Book Review – The Soprano by Sarah England.

Book Description:

A Haunting New Supernatural Thriller by the author of Bestselling Occult Horror Trilogy, ‘Father of Lies.’

‘It is 1951 and a remote mining village on the North Staffordshire Moors is hit by one of the worst snowstorms in living memory. Cut off for over three weeks, the old and the sick will die; the strongest bunker down; and those with evil intent will bring to its conclusion a family vendetta spanning three generations.
Inspired by a true event, ‘The Soprano’ tells the story of Grace Holland – a strikingly beautiful, much admired local celebrity who brings glamour and inspiration to the grimy moorland community. But why is Grace still here? Why doesn’t she leave this staunchly Methodist, rain-sodden place and the isolated farmhouse she shares with her mother?
Riddled with tales of witchcraft and rife with superstition, the story is mostly narrated by the Whistler family who own the local funeral parlour, in particular six year old Louise, who recalls one of the most shocking crimes imaginable.’ Continue reading

How authors can make the most out of social media.

If you’ve never had an account on social media, you’re probably wondering what’s the point and how you can make best use of these sites. Some focus on text, some on sharing images, and it can look like a lot of extra work on top of writing your next book. In this post, I’m sharing some articles I’ve found useful when trying to get to grips with author social media – because to ignore social media is to miss the chance to be where the majority of your potential readership is.

One of the best resources for authors, and especially for helping with using social media, is Jane Friedman’s blog. She has written a number of articles, and in So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? she discusses the benefits of testing the water and discovering how useful social media can be for authors. There are also links in this article to other posts about selling books through social media and how to build an author platform. Continue reading

BLOG TOUR: Dead Jealous by Helen H. Durrant.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Dead Jealous, Helen Durrant’s latest Calladine & Bayliss Mystery, published by Joffe Books on the 17th July. Without further ado, let’s find out more about the book.

Book Description.

A teenage girl’s body is found in the back of a car on the notorious Hobfield housing estate. No one had reported her missing, but she’s been dead for a week.

Meanwhile, an old jar is brought into the station. It was found carefully wrapped in a blanket, with a child’s pink hairclip. The jar contains ashes and bone fragments.

Seventeen years ago Detective Tom Calladine had been part of a team investigating the disappearance of Jessica Wilkins. Her mother had taken her to Leesdon Park one summer afternoon.

She went to get the child an ice cream and when she returned her daughter was gone. Over the years there were no sightings, no witnesses — nothing.

Will there finally be closure for this unsolved mystery?
And why was the girl found in the car killed and why are her friends not telling her the whole story?

Detectives Tom Calladine and Ruth Bayliss will unravel a web of lies and pain, in this fast-moving and gripping crime mystery.

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the stunning conclusion

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.

DEAD JEALOUS is book seven of a new series of detective thrillers featuring D.S. Ruth Bayliss and D.I. Tom Calladine.

THE DETECTIVES
Tom Calladine is a detective inspector who is devoted to his job. His personal life, however, is not so successful. Having been married and divorced before the age of twenty-one has set a pattern that he finds difficult to escape.

Ruth Bayliss is in her mid-thirties, plain-speaking  but loyal. She is balancing her professional life with looking after a small child.

THE SETTING
The fictional village of Leesdon on the outskirts of an industrial northern English city. There is little work and a lot of crime. The bane of Calladine’s life is the Hobfield housing estate, breeding ground to all that is wrong with the area that he calls home.

 

My Review:
This is the 7th book in this series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone as there is plenty of back story about the previous book to explain certain things in this one.

The plot flowed well, and the cases being investigated by Calladine and Bayliss held my interest, bringing together an excellent cast of characters. A cold case involving the disappearance of a two-year-old girl, the murder of a 16 year old girl, and a housing estate being terrorised by a violent moneylender, kept the police busy and me turning the pages.

Some of the characters feature in more than one of the investigations, but the story is written clearly so you never lose track of what is happening, or the reasons why the police are questioning certain people. About halfway through the book I thought I’d worked out what was going to happen, and who the culprits were, but I was wrong! The way the cases were resolved made for an excellent conclusion to the investigations.

I read this book having only read the first in the series beforehand. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely plan on going back and working my way through the rest of the series. I’m sure readers who have been following the series will be pleased to see Calladine and Bayliss back again. If you enjoy getting involved in complex well-written crime fiction, then I highly recommend this book.

 

 About Helen:
OVER 450,00 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

Twitter @hhdurrant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helen.durrant.12

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calladine-Bayliss-Detective-Novels/614047648616619?ref=hl

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS
Book 1: DARK MURDER
Book 2: DARK HOUSES
Book 3: DARK TRADE

THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES
Book 1: DEAD WRONG
Book 2: DEAD SILENT
Book 3: DEAD LIST
Book 4: DEAD LOST
Book 5: DEAD & BURIED
Book 6: DEAD NASTY
Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS

5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Author.

Today I’d like to talk about some of the things I’ve learnt since I’ve been writing. I hope sharing my experiences will help other authors.

Don’t pay for things you don’t need to.
There are many people out there who claim to be miracle workers when it comes to marketing books, or getting more book reviews. Most are not, and should be avoided. I had many people approach me when I started writing trying to market my first book, claiming they could send the book shooting up the Amazon charts with no proof of any previous successes.

Book marketing is a steep learning curve that I’m still on, but much of what is offered by these ‘services’ can be done yourself. Offering your book for free on Amazon, for example – you can set this up yourself and make social media posts telling people about it. Book reviews shouldn’t be paid for – Amazon will remove reviews if they believe they’ve been bought, rather than given by a genuine reader. You can approach book bloggers with your book description and cover and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing it for you. Make sure the bloggers you ask read the same genres you write in, to ensure you get more positive responses.

 

Write your book how YOU want to:
What’s the best way to write your book? On Word? With Scrivener? Plan every detail, or just have a rough idea of the story? It’s all up to you – whatever works best. I write in Word because that’s what I’m used to, and I don’t see any benefit from changing to Scrivener. The most important thing is that you’ve got an idea and you want to write it. Don’t feel as though you need to use everything that is suggested to you. If you’ve read books telling you how to write a book and you get something out of it, then great, but it isn’t necessary to read them. You can help yourself though, by reading a variety of authors and picking out what does and doesn’t work in their writing. Continue reading

Double blog tour thanks!

Both The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused were recently re-launched by Bloodhound Books, and a week-long blog tour accompanied each publication.

I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all the book bloggers who took part in both tours. Each of you gave up your time to read, review and share your thoughts on both books across social media.

Without the invaluable work of book bloggers, authors wouldn’t be able to spread the word about their work. They help with exposure, getting people talking, and encouraging people to pick up books and read them. This takes each blogger a considerable amount of time, for which they don’t get paid – they do what they do for the love of books. Not only that, but the blogging community is very supportive, and those who didn’t take part on the Whittle tours either shared or re-tweeted the reviews that were part of them. Massive thanks to everyone who helped in any way with each tour.

Below are links to the blogs of the people who took part in the tours. I recommend you have a look through them for some really great reviews and book recommendations:

 

Amy writes reviews at Novel Gossip 

Dee writes over on Novel Deelights

Susan posts reviews on Books From Dusk till Dawn

Shell reviews over on Chelle’s Book Reviews

Mark posts reviews on Mark Wilson Books

Sarah reviews on By the Letter Book Reviews

Jen writes on Jen Med’s Book Reviews

Sam posts reviews on Clues and Reviews

Kate reviews over at The Quiet Knitter

Noelle posts reviews on Crime Book Junkie

Ronnie writes reviews at Ronnie Turner

Sean reviews over on Sean’s Book Reviews

Kerry Ann reviews at Chat About Books

Chandra writes over on Where the Reader Grows

Jill posts reviews on Books ‘n’ All

 

Once again, thanks to everyone who took part, and I look forward to reading your future reviews and blog posts.

Best wishes,

Mark.