I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the cover for my upcoming novel; It Happened at Lake Louise. But before you see the unveiled version of the image …
Only the Brave meets Fallen Angel
A new name. A new look. A new identity. But is it enough?
Lori Brownlee, a victim of childhood sex abuse, has relocated to Calgary to try to put the sordid past and its unpleasant memories behind her. Although it’s been years, specific triggers bring the past roaring back.
Christopher Scott has also suffered a painful past. He currently works in the Oil Sands and, when he’s at work, entrusts the care of his Great Dane to his neighbour.
While Christopher is at work, the nightmare of the distant wildfires becomes a reality. During the mandatory evacuation on May 3, 2016, the dog runs away. With no time to spare searching for the animal, the family flees for their own safety.
Lori, an animal lover, spots the Great Dane on the news. She drops everything and rushes to Fort McMurray to rescue him.
She connects with Christopher Scott through social media, and they agree to meet near the Chateau Lake Louise so she can reunite him with his pet.
Can Christopher move beyond his pain and form a meaningful relationship with Lori? Will Lori’s past come back to haunt her?
Are you ready to see the cover? Oh, all right then …
Drum roll, please. And now for the reveal.
Buy links to follow soon.
You can read about the previous books in the It Happened series here.
Now that the month of Spooktober is officially upon us (and has been for the four previous days as well), it’s time to get #spooky.
I’m participating in N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Trick or Treat Book Bonanza.
An entire month of trick or treating, plus a huge giveaway!
My novel, The Secret of Hillcrest House, is one of the featured books this month. Of course, a haunted house story always goes down well during this month.
Here’s what the book is about.
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?
This Spooktober, why not get your spook on and see what this book is all about?
You can buy The Secret of Hillcrest House from your favourite online retailer at this link.
Are you ready for the spectacular cover for DI Kate Young Book 5 – A TRUTH FOR A TRUTH? It’s a cracker, I can tell you. So without any further ado, let’s show this baby to the world!
DI Kate Young’s team is hunting for a killer. What they don’t know…is that the killer is her.
DI Kate Young has known for years that her boss, Superintendent John Dickson, is a violent and evil man. But when she finally confronts him and accidentally shoots and kills him, she’s forced to cover her tracks before anyone can pin his death on her. With revelations about his corruption soon to become public knowledge, Kate sets up a trail of evidence to make it seem that Dickson has conveniently vanished…
But Kate knows the corruption doesn’t end with Dickson. As she heads up the team investigating his supposed disappearance, she also pursues other loose ends. Stanka, the sex worker who supplied the evidence against Dickson, leads her to crucial information on another corrupt officer, DI Harriet Khatri, and her dubious involvement with sex traffickers.
As the noose starts to tighten on Kate, she finds herself targeted by traffickers, the bent cops on her force and even her own team of detectives. Can she stay one step ahead of them all and bring Harriet to justice? Can she trust anyone around her? And can she possibly get away with murder?
A TRUTH FOR A TRUTH will be released on April 4th, 2023 but is available to pre-order now:
I’m so excited! My novel, A Shadow in the Past, has received another 5-star review!
But before I share the review, let me tell you what the book is about.
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 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?
Review – this one comes from amazon.co.uk
For lovers of Time Slip Novels set in Scotland
I was very much reminded of OUTLANDER as I read Ms King’s novel. (No bad thing, by the way). I’m a sucker for time-slip novels and wasn’t disappointed as I followed Sarah through the stone circle on her family farm to Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland where she quickly learns to keep her true identity a secret. As someone who visits Scotland frequently, I was impressed by the extensive research the author had undertaken and found everything about the novel totally accurate and convincing. Sarah soon falls in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill and we are left wondering how she is going to solve the dilemma of staying in the past with the man she loves or returning to the present and her family. I won’t write a spoiler. All I will say is that I am glad there’s a sequel –
Isn’t it fantastic???
You can buy A Shadow in the Past from these fine retailers.
I’m so excited to be able to share the fantastic cover for the latest psychological thriller, Behind Closed Doors, by Carol Wyer.
So without further ado, here it is!
Two kidnappings, thirty years apart. Can Stacey face her own dark past in order to save her stepdaughter?
When Stacey’s ex-husband turns up on her doorstep begging her to help save his kidnapped thirteen-year-old daughter, Lyra, the terror is all too familiar. Stacey’s own violent kidnapping thirty years ago was never solved, and while a severe case of amnesia spares her from recalling the specific horrors, she remembers enough…
Stacey knows her father never paid the ransom—she has the missing pinkie finger to prove it. She knows she was only saved because of an anonymous tip-off to the police. And she knows her captor was never apprehended.
Lyra’s kidnappers have made it clear the police must not get involved. But Stacey can’t shake the eerie similarities between the two cases, and she’ll use whatever she can, from her journalistic powers to her shady contacts, to save Lyra from the same nightmare. Desperate to find any link between Lyra’s abduction and her own, Stacey forces herself to revisit her forgotten, traumatic past for clues.
But can she make sense of the terrible secrets she unearths in time to save Lyra? And if she does, is she ready to face her own tormentor?
Carol Wyer is a USA Today bestselling author and winner of the People’s Book Prize Award. Her crime novels have sold over one million copies and been translated into nine languages.
A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.
In 2021, An Eye For An Eye, the first in the DI Kate Young series, was chosen as a Kindle First Reads. It became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK, USA and Australia. Since then, two further books in the series have been published, with a fourth and fifth due out in 2023.
A standalone psychological thriller, Behind Closed Doors, will be released on December 6th, 2022, and is available to preorder now.
Carol has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and written for the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows and on Sky and BBC Breakfast television.
She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband, Mr. Grumpy . . . who is very, very grumpy.
To learn more, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter @carolewyer
PRAISE FOR CAROL’S BOOKS:
‘I’m buzzing from this book. I LOVED it. I don’t think I have been this gripped by a book, ever. …Totally terrifying, this addictive read will keep you gasping, guessing and on the edge of your seat throughout …You won’t be disappointed!’ Booked Up Girl, 5 stars
‘OMG OMG OMG! Fantastic these just keep on getting better and better. Fabulous sorry kept me guessing …Can’t wait for the next one’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘Another breath-taking read from Carol Wyer. This book pulled me in from the beginning and didn’t let go!… A heart-pounding read and one you won’t be able to put down.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘Wow this is another five-star read from Carol Wyer. I couldn’t put this down. It was a roller-coaster of a ride, I highly recommend!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Compelling… Remarkable… Utterly thrilling. I read this exceptional book in one sitting. I simply could not put it down. I was hanging onto the edge of my seat as this book reached a crescendo. I definitely cannot wait for the next book in the series.’ Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on my blog, let alone any of my own work. So, if you’ll indulge me, this is the first draft of the prologue from the fourth book in my “It Happened” series – It Happened at Lake Louise.
This book is darker than the earlier books in the series, in that the main character suffered an abusive childhood.
That voice. Lori’s blood ran cold as if ice water coursed through her veins and her heart pounded so hard it threatened to burst through her chest. Only one person ever called her that. Even her parents always used her full name – Abigail. If she was in trouble then it was Abigail Laurie Brownell.
The Great Dane exited a low rumble of a growl. Her left index finger worked its way between the bracelets to the scars on her right wrist. Raised welts from years of cutting and a deep gouge where she’d taken a chunk out of her arm.
This couldn’t be happening. She arranged to meet Wolfgang’s owner near the Chateau Lake Louise to ensure his safe return to him and his home in Fort Mac. People came and went in droves here. The phrase safety in numbers suited this place to a T. No way would she have met a stranger at her apartment in Calgary. Who knew what creeps waited to prey on a single white female? She’d been a victim as a child and into her teens. Not anymore. A steady stream of pedestrians strolled past where they stood. They’d help her if needed. Wouldn’t they?
The person Lori communicated with via text messages and Messenger didn’t come across as the type who would cause such a reaction in their pet. She turned around her movements awkward from an old injury.
“Unc … how?” She stammered, unable to form the words she wanted to say. Her worst nightmare had come true. She thought she put the past well behind her when she finished school and landed a job in Calgary. Moving out of Saskatchewan wasn’t enough.
“Abigail Laurie Brownell. Did you think we’d never find you?”
“My name is Lori Brownlee,” she spat. Those words came out too late. Her momentary sense of bravado disappeared. She had given away her true identity with her first reaction. Gawd, sometimes she was so stupid and trusting.
“Aren’t you just the clever clogs?” he sneered. “I see you still haven’t had that ankle fixed. I offered to take you to the hospital when I found you at the foot of the stairs.”
“Because of you, I fell down the steps in the first place. I was trying to get away from you, you pervert.”
The dog at her side continued to growl, but now the rumblings sounded menacing. Her uncle may have frightened her when she was a child, but not anymore. Yeah right. Her entire body vibrated with fear as his face loomed in front of her and the memories of her unhappy, abusive childhood flooded to the surface.
“Lori! Lori Brownlee?” a man’s voice called from behind her.
Afraid to take her eyes off her uncle, she didn’t turn in his direction. “Are you Chris? Christopher Scott?”
“Yeah. Sorry I’m late. An accident backed the traffic up for miles.”
The Great Dane beside her wagged its tail so hard its entire body shook and tugged on her hand, holding the leash.
“Wolfgang! Come here. boy,” he said.
Lori released the lead, and the dog left. She couldn’t bring herself to turn away from her uncle, despite wanting to see Wolfgang’s owner. She didn’t trust her uncle now and she shouldn’t have trusted him then. Soon, the Great Dane leaned against her left leg, and a tall man sporting a moustache and beard stood next to the dog.
* * *
“I want to thank you for rescuing Wolfgang. I’d seen clips of him on the news broadcasts. No one else could get near him but you.”
“No problem,” she replied, her eyes still held fast on the man before them. “I’d seen him on the news, too. I tried to team up with the other animal rescue groups, but I was too late. Still, I’m happy I got him out of the danger zone.”
There was something in her expression. Sadness? She’d probably grown attached to the gigantic dog in the time she’d cared for him. Returning Wolfgang to his owner? No, not that. It was something deeper. Fear? Possible. Of him or the man facing them? Since his arrival, she hadn’t turned and looked at him once.
“You okay?” he asked.
A barely perceptible nod was the response. Christopher didn’t believe the gesture. Something was amiss. Despite the bright sunshine, a dark cloud of gloom appeared to surround Lori. A breeze caught her blonde-streaked brown hair and blew in her face. When she reached to tuck the errant strand behind her ear, her ice-cold hand brushed against his arm. A scar, visible now that she secured her hair, followed her hairline for approximately two inches. A childhood injury from falling off a bike?
He had quite a few battle scars from his youth, too. Broken bones from playing on the high school football team. Stitches from skateboard accidents and tumbles from bicycles. The worst happened on a night he and his pals, Ron Smith and Nick Jones, spent joyriding in Nick’s father’s car. Nick lost control and the car careened over an embankment. Chris got off lucky because he wore his seatbelt and sat in the back, behind the driver’s seat. The other two were worse off, although they survived. It was hard to say which was worse, the accident, the police involvement or facing his parents after his discharge from the emergency department.
There was a resemblance between Lori and this man — maybe not enough to be siblings, but family.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” the man asked.
“Let’s get out of here,” Christopher suggested. He draped a protective arm around Lori’s shoulders and they turned and started for the parking lot where Chris left his truck.
“If you’ve not experienced it yet, she likes it rough,” the man yelled.
“Who is that creep?”
So there you have it. I’d love to know what you think. You can leave your feedback in the comments.
The beautiful island of Ximiu has a plan for a more sustainable future. But not everyone living on the island is on board. Jasira, daughter of the governing matriarch, is determined to uncover the dark forces threatening her home. With the help of her friends, she embarks on a desperate bid to save her island community. When the price is higher than she had bargained for, will Jasira still find faith and beauty in the world around her?
A good mystery was what she needed. And someone to admire her detecting skills. Jasira walked down the path from the ferry office to the harbour wall, her short brown hair glinting blonde in the sunshine. She stared out across the long channel leading to open water. So many exciting changes coming to Ximiu, but she would have to experience them without her best friend. Her dream of becoming a detective seemed to have left with Xandra. After all, every self-respecting detective needed a sidekick.
The sun was too bright for Jasira to see the open sea, but her mind had no problem following the route to the Mainland. She could just make out the small dark shape of the ferry, taking her letter to Xandra.
She leaned over the dark brown blocks making up the harbour wall. Jasira closed her eyes for a moment, feeling the slightly salty breeze on her tanned face, rough stone under her fingers and sighed. She let her eyes wander along the rugged coastline, the hills a green speckled yellow after the hot weeks of summer. Dry. Just like her soul at the moment, she thought. The poetic thought reminded her of Ilori. His mother was the Vice-Xibai and as the Xibai’s daughter, Jasira ended up spending a lot of time with Ilori. If only there was something to work on and practise her detecting abilities.
Jasira looked at the sun. It was time; she’d better go home. She drew herself up, hoping a heroic stance would give her energy to face the changes coming to her island. Jasira spun round, her trainer foot pushing off from the low harbour wall, turning her back to the water. She was in too much of a hurry to notice movement in the shadowy cliff face. Even as she walked, frowning, back to the city, the pale figure watching the ferry launch was too well hidden to catch her eye.
Maressa grew up in the Netherlands and moved to England soon after finishing teaching training college. Married to Pastor Richard Mortimer they live in a Cotswold village with their four children. She is a homeschool mum, enjoying the time spent with family, travelling, reading and turning life into stories, she wants to use her stories to show practical Christians living in a fallen world.
The Shetland Islands are the backdrop for another murder mystery by Marsali Taylor.
It’s the dark nights in the run up to Christmas, and sailing sleuth Cass Lynch’s first night on dry land is disturbed by strange noises outside her isolated cottage. Tiny footprints in the moonlit snow trail from her front door before mysteriously disappearing. Soon Cass learns others were visited by the same tiny feet in the night.
It looks like ingenious local teenagers playing tricks – but what happens when festive games turn deadly?
Cass soon finds out as a schoolboy disappears, leaving only a trail of footprints into the middle of a snowy field. She’s determined to investigate, but uncovering the truth will also put her in danger . . .
Chapter One Extract One
trow: The trows were Shetland’s “little people”, who lived in mounds in the hill, and could only come out after dark. They liked bright colours, feasting and music (there are tales of human fiddlers being kidnapped underground for a trowie wedding), and were known for working mischief about the croft; sometimes their actions were more sinister, like substitut- ing a baby of their own for a human child (Old Norse, troll)
There was the sound of children giggling, stifled quickly as if they were up to mischief; a group of trainees planning some devilment. Kitten growled and jumped down from the bed. Whoever was on watch would deal with it, I thought, hunch- ing into the bedcover, and the thought jerked me awake. I wasn’t in my cabin aboard Sørlandet but in Gavin’s cottage in Shetland. Our nearest neighbour was a mile away over the hill, and didn’t have children.
I eased my nose out from under the downie and listened. Cat stirred and sat up. Nothing; silence, that dead silence after snow had fallen. There had been the first few flakes as Gavin had driven me back from the airport, followed by a rattle of haily puckles that had covered the ground in white; a good base for snow to lie on. I tilted my head up to look out of the window. Yes, more had fallen while I’d slept. The low hill of Papa Little was blue-white in the moonlight, and the stars sparked with cold light.
I reached for my watch and pressed the button to light up the face. Half past eleven. Naturally the youngsters of the ship’s watch would be up at that hour, but I wasn’t on board ship now. All good land children were tucked up in their beds, sleeping peacefully, or illicitly playing on their computers or texting their friends. They weren’t wandering round a cottage miles from anywhere.
I was thoroughly awake now. Sørlandet had spent the last two months exploring the eastern seaboard of the States, and my body-clock was telling me it was six in the evening. I’d had a short nap to refesh me, and now I could get up and party. Beside me, Gavin was curved over on his side, back towards me, his breathing deep and even.
I slid out of bed and padded over to the window. The sliver of crescent moon had gone down, but the clear sky gave a pale light over the snowy hills and stars gleamed in the depths of the coal black water. There was no sign of move- ment anywhere, yet I had this sense of something stirring in the darkness. Kitten looked downwards from the sill, growled again, then trotted downstairs. I heard the clack of the cat flap.
Whatever it was, I supposed I’d better inspect. Maybe the ponies in the field behind the house had broken into the gar- den. I lifted up my bundle of clothes from the chair, and was tiptoeing out of the bedroom when I heard a car start up, way in the distance. I wouldn’t have heard it at all if I hadn’t been awake, if the back skylight hadn’t been open, if it hadn’t been such a still night. I reached the window just as the sound died away, and thought I saw a brief flash of headlights move across the starry sky. The silence closed in again.
I went slowly downstairs, not switching the light on. The ground shifted disconcertingly under me, as if the land had become fluid. It would take a couple of days before my balance adjusted. Freezing lino under my feet, the air icy on my skin.
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women’s suffrage in Shetland. She’s also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.
I’m one of the many authors taking part in N.N. Light’s Book Heaven 7th annual Holiday Gift Guide.
Need a holiday shopping hand this year? I’ve teamed up with several award-winning/bestselling/top-rated authors to bring you the ultimate holiday gift guide for any book lover. The best part: it’s an online store. Scroll away and do all your holiday shopping in one place. Who knows? You might even find a few books you’d enjoy for yourself. https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/holiday-gift-guide
Throughout November, N.N. Light’s Book Heaven website will feature books in different genres.
My Christmas novella, It Happened on Dufferin Terrace, is in the Holiday Fiction/Romance category, which releases November 5. This first book in my “It Happened” series is priced 365 days a year at the low price of 99c/99p. That’s less than a cup of coffee.
What’s it about? Think “Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle.
You have until January 1, 2022, so there’s plenty of time to shop.
Lately, I’ve not shared much of my own writing here at Celtic Connexions. I’ve been busy sharing and helping others promote their books and book-related ventures. Today, you’re in for a treat … or not. It depends entirely on your perspective. The good thing is I #amwriting. I’ve experienced a drought, but the thoughts are percolating once again. During my dry spell, I researched the plot thread that runs through this next project, and that’s the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and the animals left behind. I know, pretty heavy subject matter. So without any further ramblings, here is the rough blurb and a scene.
The rough blurb …
Christopher Scott works in the oil sands at Fort McMurray and has to leave the care of his great Dane to his friend and neighbour when he’s away on the job. Unfortunately, while he’s at work, the nightmare of the wildfire becomes a reality and sadly, during the mandatory evacuation, his dog bolts and runs off.
A victim of childhood sex abuse, Lori Brownlee, has relocated to Calgary trying to put the sordid past and its unpleasant memories behind her. It’s been years, but she’s still plagued by the nightmares of those events from long ago.
Lori, an animal lover, joins forces with the volunteers risking their lives to save the pets left behind. She finds a great Dane and is able to persuade the dog to come with her.
Through social media posts about his missing pet, she and Christopher connect, and he heads for Lake Louise, where she is.
Is the great Dane Christopher’s missing pet? Will Lori’s past come back to haunt her?
and a scene (which could or could not hit the cutting room floor) …
Christopher Scott paused in front of the flatscreen TV mounted to the Millennium Lodge’s recreation room wall. News of the wildfire burning to the southwest filled the screen.
Earlier in the day, the sky was blue, as if no fire burned. A something inversion, they called it. Temperature possibly. The clear cerulean from before now replaced with brown, orange, and red closer to the horizon. Plumes of smoke rose from the ground as the fire ravaged everything in its path.
He pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and took it out of silent mode. Missed calls. Lots of them. Checking the callers’ list, he discovered most were from his mother. The other came from his neighbour Frank Connolly.
Frank moved in a couple of years prior while Chris was on his two weeks off. They worked opposite shifts to one another. Unless one or the other took vacation time, they didn’t see each other. Wolfgang, Chris’s Great Dane, needed ‘doggie daycare’ and more while Chris worked. When the dog was a puppy, he took him to work with him. The women employed at the lodge looked after him while he worked. That arrangement worked well until Wolfgang got too big for his crate. Frank’s two daughters loved the big lummox.
Pressing the screen on a call from his mother, Chris dialled. “Hi, ma. What’s up? You’ve only called me like a dozen times today.”
“I’m worried sick about you., and you not taking my calls hasn’t helped.”
“Sorry, but you know I can’t be on the phone when I’m working. There’s nothing wrong with any of the family, is there? You’re okay?”
“We’re all fine, but haven’t you heard?”
“What?” Chris paced back and forth in front of the television.
“Mandatory evacuation. Everyone. Especially in your neighbourhood.”
He pressed his thumb and fingers against his forehead. “Calm down, ma. I’m sure it’s just a precaution. It’ll be fine.”
But would it? Was that the reason for Frank’s call? Except for pictures of Wolfgang with the children, accompanied by a quick update, communication was usually minimal.
“I missed a call from Frank. Let me return it, and I’ll phone you back. Won’t take long. Love you. Bye, ma.” Christopher ended the conversation with his mother and immediately rang his neighbour. “Hey, Frank, what’s this about an evacuation?”
“You heard right. The authorities gave us fifteen minutes to get our stuff together and leave. We planned to take Wolfie with us, but he bolted, and we couldn’t find him anywhere. I’m sorry. We had to go.”
Christopher swallowed hard. The thought of Wolfgang, alone and scared, roaming the streets during a wildfire terrified him. He understood Frank’s position. If only his dog weren’t so strong-minded. His friend referring to the dog by his nickname brought back the memory of when he first met the Connollys. Becky, the youngest, wasn’t quite three years old yet, and she couldn’t pronounce Wolfgang or Wolfie. So when she said it, it always came out Woofie.
Rest assured, nothing happens to Wolfgang. I know better than to kill an animal in a book. That’s a sure-fired death knell for an author.
And here’s a picture of the big, lovable guy. Isn’t he cute?
What do you think of the rough blurb and a scene? I know it’s not much so far, but even the largest oak tree came from a little acorn.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to read them.
Do you want to know more about my It Happened series? You can read about it here.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King