Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Giveaway (UK&IRL only) The Abandoned Daughter by @Authormary #NewRelease #Saga #ww1Fiction @panmacmillan

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The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Will Ella ever find what she’s looking for?

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the second book in The Girls Who Went To War series.

Giveaway ~

To be in with a chance of winning, simply RT the pinned post HERE

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Mary Wood
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost ~ Why Write A Ghost Story? ~ #Haverscroft by @salharris1 #NewRelease #GhostStory @saltpublishing

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

Guest Post ~

Why Write a Ghost Story?

What influences a Gothic novel; books, films and TV adaptions? Certainly, some have made an impression and I will come to those in a second, but firstly, there is something else. Advise often given to fledgling writers is to Write what you know. So how do you write a ghost story, assuming most of us will not experience the supernatural, even if we wanted too? I have not seen a ghost but I still have knowledge and experience of many aspects of my novel, one way or another. Let me explain what I mean.

One of my earliest memories is being held in the arms of someone who wasn’t my mother. Winter was giving way to spring, a crisp bright day. We were in a sunken garden at the end of a long, sloping lawn as she held me up to the branches of willow tree. I recall extending my red woollen mitten towards fluffy grey catkins, watching them swing in the sunshine, all the time aware of the huge, brooding house behind us.
The house was the home of my great aunt and uncle. They sold it before I turned three years old. My novel, Haverscroft, is a haunted house story. At the rear of Haverscroft House is a terrace similar to the one at my great aunt’s house; French doors overlook the garden, a long stretch of lawn flows to willow trees and a pond. My aunt’s house didn’t have a pond, or at least I don’t remember one which is probably a good thing – for more on that, see the novel!

Twenty-five years later I married and we moved to our current home, an 1840’s townhouse. Abandoned and empty for some time, it needed major refurbishment but the upside was it meant most of the original features were still there; fireplaces, shuttered windows, an old back staircase. The cold floor tiles that suck the warmth from Kate Keeling’s feet in Haverscroft are in our front hall. The many small brass doorknobs and locks missing their keys are on just about every door, and in the garden, the wisteria I planted more than 20 years ago drips purple blossom beyond the double French doors as I write.

There are far more ‘going’s on,’ (as my character, Shirley Cooper would say) at Haverscroft House than has happened in our home. For that, I am hugely grateful, but the back-drop, the setting, is all around me every day. I have never found our home sinister or creepy but our three children sometimes do; floorboards creak, a weak door catch clicks when a draught forces it open. More than one visitor suggests there is a very bad atmosphere at one end of our daughter’s bedroom and our son, when he was tiny, spoke of the lady in the long black dress standing in the corner of our front sitting room.
Write what you know. So I guess I have followed that advise then layered on top all the dramatic events typical of an M.R.James style gothic tale. You probably will not be surprised to know I’ve enjoyed reading authors such as Stephen King, Susan Hill, Daphne du Maurier. I have loved Kate Mosse’s The Winter Ghosts, Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter and I am currently reading her latest novel Wakenhyrst. Not everything I read is dark but much of it tends to be, the rise in popularity of the psychological thriller gave me much to enjoy along with older titles such as John Fowles’ The Collector.

Generally, I’m not a horror film fan. Stakes through the heart and gallons of blood and gore are not usually for me. An exception is Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999), heads may roll but it all adds to the unsettling tense atmosphere. I love the sinister creepiness of The Others (2001), Sixth Sense (1999) or The Orphanage (2017).

Two TV dramas made a big impression, perhaps because I was younger when they aired, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black (1989) was terrifying, the atmosphere, chilling and I never forget to close the curtains on a dark night against the vampires in Salem’s Lot (1979). The children hanging outside the window, nails scratching against the glass, is an image indelibly printed in my memory.

So has writing Haverscroft got the Gothic out of my system? Is one ghost story enough? Perhaps I should branch out next time into romance, thrillers or chic-lit? My second novel, Silent Goodbye, is set on the Suffolk coast. The setting is clear in my head, the characters have wandered into my mind and made a home there. I keep feeling the need to travel to Dunwich, to take a walk along an empty beach and watch the waves roll in. And my great aunt and uncle, when they relocated from the brooding old house moved to Southwold, a property looking out across the North Sea. My memory is a rich seam to mine but do I believe in ghosts? Well, I’ve never seen one, but if I keep writing about them there’s still time yet to follow that advise and write what you know…

SAH
S.A. Harris
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Juliet The Maniac by @julietescoria #LiteraryFiction @melvillehouse

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Juliet The Maniac by Juliet Escoria

Synopsis ~

It’s 1997, and 14-year-old Juliet has it pretty good. But over the course of the next two years, she rapidly begins to unravel, finding herself in a downward trajectory of mental illness and self-destruction that eventually leads to a ‘therapeutic boarding school’ in rural Oregon. From there, deep in the woods of the Northwest, comes an explosive portrayal of teenage life from the perspective of The Bad Friend, and a poignant reflection that refuses the traditional recovery arc. Like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life, Juliet the Maniac offers no clear answers, no definitive finish-line, just the wise acceptance of the challenges ahead. This punchy debut marks the breakout of a bold and singular young writer.

Extract ~

TWIN ETCHINGS

Nicole bought the switchblade when she went down to Tijuana with her mom and dad. They’d let her go off by herself as long as she was back when she’d promised. She pretended to go shopping for dresses but instead went to the nightclubs, where Mexican girls not much older than us blew whistles loud in her face, dumping cheap tequila down her throat. She pretended to swim but instead bought things you couldn’t here, pills that made us sleepy but not high, and, of course, that switchblade. It looked exactly like a joke switchblade I’d had as a kid, one that was actually a comb. Same black and silver handle, same plastic switch, just as flimsy and cheap looking. But the blade was heavy, pale and cold like the moon. She kept the switchblade in her makeup case, alongside the bright lipsticks she often put on but never wore. This was something we did a lot at her house—put on makeup. Everything Nicole owned was expensive: MAC eyeshadow, Clinique foundation, Dior powder, all purchased from Nordstrom or Saks. Nicole was a pro, blending powders on her eyelids and cheeks with gold-handled brushes until she looked like a doll. She plucked my eyebrows high and thin, drew an X across my cupid’s bow before slicking on lipstick, lines smooth and everything perfectly symmetrical. When she finished, I looked just like Drew Barrymore or Clara Bow. I didn’t think anything when she took the switchblade out of her makeup case. We were listening to the Sex Pistols in her new room in her new house, big and empty because they’d just moved in. The music was as loud as it would go, fuzzing the speakers of her gigantic stereo, the wild and quick beat of my heart. She flicked the knife out, held it close to my throat and laughed. Her eyes flickered and she made a face like a crazy killer and I laughed too, nervous, feeling as though for a second she had turned from my best friend into a stranger.

“God, I’m so fat,” she said, releasing me, looking at herself in the full-length mirror. She wasn’t fat. Her arms were thin and her legs were lean but she did have just the smallest ripple of fat on her stomach. “I wish I could just cut this off,” she said, switchblade hovering over her belly button. Her voice went soft, like she was saying it only to herself. “It makes me fucking hate myself.” I had told her she wasn’t fat enough times before, so I said nothing. “Does it hurt?” she asked, pointing to my hip. A few days earlier, we’d gone swimming in her new pool, and as we were changing she saw the scabs, a triangle I’d cut there with a pocketknife, one night secretly in my bedroom. I’d started cutting myself years ago, before I even knew what it was, just this thing to relieve the pressure when I felt too mad or too happy, a letting out of the air. She was the first to notice, and it made me feel naked and embarrassed, the way her eyes had splayed wide. But I realized now that she wasn’t disgusted, didn’t think I was a freak, the way I had thought that day. To her, the cuts made me cool. “No,” I said. “Not if you do it right. If you do it too light, it stings, but if you go just a bit deeper, it feels good.” I didn’t tell her you had to be in the right mood, or that it always hurt the next day. She could think I was tougher than that, even though I wasn’t, even though the whole reason I did it was because I was weak in the first place, a person who couldn’t stand the simple act of being herself. She took the point of the knife into her arm, and I watched her carve a line straight down. I didn’t tell her to stop. I didn’t tell her not to do it on her arm, not ever, but especially not during the summer, especially not a couple weeks before school began, this place on her body where anyone could see. So she drew two more lines, turning the first into an F. I watched her the whole time as she carefully carved each line, perfectly straight and even, like she had written it on paper. The album ended and neither of us got up. She was almost done

with the second T. She acted like it didn’t hurt, didn’t make any noises or faces, and with each line I felt something in myself softening, as though our secret thoughts were creeping out and curling together. This action done for me, to show me she was tough, to show me there was no difference between the two of us. When she was done, she held it up, an art project for me to admire, and I took my finger and smeared the blood in a straight line through the word, crossing it out. FATTY. The one and only thing she hated about herself—her body. I felt a heavy pull to lick her blood, taste its metallic hotness. Instead, I just wiped it on my pants, and later, I couldn’t get it out in the laundry, this copper patch belonging to Nicole, staining my favorite jeans.

JE
Juliet Escoria
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author of, Tell Me Where You Are @moira_forsyth @sandstonepress #NewRelease #Fiction #FamilyLife #TellMe

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Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Synopsis ~

Frances is doing fine; she has her life sorted. Then comes the phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her younger sister Susan, thirteen years ago. Susan has disappeared, and Alec wants her daughter Kate to come and stay with Frances, out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, Frances’s youngest sister, Gillian, finds that two months after ending her relationship with a married man, she is pregnant. While all this is going on another crisis is looming. It’s been a family full of secrets. Frances and Gillian haven’t even managed to tell their parents Susan is missing. After all, she’s left unacknowledged thirteen years of birthday and Christmas presents for Kate, the granddaughter they never saw. She was the one who made sure she could never be forgiven, and now there’s another secret. It’s not always the things you fear most, which matter in the end.

Q&A ~

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) This novel started with a dream about the turkey we were to have for Christmas dinner. The bizarre dream Frances has at the beginning of the novel is a more detailed version of one I woke from myself, slightly shaken and glad I no longer ate meat, though I was cooking it for everyone else! The dream was too good to waste – which is what I often think when something happens that quite quickly turns itself into fiction in my imagination.

The novel is about three sisters and what happens when the middle one, who has always been trouble, disappears, leaving Frances, her older sister, with her teenage daughter Kate. Kate is in trouble, but no one realises that until it’s too late… The novel is set mainly in the Highlands, where Frances now lives, with significant scenes in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Newcastle. I can’t get on with a new novel until I’ve decided where the characters live. I know authors who can write vividly about places they’ve never been, but I’d find that difficult. For me, the sense of place is bound up closely with the people, and I want to be sure I can make that convincing.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) This novel has had a longer journey than most. When Waiting for Lindsay, my first novel, was accepted, Sceptre gave me a two-book deal, which I fulfilled with my second, David’s Sisters. After that, my agent turned down my next novel, which I suspect he had discussed with Sceptre. My sales weren’t high enough for them to offer on that one. I wrote another, but by then the agent had thrown in the towel. That novel, an earlier version of Tell Me Where You Are, went to the back of the drawer with my other unpublished work. (A much larger drawer than the published one!)

My life was then taken up with developing Sandstone Press, of which I’m a founding director. For several years Sandstone published only non-fiction, then in 2010 it was decided we’d try fiction. Tell Me Where You Are was one of the early novels published, because Robert thought it merited that. He carried out a stern edit on it – and when I’d stopped sulking I made all the changes he had suggested – he was right. However, though we were very good editors at Sandstone, we were still learning to be publishers, and the novel pretty well sank without trace. We do better for our authors now!

It’s worth new authors noting that larger publishers often drop authors in this way. I know a number of superb writers who have been ‘let go’ by corporate publishers.
Because of the success of my two subsequent novels, The Treacle Well and A Message from the Other Side, Robert decided my previous novels should all be reissued, starting with Tell Me Where You Are. So here it is, with a beautiful new cover.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Being an editor, and to some extent, being a writer, wrecks your private reading. For bedtime I have crime thrillers on my kindle, for holidays and other times I love literary biographies (I’m reading the first biography of Scott Fitzgerald just now, by Andrew Turnbull, who knew him well), and also re-reading authors I’ve always loved and return to every few years, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Elizabeth Bowen, EM Forster, Alice Munro and George Eliot – Middlemarch is still, for me, the quintessential novel, the best.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a child I read everything I could get my hands on. Not allowed to ‘read at the table’ I read everywhere else, though at mealtimes I was restricted to the back of the Shreddies packet and the HP sauce bottle (some of which, in French, I can still quote Cette sauce de haute qualité est un melange d’épices….). I read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass over and over, as a little girl, and later devoured all of Enid Blyton’s school stories. My parents often gave me their library tickets to supplement my own, I read so fast and so voraciously. The first time I really understood what writing can do, to draw you into another world, was when I happened on Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden, which I still think one of the finest children’s novels ever written. As a teenager I read all Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, but also the Brontes, Thackery, George Eliot and other classics. As a student I read John Fowles’s The Magus with the same absorption and utter belief in its world. That one hasn’t stood the test of time quite as much!

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) It’s a magical moment when you open the parcel and see your new novel for the first time. When my first, Waiting for Lindsay, was published by Sceptre in 1999, I sat in my little upstairs living-room, in the first house I’d ever had of my own, holding it and unable to believe that at last, this had really happened. I’d had a bad few years, with my marriage breaking up and having to find a new job and manage on my own, but that was a moment of pure happiness.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My partner in life and at work, Robert Davidson, has supported me all the way through. He’s my editor and critic, and takes a huge pride in my achievements. My children have also been wonderful. Sadly my mother had become ill by the time my first novel was published, and was unable to enjoy it as she would have done in earlier years. My father though, who died in 2012, was an indefatigable supporter and would get my books off the library shelves and hand them to other readers, telling them, ‘My daughter wrote this – it’s very good’. He also rearranged books in bookshops, facing mine out so that they were more easily seen. After his death, I discovered he had kept a full and detailed folder with cuttings of my reviews and every bit of publicity I’d ever had.

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Moira Forsyth
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Link to the book available via Sandstone Press

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Night By Night by @JackJordanBooks 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @CorvusBooks #NightByNight

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Night By Night by Jack Jordan
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

‘If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth.
But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

My Review ~

‘For those sixty minutes, she was the loneliest woman in the world’

At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to protagonist Rose Shaw, her husband Christian and two young twin daughters Lily and Violet (10yrs). We become aware that Rosie is suffering from chronic insomnia and is plagued with thoughts of how due to this she is failing her children. Her close friend Heather attempts to convince her otherwise, to no avail. But for Rosie, her obsessive and intrusive thoughts, will have to deadly consequences…

‘Motherhood came with a price: it had meant sacrificing her former self’

The novel then jumps ahead 4yrs, to after the accident. It is Lily’s 14th birthday and Rosie is struggling to emotionally connect to anyone. She feels blamed for their pain and punished by her husband. These were painful and moving scenes to read. Rose’s grief and pain felt like a punch to the chest and this is all due to the author’s exceptional skill at weaving emotionally tense scenes between the suspense.

‘I saved the wrong one’

Rose is seeing a therapist Dr William Hunter and it becomes obvious the repercussions seep into every part of Rose’s life. Rose has lost multiple relationships with family and friends. she is surviving in a life of misery and pain.

‘To outward appearances, they had stuck together after the death of their daughter. but within their home they were strangers occupying different rooms, different beds, and avoiding each other’s eyes’

One emotional day, Rose visits her mother and brother’s graves. It is then we become aware the pain in Rose’s life reaches deep into her past also. When she is knocked over by a jogger, whom drops a journal…

‘My name is Finn Matthews and if you’re reading this, I’m dead’

Finn’s dairy tells the story of being stalked and concern he is losing his mind.
The diary scenes are gripping and intense. I kept having to remind myself to breathe!

‘What had become of Finn Matthews?’

Solving Finn’s disappearance becomes an obsession for Rose. Can she find her own salvation in the solving of his case? Can Finn bring Rose the redemption she so desperately needs?

The main focus of the novel is Finn, as a man and his mysterious journal. I don’t want to risk spoilers, but we the reader are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Despite her obvious problems and flaws, protagonist Rose develops into a real fierce warrior of a woman. A HUGE 5* from me!

‘Life Marks us all’

JJ
Jack Jordan
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Jack currently is hosting a UK only giveaway via Pinned Tweet HERE

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