One year on… #GoodNewsTues #TeaserTues

It seems only five minutes ago I was leaping about in excitement waiting to introduce you to DI Natalie Ward and her team. It was actually a year ago this coming Friday, and yet today, here I am sharing the cover for the fifth book in the series, which will be out on December 12th.

To say I am pleased that Natalie has won a place in so many hearts in an understatement. I have been astonished and elated to receive reviews, messages and emails all saying how invested readers are in her, her family life situation and the actual investigations.

I am thoroughly enjoying writing the series but this book… the book I am revealing today, is my absolute favourite and the cover for it! Oh, wow!

Well, see for yourselves…

BLOSSOM TWINS front

Their parents thought they were hiding…

One beautiful summer’s evening, thirteen-year-old twins Ivy and Erin Westmore snuggle down in a tent in their back garden, giggling and sharing secrets.

When their mother goes to wake the girls the next morning, their tent is empty.

The alarm is raised and Detective Natalie Ward is put onto the case. When the twins’ bodies are discovered on nearby marshland, covered with deep pink petals, an icy shiver travels down Natalie’s spine. Everything about the girls’ deaths reminds her of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career, which saw a killer of the worst kind placed behind bars.

The next day, that feeling is heightened when she receives a chilling note saying ‘I’m back’. Is this killer a copycat or did Natalie put the wrong person in prison all those years ago? In a small town, where no stranger goes unnoticed, what is Natalie missing?

Consumed by the case, determined to prevent more deaths, Natalie misses the fact that it is her attention the killer wants. And to get it, he has his sights set firmly on her precious daughter Leigh…

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

THE BLOSSOM TWINS is available to pre-order now and I hope it will leave you open-mouthed in astonishment.

PRE-ORDER BY CLICKING HERE

Research Gone Mad #MondayMotivation #MondayMorning @bookouture

In August 1980 my life turned upside down. What was to be a simple hospital procedure saw me paralysed and facing a year of uncertainty, fear and major surgery.

I was a 20-year-old university student who suddenly was unsure of the future. My life, my boyfriend, and my studies were all up in the air. I’ll spare you the gory details and the struggles, and say I was lucky. Oh my goodness, I was very lucky and my life only temporarily derailed. It did however, give me the inspiration and reason to write this book.

Take A Chance on Me FB-Graphic4Take A Chance On Me is set in a hospital radio station where Charlie, whose daughter has tragically been killed in a car accident, is struggling to find reason to life. Aided by her best-friend, wheelchair-bound Mercedes, she faces a journey she could never have imagined, that will lead her to… well… you’d have to read the book to find out.

Today sees the anniversary of the book’s release and it is still to date, my favourite book. I wrote it to inspire people who face challenging times, to give them hope and to remind everyone not to give up even when life seems impossible. We must all seize opportunities, take chances and live life.

The book took over a year to complete, not because of the complexity of the story, but more due to the fact I actually did all the challenges that Charlie faces in the book: from eating a bush-tucker trial at the very restaurant she is taken to, doing a zip wire (like Charlie I have a morbid fear of heights) to diving with sharks.

Take A Chance on Me FB-Graphic5Like most writers, I take research very seriously, but never did I think I’d be taking a belly-dancing class, scoffing locusts, mealworms, ants and kangaroo, then zorbing down a hill in a huge inflatable ball, all on the same day – Suffice to say, I didn’t feel too great by the end of the day, but at least my book is based on genuine experience!

Take a Chance on Me has received a huge amount of praise and I love getting emails from readers who have written out a bucket list after finishing the book and are taking on personal challenges.

Life’s short. Seize the day! Carpe Diem. 

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME available from  Amazon UKAmazon US – GooglePlay

Why Book Bloggers are Invaluable #bookbloggers #bookreviewers

Way back in May 2010, I had a debut self-pubbed novel waiting to launch and no idea how to go about it. For the year leading up to publication, I’d been a blogger with a humorous blog that had found an audience, one who would enjoy the novel, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines, and although I knew some of my followers would buy the book, it would hardly be enough to pay for a week’s food shopping bill.

I contacted a friendly author who I’d met online, Talli Roland, who sent me in the direction of Linda Hill, a top book blogger who’d helped Talli launch one of her books and Linda, who’d never heard of me, read and reviewed my book and pointed me in the direction of other book bloggers who’d be willing to help me launch it. In effect, she took an unknown author under her wing and helped me on my writing journey.

That was how I discovered the book blogging community – a generous group of people who love reading and who give up their time willingly to help share their love of books. Their dedication is remarkable. I know how long it takes to set up a post, to ensure you have the right graphics, jpegs, links, information and as for writing a review! Well, I might be able to draft a pretty decent crime novel but ask me to review one and it’d be a pathetic attempt, littered with the bland adjectives, yet book bloggers manage to write truly entertaining and enjoyable reviews. Some manage it in spite of families, jobs and crises.

Over the last ten years, I have been saddened to see some of those who I have grown very fond of, leave blogging altogether – overwhelmed by the demands put on them, struggling to read in time for book tours, and saddest of all, actually put off reading. That is a terrible shame and a loss.

In brief, the book blogging community is one for which I have the utmost respect and yet I think it is one that too often gets abused. As publishers and more authors get wise to the value of book bloggers and increasing numbers of book tours are arranged, so the pressure is increased on this group of people. They rise to the challenge and support a huge number of authors and for little more than an advanced copy of the book. There is no financial renumeration and sometimes, not even thanks from the author.

My  latest release has been on a book tour since Thursday and not only have I been absolutely blown away by the reviews themselves, which are often peppered with amusing asides, or brilliantly put together, but by the free promotion book bloggers give in sharing their posts (in some cases repeatedly throughout the day or tour ) on social media. So, today, I’d like to mention a few who showed me huge support by reviewing The Sleepover, and urge you to follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, follow their blogs or even spare a few minutes to visit their blogs today and leave a little hello in the comments. Pass by if only to see how much effort goes into their posts. You might even come away with a few reading recommendations.

To all of you who are book bloggers – a sincere thank you. Without you, we writers would  probably remain unknown.

Nigel Adams, is an ex-firefighter and arson/fire investigator and lecturer who loves reading. Not only did he take part in the tour even though he was on holiday on the other side of the world, but gave me such help over the fire scenes in the book and has posted an adorable photo of Kai the fire dog, mentioned in the story.

If you haven’t read any of The Writing Garnet or  Jen Med’s Book Reviews or Booked Up Girl’s brilliant reviews, you are missing out big time. These three write the funniest, most entertaining reviews I have read.

Full-time working mum  Steph from StefLoz Book Reviews reads a variety of books and is a massive support to so many authors. I was so glad to finally meet her this year.

Robin Loves Reading, is a prolific reader who’s reviewed for many websites over the years and read over 700 books from April last year to this and wrote over 335 reviews for Netgalley in three months!

Sean from Sean’s Book Reviews  is a former gymnast who lives in Toronto and adores reading.

Shell Baker from Baker’s Not so Secret Blog has been reading for 27 years and is also part of the admin team for Crime Book Group on Facebook which has just over 15.000 members.

Chocolate and Waffles blog written by Meggy is a delightful place just to hang out for a while.

In no particular order but I love them all because they are a fantastic group of people>>>

Stardust Book Reviews Sharon works in a library and has a serious passion for books – any books but mostly crime/thriller and chick lit.

Emma’s Biblio Treasures Love this website anther photos… this post has the cutest kitten!

Tishylou A lady with a big heart! What more need I say?

Donna’s Book Blog with over 1400 reviews on Netgalley, it is safe to assume Donna is an avid reader!

 Fireflies and FreeKicks Fiction

My Book Reviews from Nicola. Relatively new to book blogging and posts fab photos n Instagram

Sincerely Book Angels – mother and daughter team with sincere, simple, succinct and spoiler-free reviews.

There are so many I ought to thank and not enough space here to do so but I have made it my mission to try and support at least one book blogger every week, so if you leave your website and social media details in the comments, I’ll come by and promote your posts.

In the meantime… thank you. Thank you all.Thanks7

My Paperback Deal #amwriting @bookouture

Soon after I got the writing bug and had written a couple of books, I sat down and made out a list of goals I wanted to attain – steps, if you like, on my personal ladder of writerly success. They included: find a publisher who wanted to publish my books, write a best-seller, win a book prize award, have my books published in other languages and… the truly elusive one, get a coveted paperback deal.

Me in The Works 2All my books to date (with the exception of SECRETS OF THE DEAD which was available in The Works bookshops) are on what is known as POD, print on demand. That’s to say, if you order the book on Amazon or head to a bookshop and request it, they will have to send an order to the printers and an individual copy will be produced. A ‘paperback deal’ however, is the real McCoy (who was McCoy?) and publishers will do a run of several thousand copies at one time, and some of those will find their way into supermarkets and bookshops and appear on bookshelves all over the country.

I wrote out my ‘Wish List’ in 2016 just before I signed with Bookouture, and they have pretty much made all my other wishes come true. My books are available in Germany, Norway, Israel, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Poland to name a few. countries. I’m well over halfway with my million-seller goal and… I’ve had several best-sellers.

Today, I’m over the moon to tell you I have got my first ever proper paperback deal!

cannock 3Bookouture have been in talks with Sphere (who will publish the book) for ages and ages and… THE BIRTHDAY will be coming out in paperback in spring 2020.

I couldn’t be happier. Ten years on from when I started writing and I have put a fat tick next to this goal. What’s next on my list? Well, I’d rather not reveal that just yet but rest assured I have a few more to tick off.

*********

By the way… I’m delighted to let you know that the Kindle version of THE BIRTHDAY is only 99p right now in the UK as part of the Kindle Monthly Deal!

Grab your copy here: http://ow.ly/LrQJ50viA5l

My New Publishing Deal

I’ve been sitting on this one for some time but I am so excited to finally be able to tell you that I have signed a three-book publishing deal with Thomas & Mercer, the mystery and thriller imprint of Amazon Publishing, whose incredible list of authors include Robert Dugoni and Patricia Cornwell.

Here is the official announcement in The Bookseller today. http://bit.ly/2OP0NXn

BOOKSELLER Announcement

As a regular follower of my blog and social media, you will know how much I value my readers, and I know lots of you love my other crime books. So I want to assure you that I have not finished with either DI Robyn Carter or DI Natalie Ward and indeed there will be more news about them soon, and I will also continue to write the stand-alone romantic comedies too.

I’ve been developing the new series for some time now and am very much looking forward to introducing you to DI Kate Young, a flawed character unlike my other detectives, who struggles with inner demons and her true sense of purpose.

AN EYE FOR AN EYE, is the first in a gripping new crime series, introducing DI Kate Young. Shaken by a recent personal tragedy, Young abruptly returns to the force when her superintendent’s close friend is found murdered at a gruesome crime scene. But as Young’s investigation progresses, she begins to unravel a thread of corruption leading to her own team. Throughout the series Young works to get to the source, but eventually learns that she might have to take matters into her own hands if she is to dispense justice for good. Perfect for fans of Line of Duty and Luther.

I’m really looking forward to working with editor Jack Butler and the whole team at Thomas & Mercer and can’t wait to unleash the new series onto you.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

If You’d Told me Back Then… #amwriting

 

DIARYI got a shock this morning. Well, not so much a shock as a reality check. After yet another early 4am start, I reached the 20K point in my current script, the sixth in a crime series, and checked my diary to remind myself what day of the week it was. (I tend to lose track of time when I’m in the writing zone.) I’d made a note in it:

STARTED WRITING MY FIRST BOOK TEN YEARS AGO TODAY

Really? Has it been ten years since I penned the first lines of Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines? At the time, I fully expected it to be my one and only book, yet here I am a decade later, with twenty titles under my belt and more to be published.

I wonder how many words I’ve actually typed since that time – undoubtedly millions. I’ve worn letters off keys and broken four laptops.

Initially, I didn’t type the book (I am the world’s slowest typist and even now can still only type using three fingers). I actually wrote out the entire script by hand – a laborious but tested procedure – and filled A4 notebooks with chapter after chapter which I then corrected in red ink like a deranged teacher. It was only after I’d scrawled corrections and drawn arrows to move paragraphs, and added extra sections, that I would begin typing. All of that worked for me and I preferred to read the handwritten scripts than to scroll down pages on a computer. Nowadays, that’s not possible. With 3-5 books to write a year, I have to start immediately by typing ‘Chapter One’ and off I go.

In 2009, writing a book was top of my bucket list – a one-off comedy that would sink or swim. I had a desire to accomplish something I had not yet managed to do. Little could I have imagined that the decision to write it would direct me along a new path. The book swam and I continued writing.

As I look back over the last ten years, I feel a sense of achievement that hitherto, I couldn’t contemplate. I have loved writing every single one of my books and the more I write, the more ideas I have, so no sooner do I type an ending to one, than I’m ready to go again.

Undoubtedly, there will be further casualties over the forthcoming years: more laptops will be sent to the recycling unit with worn out keys and numerous notepads that now only contain essential notes, and I hope there will be many more books for you to enjoy.

If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would become a best-selling, full-time writer, I’d have laughed and said, “I wish!”

Well, it happened, so my message to all you writers out there is don’t give up because this time next decade…

DI Natalie Ward is Back #TheSleepover @bookouture

Roxy had a secret. 

Now she’s gone…

Today sees the cover reveal of the 4th book in the Natalie Ward series – THE SLEEPOVER. I can’t believe it, we’re onto the fourth book in that series already. It only seems a few weeks ago that Natalie Ward and her team were introduced to you, my readers.

I’ll tell you more about THE SLEEPOVER at a later date but for now, I’d like to thank my editor, Lydia Vassar-Smith, my ace cover designer, and the Bookouture team who have once again excelled themselves. The cover will mean a great deal more to you once you’ve read the book and it actually brought a lump to my throat when I saw it. (Spoiler alert  – it relates to poignant passage in the book.)

Without further ado, here is the new cover and pre order links. Oh, and just so you know, I’ve already written the 5th book in the series, which will come out on December 6th!)

THE SLEEPOVER

Out September 5th but available to pre-order now CLICK HERE