Warning! This Blog Post Contains Discussions about Trigger Warnings.

Are more warnings needed in book descriptions?

Is book censorship in danger of limiting creativity and freedom of expression?




I recently watched a discussion unfold on Facebook about whether The Abattoir of Dreams should have trigger warnings in its description. The person who started the discussion stated they had finished the book, thought it was good, but that ‘there really should be a statutory warning on book covers and blurbs, if a book deals extensively with child abuse’.

This comment then led to a debate about the pros and cons of trigger warnings. Trigger warnings are defined as: a statement cautioning that content (as in a text, video, or class) may be disturbing or upsetting.

As the discussion was taking place in a crime fiction group, many people didn’t see the need for warnings as they’d expect topics such as murder and abuse to be included anyway. The overall opinion was that the book description should make the content of the book clear, so that readers are aware of anything they’d prefer not to read before buying the book. I think that this approach is easier for both publishers and indie authors to implement

I asked best-selling crime thriller author, Peter James, for his opinion, and he told me that he never would put warnings on any of his books. His personal belief is that we live in an age where there are far too many warnings anyway. Continue reading

Bloodhound Books Blog Blitz – Standstill by J A Marley.

Thank you to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for inviting me to take part in this blog blitz for Standstill, by J A Marley. It’s a great read, and you can read my review below, after we find out more about the book.


Book Description:

Even the deadliest criminals leave a trail…

When a psychotic policeman drags the young, ambitious thief, Danny Felix out of bed, he could not imagine he was about to be plunged into the robbery of a lifetime.

Corruption and coercion follow the corrupt Detective Inspector Harkness everywhere he goes and now he has Danny just where he wants him.

But Harkness isn’t the only officer with Danny in his sights. Christine Chance is getting closer to him while doing her best to be a mother to her seriously ill daughter.

Can Danny escape Harkness with his life intact? Can he avoid detection by Chance?
And does he have what it takes to use the streets of modern day London to pull off the theft of the 21st Century?

Danny thinks he can…but there will be bloodshed.


My review:

This is a crime action thriller with a difference. The protagonist (Danny,) is a criminal who comes across as quite a likeable character. Harkness, the antagonist, is the kind of copper that you hope you never have investigating crimes against you. He’s a very nasty piece of work. Danny is forced into committing a large robbery that could bring London to a standstill, and try as he might, it seems as though Harkness is always one step ahead of him making sure he’s doing as he’s told.

This is a very pacey read. There’s plenty of action, police chases and criminals trying to out-do each other – on both sides of the law. Christine Chance and her team have been very successful in solving their most recent cases, although Christine has her suspicions about how easily solved they were as she begins a new case that brings Harkness to her attention. She also has personal issues to deal with as her daughter is seriously ill in hospital. This part of the story seemed to be added in to balance out the violence and action with some more emotive passages, and it certainly worked.

The standstill that is brought about is excellent and unexpected. It’ll have you thinking about it for a while after you’ve finished the book. If you’re a fan of action packed reads, violent criminals and unpredictable plot twists, then this’ll be the book for you.


John Marley, 27April2016, photographer Bronac McNeill


John A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast.  A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop.

John A. Marley is also a TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAF, Britain’s Flying Past, Staraoke, Best of Friends, Skatoony, Noel’s House Party, Through the Keyhole, SMTV:Live/CD:UK, How Euro Are You? and live coverage of “The Oscars” with Barry Norman.

John runs his own production company Archie Productions which he launched in 2008. Prior to setting up his own indie, John enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK. John’s broadcast media career started in his native Northern Ireland as a radio host.



As always, thanks for you support,

Best wishes,


My Top Read of 2017 and Author Spotlight on Mark (C. P) Wilson

Today, I’d like to share my top read of 2017. The book which really stood out for me was Ice Cold Alice by C P Wilson (Mark Wilson.) Mark has kindly offered to share an extract from a work-in-progress, too, which you can find after my review below:

Book Description

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?


My Review
This is a thriller that stands out from others in the genre. Written in a way that allows the reader to learn about the inner working of Alice’s mind, it gives you plenty to think about as you read. The author doesn’t mess around, and takes you straight into the story to meet Alice and find out what she does.She doesn’t use her real name, but goes by the brilliant pseudonym of Tequila Mockingbird as she kills men who have abused their wives/partners. She then tells people about each kill on her blog.

I really enjoyed this fantastic book, and thought Alice was a brilliant character. I also thought it made a nice change to have someone like Kathy in charge of the murder investigations. Her maturity and personality made a nice change to the male pairings often in charge of such high profile cases. Some parts of the book are graphic and violent, but are included to show Alice’s feelings towards the men she kills.

You’re always told that two wrongs don’t make a right, but with these killings it seems to – I found myself thinking that these men deserved everything they got. And it seems that revenge is a dish best served ice cold by Alice! I can’t speak highly enough of this excellent book, and urge anyone who hasn’t yet read it to go to Amazon and treat themselves.
Find Ice Cold Alice here on Amazon.


And now, over to Mark to introduce an extract he’s kindly offered to share with us:

The following excerpt, titled The Tanzanite Ring, comes from a novel I’m working on with a writer I’ve worked with on several projects named Ryan Bracha. Ryan and I work well together, and he’s one of the finest writers I know.
Ryan suggested the concept which is to use the Excuisite Corpse mechanism to tell the story.
I’m writing the main plot narrative (set in the past) and giving Ryan an item with which he will base the present part of the story on.
I’m also doing a couple of present sections. The Tanzanite Ring is one of my contributions,
Hope you enjoy.


The Tanzanite Ring

Paris, 2020


The high and muddy Seine slid beneath the bridge, hurriedly winding through the city; no care for its residents, its beautiful buildings nor an appreciation of a stunningly crisp winter evening. Sebastian checked the deep pocket in his overcoat for perhaps the seventh time in the last fifteen minutes.

The shape of the box within settled his nerves and caused his eager heart to skip a beat. Eleanor would be here any moment. Memories of their last visit to this spot together simmered to the surface warming Sebastian more thoroughly than the steam venting through the nearby grates.

He and Eleanor, in Paris. Walking the streets, loving the city. Right here on this very bridge they’d locked their love alongside hundreds of other metal declarations, giggling at the cheesiness of the act but brought closer somehow by it. As though a little padlock bought for two Euros from an opportunistic vendor, could deepen their love. But, somehow, it had.

Have three years really passed since last we had been in the city together?

So many other cities and countries explored together since.

Sebastian clutched at the box in his pocket once more as he scanned the padlocks and their messages to pass the time. A rough vibration from his phone shook Sebastian from his reverie. Checking the face, he confirmed the alarm he’d set.

Time to meet Eleanor by Notre Dame.


I see her long before she notes my presence. Content to watch her for a few moments, I step back, cloaking myself in the deep shadows of a nearby statue. She’s right on time. Continue reading

A New 3 Book Deal with Bloodhound Books.

2017 has been a busy, but very rewarding year. I’ve had two books published and two re-launched by my brilliant publishers, Bloodhound Books. I’m delighted to be able to share the news that Bloodhound have just offered me a new three book deal which is for three stand alone novels. The first book is called The Key to Death’s Door, a dark thriller which will be published on 1st May 2018.

I’m over the moon with this development and thrilled that people are enjoying my writing. I’d like to thank Betsy, Fred and the rest of the Bloodhound team for their belief in me. Thanks also to everyone who has read my books and shared their opinions in reviews or on social media.

May I also take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for the new year.



Book Review. The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen

Having been a fan of Anne R. Allen’s blog for some time now, I was very pleased to discover she’d complied a book to assist all author bloggers. I’ll start off by saying that it’s a must read which I highly recommend. But, before my review, here’s some information about it:

Book Description:

An easy-does-it guide to simple, low-tech blogging for authors who want to build a platform, but not let it take over their lives.

An author blog doesn’t have to follow the rules that monetized business blogs do. This book teaches the secrets that made Anne R. Allen a multi-award-winning blogger and one of the top author-bloggers in the industry.

And you’ll learn why having a successful author blog is easier than you think.

Here are some things you’ll learn in this book:

•How an author blog is different—and easier to maintain—than a business blog
•What authors should blog about at different stages of their careers
•Choosing the right blog topics for your genre and audience
•How one type of blogpost can build your platform quickly
•Basic SEO tips that don’t make your eyes glaze over with tech jargon
•How to write headers that will grab the attention of Web surfers
•How to keep your audience by learning the tricks of content writing
•Essential blog and social media etiquette rules
•What happens to your blog when you die?

“Anne writes the essential blog for today’s writers.” Mystery author Carmen Amato.

“I love following the blog of Anne R. Allen…for up-to-date tips and helpful articles for writers on what’s current in the publishing world.” Author D. G. Kaye.

“BRILLIANT! One of the Top 10 Resources for Self-Publishing Authors.” author Mark Tilbury.

“Anne is one of the most successful author-bloggers out there.” Reedsy

“One of the Top 15 Blogs for Indie Authors to Follow…I adore Anne’s blog. Aside from being one smart lady, her mix of sass and education is priceless.” Social media strategist and manager Frances Caballo

“You know what a huge fan I am of Anne R. Allen’s blog…absolutely marvelous.” Romance author Collette Cameron

“I recommend following the publishing blogs of both Jane Friedman and Anne R. Allen…I’ve implemented many of their tips, which have helped boost my SEO.” New York Times bestseller Eileen Goudge in Publisher’s Weekly

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen on UK Amazon

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen on US Amazon


My Review:

This book is a must-read for all authors who blog. Any author who is trying to balance their blogging with their WIP (work in progress) needs to read Anne’s advice within these pages. How author blogs are different to business blogs and why slow-blogging is actually the best kind for authors, are just a couple of the many topics covered.

I’m already a massive fan of Anne’s blog, and this book is written in the same humourous, yet highly informative style as her blog posts. Sharing her own blogging successes and mistakes, she explains how and why things need to be done in certain ways.  Anne makes the whole blogging process seem accessible to everyone, no matter what you’re working on or your level of technical expertise.

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, and there are certainly things I need to improve on, but with the help of this book it seems so much more do-able.

If you’re a fellow author with a blog, then I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book, and see where your blog can take you.


About Anne:

Anne R. Allen is the author of the Camilla Randall mysteries, three stand-alone comedies, and two nonfiction guides for writers: “HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE” co-authored with Amazon #1 bestselling author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, and THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.

The Camilla Randall mysteries include THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD. NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, and THE QUEEN OF STAVES. The first three are available as a boxed set. The stand-alones are THE GATSBY GAME, THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER, and FOOD OF LOVE.

The three stand-alones are available in one boxed set: BOOMER WOMEN: THREE COMEDIES ABOUT A GENERATION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD. Anne also has a collection of poetry and short fiction titled WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.

All of her books are currently published by Kotu Beach Press.

Anne’s blog, which she shares with New York Times bestseller Ruth Harris, was named one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the Central Coast of California.


Anne on social media:

Blog: https://annerallen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annerallen1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annerallen

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AnneRAllen


I hope you find both Anne’s blog and book as useful as I have.

As always, thank you for your support.

All the best,