Five Favourite Villains

Posted on 20 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

Hi All!
Today is my spot on the blog tour for The Lost Boy by Christina Henry and I have for you all a wonderful guest post from Christina about her five favourite villains!

Before we get to that though, here’s more information on the book!


About the Book

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He’ll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. Peter Lies.

Goodreads. Amazon UK. Waterstones.


Top Five Villains

by Christina Henry

There’s just something about a villain, isn’t there? They’re the bad guys but maybe they aren’t as bad as we think. Or maybe they are as bad as we think but they still get all the juiciest lines, the best costumes, the coolest gadgets or the most flair. Villains, even the most vile, are often the most magnetic and memorable characters in a story. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Bill Sikes from OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens
When I think of villains, I think of Bill Sikes. There’s nothing soft or sympathetic about him. He’s brutal and uncompromising and Dickens never tries to pretend Sikes is anything that he’s not. Bill Sikes doesn’t need or deserve your compassion. He’s a bad, bad man, and every time I read this book I want poor Nancy to somehow escape him but she never does.

2. Iago from OTHELLO by Shakespeare
OTHELLO is easily the most difficult to watch (for me, anyway) of Shakespeare’s works. Iago is so crafty, so cunning, so terribly convincing. He finds the tiny bruise of weakness inside each person and worries at it until it is a gaping wound. The claustrophobic tragedy of this play, wrought only by Iago’s words, is utterly heartbreaking.

3.Hannibal Lecter from THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris
Our collective image of this character has been indelibly shaped by Anthony Hopkins’ superior performance in the film adaptation, but even without it this character is one of the most disturbing to ever appear in literature. The guy eats people. That’s pretty awful.

4. Count Dracula from DRACULA by Bram Stoker
Long before Anne Rice made vampires tragic and sexy there was Dracula. And the Dracula of Stoker’s original novel is not a misunderstood hero looking for your sympathy. He’s an unrelenting predator, a fiend, a creature of the night to be feared. He is the bad thing knocking at your door, and you definitely should not invite him in.

5. Cooger and Dark from SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
What could be more wonderful than a traveling carnival? What could be more terrible than the men who run that carnival? Bradbury describes them thus, “The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by death-watch beetles, and thrive the centuries.” If Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show comes to your town, ignore the luring scent of cotton candy and wait until they pass on.


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Who is your favourite Villain?

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Posted on 20 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Strong But Believable Heroines

Posted on 6 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Strong but Believable Heroines

Hello All!
Today is the release day of the fantastic second book in the Robyn Silver series by Paula Harrison and to celebrate I have a wonderful guest post from Paula about Strong but believable heroines!


About the Book

The boldest, brightest new heroine is back: and Robyn Silver’s life hasn’t got any quieter since defeating the evil vampire Pearl in The Midnight Chimes. She’s now a fully fledged Chime Child and monster-hunter-in-training alongside best friends Aiden and Nora. The three suddenly start seeing nightmares – in the form of black beetles – appear around town. Who wants the people of Grimdean to be losing sleep – and why?

Goodreads. Amazon. Waterstones.


Strong but believable heroines

by Paula Harrison

The strong heroine can be a bit of a trope and when a heroine is nothing but strong that doesn’t make for a well-rounded or believable character. In Robyn Silver, I wanted to create a girl who is often strong but has weaknesses too. She doubts herself, especially when challenged by her older siblings. Her efforts to be strong sometimes mask an impetuous side which lands her in hot water! Many stories and characters helped to inspire Robyn Silver but I have to mention:


Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
If ever there was a strong-minded and impetuous character it’s Jo March. She frequently rushes in and regrets what she’s done afterwards. Jo also has a lot of friction with her siblings and Robyn experiences this too as she has four brothers and sisters.


Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Sophie doesn’t realise the full extent of her own abilities. She accepts difficult situations and just gets on with things – even when a spell turns her from a girl into an old woman. It’s her stamina and her unwillingness to give up that really see her through.


Lyra in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
As soon as we meet Lyra in Northern Lights we realise that this is a girl with boundless curiosity and nerve. Lyra is also good at forging alliances with others from witches to Texan aeronauts to armoured bears and this gives her a great advantage.


About the Author

Paula Harrison is a best-selling children’s author who has sold more than a million books worldwide. Her books include the Robyn Silver series, the Red Moon Rising trilogy, The Secret Rescuers series, Tiara Friends mysteries and The Rescue Princesses. She wanted to be a writer from a young age but spent many happy years being a primary school teacher first.

Website. Twitter.


Who are your favourite strong believable heroines?

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Posted on 6 July, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

Posted on 26 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

Hi All!
Today is my spot on The Fourth Monkey blog tour and I have for you all a guest post with J. D. Barker himself!


About the Book

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

Goodreads


Fictional Inspirations

By J. D. Barker

Here are a few of my favorites.

Stephen King (obviously). I respect the guy on many different levels. I grew up reading his books and he greatly influenced the way I write. He’s one of the most down-to-earth writers out there and never shies away from answering a question when I bug him about something as mundane as, “Why did you write that in present tense instead of past?” He has no reason to talk to me, yet he takes the time anyway.

Dean Koontz is the same thing. This is a guy with nothing left to prove but he’ll take time out of what I am sure is a busy day to answer a business related question. He’s seventy years old now and still putting in eighty hours a week. That is amazing.

Jeffery Deaver is another. He read my work before I was published and gave me a terrific blurb. He takes time out to run the Mystery Writers of America and also teaches. He does whatever he can to help the next group of writers coming up.

As with any industry, there are a few bad apples out but for the most part, authors tend to help each other out whenever possible and that’s one of my favorite things about this industry. I wouldn’t be where I am today without people like this paving the way. It’s inspiring and as a result, I do as much as I can to pay it forward, keep it all going.


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Posted on 26 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


The Devil’s Poetry by Louise Cole

Posted on 20 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

The Devil’s Poetry by Louise Cole

Hi All!
Today is my stop on The Devil’s Poetry blog tour and I am here with Louise Cole today as she has been interviewed by me!


About the Book

Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.
Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?
Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.

‘Twisty, suspenseful and occasionally heart-rending, The Devil’s Poetry is a captivating read. I raced through it.” Emma Haughton, Now You See Me

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


An Interview with Louise Cole

If you had to summarize The Devil’s Poetry in a tweet, how would you?
Everyone you know will be sent to war – but a cult claims you can save them by reading from an ancient book. Dare you? What’s the price?

While writing The Devil’s Poetry, did you pick up any odd habits? (i.e. drinking coffee at 2am?)
I talk to my dogs about the plot and the characters. I have three cocker spaniels and they are fairly tough critics. Their favourite stories all feature rabbits so they’re a tough crowd. When I’d get really stuck on a plot point, I’d tell them all about it while I washed the dishes or cooked. The best writing buddy among them is Millie because she will hug you when it’s all going wrong.

What was your favourite thing about writing The Devil’s Poetry?
It’s really hard to answer this without spoilers. I loved writing the scenes at the end. I love choreographing all my different characters, each with their own agenda and the stakes growing ever higher, into a tumultuous climax. There are points where I literally hold my breath as I’m writing. And I am completely immersed. I’m in those scenes as I write. My feet thud across the streets of London, riots breaking around me, fear and adrenaline chilling my skin.

What is your favourite thing about writing in general?
Oh first drafts. Just wonderful. First drafts are like falling in love. You are giddy with excitement, and completely obsessive about pouring out this story. I write first drafts very quickly – usually two or three weeks. Part of that comes from the years of journalism which make me a very fast and productive writer but it’s also that, during that time, I don’t want to do anything else. I throw my family take-away menus, I don’t read other people’s books, I don’t do my normal day job. I cut out this chunk of time entirely for me and I live a new story. It is such a rush and an unbelievable privilege.
Of course, then you have the six months of unremitting hard work, redrafting and editing, and that’s not as much fun.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Middle-earth from Lords of the Rings. I think it has everything; magic, beauty, elves. I think I’d live in the Shire. It has so much in common with my beloved North Yorkshire.

What is your favourite book ever?
Oh see, that’s a mean question. How am I supposed to narrow it down to one? I think the series – and yes, I know I’m cheating – that I’m completely fangirl about is Robin Hobb’s Farseer novels. I’ve been in love with Fitz since I first opened Assassin’s Apprentice. I love that we get to follow Fitz and the Fool through their whole lives, weaving in and out of different trilogies. A wonderful world, a great magic system, fascinating characters. And Nighteyes. Best animal character ever.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
If you write, you are a writer. And all writers aspire, constantly. We want to try new things, to write better, to reach more readers, to explore new stories. That tag: ‘aspiring author’? It’s always feels to me like it’s this judgmental division between the published and the unpublished. But that’s a meaningless divide. There are novice writers, and veteran writers, there are good writers and great writers, and writers who are just starting to master their craft. But once upon a time, we were all just starting and none of us ever stops. So hold your head up, because creativity and storytelling are precious and worthwhile in and of themselves. People see publication as a means of validation and money – but they don’t see how much published writers struggle with the distinct lack of validation and money. The important bit, the bit that will never cease to be true is that by crafting your story, you have nurtured your own soul and made the world a better place. Writing is not about individual pieces of text in isolation – between us, we create a huge ocean of words. And they can change the world.


About the Author

ouise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

Twitter.


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Posted on 20 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


Empathy Inspiration

Posted on 13 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

Empathy Inspiration

Hello All!

Today I am delighted to introduce Kate Milner onto the blog. As it is Empathy Day today, she is here to tell you about the books that she finds inspires her empathy.

And before we introduce those books, let me also tell you about her book My Name is Not Refugee which is an incredible book for inspiring empathy.


About the Book

A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Empathy Inspirations

by Kate Milner

The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
This is my favourite Jacqueline Wilson book. It has stayed with me long after reading it. The heroine, Dolphin lives with her older sister and her mother who has manic depression. Her mother’s mental health problems mean she’s not really capable of looking after her daughters so Dolphin has to grow up quickly and learn to look after herself. She has to work out who she can trust. It’s a really powerful evocation of living with mental illness. There are no goodies and badies here just ordinary people with very real problems who are trying to do the right thing but failing. This is a wonderful book.

Slam by Nick Hornby
The story of 16 year old Sam who makes his girlfriend Alicia pregnant. Sam is an ordinary boy who is very far from ready for parenthood. Initially he runs away and we follow his fear, anger and denial; he is a child with some really adult problems who has to work out what he ought to do. I have never been a teenage boy in this situation but I really feel I can empathise a bit more because of going on this journey with him.

The Heart and the Bottle by Jeffers, Oliver
This is beautiful and touching book about loss. I love the subtlety and the space this book gives you to work out what is going on and what, in the end, needs to be done about it. He is so brilliant at expressing feelings in a double page spread.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
There is not much new to be said about this brilliant book. It offers the reader an insight into the world of Christopher a boy with autism who is trying to deal with his parents failing marriage. He doesn’t understand why they do what they do, and they don’t always understand him. Being in his head while he tries to get himself across London to his mother’s new house is terrifying and exhausting. I think everyone who reads this book has to become more sympathetic and understanding towards people with autism.

Holes by Louis Sachar
This may not seem an obvious choice of a book which inspires empathy but it works for me. I have read it a number of times and every time I’m with Stanley. There is something about his plight; locked up for something he didn’t do, while mean minded adults make him perform hard, menial work which has no purpose. Anyone who has been stuck in school or work doing something meaningless and boring, knows what he feels like.

Not now, Bernard by David McKee
This is one of my favourite Picture books, a delight to read with small children. I love the rather flat quality of the illustrations and the 1970s interior of the house. It’s about being ignored, about not being listened too, getting cross about it and being eaten by a monster. We have all felt like Bernard at some time or other and this story absolutely makes you remember, as an adult, what it’s like to be a child with no power.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
The growing understanding and affection between Willie, an abused evacuee from London and Tom, a lonely old man who takes him in, is heart breaking and deeply touching. The story shows how it is the small acts of caring for one another which builds bonds. Everyone should read this book.

The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan
The Lost thing doesn’t fit anywhere and no one comes to claim him so the boy rescues it and, after taking it home, find away for the Thing to escape the city. That is a very hum drum description of what happens in this wonderful book. For me it makes you feel what it’s like to be in a huge, complicated, interesting, polluted, hard ,sunless city where your needs are not considered and you don’t fit.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
This is not a children’s book but it is short and funny and I think lots of older children would it enjoy it. I’ve included it because it is all about the effect of reading. How it can expand your view of the world and help you understand other people with different experiences. It is a delight and a manifesto for writers and illustrators everywhere.

Winnie the Pooh. by A.A. Milner
I was going to pick one story from Winnie-The-Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner to talk about how it promotes empathy. Perhaps the one where Piglet and Pooh try to cheer up the endlessly miserable Eeyore by giving him a birthday present; or perhaps the one where Piglet finds the courage to meet the terrifying Teffalump. I think it’s easy as an adult to find the charm and humour in these stories and forget how much they teach about friendship. Rabbit and Pooh and Piglet and Tiger are all rather flawed characters. If Tiger came to my house I would probably hide and pretend I wasn’t in and I would certainly loose my temper with the fuss pot Rabbit but Pooh, in his dreamy way, finds a way of rubbing along with them.


About the Author

Kate Milner studied illustration at Central St Martin’s before completing an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. Her work has been published in magazines, and her illustrations and prints have been shown in London galleries and national touring exhibitions. Kate won a V&A Illustration Award in 2016 for My name is not Refugee.

What books inspire empathy in you?

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Posted on 13 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


Sita Brahmachari on Racism

Posted on 2 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Sita Brahmachari on Racism

Hi All!
I’m here today to introduce you to the ever wonderful Sita Brahmachari who is here today with a very powerful guest post on Racism. This is all to help share the news about her new book which released yesterday! More information about it below.


About the Book

Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it’s changing… can the reappearance of Nana Josie’s Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in?

A powerful chime rings through Laila’s mind, guiding her to walk the footsteps of the past on her way to discover her own future.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Racism

by Sita Brahmachari

Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari
‘A coming of age story for young protesters everywhere.’

Tender Earth is endorsed by Amnesty International UK because ‘it illuminates the importance of equality, friendship and solidarity, and upholds our right to protest against injustice.’

HERE WE STAND AGAINST HATE

SILENCE ABOUT RACISM IS NEVER GOLDEN

ANTI-SEMITISM, ANY RACISM, NOT IN OUR NAMES

I began writing Tender Earth three years ago because I began to see the rise of racism, and hear racially-orientated language spoken more often in public places. Following the terror attacks in Paris I wrote an article about how young people are coping with the fear and distrust that is created following these and more recent attacks, and by the language we hear in the media around immigration and the treatment of refugee people. I was so saddened to hear recently of the attack on a young refugee boy, Reker Ahmed, in Croydon, London, who was attacked by thirteen people in a suspected hate crime, leaving him horribly injured.

Since the EU referendum vote police have reported a 57% increase in hate crimes related to race and religion.

For my own children and their generation, I had hoped that racially and religiously motivated crime would be a thing of the past, sadly this is not the case for any of us today and so Laila and her friends are having to face the ugly truth about racism in Tender Earth. In this excerpt Pari Pashaei, who is the child of an Iraqi refugee family, speaks of her fears:

Pari leans in close. ‘You know what Stella was saying about people not saying what they’re really thinking? She’s right. Sometimes I get this look from strangers like they’re suspicious of me or just don’t like the look of me because I’m a Muslim. Mum thinks I should stop wearing my headscarf and she doesn’t like these,’ she points to her sparkly scarf clips, ‘- she says I’m drawing attention to myself.’
‘That’s not right! Why don’t you tell Mrs Latif?’
‘What could she do about what goes on out there? She can’t have a word with strangers like she did with Stella. People outside of school don’t have to say sorry, do they? Anyway, it’s just a feeling. No one actually says anything. But Mum thinks everything’s getting much worse for us here now. No one trusts anyone else.’

Sadly, the events that take place in Tender Earth require the characters to decide if they will take a stand against racially and religiously motivated crimes or stay silent.

Does seeing, reading about and experiencing racism and religious intolerance in this country and throughout the world trouble you as much as it does Laila, Pari and her friends? If it does, click on these links that I used during my research… and consider converting thought into action and, as soon as you are legally able, VOTE for what you believe in.

What can you do?
https://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/resources/what-you-say-matters/what-can-you-do

More books to read that stand up for human rights
https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/jan/12/books-breed-tolerance-children-read-errorist-attacks-paris

The inspiration that is Malala Yousafzai
https://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/10/10/malala-yousafzai-and-archbishop-of-canterbury-in-dudley-watch-our-exclusive-interview/

How can a symbol be such a powerful force?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11367966/The-rising-tide-of-anti-Semitism.html

Youth Against Racism In Europe
http://www.yre.org.uk/


Where do you stand against Racism?

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Posted on 2 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Embracing the End

Posted on 22 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Embracing the End

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Lies Within by Jane Isaac and I have a post by Jane to share with you all!

First though, here’s some information on the book!


About the Book

Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.

Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.

DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.

When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?

Goodreads. Amazon.


Embracing the End

by Jane Isaac

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog today!

I recently read somewhere that publishing a book is an adventure. I would argue that the adventure starts before you even put pen to page.

There’s the background reading on plot issues; the meetings with experts to establish police procedural points. Drawing characters and getting to know them requires people watching, observation of body language and traits that can take days, weeks, even months to amass. Even while the first draft is being written there are field trips – I’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon family dog walk where my daughter ran ahead and played with Bollo while hubby and I searched for suitable deposition sites for a body for The Lies Within. These are all the experiences that build the tower of paper that is later transformed into a novel.

Recently I decided to clear out my desk to make room for a new project. This is an exercise I do when every novel is complete and the final print run has been done, but equally something I seem to struggle with every time. It usually leads to an afternoon of nostalgia, where I go through all the research notes, photos and maps that formed the basis of my plans. All little pieces of the journey, tiny memories, that helped to build the story.

For The Lies Within, it was notes from my prison visit, maps of the settings of Stratford upon Avon and Market Harborough, notes from my time spent in Criminal Court Number Three at Leicester Crown Court; photos I’d printed out for context. There were early print outs of text with scribbled edits all over them, hand written notes on plotlines, potted histories for characters, basic descriptions of settings, background reading material, and receipts from lunches with dear friends who provided valuable insight into police procedure and psychological backgrounds.

Some of these, such as maps and character profiles, are retained for future reference. However, with a heavy heart, most of the pile of paper is transferred into the recycling bin. It takes me a year to write a novel, so this pile of paper represents a year of my working life. Disposing of it provides that final moment of closure; this truly is the end of the book’s journey to publication.

Strangely I’m not left with a clear desk. While this exercise marks the end of one novel, a research pile for a new project is already gathering height and I look forward to sharing many more treasured memories with this one before we reach our final destination.


About the Author

jane-isaac-photo Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014′ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014′.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Website. Facebook. Twitter.


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Posted on 22 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Posted on 20 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the Noah Can’t Even blog tour and I am here today with a fab guest post from Simon about things you need to know about Noah!

First though, look at how funny this book sounds!


About the Book

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Noah Grimes

by Simon James Green

  1. Haribo or Skittles will solve everything. Honestly, he’ll roll over and play ball if you offer up these.
  2. He’s top set for everything, but his nemesis is Maths – especially mental arithmetic, which has bought him to tears before now.
  3. His middle name is a closely guarded secret because it’s ridiculous, and given to him as a joke by his mother, who took the inspiration from the Transformers movie.
  4. He doesn’t come from a wealthy family – in fact, they’re totally skint. But that doesn’t stop Noah being very grand when the mood takes him. I mean, why can’t his mum cook something worthy of a Michelin star restaurant for dinner? Fish fingers or nuggets? No, no, no. Noah wants a pan-fried duck breast on potato rösti, thank you very much.
  5. Things that really wind Noah up: Americanized language; people jabbing at the ‘open door’ buttons on trains before the driver has activated them; people claiming they are ‘gutted’ when really it’s just a very minor disappointment, not really akin to have all your intestines removed.
  6. Noah’s favourite Agatha Christie novel is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd because it’s very clever and you don’t spot who the murderer is. But don’t ask him about it because he’s terrible with spoilers.
  7. Noah is mildly asthmatic, has no upper body strength and fairly crap hand-eye co-ordination, ergo, PE is not really his forte. Nevertheless, the school unreasonably insists on his participation, something Noah considers to be in breach of his human rights. Like the right not to humiliate yourself on the football pitch… and the right not to be seen in the showers by the other boys in your year…
  8. Noah gets quite flustered and hot under the collar if you mention anything to do with… (whisper it now), s-e-x. He’s just not that comfortable talking about it – possibly because his mum is so open and in your face about everything sex related, it’s had the opposite effect on Noah.
  9. Even though he’s nearly sixteen, Noah still sometimes gets his Lego out. But he doesn’t follow any instructions to build particular things. Instead, he uses it to model designs and ideal layouts for things like airports, hospitals and shopping centres.
  10. Noah has an ardent dislike of France following an incident on a residential trip in Year 8. Want to know what that humiliating little episode was about? You’ll find out in the sequel, next year!

About the Author

Simon James GreenSimon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

Website. Twitter.


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Posted on 20 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

Posted on 16 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

Hi All!

Today is my spot on the Wishbones blog tour and I am here to share a fantastic guest post with you all!

But first, here’s more info on the book.


About the Book

Feather Tucker has two wishes:

1)To get her mum healthy again

2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships

When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.

Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?

Goodreads. Amazon.


Fictional Inspirations

by Virigina Macgregor

I have so many and continue to be inspired by new writers that I come across: for example, I’m currently reading Emery Lord’s young adult novel, When We Collided, and her ability to get into the head of a teenage girl with bipolar is incredible.

Voice and character are particularly important to me, I think that’s why I love young adult fiction so much – or adult fiction written from the point of view of children and young people: their voices are often fresh and quirky and they have a unique way of looking at the world. Emma Donoghue’s Room was a great inspiration in this, as it’s narrated by a four year old: her writing is pitch perfect and deeply moving. I gather she followed her own four year old around with a paper and pen! Having a hugely vocal three year old of my own makes me want to have a go at writing a very young narrator too.

If you know my writing you’ll also be aware that I’m an animal lover and that I can’t resist weaving including a pig or a goat or a one legged-cat in my stories. I was therefore blown away by Sara Baume’s Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither, in which the narrator gives a dog, a central character in the novel, a unique voice. Although I get close to it in my novel, The Return of Norah Wells, I haven’t yet written from the point of view of animal, but it’s definitely something I’d love to try.

Going back further, I love both Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl for their creation of wonderfully bonkers but real characters – I hope that my characters, like Feather, have a little of that in them too. Those are the people who tend to appeal to me in real life too: misfits and those who don’t quite toe the line.

I used to teach English literature so I’m a bit of a sucker for beautiful language too, which is why I love the books by Jon McGregor (no relation). I gather he was a poet before he turned his hand to writing long fiction and that certainly shows in the beauty and precision of his sentences: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is one of my favourite novels. It feels as though he is writing on the boundary between prose and fiction.

Some other young adult writers who really inspire me include Jonathan Safron Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close brings together all the things I love: real but quirky characters, a contemporary setting, which also feels a little magical and language which feels fresh and original.

Finally, I love writers, especially YA writers, who tackle thorny social issues and taboos. I’ve recently read Dumplin’ by Julie Murray, which takes a humorous and courageous look at a teenage girl who celebrates her excess weight – but also struggles with it.

Oh, and I’m a sucker for a bit of romance too, which makes Rainbow Rowell’s novels irresistible.


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Posted on 16 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Girl Friendships for Every Girl

Posted on 12 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Girl Friendships for Every Girl

Hello All!
Today I am very happy to welcome Cat Clarke onto the blog with a guest post that she has written in support of her newest book, Girlhood! I have already devoured this book and a review will be up on the blog in the next few days – hopefully! I also love this guest post by Cat too but instead of getting straight to it… here’s more information about her new book.


About the Book

Girlhood Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Girl Friendships for Every Girl

by Cat Clarke

Not so long ago. fictional depictions of friendships between teenage girls had a tendency to revolve around subjects like clothes, make-up and, above all else, BOYS. These TV shows and books and movies didn’t represent me, and the things I talked to my friends about, which made me feel like I was weird. Surely there must have been something wrong with me, not being remotely interested in any of those things, right?

WRONG.

After metaphorically waving my hairbrush around in an impotent rage, what were my options? To try to get interested in clothes, make-up or boys? Or just give up hope of seeing myself represented?

Sure, some girls like those things, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But in depicting girl friendships focusing on only these things, a real disservice is done to girls everywhere. It makes some of us feel excluded and that possibly, there is something wrong with us. But there isn’t!! We just need books and TV shows to show friendships featuring all of us: bi, straight, trans, cis, ace, aro, questioning, pan, lesbian (or even – GASP! – a combination of these). We need to see girls who are interested in politics and the arts and stamp collecting. (Yes, I did in fact collect stamps when I was younger… what can I say? I’ve always been cool.)

So here’s what I decided to do: I chose to create the representation I wanted to see in this messed-up, heteronormative, misogynistic world.

I chose to write a group of girls who aren’t all straight, and don’t all have fabulous hair and flawless make-up. Harper, my main character in Girlhood, is bisexual, and her best friend, Rowan, is a lesbian. Together with their friends Ama and Lily, they form a tight-knit group. They have vastly differing interests: social justice; acting; swimming; the environment; charity work; bird-watching. But these differences are to be celebrated, not erased. Above all, these girls care about each other and have each other’s backs.

I loved creating this group of friends and showing how close they are… before stomping my big authorly boots all over them by adding new girl, Kirsty, into the mix. (*evil cackle*) In Girlhood, the reader will hopefully see that groups of girls can be mean sometimes, but they can also be mature and kind and forgiving.

I’d love to read more stories about realistic and varied friendships between teenage girls, so please hit me up in the comments below, or on Twitter (@cat_clarke), if you have any recs.


How do you feel about girl groups?

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Posted on 12 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments