for the family and Mary finds a diary the alarming contents of which start to take over her life.

I did enjoy this read which sets off at a cracking pace. The characters are well rounded and interesting and the family dynamic worked well. The pace slowed a little in the second half but there was plenty of interest going on in the story and as added intrigue, throughout the whole book, there hangs that little shred of doubt about how the guest house was won in the first place.

 

  • Silent PayBack is now live on Amazon at the special price of 99p while the book tour is running.  Universal Link:   https://mybook.to/SilentPBack

One More Day Until Launch!

 

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Tomorrow, Silent PayBack goes live!

I feel like borrowing a trumpet and running around like an idiot, for tomorrow has been a long time getting here.

I also want to thank everyone who has helped me to get this far and to all of those who are taking part in the Book Tour! I am surrounded by so much kindness and generosity my heart might burst, I am that overwhelmed!

 

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I have decided to leave SPB at the lower price for the duration of the tour, so that everyone can benefit from this atmosphere of generosity…

Pre-sale Amazon UK Link: amzn.to/2p4xxzg

and US:  amzn.to/2LXHgjO

 

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©Jaye Marie   We welcome feedback, so don’t be shy!