Thursday, 24 April 2014

T is for Tales – Crooked Cat ones.

T is for Tales – Crooked Cat ones.

I'm back to my A to Z and it's time for the letter T.

My publisher, Crooked Cat, made an excellent suggestion, at Christmastime 2013, about creating a FREE anthology of short stories to be made available to the public to showcase the talents of Crooked Cat Authors. It was also suggested that if any charge had to be made for the collection it would be a very small nominal fee with all proceeds going to the same charities as was used for the FEAR collection which was compiled in 2012; Medecins sans Frontieres and Barnardos.

When asked if I was interested, I jumped at the chance – even though I’ve not written any short stories for many years, not since I was a practising teacher. Those short stories weren’t written for publication but for using as ‘scaffolding’ in story writing classes.

Once committed, I set to in January and thought about what to write. My publishers had suggested something which might be compatible with titles which were already published and using characters I’d already created.

I immediately rejected any new additions to my Celtic Fervour historical series since Book 2 had just recently been published in mid-December 2013 and Book 3 was due to be published around March 2014.

That left me only one publication with Crooked Cat which was Topaz Eyes - my ancestral/dynasty based contemporary mystery thriller. There were quite a few characters I knew I could write about from it and it seemed like a great choice, since at that time Topaz Eyes was being voted on in THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE winter section.

I had already given Teun and Keira from Topaz Eyes their happy ending and had resolved the mysteries of the Tiru Salana Emerald collection, thus any short story needed to be about secondary characters. There are a number to choose from so I picked two very likeable ones:
- Zaan who is one of the third generation cousins from the progeny of Geertje Hoogeveen who scattered the collection amongst the family
- And Fenna, the archivist, who helps to uncover the written evidence to prove the ownership of the Tiru Salana Jewels in the 1880s, when Geertje was given the jewels.

My story in Crooked Cat’s Tales is called: Misgivings.

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to grab you’re FREE copy from 
and from the 

Amazon has them priced at 99p/99c but the proceeds all go to the charities as named above.

Enjoy 20 fabulous TALES.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Poplar Place by Ellen Butler

On my Welcome Wednesday slot I'm delighted to be saying hi to a new author, today. Ellen Butler's latest novel, Poplar Place, from Turquoise Morning Press (Published March 27the 2014) is Women's fiction with romance and suspense.

Ellen also comes bearing a great offer -there's a chance to WIN up to $100 in Lia Sophia jewellery! Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter below.

Let's find out what it's about...

Newly minted librarian, Cara Baker, effectively cuts ties with her tumultuous life in Pittsburgh, and moves to South Carolina where she embraces the peaceful, laid-back style of small town living. Everything seems to be falling into place when Cara finds the perfect house to round out her new plans. Well… perfect except for the immovable hermit living on the top floor. She throws caution to the wind, and buys the fabulous house—hermit and all—without meeting him. By wooing her reclusive renter with notes and mouthwatering meals, he caves and invites her up to the apartment. Preconceived notions are blown out of the water, when she finds Danny isn’t the nerdy Mr. Mole she envisioned.
Unfortunately, FBI phone calls from her past bring Cara’s summer idle to an abrupt halt. Will demons from a former life destroy Cara’s tranquility?

Purchase  Links:

Let's get to know a little about Ellen...

Ellen Butler lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and she considers herself an old-new writer. In other words, she’s old to writing, new to novel writing. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters, and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen’s over active and romantic imagination to run wild. 

You can find Ellen’s debut release, Second Chance Christmas, at Amazon. Professionally, she belongs to the Virginia Writer’s Club, the Northern Virginia Writer’s Club, and is a founding member of the Tempting Romance blog. When she’s not writing, Ellen is either, running around after her children, decorating a neighbor’s house, or holed up in her favorite lounge chair reading. Ellen is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Book club questions for Ellen’s novels can be found on her website.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

and...just in case that link doesn't work for you try this one

Here's an excerpt for you to enjoy as a coffee break read:

“What do you know about the tenant?”
“His name is…”
At that, Jackie came out of her speechlessness with a vengeance. “His name! The tenant is male?”
“Well, yes, but he’s harmless. As a matter of fact, he’s a recluse. You probably wouldn’t even notice him. You see, he’s some sort of computer programmer and rarely leaves the house. His groceries are delivered once a week.” Anne gave a reassuring smile.
“Great. Some creepy computer nerd that plays games all day lives on the third floor,” Jackie said derisively.
I looked at Anne. “Is he agoraphobic?”
Jackie looked confused. “Agora-what?
“Agoraphobic. Does he have a phobia of going outside his home?”
Anne took a moment to respond. “I don’t really know. I do know that twice a week his psychiatrist comes to the house to see him.”
“Who’s his shrink?” Jackie asked.
“Dr. Nolan from downtown on Bradford Street.”
Silence descended as we chewed on this information. I looked at the small wrought iron balcony jutting out from the third floor.
“What’s his name?”
“Dr. Jeffrey Nolan,” responded Anne.
“No, the tenant’s.”
“Oh, let me see. It’s right here in my file.” Anne searched through her files. “Yes, this is it. Daniel Johnson.”
“I can’t see the apartment at all?”
“I have photos that were taken by Mr. Stein before the tenant moved in. You can at least see what the finished space looks like. It has a small kitchen, two bedrooms, a den, a bath and a half and a large living room. All the utilities for the attic are billed directly to the tenant, except for sewer and water.”
“How much does he pay in rent?”
Referring back to her notes, Anne named a price that temporarily stunned me. The rent he paid would completely cover my monthly mortgage.
“There’s also an automatic three percent increase in rent every three years.”
“Is he ever late?” Jackie jumped back into the conversation.
“No. Never. From what I understand from Max, he pays punctually on the first of the month.”
I mulled over this new piece of information. “When can I meet Mr. Johnson?”
“Well, that’s the rub. He doesn’t see anyone besides his psychiatrist. I understand Mr. Stein met him when he moved in, but Max seems to think he keeps to himself and he’s not sure his father ever saw much of him.”
“Can I speak to Mr. Johnson on the phone?”
Anne brightened for a moment. “I have his e-mail address. I’m sure I could give you that.”
Jackie snorted but I pressed on, “Can I talk to his psychiatrist?”
“Cara!” exclaimed Jackie. “You can’t actually be thinking about buyin’ this house with this ridiculous condition.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I am thinking very seriously about buying this house. Obviously, Mr. Stein, a well-known local lawyer, thought enough of Mr. Johnson to give him a ten-year lease. Clearly, the third floor is a full working apartment, quite separate from the rest of the house. Most importantly, the rent from the apartment would provide me a second income.”
Seeing a live one on the line, Anne began thrusting documents at me. “Here’s the floor plan Mr. Stein used when he had it finished. Here are some color copies of the finished product. I have the full color photos back at the office if you’d like to see them.”
“But…but,” Jackie stammered, “he could turn out to be some sort of lunatic that will murder you in the middle of the night. Or maybe…maybe he has that pack rat illness and the attic is full of newspapers and garbage…and RATS! The house could turn into a foul-smelling pigsty. Or maybe he’s runnin’ a meth lab up there!” Jackie pointed one of her pink manicured fingers at Anne. Turning back to me, she continued on her rant. “That’s it! Drugs! The police will descend upon you at three in the mornin’, guns a-blazin’, and the entire house will be blown to bits durin’ the raid.”
“This isn’t a war, Jackie. I’m sure Mr. Stein wouldn’t have allowed a drug dealer to live on his third floor. Right, Anne?” I calmly eyed Anne who shrank back into her chair during Jackie’s rant.

My very best wishes for a great launch to Poplar Place, Ellen- it sounds like an engrossing read. 



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S is for Sabotage

S is for Sabotage

My trusty Collins dictionary definition of Sabotage:

1. n the deliberate destruction, disruption, or damage of equipment, a public service, etc as by enemy agents, dissatisfied employees, etc. 2. v. any similar action to destroy, or disrupt,, esp. by secret means. From saboteur to spoil through clumsiness.

In my contemporary mystery, Take Me Now the plot centres on Nairn Malcolm’s Extreme Adventure sports businesses. Someone has been sabotaging him good style. At the outset of the novel, he has been involved in a mysterious motorbike accident and is pretty beaten up- so much so that he cannot do the usual travelling needed to run his various business concerns.
Normally a man of action, Nairn now sports a couple of plaster casts on left arm and left leg and he has a good number of broken ribs, but his worst injury is the temporary concussion at the beginning of the story. He is unable to ferry himself via his small floatplane from his Scottish island castle base to Glasgow to pick up his jet from Glasgow before travelling on to his warehouses and offices in London. Neither can he use his catamaran for the transport to Glasgow if the weather is ‘floatplane’ unfavourable. He needs someone to help transport him.

Of course, in the nature of such injuries and arrogant men he also finds he cannot conduct his usual office tasks as overall manager of his businesses and needs a general office aid to help him on a temporary basis.

In steps the highly competent Aela Cameron, a lass from Vancouver, Canada. Aela has current licences for almost all of his vehicular toys, having been trained from her teens to fly light aircraft and especially floatplanes- her uncle having a hire business in and around Vancouver. She is the perfect person for the temporary job since she has also worked in her uncle’s office whilst gaining her Business Degree.  

Published by The Wild Rose Press it is a sensual romp as Aela ferrets out the saboteur who has been harming both Nairn and his business.

While writing this ‘tongue in cheek’ version of my contemporary ‘Highland Hero’ I was also able to have Aela fly Nairn to some spectacular world locations which I was desperate to write about. As the pair fly from place to place they make very short stops in London, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Muscat in Oman, Paris, Tallinn in Estonia, The Caribbean and New York. Yes, it’s that kind of fast paced from one location to the next. Of all of the places mentioned in the novel there are only two locations I have never been to myself. I leave the reader to work out which they might be.   

At my editor’s suggestion, I added more details of the budding romance (at least three revisions) making it a much more sensual read, and she suggested more European locations since she believed many US readers like to read of Continental European places. At that point, I had only written about Barcelona; I then added the other locations.  

If you like a humorous 'take off' of the wounded Highland Hero, then this is for you!
Take Me Now

Amazon US Amazon UK

W.H. Smith
Youtube trailer