Category Archives: Book Spotlight

GOODBYE, MY LOVE ~ Roxanne’s Ghost Saga Book 1 ~ by Maggie Tideswell

Goodbye

Goodbye, My Love ~ About

Roxanne’s Ghost Saga, a new mystery series from internationally acclaimed author Maggie Tideswell, is set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of modern day South Africa. It is a compelling ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man, and the magical connection the women share.

And the theme?  Nothing is what it seems.

Here, we move into the realms of the mists of time that could either reveal or conceal.

Book 1, Goodbye, My Love, sets the scene. It introduces country vet, Ben, his four-year-old autistic daughter and the would-be nanny, Jessica James. Jess’ interview with Ben for the nanny position takes place on Friday the 13th. An attraction between the two is immediate, which by all accounts isn’t entirely normal.
Ben’s three oddball sisters-in-law descend on him for the anniversary of his wife Roxanne’s death. They try to convince Ben that Roxanne isn’t dead, more than likely to put an end to whatever might develop between Ben and Jessica. But Ben knows that no one could have survived what led to Roxanne’s death.

His daughter, diagnosed as autistic, only sometimes does she display the symptoms that led to her diagnosis. Autism is not a disease, it’s a condition. A condition with symptoms that can’t be turned on and off at will. So…what is the child really suffering from?

Ben’s wife’s twin sister, Millicent, is accompanied by an overboard caricature of a psychic to Ben’s home in order to help them find Roxanne. Of course, Millicent isn’t happy to find Jess already in Ben’s house—trouble is imminent. But only as far as Ben’s ancient housekeeper, will allow her to. What does the housekeeper know that will keep Millicent’s ruffled feathers under control?

More importantly…

Where is Roxanne?

Goodbye, My Love ~ Excerpt

Goodbye, My Love

Does anyone live here?

The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other houses nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.

Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings except the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight.

There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. What century was this place built?

Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetting it against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over the overgrown garden.

It all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she had thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either.

No, this couldn’t be it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank.

Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she would never outgrow them.

Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting.

“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in just now.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess.

Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks.
“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”

Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago.

“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.”

“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?”

“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the monitor.

“There you go. He won’t find anybody qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?”

“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look. “I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?”

“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That is all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. Then it’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?”

Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank unless Sally had kept some information to herself.

There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.

If there was anybody in the house to ask.

Switching the engine off, she consulted the rear-view mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder-length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed.

I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town.
What did people do around here for fun?

Trying her best to ignore the goose bumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.

Only when she turned toward the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too.

Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him?

Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions.

Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.

That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now that she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic.

Leaving the car door open for a quick escape should she need it, she’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.

She slowly turned her head, curling her fingers into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate.

I don’t do dogs!

Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw them. They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.

Where did they come from?

How many were there?

They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!

Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off? Why wasn’t he helping her?

Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed her. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps toward the house. The dogs did the same. She broke into a trot, her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.

Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs.
Just as a sharp whistle rent the air, but looking at the dogs, she careened into the man before the noise had even died down. Her momentum sent them both crashing to the floorboard. She landed on top of him, but with the dogs all around them, she hid her face in his neck. Another whistle— right in her ear—made her cringe, but the dogs were gone.

He lifted his head off the floorboards to glare at her, his hands at her waist, as if he was about to lift her off him. Stubble covered his jaw, his lips pressed into a tight line. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He dragged his eyes out of her gaping blouse to meet her stare.

They had to be the greenest pair of eyes she’d ever seen, and he was clearly not amused.

Then she noticed how much leg was exposed by her skirt bunched around her hips and she quickly scrambled to her feet, pushing her skirt back down her legs.

“Sorry,” she muttered, her face on fire. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, but from the corner of her eye, she saw the stranger slowly unfold himself from the floor. Up and up he went until she felt him looking down at her. Even in her heels, the top of her head barely reached his nose.

With fists on his hips, he glared at her. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she lifted her chin and stared back.

Despite her bravado, she was intimidated and she had no idea if she had reason to be. She didn’t have a clue who he was. For all she knew, he was a vagrant taking advantage of an abandoned house.
She quickly looked him up and down, hoping he wouldn’t notice. A vagrant—looking like that? This man looked too strong, too well-fed, and clean, to be homeless. He smelled good too, of soap and sunshine. Wide shoulders tapered to a flat stomach and slim hips in a pair of well-washed denim cutoffs. The button was undone and the zipped half down. And he had a hard-on!

Jess swallowed with difficulty, forcing her eyes to the garden. Maybe he was the gardener or something.

If he was the gardener, he wasn’t very good at it, judging by the state of the place. The flower beds were overgrown with weeds, and grass seeds reached for the sky. With a bit of care, it could be a rather pleasant garden.

Her attention whipped back to the man when he spoke. “What’s wrong with you, woman? Those are lap dogs.” His voice was deep, the timbre vibrating on her skin. “They thought you were playing with them.”

She’d forgotten about the dogs. Erections did that to her, they made her forget everything else. She took another look at the animals. There were only four of them, and now that they were at a safe distance and there was a man on hand whom they seemed to obey, they didn’t look all that fierce, or even very big. By panicking, she’d unnecessarily gotten them both in a rather embarrassing situation.
The veranda was shadowed, despite the lightning dancing over the mountains, yet the peeling paint was clearly visible. She should ask this man for directions so that she could be on her way, but at that moment her nose itched and she sneezed instead. She just barely managed to get her hand across her nose. The dust from the floorboards and she most likely had it all over her face now. She needed to freshen up before she met with Dr. Arnold. Rubbing her hands over her face was probably making matters worse.

“Bless you,” the man said, his jaw clenched. “Explain yourself.” Fists planted on his hips, his bare chest rose and fell. Jess’ fingers itched to test the contours more fully before she realized that the man was actually angry.

Who was he? And what was he so angry about? Knocking him over had been an accident, which he could have avoided it if he’d controlled the animals sooner. His annoyance didn’t stop him from giving her a thorough inspection, though.

Barely suppressing the urge to stamp her foot, Jess snapped, “Those animals should be locked up.” The hand she pointed at the dogs was streaked with dust. Dropping it, she rubbed at the smudge with her other hand.

“They were, until a few minutes ago. When the visitor I expected didn’t show up, I let them out again. Who are you and what do you want?”

“How rude!” Jess gasped. “Do you welcome all visitors half naked?” His arousal was disturbing her.

“Uninvited visitors never come into the yard,” he growled. He knew she knew about his condition. “That’s what the clinic entrance is for. And I’m not half naked, I’m shirtless because I took it off when my visitor failed to show up for her four o’clock appointment. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. If you’re Jessica James, you’re way too late—”

“The directions weren’t very clear,” she interrupted. “I got lost.” Hesitating only a moment, she stuck her hand out to him. “You’re Dr. Arnold?”

He ignored her hand and question, reaching instead for the shirt draped over the railing behind him and shrugged it on. Doctor or not, the man has no manners.

Buttoning the shirt, he leaned in closer. “So, it’s my fault you can’t follow a set of simple instructions? Look, miss, you might as well go back to wherever you came from. The position has been filled. Good day.” He started to turn away.

“What? When? I had an interview for this afternoon!”

He glanced at his wristwatch. “You missed the appointment. You wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience. It was nice meeting you. Goodbye, Ms. James.”

She noticed his eyes on her lips as he dismissed her. “Just a minute. You’re going to disregard my application because I’m a few minutes late? I have excellent credentials, and the agency—”

“Had been told that only older women need to apply.”

“So you’re dismissing my application because of my age, is that it?”

“Yes. And you’re more than a few minutes late. The appointment was for four o’clock sharp, and it’s nearly six now. Take your gripes up with your agent, Ms. James. Your timekeeping actually has very little to do with it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re wasting my time.”

Jess narrowed her eyes. “I pity the person you’ve employed, if that is in fact the truth. You are a very rude man, Dr. Arnold.”

He wasn’t exactly what she’d expected—in his early to mid-thirties and attractive, in a wildly blond caveman kind of way. And hot.

If only he had some manners.

It had sounded quite romantic when Sally first told her about this position, but the reality was far from romantic. She didn’t need this man or his job, and especially not his erection. There had to be other positions available in Cape Town. Sally would find her a good job, with interesting work. She would get into her car and drive away without a backward glance.

Not being given a fair interview had nothing to do with Friday the thirteenth. A damp gust of wind blew her hair into her eyes as she turned toward the stairs. It had everything to do with him being turned on by her.

Jess remembered the dogs when they jumped to their feet, tails wagging.

She froze, clutching her skirt. They might be small, but they were dogs. They had teeth. Damn it, she was going to need his help to get back to her car. Gnawing the corner of her mouth, she glanced at him. Would he help her, or would he cross his arms and enjoy the spectacle from the veranda?

Before she could do anything, the door behind them creaked open and pale, gnarled fingers curled around the edge of the wood. Jess took an involuntary step closer to the doctor, goosebumps covering her entire body, her hand to her throat. Oh, God.

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About the Author

Goodbye

Maggie lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with hubby Gareth. Over the years she’s worked in everything from nursing to catering, and then she started writing love stories. With three kids, a girl and two boys, and eleven cats at that time, life could become quite interesting.

The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts, are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest.

And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?

#Excerpt from The Secret of Hillcrest House

#excerpt

Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.

Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.

Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.

Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?

Melanie Robertson-King’s latest novel serves up a delightful blend of the supernatural and spicy romance, Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers

Intrigue, dark buried secrets, hot romance and a neat twist in the tale make this riveting reading, Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author

A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, Adelle’s Time, & Logan’s Time

#Excerpt

A face and hands appeared in the window over the side porch. “There’s someone in there,” she gasped, pointing to the location.

“Keys. I’ll need them unless you want me to break in.”

Transfixed by the image, Jessica couldn’t look away. She extended her arm and dropped her ring holding her house and car keys into his hand.

“You stay here,” he ordered before sprinting to the front of the house.

The face appeared to be that of a young child. After a few minutes, the image faded. She blinked thinking it vanished because she’d stared at it for so long, but even that didn’t help.

Frightened by the disappearance, she dashed after the officer.

When she stepped through the door, the pungent smells of damp and stale assailed her nostrils. Out of habit, Jessica reached for the light switch. She discovered an old-fashioned push button one indicative of knob and tube wiring. That was another expense she wasn’t prepared for.

At one time, the dark wainscoting in the foyer shone. Now it was dull, dingy and covered with dust. The paint above it and on the ceiling had peeled and curled. Flakes littered the floor and stairs. She grabbed a loose piece of paint from the wall and gave it a tug. It pulled away with little resistance.

Two large rooms stood on either side of the main hall. Jessica entered the one to her left. Pocket doors, off their tracks, cut off part of the large doorway. Yellowed wall and ceiling paper hung from crazy angles. The plaster it once covered now exposed. Sheets covered the furniture. At one time, they had been white but now, layered with dust. Jessica thumped her hand down on the back of a sofa forcing a cloud of the grubby powder into the air. Choking, she scurried out and into the room across the corridor.

It, too, was in the same state but in here, boards didn’t cover the windows. Sun shone through grimy panes of glass, and dust particles floated in the air trapped by the beams of light.

The sound of footfalls on the stairs echoed through the house. Jessica turned. She gasped and clapped her hand over her mouth. On the back of a sheet-covered sofa, lay a pristine, long-stemmed red rose.

Buy Links:

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Praise for The Secret of Hillcrest House

the secret of hillcrest house 3d

5 stars

A fresh start … a blossoming relationship … a haunted house. Melanie Robertson-King’s latest novel has all the earmarks of suspense and steamy romance. It starts with a bang and is filled with supernatural and scary events that create tension in the novel and lead to the final unraveling of the secret of Hillcrest House.

This novel will appeal to lovers of supernatural thrillers, mysteries, and romance! Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers

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4 starsThe Secret of Hillcrest House is the first book from Melanie Robertson-King I have read. When I read the blurb for the book I was very excited as I love a good haunted house mystery! From the outset, the action starts when we are introduced to Jessica who has just bought Hillcrest House. The sale of the house is slightly unusual in that Jessica buys it from the internet without ever having viewed the house before. This is a decision she soon regrets and her planned move into the house is not going according to plan. There’s just too much to fix! Her first visit to the house sees her get the fright of her life when she sees a face at the window. However, hunky cop Alain is on hand to help a damsel in distress. Jessica, not long out of an unhappy and grief stricken marriage is instantly attracted to Alain who himself has suffered grief at the loss of his wife.

The story moves on at quite a rapid pace and I was able to read the book, which is only about 168 pages, in one sitting. It was perfect for a rainy and dismal Sunday. There was lots of mystery throughout and the ghosts of the past were ever present in Hillcrest House. Jessica is determined to find out what secrets Hillcrest holds and restore it to its former glory but she seems thwarted at every turn.

You can read the entire review at Brook Cottage Books.

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Jessica didn’t really know why she had decided to buy Hillcrest House in Eastern Canada, sight unseen, except for the fact it looked just like a house she had sketched many times over. However, on actually seeing inside her new purchase, the work that needed to be done was somewhat of a shock. The physical and financial shock would actually become less shocking in comparison with the number of ex-residents who still appeared to be still living in the house, years after their own deaths. There were secrets to be uncovered that would bring back some of her own most painful memories that preceded the ending of her last relationship. Even the garden wildlife was odd…one specific crow with a white feather really managed to get Jessica’s attention.

Jessica’s attention was also taken by a good looking, in fact very hot, police officer with his own complicated history. Their attraction was magnetic and together they worked to unravel the secrets that Hillcrest House was hiding.

The full review can be found at A Chance to Blog.

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While I’m not usually a reader of romantic suspense stories, I did find this a very easy read. Short and succint, I started and finished it within a few hours. The Secret of Hillcrest House had me thinking of Hallmark movies, I could quite easily see this story on screen.

The entire review can be found at Fiction Dreams.

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5 starsI’m always interested to see how an author handles the haunted house theme. Ghost stories can sometimes be a bit formulaic in my mind and I was looking for something a little bit different. I’m super-pleased to say there’s much more to Hillcrest House than a wailing woman throwing herself from the turret. I have to admit I was hooked at the first ‘blip of a siren’. Give me a hunk in uniform and I’m sold, particularly if he’s all authority, seemingly abrasive on the outside, but with a tantalising soft centre and essential heroic qualities, as demonstrated when our heroine, Jessica, first glimpses a child’s face at one of the windows. The house is uninhabited. A thorough search by our hero cop, Alain, soon establishes there is no one on the inside. Who is the child? Is his appearance when Jessica arrives some kind of warning? A plea for help from the past? Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author

You can read Sheryl’s review in its entirety at Goodreads.

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4-5 starsI jumped at the chance to read this, as I love a good ghost story. And this is a Ghost story with a difference, a spice of romance I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough…..I loved it.

In this story we meet Jessica Maitland new owner of Hillcrest house with strange visions appearing in the window of the second floor stranger things happen inside the walls! Non of the owners stay long but will Jessica be able to unravel the dark secret that lies within the house?

You canread the rest of this 4.5 star review at Chelle’s Book Reviews.

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5 stars

Jessica Maitland, looking to reboot her life after the death of her baby, and the end of her marriage, bought the old Hillcrest House in Angel Falls via the internet, discovering when she arrived to take possession that it wasn’t quite what the real estate website indicated.

As she set about making her new home livable, strange, and sometimes frightening things happened.

When the house was livable and presentable, more unusual and alarming happenings interrupted a housewarming party.

She started piecing the history of the house together, hoping to find some answers. She learned the Hargrave family had lived in the house in the 1880s. Many locals believed the Hargraves never left the house, and it was they who chased away numerous new owners over the years.

Undeterred, Jessica, who had fallen in love with the house, including those who resided there with her – and a local constable – stayed. Then, one day, she discovered the true Secret of Hillcrest House.

This book is really a fun read. It keeps you guessing about the big secret, right up to the last minute. I would definitely read this book again, and I’d recommend it to friends, and anyone else who enjoys a nice mystery/romance story. I give this book 5-stars. (I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.) A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, Adelle’s Time, & Logan’s Time.

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5 stars

I really enjoyed this book – part romance and part creepy chiller. The descriptions of the house are so real that I felt as if I was there – perhaps not ideal at 1a.m. when you can’t put the book down but know you won’t sleep! The main characters are lovely, so well depicted and the minor characters are also very real. This will keep you turning the pages and the ending was also unexpected yet finished the book perfectly. I think I went through the whole gamut of emotions as the book is poignant in parts, scary in others and simply romantic as well. A great read! Julie Ryan, Author of Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret, and Pandora’s Prophecy

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4 stars

Although I have to confess to being a romance girl I’m always keen to step out of my comfort zone on occasions and this was one of them. I was drawn into this book from the first page. Jessica Maitland has sunk her savings into Hillcrest House in the small town of Angel Falls. It was too much coincidence that she’d been doodling the exact same house on pads and paper for some time; she had to have it. Having made the purchase without actually looking over the place, she’s shocked to find it in a very dilapidated state. As soon as she steps through the doors things begin to happen. Fuses blow, doors that appear locked are suddenly open, there are apparitions and children’s laughter. And then there are the crows.

You can read the full review at Goodreads.

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5 starsI was offered this book to review and I nearly passed on it because I have so many already on my TBR (to be read) pile but the picture on the cover crawled under my skin and I have to say from the first paragraph I was lured in and totally captivated.

Jessica spots an ancient Victorian mansion for sale online and buys it unseen, the house spoke to her and she was of the opinion that she could renovate the dilapidated building and return it to it’s former glory.

However once she begins it becomes apparent there is way more to do than she ever imagined, this house could descend into a money pit just to get it habitable. Unfortunately for Jessica that isn’t her only problem. Weird events begin to occur, she sees apparitions, the atmosphere chills, unexplainable odours stench the building out and the crows arrive. I have to say the crow was one of the eeriest parts of the story for me and so well orchestrated.

Read more of this review at Ali the Dragon Slayer.

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5 stars

I really enjoyed this book with its strong heroine, Jessica and gorgeous law enforcer hero, Andre Alain.

When Jessica buys the rundown Victorian House she doesn’t expect to be dealing with anything more than a bit of renovation. Has she got the guts and determination to see this project through to the end, or will she decide that dealing with the secrets encased in this once beautiful home is too much of a challenge for her?

The most ominous thing for me was the insidious crow and its determination that Jessica shouldn’t be moving into the house. I love a good ghost story and a romance and this book gave me both. I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret of Hillcrest House. Melanie Robertson-King keeps a good balance between the romance – loved Andre Alain, the eeriness and downright creepiness with a wonderfully constructed ending. I look forward to reading her next book! Georgina Troy, Author of A Jersey Kiss, A Jersey Affair, A Jersey Dreamboat and A Jersey Bombshell

BUY LINKS

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secret of hillcrest house 3d e-reader

 

THE SAFE WORD by Karen Long #giveaway #guestpost

safe

The Safe Word

by

Karen Long

 

safe

Published January 14th 2014

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: Book 1

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

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PRAISE FOR THE SAFE WORD

Just read The Safe Word by Karen Long – an unputdownable serial killer tale. James Purefoy

For DS Eleanor Raven It’s not so much who, what or when but ‘why’ that leads this powerful read to its conclusion and Karen Long reminds us that a brutal, vicious and destructive act is not something inherently ‘Evil’ or derived from Satan but is a rational choice made by a human being. The quirky, offbeat and endearing relationship between Eleanor and her partner Laurence Whitefoot shines a light on this dark compelling world of sexual intrigue and mystery. My imagination was certainly held captive! Robson Green

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

Karen’s top five recommended reads for crime writers.

I love to read about forensic science. It is the backbone of modern crime fiction and your audience is knowledgeable and critical of duff science. That is not to say that you can’t manipulate time factors to push on a narrative but not understanding the physical world and modern techniques of evidence collection means you are writing science fiction not crime fiction.

The books listed below have enabled me to acquire a solid grounding in how a crime scene is worked, how to kill someone, how to cover your tracks and why that is so difficult in the light of modern forensics.

The Forensic Casebook: N.E. Genge

This is my favourite book on the subject of, well pretty much every aspect of forensics. It begins by defining what the differences are between the ‘scene of crime’ and the ‘crime scene’, a seemingly dry semantic debate. However, Genge’s style is pithy and well illustrated, using television, film and real life cases to expand and clarify concepts. The presentation is varied and invites a ‘dip in’ approach to reading. Bullet points, different fonts and highlighted sections break the material down into appetising segments. I loved the incidental job adverts and the well-edited interviews with crime scene workers.

Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson

Frances Larson works as a curator at the wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where there is an extensive shrunken head display. The book focuses on the human head as a trophy, an object of morbid curiosity and as an artistic expression. I found it particularly useful, while writing the third book in the Eleanor Raven series, as it covers the psychological foundation of taking body parts as trophies during military conflicts. Difficult subject matter, deftly analysed.

Forensic Entomology: Dorothy E. Gennard

I wouldn’t say this was an easy, or accessible read…at all. It is a serious, well-documented degree level textbook. There are some photographs but nowhere near enough for the lay reader. If I’m going to dip in, this is not a linear read by the way, I either access images on the internet or have an identifier open. I find insects astonishingly beautiful and alien, their life cycles and behaviour, which when combined with temperature, can pinpoint the time of death, is something I am particularly interested in.

Postmortem: Dr Steven A. Koehler and Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

This book has lots of glossy photographs and thoughtfully presented diagrams. The material is compact but it’s designed as a quick introduction to the study of forensics and, as such, is a great writer’s help. The photographs don’t pull their punches and the case notes are relevant, if a little rushed. There is an excellent chart on p75, which measures the visual changes of different bruises over a time period of 15 days. If it’s an exciting introduction to the discipline you’re after, then this book is the one for you.

Molecules of Murder: John Emsley

I am happy to recommend any of John Emsley’s books. They are well written, well researched and don’t skimp on the science. Each chapter has selected a poison and exemplifies its usage in numerous crimes both historical and contemporary. There is a helpful glossary, which gives further information on highlighted words. I confess to being particularly intrigued by the use of poisons and loved the way that Emsley’s conversational and enthusiastic style jumps out of the narrative, on occasion, and sweeps the reader off on an anecdotal journey.

I believe that books make books. You read, absorb and mold information into narratives. Fact, however seemingly dry and inconsequential, is the basis of all crime fiction. Without a working knowledge of how forensics is applied in a contemporary, or even an historic setting, there will be gaps in your plot, or opportunities missed. I am not advocating that fiction should be determined solely by fact, you are not writing a textbook but to omit or fudge modern criminalistics is to deny richness and depth to your story.

ABOUT KAREN LONG

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Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

AUTHOR LINKS

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER

GOODREADS

All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Check out Book 2 – The Vault – http://amzn.to/1WSnlDn

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Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?

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http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorRaven/

GIVEAWAY

1ST PRIZE – SIGNED PAPERBACK OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

2ND PRIZE – ECOPY OF THE SAFE WORD – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

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5-star reviews for The Secret of Hillcrest House

5-star

The Secret of Hillcrest House

now has

3 5-star

reviews!

I know it’s not many but everyone has to start somewhere.

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You can read this lovely reviews on goodreads at the following links…

First Review
Second Review
Third Review

Blurb:

Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.

Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.

Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.

Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?

The Secret of Hillcrest House is available in paperback and kindle formats from

In paperback and for the nook from

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for the Kobo


and in the iBookstore

Why not order your copy today and see for yourself?

But be forewarned… there are two ‘adult’ scenes in it.

Beginning June 20th, The Secret of Hillcrest House and I will be touring with Brook Cottage Books. I hope you’ll join us as we whisk our way through the blogisphere.

I’m Not in Love by Tilly Tennant #chicklit #giveaway

Tilly Tennant

I’m Not in Love

by

Tilly Tennant

 

Tilly Tennant

Genre: Chick lit

Release Date: 7th January 2016

Publisher: Lawsome Books

The tinsel and baubles are packed away, and the festivities are over for another year, but Hannah can’t forget the mysterious stranger who fell into her world on Christmas Day. She flings herself back into normal life in a bid to get him out of her head, which means dating other men and having fun with her sister, Gina. But just as she’s getting back on track, fate throws him into her path once more. And this time it results in far more complications than a burnt turkey.

Meanwhile, Gina, is creating problems of her own. As if a messy divorce isn’t enough, she grows closer to Ross, the local farmer’s son. Hannah knows her sister is not going to be popular when the relationship becomes public, especially with Ross’s doting parents or, indeed, Jess, Gina’s teenage daughter, who is far closer in age to Ross than Gina is herself.

Things are about to get very, very messy in Hannah’s neat little world…

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 

ABOUT TILLY TENNANT

Tilly Tennant

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. It was followed by Mishaps and Mistletoe and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at www.tillytennant.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TillyTennant/?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TillyTenWriter

website: www.tillytennant.com

GIVEAWAY

£10 (or equivalent) Amazon Gift Card x 2

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CRASHING INTO LOVE by Melissa Foster

love

love

Only one woman could hurt ultra-alpha bad boy Jake Braden.
Only one woman can heal him.
Fiona Steele has arrived…

Fiona Steele has a great career, strong friendships, and a loving family. To an outsider, her life appears happy and fulfilling. But the one thing that’s missing is true love, and the only man Fiona wants is the one she can’t have, sinfully handsome and seductively intense Jake Braden—the man whose heart she broke, which she has regretted ever since.

As an LA stuntman, Jake Braden’s at the top of his game. He’s hired for all the best movies, hooks up with the hottest women, and lives an unencumbered lifestyle where his needs come first—and where he doesn’t have to examine his life too closely. Except when he visits his family in his close-knit hometown of Trusty, Colorado, where he spends his time avoiding Fiona—the only woman who knows who he really is.

When Fiona’s best friend is hired to act in Jake’s movie, Fiona jumps at the chance to try to win him back. There’s no denying the white-hot attraction burning between them. With every encounter, Fiona hopes Jake can’t resist falling back into the love they once shared. But her well-orchestrated rendezvous doesn’t go over well with the brooding heartthrob. Living in the fast lane is perfect for a guy who’s buried his emotions so damn deep he’s not sure he can remember how to feel—and he’s not sure he ever wants to.

BUY LINKS

Kobo

Google Play

ibooks

B & N

Amazon

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About Melissa Foster

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Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the  World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Sign up for Melissa’s newsletter to stay up to date with releases and giveaways

http://www.melissafoster.com/newsletter/

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GIVEAWAY!

(3ecopies of the previous book in the series – Dreaming of Love)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE ~ Spotlight

I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE by Beverly Stowe McClure

doghouseEleven-year-old Nick Cassidy’s stepsister delights in calling him gross names. His half-sister loves for Nick to push her in the stroller, to his embarrassment. What if the guys from school see him? All Nick wants is his father to come back and take him away from this crazy family. Is it any wonder he sometimes lives in the doghouse?
I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE is the story of a boy’s struggles to accept his new family while he longs for the old. When his father finally returns, will Nick’s dreams come true? Or will he discover that memories sometimes are faulty, and it’s best to forget the past and treasure the present?
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Can be purchased at:
MuseItUp Publishing:  http://bit.ly/1wPCYNc
Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/1pNgxaM
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star of the teamMost of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories.

 

Book Spotlight ~ The Wind Weeps by Anneli Purchase

Book Spotlight

Imagine yourself newly wed to a handsome young fisherman who takes you to live in a remote cabin on the B.C. coast. How romantic! Or is it? Too late, you realize that you’ve made a bad choice. His behavior is more and more aggressive and bizarre. At first you’re nervous, then afraid, then terrified. At last, you fear for your life. There is no phone and he has control of the only radio, which is on his fishboat docked in front of the cabin. Even if you could access it, if he found out you had used it, you might not survive long enough to be rescued. Outside in the howling winter storms, the wind weeps, and so do you.

Book Spotlight

Here is an excerpt from my novel, The Wind Weeps. Robert has allowed Andrea to come along on a rare trip for groceries to a small general store on a nearby island.

***

We loaded up on groceries and it occurred to me that I might phone Monique from the store. Robert would never approve, but maybe while he was taking the first load of food down to the boat, I could make a quick call.

As soon as he stepped outside with the first of the boxes, I said, “I’ll be along in a minute. I want to have another look at the sewing things.” Then quickly I looked for the storekeeper to get his attention.

“Excuse me?” I called across the room to him. “Do you have a—”

I stopped mid-sentence as Robert stuck his head back in the door. He looked at me with a scowl and motioned with waves of his hand for me to continue the question.

“Ah, er, do you have a … washroom I could use, please?”

“Sure, right back here, miss.” He pointed down a dark hall. “On the right.”

By the time I got into the washroom my impromptu need to pee became real. I had so nearly been caught. Robert would have been furious to catch me reaching out to someone—anyone but him. And worse yet, he didn’t like Monique.

He always said, “What Monique needs is a man in her life to tell her what to do. Who does she think she is, doing whatever she pleases? I don’t like you hanging out with her. She’s a bad influence on you.” Why would I want to phone her? he would want to know.

Arranging to run away? A shiver of fear went through me. Was I really contemplating running away? Was it what I wanted? Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh yes!

I flushed the toilet, gave my hands a rinse and hurried out.

“Thank you,” I mumbled to the storekeeper. I picked up the remaining box of groceries and headed for the door. “Oh!” I stopped. “Is there any mail for me? Andrea Bolton?”

He shuffled through the letters he kept under the counter. “Yes, there is. It’s been here a while, but I hang onto letters longer than the post office says. I know people live far out and don’t get in here that often.”

“Very nice of you to do that.” I looked around the store. “Robert? Is he still here?”

“He’s gone.” I wondered later if he saw my shoulders sag with relief. I folded up the letter very small so it fit into my jacket pocket, out of sight.

“Oh, okay. Thanks. Well, Merry Christmas.”

I was rewarded with a warm smile. “And merry Christmas to you too. I hope it’s a good one for you.” I nodded. I hope so too. But chances are it’ll be just another day … if I’m lucky.

***

Review of The Wind Weeps

Elise and Hazel:

Loved it! Love the title! Loved the contents, as they kept us interested and engaged. Learned more about the lonely life of fisher people, and we revisited some of our personal dockside stories. The book touches on many topics most people will not talk about. It has some interesting dynamics with isolation. Why would the wind weep? There are a number of ways this is revealed. It makes us think that we all have stories that need to be written!

Make your next read, the Wind Weeps.

***

You can order this book as a paperback or as an e-book at smashwords.com and all amazon outlets. Click on the links for more information.

amazon.com

amazon.co.uk

amazon.de

smashwords.com

Please visit my webpage at anneli-purchase.com or my blogs at http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com and http://annelisplace.wordpress.com

The perfect Christmas gift idea! Choose from three of my novels: The Wind WeepsOrion’s Gift, or Julia’s Violinist.

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