White Midnight by Daniel Culver – Guest Post.

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

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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?

Purchase Links:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004ZF80N0  

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Far-Turquoise-Room-Kate-Rigby/dp/1463611102

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/far-cry-from-the-turquoise-room-kate-rigby/1100125576

iBooks

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/far-cry-from-the-turquoise-room/

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/far-cry-from-the-turquoise-room-1

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:

http://kjrbooks.yolasite.com/

Or her occasional blog:

http://bubbitybooks.blogspot.co.uk/

Social Media Links

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Rigby-Books-127908180613508/

https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Rigby-Paperbacks-478473378983822/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1120685.Kate_Rigby

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/brontebrothers/

We Were The Salt Of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard – Translated by David Warriner – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves.

My Review

We Were The Salt Of The Sea is a crime novel that is slightly different to all the others that I have read before. It is set in the Gaspé peninsula, an area that is heavily dependant on fishing and the crime that Joaquin Morales has to investigate is that of an experienced sailor whose body is found trapped in fishing nets. Unfortunately, Catherine arrives too late to meet the birth mother she has never known. Morales is determined to find out if her death was accidental as some of the community claim or if she was murdered. Both of them also want to know why so many of them hate Marie as much as they do.
The book contains some of the strongest and strangest characters that I have come across. It took me a while to get used to their eccentricity. There aren’t many characters you meet whose most common saying is Christ on a chalice. But as I read more, and realised that all of them had their own way of talking I found it easier to accept and enjoyed the experience.
It is difficult to single out specific characters but Cyrille was the one that touched me most. His frailty, and the friendship he offered to Catherine when all the others were less helpful. The funeral director, ex car salesman, who had me cringing and laughing at the same time. And of course the character of the sea, emptying of fish but still powerful and enticing. Something to fear but also desire.
I loved this novel, it will be one that I will certainly read again in the future.

You can purchase the novel here

We Were The Salt of the Sea BT Banner

Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Scarred by the Troubles in Belfast, Billy Nelson returns to his loyalist roots following his discharge from army service. But Belfast and the people he knew have changed, and after his gang are responsible for a series of violent attacks on innocent victims, he is forced out of the city and moves in on the drugs business in Edinburgh.Taking on the family who have been the main players in the city for years, a battle for control amongst the criminal underworld of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast ensues, and the balance of power is upset…Grace Macallan, recently promoted to Superintendent in the Specialist Crime and Counter Terrorism Directorate, has her hands full as a series of incidents leaves a trail of victims. As the old demons of the Troubles come back to haunt her again, can Grace keep the streets of Scotland safe, as well as balancing the conflicting interests of the police in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Security Services, who all have an interest in Nelson and his paramilitary contacts in Belfast…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I hadn’t read the first book in the series but could follow this easily enough, there are no spoilers despite a few characters reappearing and it could easily be read as a standalone novel.
When Billy is forced to leave Belfast to set up in Edinburgh he takes along some equally violent and unbalanced friends. But they are not all as loyal and respectful towards him as he expects them to be. As you can work out from the synopsis the crimes committed are drug and gang related. There are drug dealers, drug users, plenty of murders, corrupt police officers and there is some brilliant Irish and Scottish humour. There is something about this type of humour in novels that delivers a low punch that has you gasping and then laughing with delight.
It has multiple threads, there is a lot more happening than I initially thought. At times I was back tracking, thinking that I had missed something, but I hadn’t. I was just cleverly played.
I hope that this will develop into a long running series, I know there is at least three books. It was refreshing, slightly intimidating and worryingly believable.

You can purchase the book here

Evidence of Death BLOG TOUR copy