Category Archives: Scotland

Unravelling ~ a gripping tale of dark secrets, lies and murder

#UNRAVELING

a gripping tale

Celtic Connexions is happy to welcome Helen Forbes, author of Unravelling ~ a gripping tale of dark secrets, lies and murder.
gripping tale
And just look at that cover! If that doesn’t draw you into this gripping tale, then perhaps the blurb will.
gripping tale

Blurb

Incarcerated in the gloom of a Highland asylum, 

a young mother finds illicit love. And death.

Kate Sharp’s family is a mystery. Her mother, Ellen, disappeared into the shadows of Craig Dunain psychiatric hospital when Kate was a child. When her grandmother dies, Kate is desperate for answers. What were the circumstances of her mother’s life and death? Who is her father?

Kate’s not the only one trying to uncover the truth. The remains of two bodies with murderous injuries have been found buried in the forest next to the former hospital.

And someone else is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them.

As the tale of Ellen’s tragic unravelling unfolds, the secrets that led to her death are exposed, along with the shocking truth about Kate’s father.

Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. 

Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?

Excerpt

Go, a voice cried in my head. Run. Before it’s too late. A little overdramatic? Not really. Who wouldn’t run from a seven-hour shift of spooning mushed-up food into gaping, toothless mouths, wiping backsides, and mopping up body fluids? But I didn’t have a choice. Not without another job, and I lacked the energy or motivation to find something else. Pushing open the front door, I caught the scent of tangerine and lemon. Mrs Shelby had been at the homemade air fresheners again. It made for a pleasant welcome to the foyer of the care home, but a few essential oils couldn’t cover up the natural scents of warm cabbage, bed sores and incontinence. Not that it was a bad care home. A large Victorian villa with high ceilings and big rooms, clean and well-managed, it was one of the better ones. There were just some scents that couldn’t be shifted. And some residents.
I heard Smyth before I saw him, his entitled plummy tones and the squeak of his wheelchair grating through me. Scarcely a shift passed that I didn’t fantasise about smothering him with a pillow, but that would be far too kind. He needed to be strung up and eviscerated.
‘Pole, you come here right now.’
Stefan was at the reception desk. He ignored Smyth and smiled at me. Deep in my belly, something primitive tugged and taunted. It was another good reason for running, but I’d left it far too late.
‘Pole!’ Flecks of spittle shot from Smyth’s mouth. His face was twisted with venom. There were bulging veins on his forehead, a crimson flush creeping up his wrinkled neck. I willed Stefan to pull the old man from his wheelchair and throw him on the floor.
He didn’t. Of course, he didn’t. He held out his hands. ‘Mr Smyth. What may I do for you?’
Smyth’s eyes narrowed. ‘What is your name?’
‘Stefan Nowak.’
‘Why are you here? Aren’t there care homes in your own
country?’
Stefan nodded. ‘There are, Mr Smyth. Remember, we
talk yesterday and I tell you all about them. The story of my grandmother and the tattoo?’
‘Yesterday?’ The old man’s eyes shifted between us. ‘A tattoo? Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve never seen you before in my life. I couldn’t believe it when Matron said you came from Poland to work here.’
Stefan’s smile didn’t falter. ‘I did, Mr Smyth, with others.’ ‘There are others? My God. Matron, get me out of here.’
As Smyth’s frantic hands wheeled his chair down the corridor,
I apologised to Stefan, and not for the first time. He waved his hand. ‘Kate, it is not your fault. There are many head-dicks.’
‘Dickheads.’
He laughed. ‘Ah, yes. I will learn.’
‘What’s this about your grandmother and a tattoo?’
‘My grandmother is… was… in a care home in Warsaw. My
young wild sister – you know, I tell you about her punky hair and purple lips – she take my grandmother out one day and she comes back with a little black cat on her ankle. There is… what do you say? Hell to pay. My father, he doesn’t speak to my sister again. Yesterday, Smyth, he almost die laughing when I tell him this.’
‘Almost died?’ I shook my head. ‘Stefan, you have to try harder next time.’
He laughed. ‘Today, he remember nothing. His head, it is full of holes.’
‘Full of shite.’

‘This too.’ Stefan smiled. ‘Forget him. He is just an old man. Tomorrow he will be my…’ He frowned and fished his notebook out of his pocket. He thumbed through the pages of scribbled vocabulary. ‘Ah, he will be my beastie.’
I couldn’t keep my laughter in. Stefan looked devastated. ‘This is not right?’
‘Let me see.’ I looked at his notebook. ‘I think you mean bestie, though you’re not too far wrong with beastie.’
‘Whatevers.’ His hand rested on my arm. ‘You are tired, Kate. How is she?’
I would have told him. I might have cried, and he might have held me, but our conversation was severed by the shrill voice of Mrs Shelby, a cloud of stale perfume, the crackle of starched polyester, and then the woman herself. She looked about to cry. ‘Stefan, whatever have you said to Mr Smyth? He’s in quite a state. His daughter will be here shortly and we mustn’t upset her. She’s very generous…’
Stefan shrugged. ‘I no know what you ask, Madame Shelby, but you look very… how you say…?’
‘Haggard,’ I muttered.
Stefan sighed. ‘Very beautiful, Madame.’
Mrs Shelby blushed and waved her hand. ‘Oh, Stefan. Just be
more careful. It’s not your fault things get lost in translation. Kate, there’s a new resident in room nine. She’s a little fragile. Younger than our usual clientele. She’s refusing to get out of bed. Says she can’t walk, but she had no problems yesterday on arrival. Perhaps you could have a chat, see if you can get her up and dressed, and into the dayroom.’
I nodded. ‘I’ll try. What’s her name?’
‘Lucille Leonard. You’ll need the key. She wants the door kept locked.’
That was understandable with the likes of Smyth roaming around, interfering with everyone else’s business.
‘What’s wrong with her?

Buy Link

amazon.co.uk

About the Author

gripping tale Helen Forbes is a mystery author known for her crime novels Madness Lies and In the Shadow of the Hill. The author has also written a few contemporary and historical fiction pieces as well as short stories. When she is not writing, Forbes enjoys her work as a lawyer in Inverness. She published the first two novels based in Outer Hebrides and Inverness, two areas that she feels have not been given enough attention in the crime-fiction genre. Forbes also has a deep liking for the Gaelic language and island communities, which explains her choice of characters in her stories.

Links

 Website: www.helenforbes.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Helen-Forbes-Author-457783327732599

Twitter: https://twitter.com/foreva48

Jan 25 ~ Robbie Burns Day #haggis #poetry #bard

Jan 25, 1759 – Jul 21, 1796

Jan 25What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire, and a wee dram of single malt in your hand?

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. I’ve hosted some crackers in the past. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down editing my third book in the “It Happened Series”.

On this Jan 25, will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties (mashed potatoes) and bashed neeps (mashed turnips)?

With COVID throwing a spanner into everything, I was unable to buy a wee haggis for supper, not that I’ve had the inclination to go anywhere to get one. Something in the one-pound size or smaller suits us fine here at Chez King. Basically, I’m the only one who eats it, although my husband will have a spoonful along with me. And turnip? Definitely, only me.

So this Jan 25, I’ll fry up my last slice of frozen haggis, warm up some potatoes (if there are any left from Sunday dinner) with whatever else I make for supper. I don’t even have a single finger shortbread in the house. No sticky toffee pudding. Things will be on the lean side this year. But what I do have is whisky. So the big decision will be which single malt will I have a dram of?

With this Jan 25 falling on a Monday, celebrations will have to remain somewhat muted. After all, I have to work the next day. Okay, I’ll be working in my kitchen office, but still don’t want to do that with a sair heid.

Jan 25
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where you celebrate.

5 ebook copies of YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS up for grabs

5 ebook copies

5 ebook copies up for grabs!

I’m a guest on Marie Lavender‘s blog today, and I’m giving away 5 ebook copies of my romantic suspense/psychological thriller.

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS recently won a silver badge in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

This is what the book is about…

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment, her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

 

Excerpt

~ 1 ~

31st December, 2010

He stepped out from the entrance of the Vue Cinemas. One day she would be his. But not today. Now was not the right time. He was not ready. No instructions came from within his brain. The voices hadn’t spoken to him yet. Only when they did, would the time be right.

In the month since his arrival, he spent hours at the Central Library searching through the city directories to confirm ownership of As the Pages Turn. The business had not changed hands. In addition to those, he perused back issues of The Press and Journal on microfilm for more information about the shop and its owners.

The streets were busy tonight. A group of giggling young women, their skirts too short, and their heels too high, wearing far too much makeup, walked past his hiding place forcing him to retreat further into the shadows. Any one of these girls could be his, but his heart was set on the one with the fiery red tresses. The owner of the bookstore.

Captivated by her beauty, he emerged from the darkness and started across the street, careful not to be seen by the CCTV camera. He crept to the corner of the casino building giving the video surveillance a wide berth.

Back garden fireworks popped and banged. The occasional starbursts of red, green, blue and white rose above the buildings. One, louder than the others made him jump – so nearby it could have been set off beside him. Aberdeen’s official display wouldn’t start until midnight. The clock, barely visible over the rooftops read fifteen minutes to six.

His threadbare overcoat was useless in this cold, damp night air. He rubbed his hands up and down his upper arms in an attempt to warm himself but the action only provided temporary relief.

He pressed himself against the back wall under the shelter of the roof. He could see her clearer. No one could notice his interest in her.

Oblivious to his presence, she carried on as usual. Just the way he wanted. She couldn’t be aware of him. Not now. Not yet. He was the invisible man, skulking in the gloom a short distance from her store. Just beyond her vision. He didn’t exist to her, as it had to be for now. But the day would come and she would be the first to know when he was ready to reveal himself.

This book contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended, so bear this in mind when entering the giveaway. If that’s not your cup of tea, you likely won’t enjoy the book.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on Marie’s blog or here for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you aren’t lucky enough to win a copy in the giveaway, here are the buy links for kindle and kobo.

kindle

Kobo

 

 

The Selkirk Grace … Some hae meat … #BurnsSupper

All Burns Suppers begin with the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit

What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.

tartan chair by fire

Once again, I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

Here’s a portrait of the bard … a handsome fellow, don’t you think?

Selkirk Grace
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

I’ll summon my manservant, Donald (the Red), to bring us some refreshments.

Selkirk Grace

 

whisky
By Chris huh (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Some of the selection of whiskies on hand to toast the bard. I also have a special edition Cardhu, 18-year-old Cardhu (not available in Canada), and Oban on hand should these not whet your tastebuds.

We can have cheese and oakcakes with our drams. That way we’re not too tipsy before the feast. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

(swish of swinging door as the manservant returns with a tray carrying a decanter of whisky – 18-year-old Cardhu no less, two glasses and water). “Your whisky, my lady,” he says as he places it on the table.

“Thank you.”

As the manservant straightens to leave, I cry out… “Donald, where’s your trousers?” because so unlike him, he’s wearing a kilt!

Overcome by the shock of seeing him dressed in that fashion, it takes me a moment to regain my composure. (fans self with a copy of Leopard Magazine) which is very fitting as it’s published in Aberdeenshire where my father was born.

After the Selkirk Grace is recited, the moment everyone (well maybe  NOT everyone) has been waiting for arrives – the piping in of the haggis.

Selkirk Grace

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

Now, the haggis is cut open with great pomp and circumstance, although one has to be careful they don’t get a splattering of boiling hot haggis on them when the casing is cut.

Kim Traynor [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Haggis looks like ground beef (especially in this picture). It’s rather spicy but served with turnips and mashed potatoes, the spiciness can be toned down somewhat.

After our main course, we have Cranachan for dessert.

Saskia van de Nieuwenhof from Edinburgh, United Kingdom [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Here’s the link to a recipe for if you want to try it yourself. It’s very good, in my opinion.
Back in the day, when Burns Suppers were held at the Manitonna Hotel in Brockville, Creme de menthe parfait was the dessert. Not very Scottish, but good. I was a member of the Wee McGregors Highland Dancing group and it was at this time, we performed for the guests. Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Shepherd’s Crook and more.

© James F. Perry; crop Fui in terra aliena (talk) 05:20, 9 October 2009 (UTC) [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
That’s a real sword and it’s sharp. You just have to ask my cousin who cut the end of her toe on the tip of the blade. I won a silver medal performing this dance at the 1000 Islands Highland Games in 1969 – and no blood was shed.

Before we get started with the Ceilidh, a recitation of Burns’ poetry starting with Ae Fond Kiss by Outlander heartthrob, Sam Heughan.

Followed by Red Red Rose.

I think you’ll like what I have in store for you at the ceilidh tonight. I tried to get the Old Blind Dogs but they weren’t available. That’s okay as I do have a vast collection of Scottish music on CDs – Old Blind Dogs, The Corries, Runrig and the list goes on.

One of my favourite Runrig songs is Alba. Have a watch/listen and see what you think.

We’ve all heard of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but how many of you have heard of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers? Yup, they’re real and they play rock music on bagpipes.

How about this piece? Don’t Stop Believing by Journey played by the Pipers?

One of my favourites performed by the Old Blind Dogs is The Cruel Sister. Listen closely to the lyrics. Cruel is putting it mildly.

And another favourite by The Old Blind Dogs …

There’s a clock tower in MacDuff that has faces on three of the four sides. The side facing Banff has no face. If the good people of Banff didn’t know what time it was, they didn’t know what time MacPherson was being executed.

As we bring the evening to a close, here’s a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where you celebrate.

Silver Badge “Recommended Read”

Wow! I’m so excited. YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS won a Silver Badge “Recommended Read” in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards!

silver badge

Isn’t it gorgeous? It looks even better on the cover, don’t you think?

silver badge

I must admit, I didn’t think I won anything because the email didn’t come in early this morning, like the announcement that I moved on to Phase 2 did.

You can imagine my surprise when I checked the mail on my iPhone, and there was the news. Well, let me tell you, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

The next stage begins on January 15th, 2020.

That is the date Author Shout begins the following benefits of my silver badge.

Promotion – YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS will receive six months of promotion in which it will be featured as a Silver Badge “Recommended Read Reader Ready” book in its category on their website, shared across all of their social media platforms and featured spots in the newsletter.

Graphics Pack – YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS will receive a “Silver Badge Recommended Graphics Pack” consisting of a 3D book cover mockup, teaser banners, animated teaser banners, and a book teaser video all with my Silver Badge on my book cover.

Author Teach Access – I will receive six months of free access to Author Teach (http://authorteach.com/). Author Teach is a members-only community of authors teaching authors with a focus on sharing tips, tools, techniques, resources, and networking opportunities.  My six months of access to Author Teach will include a featured author interview, my very own landing page inside the community, access to a private Facebook group, and more.

Blurb and buy links

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

It contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

kindle

Kobo

B&N nook

iBooks

Fireside chat with Sarah and Robert from A Shadow in the Past

Today, I have the pleasure of not just one guest in the “hot seat” for a fireside chat, but two. Sarah Shand and Robert Robertson, from Melanie Robertson-King’s novel, A Shadow in the Past, are with me here today.

fireside chat

Welcome to both of you. I have a selection of single malts, if you want something to drink, along with some chilled bubbly. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, I got in some Irn Bru. I believe that’s Scotland’s other national drink? The ice bucket is full. I have some lovely nibbles, too. Haggis in puff pastry, oatcakes with Isle of Mull or Strathdon Blue cheese (Sarah wrinkles her nose) and of course, shortbread.

Sarah:  Pulls the tab on a tin of Irn Bru. “Thanks for inviting us. It’s great to be here. And yes, Irn Bru has been referred to as Scotland’s other national drink.”

“So happy to host you. You’re sure you don’t want a glass of bubbly?”

Sarah: “Maybe after our interview. I like champagne but it goes straight to my head.”

Robert: Chuckles. His golden brown eyes sparkle and a dimple forms in his cheek. “She’s right. If you want to get any sense out of her, keep her on the Irn Bru. Otherwise, she’ll babble on and you won’t understand a single thing she says. I’m going to have a wee dram of Glen Garioch, though, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, do help yourself. Now have I heard this correctly, you two had a rather unusual first meeting?”

Sarah and Robert: Giggle. “You’re right there.”

Robert: “You tell it, Sarah. It sounds so much better when you do.”

Sarah: Shifts in her chair. “You or your readers aren’t going to believe this. I still don’t.” Reaches out and takes Robert’s hand. “I’m a bit nervous.”

“Don’t be. Go on, then.”

Sarah: “Okay. I had been at the stone circle on my parents’ farm and the next thing I know, I’m waking up on a sofa at Weetshill mansion. The mansion is visible from the hill where the stone circle is but it’s a couple of miles away. How I got from one place to the other, I don’t know.”

“That’s not overly unusual.”

Sarah: “This is where things get weird. When I was at the stone circle, the year was 2010. When I woke up on the sofa at Weetshill, I was back in 1886.”

Takes a sip of bubbly and coughs.

Robert: “I heard a noise outside the front door so went to investigate. I found her passed out on the ground. At first I thought she was a laddie because she wore trousers. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered she was a lassie, and a rather pretty one at that.”

Sarah: Blushes. “You say the sweetest things. I’ve never really thought of myself as that. Ordinary and some days it stretches to moderately attractive but never pretty.”

“That is a most unusual meeting. So Robert, Weetshill mansion, it sounds like you’re well-to-do. What do you do for a living?”

Robert: “I’m the Laird of Weetshill.”

“So like Hector MacDonald in the television program Monarch of the Glen.”

Robert: “I don’t know what you mean.”

Blushes and pats him on the knee. “I’m sorry. I forgot for a moment you’re from the Victorian era.”

Sarah: “I know what you mean. And Robert is nothing like Hector MacDonald. If you want to compare him to one of the characters in the show, I would say he’s more like Archie.”

Smiles. “I always liked Archie. Thought he was a handsome fellow. As are you, too, Robert.”

Robert: Blushes. “Thank you.”

Sarah: “He’s so modest. That’s one of the things I love about him.” Reaching over and squeezing his hand.

Picks up the book and flips through it. “I’d like to ask you some more questions about your relationship.”

fireside chat

Robert: Holds up his hand. “I have to stop you there, I’m afraid. We don’t want to spoil it for Melanie’s readers. We can’t tell everything here because then they wouldn’t buy the book and that would never do.”

Traces her index finger over the cover. “Right, right, but you can’t blame me for wanting to know. I love this cover. The artist has captured your essence beautifully, Sarah.”

Sarah: “Actually, Melanie designed the cover. She did a brilliant job of portraying me. And you have to believe that because I’m not one to be ‘out there’ and now look at me. Not only did Melanie write the book, create this brilliant cover, she also created a book trailer.”

“Trailer, like you see for advertising films.”

Sarah: “Yes. Let’s watch it.”

 

“It’s amazing. The music adds an air of mystery and suspense.”

Robert: “That is does.”

Where can A Shadow in the Past be purchased?”

Sarah:

amazon (paperback and kindle)

kobo

and in paperback

Barnes and Noble

Books a Million

Diesel

There you have it, folks. The first in what I hope will be a number of fireside chats with characters from Melanie’s books. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Here’s tae the Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns

What better place to celebrate the life of Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, than in a tartan chair in front of a crackling, wood fire.

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we celebrated last Saturday (Jan 19th). My idea of a small haggis (about 1 pound), went straight out the window when the smallest one I could get this year weighed in at almost 3 pounds!

So tonight, I’ll have some leftover haggis, sans tatties and neeps as there aren’t any leftover, with whatever else I make for supper. With Burns Day falling on a Friday, it also means it’s grocery night for this gal. A hearty Scotch broth? Fish and chips? Maybe shortbread or sticky toffee pudding for dessert? Decisions, decisions.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.

#COVER #REVEAL ~ 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past

Here it is – the shiny, new cover for the 2nd Edition of my debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. I’ve been busy editing the content and getting my girl ready to return to the world of print and ebooks.

When a contemporary teen is transported back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, and confronts them head on only to suffer the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Here are the covers for the series side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated buy links to the 2nd Edition of A Shadow in the Past to follow.

 

 

 

HUNTER’S CHASE by Val Penny #tartannoir #Edinburgh #crime

hunter's chase

Hunter’s Chase

by

Val Penny

 

hunter's chaseRELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2018

PUBLISHER: Crooked Cat Books

SERIES: The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #1

GENRE: CRIME

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.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/5Gwmv6

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/uNbsgo

 

Author Endorsements for Hunter’s Chase

 

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.”

Hunter's chase

About Val Penny

 

hunter's chase

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’.

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

Friends of Hunter’s Chase – www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

 

It’s Robbie Burns Day – House of King style

I’m remiss this year in getting an online Burns Day celebration together. Shame on me. But, I have a valid excuse. I’ve had my head down working on my next novella. If you go by word length, it does qualify as a full-fledged novel, but that’s neither here nor there.

celebration
January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps?

Here at The House of King, we’ll be having a toned down version of previous Burns Night celebrations. Although I don’t have a wee haggis, I do have some frozen sliced haggis (great with a Scottish breakfast) so it will do, especially since I’m the only one who truly enjoys eating it here. I made Cock-a-leekie soup shortly after Christmas and it’s in the freezer and for the toasts to the lads and lassies afterwards, I have a bottles of 18-year old Glenlivet and Cardhu.

celebration
The “Guest of Honour”

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

And a wee bit of light reading for ‘after the feastie’.

 Enjoy your Robbie Burns celebrations no matter how/where your celebrate.