Saturday, 28 March 2020

New Release Spotlight & Author Guest: One Last Shot Post by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, featuring an original, unpublished short story.




An original, unpublished short story by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, Author of the Shots trilogy.
A Day in the Life of a Head Fairy’
Ah, you’ve arrived. I was wondering when you’d get here. His Lordship’s on the phone. Have a listen.
Of course I love you.’
‘Tonight. I’m not sure.’
‘Okay, give me a call when you’re ready.’
I know what that’s about. She wants a lift back from the nightclub, wants us parked up outside, him panting like a faithful hound. And then he’ll drive to their country lane, get in the back of the car and claim his kiss and fumble reward. His candy time. I’m serious. That’s what he calls it. Give me a second. I just need to whisper a couple of one liners.
Tell her you’re busy…Get a life…Hang up.’
He never listens, but I can’t ignore it. It’s not all tinsel and wings in this job. They like you to earn your keep. Hang on a minute. He’s by the mirror now, putting on his designer suit and a splash of Kouros. I’ll give him a few more prods.
Stick your jeans and sweatshirt on…She won’t care as long as you’ve got the car...You’re already on a promise.’
That last one made him think. I might use that again. It’s all a bit trial and error this fairy game and I’m still on probation, still learning the ropes. Fair enough. We’ve all got to start somewhere and it’s not as though there’s a rule book. It all depends on your host and my man’s riddled to his core with love. It’s sweet, all nice and cosy for a while until it turns on you. And that’s when you need me. It’s not easy. It’s me versus the deadliest virus known to the human race and the only weapon they’ve given me is a few seed of doubt bombs. You know the sort of thing: What ifs? What abouts? It’s all garbage, but it’s amazing what happens when those babies get planted inside your head.
*
Oh good. You’re back. I’m down here on the driver’s seat. It was all getting a bit grunt, grind and groan back there. I had to get out of his head for a break. I bet you’re wondering why the back of a car. Simple answer, they still live with their parents. Kids, just turned eighteen. Young love, the most virulent strain of the disease. Mind you, sometimes it gets worse with age.
Something different happened tonight. We pulled up outside the club. She was waiting. They did their usual kiss and reach-for-the-bucket hello:
I love you.’
I love you too.’
I love you more.’
I settled back and waited for him to pull away, but she reached across and put her hand on his knee. ‘There’s something I need to tell you,’ she said.
Well, that woke me up. The big kiss off. It was finally going to happen. I whispered a ‘she’s dumping you’ message for good measure. But this is what she said: ‘I want you to come with me to the club. I want us to be a proper couple.’
Now, don’t judge me, but I might have given you the wrong impression. You see, my man’s not exactly Mr Sociable. He goes through the motions, offers to do lots of things, but he doesn’t expect her to say yes. I’d have bet my pension he wouldn’t agree, but then, and this is really irritating, he smiled his bubble-gum smile, the one that always disengages his brain, and said, ‘I’ll try. I miss you.’
She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
I pitched a What are you doing?’ at him, but, to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it and it was pretty obvious I couldn’t compete with her strawberry lip gloss and white musk perfume. I’ll bide my time, though, wait until he’s in the club, wait until he’s doing his gangly, dad dancing…
Hello.’
Oh, my God, there’s a girl sitting in the passenger seat. Dewy, almond eyes, drawing me in like a magnet.
Who are you?’
I’m Becky, madam’s head fairy.’
She’s looking up at me, her red hair cascading down her back.
Who are you talking to?’
This isn’t fair. I’m over all that. I’ll take a deep breath, try to dampen down the hammer of my pulse. Can you hear it? I’m sure she can hear it.

One Last Shot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton

CAN FIRST LOVE EVER BE REIGNITED?
One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well...


I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.

After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.

The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.

Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

Twitter @FreddieJoJo1



Friday, 27 March 2020

Book Blog Tour Promo: Point Of No Return by Tanya Jean Russell



Point of No Return by Tanya Jean Russell

Jake Williams has been undercover as a captain at Great Britain Air for months and he's beyond frustrated. Tasked with finding the airline insiders who are smuggling chemical weapons into the country, he's getting nowhere fast.

Bree Phillips has spent her whole life wanting to travel and experience life outside of the small village she grew up in, but her family needed her. Now, years later than planned, she is finally joining her best friend to work for Great Britain Air, and her adventure is beginning.

Jake knows he is better off alone, it keeps him sharp and focused, but despite his efforts to keep Bree at a distance, she is drawn further and further into his world. Both have to ask themselves whether some risks are worth taking.

Tanya Jean lives in England with her award winning performer husband, Fisher Stevens, and their two teenage boys.
She has always loved (been obsessive about) books, and has an embarrassingly huge and ever growing pile of things that she just 'has' to read, next to her bed. 
The Cabin Crew Series, Broken Trust & Point of No Return, allowed her to combine her love of writing with her experiences of working in the airline world.
She squeezes her writing (daydreaming...) around her family and her day job , and is convinced that chocolate & diet coke should be considered a well-balanced diet.  
Giveaway to Win 2 x e-copies of Point of No Return (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

New Release Spotlight with An Exclusive Extract: The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes



The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes


Three friends … 
 
Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.
Two Secrets …
Shortly after Frank's death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.
One Hidden Life … 
How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?
Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.

Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May



Amazon UK           Amazon US           Waterstones 

It’s early September 1940 in London at the beginning of the Blitz, this extract is told from Florence’s viewpoint. She hasn’t seen Frank for several years and is meeting him in a London café. Frank has been in hospital since his rescue in the Dunkirk campaign.
Florence arrived at the café just off Oxford Street at midday. She ordered herself a cup of tea and a scone, and waited at a table by the window.
She saw Frank before he saw her. He crossed the street, looking utterly out of place amongst the city bustle and even from where she was sitting, she saw his look of concern directed at the sandbags; she also saw how he’d grown prematurely old. The grey at his temples striking, lines like furrows on his once smooth forehead, his six-foot frame hunched in the light military coat he wore, wrapped tightly around his body, as if crumpling up against the elements.
The sun was high in a crystal-clear London sky. It was touching eighty degrees in the shade.
Frank’s face glowed as he caught sight of Florence through the window. A heat of expectancy rose in her too. Nostalgia and a sense of homesickness for Westerham plunged through her, as did the memory of the fledgling love for a man who didn’t belong to her. But then, an image of Anna in an asylum dug into her mind. Perhaps Frank had changed as much inside as he had on the outside. Perhaps she didn’t know him anymore.
He swung open the café’s heavy wooden door allowing a burst of heat and noise into the small space. The bombs had abated for the last eighteen hours leaving the population of London not at all quiet, if anything enlivened. War had brought chaos and madness and grief to the capital city but also a consistent stoicism, leaving behind forever the capriciousness of the previous decade. In London Florence felt more encased within the humanity of her fellow human beings than she’d ever experienced within her own village. She met London in its darkest moments, became infatuated with the city as she imagined she could be with a mysterious, dangerous, or even forbidden, lover.
Flo, you look wonderful,’ Frank said, standing next to her chair in full army uniform. His face cracked into a hint of a smile. Good to see him. So good. She made to stand. He placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘No, don’t get up.’ He stared into her face. ‘You really do look great. War suits you, Flo.’
I wouldn’t say that. But getting away from Westerham does.
I thought you loved it at Chartwell?’
I did.’
This war’ll last longer than the Great War, you know. You’ll be away from home longer than you think.’
The unforgiving sun pouring through the window did him no favours and guilt passed through her at her own enjoyment of Europe’s conflict. Frank was part of the war proper.
Sit down, Frank.’ She pointed to the chair. So good to see him.
She asked the waitress to bring two more cups of tea and two more scones. Frank looked as if he needed fattening up. They said nothing, only looked at each other whilst they waited.
The waitress placed the scones on the table, scrutinising Frank and his uniform. He seemed oblivious. Florence watched him too, seeing what the waitress saw. A good-looking bloke returned from fighting.
This is on the house, for our soldier here,’ the waitress said, bending forward a little, getting closer to Frank, checking his ring finger. He’d never worn a wedding ring. ‘My brother’s been drafted. He’s in East Africa.’ Her face opened up just talking about her brother. ‘I didn’t even know where Africa was until I looked it up in a book. He’ll be all right though, won’t he? I mean you are, cos you’re here.’
Frank hadn’t looked at the waitress once, not directly. She was a very pretty girl and Florence guessed she’d have a lot of admirers. Frank didn’t appear to notice.
He answered but was looking at Florence. ‘What regiment’s he with?’
First Battalion Essex, Artillery.’
Finally he caught the waitress’s eye. ‘Your brother’ll be fine. Probably safer there than it is in London at the moment.
You think so?’
He smiled. ‘I really do.’
If you want more tea and the last few scones, let me know. On the house.’ The extra wiggle she displayed as she walked away wasn’t for Florence’s benefit.
Frank had long since stopped looking at the girl.
Despite the melancholic expression Frank carried there was no question about his attractiveness. But he was married, and married to Hilda, although Florence conceded it wasn’t as if she was reluctant to get involved with men before marriage; oh no, absolutely not. In her late twenties Florence was not a virgin and when she allowed herself to remember who she’d had that very first unsatisfactory fumble with, the heat of mild shame bit through her; shame only because the whole experience had been so cold. Her dalliance with William Barnes had been before Jem had walked down the aisle with him, so she didn’t feel any guilt about sleeping with a married man. It had though, been a mistake.
Frank had fallen quiet. Florence’s stomach tightened as she took in the leanness of his body, the thickness of his hair, the way his violet eyes slanted when he smiled. ‘I’m so relieved you got home alive,’ she said. ‘I would’ve been distraught… you know, if it’d turned out differently. It doesn’t bear thinking about.’ From the corner of her eye she spotted the waitress studying them.

Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.


Twitter @JulesHayes6 - http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6
Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor - http://www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor
Instagram: JulesHayes6 - http://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6
Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: http://www.jacorrigan.com
Twitter: @juliannwriter - http://www.twitter.com/juliannwriter

Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan - http://www.facebook.com/jacorrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann http://www.instagram.com/corriganjulieann



Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of The Walls We Build (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.





Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Cover Reveal: Another Us by Kirsten Hesketh


Another Us
By Kirsten Hesketh
Publication date, 14th May 2020


What if Emma isn’t the person she thought she was?
Her younger son has just been diagnosed with autism.

She’s accidentally quit her job.

The marriage she was dedicated to suddenly seems like a sham.

She’s pretty sure that she is going to have an affair with a hot new dad at the school.

The only thing that stays the same is everyone else. Emma realises it’s not them – it’s her. But if she’s not who she thought she was, can her old life fit in with the new Emma?

Compassionate, funny and poignant, Another Us is perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Fiona Gibson.





Monday, 23 March 2020

New Release Spotlight & Review: The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman



The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman

Sam Huxton doesn’t do one-night stands, especially not with men she’s just met! But the hot guy at the bar was hard to resist and their one night together is one she’ll never forget.
But one night is all they share – no names, no numbers, just some much needed fun…
Until the same guy walks into Sam’s life the next day as her new employee.  Sam never mixes business with pleasure and makes it clear an office fling with Ryan is off-limits.  But after-hours…one thing can lead to another. Can Sam trust her heart and her business with the new guy?


Amazon UK          Amazon US

A rom-com with a one-night stand and new employee! It's my introduction to a new for me author too

Sam Huxton has a shock when she returns to her office and meets the new guy, Ryan Black. Employed on her behalf by a trusted employee and friend, his job is to fix a problem within a new phone app they're developing at her company Privacy Solutions. Therefore it's a shock for everyone when they realise Sam had a one-night stand during her time away and it was with the new guy! It's awkward, but they agree to keep their distance from each other. That's until they can't bear to be apart.

What lacked for me is Sam's ability to come across as a convincing CEO at Privacy Solutions. I can understand her wanting to build a company with an enticing working environment, but the fact she's too close and friendly with all the staff took away the edge she should have had when making tough decisions. I liked Ryan Black because he's an underdog, looking to improve his current situation. He's flawed, but has good intentions… if only he could keep his temper under control. As a pair, the protagonists are mismatched but somehow manage to meander their way out of tricky situations. There's plenty to humorous dialogue and sizzling chemistry but not enough to convince me they are the real deal.

The highlights are the exchanges between Ryan and Lucas Baker. They're two very different men but find a common link to forge a friendship built on trust and respect. You'd not ordinarily expect to find this pair within the same company so it's admirable they look past their differences and focus on what's important.

The story finishes with a happy ending for Sam and Ryan although, if this couple lived in the real world, I don't feel confident their relationship would last a lifetime.

Overall, it's a soundly written novel full of details and paced to keep a reader invested within the narrative. The story didn't hit the spot for me, however, I enjoyed Ms Freeman's writing style and will definitely pick up and read another of her novels.

***arc generously received courtesy of One More Chapter via NetGalley***



A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes come in many disguises.



Friday, 20 March 2020

New Release Spotlight and Author Guest Post: All the Beautiful Liars by Sylvia Petter



All the Beautiful Liars by Sylvia Petter

Dear Lynn,
I hope Ellesea won´t mind us having a chat on her blog. It´s about books and writing and how it´s never too late to publish.
It´s never too late – on publishing as an older writer
I never wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a vet, but was lousy at maths, so did languages instead – French, German – and took off to see the world. It was halfway through an international telecoms policy career when MBAs were just taking off, that I decided to try out one module that happened to be Planning and Managing Change. I was in my early 40s. I would have finished the MBA online at 50 and would have had to retire at 60. I wanted something I could do for the rest of my life. Write. But I didn´t think I had the right to write, not having a clue about English literature. But since childhood I had been a voracious reader – Mum said I ate books – anything from horses to saints to spies and back. By this time, I was based in Geneva via Helsinki and Vienna and Brussels, was trilingual and had mislaid my mother tongue.
I joined the fledgling Geneva Writers’ Group whose leader, Susan Tiberghien, gave me the “right to write” in that she blew away all my hang-ups with free-writing exercises. Then I went online. This was in the pre-web days. No photos, no chatting, just stories and reading in a small group called Boot Camp run by what some called a madman, but was super teacher, Alex Keegan. More than 50 stories came from my three years there. Reading, reading, reading. Writing, writing, writing. Submitting, submitting, submitting. REJECTIONS. Rejections are so important. Alex would say they were like purple hearts.
I was in my early forties and hooked on writing. I attended international writing conferences and workshops, started a novel, won a mentorship in Australia, saved up for another in Canada. Learning, learning. The novel languished. Stories got published. A collection won a prize, which was publication. The novel kept knocking at my door. It ballooned to 110K, I cut it back, it went up, got cut back, in a sort of cantilevering as taught by Peter Carey on 20 pages of another novel through another paid mentorship. I had almost given up on the novel that now had become All the Beautiful Liars, but my Canadian mentor, Timothy Findley, had told me that it might take 20 years and he also had one like that in the works (Pilgrim).
I have a banner on my blog that really says it all: Touch just one person and it´s all been worthwhile.
I submitted the novel to the Yeovil Novel Prize in 2016 because the judge, Jason Goodwin, had written novels set in Turkey. A long shot, but maybe he would understand what I was trying to do. I think he did, and the novel placed third. But the rejections started all over again.
After having the novel looked at again by UK editor Zoe King and a couple of trusted beta readers in Vienna, I submitted the manuscript to Eye and Lightning Books in the UK. They had brought out the work of an Australian writer, Ryan O´Neill, whose work I loved, and I thought, wouldn´t it be great to be in the same stable? If they reject it, I´ll selfpublish.
When the email came, I was ready for another rejection.
All the Beautiful Liars will be launched on 16 March. I am 70 years old and still have lots in my archives to work on.
I hope there is something in my story that can inspire you to keep at it. It´s the best activity in the world and you can do it forever.

How true are the family histories that tell us who we are and where we come from? Who knows how much all the beautiful liars have embargoed or embellished the truth?

During a long flight from Europe to Sydney to bury her mother, Australian expat Katrina Klain reviews the fading narrative of her family and her long quest to understand her true origins. This has already taken her to Vienna, where she met her Uncle Harald who embezzled the Austrian government out of millions, as well as Carl Sokorny, the godson of one of Hitler's most notorious generals, and then on to Geneva and Berlin. Not only were her family caught up with the Nazis, they also turn out to have been involved with the Stasi in post-war East Germany.

It's a lot to come to terms with, but there are more revelations in store. After the funeral, she finds letters that reveal a dramatic twist which means her own identity must take a radical shift. Will these discoveries enable her to complete the puzzle of her family’s past?

Inspired by her own life story, Sylvia Petter’s enthralling fictional memoir set between the new world and the old is a powerful tale about making peace with the past and finding closure for the future.


For a limited time, All the Beautiful Liars will be available for only 99p.

Sylvia Petter was born in Vienna but grew up in Australia, which makes her Austr(al)ian.
She started writing fiction in 1993 and has published three story collections, The Past Present, Back Burning and Mercury Blobs. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales.
After living for 25 years in Switzerland, where she was a founding member of the Geneva Writers’ Group, she now lives in Vienna once more.




Social Media Links @EyeAndLightning @SylviaAPetter