Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

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Out of the Shadows…

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For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…


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A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by MarkBarry@GreenWizard62 #RBRT#BookReview#Drama

#RBRT Review Team

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“I swore that I would never go home,
but in the end,
I had no choice.
I had to confront what happened.
And them too.
It was going be icky. And totally scary.”

Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.

She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself.

 

She had to come home: There was no other choice.
Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.
Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.
Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
A war which can only have one victor.
Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.

 

Our Review

“We received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team”

The main character, Carol Prentice, made quite an impression right from the start with her dark clothes, hair and Doc Marten boots. She had come back to her family’s hometown after the death of her father, determined to sort her life out, and this involves a plan and a secret.

What does make someone choose one path over another and the hardest one at that?

A totally unpredictable and powerful story of what starts out as Carol’s revenge, but ends up being for someone else too. She came back home, knowing she would run into all kinds of bad memories, so what she intended to do had to be very important.

Some of the words Carol used confused me, but I am probably too old to understand the parlance of the young these days, but it did manage to help create a harsh rawness to the drama.

The other character I really liked was Steve, the bookshop owner. Steve is a thoroughly likeable older man and the perfect foil for Carol, giving the story another dimension. I did think it might have been better if Steve was younger, but maybe it worked better because he wasn’t, for there was enough going on without romance in the mix.

This is a gritty, well-planned story of revenge, every detail brings you slowly to the necessary showdown, but you won’t be ready for it. I know I wasn’t!

I didn’t want to enjoy this book quite so much, what with its nasty threads and even nastier people, but despite it all, there is redemption at the end and that for me, was well worth the read…

 

About the Author

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Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.
He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people.

He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.

 

 


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#TuesdayBookBlog 13 Steps to Evil @sacha_black

 

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Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

 

I have read many ‘how to’ books before, but none of them talks quite like Sacha Black. She tells it straight from the hip in an inimitable and refreshing style of direction.

This book is an in-depth and thorough expose of all things villain. Far more complex than you would first imagine.

Cause and effect are explained in easily understood writers speak, along with some amazing examples, just in case you have your dim head on!

Most crime/thriller writers love to create a good/bad villain and probably spend more time on them than the good guys. We should definitely make our villains bad, but giving them one ‘nice’ trait is an interesting idea.

The first thing that surprised me was that the hero is not the most important character in your novel. And that we tend to create a villain and then just let him/her get on with it.

If this book does nothing else, it will encourage, nay, demand that you create some awe-inspiring villains, and some of them will be female. The world seems to think that women don’t make good, bad people, so it could well be time to change all that.

Anti-heroes are something I haven’t given much thought to, but this book explores many such interesting concepts. Anti-heroes can get away with anything, so long as they finish on the side of the angels.

My favourite chapter was all about fear. That the idea of fear is all you need and far more important than all the stark reality of any awful world you create. Fear is such an emotional part of your imagination because you can only guess how bad it really is.

Another good question; should we really kill a villain?

Summary

I am going to have to recheck all my villains after reading this book. Have I actually created believably bad men, or are they just a tad second rate?

I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

UK Amazon Link Here

US Amazon Link Here

About the Author

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Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills. Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son. When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

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An excerpt from The Last Life…

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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…

 

Excerpt from The Last Life

 Detective Inspector David Snow looked down at the unconscious woman on the hospital bed in front of him, remembering the state of her when she had arrived, a few hours ago. They had done a good job of cleaning her up. She lay still, like a religious statue in a church, her pale skin the colour of finest marble. The gentle rise and fall of her breasts the only indication life still clung to her body.

So different to the wrinkled, dirt-ingrained body he had looked at earlier, of an old tramp, found dead in the hospital car park, bundled into a moth-eaten army coat and wedged under a car. What was originally thought to be a simple case of neglect, had taken on a more sinister tone when they discovered the tramps head had been cut off and shoved down the back of the old boy’s trousers.

Snow wondered what an old tramp could possibly have done to warrant such treatment, being well known around the hospital and described as a harmless old soul. The tenuous link to the woman in front of him indicated she might not be safe and would need his protection.

They knew very little about her, and he wondered again what kind of woman she was.  Now the dirt had been removed, she looked healthy and well cared for, which ruled out homelessness. A reasonably attractive, middle-aged woman, bordering on the ordinary, apart from her curly hair which would appear to have a life of its own, as even now it crept across the pillow like the roots of a willow.

 

Alone with the unconscious woman, Snow had an excellent opportunity to study her without feeling self-conscious about doing it. In all the years since his wife’s death, he missed looking intimately at a woman. He usually tried to do it surreptitiously to avoid the risk of being branded a pervert, or worse. He liked to imagine what kind of person they were, if they were kind or cruel, bossy or timid, but for once, there were no clues on this woman’s face. A slight determination in the set of her jaw gave him pause for thought.

According to Michael Barratt, the man who brought her here, her name was Kate Devereau, an artist, none of which gave him any clues as to her character. In the beginning, Snow had instinctively thought she might be the murderer in this case, due to the amount of blood found in the cottage.  Michael Barratt had found her unconscious in this cottage on the outskirts of Guildford. He said he knew her, but had no idea why she had found it necessary to be there. As an estate agent, he had been arranging to have the cottage ready for Miss Devereau to rent.

It was all a little mysterious, compounded by the fact Michael Barratt looked as if he had been barbecued. His clothes were burned black in places, apart from his jacket, which was clean and several sizes too small and obviously didn’t belong to him. The back of his head and hands were raw and blistered, suggesting there were probably more extensive burns to his body.

The estate agent had offered no explanation for his own condition but stubbornly kept asking after Kate, which might possibly indicate an emotional involvement. He had no answer for what had happened to her, except to say her health had not been good for a while. If it hadn’t been for all the blood, it would have seemed innocent enough.

So why didn’t Snow believe him?

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Amazon Link for The Ninth Life  myBook.to/TheNinthLife

Amazon Link for The Last Life  myBook.to/TheLastLife

 

 

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Secrets…

Another one of my favourite books from Anita, and this review shows I’m not the only one who thinks so…

Amazon Review:

4.0 out of 5 stars A strong and powerful story, very well told

By Rivergirl

I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!

I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long.

 

 

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Secrets, a haunting family drama, is about deeply buried guilt and all the secrets and suspicions that invade and control our lives.

Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than just mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate further.

Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem. It was almost as though something was wrong and he was trying to fix it.
Her husband Jack, was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?
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Excerpt of Secrets…

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Jack Swan sliced through his fried egg the same way he did every morning, precisely, like a surgeon. Cutting a piece of bacon and sausage, he proceeded to dip them into the bright yellow yolk in a very business-like manner.

Sitting opposite him at the breakfast table, Maggie watched him eat, remembering what he’d said at the beginning of their marriage so long ago; that a good breakfast was the only way to start the day. As far as Jack was concerned, if his egg was right, the day would be perfect, and not for the first time she wondered about this part of his childhood programming. According to medical science we are all supposed to have something we carry around with us from childhood. Something individual that makes us act the way we do. She wondered what hers was.

Deep in thought, Maggie started to play with her breakfast and it was Jack’s turn to watch fondly as she doodled with the egg yolk, spreading strange and bizarre patterns across the plate. The early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window bathing the breakfast scene in a cosy glow. She looked like a child sitting there in a pretty cotton housecoat, pale honey-coloured hair falling around her shoulders like a halo. She had something on her mind, he was sure. Knowing he didn’t really have the time and hoping she’d say it was nothing, he said, ‘What’s up, love, did you have another bad night with Danny?’

She slowly looked up at him from the mess on her plate, and he could tell by the way her usually bright blue eyes had darkened to the colour of the sea that he wasn’t about to hear anything like what he wanted to hear.
Looking back down at her plate, she said, ‘I’m very worried about him, Jack. These terrible nightmares are getting him down; and now this thing about an imaginary friend, I don’t like it, something’s wrong.’
Jumping straight in, hoping to get it over with quickly so he could get out of the house, he said, ‘You know what the doctor told us, he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It will only make things worse if we try and make Danny let go before he’s ready.’

‘Yes, I know what he said,’ an edge creeping into her voice, ‘but he’s not God. You don’t have to take everything he says as gospel. I don’t happen to think this thing with Toby is the same as a comfy blanket or a favourite teddy a child drags around with him. Can’t you see how he’s changed?
‘… he’s destructive, rude and downright messy. Don’t you think dragging half the garden into the kitchen last week was going a bit too far? You saw his face when I tried to tell him off, he wasn’t the least bit sorry. Judging from the skid marks all over the place it was plain to see he’d had a whale of a time, and what did he say when I asked him why he’d done it? … because Toby wanted him to.

‘… Jack, can’t you see we have to make him understand this Toby is only in his mind and he’s too old to play these pretend games?’
He took a deep breath, painfully aware the time was getting on. ‘Maggie, he’s only seven. You’re making too much of it. The doctor said to give him time and not to bully him into giving up Toby. It might make his nightmares worse.’
She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, he reminded her again that she had agreed the gentle approach was best.
‘Plus, you haven’t given that idea of yours idea a chance. Having Cathy take Danny to school with Michael may work. He’ll soon see that having a real friend is lots more fun. Have you asked him again about joining the cubs?’
She snorted. ‘I did, and his answer was the same as before. Toby doesn’t want him to.’
‘Give him time, Maggie, he’ll come around.’

Maggie seemed to have run out of wind for the time being, so he took his empty plate over to the sink and left it on the draining board. Straightening his tie as he turned to her again, he said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk this morning. I have four books waiting a final decision and what with the deadline and our new budget, I think I’ll have to reject two of them, you know how I hate sending out rejection letters. It doesn’t make for a nice day, especially when a book is worth publishing. If you’re that worried about Danny, we’ll talk about it tonight.’
Maggie frowned and gave him the kind of look that said, sure we will. Jack had seen it many times and responded in a way she had grown used to over the years. He pulled her into his arms, squeezed her gently, saying, ‘I promise we’ll talk about it later.’
Then he kissed her goodbye, grabbed his briefcase and left.

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ReviewPoggibonsibyDanAlatorre@savvystories

Poggibonsi, an Italian misadventure…

 

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When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary.

And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.
Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.
While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young
Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

Our Review

I have always loved the idea of Italy, and intend to go there one of these days, so this romantic comedy really appealed to me, and from the very first page, I was laughing.

The writing style, wit and humour sparkles like champagne, and although you can guess what the protagonist Mike Torrino will get up to, the effervescent way he stumbles through life is hilarious.

This story is all about relationships and love, all the different kinds of love, including a hilarious depiction of extra-marital sex. But Poggibonsi is a beautifully written romance too. It has the classic ‘lost everything’ scenario, but the emotions are real. The cast of characters could be people you have known for years, and I laughed a lot and cried in equal measure but cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book so much.

The scene in the restaurant between Mattie (the wife) and Sam, the woman Mike works with, literally brought the house down and was promptly outdone by Mike’s conversation with the priest.

Poggibonsi, (yes, it really is a place in Italy, a small Tuscan hamlet in Chianti) should be made into a film, it would break box office records!


About the Author

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.