Friday, 15 May 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: A Conspiracy of Silence

A Conspiracy of Silence by Anna Legat is this week’s Friday Fiction Feature

When a body is found in the grounds of a prestigious Wiltshire private school, DI Gillian Marsh takes on the case. The young groundsman, Bradley Watson, has been shot dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.

As the investigation gathers pace, DI Marsh is frustrated to find the Whalehurst staff and students united in silence. This scandal must not taint their reputation. But when Gillian discovers pictures of missing Whalehurst pupil, fifteen-year-old Rachel Snyder, on Bradley's dead body - photos taken on the night she disappeared, and he was murdered - the link between the two is undeniable.

But what is Whalehurst refusing to reveal? And does Gillian have what it takes to bring about justice?

What readers are saying about Anna Legat:

'Brilliant. I didn't want to put it down!'
'It's a rare author who can keep me guessing until the end - and the ending was a shocker'
'Plenty of twists and turns'
'A brilliantly complex spaghetti of unrelated sub-plots to challenge any armchair sleuth'
'I thoroughly enjoyed this book, reading it cover to cover in a weekend'
'I shall look out for more from Ms Legat'

Pre-Order link Conspiracy of Silence

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Friday, 24 April 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: I Could Be You

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases Sheila Bugler’s I Could Be You 

My latest book, I Could Be You, is a crime novel set in Eastbourne. It’s the start of a new series, featuring jaded journalist, Dee Doran. I’m originally from Ireland, but I’ve been living in Eastbourne since 2013. I moved here, with my family, after spending over twenty years in London. Having grown up by the sea, I was desperate to escape the city. By sheer good luck, we chose Eastbourne as our new home.

Nestled between the coast, with far reaching views across the English Channel, and the start of the South Downs National Park, Eastbourne is stunning. From my house, on the edge of town, I can walk to the beach, across the south downs and along the jagged coastline of majestic white chalk cliffs to Beachy Head and beyond. It’s an area steeped in history and beauty.

I’ve always believed location is a key part of what makes a good crime series. My previous novels are all set in south east London, where I lived for many years. Now I was in Eastbourne, I wanted to make this the location for a new series.

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only person who thought the location was perfect for crime! The recent TV series Flesh and Blood is set in Eastbourne. In fact, the family home is on the same stretch of beach where my protagonist, Dee Doran, lives. If you’ve watched the series, you’ll already know how gorgeous it is.

Dee is an investigative journalist in her early fifties. She’s taken a career break following the end of her marriage. I’m often asked why I chose a main character who’s a journalist, not a detective. The simple answer is I felt like a change. I’d already written a series featuring a female detective.

Like me, Dee is in her early fifties. This is also deliberate. I’m in my early fifties and I wanted to write about a character the same age. I love women my age – we’re old enough to know what we want, and young enough to still enjoy life! We’ve aged and are well beyond the first flush of youth, but we have a wealth of life experience behind us and plenty more years ahead of us.

Dee’s fifth decade hasn’t got off to the best start. Her marriage has broken up and both her parents have died. The only thing that’s kept her going has been her neighbours – single mother, Katie, and her two-year-old son, Jake. Then one hot summer’s day, Dee finds Katie’s dead body on the road outside her house. Beside it, Jake’s empty buggy. No Jake. He’s disappeared.

As the murder investigation gets underway, Dee’s determination to find Jake is the only thing that keeps her going. But the more she learns about Katie, the more Dee realises she never really knew her neighbour. Katie was keeping secrets. Because of that, one woman’s already dead. If Dee’s not careful, she’ll be next.

Twitter: @sheilab10
Instagram: sheilabsussex
I Could be You on Amazon:

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Thursday, 12 March 2020

R J Gould #interview #writerslife

Today I am delighted to post an interview with R J Gould.

1.     What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
While I recognise for marketing purposes the importance of genre, I think many authors would see themselves as writing across genres, myself included. Loosely, since I write about relationships, Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Romance and Romantic Comedy are the best fits.

2.     What made you choose that genre?
They chose me, or more accurately, my first publisher chose them for me. There was even a suggestion that I write under a female pseudonym for my predominantly female readership. I strongly resisted this, but ‘R J Gould’ as opposed to ‘Richard’ has been my cowardly compromise. Romance fiction is such a struggle for males to come to terms with, both as authors and as readers – I’m one of only 1% of the members of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association who are male.

When commissioned to address this theme for Writing Magazine, I reached the conclusion that it’s the word itself and often the book covers chosen that put men off. It’s a pity because the genre is diverse with plenty of novels providing thought-provoking insights and top-rate humour. For ‘Jack & Jill Went Downhill’ I opted for a minimalist cover and this will be my style from now on.

3.     How long does it take you to write a book?
A distinction is needed between how long did it take and how long does it now take. Until about a year ago, I was working full time and to complete a book was taking approaching three years. Now, I’m looking to release one a year and I love having the opportunity to write daily.

4.     What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
It’s hard to generalise; I certainly don’t have a time-driven schedule. With the release of my new novel this month (January 2020), I’m spending far more time on developing a promotion strategy than on writing. I decided to self-publish ‘Mid-life follies’ so there has been loads to do beyond writing the novel, mind you, even with (indie) publishers, the marketing is largely left to the author.

I’m back to writing now, taking a three-hour or so block during the day, splitting my time between editing a second draft of one novel and planning for a new one.

5.     Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
The first novel I published was ‘A Street Café Named Desire.’ The male protagonist, David, has two aims in life, to start a relationship with Bridget and to open an arts café. I’ve slipped the café name into all the novels I’ve written since. Will I maintain this in-joke?

6.     When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Since childhood I’ve written short stories and poems. Writing a full novel is a massive commitment, sadly with a low chance of success. I greatly admire those with a calling to write irrespective of outcomes, but I put financial security first. So…I didn’t start writing novels until my late forties.

7.     What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a trustee of Feeding Britain, a national charity tackling (the alarmingly high level of) food poverty. I play tennis, help my partner to develop her art business, watch films, and – not surprisingly – I read a lot.

8.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I don’t plan in detail before starting to write and I limit my characters’ profiles to the basics. I recognise this has pitfalls, but I love the sense that the protagonists are growing as the story develops – at times, it’s as if they are driving the plot.

9.     How many books have you written?
I have four published, A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack & Jill Went Downhill, and Mid-life follies.

10.  Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

11.  As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
It’s fair to say that I was clueless. I was on automatic pilot through school to university. My first job was a teacher, not at all on my radar when young.

12.  How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I have one novel very near to ready to publish. A second is complete and has been for quite some time, but I’m unsure what to do with it because the two sections have totally different genres. I have an idea for a third and have just started the planning.

Brief bio:
R J Gould is published by Endeavour Media and Headline Accent. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. ​​Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people, all rewarding, but his passion is writing fiction. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Link to ‘Mid-life follies’:        

Link to ‘Jack & Jill went downhill’:

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Colette Kebell #interview #writerslife

My author interview this week is with Colette Kebell.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?

My first two are chick-lit/rom-com or rather, contemporary female.  I then turned my hand to a raunchy and a crime thriller… so I guess you could say I am eclectic J  My next two shall be a return to chick-lit though, which is my favourite genre.

What made you choose that genre?

It’s a genre that I enjoy reading, and there are so many variations around that I find it unrestrictive, which I like, hence being self-published.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends on how the story flows.  I’m a punster, not a plotter and so one book might take 4-6 months from start to finish (copy editing and cover design included), whereas another might take years. The two WIPs I’m currently working on have been on the back burner, so to speak, for around three years, but have now come to the forefront.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m terrible at disciplining myself.  If the story isn’t flowing at any given time, I procrastinate and go off and do something else or look after my dogs or some such J  Thankfully, that doesn’t last that long, but life has been rather hectic of late due to being involved with a couple of rather sizeable multi-author book signing events and so, at this point in time, my first and second round of edits have suffered.  I’m itching to get back to writing again but edits come first of the next two books won’t be launched any time soon.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.

Though I write chick-lit, I was a complete tomboy growing up.  There were no girls my age around where we lived at the time and so I hung around with my brother and his friends playing cricket and football and yes, naughty on occasion, playing games such as like knock down ginger. 

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

My first published book was written in 2014, shortly after having been made redundant.  I was 48 at the time.  I have another which I wrote some 10 years earlier which sits in a drawer collecting dust, which I doubt I shall revisit.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love variety in my life, so I don’t stick to any one thing.  I’m passionate about cooking, sewing, gardening and when it comes to DIY, I can turn my hand to most things, with a little help from my husband, of course.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How cathartic it is to write.  At the time, I was incredibly angry at having been made redundant but writing that first book expelled that anger and brought out my suppressed creative nature.

How many books have you written?

So far I have published four, though have two WIPs on the go currently.  All four of those have been lovingly translated into Italian by my husband, two have been narrated for audio, with the other two in the process and a number of them have been translated into other languages.  It has been a hectic time as audiobook production is almost as time-consuming as the writing itself, particularly when self-published.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

I haven’t googled myself for quite some time, due to having found a large number of sites purporting to offer my books for free.  I report each I come across to google and also subscribe to a website that monitors those and has them taken down.  Other than that, most of what turns up on google are either genuine book-related posts or interviews such as this one.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up but was always creative, whether it was writing, drawing, sewing (my grandmother was a tailoress for Jaeger).  My parents talked me into doing a secretarial course, as something to fall back on, and I got stuck in that rut until I was made redundant and decided I didn’t want to work for someone else any more.  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?

Ouch, that is a question and a half.  I have two that I am currently working towards launching this year, one which is another raunchy which needs some major edits, another crime thriller which hasn’t even reached the halfway mark and a few short stories I would like to build on.  I don’t ever delete, just park ideas until the inspiration takes hold again.

Bio: Colette Kebell is an eclectic author, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She publishes mostly for the English speaking market and the Italian one.  Colette Kebell does not stick to just one genre when writing though, as you shall discover from her latest book which launched on 5th April 2019.

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and, when not writing and marketing her books, she likes cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

Buy her books here:

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: The Craig Crime Series

This week's Friday Fiction Feature covers not just one novel, but an entire series! 

Catriona King is one of my favourite crime writers. I am delighted to feature her here. 

Catriona is giving away THE TALION CODE, #13 in the Craig Crime Series, free in eBook format from Friday the 14th February to Monday the 17th 2020. The link is below.

THE CRAIG CRIME SERIES is a popular detective fiction series written by author Catriona King, with storylines set in modern day Ireland and overseas. Catriona is a doctor with training as a forensic medical officer and has always written, not only in the crime genre but in science fiction and fantasy.

The Craig series centres on the cases of the Belfast Murder Detective Squad led by DCI (later DCS) Marc Craig and combines crime solving with the often touching and humorous interactions between the members of the squad.

There are twenty-two full length published novels in the series set between two thousand and twelve and two thousand and nineteen, each of which can be read as a standalone (biographies of the main characters’ backgrounds and briefs on the main location are provided at the back of each novel).

Each novel covers the eventual solution of a murder or murders in very different contexts and ways, combining cutting-edge techniques and technologies with traditional crime solving approaches and utilising the differing talents of the murder team. The plots in the series cover variously: gangs, international people trafficking, technology based crime e.g. computer hacking and cryptocurrency, County Line drug gangs, drones, sex auctions, political intrigue, fraud, religious sects, family murders and many more topics, with some based on true events that have happened around the world. 

Whilst the focus of the series isn’t on the period of The Troubles in Northern Ireland but rather on the country as it is now, a modern multicultural democracy, some of the characters and storylines have a background in the conflict on the various sides.

The latest novel in the series is THE GOOD WOMAN, which begins with a murder victim being found near a well known rural landmark. Sightings of two mysterious women in the area make the case one of the murder squad’s most confusing in years, and the unravelling of long-held secrets leads them to a perilous stand-off in which someone dies. 

Meanwhile, a boy who was kidnapped from Portugal in twenty-seventeen and trafficked for adoption to America is abducted for a second time, and the unearthing of a century old Irish grudge sends two of Craig’s team searching for answers across the sea.

The next Craig Crime novel, THE LEGACY, will be released in April 2020.


THE TALION CODE, #13 in the Craig Crime Series, is free to download in eBook format from Friday the 14th February to Monday the 17th 2020.

Twitter: @catrionaking1

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Sheila Bugler #interview #writerslife

This week I am delighted to be hosting an interview with one of my favourite writers: Sheila Bugler.

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I write crime fiction novels that are most often described as psychological thrillers.

What made you choose that genre?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. It was only when I started reading Harlan Coben novels that I suddenly thought ‘this is what I want to write!’.

So, I set out to write like Harlan Coben but ended up turning out something a little different. I don’t think any writer really knows what they’ll write until they start writing and see what happens. That’s the magic of doing something creative.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I can’t write full time because, like many writers, I also have a day job. So, I have to fit my writing in around work, which used to mean it took me a year to write a book. However, my new publishing contract is to produce a book every six months so I’ve had to become more efficient with my time!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
During the week, I try to get up at 5.30 and write for an hour before the rest of the family starts to wake up. After that, it’s all about being a taxi service for my children and getting the day job done. I also try to write at the weekends. It’s not ideal, and I’d love to be able to write full time, but it’s worked for me so far.

Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
I always describe myself as an ‘Irish writer’ because my parents are Irish and I grew up in Ireland. In fact, I was born in England (Leicester), where I lived until I was six.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first book in 2008. I was forty – a good age to write your first book, I think.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I adore walking. We live on the edge of the stunning South Downs national park – a beautiful place to walk, with plenty of lovely country pubs to stop off along the way.

 What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It gets harder, I think. Somehow, you’d imagine it should get easier but it doesn’t!

How many books have you written?
Lots! Four novels published and at least four more festering in various dark, dusty corners of my house. Sometimes I’ll write a book that’s not quite good enough. Over time, I’ll use bits and pieces of the plot in other books I’m writing.

Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
I used to Google myself a lot. Now, I don’t do it at all. I think I used to love the thrill of seeing articles about me and my books. I’m not sure why I stopped – I just did.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A writer.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
See earlier question  – lots!

Author bio:
Sheila grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at National University Ireland (Galway), she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Eastbourne, where she now lives with her husband, two children and a scruffy dog.

She is a creative writing tutor for the Writers Bureau and she reviews crime fiction for

Twitter: @sheilab10
Instagram: sheilabsussex

List of titles
Hunting Shadows
The Waiting Game
All Things Nice
I Could Be You

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Friday, 7 February 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: A Dozen Second Chances

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases Kate Field’s A Dozen Second Chances

Does anyone remember the TV show Ready Steady Cook? Each episode, two chefs were given a bag of ingredients they hadn’t seen before, and were challenged to use them to prepare a meal. It was a chaotic process, not helped by having to answer the host’s questions and chat to the audience member who had brought the ingredients, but the chefs always managed to produce an impressive meal at the end of the show.

Planning and writing a book often seems like an episode of Ready Steady Cook to me. I’m not a natural planner, so I don’t begin with a tray of perfectly prepared ingredients or a recipe giving a step-by-step guide to what I’m going to write. It’s a more spontaneous, chaotic process, starting with random ideas, frequently hindered and interrupted by real life, and it usually feels like a miracle when a book appears at the end of it!

Several raw ingredients came together to become A Dozen Second Chances. I’d written the opening pages of a potential book about a mother who faces an empty nest when her child goes to university, but hadn’t known where to go next with the story. Another idea was bubbling away about a couple whose relationship is challenged when they take on guardianship of a young child. A friend mentioned that she was having a ‘be kind to myself’ day, and the phrase stuck in my head as something I could use one day. I saw Aidan Turner interviewed on a chat show, and my romantic male lead came to life…!

These ideas simmered for a while until I saw a way they could blend together, and the story of Eve and Paddy took shape. Like the meals on Ready Steady Cook, I hope readers will find A Dozen Second Chances a warm, comforting and ultimately satisfying book!

Here’s the blurb for A Dozen Second Chances:

What are the chances that twelve little tokens could change a life?
Seventeen years ago, Eve Roberts had the wonderful life she’d always dreamed of: a degree in archaeology, a gorgeous boyfriend, and exciting plans to travel the world with him, working on digs. But when her sister Faye died, the life Eve knew ended too. Faye’s daughter Caitlyn came to live with Eve, her boyfriend left, and she quickly gave up on her dreams.
Now approaching her fortieth birthday, Eve faces the prospect of an empty nest as Caitlyn is leaving home. Caitlyn gives Eve a set of twelve ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ vouchers, telling her that she has to start living for herself again, and that she should fill one in every time she does something to treat herself.
With her very first voucher, Eve’s life will change its course. But with eleven more vouchers to go, can Eve learn to put herself first and follow the dreams she’s kept secret for so long? Because life is for living – and as she well knows, it’s too short to waste even a moment…

A Dozen Second Chances

Social media links:
 Twitter: @katehaswords

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and mischievous cat.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

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