Tag Archives: crooked cat

New Release: ‘What the Clocks Know’ by Rumer Haven

Released March 18, 2016WhattheClocksKnow

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Crooked Cat Publishing

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Summary:

Twenty-six-year-old Margot sets out on a journey of self-discovery – she dumps her New York boyfriend, quits her Chicago job, and crashes at her friend’s flat in London.

Rather than find herself, though, she only feels more lost. An unsettling energy affects her from the moment she enters the old Victorian residence, and she spirals into depression. Frightened and questioning her perceptions, she gradually suspects her dark emotions belong to Charlotte instead.

Who is Charlotte? The name on a local gravestone could relate to Margot’s dreams and the grey woman weeping at the window.

Finding a ghost isn’t what she had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow Margot’s future may depend on Charlotte’s past.

Woven between 21st century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity.

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** Add it! **

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29368003-what-the-clocks-know

** Read it! **

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/21DZoCw

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/1QsiFfr

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1Qsj1Tr

iBooks – http://apple.co/1QsjaWS

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1QsiQre

Smashwords – http://bit.ly/1Qsj69I

 

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Author Bio:

Rumer HavenRumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.

Learn more about Rumer at:

Website – http://www.rumerhaven.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/rumerhaven

Twitter – @RumerHaven

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Angela Wren – Messandrierre

Angela WrenI’d like to welcome author Angela Wren to my blog. She’s going to tell us more about her writing and why she loves France as the setting to many of her books, particularly her well-received crime novel, Messandrierre.

Having spent most of my life to date travelling and spending time in France I’m now at a point where I find myself re-visiting old haunts or exploring places I’ve just driven through in the past.  But one thing that never changes is the camping experience.  There is always something to laugh about, cry about or be shocked by.  And most of these experiences – and yes they are all mine – are the starting points for my James et Moi stories which feature every other week on my blog.  Next month I’m starting a series of stories that are all based on things found in showers.  And that’s got you thinking already hasn’t?  Later in the year there will be a whole series of stories dedicated to my abject and total failure to handle things electrical or mechanical.  Naturally, it has taken me a lifetime of study to perfect this.  I mention this so that you will understand that in writing my James et Moi stories I am speaking not just from personal experience but also with the gravitas that comes with lengthy and detailed research!

AngelaWShort pieces of comic and amusing fiction are one thing, but my time in France has also provided me with a wealth of material for much longer works.  Couple that with a scrap of an understanding for putting words together and I found I had my first novel in a series of four even though I only set out to write one.  And that story is Messandrierre, set in the Cévennes – a rugged and sometimes wild area that’s sparsely populated and covered with vast forests – and featuring Jacques Forêt.  When I thought about my setting, a rural village nestled in the shadow of Monts Aigoual and Goulet; I knew the story had to be a murder mystery.  Using a real village that I know very well as my model, I took some time to completely people it with characters – well you never know when you might need someone to be a killer or a victim!  Then I moved the chateau, added a tiny gendarmerie, felled a few trees that obscured the view from my heroine’s hunting chalet and then began the serious task of putting the words on paper.

I hope you will enjoy my story if you decide to read it.  You can find it by following the links below :

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Website : www.angelawren.co.uk

Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

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Ailsa Abraham’s Alchemy

Reduced for one week only from 19.02.2016

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What would you give for a world free of war, dependence on fossil fuels, pollution and terrorism?  That is the premise for the Alchemy series

An accidental discovery solving the problem of fossil fuel brings this Utopian vision closer but at what cost? Could there be unforeseen consequences and how dire would they be? Who could fight demons if all established religion had been abolished?

Put aside demons and add two people more doomed than Romeo and Juliet who are forced to fight alongside each other. Mix in some very energetic Goths and an undercover Christian Granny for an explosive result as  the stories move at breakneck speed into the near-future blending magical realism with pizza, ritual with slang, deepest hatred with impossible love, shape-shifting with public transport.

Book 1 Alchemy

Book 2 Shaman’s Drum

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FIVE GUNS BLAZING: a rip-roaring page-turner

Click here to purchase
Click here to purchase

Five Guns Blazing by Emma Rose Millar is an unforgettable historical adventure whose main character gets caught up in poverty, crime, slavery and piracy. It was justly awarded first place in the Legend category at the Chaucer Awards.

What the reviewers are saying:

“Hoist sail without delay and get your copy of Five Guns Blazing today, as it launches to the wide world. You’ll not regret it!”

“Disconnect your phone. Don’t answer your door. This book, a pot or two of coffee, and a comfortable chair, and you’re set for the day with this rollicking, seat-edged adventure.”

“You won’t want to put it down.”

“A gripping account … well researched and written with great sensitivity.”

“A dark, compelling tale, which captures the imagination, wonderfully written, rich, treacherous and jaw-dropping.”

“Rich in historical detail and vibrant characters the story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages.”

“A fast paced, rip-roaring adventure from the filthy backstreets of London to the pirate seas, which kept me guessing right until the very end.”

“What a fabulous book; had me completely hooked from the beginning. Would recommend without reservation.”

“This is a real page turner with a central character you will connect with from the very start.”

“Kept me up several nights to continue reading and pulled me into the story right from page one.”

Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Author’s website: https://emmarosemillar.wordpress.com/

 

Emma Rose Millar

Publisher’s Website: https://crookedcatbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/new-release-five-guns-blazing-by-emma-rose-millar-kevin-allen/

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EVE by SHANI STRUTHERS

Shani PicI’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers back to my blog today.
Shani writes fantastically readable supernatural mysteries. Her brand new novel EVE: A CHRISTMAS STORY  is a stand-alone prequel to her Psychic Surveys series that begins with The Haunting of Highdown Hall. I also recommend her novel, Jessamine, a powerful romantic and supernatural tale.

 

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launches on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.

In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…

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Blurb

What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…

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Excerpt

As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone – something – was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide’s house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her.

Theo’s eyes widened. “Oh darling, darling,” she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide’s ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she?

She inched closer still. “Darling, your name, tell me what it is.”

The little girl’s arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.

“It’s short for Theodora. I bet you’re called something pretty.”

The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material – linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too – lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she’d stepped out of an old photograph.

“I’m here now, sweetheart, I’ve come to help. You’ve been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile.”

Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.

“Let me help you,” Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully.

She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.

Harriet – the name presented itself whole in her mind.

“Your name’s Harriet. Is that correct? It’s lovely, it suits you.”

Was that a smile on the child’s lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she’d be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?

“Darling, I’m here,” she repeated, no more than a foot between them. “I’m here.”

Joy surged – one spirit had come forward – it was an encouraging start.

Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour – fetid almost – rose up, making her feel nauseous.

“Don’t be afraid,” Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word – terror.

“I’m not here to harm you,” she continued. “I’m here to help.”

As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them – disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.

“No!” Theo shouted. “Stop it. Leave her alone!”

But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She’d been torn away, recaptured; the one who’d dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she’d piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl’s eyes – her sweet, brown, trusting eyes – when the expression changed in them they hadn’t been looking at her, they’d been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn’t be certain. She wasn’t certain either if that ‘thing’ was a spirit or much less than that – something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.

 Eve

UK http://tinyurl.com/nmnajss

US http://tinyurl.com/pe5f6db

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Author Bio

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.

Catch up with Shani via her website http://www.shanistruthers.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

Eve 5

FIVE GUNS BLAZING: an extract

I’m delighted to post an extract from the beginning of Emma Rose Millar’s FIVE GUNS BLAZING. It’s a thrilling adventure that includes pirates, slavery, crime and love (but not particularly in that order).

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“You have been brought before me again, Mrs Beedham!” The magistrate looked at my mother over his spectacles. She must have considered him an idiot if she thought that a flash of her ample cleavage and of her fine eyes would win her any favour. He took the monocle from his breast pocket.

“Theft of a handkerchief, soliciting, affray, the attempted theft of a lady’s purse.”

Her lips twisted at the corner into a little smile, which she quickly straightened, but she looked almost pleased with herself as the charges were read out. I could picture her clear as day, proudly emptying her stolen trinkets out onto our mattress, all shiny and gleaming in the dipping glow of the rush-lights, as a child might present a parent with a painting or piece of needlework. My mother’s eye was as keen as a magpie’s for anything sparkly; she could pick out at ease the glint of a cufflink or a hairpin in the dullest of crowds and would glide her way after it, completely unseen. Later, she would stand back to admire the baubles and bits of finery with her hands on her hips and a look of satisfaction in her eyes, then quickly her face would fall as if she had suddenly noticed they were tarnished or broken and she would snatch them back and wrap them away in her cloth.

Hers was the first case of the day; the beak had seen her at least three times before. Needless to say, my mother was well acquainted with the good magistrates of Holborn; such was her fondness for relieving wealthy ladies and gentlemen of their belongings; handkerchiefs, pocket watches and so on. The magistrate thumbed through a pile of papers on his desk, a history of her sordid misdemeanours, seemingly oblivious to the swelling underclass packing his courtroom, with their poor diction and their sticky fingers. The public gallery was full of them: undesirables and reprobates, sweating, scratching. There were women employed at their needlework, old men dozing, and a girl with some younger children who spread a muslin cloth upon her lap, then proceeded to break up a meat pie and divide it between them. And of course there was me, Laetitia Beedham, the accused’s daughter who had weaved my way through the tangle of legs and crouched behind a man who I imagined might have been a farmer, or gamekeeper. He stood solidly in front of me, cleaning the dirt from underneath his fingernails with a blade.

“Oh, don’t hang me, sir, I beg of you!”

The court seemed suddenly excited by her outburst. It was all entertainment to them; the law after all is only theatre; it did not matter much if one was hanged or not, it was all part of the drama.

“I only did it for my daughter, who was sick and in need of medicine. My husband’s dead, sir, what is a woman to do?”

I felt a blush burning from my collarbone to my temples, and someone laughed and shouted, “She’s a liar, sir! The girl is the bastard child of two thieves!”

There were gasps and then the magistrate, with his grey brows knitted together and an air of concern upon his countenance, asked, “Where is she now?”

My mother caught my eye for the briefest of moments. “I don’t know,” she sighed, dabbing her cheek with a cotton handkerchief. “We’re all alone and friendless in the world. She’s begging, most probably, on the streets of Holborn, unless someone’s cruelly snatched her and is taking advantage of her as we speak.” She fell into sobs and covered her face though still managing to peep through her fingers at the exasperated gentleman. “I can’t bear to think of what callousness may have befallen her now she has not the protection of her mother! London’s nothing more than a cess pit, simmering with the most ruthless, the most merciless…the…the…”

“See that the girl is rounded up,” said the magistrate to the constable, who quickly jumped to attention, “and repair them to the Florence Street Workhouse so that they might be fed and clothed and instructed in the ways of Christian honesty.” His words hit me like a fist in my chest and I began forging a path back through the jostling crowd, whose whoops and cries had me quite disorientated.

The whole building resonated with a tremendous holler: “Stop that girl!” Then another, and another until the echoes melded together and swelled out in riotous harmony. “A shilling to the man who takes her!”

A woman snatched at my dress. “Come here, you little wretch,” but I wriggled free from her, seeing the door before me and the yellow light from the world outside. Then just as I thought I could make a dash for it, the constable swiped his stick against the back of my knees, taking my legs right from under me. A loud “huzzah” went up from the crowd and I lay on the floor with my cheek pressed against the constable’s boot. “Vipers,” my mother called them. She would have more respect for them had they been paid; everybody had to earn a living, after all. These men did it for the love of it; they were dazzled by the power they had over others, that was all she could think.

“It is clear that you do not have the means to provide for yourself, madam,” the magistrate continued. He banged his hammer against the gavel, and a stout looking man wearing a waistcoat pulled me roughly to my feet. “You will regard this as a kindness, Mrs Beedham, in years to come; do not let me see you here again. I shall not be so lenient next time.”

To find out what happens to Laetitia and Mrs Beedham click on the cover image above or click here.

Alternatively – go to Smashwords

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Tim Taylor’s ‘Revolution Day’

Tim (T. E.) Taylor has a brilliant new novel out called Revolution Day. I’ve invited him here to tell you all about it, and he’s brought an extract too. His first novel, Zeus of Ithome, is a historical novel set in ancient Greece. This one has a different setting, but contains the intelligent, perceptive content and political intrigue that we’ve come to expect from Tim…

TT picHello, Jeff! Thank you for inviting me onto your blog to talk about my novel, Revolution Day, published on 30 June by Crooked Cat.

Revolution Day, my second novel, follows a year in the life of Latin American dictator, Carlos Almanzor. Now in his seventies, Carlos is feeling his age and seeing enemies around every corner. And with good reason: his Vice-President, Manuel Jimenez, though outwardly loyal, is burning with frustration at his subordinate position.

Carlos’ estranged and imprisoned wife Juanita is writing a memoir in which she recalls the revolution that brought him to power and how, once a liberal idealist, he changed over time into an autocrat and embraced repression as the means of sustaining his position.

When Manuel’s attempts to increase his profile are met with humiliating rejection, he resolves to take action. Angel, the commander of the Army, is loyal to Carlos, so Manuel must find a way to drive a wedge between them, using the resources at his disposal as Minister of Information.  As he makes his move, Juanita and others will find themselves unwittingly drawn into his plans.

In this excerpt, at a meeting of the Revolutionary Council, Manuel first plants in Carlos’ mind the idea that there is a US-backed conspiracy to overthrow him:

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Extract

The meeting had dragged on for two hours, and the air was now unpleasantly thick with cigar smoke. The attention of Angel in particular had begun to wander some time ago, and he had started to concentrate more on the brandy than upon the Agenda. The President himself from time to time appeared to be on the verge of falling asleep. Only Manuel, with surprising stamina, was continuing to talk at any length, though it was difficult to discern anything of great import in what he said. The eyelids of the President wavered, and then closed altogether for a few seconds. Then his whole body jerked, and the eyes were wide open once again. Suddenly alert, he glared at Manuel, the loose flesh of his face composing itself into a frown.

“What is there in all this that the Council needs to decide upon? I already know that the Americans do not like me. Could you not have got someone to put this in a written brief, if it needed to be said at all? I am going to close this meeting unless you have something more important to say.”

If Manuel was upset by this dismissive treatment, his face did not show it. Patiently, he took a deep breath and began again.

“I am sorry if what I have been saying is, in itself, less than enthralling. But it was necessary background to put in context what I am about to say.”

“And what, pray, is that?”

“To put it simply, we have some evidence to suggest that the Americans are backing a plot to destabilise this government.” As Manuel looked around the table, eyes that previously had been staring into the middle distance were now focused sharply upon him. A little smile played upon his lips. “There is nothing concrete yet, but encrypted signals traffic to and from the US Embassy has doubled in the last three months, and several of the known pro-democracy activists we have under surveillance have been showing increased mobility, suggesting that they are up to something. As I have said, there is nothing conclusive here. Nevertheless, the signs are suggestive, and consistent with what we have seen in the prelude to other attempts at subversion in the past. The wider picture I have been describing, concerning what is being said about this country – and about you, Carlos – in the United States and elsewhere is also consistent with that hypothesis. So my people are monitoring developments carefully and are under instructions to obtain harder evidence that I can bring to a future meeting. Unless, of course…” He paused, and threw the President a smug little grin “…the matter is not considered of sufficient importance to put before this Council.”

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Purchase Links

If your readers are intrigued, they can find out more on my website and Facebook author page.  Thanks again for hosting me, Jeff!

Links:  Facebook launch event for Revolution Day:  https://www.facebook.com/events/770280243092134/

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/timtaylornovels

Website:  http://www.tetaylor.co.uk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/timetaylor1

Crooked Cat Author page:   http://crookedcatpublishing.com/item/tim-e-taylor/

Revolution Day on Amazon.co.uk:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Revolution-Day-T-E-Taylor-ebook/dp/B0106GALR4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435449288&sr=1-1&keywords=Revolution+Day

on Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Day-T-E-Taylor-ebook/dp/B0106GALR4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435512473&sr=1-1&keywords=Revolution+Day&pebp=1435512460458&perid=1CCVM4BE2J6WKH55WM9Y

 

Author BioTT pic

Tim Taylor was born in 1960 in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. He grew up just outside the city in Brown Edge, then at the age of 11 moved to Longsdon, near Leek.  Tim went to Newcastle-under-Lyme High School, then studied Classics at Pembroke College, Oxford. After graduating he moved to London and spent a couple of years playing guitar in a rock band. When it became clear that he was never going to be a rock star, he sadly knuckled down and joined the Civil Service, where he did a wide range of jobs before leaving in 2011 to spend more time writing.  While still in the Civil Service Tim studied part time for a PhD in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, achieving it in 2007.

Tim married Rosa Vella in 1994 and their daughter Helen was born in 1997. In 2001 they moved to Meltham, near Huddersfield, and have lived there ever since. Tim now divides his time between creative writing, academic research and part-time teaching and other work for Leeds and Huddersfield Universities.

Tim’s first novel, Zeus of Ithome (a finalist in the Chaucer Awards for historical fiction), was published by Crooked Cat in November 2013; his second, Revolution Day in June 2015.  He has also published a non-fiction book, Knowing What is Good For You (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), on the philosophy of well-being. As well as novels, Tim writes poetry and the occasional short story.  He also plays electric and acoustic guitar and a little piano, and likes to walk up hills.

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SARAH LOUISE SMITH TELLS US ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT ELLEN’

 

I’m thrilled to host Sarah Louise Smith on my blog once again, to spotlight her fabulous new romantic novel, The Truth About Ellen. Imagine you had the chance of a romantic encounter with an adolescent crush… then read on. Here is an extract from this brand new book with purchase links and more info about Sarah below. 

Ellen

Extract from The Truth About Ellen by Sarah Louise Smith:

Ellen is staying at hotel when she spots a member of a band she was a huge fan of in her teen years…

Was that who I thought it was?

He looked older, for sure. But then it’d been ten years since I’d seen his face. No. It was him, I was sure of it. I stared at the back of his head, willing him to turn again, but he didn’t. So I did the only thing I could; I dropped my book again. With a bit more height and force this time.

He looked around, this time with a confused, quizzical look. It was! It was him!

I lifted my book and rolled my eyes, shaking my head slightly to show what an imbecile I was for dropping my book twice in the space of a few minutes.

Then, Tom Green – yes, the Tom Green, who wrote the lyrics and played the bass in Four Ape; Tom Green, the one I’d fancied least but respected the most – got up off his blanket and came over to me.

He looked older, but not in a bad way. Time had filled him out; he’d gone from skinny and lanky to broad and sexy. His dark hair was much shorter and neater than when I’d last seen him on TV with just a couple of silver flecks above his ears. His eyes were the same; grey-blue. He was wearing a checked blue and white shirt, the sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows and slim fitting jeans. Holy crap, he’d turned out good. He held up his paperback.

“We’re reading the same book,” he said simply, a small smile forming on his lovely, lovely face.

“Oh wow, so we are,” I said, holding mine up for him to see, as if he hadn’t already. Why hadn’t I put any make-up on this morning?

“Are you enjoying it?” he asked me.

“Well, I’ve only read a few pages.”

“I’m about a quarter of the way through. It really gets interesting after chapter four.”

I nodded. “Good to know, thank you.”

“Mind if I join you?”

“Sure.”

He smiled and dropped his blanket on the floor, then sat beside me on the bench, immediately opening his book and continuing his reading. Was he staying at this hotel? He must be! What were the chances? I mean, I know I’d met a Four Ape member before, but really, I had to be the luckiest fan in the world. I felt the familiar moistness developing on my hands. Now was not the time to get nervous and sweaty. I tried to take a subtle deep breath.

Oh. My. God. This was amazing. I told the 13 year old inside me to shut up and calm down before I strangled her. I opened up my book but didn’t read one word. I kept stealing sideways glances at Tom. Tom Green.

Sitting on the same bench as me. Of all the benches in the world … and of all the books… Now that he was closer, I realised I was right about him being better looking now than he was back then; he was never ugly, but just kind of ordinary looking. Now, he had a fuller, handsomer face and muscular arms. His dark hair was trimmed at the sides but a little longer on top, and he had a thin layer of stubble, which suited him. And he smelled amazing. I stared at my book and tried to read the sentence I’d been on before he’d come over.

“It’s beautiful here, isn’t it?” he asked me. I looked up from my book and at his lovely, lovely eyes.

“Wonderful.”

“Did you arrive today?”

“About an hour ago. You?”

“I’ve been here three weeks.”

“Oh wow.”

“Yeah, I just came for a few days initially, but I loved it, so I stayed.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“How lovely.”

“Are you here alone?”

“Yes. You?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, it’s a lovely place to take a break.”

I nodded, unsure what to say next. I tried to subtly wipe my hands on my jeans. I really had to chill. I could not mess this up; I could not say anything that would make him stop talking to me.

“Where are you from?” I asked, searching my bank of small talk questions for the next one.

“London. Well, I’m from London. I’ve also got a house in the south of France, and spend a lot of time there too.”

“Ah, nice.”

“Sorry, what a pretentious wanker that makes me sound!” He laughed. “I don’t mean to sound so conceited.”

I laughed. “Not at all.”

“Where are you from?”

“Milton Keynes.”

“Ah, I’ve been there. Lots of roundabouts.”

I know you’ve been there, I wanted to tell him. I was one of the fifty or so girls screaming as you walked in and out of the radio station for an interview, back in 1998…..

Ellen

The Truth About Ellen

It’s every girl’s dream to date a pop star…

When Ellen starts dating Tom, a member of the band she adored as a teenager, she can’t believe how lucky she is.

She neglects to mention that she’s a huge fan because that just wouldn’t be cool, would it?

Ellen also keeps quiet about how she once spent an evening with Tom’s ex-bandmate/ex-best friend Jasper, her long-term celebrity crush. Tom doesn’t need to know about that, it’s all in the past.

That is until Tom and Jasper get back in touch… and the truth threatens to ruin everything Ellen has ever dreamed of…

 

The Truth About Ellen is available to buy from:

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-About-Ellen-Sarah-Louise-ebook/dp/B00WPHVF9Q/

 Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Ellen-Sarah-Louise-ebook/dp/B00WPHVF9Q/

 

About Sarah Louise Smith

Sarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, England with her husband, step-daughter, loopy golden retriever and cheeky tortie cat.

Sarah has been writing stories since she can remember and has so far completed four chick-lit novels, all published by Crooked Cat:

SarahL-S

Amy & Zach

Izzy’s Cold Feet

Independent Jenny

The Truth About Ellen

 

Connect with Sarah:

www.sarahlouisesmith.com

Twitter @sarahsmith16

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sarahlouisesmithauthor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yvonne Marjot – Life on Mull

Yvonne Marjot is the author of The Calgary Chessman, an archaeological mystery published by Crooked Cat. It tells the story of Cas Longmore and the discovery she makes at Calgary Bay, on the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. Its sequel, The Book of Lismore, will be published in 2015.

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These days I live in Tobermory, the largest town on the Isle of Mull, with around 800 souls, but when I first moved to Mull I lived in an isolated house near the village of Dervaig, in a situation not too different from that of Cas, the main character in The Calgary Chessman. So today I’m going to tell you about island life, as it was for me back then.

The island is very beautiful. It’s not as famous as Skye, holy as Iona, or striking as Jura, and we can’t compete with Islay because we only have one whisky distillery. But in many ways, Mull is a microcosm of the all the islands of the Inner Hebrides, with high mountains and broad upland moors, pretty beaches and rocky outlooks, tiny island outliers, and everywhere the untamed wildness of the sea. The place where I lived was very beautiful – a single-storey house on the edge of a babbling brook, with views towards the loch and forested hills behind. I was delighted, the first time that I did the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, to be able to list grey heron and buzzard as birds that came to my garden.

Being an island, Mull’s weather is pretty equable, although it can be wetter than the mainland. However, the day we arrived, on a grim November afternoon, the sky was spitting lumps of sleet and you could hardly see a hand in front of your face. Within a month of moving in, a massive Atlantic low coincided with the full moon and we found ourselves cut off from the village by flooding across the road. Our pretty stream had turned to a raging torrent (the classic Scottish ‘spate’ river) and within hours burst its banks. It came within two centimetres of flooding the house. The next day we woke to find the waters had receded, like a drunk’s nightmare, leaving only the hangover of debris and a ruined garden behind.

I made some good friends in and around Dervaig, but I didn’t see them every day. One woman warned me, ‘you have to like your own company if you want to survive the winters here.’ I soon found out what she meant. Each morning my husband would head off in the car, leaving me at home with a toddler and a baby. The road past our front gate wasn’t busy, by mainland standards, but there was no footpath and the verges were boggy and dangerous. There was a single bus service, into Tobermory in the morning and back late in the afternoon, too long a day to spend in town with very young children. I soon found myself becoming more and more isolated.

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On the rare occasions when I had transport, I would bundle the boys into their waterproofs, whatever the weather, and headed for my favourite place: the curve of white sand and turquoise water that is Calgary Bay. Calgary is a lovely place –green hummocks of machair edging a white shell-sand beach shelving gently into a broad, sheltered bay with views out to the west. In calm weather it looks like a tropical paradise – although dipping a toe into the water at any time of year will soon put you right. I’ve swum there, but you have to be hardy to take that first plunge! In the full force of a winter storm, it’s wild and crazy and wonderful. Best of all, two small boys who have been shut up at home for too long can run, and jump and shout to their hearts’ content.

I would huddle in the shelter of the machair, sipping coffee or soup from a flask, or rubbing my hands over a tiny campfire, while the boys raced the length of the beach and back again, yelling at me, the sky, each other, or rushing up to show me what they’d found. Machair is a unique product of the west coast of Scotland – a thin layer of grass, herbs and flowers holding together the surface of dunes and levels made up of wind-blown shell sand. It’s both lovely and fragile, and wonderful examples of it may be found on the outer islands, but Calgary Bay is a small and precious example. The wind and high spring tides undercut its edges, gradually nibbling away at it. I worried that I’d found this beautiful place only to watch it disappear before my eyes.

A few months after moving in, I watched a TV program about the British Museum’s greatest treasures. That night I had a nightmare that I was running along the sand at Calgary Bay, pursued by something faceless. I looked down and saw an object lying at my feet. It was one of the Lewis Chessman, featured on the program the night before. That dream gave me the germ of an idea, which eventually became The Calgary Chessman.

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If you like the sound of The Calgary Chessman, you can read a sample of the book here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Calgary-Chessman-Yvonne-Marjot-ebook/dp/B00MLBQ6SG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428056921&sr=8-1&keywords=the+calgary+chessman

or here:

http://www.amazon.com/Calgary-Chessman-Yvonne-Marjot-ebook/dp/B00MLBQ6SG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1428056840

The Book of Lismore, published July 2015, will tell you more about the town of Tobermory, on the north-eastern tip of Mull – and about another beautiful Hebridean island, the Isle of Lismore.

You can follow the progress of these books, and my poetry writing, on facebook by joining The Calgary Chessman group (https://www.facebook.com/TheCalgaryChessman)or liking The Calgary Chessman page, on twitter @Alayanabeth; or follow my blog, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, at http://yvonnemarjot.wordpress.com .

Yvonne Marjot was born in England, grew up in New Zealand, and now lives on an island off the West Coast of Scotland. She has a Masters in Botany from Victoria University of Wellington, and a keen interest in the interface between the natural and human worlds. She has always made up stories and poems, and once won a case of port in a poetry competition (New Zealand Listener, May 1996). In 2012 she won the Britwriters Award for poetry, and her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, was published in 2014 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her archaeological romances The Calgary Chessman and The Book of Lismore are published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

She has worked in schools, libraries and university labs, has been a pre-school crèche worker and a farm labourer, cleaned penthouse apartments and worked as amanuensis to an eminent Botanist. She currently has a day job (in the local school) and teenage children, and would continue to write even if no-one read her work, because it’s the only thing that keeps her sane. In her spare time she climbs hills, looks for rare moths and promises herself to do more in the garden.

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Nancy Jardine: A Twist in the Tale


Celtic fervourToday’s special guest is my good friend Nancy Jardine. She is author of a number of wonderful books: contemporary mystery, Topaz Eyes; the historical Celtic Fervour series that begins with Beltane Choice. And now her latest release from Crooked Cat is the delightfully titled Monogamy Twist. I’ll hand over now to Nancy who will tell you more about the novel, and she’s also kindly provided a free extract. Buy links are below – or you can click on the cover photo…

 
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Hello Jeff,

I’m very pleased to be invited back to your blog to tell your readers about my latest re-release from Crooked Cat publishing—Monogamy Twist . A new version of my fun romantic mystery was published on the 27th March 2015 and at £2.99 for a full length novel, it’s a great buy.

Monogamy Twist, a light-hearted contemporary romantic mystery. The fabulous quirky new cover, designed by Laurence Patterson of Crooked Cat, reveals a grand house at the centre of the story which is a really excellent image since the plot is based around a Dickensian theme. Luke Salieri finds he’s been bequeathed a dilapidated mansion in Yorkshire…but he can only fully inherit after some weird and antiquated stipulations are fulfilled! He’s never met his benefactress; hasn’t even heard of her but Luke’s never one to back down from a challenge. He needs expert help, though, to find out why Amelia Greywood chose him and Rhia Ashton seems ideal. Rhia, a historian and family tree researcher, initially appears to be perfect but it turns out that she has her own ideas of what will make Luke’s strange request worthwhile. Compromise is the name of the game for Luke…and for Rhia as they unravel the mystery of the archaic bequest.

It’s probably no surprise that the plot for the novel came about as a combination of my watching the current BBC TV Charles Dickens serial of late 2010  while I was also attempting my first forays at researching my own ancestral background. I found a decidedly black sheep in one of my great-grandfathers: Rhia finds a good few family surprises for Luke in Monogamy Twist! Rhia and Luke were lovely characters to invent but some readers have told me that they love Thor, the Irish wolfhound, even more!


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Blurb for Monogamy Twist:

When Luke Salieri inherits a dilapidated English estate from a woman he’s never heard of— with quirky conditions attached—it’s a mystery he wants to see resolved immediately. But there’s a catch: he needs a woman to meet his needs, though just how far will he have to go to persuade her?

The job of researching Greywood Hall and its fantastic contents is enticing, but can Rhia Ashton see herself living with gorgeous Luke Salieri for a whole year and then walk away? Rhia has her own ideas about what will make it worth her while.

But neither expect love to enter the game.

 

About Nancy:

ccnancyjardineNancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She currently shares a home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, 3 year old granddaughter and 1 year old grandson. It’ll continue to be a busy household till late summer of 2015 when the new build home will be completed for the young ‘uns on what was Nancy’s former back garden. The loss of that part of the garden won’t be missed since there should now be more writing time available this spring and summer! Childminding is intermittent over the day and any writing time is precious. (If interested in how a new house is built these days, follow my blog posts named ‘Gonna build a house’ )

All matters historical are a passion; Ancestry research a lovely time-suck. Nancy regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebooking is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds! Any time left in a day is for leisure reading and the occasional historical series on TV.

Author links:

http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

http://nancyjardineauthor.com/

Twitter @nansjar

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG

 

Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:

US http://amzn.to/RJZzZz

UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nancy-Jardine/e/B005IDBIYG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Novels also available from Barnes and Noble; W.H. Smith; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; TESCO Blinkboxbooks; and various other places.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my news with your readers!

MonogamyTwistNancyJardine x360

Extract from Monogamy Twist:

“Why hadn’t you phoned ahead?”

“Good question.” Luke laughed at himself. “Perhaps the fact that I left London at three in the morning had something to do with that?”

Rhia’s sudden gleeful grin slayed him because she was now finding his predicament funny. Strange woman. He ploughed on, even more determined to get her on board his ludicrous venture.

“Anyway, I’m not known to be idle. I came to Greywood Hall to take a look around. I thought that even if I couldn’t get into the house, I’d be able to see the grounds.” The rocking chair played a steady thump on the wooden floor.

“But the main gates were locked when I first passed with Thor.”

“Sure, the main gates were. I tried them first, though I didn’t have cutters in my car, or anything to force the padlock, or break the chain with. It was the police who cut them open when they came to arrest me, Miss Ashton.”

He waited though she ignored his little jibe. She eventually responded after a long tense silence.

“So how did you get in?”

Luke wondered how Rhia regularly got in as he answered. “I found a back entrance to the stable block on the far side of the property, also padlocked of course. I left my car on the verge and nipped over the wall. From there, as you know already, I entered the house via that pantry window. It had a faulty catch that I was able to manipulate.” His smile was tight. “And the rest is history – except not quite.”

“I don’t understand why you were checking all the windows if you’d already broken into one. Your movements were pretty sneaky.”

Her questioning was measured and purposeful. Needed the fine details tuned, did she? Well, he guessed she deserved to know since he needed her to help him one hundred per cent.

“It’s my job,” he answered, perusing the photographs hanging in a montage on her wall.

“What? But you said you weren’t…”

“A burglar? Of course, I’m not.” Encouraged by her naive responses sardonic laughter spilled forth. “I’m a Chartered Surveyor. My current focus in the UK is renovation of old properties.”

“So you were checking all the windows as a professional?” That rosy little blush stained her cheeks, though he contrarily wished it hadn’t. “I’m sorry about that.”

Brushing off her apology with a terse wave of his hand, Luke enjoyed telling her more of his farcical story, though she had a cute little way of squirming up her nose when she was working something out, which distracted him from the main purpose.

“What did you mean ‘and that’s history, but not quite’?”

“My being willed the Hall isn’t as straightforward as it seems. That’s where you can help me.”

He had a gut feeling she was going to be perfect for his needs.

“Me?”

Her bewilderment was exhilarating. He soared up in front of her.

“We’ve established that I’m not a burglar, but you, Miss Rhia Ashton, are a multiple trespasser.” He let his index finger gently mock in front of her nose. “You’ve been trespassing on that property for some time.” His tongue clicked against his teeth. “Disregarding the law.”

“Gus told me it would be fine to walk Thor there.” Her voice faded to nothing.

Creasing his dark eyebrows in doubt, Luke determined Gus needed to be eliminated from her life.

“Neither you, nor Gus had permission to be there. So here’s the thing. Unless you want to go back to the police station and be charged with quite a few offences, I think you might need to listen to the proposal I’m about to put to you.”

“But they said nothing at the police station about my trespassing. They brought me home.”

Deliberately placing his hands on the chair back, one on each side of her shoulders, he effectively trapped her, finding she was easy to be near. He had to keep his mind out of his pants, though, because he needed Rhia Ashton to satisfy other needs.

She inched back from him, her head lolling on the cushion.

“Didn’t you wonder why they let you go without a mention of the fact that you’d been wandering at will all over that property for ages? Doing who knows what damage?” His gaze not wavering a single blink, his body leaned conspiratorially closer.

“Of course, I wondered!” she cried. “But I never ever damaged anything.”

“Well now, it’s like this. You have me to thank for the lack of charges,” he mocked, finding her lips were way too close for comfort. “I chose to tell them that they didn’t need to proceed with the trespassing charges…for the foreseeable future.”

“The foreseeable future?”

He persisted, knowing he was unnerving her. “Not for ever you understand, just for the coming months.”

“Are you blackmailing me?”

“Blackmail?” He pulled back, calling a halt to her siren song. “You and me both. This is where the old lady excels. She has the last laugh.”

Startled bewilderment battled with piqued interest as she leaned forward.

After a circuit of the room, he halted in front of her, one hand raking back his thick hair. She needed to be told all the facts. Well, perhaps not about the tight deadline: he could leave that little snippet till after she complied.

“Okay. I told you it’s a bloody Dickensian nightmare. Here’s the real deal, Rhia. I only become the completely legal owner of the property after I fulfil some very quirky terms which you can help me with.”

“Me?”

A rabbit snagged in a deadly snare couldn’t look more horrified. He was okay with that. He held up his hand in front of her.