Anne Bonny #BlogTour Character Profile #VioletRayfield ~ A Thimbleful Of Hope by @eviegrace2017 #NewRelease #Saga @arrowpublishing

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A Thimbleful Of Hope by Evie Grace
Synopsis:

A tale of triumph over adversity from the author of the Maids of Kent trilogy. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Dover, 1864: Violet Rayfield leads a happy life with her family in a beautiful terrace on Camden Crescent.

But Violet’s seemingly perfect world is shattered when her father makes a decision that costs her family everything. Now Violet must sacrifice all she holds dear, including the man she loves.

As Violet strives to pick up the threads of her existence, a series of shocking revelations leaves her feeling even more alone.

But where one door closes, another opens, and the embroidery skills Violet perfected while a young woman of leisure win her vital work.

If she can find the strength to stitch the remnants of her family back together, there might just be a little hope after all…

A character profile of Violet Rayfield:

I’m delighted to introduce A Thimbleful of Hope and Miss Violet Rayfield whose story is set among the gas-lit streets of the historic Cinque port of Dover. Born in 1846, Violet cuts a striking figure with her deep blue eyes, and white-blonde hair which she wears scraped back into plaited loops at the nape of her neck. The only feature she would change if she could, is her nose which she feels is a little too large for her face.
Violet lives with her family and their servants in one of the best addresses in Dover, a large terraced house in Camden Crescent with views of the sea. Her father is a businessman, a successful shipping agent who’s made enough money to invest in a cargo ship and shares in the London Chatham and Dover Railway Company, meaning that his wife can lead a life of leisure, showing off their home and its contents to their friends and acquaintances.
Mr Rayfield employs a governess to educate Violet and her sisters, Ottilie and Eleanor, in the pursuits which are considered suitable for refined young ladies, and useful preparation for the advantageous marriages they’re expected to make. Although they’re taught how to play the piano, paint in watercolour and make polite conversation, Violet’s favourite hobby is embroidery. She has a natural talent for design as well as needlework, while she finds her younger sister’s desire to write sensationalist novels rather amusing.
One of her favourite things is her wooden sewing box with its velvet lining. It contains needles, chalk, scissors and her silver thimble, the tools with which she creates the butterflies in the latest ombre threads for the gown that she wears to her first dance, the ball to celebrate Dover’s annual regatta.
Violet is somewhat sceptical of her mother’s attempts to teach her and her sisters how to run a household. When Mrs Rayfield invites a decorator to give an estimate for redecorating parts of the house, Violet is unable to contain her laughter when he shows them proof that green wallpaper is no risk to their health. She also decides that she’ll never ask her servants to make mock turtle soup when shown how to make it herself – the sight of calf’s brain turns her stomach.
However, Violet is trapped by her upbringing and the expectations of society, and she knows that she’ll marry and take on an establishment of her own, just as her mother did. She’s kind, resourceful and resilient, and even when everything is against her, she finds the strength to carry on.
I hope you enjoy reading Violet’s story as much as I loved writing it. I felt quite bereft when I had to leave her and write, ‘The End’.
Evie x

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Evie Grace
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Murder Pit by @mickfinlay2 #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @HQstories @HQDigitalUK #MurderPit Where Evil Lies Buried. . .

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The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay
Synopsis:

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes.
Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of London society. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of the city, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent, and considerably less well-paid cases.

Arrowood is in no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr and Mrs Barclay engage him to trace their estranged daughter Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant Barnett have tracked her down.

But this seemingly simple missing person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered . . .

Extract:

Chapter One

South London, 1896

Horror sometimes arrives with a smile upon her face, and so it was with the case of Birdie Barclay. It was early New Year, the mud frozen in the streets, smuts drifting like black snow in the fog. Shuddering horses trudged past, driven on to places they didn’t want to go by sullen, red-faced men. Crossing sweepers stood by waiting for punters to drop them a coin, while old folk clutched walls and railings lest they should slip on the slick cobbles, sighing, muttering, hacking up big gobs of germs and firing them into the piles of horse dung as collected at every corner.

We hadn’t had a case for five weeks, so the letter from Mr Barclay inviting us to call that afternoon was welcome. He lived on Saville Place, a row of two-bedroom cottages under the train lines between the Lambeth Palace and Bethlem. When we reached the house we could hear a lady inside
singing over a piano. I was about to knock when the guvnor touched my arm.

‘Wait, Barnett,’ he whispered.

We stood on the doorstep listening, the fog bunched thick around us. It was a song you’d often hear in the pubs near closing time, but never had I heard it sang so very fine and sad, so full of loneliness: ‘In the gloaming, oh my darling, when the lights are dim and low, and the quiet shadows
falling, softly come and softly go.’ As it built to the refrain, the guvnor shut his eyes and swayed with the chords, his face like a hog at stool. Then, when the last line came, he started singing himself, flat and out of time, drowning out the lady’s mournful voice: ‘When the winds are sobbing faintly, with a
gentle unknown woe, will you think of me and love me, as you did once long ago?’

I think it was the only line he knew, the line that spoke most direct to his own battered heart, and he ended in a choke and a tremble. I reached out to squeeze his fat arm. Finally, he opened his eyes and nodded for me to knock.

A broad, pink-faced fellow opened the door. The first thing you noticed was his Malmsey nose, round at the end and coated in fine fur like a gooseberry; beneath it the thick moustache was black though the hair around his bald scalp was white. He greeted us in a nervy voice and led us through to the front room, where a tall woman stood next to a pianoforte. She was Spanish or Portuguese or somesuch, dressed in black from head to toe.

‘These are the detective agents, my dear,’ he said, wringing his hands in excitement. ‘Mr Arrowood, Mr Barnett, this is my wife, Mrs Barclay.’

On hearing our names a warm smile broke over her face, and I could see from the way the guvnor bowed and put his hand flat on his chest that he felt humbled by the lady: by her singing, her deep brown eyes, the kindness in her expression. She bade us sit on the couch.

The small parlour was packed out with furniture too big for it. The pianoforte was jammed between a writing desk and a glass-fronted cabinet. The couch touched the armchair. A gilded Neptune clock took up most of the mantel, its tick ringing out maddeningly loud.

‘Now,’ said the guvnor, ‘how about you tell us your difficulty and we’ll see what we can do to help?’

‘It’s our daughter, Birdie, sir,’ said Mr Barclay. ‘She was married six months ago into a farming family, but since the wedding we’ve heard nothing from her. Nothing at all. No visits, no letters, not even this Christmas last. I’ve twice tried to call for her but they wouldn’t even let me in the house! Said she’s out visiting. Well, sir, it simply cannot be true.’

‘Surely young ladies visit?’ asked the guvnor.

‘She’s not the type to visit, sir. If you knew her you’d understand that. We’ve been driven wild with worry, Mr Arrowood. It’s as if she’s disappeared.’

Mick Finlay
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract #ForTheMissing by @Linabdtr Lina Bengtsdotter #Scandi #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime

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For The Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter
Synopsis:

She must find Annabelle. Before it’s too late.

THE MISSING
Nora’s daughter Annabelle has disappeared, last seen on her way home from a party.

THE LOST
Gullspång’s inexperienced police are wilting under the national media spotlight – and its residents desperate for answers.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING . . .
Stockholm DI Charlie Lager must return home to find Annabelle, and then get out of town as soon as she can. Before everyone discovers the truth about her . . .

Extract:

Charlie woke up at seven. She never slept well after a night of drinking, particularly not in a strange bed. She looked over at the man next to her. Martin, was that his name? And what had she told him her name was? Maria? Magdalena? She always lied about her name when she picked up men in bars – her name
and her profession. Mostly so they wouldn’t try to look her up, but also because nothing was a bigger turn-off than jokes about handcuffs and women in uniform. Being easily bored was one of her many problems.

Anyway, this Martin bloke had come up to her to ask why she was sitting alone at the bar, then without waiting for a reply he had bought her a drink, and then another; and when the place closed they had moved on to his house. Martin was not the type go home with someone on the first date; he had told
her so while fumbling with his front door lock. And Charlie had replied that she was. Martin had laughed and said he really liked women with a sense of humour and Charlie hadn’t had the heart to tell him she wasn’t kidding.

She got up quietly. Her head was pounding. I need to get home, she thought. I need to find my clothes and then get home.
Her dress was on the floor in the kitchen, she didn’t bother looking for her knickers. She had almost made it out when she accidentally stepped on a toy that started playing a loud tune, Mary Had a Little Lamb. ‘Fuck,’ she whispered. ‘Goddamnit.’

She could hear Martin moving in the bedroom. She quickly found her way to the front door, grabbed her shoes, opened the door and ran down the stairs.
She was unprepared for the light that hit her as she stepped out onto the street; it took her a moment to sort through her sensory impressions and pin down exactly where she was. Östermalm, Skeppargatan. A taxi would get her home in five minutes. She looked around, but there were no taxis in sight, so she started walking.

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Illumination Of Ursula Flight by @writercrow @AllenAndUnwinUK #NewRelease #Literature

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The Illumination Of Ursula Flight by Anna – Marie Crowhurst
Synopsis:

‘ON THE 15TH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1664, A GREAT LIGHT BLOOMED IN THE DARK SKY…’

Born on the night of a bad-luck comet, Ursula Flight has a difficult destiny written in the stars. Growing up with her family in the country, she is educated by a forward-thinking father who enables her to discover a love of reading, writing and astrology. Ursula dreams of becoming a famous playwright, but is devastated to learn she must instead fulfil her family’s expectations and marry. Trapped and lost, Ursula plots her escape – but her freedom will come at a price.

As Ursula’s dangerous desires play out, both on and off the stage, she’s flung into a giddy world of actors, aristocrats and artistic endeavours which will change her life irrevocably.

A gutsy coming-of-age story about a spirited young woman struggling to lead a creative life, this uplifting tale vividly evokes the glittering world of Restoration-era theatre. For anyone who has ever tried to succeed against the odds, The Illumination of Ursula Flight is an inspiring journey of love and loss, heartbreak and all-consuming passion. This is a debut pulsating with life for readers of Jessie Burton, Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry.

Extract:

Birth

On the fifteenth day of December in the year of our Lord 1664, a great light bloomed in the dark sky and crept slowly and silently across the blackness: a comet. The prating in the coffeehouses was of the evil the fiery star portended. Such astrological phenomena, it was known, brought war, famine, disease, fire and flood; the fall of kingdoms, the death of princes, mighty tempests, great frosts, cattle-plague and French pox. Every evening afterwards, though snow lay on the ground and the air bit with frost, men across the land threw open their windows and went out of their doors in cloaks and mufflers to gaze at the heavens, necks stretched up, hands shielding eyes, crooking long fingers to trace the burning thing that flamed across the night, while dogs moaned in their kennels and wise women chanted incantations against bright malignant spirits.

My mother, then in her fourth lying-in for childbed, had heard the tattle, by letter, from her sister, and begged her lady to open up the chamber curtains, the windows being tight fastened against ill winds. A fire blazed in the grate and bitter herbs got from the apothecary smoked in pots. My mother, taut and swollen, sweated in her night-shift.

It was hard to see at first, my mother said: that night the sky was so pricked with stars, the air so thick and dark. But as she gazed, wet-faced, propped full-bellied on her pillows, there broke out from under a cloud a great white star with a flickering tail. At the sight of it she cried out in wonder, and, I think, in fear, and doing so broke her water: her agonies began.

Thus began, too, my journey into the world: she, crying and clawing, as I strained, sightless and bloodied, to meet the wonder which that very moment was bursting through the empyrean. With a wrench, I was born, into the deepest part of the night, blinking, kicking, then so strangely silent they thought me dead, just as the comet ended its glowing travails and disappeared from earthly sight.

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Anna – Marie Crowhurst
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @knntom Keith Nixon #Author of, Dig Two Graves @GladiusPress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon
Synopsis:

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction.

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Q&A:

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

A) Right now home is in the North West of the UK, near Manchester, but I lived in Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet, where I base all my books, for 17 years. All three of my children were born there and we still go back periodically to see friends so I know the area and its people very well.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was 9 years old, it’s always been a ‘thing’ for me. However, I really put my nose to the grindstone about twelve years ago when I started pulling together some ideas for a historical fiction novel (The Eagle’s Shadow) about the Roman invasion of Britain – the Romans’ landing site was just a few miles away from where I lived.

However, these days I primarily write crime / thriller – all my work has a strong mystery element to it. I moved into crime when I got made redundant during the credit crunch. I’d had a bad experience with my management and writing about killing somebody was the best legal way of ‘getting away with it’ so to speak.

Dig Two Graves is the first book in a major new series with Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray as the protagonist. Again it’s Margate based. Gray’s son, Tom went missing a decade ago and he’s never really got over it (who would?!). He’s no idea what happened to Tom; whether he’s alive or dead. He’s in a bit of an emotional hole, but not ready to give up. When the body of a teenager turns up who’s the same age as Tom, Gray’s life gets turned upside down because although Gray and the seeming suicide have never met why is Gray’s number on the kid’s mobile?

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

A) My writing process is a mixture of development and evolution. As always it starts with one kernel of an idea and grows from there. More often than not that original idea morphs into something else as I work the story.

First I get an idea of who the characters are, where they are in their lives, as all stories emerge through people. Then I’ll start to do some research (for example into County Lines drug sales which was the basis of a recent book) while pulling together a chapter list and the broad ideas that’ll occur at each stage.

Finally, when I feel there’s enough of an outline, I start writing. The story goes on from there, the narrative shifts as more ideas come – that’s the evolution aspect.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Anything by Ian Rankin – he’s the reason I moved into crime, specifically his breakout novel, Black & Blue.

Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May novels are vastly under-rated reads.

M.W. Craven’s Washington Poe series too – starting with The Puppet Show. Gruesomely brilliant.

Tim Baker – his CWA nominated Fever City is superb.

And I think we should be supporting indie authors. If you like hard hitting noir look out Martin Stanley’s Stanton Brother’s novels or anything by Mark Wilson. Both are hard-working writers.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I read a huge amount when I was a kid. Starting with the usual – Enid Blyton’s ‘Five’ mystery stories. Then I moved onto sci-fi – Isaac Asimov and Michael Moorcock in particular, before gravitating onto 1970’s and 1980’s thrillers – Douglas Reeman, Alistair Maclean etc.

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

A) That’s a really, really difficult one. My career as a writer has been a series of ups and downs, thankfully more the former than the latter. Every year and with each book new stuff happens. A major highlight has been with Dig Two Graves, however. I got the chance to work with a brilliant editing team (award winning writer Allan Guthrie and Eleanor Abraham), had an audio book out (read by London’s burning Ben Onwokwe) and a German translation. But fundamentally I learnt a huge amount as a writer. And I still am.

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

A) First & foremost my wife. She was a bit dubious at first until she read my first crime novel. And the aforementioned Mr Guthrie. He’s been an amazing mentor and made me a better writer. He’s the little devil constantly sitting on my shoulder telling me what I’ve just written needs to be better…

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Keith Nixon
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