Sister Agatha is 118 years of age, whose vim and vigour would put the most robust athletes to shame. However, during a routine check-up, her doctor claims that she has just a week to live – inconvenient, seeing as the beloved sister once made an improbable vow: to be the oldest person in the world. At last count, she was the fifth.
Never one to admit defeat, Sister Agatha concocts a bold Plan B. Using her final days, she intends on travelling the world to meet the only four people whose birthday cakes boast more candles than hers.
And then, one by one, she will kill them.
Sister Agatha is a wonderful comedy. Sister Agatha herself is a fabulous creation, as are the people she meets and interacts with.
I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions and intersections throughout the story, and Sister Agatha gets to meet a varied cast of characters, and they too have their own stories told throughout the narrative. The whole premise is really quite clever, and thoroughly enjoyable.
If you’re looking for a gentle comedy, dark in places, then this is definitely for you.
Hailing from Navan in the royal county of Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT.
He now works as an actor and a journalist, dividing his time between Galway, where he films TG4’s award-winning series, Ros na Rún, Dublin and Venice, where he and his Italian lover continuously promise their well-worn livers that they will refrain from quaffing so much Prosecco. (Unfortunately, it seems some vows, just like nearby Rome, were not built in a day.)
Wine-drinking aside, for more than four years, Domhnall has also enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title whose various awards includes Consumer Magazine of the Year. Thanks to this role, he interviewed a host of high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, David Gandy, and Jacques Villeneuve.
Domhnall has written for the majority of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and RTE. He also writes a monthly column in Woman’s Way, the country’s biggest-selling weekly magazine.
His first novel, Sister Agatha: the World’s Oldest Serial Killer, was released in 2016 to critical acclaim (Tirgearr Publishing). His second and third books, Colin and the Concubine and Crazy for You were published by Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house.
A collection of stories featuring favourite characters from Visions of Zarua and ‘Silent Sea Chronicles’, plus a glimpse into the new series, ‘Starlight Prophecy’.
With an assassin picking off wizards one-by-one, Kalesh visits Cassima, a former student, hoping to persuade her to re-join the Royal Wizards and use their protection to keep her family safe.
Kalesh’s newest charge, Paddren, has strange visions which link to a past event known only to a select few. The knowledge hidden in Paddren’s visions is invaluable so Kalesh must guard the boy at any cost.
Can Kalesh keep his students off the assassin’s radar long enough for his order to stop the killer?
Garrick the Protector
Fifteen-year-old Garrick is helping at his uncle’s farm when his cousin’s illegal use of magic threatens the family’s safety.
Mara is in immediate danger from the Assembly who deem all magic as a threat. The only safe place for her is the Turrak Mountains where exiled mystics have found sanctuary alongside the island’s Sentinel.
Can Garrick get Mara to safety before the Assembly catch up with them?
Conscripted to fight off raiders, Calder finds the months of bloody battle unleash a sixth sense buried inside him.
Finally released from duty, he travels home and encounters a mysterious woman who insists his life is destined to serve a higher purpose. Calder rejects her claims, wanting only to return to a simple existence with his wife.
But can Calder pick up his old life when the powers within him have been stirred? And why does he feel such misgivings about his return?
All three stories give readers a tantalising glimpse into the fantasy worlds created by Suzanne Rogerson.
I’ve really enjoyed this short story collection by Suzanne Rogerson.
All of the snippets of stories are well written, and certainly very intriguing. I will certainly be checking out the full stories on Amazon.
If you enjoy fantasy with a touch of magic, and some really intriguing storylines, I would highly recommend this collection of short stories. These are certainly ‘my sort’ of fantasy stories, so if you’ve read my Dragon of Unison stories, you’ll know what that means, and if you haven’t, then I’m going to say that these stories hint at books and trilogies filled with magic, and not too much graphic violence, and with a cast of strong characters, both male and female. I recommend you check out these short stories to see what you’re going to get. I’m really pleased that I did:)
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her husband, two children and a crazy cocker spaniel.
Her writing journey began at the age of twelve when she completed her first novel. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave Suzanne the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Now an author of four novels including the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and her debut, Visions of Zarua, Suzanne hopes the dreaded ‘W’ word will never rear its ugly head again!
She loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
Suzanne collects books, is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles and old ruins whilst being immersed in the past. She likes to combine her love of nature and photography on family walks, but most of all she loves to escape with a great film, binge watch TV shows, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
I’m really excited for this one. I truly hope you, as my readers, will love this second book in young Icel’s story. My beta readers assure me it’s very good, and in fact, one of them was up until 3am reading the end:)
Here’s the blurb:
As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.
Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.
King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.
In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.
His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?
And, don’t forget to sign up for my Boldwood Books newsletter to keep up to date with special offers and new release information, and also to enter competitions – there will a release day competition to win some signed copies of book 2.
The Write Balance: How to Embrace Percolation, Revision & Going Public
Bonni Goldberg’s The Write Balance introduces you to alternative perspectives and motivation for lasting creative fulfillment. This companion book to the beloved bestseller, Room toWrite is filled with encouragement, tools, examples and exercises.
Through years of teaching writing in workshops and in classrooms, Bonni has seen that the writers who are most passionate and grounded in their Writing Self embrace three aspects of the writing process: nurturing ideas, revising to best communicate those ideas, and completing the writing cycle by going public.
In this powerful guide, Bonni invites you to explore these creative stages which are essential to satisfying your Writing Self.
Believe it or not, The Write Balance, is the first book I’ve read on the process of writing. I’m just not that sort of person who thinks, ‘I want to do something, so I’ll read and research it first before I try.’ For writing, I just started writing, and have made all the mistakes along the way:)
As such, The Write Balance, was a great read. I recognised many of the scenarios mentioned in the book, and quickly came to understand that Bonni Goldberg’s intent for much of the book, was to teach the body to accept that writing, revision etc was going to take place and to be receptive to it – essentially, making the process physical as opposed to just mental. And I can really see how this would work. All writers make pacts with themselves about their expectations and targets. It’s how we go about meeting these expectations and reaching our targets which is often the hardest element. We need to train ourselves to accept the processes, and there will be many different ways of doing this, and the author makes some very valid suggestions.
I defy any writer to not find themselves in one, or many of the scenarios, and I do believe that writers will find answers throughout the book, and if not answers, then certainly a means of finding a solution.
A genuinely interesting read, that fellow writers and would be writers will find an invaluable resource, even if they only dip in and out of it, when looking for solutions, the knowledge that everyone suffers similar issues and when seeking a cheerleader who wants you to succeed.
Bonni teaches creative writing at colleges and leads writing workshops internationally for all ages. She knows everyone is creative, and she supports people to discover and share their authentic, meaningful and imaginative experiences through words. Whether through her writings or through teaching, her methods and perspectives continue to empower thousands of adults, families, and children.
Bonni is also a Jewish educator. She speaks, writes, and leads workshops on Jewish topics such as Jewish identity, rituals and antisemitism at Jewish women’s events, JCCs, and conferences.
Bonni Goldberg lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner in life, and some creative projects, artist Geo Kendall.
Twelve moving short stories inspired by the everyday lives of women.
A single woman on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Italian lakes still dreams of adventure. Can she find it closer to home?
A grieving widow finds comfort in the company of a stray cat that bears striking similarities to her dead husband.
An estranged daughter confronts an unspeakable tragedy from her past as she attempts to reconcile with her long-lost family.
Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. The women in this, her first published anthology, may be at different stages of life but all of them are experiencing the ground shifting beneath their feet. Their tales of love, longing and redemption will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.
Riding Pillion with George Clooney and other short stories is an engaging collection of short stories of women, many of them bitter sweet, but all empowering. A particular favourite of mine was ‘After Harriet’ a story of grief, guilt and the need for forgiveness.
All of the stories are told with skill, ensuring the reading understands the characters they meet. Riding Pillion with George Clooney might well be the story that snags the attention of the reader, but all of the women we meet are endearing to the reader, highlighting struggled which many of us might understand only too well.
A delightful collection of short stories, that I highly recommend.
Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies but these days the only use she puts it to is to identify which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. She worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language for many years, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown up responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then her stories have appeared in Take-a-Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written 2 young adult novels- ‘Model Behaviour’ (published by Scholastic) and ‘The Lies and Loves of Finn’ (Channel 4 Books.) This anthology of previously published short stories will be, she hopes, only the first of several.
If you’ve been with Coelwulf, Rudolf, Icel, Edmund and Pybba since the beginning, then you’re probably with me in trying to work out how 2 years have gone by since the release of the first book.
I thought it worthy of a huge celebration, and so The Last King is on blog tour for today only with a whole swathe of hosts from Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out their posts and blogs, and you really might enjoy those hosts that have an excerpt from the book. When I was choosing them, it reminded me of all the things that drew me these characters, and this book, and made me write it the way that I did. The exuberance is difficult to ignore. (And remember – there are Clean(er) versions of all the books available in ebook format without the more offensive word that rhymes with something that quacks).
I’m going to pop some links here to blog posts I’ve shared in the past.
*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. (These are Rachel’s Random Resources terms and conditions – as the author, I am responsible for sending the winner their book:))
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Tony Bassett, author of Murder on Oxford Lane, to the blog with a post about the inspiration for his book.
Much of the inspiration for my books comes from the wide variety of experiences I’ve had as a journalist.
I worked for local newspapers for six years and then spent 37 years in Fleet Street, mainly working for the Sunday People newspaper.
I’ve seen so many different aspects of life. I was once smuggled into judge’s chambers at the Old Bailey to test their security. I pursued Margaret Thatcher round Epsom during a by-election. I was present in hospital when Diana Dors’ husband Alan Lake announced to the world she had died.
I got Mandy Smith’s sister in Highgate to reveal to me details of Mandy’s plans to wed Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. I’ve been to armed sieges, celebrity weddings, and was in a magistrates’ court in West London when a Welshman took to the dock in a dazzling dragon costume. I’ve watched a group of students at Middlesex University being hypnotised by a dog and taken a fugitive gangster back to jail. So you could say I’ve seen a bit of life.
I have been able to use some of this knowledge to help with my writing.
I’ll give an example. In Chapter 22 of Murder On Oxford Lane, the wife of the missing property tycoon is reluctant to attend a press conference and walks out halfway through. This is based partly on a real-life experience I had one Saturday while working for the Sunday People.
I was despatched to a police press conference about a murdered man. His widow was reluctant to attend and walked out during the briefing. Afterwards the chief inspector spoke to me and another journalist, explaining: ‘You don’t realise how terrifying it can be for someone in this situation, being faced with a group of journalists in public like this.’ A short time after the press conference, the widow was charged in connection with her husband’s murder.
Another example comes earlier in the book. In Chapter 19, when Sunita Roy is trying to trace Harry Bowers’ cleaner, Tessa. A female neighbour reveals Tessa has moved house. Sunita questions the neighbour thoroughly. Eventually the neighbour recalls that Tessa’s removal van was purple. As a result, Sunita is able to locate the removal firm and collect the new address from them. This was an initiative that a photographer and I once used to track down someone’s address.
A third example of how I have occasionally used journalistic experiences to add colour to the book comes towards the end of the novel when detectives examine suspects’ clothing. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has not read the book. Suffice to say the idea for this came to me years ago while I was covering an assault case at Cardiff Crown Court.
Of course, these kind of memories and past experiences are useful, but I also have to do some extensive research for my books as well. Much of this can be done online. For instance, I found a vast treasure store of articles on the internet about the effects of long-term immersion in water on drowning victims.
Information about personal injuries, hospital recovery times, martial arts moves, church procedures, police interviews and so on are all available at the click of a mouse.
But there are also occasions when it’s necessary to make phone calls. For instance, to speak to police about how particular incidents are dealt with. To speak to farming organisations about farming methods. Or to speak to fire brigade staff about the minutiae of how a particular fire might be tackled. Occasionally, authors also have to make visits to organisations or places to add to their supply of information.
I know fiction writing is based on imagination. But, like non-fiction writers, novelists still need to ensure their work is firmly grounded in reality. The author needs to be able to walk in the shoes of his or her characters. And the plot needs to be credible.
Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck with your new book.
Here’s the blurb:
The peace of a Midlands village is upset when local businessman Harry Bowers doesn’t return from choir practice. More concerned than the man’s own wife, it would seem, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Sunita Roy becomes convinced he has met a sinister end. There is no trace of the man – just a litany of evidence of an ailing marriage and a nose-diving business venture. In charge of her first serious case, DS Roy will struggle to win the respect of her colleagues – in particular, her Brummie boss, DCI Gavin Roscoe. All that whilst fighting off the attentions of an increasingly desperate suitor.
Who had it in for the chorister? And is Roy tough enough to break down the defences and prejudices of Middle England? MURDER ON OXFORD LANE is the first book in a series of crime fiction titles by Tony Bassett.
Tony Bassett, a former Fleet Street journalist, has written a gripping series of crime novels set in the Midlands.
The first book in the series is called Murder on Oxford Lane. Published by The Book Folks, it concerns the disappearance of a property tycoon from a sleepy Warwickshire village.
Middle-aged DCI Gavin Roscoe and his relatively inexperienced sergeant, DS Sunita Roy, are confronted by suspicious deaths as they struggle to uncover what has happened to the businessman.
The second book in this Midlands crime series, The Crossbow Stalker, will be released shortly.
Tony decided to set this string of novels in Warwickshire and Worcestershire after spending many happy years working as a newspaper reporter in Worcester.
He first developed a love of writing at the age of nine when he and a friend produced a magazine called the Globe at their junior school in Sevenoaks, Kent.
At Hull University, Tony was named student journalist of the year in 1971 in a competition run by Time-Life magazine and went onto become a national newspaper journalist, mainly working for the Sunday People in both its newsroom and investigations department.
His very first book to be published, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway, was released in December 2018. It concerns a Kent couple who harbour a stowaway and then battle to clear his name when he is charged with murder.
Then, in March 2020, the spy novel The Lazarus Charter, was released. It involves foreign agents operating in the UK. The book has kindly been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and by Stan and Caroline Sturgess, parents of the innocent mother-of-three poisoned with novichok in Salisbury in 2018.
Tony, who has written at least four other novels which are as yet unpublished, has five grown-up children. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. He lives in South-East London with his partner Lin.
Michael Hollinghurst is a successful corporate lawyer living a comfortable, suburban life in leafy North West London. But on 7 July 2005, his life is transformed when he steps on a London underground train targeted by Islamist suicide bombers. While most passengers in his carriage are killed, Michael survives the explosion but is confined to a wheelchair as a result.
Coming to terms with his predicament and controlling his own feelings of guilt as a survivor conspire to push him in a direction that is out of character and a tad reckless. In a quest to seek retribution, he resorts to embracing the internet and posing as a radical Islamist in order to snare potential perpetrators.
Much to his surprise, his shambolic scheme yields results and is brought to the attention of both GCHQ and a terrorist cell. But before long, dark forces begin to gather and close in on him. There is seemingly no way out for Michael Hollinghurst. He has become, quite literally, a sitting target.
Alex’s first novel ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, a darkly humorous urban fantasy, written for children and young adults, was initially published by PenPress in 2011. It has since become a Kindle bestseller in the US. In 2014, his fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War was published by Mardibooks in its anthology, ‘The Clock Struck War’. A selection of his blog posts is also available in paperback under the title ‘Random Ramblings of a Short-sighted Blogger.’ In 2019, his psychological thriller, ‘The Chair Man’ that is set in London in 2005 following the terrorist attack on its public transport system, was published as an ebook by Fizgig Press. The paperback followed in 2020.
Alex lives in NW London with his wife and terribly spoilt feline.
He is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.
Back to face the darkness at the heart of Cornwall.
In the search for her sister, Willow will face deception and betrayal, before she’ll find love – and herself. But will she uncover how close the enemy is, or will she become another victim of the Badlands?
Gary Kruse is a multi-genre writer of flash fiction, short stories and novels. He lives with his family in Hornchurch on the Essex/London border.
He began writing as a teenager after seeing the Craft in the cinema and wondering what would happen if the coven of witches from the Craft came face to face with the Lost Boys (the vampires, not Peter Pan’s crew!).
His work has appeared online and in print anthologies and his short story “Mirror Mirror” was shortlisted in the WriteHive 2021 Horror competition, and subsequently featured in the “Duplicitous” anthology.
His short story “Hope in the Dark” won first place in the November 2021 edition of the Writers’ Forum Short Story competition.
His debut novel “Badlands” is published through Darkstroke on 21st January 2022.
Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter. I do hope you enjoy reading.
Excerpt from Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter by Sofi Laporte:
In the middle of the London season, Lady Ludmilla gets herself entangled in a hopeless muddle: she has fallen in love with her best friend, and that cannot be. Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lady Ludmilla does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…
Dear Addy, my dear friend,
Oh, how I miss talking to you. For our letters have always been conversations, haven’t they?
For the first time, I wish you were here so we could really talk.
I am so confused.
I miss you terribly.
I feel that there is no person on earth who understands me as much as you do.
Yet, I feel this confusing longing for someone who you may know very well.
It is St Addington.
He is a terrible rake. And a terrible flirt. And I should cut him out of my mind immediately. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about him. And here I am, in the middle of the night, writing this letter like a love-sick schoolgirl.
Oh, Addy, I fear the worst has happened.
I fear I have fallen in love with him.
But he is to marry someone else.
What to do?
What to do?
I wish you were here to advise your distraught friend,
Lady Ludmilla’s Accidental Letter is a mistaken identity, enemies-to-lovers Regency rom-com with some surprising twists and lots of laugh-out moments.
Here’s the blurb:
A resolute spinster. An irresistible rake. One accidental letter… Can love triumph over this hopeless muddle in the middle of the London season?
Lady Ludmilla is mortified. Though the spinster extraordinaire knows it is foolish, she has fallen head-over-heels for the amiable man with whom she’s been secretly corresponding, and that cannot be. When she sets out to uncover his identity, her world shatters. For her best friend Addy turns out to be none other but London’s worst rogue—the man who has ruined her engagement to someone else ten years earlier.
Lord St.Addington is perturbed. The wicked Viscount is developing a marked tendre for a spinster, and that cannot be. She might be mistaking him for someone he is not, or, what is worse, know precisely who he is. As London’s worst hellrake, he has a role to maintain, a charade to play. A depraved heart like his surely can’t be falling in love…least of all with a plain, outspoken spinster.
Determined to discover the truth behind the man she loves, Lu does what she does best: she sits down and writes a letter…
If you crave a humorous romp with witty banter and surprising twists, you will love Sofi Laporte’s charming masquerade.
Sofi was born in Vienna, grew up in Seoul, studied Comparative Literature in Maryland, U.S.A., and lived in Quito with her Ecuadorian husband. When not writing, she likes to scramble about the countryside exploring medieval castle ruins. She currently lives with her husband, 3 trilingual children, a sassy cat and a cheeky dog in Austria.
Sofi writes sweetly simmering Regency Romance with mischievous, witty banter and heart-throbbing happily-ever-after.