#BlogTour #GuestPost The Puppet Master by @Abigail_Author @Bloodhoundbook #WritingAsTherapy #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

Abigail Osborne - The Puppet Master_cover_1
The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

Looking for your next unputdownable psychological thriller? Then try Abigail Osborne’s unmissable The Puppet Master, a stunning thriller full of twists and turns.

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.
Unbeknownst to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.
Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?

One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.



Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

I imagine that every author has a different reason for choosing to write the books that they write. But we probably all have the same deep-seated desire to analyse the world that we live in. In my opinion, the best books make you think about the world in which we live, in a different way than we normally do. The author has accomplished this feat because their passion and insight leaps off the page. For me, I feel that writing is a way of taking the significant feelings we have in our minds and working them out on the page, getting to the bottom of how we really feel and why.

I started to write my book out of loneliness. I was in a job that meant I had a silly amount of time on my hands and no one to spend it with. I love to talk to people but everyone I knew worked during the day and it was driving me crazy not being able to communicate with anyone. To have a proper meaningful discussion. At the end of the day, my husband was so tired from work, he could only handle the simplest of conversations but I needed more than that. So, when I started writing my book it gave me the opportunity to talk. What I didn’t realise was that it would open up an avenue of my mind previously unexplored.

It gave me the ability to take the things I had experienced in life and analyse them. Through my characters, I was able to explore the darker shades of life. I’d tried to have deeper and darker conversations with friends but that’s not what you really do with friends. When you see them, you want to have fun and catch up on each other’s lives. Not get into the nitty gritty of personality, experience and bad things in life. I feel the British way is to get on with things. Don’t dwell on the negative. But sometimes, it is good to dissect these things. To talk about them and explore them and the effect that they have on us. One of the themes in my book is what is often considered a ‘taboo’ subject. It isn’t something I could start a conversation about with just anyone. Even with my closest friends, I wouldn’t be able to discuss it the way I do in the book. Writing the book was so liberating because I could take topics and experiences close to my heart and using this fictional world I could examine them in any way I chose.

Writing this book has changed me. It has given me a better sense of self as I was able to take events from my life and weave them into this tale of fiction. I probed important issues to me and resolved them in my head through my writing. For instance, Adam’s loneliness mirrored my own at the time. Saving him from that loneliness alleviated that feeling within me and I began to appreciate how lucky I was to have my husband and that you don’t always need to talk to be close. You just need to know that person will always be there.

The overarching message of my book that I wanted to get across, became more of a message to myself. You can go through horrific things but there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let what happened in the past define your future. Love can be a powerful antidote for those who have experienced evil. The closure and insight into my life and myself has been incredible and I would really encourage people to give it ago. You never know what you might find out about yourself.

Abigail Osborne
Authors links:
Website: http://abigailosborne.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abigailosborneauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Abigail_Author

#GuestPost Lord Of The Dead by @RichRippon @ObliteratiPress @NathanOHagan #NewRelease #Indie

*I am proud to post this #GuestPost this morning as not only does the novel sound intense and intriguing. The title pretty much summarises how I feel this cold foggy November morning! lol*

Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon

A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb.

Lord Of The Dead is a gripping, startling piece of modern noir fiction.

“A stunning debut. If Thomas Harris was to write a British take on the Nordic-Noir genre, this would be it. Rippon is an exciting new voice in British crime fiction.”

Nathan O’Hagan, author of ‘The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place’


Cave, Mann and Deep Red

 I wrote my new novel, Lord of the Dead, on the back of cigarette packets. Not literally of course – that would be just mad. What I mean is that it was written in a very piecemeal style and on the hoof, using snatches of stolen time. Anyone with a full-time job and a family knows how hard it is to find spare time for a hobby or passion. And so, my book was written on the bus, to and from work, or an hour here and there after the kids had gone to bed.

I wrote in notebooks, on scraps of paper, or in emails that I’d send to myself. Sometimes I’d write a few hundred words in one go, other times just a few lines. Sometimes, weeks would go by and I’d not have written a thing.

The result was inevitably patchy. Names – or their spellings – would mysteriously change from one chapter to the next. Plot strands would begin only to be completely abandoned. Once, a character was spectacularly killed off, only to appear in much better health later on.

Time for research was scant. I relied on Google and Twitter; the latter providing a forensic expert and someone living with cerebral palsy, who graciously helped to answer my stupid questions online. Close friends – a cop and a nurse – helped to keep things real when it came to police and hospital procedures.

When I grew closer to finishing, my patient agent – a former editor – helped me make sense of the mess, and told me what was working and what wasn’t. After multiple reworks, revisions and redrafts, it grew closer to something resembling a novel.

Over almost two years of writing it, I had a number of inspirations. Michael Mann’s 1986 film, Manhunter, featured a killer who’d watch the families who would eventually become his victims. Brian Cox – as Hannibal Lector – has a great line: “Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.” I became interested in writing a killer who revelled in the night, felt empowered and emboldened by it. It was the starting point for the character and his motivation. I wondered what aspect of the night and darkness might fuel his fantasies. I also loved the idea of someone who was a watcher. I wrote my villain as someone who liked to surveil the cops as well as his victims, and was always one step ahead, and ready to strike.

I became obsessed with the Manhunter soundtrack. A difficult-to-find collection of electronica and eighties pop-rock. Similarly, I was listening to Nick Cave’s album, Push the Sky Away on endless loop. There were a number of tracks that seemed to resonate with what I was aiming for. Songs like We No Who U R, Water’s Edge and the title track, had a beautiful, hypnotic and ominous quality that I’ll forever associate with Lord of the Dead. Later I saw the video for We No Who U R, with a shadowy figure wandering through a forest at night, which could have been depicting my antagonist himself.

As a teenager, I became a fan of horror movies and decorated my bedroom with gory posters from Fangoria magazine. When I was writing the book, I bought a blu-ray of an old favourite, Dario Argento’s Deep Red, which I’d previously owned on bootleg VHS. Back in the day, the ‘video nasty’ scandal had led to a number of titles being banned outright, and others severely cut by the British Board of Film Classification. Me and my friends, who preferred our horror unadulterated, would buy copies by post, videos that would have terrible image quality, colours that bled into each other and tape-chewing tracking issues. Deep Red features a number of gruesome and ritualised killings and an antagonist who’s hiding in plain sight. Both of these elements feature in Lord of the Dead, and although I don’t think the book is an outright horror, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the horrific.

As I write this, I’m pondering a sequel to Lord of the Dead and hopefully, I’ve learnt something from the chaotic way I tackled the first book. Planning is the key. Then, I’m going to take it one chapter at a time. ‘Write one true sentence, and then go on from there…’ was Hemingway’s advice. I’d like it to have a subtly different vibe – the same, but different. It exists in the same world of course, but the main characters have been dramatically and permanently affected by the events of the first book. The villain needs to be completely different, something we’ve never seen before, and therein lies the challenge – and the fun.

Richard Rippon
Author Bio:
Richard Rippon has been writing since 2007, when his short story, Full Tilt, was long-listed for a Northern Dagger award. In 2009, he won a New Writing North Award for his first novel, The Kebab King. Since then he’s had a number of short stories published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2012, he was commissioned to write a short story (The Other One), which appears in the Platform anthology. He lives on the North East coast with his wife and two children, and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Richard was also a social media phenomenon in 2016, as one of the men behind the twitter sensation #DrummondPuddleWatch.
Authors Links:
Follow Richard on Twitter @RichRippon
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/richard.rippon.3.


Q&A with @ellisshuman #Author of The Burgas Affair #GuestPost #Inspiration #Indie

The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman

She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.

The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.

Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.

The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.


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

A) I was born in the United States but moved to Israel as a teenager. I finished high school in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli army, and was a founding member of a kibbutz. I have worked in many professions but the latest is content marketing. My job was relocated to Bulgaria for two years and as a result, my novels are very much connected to Bulgaria.

My new novel deals with the aftermath of a terrorist bombing in Bulgaria, in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed. This happened at Burgas Airport in July 2012. In my mind I envisioned a joint Israeli-Bulgarian investigation. The novel is primarily focused on the interaction between the Bulgarian detective and the Israeli data analyst on her first overseas assignment who have teamed up to track down those responsible for the bombing.

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

A) The terror attack at Burgas Affair took me by surprise. Although I grew up in Israel and was very familiar, unfortunately, with similar bombings, I never imagined that one could occur in Bulgaria. I kept thinking about this and then my creative mind envisioned what happened the next day. I was sure that Bulgarians and Israelis would work together in this investigation so I came up with idea to write a fictional account of their teamwork. The result is The Burgas Affair, available for download at Amazon with a paperback edition to follow.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I frequently write book reviews and when I do, I usually write about books related to Bulgaria or Israel. I am probably one of the most ‘prolific’ reviewers of modern Bulgarian literature that has been translated into English. That said, one of my favourite authors is Haruki Murakami. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to his books. They fascinate me because they transport me to Japan in a very surreal way.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I can’t recall having favourite reads as a child, but I did read a lot! As a teenager, my favourite author was Kurt Vonnegut. I especially enjoyed his novels Cat’s Cradle and The Sirens of Titan. I wrote my major high school project on Vonnegut’s writing, although I didn’t enjoy his later works as much. From time to time I come across Vonnegut quotes that prove to me that he was a very talented writer.

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

A) The Burgas Affair was traditionally published in 2016. Because I had a lot of connections in the Bulgarian media, I was able to sell the Bulgarian language rights to the book to a major publisher in Sofia. My favourite moment as an author was attending the book’s presentation in Sofia and participating in the book signing there. The novel is now being published in its original English for the first time.

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

A) Today, my creative writing focuses on my love for two countries – Israel and Bulgaria. My wife, Jodie, has been with me all of my adult life in Israel, and she shared the two years of my relocation in Bulgaria, something we labelled our Bulgarian adventure. She has given the greatest support for my writing, and has encouraged me every step of the way. In addition, she reads my writing, makes comments and suggestions, and helps me correct the occasional spelling mistake!


What Inspired Me to Write “The Burgas Affair”

In my crime thriller, The Burgas Affair, Bulgaria and Israel conduct a joint investigation into a terrorist bombing at a Bulgarian airport. The novel is based on a very real terror attack, but the investigation I describe is completely fictional.

One of the questions people ask me when they hear about the book is what inspired me to write it? For me, the answer is simple. The novel is set in two countries I love: Bulgaria and Israel. While there are many novels set in Israel, it is quite unlikely that you will find a novel in the English language with a Bulgarian setting.

I have a particular affinity for anything and everything connected to Bulgaria and that is because my wife and I lived in Sofia for two years (2009-2010). I was on a relocation assignment from my job and we made the most of our stay in Bulgaria. During our free time we explored the country and we were astonished by what we saw. Bulgaria has picturesque villages; a rich culture and history; beautiful forests, mountains, and seashores; and very friendly people.

When we returned to our home in Israel, I couldn’t stop thinking about Bulgaria. I wanted to share my experiences with others, especially those who know nothing about the country. I began writing travel articles about Bulgaria, encouraging people to visit and see how wonderful a place it is.

I also began featuring Bulgaria in my fiction. My first novel, Valley of Thracians (published in 2013), was set entirely in Bulgaria. It was warmly received by many as an introduction to Bulgaria.

My new novel, The Bulgaria Affair, is my second work of fiction to take place in Bulgaria, as well as being set in Israel, my home. My experiences in Bulgaria, and my desire to share them with others, inspired me to write my novels. I hope readers will share my enthusiasm for the country.

Ellis Shuman
Authors bio:
Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. His collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz, was originally published in 2003. His novel Valley of Thracians was published in 2013. Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem.

Authors Links:
Ellis Shuman Writes: http://ellisshuman.blogspot.com
Ellis Shuman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellisshumanauthor
Ellis Shuman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellisshuman
Ellis Shuman on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1529444.Ellis_Shuman

**The Burgas Affair has been released on 30th October 2017**


#BlogTour #GuestPost Snare by @lilja1972 Lilja Sigurdardottir @OrendaBooks

SNARE new front cover
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Translated by Quentin Bates

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja is struggling to provide for herself and win sole custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated by the fact that Sonja is in a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a nail-bitingly fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.


Good people, bad people or just people?

Lilja Sigurdardóttir

I am not a great believer in evil. In my mind, evil is more a consequence than a cause, as behind so many crimes, when traced back to their roots, there most often is a tragedy of some sort, rather than a decided will to do harm. It´s the result, the consequences for the people victimised by the crimes, that is the true evil.

I spent some time in prison researching for The Reykjavík Noir Trilogy that starts with Snare and came to the conclusion that a majority of crimes are committed by good people. Good people that have made mistakes, been ill, addicted or lost their ground in life by some cause, been ignorant to or in denial about the harm they cause, but are in their essence well-meaning.

The Nordic view on crime and punishment is quite mild and Iceland shares that system where imprisonment is seen as a last resort, only used when people have committed serious crimes. I am probably under the influence of this mild Nordic view on crime, which I do understand is a privileged view of societies that don´t have so much crime.

True to this view of mine I usually don´t write black-and-white characters. In Snare, they are not neither good nor bad, but rather a mixture of both. Even the enemies, the scary ones, have something good in them and the nicest characters that the readers root for, are maybe the criminals.

One of the main characters in the book, Sonja, is a rather well-off young mother and wife when her world collapses, partly because of her own actions, and partly due to greater forces. When divorced, she struggles to make ends meet so that she can regain custody of her son and after falling for an offer to make quick money, she is ensnared in a vicious cycle of drug smuggling. As a reader you condemn what she does and know she is committing criminal acts, but you can´t help but root for her because the reason that she does what she does is her love of her son. You can see the tragedy of her life.

Agla the banker, another character in Snare, is absolutely blind to the consequences of her crimes. She uses reasoning that has been heard very often in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial meltdown: “Everybody was doing it.“ Agla is a woman who has had to fight her way all through life, being the only girl in a big group of siblings and then entering the male-dominated world of finance. So her impulse to do as the others and prove herself to be even better at it, becomes understandable in a way, even though you know its wrong.

Bragi, the customs official who is hunting Sonja down in a game of cat and mouse, is living a tragedy every day, as his wife suffers from Alzheimers´ and is slowly disaapearing before his eyes. Bragi has recently realised that despite living in a welfare society that has solutions and offers for taking care of the elderly and ill, he is completely alone in his heartbreak. And that pushes him to behave in unexpected ways.

Even the little boy Tómas, commits a “crime“ of sorts when he lies to his father about his mother´s situation. An eight-year-old knows that it is not good to lie but he does it in an attempt to help his mother out and in his young mind he is justified by his love for her, and therefore does not feel guilty even if he knows lying is wrong.

I love writing multi-layered, complex characters that dance on the sometimes fine line between right and wrong. Somehow those types of characters connect to you in a deeper way as a reader. Probably we connect with them because none of us is 100 percent good or evil. We are all a curious mix of both, esentially well meaning people that sometimes do bad things.

Lilja Sigurðard.
Lilja Sigurdardottir
Author bio:
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Authors links:
Twitter: @lilja1972
Website: liljawriter.com
Via Orenda Books:  http://orendabooks.co.uk/lilja-sigurdardottir/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sigurdardottir.lilja


#BlogTour #IKnowWhereSheIs by @SB_Caves #GuestPost #TheStartOfAMystery @canelo_co

I Know Where She Is Blog Tour Graphic (6)
I Know Where She Is by S.B Caves

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?


The Start of a Mystery – S.B. Caves

The genesis of the novel started as a single, simple scene, which came to me as I was daydreaming on my walk home from work. An image jumped in my mind of a woman noticing that a letter had been pushed through her letterbox late one night. That’s all I had to begin with, but as I considered it some more, muttering to myself as I walked down the road, I came up with the opening line:

Francine didn’t notice the letter until she was on her way to the kitchen for another glass of vodka.

That opening line felt good to me, and by that evening, I’d hammered out the first 2,000 words of I Know Where She Is. All I knew about the story was that Francine’s daughter had been kidnapped about ten years before, and as far as that letter went, she might still be alive out there somewhere. I thought it was spooky and contained enough mystery to keep me wanting to write it. My logic was that if I didn’t know where I was going with it, then a reader might not either, and that way it could still retain a sense of unpredictability.

I worked obsessively on the story every night for about five months. I was worried that if I didn’t chip away at it consistently, that I’d start to lose the momentum and my enthusiasm would wane. As a result, I think there is a frantic feel to the novel, which sort of reflects the aggressiveness in which it was written.

There are portions of the book that many people will find difficult to stomach, and believe me, they weren’t very pleasant to write either. I struggled through some passages with a strange conflict of conscience, wondering if the novel was too distressing, but knowing that it was a necessary element of the story I was trying to tell. Of course, I wanted the reader to be hooked by the story, but at the same time I didn’t want them to stop reading in disgust. The one thing that really propelled me through those vulgar scenes was the knowledge that it would make the reader root for the main character even more: you want Francine to find the people who have wronged her, and you want her to get revenge.

I Know Where She Is started as a mystery, became a psychological thriller, which kind of morphed into a revenge/action thriller, and by the end, it’s something else entirely. Now, long after the manuscript has been written and edited, I still think about Francine, a woman I concocted in my imagination on a walk home, and who I spent every night over the next five months getting to know.

I hope she’s alright, wherever she is.