book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Siren Song by Rebecca McKinney (Review)

Hello you lovely lot! I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Today I am on a Love Books Group Blog Tour for Siren Song by Rebecca McKinney. It’s available now and for the duration of the tour, it will be a bargain 99p on Kindle! I received a copy for free as part of the tour.

Siren Song is the first in a future series, it’s book One in Harrison Jones and Amy Bell Mysteries and not the usual type of thing I read as this one is a little bit different. Siren Song has a touch of the supernatural, the occult, the psychic, whatever you would prefer to call it.

Harrison Jones is a University Professor by day… but he’s also a Psychic Investigator, even if he tells himself he is not. One day, he sees Amy Bell on a bridge, and I mean… he really sees her. Harrison, also known as Harri – or Indiana to Amy has the ability to see in to people, to see imprints of feelings, thoughts and memories left by people on objects and in the air where people have been. Some people are more open to be read and in that moment, Amy’s body was screaming out for something, someone, anything! …and thus, they met.

What they didn’t bank on, was becoming a detective duo, investigating a case of a missing singer. After the incident on the bridge, Amy decided she had to look Harri up. She found out he worked at the uni and visited him. She expressed how she felt when they met on that bridge – she FELT him read her; only, she didn’t know what that feeling was at the time. He explained his ability to her, but she thought is was a load of nonsense and left, only to convince herself later that actually, maybe it was true and real. Meanwhile, a lady was seeking his help to find her daughter.

After some stuff happened (sorry! you’ll need to read the book for that!), Harri decides to let Amy help with the case he ended up unable to say no to. Set in Scotland, a little detective work and some psychic power shenanigans sent them all the way to Greece and they uncovered far more than they anticipated.

This book had me hooked! It’s so well written, the characters are absolutely fascinating and it’s interesting to see how the psychic abilities are able to help with the case. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first, but it really pulled me in after a while and I found myself really enjoying it. When I got to the end, I remember thinking that I hope there would be another tale of these two – I was thrilled to find out that it’s the plan! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It may be about something “supernatural” but it doesn’t feel fluffed or flimsy. It added a really nice element to the story that added to my intrigue. I’m really glad I took a chance with this one.

About the Book

A man who glimpses other people’s inner worlds, and a woman who can foresee death. Can they trace a missing girl before the worst happens?

Harrison Jones is a university lecturer with a secret: he moonlights as a psychic detective. Amy Bell is a paramedic who has the uncanny knack of knowing things are going to happen before they do. From their first accidental meeting on an Edinburgh bridge, both of their lives are destined to change.

Harrison invites Amy to help him investigate the disappearance of a beautiful young singer. The search will lead them into the murky world of human trafficking, from Edinburgh to the streets of Athens, and into the darkest corners of the human mind…

book reviews · Bookish

The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the Love Books Group blog tour for The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith, out now! Read on for my review, more info about the book and the author, and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour.

The Fourth Courier is an espionage thriller based in 1992 Poland that follows Porter – an FBI agent whom is in Poland to assist with investigations, Crawford – who is there from the CIA for similar reasons and Mladic – a sadist and a masochist who hopes to establish and preside over the new Serbia now that the borders to Poland have been opened.

There have been four murders. All of the bodies have turned up in the same area, on the same river, seemingly on display and with similar methods to murder and mutilation. Jay Porter has been assigned to the case, working from the Embassy with Kurt Crawford alongside the Polish investigating team.

Mladic enlists the aid of an isolated nuclear scientist and corrupt cop to assist him with smuggling uranium in to Poland in the hopes of creating a suitcase bomb. But will he succeed?

The book has quite the atmosphere and sets you firmly in Warsaw, after the fall of communism, where food is short, money is short, smuggling is common and drugs are easy. I really enjoy the way the author managed to really create such an atmosphere and convey the emotions of the people through the difficulties during this time.

I really enjoyed the way the characters were written. I was unsure why sexuality and skin colour mattered and why they were certainly noted upon in the bio. I questioned if it was to earn diversity-points. I was incredibly pleased to discover that was not the case at all and that there was a reason for it which we discover in the second half of the book which has a lot more going on as we really get in to things.

The book is incredibly steadily paced and has a good balance between the characters, environment and plot and I found this incredibly enjoyable, albeit a little predictable at times; I want to get to the end and see how it concluded from the multiple perspectives. I’d definitely recommend it.

About the Book

For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.  

About the Author

Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, “Stolen Memories.” His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Wants of the Silent by Moira McPartlin (Excerpt)

How’s it going everyone! Today, I’m taking part in a blog tour the next book from Moira McPartlin’s Sun Song Trilogy! It’s out now in Kindle and Paperback versions. If you missed the previous book in the series, you can read about Ways of the Doomed here.

Excerpt

It was pitch black inside the van, the windows had been tarred out.  My chest was glued to the door and crate corners spiked my shoulder blades. Travelling in style.  I heard the cab door slam then we were off. I set my breathing to shallow and waited for the short trip to the tower to be over.

After about five minutes I heard another engine roar behind us. The driver swore, the van weaved, braked. The crate pressure released, then whammed me into the door with the velocity of a bullet. I felt a rib snap.  A shot fired outside, Vanora roared in anger or pain. More shots. Then silence. I shoved at the door, it didn’t budge. Was it Pirates, the Military, the same beings who shot Ridgeway from the sky? I checked my comms for a signal – dead. No, not dead, blocked, I could see the signal with the cross through it. It had been aeons since I heard Vanora roar.   My belly turned to water, I felt in my pocket for my knife. I pressed an ear to the window and heard scuffling. Putting my back against the door I pushed, I eased a hand free but didn’t want to punch in case they heard. I might be able to make a run for it. The door didn’t budge. If they wanted the cargo why didn’t they come? I heard a door slam, another engine rev then drive off, leaving the only sound, the thudding of my heart.

The door inner mechanism felt gritty, rusted.  I hooked my finger through it and pulled it up.  The force almost broke my finger and the door stayed firm.  I pushed it down. Nothing. I levered back into the crates, but there was no room to manoeuvre.  Sweat trickled my spine, I leaned into the door again, a panic fluttered on my belly. I couldn’t breathe, it was like the time the power failed in the prison and I nearly suffocated. I balled my fist to punch, then something stopped me. A sound from outside.  Giggling? Shouts, laughing. Doors closed, the van engine fired, filthy fumes filled my small space. The van shuddered forward, kangarooed, stalled, laughs, fired again, began to move. I yanked the door, a dread filled me. I kicked, breath short, my ribs ached. The van jounced from side to side, bounced. Somehow I managed to twist my foot up to the tarred window, I kicked, my knee locked.  The van bucked. Curdling screams rang from the cab. The crates fell, rumbled, the world rocked, my head under heels and a box on my chest, rolling, rolling and I knew I was done for.

About the Book

This second thrilling volume of the Sun Song trilogy takes Sorlie to the floodlands of southern Esperaneo to discover that family, love and resilience can triumph against even the harshest regime. Escaping from the penal colony on Black Rock, Sorlie joins his grandmother Vanora’s revolutionary army, expecting to find freedom. Instead he finds murder and mayhem. With her army in disarray and her network of supporters disappearing, Vanora chooses Sorlie to become her warrior. When Vanora is kidnapped, Sorlie becomes injured and marooned in the strange reservation of Steadie where old people and specials are hidden and protected from The State. But these outcasts are not the only secrets Steadie keeps. Why is Sorlie kept drugged for over a week? What are their links to The Blue Pearl Society? Why are they so wary of the Noiri black marketeers? And who is The Prince everyone is whispering about? The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society’s norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently. 

book reviews · Bookish

The Grass Trail by AA Abbott (Excerpt)

Today I am on the tour for The Grass Trail by AA Abbott, the third book in the Trail Series. It’s out now both in Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The kettle hissed, rocked, and jolted to a halt. “Want a brew?” Shaun offered.

“Please. Milk, one sugar.” Jenner held out his plastic mug. “Thanks. Hot and wet; that’s how I like it. Are you married, by the way?”

“No,” Shaun replied. “My wife died a few years back.” He added brusquely, “Of natural causes. And don’t get any ideas. I’m strictly hetero.” He didn’t suppose Jenner had the nerve to make a pass at him, but it wasn’t impossible for the MP to feel some attraction. Shaun’s Irish heritage had blessed him with good looks; even pushing fifty, his now-grey hair was thick, his blue eyes large, his body trim and well-muscled. The paunch he’d developed on the outside was gone; he was back in shape at last, his muscles honed by the gym and judicious use of smuggled steroids.

“Of course,” Jenner said soothingly. He pointed to the gallery of photographs on the wall. Torn from magazines and haphazardly fixed with blobs of toothpaste, their ragged edges were curling. “Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”

Shaun sipped his tea. The sweetened breakfast cereal was beginning to boost his blood sugar. He felt less groggy. “No,” he said, unwilling to be drawn any further. He would never admit to Jenner how he’d been charmed by Kat’s looks and posh accent, had offered her a job in his unlicensed casino in the hope of knowing her better. It had all gone horribly wrong. She’d disappeared, and so had twenty thousand pounds from the gambling den. It had taken a wild goose chase to weird Cold War tunnels in Birmingham to establish the truth: Kat wasn’t a thief. She’d seen Shaun kill the culprit, though, and had held a gun to his head in the tussle that followed. No one, least of all a woman, should have had that power over him. As if that wasn’t enough, it had been her evidence that had sent him down. His lips tightened.

Jenner wouldn’t stop. “Who is she?” he persisted. “A model? I’m sure I’ve seen her in the news. You know, you must have one, two, three – my goodness, ten pictures, all of the same woman.”

“Forget it, okay?” Shaun snapped. “She used to work for me. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.” His eyes lingered on the picture showing the most cleavage. There was no doubt he’d enjoy a reunion with Kat. Finally, she’d see who was boss. The pleasure would be his alone, and all the sweeter for it.

About the Book

Shaun knows who put him inside – and he wants to make her pay…

Shaun Halloran wouldn’t be in prison if glamorous Kat White hadn’t taken his gun. Pictures of the stunning blonde are plastered all over his cell. As soon as he can escape, she’s dead. But with his criminal empire crumbling, he can’t trust anyone.

Kat, panicked by poison pen letters, has nowhere to turn. Her parents are dead and her brother’s ill. Even her sexy new business partner may not be what he seems. When she receives life-changing news, vodka is the only answer…

A tense crime thriller with plenty of twists, “The Grass Trail” races through Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union – tempting you to turn each page.

book reviews · Bookish

Runaway by Claire MacLeary (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Runaway by Claire Macleary and have a review for you! The book is available now in both Paperback and Kindle editions. I was provided a copy of the book for this review.

Runaway is the third book in a series by Claire MacLeary. This book was my introduction to the series as I haven’t read the previous installments, but I am pleased to say that it does perfectly well as a standalone.

The book is written from a few perspectives, but it’s mainly about Maggie and Wilma, a PI duo who have been brought in by Scott – his wife is missing and he has no idea why. Of course, he reported it to the police. It’s the first thing he did, they weren’t having any success, so he turns to the women to help him find his wife.

Maggie and Wilma have a bit of a strange relationship and they both have different ideas about their detective agency. None the less, after some convincing, they’re set on helping Scott to find his wife, but are wary of the police after previous involvements and complications with them in a previous case. We are given a vague overview of that situation, but I would imagine it’s detailed in the previous installments of the series. The police themselves are unhappy when they find out that the women are on the case, and their force seems tense after the aforementioned complications.

Maggie is my favourite character of the book, she seems strong willed and is trying really hard to balance her family life and her work. She has a lippy daughter and the patience of a saint as a result. She seems far more responsible than Wilma. Together, they are a weird duo, but it works!

I found this book to be pretty amusing, not so much that it detracted from the seriousness of the case, but enough to add a little more to it that made it all the more enjoyable. Though there is some of the book that is written in what I can only describe to be pure Scottish which someone who is unfamiliar with Scottish dialect or to whom English is a second language may have difficulties with. Personally, I had no issue with it and understood it just fine, but I feel like it’s an important point to mention, just in case this is something that would affect you personally and this after all, a review.

Maggie’s daughter clearly has some iffy acquaintances, one of whom decides a nap in a skip is a sterling idea, even with the stink and a urine soaked duvet.. until he discovers a human arm. It takes a little while before the story circles back to that, but from that point, I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what was happening. Was it going to be Scott’s wife?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and following both the pair of PI’s and the detective team investigating the case and the relationships between them both teams on the case were really interesting to me too. All in all, I really enjoyed this book, it was entertaining, well written and I’m sure the other books are no different; I’ll be adding the previous installments on to my ever growing TBR!

About the Book

The third book in the awards-listed Harcus & Laird series

When Aberdeen housewife Debbie Milne abruptly vanishes without trace, leaving behind her two young children, husband Scott is too distraught to sit out the police’s 72-hour window and await developments. He turns to local detective agency Harcus & Laird.

Put off by previous “domestic” cases, Maggie Laird isn’t keen, but is cajoled by partner Wilma Harcus into a covert operation. Together they comb through meagre scraps of information, eventually trawling the city’s women’s refuges and homeless squats, in spite of the deadly danger.

Then a woman’s body is discovered in a Dundee builder’s skip. With the clock ticking and the police struggling to make identification, the race is on. Claire MacLeary fashions a surprising, gritty, fast-paced tale with the warmth and wisdom of ‘women of a certain age’.

book reviews · Bookish

Times Tide by Adrian Harvey (Review)

Happy Monday! Today, I am on the Love Books Group’s Tour for Times Tide by Adrian Harvey and bringing you a review! It is available now in both Kindle and Paperback editions and is available on Kindle Unlimited

Times Tide is a moving tale about the bonds between father and son, healing a rift from time and the connections they have with their home.

The author really pulls the reader in to this book with a lot of descriptive… descriptions(?) that really invoke a feeling of “place.” Now, I discovered I’m one of those people that struggles to visualise things from text – aphantasia, so I feel like if that wasn’t the case, I’d have gotten more from this book, but despite that, I could feel the beauty of their home, but it also felt lonely too. The sense of place was very strong and significant through the book and the author did a really good job at conveying it.

The book switches from one period of time to another, initially opening in 1958, on a boat. While I can’t visualise things from text, I did really enjoy the authors description of “chuckling water”, I’m not sure why, but I really liked that. They return to their old home which they had left years before, along with a cow who no longer produced milk.

The family appear loving but sombre. This is where the family, Einar and Jona lost a son, Eirikur, a brother, named Olafur and it really has an affect on the family. However, returning to their former home, resulted in the cow to produce milk once again (as she had stopped when they left) and the family found joy in this moment and I found myself happy too.

..I realise I’m writing a lot about the start of the book but the background and relationships it lays out are incredibly important for the rest of the book. You get a good idea about the family and how they think and feel about their lives.

It later introduces another generation of family and more bereavement, more strained relationships. But will they be able to ease the strain, make amends, find joy and find closure for their grief? You’ll have to give this incredibly moving book a go yourself and find out, but be prepared to be sucked straight in to Iceland and getting emotional because this tale is an immersive one.

About the Book

The new novel from the bestselling author of Being Someone and The Cursing Stone. 

A father and son struggle to overcome the distance between them. Each is drawn irresistibly to an unforgiving landscape, one that has been the scene of tragedy and loss.

The son’s return to the northern shore he abandoned as a young man promises the chance to heal the rift. But is it too late?

Arni left his remote corner of Iceland as soon as he could, seeking opportunities beyond winter and fishing. Married to an English woman, he builds a life as a successful scientist but can never quite escape the pull of the West Fjords and bleak landscape of his birth, nor shake the guilt he feels towards his distant father.

When Eirikur goes missing, he sets off to find him on a windswept spit of land lost in an angry ocean.

Time’s Tide is a compelling and beautifully written story of loss, belonging and the silence between fathers and sons.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Favourite Character to Write (Guest Post)

Today, I am really pleased to be bringing you a guest post from fellow Staffordshire county…human JF Burgess, author of The Killer Shadow Thieves which is available now in both Paperback and Kindle formats; it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. You can read his post and find out more below!



Favourite character to write.

That’s got to be the protagonist, 45-year-old widowed detective Tom Blake, whose wife and 10-year-old son was tragically killed in a fatal hit and run car crash ten years ago. Tom was driving at the time and his daughter Isabel was also in the car, both miraculously escaped the accident with minor cuts and bruises – but he still suffers from emotional flashbacks and neck pain from whiplash caused by the accident. They never caught the joyrider who killed his family but he vows to bring the perpetrator to justice once day.

He’s an intuitive, firm but fair detective who hates sitting hunched over a computer and loves the thrill of the chase and adrenaline rush you can only get from this type of job. A bit of a perfectionist, who thrives on the uncertainty of each new case and the thrill of the hunt, which brings out the dark side of his personality when good triumphs over evil?

He’s a great leader, but also quite vulnerable at times, which makes him very likeable and real. And like all good detectives, he has to fight tooth and nail for every bit of ground gained against the criminal underworld.
I really enjoyed developing his character and watching him grow. I see a lot of myself in him which is only natural I suppose. Ultimately, I think readers will enjoy rooting for him whilst trying to work out who the murder really is?
Heather Eames at Book Jar Journeys reviews sums the reader character connection up when she says…
“The characters and their development throughout the novel are a definite highlight for me. As the story progressed, I was more drawn in and intrigued by what was going on. I also enjoyed (perhaps the wrong word) the family drama that was introduced and think that it made the characters more human, I was reading with my heart in my mouth when his daughter was kidnapped!”

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Blurb

Widowed detective DI Tom Blake sets off a chain of events that change his life forever, when the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead, and arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark, unwittingly disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.

In a cruel twist of fate, Blake’s daughter is kidnapped and the trail propels the bereft detective on a personal quest to Miami to save her life. Operating outside the law, he enters into an illicit showdown with a mysterious artefacts Collector, almost costing him his life.

As the body count rises, Blake and his team struggle to unravel the conspiracy of a shadowy killer who leaves no trace. With only circumstantial evidence against each of the suspects, they hit a wall, until twenty-six-year-old photographs linking them to the murdered skinhead emerge. It seems the victim’s depraved past is the key to identifying the killer.

Can the police uncover the truth through all the lies and deception, and crack the case before someone else gets killed? And will they recover a legendary national treasure, worth millions, before it’s lost forever?

jfburgess

Author Bio

I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and spent many years doing less than ideal jobs in and around the Potteries five towns, before finally taking the plunge and quitting work to follow my creative side. As a keen horse-racing fan, I started off in 2007 self-publishing betting how-to manuals.

This is my main business, but my real passion is for crime fiction, both reading and writing.

Inspired by authors such as Mel Sherratt, Peter James, Val McDermid, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin, and in need of a new challenge, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction.

After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel: The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is the first in a planned series of gritty crime fiction books set in Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy.

The follow up, The Deadly Legacy, is a cult serial killer thriller, with a 200-year-old secret at the heart of a plot full of unexpected twists, which push the relationships of a rich pottery family into life-threatening conflicts.

I write tense, gripping, crime fiction mysteries with a twist – or urban crossbreed, as I call it. My thrillers take you deep inside the criminal mind.

I live with my wife and family in Stoke-on-Trent, England. You can find out more about me at www.jfburgess.co.uk, or on Twitter at @burgess1012.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones (Review)

Today, I am bringing you a review as part of the tour for Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones! The book is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

The blurb instantly had my interested in this book. A former ballerina turned Private Investigator? Sign me up! I love a good, strong female protagonist. Cass had to leave her life as a ballerina as an accident, replaced it with motorcycles and an inherited detective agency where her friend basically forced her to hire a charming dwarf ex-con by the name of Quill; who, I might add, charms literally everyone and that scope is not just within the book but extends to me too. The dialogue was witty, charming and had me laugh on multiple occasions. Cass’s cynicism paired with the charming retorts of Quill made for great entertainment. Throw a giant beast of a dog in, and you’ve got a heck of a motley crew.

With no idea what she’s doing, a rich lady keeps basically throwing money at Cass to find her sons missing teddy bear. But it’s just a toy, isn’t it? No, it’s an antique that for some reason they have given to a child which seems even stranger based on what we learn later on in the book.

Fast paced, I ended up reading the book cover to cover. I loved it. I felt like the book was heavy on the back story and it lacked in the actual “investigations” department, however, Cass had inherited the detective agency and her bumbling her way through it made total sense based on the history of it all. So to me, that wasn’t a negative factor, albeit not what I was expecting. While that may be disappointing to people who want an actual PI book, I really enjoyed this including being on the journey with Cass as she tried to work things out and learn the ropes and solve her first case – a missing antique teddy-bear.

I really enjoyed the book overall and I’m quite interested in any further adventures of Cass and her new companion.

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Blurb

Cass Claymore, a red headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina inherits a Detective Agency, and accidentally employs an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. Hired by a client who should know better, Cass has no leads, no clue and a complete inability to solve a case. Still a girl needs to eat and her highbred client’s offering good money. Join her as, with bungling incompetence, she follows a trail littered with missing antique teddies, hapless crooks, a misplaced Lord of the Realm and dead bodies. Will Cass, and Scotland, survive?

wendyjones Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland.

Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent traveling around the UK, and lands much further afield.

As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.

Bookish · Uncategorized

My Publishing Journey (Guest Post)

Hey guys, today, I’m delighted to be kicking off this blog tour with a guest post from Fiona Perrin, to promote The Story After Us, her debut novel, out now from Aria Fiction. The book is available in both Paperback and on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. You can find out more about the book on the other tour stops.

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My journey has been a long one with quite a few stops to admire the view or have a rest along the way.

Put it this way, I always wanted to be an author, furiously scribbled all the way through childhood, wrote bad poems in adolescence and then became a copywriter and a journalist. I wrote my first novel back in about 2000 – it was a rave comedy which was a bit niche, I’ll admit – and then life, like loads of other authors, took over. That meant work – by then running a company and then a career as a sales and marketing director – kids, family: the usual.

Then in 2012 I really wanted to get on with it again and took a very rough draft of a second novel to the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. That taught me that I knew very little, so I threw away most of the words, learned a lot and then wrote it again with the help of my spin-off writing group from that course. We met up every fortnight for years as we all wrote books and that meant, whatever else was going on, I had to write another chapter every few weeks as well as help edit their fab books. That group has gone on to have four publishing deals and there will definitely be more. I think we’re all proud of that.

And I bumbled along getting quite a lot of rejection along the way; and yep, its character-building but it’s also awful. The only thing to do is let yourself be furious and miserable for a few hours and then move on.

It was really when two things happened that I got there: all the kids grew up a bit and some went off to Uni and jobs; and I stopped working flat out and had time to think about what to do. That was when I finished it, sent it to my fabulous agent, Diana Beaumont, (she put out a tweet saying what she was looking for and I sent it straight away). She gave fab input and over a few drafts helped me make it a much better book. Then Lucy Gilmour at Aria loved it and… well here, I am. Writing my second book has made me realise how much I’ve learned but also that I won’t ever stop learning.

Fiona Perrin author pic
Fiona was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us.

As a mother and stepmother to four teenagers while holding down a fairly full-on job, she wanted to write grown-up commercial fiction about messy, modern love and families – with all their heartbreak, humour and hope.

She grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now she writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of the Lizard Peninsula, back in Cornwall. She’s currently there, writing her second novel for Aria.

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If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her…

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’; like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier?