Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Release Day Spotlight and Exclusive Extract: Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg

Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg

Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.
So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.
However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…
There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.

At the weekly market in Bousseix, all the locals want to find out more about the recent murder, the victim of which Martha discovered yesterday. News spreads fast in rural France.
To escape a group of determined pursuers, Martha ducks into the nearest bakery. But that wasn’t such a wise move…
“Madame, is it true it was you who found poor Daniel Frobart?” the shopkeeper gushed before Martha could even open her mouth to ask for a croissant.
Martha was stunned. She hadn’t been aware that the shopkeeper knew her from Adam, or, more appropriately, Eve.
The few people who had been forming a straggling queue behind her at once broke ranks and crowded round, staring at her eagerly.
Martha shrugged. The news was out anyway, and neither Philippe nor the two other, grumpy police officers had told her she couldn’t tell anyone about the incident.
“Was he really stabbed in the neck with a pitchfork, madame?” asked an elderly man.
A middle-aged woman with a tiny dog under one arm snorted. “Pfft. He was throttled with bailer twine, wasn’t he, madame?”
Martha was alarmed at both how wild the rumours had become in less than a day and how much her audience were looking forward to hearing all the gory details, but she was also very impressed by the politeness of her interrogators, despite their eagerness.
“He was stabbed through the heart by a hay spike. You know, the ones on the front of tractors that farmers use to lift bales of hay?”
A collective gasp went round and there were murmurs of “Mon Dieu” and “merde”.
Martha went into as much detail as her French permitted. Her audience listened in rapt attention, only occasionally correcting her grammar. When she’d finished her account, they all thanked her, then lunged for the counter, shouting their requirements to the shopkeeper, who Martha had by now, thanks to comments by her audience, worked out was called Veronique. Veronique served them quickly, and they all dashed off at speed, even the elderly man, to share this horse’s mouth news and gain enormous street cred. Martha was the only one left.
“And for you, madame?” urged Veronique impatiently.
“Oh.” Martha had almost forgotten she’d come in to buy something. “An almond croissant please.”
Veronique grabbed one with tongs, shoved it in a bag and thrust it at Martha. She opened her purse, but Veronique shook her head. “Free gift!”
“Gosh, thanks,” smiled Martha. “Good-bye.”
She got no verbal reply as Veronique was already on the phone. She just waved to Martha, who turned and clanged out of the bakery.
“Well, that was weird,” Martha muttered to herself. But it had been profitable. She bit into the delicious pastry, all the tastier for not having to be paid for.
Martha needed something to go with her croissant. To match the three bakeries, there were three cafés in the town. Again, Martha opted for the smallest but nicest one, at least in her opinion. This one was down-to-earth, borderline shabby but perfectly serviceable. It didn’t have a fancy frothy coffee machine, so for a café crème you just got a shot of espresso in a tiny chipped cup with a few drops of milk grudgingly dripped in.
Martha plonked herself down at one of the wobbly tables on the pavement, prepared for a five-minute wait or so before the café owner appeared to take her order. However, today it was only a matter of seconds before he was hovering over her, a gleam in his eye. Martha groaned inwardly.
“Madame, is it true—”
“That I found Monsieur Frobart dead?” she couldn’t stop herself saying. “Yes, it is.” And she ran through events yet again.
When she’d finished her host jogged back into the café, quite an accomplishment given that he was a very large, unfit man. From where she was Martha could hear him reporting what he’d just learnt to the hard-core crowd, who eschewed the sunshine and opted for the dim gloominess of the café interior, only emerging for a quick smoke or vape. A young, skinny, scruffy waiter soon appeared with her coffee. It was served today in a gleaming and matching white cup and saucer, accompanied by three sugars, two tiny wrapped biscuits and one mini dark chocolate bar. Usually it was one sugar and only a biscuit if the owner was in a particularly good mood, a rare event.
“My boss said there’s no charge for the coffee, madame,” said the waiter, unable to keep the incredulity out of his voice.
“Please thank him on my behalf,” replied Martha graciously, managing not to grin.

I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve.
I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.


New Release Spotlight: The Worth Of A Penny by Jess B. Moore

The Worth of a Penny by Jess B. Moore

Sweetheart Penelope Davies is what her daddy calls gullible, right after he told her she was stupid and worthless. With her cheek red from being slapped by him, and her heart trampled by a worthless boyfriend, she packs up and follows her half-brother to Fox River, North Carolina, in need of a fresh start.

Dominic MacKenna is the youngest of five brothers, the friendly one with a killer smile and easy laugh. His brothers are all grown up, and one by one they’re flying the nest, leaving him out of sorts and unsure of his place. Who is he if not the youngest MacKenna?

Penny falls in with the MacKenna brothers, welcomed in as family, and offered the kind of love and support she never knew existed. With a new job and a lot of determination, she is finding out what she’s capable of. The last thing she needs now is to fall in love with the most notorious flirt in town.

Dominic falls for the sweet strong girl with a penchant for random facts and quirky homemade dresses. All he wants is to show Penny how wonderful she is, how smart and funny, and how desired and loved—even if he has to do it as her friend.

Amazon US     Amazon UK     Amazon DE     Amazon FR

Jess B Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

Her novels combine her interests in family, music, and small towns into thoughtful tales of growing up and falling in love.

Competition Time and Price Reduction: A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton

In the mood for a heart-warming holiday read to whisk you off to Italy and Greece?
When Leah Castelli’s husband – Antonio - walks out of her life, he leaves behind a lot of heartache, his two-year-old daughter, Rosie, and a mountain of debt. With no contact at all from him over the next seven years, Leah focuses on her job as a freelance photographer to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads.
In the evenings she expands her photographic website to include holiday snaps. After a chance interview with the iconic popstar, Harry Martin at the prestigious Altar Bar resort in Cannes, her post went viral. And dreams of becoming a full-time travel blogger didn’t seem quite so distant.
And now, having won the Traveller Abroad: Top Travel Blogger award, overnight she’s finally able to give up the day job and work from home. Plus, the offers to experience some fabulous trips begin to roll in.
Leah soon finds herself on a cruise ship heading off to Monaco, Portovenere and on to Civitavecchia in Italy. But when her daughter accompanies her on a working trip to Athens, out of the blue life suddenly begins to get a lot more complicated. Can one chance encounter change Leah and Rosie’s life forever – or is that one risk too far?

Do you love a competition?
Hello lovely readers and bloggers!
To celebrate the price drop to 99p I will be running a competition on Twitter for one lucky person to win a goody bag - a limited edition mug and pen, and a Disaronno/chocolate gift box!
No purchase is necessary to join in – just RT one of my lovely blogger’s Tweets for the 99p promo including @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair, to take part.
If you have already read/reviewed A Greek Affair and take a photo of it on your reading device and/or send a link to your review in your Tweet - IF YOUR NAME is the ONE drawn by the third party, I will add two signed paperbacks from my backlist to the prize!
Don’t forget to include @LinnBHalton and #AGreekAffair so we can include your Tweet in the competition. Thank you so much for dropping by and good luck!
Terms: Competition closes noon GMT 19 April 2019; international; anyone can enter; prize to be provided by the author; prize winner will be announced on Twitter by @LinnBHalton and on Linn’s website (competition page) at noon on 20 April 2019 after being selected at random by a third party.

More than just a holiday romance?
Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?
Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

Price drop: only 99p - grab your copy now!

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’
Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.
When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.
Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.