Seal Skin by Su Bristow #BlogTour

Today I am delighted to be closing the fabulous blog tour for Seal Skin. For my stop I have a great guest post by the author. Don’t forget to check out the other wonderful stops. Seal Skin is out now and available to purchase from Amazon.

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Book Description:

What happens when magic collides with reality? Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Exeter Novel Prize-winner Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. And it is, quite simply, unforgettable. For fans of Angela Carter, Eowyn Ivey, Alice Hoffmann and Geraldine Brooks.

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Five books which have influenced me:

 

I’m going to list them in the order in which I read them, because each one added a layer to my understanding, as well as shaping the way I write.

 

The Owl Service, by Alan Garner.

 

I read all of his children’s books in my childhood and teens, but it was The Owl Service that first gave me that ‘Oh! Yes!’ feeling. The way he took the story of Blodeuwedd and wove it into the present day, and the sense that the stories born in one place are always playing themselves out through the people of that place, was immediately convincing to me.

 

His use of language is masterful, too, whether it’s the Welsh in The Owl Service, the Cheshire dialect in the Weirdstone novels, or the recreation of the Roman mercenaries in Red Shift. I heard him speak about that when I was a student; that, and the way early childhood traumas keep finding expression in the things that happen in later life, and how that is mirrored by the constant re-weaving of legends down the ages. It went deep.

 

The Earthsea Trilogy, by Ursula le Guin

 

I came to these in my mid-teens, and their effect was electrifying. The beautiful spare language was one thing; if I can write half so well, I’ll be happy! Then there was the logic of the Earthsea world, the way it hung together, that put it head and shoulders above most other fantasy of the time.

 

As a fledgling environmentalist, the idea of Equilibrium and the need for magic to respect the balance of the world, made immediate sense. And underlying all that, the Taoist philosophy, and the Jungian story of individuation. I’d already read Jung, but I went out and bought a translation of the Tao Te Ching immediately. I have it still.

 

Culture and Communication: the logic by which symbols are connected, by Sir Edmund Leach

 

I don’t know why, at Cambridge in 1975, they scheduled lectures by Edmund Leach in our very first term of studying Archaeology and Anthropology. Most of the other students seemed to be unmoved by what he was saying, but for this working-class girl, arriving in the groves of Academe with a head full of legends and fantasy, it was so exciting that I could hardly sit still.

 

What really spoke to me was the structuralist way of understanding how we create sacred space. Essentially, it’s about creating boundaries between this and that, in here and out there, the everyday and the magical, and so on. The lectures were drawn from the material in the book, and it was far more accessible – of course – to listen to Leach talking about his ideas than to read what he wrote.

 

In that sense, it was also an accidental lesson in how academic language can be a barrier to communication, and how enthusiasm can carry ideas and shifts in consciousness along with it. A lesson always worth remembering!

 

The Bloody Chamber and other stories, by Angela Carter

 

I think until Angela Carter came along, all the re-weavings of myths and legends I’d read had been inside what was then a sort of ghetto for fantasy and science fiction; next door to children’s stories, and definitely not a fit place for grown-ups. Angela Carter changed all that. Her stories were subversive, sly, feminist; they questioned the assumptions at the heart of the old stories, and sometimes stood them on their heads.

 

It was shocking to see these time-honoured stories woman-handled in such a way. Shocking, and delightful. It showed me that anyone – including me – could have ownership of them, and that seemingly inevitable outcomes could be changed. And they were funny! Humour is often in short supply in fantasy, and it’s very precious when you find it.

 

Women who run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

This came out in 1992, when I was a young mother, not long qualified as a herbalist, living in a Dartmoor village with my then husband. The subtitle is ‘Contacting the power of the wild woman’, and it spoke to me very powerfully, knee-deep as I then was in caring for other people and trying to make a living. Estes re-tells these stories with such poetry, such heart. Her academic credentials are impeccable, and yet her writing is full of soul: there is no contradiction.

 

One of the essays is about the Inuit myth of Skeleton Woman, and I remember telling it in my women’s group to the accompaniment of both tears and laughter. Another, of course, is ‘Sealskin, Soulskin’, about the selkie legend. Estes uses the story to illustrate how women suffer when they are cut off from their ‘wildness’, and that’s certainly how I read it at the time. She sees the fisherman as the masculine ego, and the seal-woman as the feminine soul. And that’s one of the story’s messages, certainly. But I think there’s a message there for both men and women, too. That’s where Sealskin came from.

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Get To Know… Author Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor

Having just recently started reading this authors novels, I am delighted to have Mark Tilbury as my Get To Know author today.

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I’ve always loved writing as far back as I can remember. Making up stories, creating worlds where I had complete control. I got to choose who could live in these worlds, how they behaved, who they were nice to and who they weren’t. And the best thing about it? It was my secret. My special place. No one else was allowed in. I suppose, as a child, it was the nearest thing to power I could have. It was also something that came naturally to me, and as I progressed through school I got praised for my stories and essays. English was the only subject I didn’t have to revise for, but I never considered trying to make a living from writing.  

 

So, I went in the Royal Navy, got married, had two beautiful daughters. After leaving the navy, I enrolled on a creative writing course. I had a tutor who believed in me. The short story I wrote as part of the course was published in Best magazine. Something Fishy. The first time I’d seen a story of mine in print! An amazing feeling. My tutor, Jane Knight, helped me immensely. I have a lot to thank her for.

 

After I was widowed, I didn’t bother with writing for a long time. Just odd poems. I had two daughters to raise, and quite a lot of difficulties to overcome. It was only with the emergence of Amazon Kindle that I threw caution to the wind and began writing again. With the help of my  girlfriend, I started from scratch. We worked our way around social media, and with the help of so many fantastic people, self-published two novels: The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. With quite a lot of favourable comments giving me encouragement, I wrote my third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams. This book was a real step up for me. Luckily, Bloodhound Books took it on, and it’s due to be published on the 28th February.    

You can keep up to date with Mark Tilbury and his books on the following sites:

Amazon Author Page: http://ow.ly/hoEZ308UgQc

Author blog: http://www.marktilbury.com

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/marktilbury

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

Twitter page: https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor

Favourite book as a child?

Can I have a series? It has to be the Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Four children and a dog called Timmy who meet up in the school holidays and get involved in all sorts of shenanigans. Criminals, treasure, smuggler’s tunnels. What’s not to like? I got hold of a lot of these stories from car boot sales when my daughters were growing up. Can’t say I still had the same enthusiasm for the adventures, but it was interesting to see how they still had the same impact on my children as they did on me.  

Favourite book as a teenager?

Again, I can’t pin it to one in particular. I just loved all of Agatha Christie’s books. She had a house in the town where I lived. We used to go carol singing there at Christmas, thinking she would come to the door and bestow untold riches upon us. Unfortunately, expectation and reality rarely collide. No one even opened the door!

Favourite character?

Annie Wilkes in Misery. Just a bundle of contradictions. A woman who hates profanity and can chop a man’s foot off has the lot for me. It was the first time I looked at a character in a novel and wanted to try to emulate it. A lot’s been said about Stephen King, and there’s not much else I can add, except he really inspires me to write characters which really come to life.

Favourite book to movie adaption?

Misery, by Stephen King. Brilliant. Cathy Bates was perfect. Watched it at least a dozen times.

James Caan also does a magnificent job as the character of Paul Sheldon. There are times in the film that I find myself willing him to escape, even though I know the plot inside out. That is the mark of a truly great piece of suspense.

Favourite drink or snack while reading?

Coffee. Unfortunately, decaf  because I’m diabetic, but it still tastes good!

Favourite highlight of your writing career?

That’s an easy one. Getting signed to Bloodhound Books. I’m just about excited enough to burst at the moment. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team, and the cover they have designed for The Abattoir of Dreams is brilliant.

Old Friends And New Enemies: an explosive crime thriller by Owen Mullen #BlogTour @OwenMullen6

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Book Description:

An explosive new crime thriller

The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron was looking for.

But it wasn’t a stranger.

Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.

Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.

Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.

There is only one problem… Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

*** Also available in this stunning new series***

The best-selling: Games People Play

*** COMING SOON***

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

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My Thoughts:

Old Friends and New Enemies is the second book featuring PI Charlie Cameron.

Set in Scotland, I loved the different places that are mentioned. Having lived there myself and still having family up there, I could easily visualise a lot of the areas mentioned having been to some of them myself. It did make me feel ever so slightly homesick.

I have to admit I really felt for Charlie in this book. He catches up with some old friends which to a certain extent has him hopeful about his future, only to have things take a severe turn as he ends up being placed in a very dangerous position.

There are two threads running alongside each other in the novel. One to do with Charlies old friends as well as a case he is working on for his own business. Both stories left me feeling quite melancholy. The whole novel felt deeper and darker, I think this is because both threads affects Charlie quite deeply which in turn affected me.

Old Friends and New Enemies is without a doubt an enthralling crime thriller. Through Charlies emotions the author draws you in so that everything he is feeling is passed on to the reader. It’s one that after finishing I had to sit back and reflect on what I had just read and made me want to take my hat off to the author for the emotions that he had raised within myself. This is certainly a series that seems to be going from strength to strength.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Old Friends and New Enemies is out now and available to purchase from Amazon.

About The Author:

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When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands.

Bad Little Girl: A gripping psychological thriller with a BRILLIANT twist by Frances Vick #BlogTour

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Book Description:

‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’
Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe.

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled?

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.

My Thoughts:

After reading the description for this book I knew I had to read it.

Claire is a teacher who really cares about her pupils. She actually seems to be the only one that does to be fair. I think in todays society people would still rather turn a blind eye to what is in front of them than get involved. She isn’t married and doesn’t have any children of her own and to be honest I felt quite sorry for her.

Lorna is quite a complex child. She seems to be in trouble quite often and is a bit of a loner. She is someone else I felt sorry for as you can tell she is being somewhat neglected in her home life and you could easily understand the fascination that Claire starts to have with her. Claire keeps her eye on her at school and as her fears seem to be falling on death ears, she takes matter into her own hands.

The book claims to have a brilliant twist, to be totally honest I thought it was quite obvious quite early on where the story was going so wasn’t as surprised as I was hoping to be. Not sure if it’s because I read so much of this genre or I’m just getting as twisted as whats inside the pages! That didn’t spoil the story though as to be fair the star of this book is Lorna. She easily steals the limelight from Claire who I found to be quite weak and who started to irk me the further into the story I got.

Bad Little Girl is without a doubt a page turner of a read. It has the reader feeling a mixture of emotions as well as being quite thought provoking. Whilst it didn’t shock me it was still very much an entertaining and gripping read and would certainly recommend it.

My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Bad Little Girl is out now and available to purchase from Amazon .

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The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor

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Book Description:

The past is never far away. Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home. Now an adult, Michael wakes up in hospital from a coma suffering from amnesia and paralysis. Confused and terrified, he is charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life. Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison. With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand. But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes back to haunt him. Can Michael ever escape the past? Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s murder? And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer? The Abattoir of Dreams is a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse.

 

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My Thoughts:

I picked up this book without having read the description so had no clue what I was going into. To start with I thought it was going to be a supernatural type of story as the main character Michael, has outer body experiences by reliving memories from his past leading up to present day in hospital. I would say the first 30 or 40 percent of the story flicks like that between the hospital and Michael being taken down the tunnel to different events in his past. After that the story pretty much stays in the past which leads up to the present day.

Carver is an absolutely horrible character. Right from the start I really disliked him. The further into the story I got the dislike was swapped to loathing. The way he was treating Michael scared me never mind poor Michael. He is truly one sick and twisted individual and I kept hoping someone would walk into the hospital room and catch him in action and see what an evil person he is.

I know I mentioned that I thought that the story might be supernatural, well it isn’t. It’s a story that covers domestic abuse as well as other forms of abuse. I won’t lie, this will not be everyone’s cup of tea due to the nature of the story line as some parts are uncomfortable as well as heart breaking. Saying that though, it is an absolutely brilliant read and one I highly recommend reading.

With Michael to start with I felt pity for. I had no idea whether he was guilty or not but I knew he didn’t deserve to be treat the way that Carver was treating him. Through the tunnel he starts to learn more about himself and his past. After reading the novel I can’t help wishing he hadn’t. He has to deal with things no child should ever have to. I have to mention briefly Michael’s relationship with his childhood pet Oxo as well as Liam who he befriends in the boys home. These relationships moved me to tears and are ones that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Having read A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone, I never thought another book would provoke such emotions within me. Well Mark Tilbury has succeeded in doing that with The Abattoir of Dreams. This is a story that will mess with your head as well as your heart. I felt like my heart had been shattered into millions of tiny pieces and I wanted so badly to be able to take away the hurt and uncertainty that Michael as well as Liam goes through.

Shocking and heartbreaking, The Abattoir of Dreams is without a doubt one of my outstanding reads so far of 2017.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

The Abattoir of Dreams is out on the 28th of February and will be available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Info:
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria,although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is currently working on his third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar,and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.
Book Info be up soon.

 

Get To Know… Author Rachel Amphlett

Delighted to be joined today by the wonderful Rachel Amphlett.

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Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor

espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter series, as

well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels

appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee

Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association,

with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci

Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014, and the entire Dan Taylor espionage series

contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag in 2017.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always

happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

You can keep up to date with Rachel Amphlett and her books on the following sites:

Email: info@rachelamphlett.com
Instagram: @RachelAmphlett
Facebook: Rachel Amphlett

Amazon

iTunes
Kobo

Favourite book as a child?

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.

Favourite book as a teenager?

The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins – my Grandad got me onto that one on a rainy weekend in Oxfordshire, and that’s definitely when I got hooked on thrillers.

Favourite character?

I’ve still got a soft spot for Jack Reacher. I loved the early books more so than recent ones, but at least with Jack, you know what you’re going to get!

Favourite book to movie adaption?

I loved what they achieved with the Harry Potter films – I was given the first three books as a gift by a friend when we left our pub in the UK and I devoured those and the rest of the series. I think the films managed to stay as true to the books as they possibly could, and I still enjoy watching them.  

Favourite drink or snack while reading?

A nice cold glass of white burgundy if I can get my hands on it – it’s not so popular over here. Snack-wise, olives are always a favourite!

Favourite highlight of your writing career?

Being asked to contribute to the Indie Alternative panel at CrimeFest in 2016 was a major highlight for me – there are so many misnomers about self-publishing and it was a fantastic opportunity to put some of the rumours to bed and share what I’ve learned to date with authors I really respect. I enjoyed the weekend so much because it enabled me to meet some of the people I’d only known previously via social media, and I continue to make friends because of attending CrimeFest.

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The Promise by Casey Kelleher #BlogTour

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Book Description:

Family ties can be deadly…

THE PROMISE

Two sisters. One murder. And an unbreakable bond.

Growing up in squalor with their drug-addicted prostitute mother, sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker have had to endure the very darkest side of life.

When their mother is sentenced for brutally murdering a client, Georgie and Marnie’s already precarious lives are blown apart and they now share a terrible secret. Sent to a children’s home, the sisters hope this might finally be their safe haven after years of neglect. But they soon discover they’re in real danger.

Desperate to find a place of safety, Georgie and Marnie run for their lives, but end up in the hands of Delray Anderton. A violent London gangster and notorious pimp, Delray has big plans for beautiful teenager Georgie, seeing her as a chance to make some serious money.

Fiercely protective of each other, Georgie and Marnie must escape the clutches of a man who will do anything to keep the sisters for himself. And, they must keep the promise they made to each other – no one can ever know the truth.

A gritty, shocking and gripping thriller that will engross fans of Kimberly Chambers, Martina Cole and Jessie Keane.

My Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of this authors novels as they are dark, edgy and hard hitting. The Promise is no different.

Due to the story line in The Promise I have to admit at times I found it to be a very uncomfortable read. There is one bit which I have to say I think is slightly risky by the author due to what was happening to the character, I didn’t know whether I could carry on. It affected me that deeply. I did though as I had to know how things were going to end and I am so glad I did.

Georgie and Marnie are two girls that are well and truly going to pull on the readers heart strings. Georgie, who is twelve and the older sibling, is very much the one bringing her younger sister up. Josie, their mum, is pretty much a waste of space. I did feel empathy to Josie but the neglect on her own children just made me want to weep. Both girls, regardless of the neglect, love their mother and just want to be a proper little family.

What I really loved in this book is how some of the characters really took me by surprise. There was a few who I had written off from the start but their actions later on changed how I felt about them and I ended up developing a soft spot for them. It’s certainly a novel that is full of surprises and certainly wasn’t as straight forward as I thought it was going to be.

The Promise is without a doubt a hard hitting and powerful read. It’s another of the author’s books where the story and characters will stay with me for a long time to come. I felt really emotional after finishing it as the author brings the atrocities from real life into fiction. Whilst it made me sad as to what evils go on in the world, it also gives the reader strength and hope in some of the good that there is out there also.

Powerful, emotional and heartbreaking, The Promise is this years must read.

My thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

The Promise is out now and available to purchase from Amazon.

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