Iron Will by James Maxwell – Extract – Blog Tour.

Iron Will Cover LowRes

About the Author

James Maxwell is a number one bestselling author of eight epic fantasy novels. The Enchantress (May 2012), his debut novel and the opening to his bestselling Evermen Saga was originally self-published before its bestselling success secured him a publishing deal with 47DegreesNorth. James has followed this with hugely successful Shifting Tides series, starting in May 2016 with Golden Age, followed by Silver Road (Nov 2016), Copper Chain (Aug 2017) and now the epic conclusion, Iron Willi which is out this week.

James grew up in the scenic Bay of Islands, New Zealand, before moving to Australia at the age of eight. As a child, James would devour fantasy and science-fiction classics, his love for books translating to a passion for writing, which he began at the age of eleven. He moved to the UK in 2005 with his wife, fellow author Alicia M. Kaye and they have lived in Thailand, Mexico, Malta and Austria to pursue their writing, experiences which have strongly inspired James’ writing. James also has a strong interest in history, and undertakes extensive historical research into ancient civilisations to inform his novels.

About the series

War has come to Xanthos. Across the sea, the insane King Palemon’s lust for gold has driven him to build an army of dragons that will soon destroy everything in their path. Neighbouring royalty, Prince Dion and Princess Chloe, refuse to be helpless pawns in a clash of nations, and strive to bring their kingdoms together to fight this impending threat. When they find themselves hopelessly outmanned and outgunned, their only hope is to go in search of the secretive and powerful race of shapeshifters called the Eldren who have long since disappeared into the mysterious Wilds.

All the while, an ancient, terrible power rises from the ashes to once again claim all-consuming power and domination over Xanthos. The world faces a war to end all wars, and enemies once fighting over gold must now become allies to face this rising evil, less everything they hold dear be destroyed and their whole world be plunged into darkness.

As a world-spanning conflict begins, a king is betrayed, a prophecy is fulfilled, and our royal heroes learns secrets about their pasts that will change their own and the future of Xanthos.



Dion brought his horse to a sudden halt. From his position on a high mountain trail, he had a clear view of the village of Brook Farm in the valley below. He watched as dozens and dozens of red-scaled dragons descended toward the houses. He could almost hear the screams of the folk fleeing in all directions. The dragons tucked in their wings to plummet with speed. Jaws bit down on unarmed peasants. Soldiers astride the dragons thrust spears or hacked down with axes and swords. This village, almost identical to so many others in Xanthos, had no stronghold for people to flee to, no soldiers to fight back. It wasn’t war, it was butchery.

‘Dion?’ Cob’s concerned voice broke through his reverie.

Dion blinked and the dragons were gone. He realized he was clutching the reins tightly. The village was as it had been before: a small settlement of thatched houses with smoke snaking up from chimneys. Nearby, fields of wheat made a patchwork of the lowlands, while goats and sheep milled on the green hills. The people who lived in the houses and worked the fields led simple lives, centered on the family and the flow of the seasons. They were the lifeblood of Dion’s kingdom. Their efforts fed the urban population in the city. If war came . . . when war came . . . he didn’t know how he would protect them.

James Maxwell is the bestselling author of The Evermen Saga and The Shifting Tides series, and has previously ranked in the top 5 bestselling authors on Amazon worldwide. The final book in The Shifting Tides series, Iron Will, is out now in paperback with 47North, Amazon Publishing. Find out more about James and his books here.



The Teacher’s Secret by Suzanne Leal – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

Things aren’t always as they seem…

A small town can be a refuge, but while its secrets are held, it’s hard to know who to trust and what to believe.

The Teacher’s Secret is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation..

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The Teacher’s Secret is set in a close-knit community in Australia. Terry has been teaching at the local school for years. Some of the children he teaches are the children of parents he taught when they were children. Some of them need more help than others. Pupils and colleagues adore him but when Laurie arrives to stand in as school head she doesn’t like his ways. She sees his closeness and time he spends with the children in his own time as a threat to their safety and against the rules. And Laurie is adamant that all rules need to be adhered to by everybody. She soon makes it impossible for him to carry on working at the school.
The novel focuses on Terry but also other members of the community. We meet Nina, the teacher who replaces Terry and one of the few who doesn’t really know him. We also meet parents and grandparents of pupils, close friends and a family who want refuge.
At first, when the novel focused on Terry I found if quite difficult to read. I did have sympathy for him, he did a lot of good things for the kids, especially the ones who needed extra care. But I don’t think he helped himself at all with his refusal to accept the rules that were in place. I warmed to him more after he was forced to leave his job, when you could see how much the children needed him. And how much he needed them.
My favourite character was Nina, how she had to accept the way her life had changed and how she had to make the children accept her as their new teacher. She was the only one who had any liking or sympathy for Laurie, a feeling I didn’t share. I thought she was a cold person who would manipulate a situation so she could put her rules in place. I liked Grace and her family, I felt her fears over not being granted refuge and how hard it was to fit into a new way of life. And how it was made easier for them by a misunderstanding.
I liked reading about this little community of people and Suzanne Leal is an author who I would happily read again.

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White Midnight by Daniel Culver – Guest Post.


Today it is my pleasure to welcome to my blog Daniel Culver to talk about his writing process. This is a book that I am really looking forward to reading.

About the Book

Elizabeth Nowicki, a British woman and self-confessed stoic, settles down in the seemingly idyllic American town of Midnight, with her new husband and his two children. Six months on, life as a step mom is harder than she thought, and the shine of the American Dream has already worn off.

Bored and lonely, Elizabeth is drawn into a nightmare when someone in a duck mask murders two local cops…and the investigation reaches her new neighbourhood. When this is followed by strange happenings across the street, leading to another death, Elizabeth starts to conduct her own investigation….but can she find the killer before the killer finds her?


My Writing Process

I figure people like these origin stories, nosey nods to one’s writing practice, so this is mine. Here goes.
I used to be a ‘pantser’. Actually, I was full ‘commando’. I started with an abstract idea and just ran with it, a bit like making Lego with no instructions. Lego without instructions usually looks like something you left in your pantsters; at least mine did. Something with no firm structure usually falls apart very easily, too. Unless you’re a genius. I’m not a genius, so I need stabilisers.
Now, I am an ardent planner. A Micro Manager, as Zadie Smith suggests. This works for me because my ideas are both abstract and erratic. I don’t write in sequence, so I can slot whatever I make up into a timeline. Actually, I would say I am re-planner. I usually begin with an idea and I need to let it ferment in my head for a long time. I will probably begin with one or two scenes to properly set the tone, and while I’m writing those, I will use a Beat Sheet (see Saves The Cat Beat Sheets, they’re great) to construct the plot, which I will then break across three separate documents – my three act structure.
This allows two things: to easily navigate my manuscript(s); while also allowing me to easily re-structure things as I go, according to my Beat Sheet.
I usually end up shuffling things quite a bit and while I’m going that, I will then write each character’s story, depending on how many POVs there are in the plot. Once I have the plot structured across the three acts, I will then dissect and insert the individual story arcs. I’m sure there is software out there that does this type of thing for you, but my system doesn’t cost anything and I’m set in my ways. This is my own organised chaos.

So, in short, while in the early writing stages I usually have: A beat sheet, which contains the plot points. A work in progress file, for ideas and snippets that are not yet finished or fully realised. My actual manuscript at this point is dived into the three acts, which I will lay my beat sheet to. Finally, I have the separate story arcs for the main character(s), which will be inserted into my three acts once I am happy with the plot. So, no less than six separate documents in all.
Basically, I see it as a play. I construct the necessary beats across the three acts. I then set the scene or furnish the set. My WIP is like a rehearsal, riffing on ideas until they are ready to be added to the script. Finally, once the characters/actors are ready to go in, I slot them in to place.
I’m not fun at parties!

You can purchase the book here

Daniel and James

Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield – Blog Tour Review.


About the Book

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

My Review

It is not my usual practice to read a novel without knowing anything about the synopsis or the author. But occasionally I will bend my rules and I was well rewarded with this novel. It is a gem.
When Lucas Winter runs out of fuel in the middle of nowhere he has no option but to walk to the next deserted looking town. Straight away he ends up in a lot more trouble when a local gets under his skin.
Very early on in this novel I was intimidated. There was something about the level of darkness and how loud his footsteps sounded in the silence that made me feel edgy.
Everybody seemed untrustworthy and scared. When he started asking questions life became more uncomfortable and he just made his situation worse. I had no idea who he could get on his side but I assumed that everything would be resolved and he would be able to leave and get on with his journey. That is, until I received one of the biggest shocks I have come across in fiction. If it was possible for my chin to hit the floor it would have done. It showed that you should never assume to know which way a novel is going. And, the twist worked very well.
This is a fantastic novel by a debut author who I will happily read again.

You can purchase the book here 

Far Cry From The Turquoise Room by Kate Rigby – Blog Blitz promotion.



Far Cry From The Turquoise Room

Told from both daughter and father’s perspectives, Far Cry From The Turquoise Room is a coming-of-age, riches-to-rags tale of loss, resilience, and self-discovery, set just before the millennium. It is also about the passage of childhood into puberty.

Leila is the eight-year-old daughter of Hassan Nassiri, a wealthy Iranian property owner, and younger sister to the adored Fayruz, her father’s favourite daughter.

But a holiday narrowboat tragedy has far-reaching consequences for the surviving family. Hassan withdraws into reclusive grief, when he’s not escaping into work, or high jinks with his men friends at his second home in Hampstead, leaving Leila to fend for herself in a lonely world of nannies, chess and star-gazing.

Leila eventually runs away from home and joins a family of travellers in Sussex, and so follows a tale of adventure, danger and romance – and further anguish for her surviving family. But how will she fare at such a young age and will her family ever find her?

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About Kate Rigby

Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England.  She’s been writing for nearly forty years, with a few small successes along the way, although she has long term health conditions. Having been traditionally published, small press published and she is now indie published.

She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and it has since been updated.

However, she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s avant garde magazine Texts’ Bones.

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories and as part of the Dancing In The Dark erotic anthology, Pfoxmoor Publishing (2011). Hard Workers is to republished for a third time – in an anthology called ‘Condoms & Hot Tubs Don’t Mix’ – an anthology of Sexcapades – which is due to be published by Beating Windward Press in the US in February 2018.  It is her shortest ever story and yet the most popular in that sense!  All proceeds will go towards planned parenthood.

She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).

More information can be found at her website:

Or her occasional blog:

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