Hooray for Read a Book day! Here in North America, it’s our Labour Day weekend, so we can extend our “bookish” holiday into another full day of reading enjoyment.
What’s your preferred medium for reading? Are you a fan of ebooks or do you prefer print, either paperback or hardcover?
And then there are genres? Which do you like to read? Crime? Thrillers? Horror? Romance? Historical? Or a blend of all of the above.
I’m lucky in that being an author, I’ve met authors from other countries around the world – England, Scotland, Australia, France, the US, and back here at home in Canada.
I write in a number of genres, but my favourite is romance. You can see my books here. To find out more about any particular title, click on the cover and you’ll be taken to the book’s page where you’ll be provided with the description and buy links should you be so inclined to purchase.
My brand “where fact and fiction meet” stems from the fact I take real events and spin fictional stories around them, changing place and characters’ names to protect the ‘guilty.’ 😉
Now before you think this blog post is all about me, I’m going to introduce you to two authors you might not have heard of before.
I’ll start with Chris Longmuir. Chris and I first met virtually in early 2001 when she contacted me asking permission to use a photograph. We met in person later that same year and see each other as often as possible.
Another is Wendy H. Jones. I’ve not known Wendy as long, but she Chris and I make up the Princesses of Pandemonium. While their books are crime – gritty, humourous or historical – we have a great time when we get together.
Here we are outside the Old Town Jail in Stirling, Scotland.
And inside one of the cells.
I hope you enjoy Read a Book day, and maybe even discover some new-to-you authors.
Think this girl will get through that stack of books today?
This year on National Book Lovers Day, I currently have two books on the go – one fiction, one non. Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is a crime novel set in Scotland.
The non-fiction is Marketing Matters by Wendy H Jones. Right now, I need all the help I can get in this department.
In addition to reading, I’m also working on Book 3 in my It Happened series set in the village of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula of the province of Quebec.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve struggled with writing, but my reading has flourished. According to my 2020 Goodreads challenge, I’m nine books ahead of schedule. That should give you an idea of how I’ve been spending much of my spare time.
Some of these books were already on my TBR (to be read) list having languished on my shelves or Kindle for some time. Others were new purchases that I just “had” to get. Still, others were review copies.
What to read?
There are many genres out there to choose from – crime, romance, erotica, YA, memoirs, creative non-fiction, and the list goes on.
All these main genres have a multitude of sub-genres as well, so there is something out there for everyone’s taste in reading.
I write romance, primarily, although YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS has a psychological thriller element included. It’s probably my darkest work yet. I remember when I was having the computer read it back to me, my husband entered my ‘writing cave’, and the particular segment scared him. I guess I nailed the creepy, unnerving bit.
You can check out all my books on the novels page on my website. Perhaps, you’ll find a little something to your liking.
What format do you prefer to read?
Are you a hardcover fan? Paperback (trade size or mass market)? E-book (kindle, kobo, nook, or other)? Or do you read from a combination of all of the above?
Leave a comment staying what your favourite genre and format is. I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences.
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.
DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.
Erin Kelly – author of psychological thrillers including ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘The Poison Tree’
“A gripping debut novel about power, politics and the importance – and danger – of family ties. Hunter Wilson is a compelling new detective and Val Penny is an author to watch.”
Stuart Gibbon – Former Murder Squad DCI & co-author of ‘The Crime Writer’s Casebook’
“A cracking read featuring the unforgettable DI Hunter Wilson.”
Kate Bendelow – author of ‘The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers’
“An exciting debut – a police procedural that is refreshing, gripping and witty. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next one.”
Michael Jecks – author of unmissable historical mysteries including the ‘Jack Blackjack’ crime series including ‘Rebellion’s Message’ and the ‘Knights Templar’ mysteries including ‘The Last Templar’ and the contemporary spy novel ‘Act of Vengeance’
“This tartan noire book is a real coffee-cooler. I had three cups of coffee that went cold, forgotten while reading. Val Penny created a cast of characters I want to see in another book as soon as possible.
This is a truly astonishing debut from a writer to watch for the future.
Believable characters, gut-wrenching scenes, and a plot that sizzles along. A taut police procedural that is up there with Ian Rankin, Alex Gray and Quintin Jardine.”
About Val Penny
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.
Brings a whole new meaning to killing with kindness.
Meet Rachel. She loves animals and works at a dating agency bringing lonely people together – only somebody is watching her every move and she’s scared…
Neil didn’t see who killed him – but his murder brings DI Claire Falle on the case. What she uncovers leads her to discover that a serial killer is preying on the clients of the dating agency where Rachel works.
Can Claire work out the connection between all the deaths before Rachel becomes the next victim?
And what is it in Rachel’s past that haunts her?
As DI Claire Falle investigates the lives of the dating agency staff and clients, she is pulled into a tangled web of loneliness and deceit which will have devastating consequences for someone.
5 REASONS WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS IMPORTANT FOR TODAY’S AUTHORS BY GWYN GB
Authors have an amazing opportunity these days with social media. They can directly reach readers and connect with fellow authors and industry professionals like they’ve never been able to before. Some say the opportunities are helping make this a golden age for authors who now no longer are hidden behind the pages of their books, their agents and the publishing houses, but can communicate directly with their readers on a scale that would never have been contemplated twenty years ago.
1. The first stage of social media help comes when you’re researching your book. There are so many amazingly interesting Twitter accounts and Facebook groups out there and you’re almost certain to find one which will provide you with information and expert advice. For example, if you’re writing crime you’ll find lots of ex police and forensics people on Twitter. Some are now writers themselves, others are often happy to help writers. There is of course always the caveat that you need to check the information you are reading, and the background of the supplier, particularly in Facebook groups and the like, because unfortunately there are also lots of people who consider themselves experts or who in good faith repeat what they think are facts and aren’t.
2. While you’re researching and writing your book it can be a lonely process so this is where the ‘social’ in social media really comes into its own. The author community is generally incredibly supportive, so start connecting with fellow authors who can understand your journey and help point you towards resources and information that can help you. Find authors in your genre and then look at who they’re following – that’s the easiest way to find a good list of people. You’ll also find it rewarding supporting others and could make some great new friends.
3. Marketing and Advertising. Once your book is written, the hard work begins in marketing it. Social media makes that a little easier because it can allow you to broadcast to the world. If you’ve built up your community as you’ve been writing your book then you’ll have a ready group of those interested in knowing it’s now published. If you’re indie published then you might also need to do your own advertising. Gone are the days when you spent thousands on a print ad that would be seen by lots of people, but only a small percentage of that readership were your target audience. Now you can advertise on Facebook and target your ads to the exact type of person you know will be interested – and for a fraction of the cost.
4. Reviewers and bloggers. While you’re writing your book it’s worth keeping an eye on book blogs and building relationships with bloggers. Again, social media is great for this. A quick Twitter or Instagram search will soon come up with plenty of book bloggers for you to connect with. Facebook groups for both readers and reviewers are also excellent ways to make contacts.
5. Of course, the most important role of social media is to connect with your readers. I have absolutely loved receiving feedback from my readers for both of my books, ‘Islands’ and ‘Lonely Hearts’. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Whether that’s through your own Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social media (depending on who your audience is determines what social channels they use). This means not just ‘broadcasting’ to your readers and trying to sell books, but having conversations with them and making things personal not commercial. Never before have authors been able to talk directly to their readers on a global scale and 24/7. Building relationships also builds loyalty and that is critical in a world where your book is just one of millions hoping to be noticed.
Finally, there are downsides to social media. Keyboard warriors can raise their ugly heads and attack as well as support. Don’t let their small-mindedness put you off. Also it can be a tremendous distraction and crutch to those who procrastinate rather than get on with writing. View social media as one of the tools to use in your writing and marketing arsenal and you won’t be disappointed.
ABOUT GWYN GB
Gwyn GB is a writer living in Jersey, Channel Islands. A native of the UK she moved to the island with her Jersey-born husband, geriatric dog, two boys and goldfish.
Gwyn is a former national and international newsreader for BBC TV and ITN in London and Jersey. She’s also freelanced for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, once had her own magazine publishing business and has a PR diploma. She is currently working in the digital industry while writing in her spare time.
Series: A DI Matthew Adams Thriller – Book #3 (can be read as a standalone)
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: September 6 2017
Publisher: Death by Choc Lit
18+ (some violence and language)
What if you and your family were at the mercy of a psychopath/a man with no conscience?
Just when DI Matthew Adams thinks he’s left the past behind him, it comes back to haunt him once again; this time in the form of the Conner family.
Like Matthew, the Conners have lost a child in tragic circumstances – and they’ve also found themselves in the hands of one of the most depraved criminals to walk the streets: ‘Dead-eyed’ Charlie Roberts, a drug addicted low-life with a penchant for extreme violence.
Matthew’s greatest affinity lies with Daniel Conner, the brooding father who still blames himself for his youngest child’s death. But when Daniel’s wife and daughter are tortured and tormented by Roberts, can Matthew prevent him from completely ruining his own life for an act of revenge particularly when, once upon a time, that’s exactly what Matthew would have done too?
Daniel’s eyes flickered away from Charlie for a second. ‘Come on, baby, come out,’ he said to the daughter, who was standing hesitantly on the top step. ‘It’s safe now.’
‘Yeah, come on, baby,’ Charlie mimicked. ‘Come and join the party.’
Charlie stepped sideways, allowing the girl to exit, her eyes like a terrified Bambi’s and shaking as much as Danny boy, poor cow. Must be hereditary.
‘Give me a shout if you fancy another quick shag, sweetheart,’ Charlie called as she stepped onto the towpath.
A tic went at the side of Daniel’s mouth. He walked calmly over to Charlie and smiled, which had Charlie momentarily flummoxed, then pulled back the gun and rammed it hard into his stomach.
Matthew flinched as Charlie doubled up. ‘Ouch,’ he said under his breath. ‘Okay, Daniel,’ he said carefully. ‘I know how you must be feeling but you need to let him go now. He’ll get what’s—’
‘You have no fucking idea how I feel,’ Daniel shouted, glancing quickly at Jo. ‘The only way that bastard goes anywhere is feet first.’ He raked a hand angrily though his hair. ‘Got that, Charlie? Now, get down on your knees.’
Charlie looked up, astonished. ‘You must be joking. I ain’t—’
‘Do I look as if I’m joking?’ Daniel asked, his eyes burning with hatred.
‘For fuck’s sake,’ Charlie uttered, turning to Matthew, his hands nursing his stomach.
‘On your knees, Charlie,’ Daniel repeated. ‘Now!’
Matthew dearly wished he could turn a blind eye as Roberts blinked at him beseechingly, and scared witless, satisfyingly. Unfortunately, as much as he would relish seeing the abusive piece of scum get a taste of his own, he couldn’t.
‘You need to drop the gun, Daniel,’ he said, moving cautiously towards the boat. ‘Leave him to me and get your wife and child—’
‘Don’t,’ Daniel warned, his eyes and the gun still fixed on Roberts. ‘Back off.’
Matthew hesitated, uncertain. God knows, the man had every reason to … But was Conner actually going to shoot Roberts?
‘I can’t do that, Daniel.’ Matthew stepped closer. ‘You know I can’t.’
‘Stay!’ Daniel shouted, swinging the gun around, then fast back to Charlie. ‘And you,’ he grated, ‘down on your knees, while you still can.’ He aimed the gun lower, which had Charlie dropping to his knees, fast.
‘Get them out of here,’ Matthew shouted, indicating Jo and Kayla over his shoulder. Roberts had pushed Conner right over the edge. He bloody well was going to shoot him. Christ, hadn’t this family already been through enough?
‘Daniel …’ Warning himself to tread carefully, empathising with the man more than he could possibly know, Matthew tried again. ‘You can’t take the law into your own hands.’ He stopped and waited, wondering whether Daniel, who was now swaying on his feet, could even hear him. ‘You have to do this the legal way. Please, give me the gun, Daniel.’
‘Can’t.’ Daniel closed one eye.
Matthew took a breath and stepped closer. ‘Why can’t you, Daniel?’ he asked quietly.
‘Three, two, one,’ Daniel replied, nonsensically.
‘Right.’ Matthew was scared for him now. If he used that gun with police marksmen aiming right at him … ‘Which means what, exactly, Daniel?’
Daniel shrugged. ‘Bang.’ He concentrated his aim.
‘Fuck,’ said Charlie, turning a pale shade of white. ‘Don’t, Danny,’ he pleaded.
Daniel cocked the gun.
‘Look, I didn’t touch your daughter—’
‘Shut the fuck up!’ Daniel yelled.
‘I didn’t. I swear I didn’t.’ Perspiration broke out on Charlie’s forehead. ‘Danny, please. I’m sorry. Okay? I—’
‘The name’s Daniel, not Danny. Not fucking Danny boy. Daniel! Got it?’
‘Yeah,’ Charlie nodded quickly. ‘Daniel. Whatever. Just put the gun down.’
Daniel continued to stare at him.
‘Shit. This is nuts.’ Charlie looked desperately to Matthew. ‘Do something! Don’t let them go!’ He nodded past him, to where the man’s wife and daughter weren’t being persuaded to leave. ‘He won’t do anything in front of them.’
That’s probably the first, and might well be the last, time you’ve said anything sensible in your entire life, you piece of shit. Matthew looked him over derisively. Conner cared about his family. They’d endured too much to go through any more. He must know it.
Matthew drew in a breath and then took a gamble. ‘Okay, Daniel. Fine. Do it,’ he said.
‘Go ahead. Blow his brains all over the boat if it will make you feel better.’ Matthew paused for an instant. ‘And leave your wife wondering why you did it in front of your daughter. Whether to visit you in prison, when you didn’t care enough about her, or Kayla, not to.’
Daniel tightened his grip on the gun.
His hands were shaking, Matthew noticed. Shaking badly.
‘I have kids of my own, Daniel,’ he said softly, taking another careful step towards him.
Daniel’s shoulders stiffened.
‘I know you lost your little girl, Daniel.’ Seeing Daniel reel on his feet, Matthew pushed on and prayed. He needed to get through to him. Had to.
‘You think I can’t know how you feel, but … I lost my little girl too, Daniel,’ he confided, though it almost choked him to say it. ‘I do know at least some of how you feel.’
Still Daniel didn’t move, but Matthew saw a swallow slide down his throat.
‘That bastard has piled pain on top of pain, hasn’t he?’ Matthew kept going, touching raw nerves, he was well aware of that, but what other choice did he have? ‘Persecuted Kayla and Joanne? Taunted them. Touched them, Daniel?’
Daniel’s jaw tightened.
‘Dared you to do anything about it, so he could revel in his pathetic power and beat you senseless? I know him,’ Matthew said forcefully. ‘He’ll get what’s coming to him. But you have to stop this. Now, Daniel. For the sake of your wife and daughter. Show them you care enough not to put them through this.’
‘Jesus!’ Daniel leaned to wipe his perspiring face against his shoulder. ‘Of course I care!’ he raged frustrated, and obviously confused. ‘But he’ll get out, won’t he?’
A sharp cough rattled his chest.
‘Jo and my kids are my life. Jo and Kayla … Were my … I …’ Trailing off, Daniel closed his eyes.
And lowered the gun.
‘Hah.’ Charlie levered himself to his feet. ‘No bottle. Knew it. I’ll catch up with you when I’m out, Danny boy.’ He smirked, as Matthew climbed on board. ‘Keep that pretty wife of yours warm for me, won’t you?’
Daniel brought the gun back up sharp. ‘Say your fucking prayers, freak,’ he hissed.
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.
Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.
Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Ruth Rendell
Twenty grand has vanished from Shaun Halloran’s casino, and so has gorgeous blonde croupier Kat White. Once he’s tracked her down, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later.
Amy Satterthwaite’s just learned Kat stole her ID for a sham marriage. Desperate to clear her name and save her friend from Shaun, she swallows her pride and turns to arrogant Ross Pritchard for help. But can they find Kat in time?
Twists and tension keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s stunning crime thriller. As Kat’s trail leads from London’s smart Fitzrovia to secret tunnels below central Birmingham, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
“No,” Amy said, “I really don’t know. If I did, I’d tell you. She’s been gone for three days and I can’t reach her. I’ve tried, believe me.” This was no time for heroics. Had she the slightest idea of Kat’s whereabouts, she would have divulged them, of that she was sure.
His eyes darted down to the knife. He flicked it open, stroked its blade, then looked up at her again. “I need answers, Amy,” he said, almost sorrowfully. “If someone had stolen twenty grand from you, you’d want some answers too.”
“Kat stole twenty thousand pounds?” A week ago she wouldn’t have believed it. Now, she couldn’t be sure. “That’s not all she’s done. She married an illegal immigrant, using my name. The police were round this morning.”
“Do they know where she is?”
Amy sighed. “No.”
“Good. I want to see her before the police do. I don’t suppose they’ve searched this flat for clues to her whereabouts?”
She was silent.
“No,” he said. “I thought not. You and me, Amy, we’re going to do that now, before any such clues might do a vanishing act like our mutual friend. Show me Kat’s room.”
“You’re in it.”
He looked around, shook his head. “Really? I thought this was the lounge. Okay, I want you to take everything out of those boxes.” He pointed to a stack of wooden wine crates, painted white, in which Kat’s belongings were stowed.
The top crate was crammed with shopping bags, over a dozen of them, bearing the names of designer boutiques: Prada, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and more. Reluctantly, Amy picked up a bag.
“Open it,” the knifeman said.
It was from Agent Provocateur, a powder pink paper bag sealed with a black ribbon. Carefully, Amy untied the bow. Inside, there was a pink cardboard box.
“Now that,” he ordered.
“Must I?” Amy pleaded. “These are Kat’s personal things.”
“That’s the whole point.”
Silently, she opened the box, unfolded the black tissue paper inside and shook out a frilly silk underwear set. A receipt showed it had cost two hundred pounds.
He whistled, leering. “Very nice. Now the rest.”
Altogether, Kat had spent over four thousand pounds on unworn purchases. “A shopping addiction,” he said thoughtfully, reflecting Amy’s surprised reaction. “Carry on.”
The crates below mostly contained clothes, neatly folded, and shoes in bags. There were a few books, overspill from the shelves by the wall, and finally, a box file containing paperwork.
“Give me that,” the dangerous stranger commanded. He fished out a letter. “Dearest Kat,” he read aloud, “I hope you are well. I am fine, and so is Cedric the Cat, but he is very old now. I have a little job now at Treasures in Harborne. Same old, same old. Do write and tell me your news. With love, Auntie Lizzie.” He paused. “Isn’t that sweet?” he said sarcastically. “Let’s see if there’s more of the same.”
He rifled through the box, shaking his head. Evidently, nothing further was deemed worthy of comment. He asked her to empty the only other article of storage in the room, a large rosewood chest, but that merely yielded towels and bedding.
“Interesting, and predictable,” he muttered. “I’ll tell you what we haven’t found. No suitcase, money, passport, women’s things like cosmetics. No certificates for qualifications, birth, marriage even.” He looked pointedly at Amy. “She’s done a runner.”
Amy bit her tongue. He was unlikely to appreciate being told he was stating the obvious.
He pocketed the letter. “I’ll be back. And you’ll tell me where she is, okay?” He fingered the knife again. “Not a word to the Old Bill. I’ve never been here, not on your life.”
“What about the CCTV?” she couldn’t resist challenging him.
“What about it?” he said dismissively. “None in that car park. I cut the wires.” He stood to leave, putting a finger to his lips. “You’re a lucky, lucky girl, Amy, because I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t. Now don’t forget – not a dicky bird, okay?”
When he’d gone, Amy bolted the door and searched the kitchenette for alcohol. Finding a bottle of Snow Mountain vodka, less than a quarter full, she drank all that was left of it and went straight to bed.
Please note there is also a taster story, The Gap, at:
AA Abbott (also known as Helen) chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. Born near London, she’s lived in Birmingham and Bristol, and worked in all three cities. She works for big companies for half the year as a tax accountant, taking temporary work so she can spend the rest of the year writing fast-paced crime thrillers. Although her work gives her inspiration, she says none of her colleagues have murdered, blackmailed or defrauded anyone. Hanging out in coffee shops and cocktail bars, she loves city life and can’t resist writing about it.
Series: Crane and Anderson Book 2 (can be read as a standalone)
Release Date: December 2016
Publisher: Costa Press
He’s not a killer. He’s ordinary. It’s just that he has an addiction.
The papers call him The Choker. Crane and Anderson call him a sadomasochist. But whatever his name is, the Major Crimes team have to find him. And fast. Because time is running out. It won’t be long before he kills again.
You’d be surprised how still I can sit. I’m doing it now. My bottom is on the floor, my knees are pulled up and my arms wrapped around them. I’m watching a spider. A big, black, fat one. He’s just behind that rock. He came out once, but I frightened him by moving, so he ran away and I had to start all over again. I won’t make that mistake again. I can wait for ages and ages.
Here he comes. I can see one black leg poking out. Here comes another, and another. A spider has eight legs. I learned that at school. I like school, it’s interesting. I’m not like some of the other children. They mess about, don’t concentrate, don’t try their hardest. I always try my hardest. Daddy makes sure of that. Daddy helped me to learn to sit still. He said I was a terrible wriggler, so he tied me to a chair until I stopped. He doesn’t have to tie me down anymore. I can sit still for ages, until he tells me I can get down. It makes me feel funny inside. I quite like that feeling. So I do as I’m told.
I can see the spider’s body now. He’s inching his way out from his hiding place, his legs reaching out ahead of him, making sure there’s nothing in his way. And there isn’t. Not really. Only my little hand and if I keep it still enough he’ll crawl right onto it.
The spider is climbing onto my hand now. One leg, two. He’s an old slow coach but I can wait. Nearly there…
My fingers curl over his body, trapping him inside my hand. Got him!
I hold the spider’s body between my finger and thumb, leaving his legs dangling in the air. Now I can count them. The first leg comes off easily, making him wriggle even more. He isn’t as good as being still as I am. As I pull off each leg I sing quietly to myself…
Incy wincy spider…
ABOUT WENDY CARTMELL
Wendy Cartmell is the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller STEPS TO HEAVEN. She lives on the Costa del Sol with three mad dogs and her even madder husband. She inherited her love of reading from her parents and discovered her ability to weave a good story at Reading University, which she attended at the tender age of 40.
After several failed attempts at writing in various genres, Sgt Major Crane, a military policeman, knocked on her proverbial door and the rest, as they say, is history. All 8 Crane crime thrillers are published by Endeavour Press, as well as the Emma Harrison mystery trilogy, set in Reading Young Offenders Institution.
Runaway teenager, Lilly Lessard has some secrets. For a start, that’s not her real name and she wants to keep quiet about her real age too. Bumping into ex-hitman Bobby at a small town film festival isn’t the coincidence it seems either. She’s tracked him here. He owes her money and she’s desperate enough to come looking for it.
And she’s not the only one who has followed him here. Detective Davis is after him too. She’s been after him in Miami for years, but never quite managed to get a hold on him. Maybe this weekend she’ll get lucky.
But the closer Lilly gets to Bobby and his money, the closer Davis gets to them both. One by one, their secrets are coming out. And Lilly’s about to find out, the worst secrets are the ones you keep from yourself.
‘There’s no money,’ Cassandra said dryly. ‘Don’t be a dumbass. Don’t get in that car. It’s not safe.’
Lilly watched the end of the girl’s cigarette burn as she took a hit. Cassandra had always liked the fact that Bobby was a dangerous man. But she hadn’t seen him that night when he got back in the room after killing The Judge. His face had blanched and his false teeth had hung half out of his mouth. Killing The Judge hadn’t been easy for Bobby, not like when he drove past that phone box down in Florida and shot three times into some guy’s back. Bobby had lost his appetite for murder. He wouldn’t try to kill her, not unless it was absolutely necessary.
‘I have to take the risk,’ Lilly said. ‘I’ve got nothing. I’ve got to try. And if Bobby doesn’t give me the money, I’m as good as dead anyway.’
ABOUT LISSA PELZER
Lissa Pelzer is a British crime writer living in Germany.
Her previous published work includes romance fiction under a pseudonym. No More Birthdays is her first work under her own name.
Someone is dumping bodies on DI Ted Darling’s patch and he’s not happy. Ted’s a good solid copper, in an old-fashioned way, with an excellent clear-up rate. He’s not at all like your average cop and has his own unique way of dealing with any prejudice his differences bring him. No heavy drinking, no failed marriage, just a steady, long-term relationship. He and his partner have cats, not kids.
But this serial killer seems to be running effortless rings round Ted and his team. Every promising lead just takes them up another frustrating blind alley.
Let me begin by saying I can’t tell you how to write. We all do it differently. It would be presumptuous, and wrong, of me to suggest that my way is better than yours. Instead I’d like to share a few practical tips I’ve learnt over the years which have proved useful. Things not everyone knows, specially when they are just getting going in writing.
I started out in the Dark Ages, before computers, training as a journalist in the early 1970s, when everything was on typewriters. If you were lucky, you might have an electric one, although I’ve worked in offices where they were all manual and even, on one small local newspaper, one where journalists had to provide their own typing machine.
When the millennium came around, I decided to retrain as a copywriter/copy editor and that meant also coming to grips with computers for the first time in my life, strange though that may sound.
You all save everything, right?
I thought newspaper deadlines were punishing until I encountered the wonderful world of advertising. As a freelance copywriter, a typical conversation with a client may go something like this:
Client: We need copy for a new catalogue. X patches of X words each. You’ll have the brief by end of play Monday, we need the copy by Friday.
Me: (Picking myself up off the floor having fainted at the impossibility of it) It’s a bit tight, but I’ll be happy to do it for you (mentally doubling the bill). But I must have the brief on Monday.
Monday: No brief, lots of promises. Repeat daily until way past my bedtime on Thursday, when the brief finally arrives. Needless to say, the deadline is still end of play Friday. I do it, because I’m a masochist like that. They don’t like it. They want more ‘blah, blah and blah’ (none of which was in the original brief).
They graciously extend the deadline to Monday. I do it again. They don’t like it. And a couple of times more. Then we get to the bit which is relevant to you as a writer, believe me. After long consideration, they preferred the first version after all. Let’s go with that.
So, here we come to the nub. Did I save the first version, and if so, where the heck is it?
Save everything. Always. Everywhere.
Back in the paper days, a writer would pen something, hate it, screw it up and throw it away. Of course, in time, that would be the version they would decide was the best to date, now lost forever. Now we’ve largely gone paperless, you can save everything you write, and you should do. It’s a valuable learning experience.
Whenever I start a new book (I’ve now written and published nine and jointly written two others) I first create a new folder with the working title. I try to write at least a chapter a day and I save each one as a separate file within that folder. The title will be either the chapter number, if I already know where it’s going to fit in, or a keyword or two, ‘First victim’, ‘Second post-mortem,’ ‘Kick-trick’ (that’s a little peculiarity of my detective). I save everything starting with a date and, because I write a lot, I use the format YY/MM/DD. Every time I make changes, I save again with the current date, and I always begin each writing day by reading and editing what I wrote the day before.
Once I have a few chapters, I start a new file, ‘First draft’, and start to collate them there. From then on, I make all changes on this document, so the individual chapters are still there for me to go back to, should I need to.
Then I save everything. Obsessively. Repeatedly. To USB stick. To external hard drive. Emailed to myself. And to Dropbox. Dropbox is wonderful. You can set it up so that everything you write is automatically saved there without you having to do anything. That way, in theory, you never lose anything you’ve sweated blood to produce.
My house is set up so that, in the event of a fire, even half asleep, I can grab dogs, car keys and external hard drive as I rush out of the front door. My writing is about the only part of my life which is remotely tidy and organised. It’s a method I hope you may find useful.
ABOUT L M KRIER
Retired journalist, freelance copywriter and copy editor Lesley Tither writes under various pen names for different genres. Already well known for travel memoirs as Tottie Limejuice, Lesley also writes crime fiction under the name L M Krier.
Lesley’s first crime thriller, ‘Baby’s Got Blue Eyes’, was published in February 2015, followed by ‘Two Little Boys’ in June 2015. Books 3 and 4 in the DI Ted Darling series, ‘When I’m Old and Grey’ and ‘Shut Up and Drive’ are now available and Book 5 in the series will appear later in 2016.
“Sell the Pig” is the first in a series of travel memoirs describing how Lesley, writing as Tottie Limejuice, decided to make the move from the UK to France to start a new life, taking with her an 89-year-old mother suffering from vascular dementia. The story continues in three further books, ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’, ‘Mother, Was It Worth It?’ and ‘Biff the Useless Mention’. A fifth book in the ‘Sell the Pig’ series is scheduled for release later in 2016.
Her first children’s fiction book, writing as L M Kay, will be published later in 2016. ‘The Dog with the Golden Eyes’ is an exciting children’s crime thriller.
Lesley also writes under the collective pen name of Jilli Lime-Holt, together with authors Jill Pennington and Janet Holt. Their first joint book, Take Three Birds, was published in December 2014.
Lesley is a former journalist, working as both a criminal court and coroner’s court reporter. She also worked as a case tracker for the Crown Prosecution Service, and for a firm investigating irregularities in offshore finance. Her other jobs have included owning and running a holiday riding centre and acting as a ‘charity mugger’, lying in wait to sign up shoppers for a wildlife charity.
Lesley’s interests centre around nature and wildlife and encompass dogs, wild camping and organic gardening. She lives in the Auvergne region of Central France and holds dual French/British nationality. Her current dogs are two rescued border collies.