Saturday, 15 June 2019

Six Great Books - Six Great Authors




Who doesn't love a good story?






There are so many great books to read, so many great authors that love telling stories. 

Here's a few I recommend. These authors have been featured on the Scribbler and you will find links to their interview.

I did this a few months back and if you want to check those out go HERE



#1 - Messandrierre by Angela Wren.



A cozy mystery by Angela. I discovered this book on a reading recommendation page from Susan Toy on FB. I like the main character and I love this series.

Goodreads - Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques ForĂȘt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre. 

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won't give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?

Messandrierre – #1 in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques ForĂȘt.



See Angela's visit to the Scribbler HERE



#2 - Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

I like thrillers and this one won't let you down. Twists and turns that are unexpected. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Goodreads - A letter that reveals a horrifying truth…

Natalie Richards finds more than she bargained for when she snoops through her boyfriend’s possessions: evidence that Mark Slater was once convicted of a brutal killing. Heartbroken by what she’s discovered, Natalie’s dreams of a future with him collapse.

Only the other person jointly sentenced for Abby Morgan’s murder, the twisted and violent Adam Campbell, knows the truth. That Mark played no part in Abby’s death.

Meanwhile, circumstances have thrust Mark back in contact with Adam, who, aged twenty-five, is more domineering and chilling than ever. Can Mark rewrite history and confront his nemesis?

A gritty novel examining child murder and dysfunctional families, Guilty Innocence tells of one man’s struggle to break free from his past.



See Maggie's visit to the Scribbler HERE



#3 - The Conclave by S. C. Eston.





This is a captivating story by a exceptionally talented author. I enjoy fantasy and this one is a fine example of this genre. I highly recommend it.



Goodreads - It all came down to this. A traitor. ~

The city of Telstar has been freed and the enemy defeated. In the streets, the townspeople is celebrating, singing and drinking to the promise of better days to come.

Yet, at the top of an abandoned tower, a secret meeting is about to take place. Although victory was attained, questions remain unanswered. Some of Telstar’s deepest secrets got out and the impregnable city almost fell. It is unclear who betrayed the city and some will not sleep until the culprit answers for the betrayal.

Onthar, a high warrior dedicated to Tyr, deity of courage, takes it upon himself to call on emperor and queen, wizard and warriors, elf and orc, all heroes of the battle, to meet in secrecy and find out who among them betrayed his city.

But these are serious charges and these are powerful individuals. The meeting could easily turn into a confrontation, and if it does, it could achieve what the enemy could not: destroy the very city they all want to protect.



See Steve's visit to the Scribbler HERE


#4 - Harbinger by Ian McKinley.




I read a previous novel by Ian and was hooked. I wanted to read more of his work and it led me to Harbinger which I truly enjoyed as much as his earlier book. I am looking forward to his next one and will be first in line to pick it up.



Goodreads - Rulla, Dealer of Fates, has seen fit to bestow Her blessing on four babes - Cairn, Lars, Lora and Thay - for they are all born on the same night to different mothers. None of the folk of the Darnok clan have ever heard of such a thing. The birthing is made even stranger yet, for once they are safely delivered, the village seeress falls into a trance and chants a verse that hints at future glory. The mothers, finally lying asleep after their ordeals, might have tried to strike a different bargain with Rulla, for She is known as a hard bargainer who stains each rune of glory She hands out in blood.

As the children grow, the townsfolk see only hints of a possible remarkable fate. At sixteen, they are finally accepted into the rite of passage to adulthood; they are offered in tithe to the Sea Wolves, the clan that defends the folk, sails the world’s seas, raids foreign shores, and brings back plunder. Their spirits are high as they venture through the Demon’s Teeth and discover the world beyond the Boldring Mountains.

Ah, but other Gods also have a role to play in any great saga and Tanat the Rogue turns their world on its head one afternoon. The youths are cut-off from their new clan and must survive on their own wits. As they make for home, they encounter Elkor, a mis-shapen outcast who forces them to re-evaluate everything they ever understood about their identity.

Pursued by Korgash, a Straelish lord whose hatred of Elkor and Thorn People (what the Straelings call the Fjordlanders) is only surpassed by his ambition, they discover that they are ill-equipped to inherit the fate supposedly reserved for them and they wonder if prophesy is not all lies.



See Ian's visit to the Scribbler HERE




#5 - One Woman's Island by Susan Toy.




I've enjoyed Susan's short stories since we first met online. She's been a guest several times. I enjoyed this novel very much. You can't go wrong with any of Susan's stories.



Goodreads - Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help! By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.




See one of Susan's visits to the Scribbler HERE




#6 - The Hummingbird by Stephen Kiernan.





Mr Kiernan is a wonderful read. All his books are highly entertaining. I featured one of his other novels previously and this story is probably my favorite. I recommend anything by him and you won't be sorry.



Goodreads - From the author of the acclaimed The Curiosity comes a compelling and moving story of compassion, courage, and redemption

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.
 


I've not had the pleasure of a visit by Mr Kiernan but please follow this link to his website. https://www.stephenpkiernan.com/





Pick one of these up when you have a chance, or better yet, pick them all up.

Thank you dear reader for visiting this week.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Guest Author Wendy Clarke of Sussex, Great Britain.







When you visit Wendy’s website, you are first greeted by a friendly smile and an intriguing novel. Grabs your attention right away. The Scribbler is most fortunate to have Wendy as our guest this week. She is sharing her thoughts in a 4Q Interview and agreed to share a sample of her writing.



Wendy Clarke started her career writing short fiction and serials for national women’s magazines. After having over three hundred short stories published, she progressed to writing novels. With a degree in psychology, and intrigued with how the human mind can affect behaviour, it was inevitable that she would eventually want to explore her darker side.

What She Saw is her debut psychological thriller, published by Bookouture. Her second, We Were Sisters, comes out in August 2019.

In her previous life, Wendy has published three collections of short stories and has been a short story judge for the Chiltern Writers Group, Nottingham Writers Group and The Society of Women Writers and journalists.

Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!





4Q: Let’s talk about your novel – What She Saw. Great cover, interesting setting.



WC: Thank you, I’m glad you like it. A lot of readers think that authors choose their own covers but in a lot of cases this isn’t the case. My editor and the cover designer spent a lot of time discussing possible ideas: motifs and colours that would work well with the storyline, the genre of ‘Psychological Thriller’ and the title. When they were happy, they emailed it over to me to see what I thought. Luckily, I loved it, especially the red shoes which start you asking questions – who do they belong to? What happened to the child? The novel is set in The Lake District which is one of my favourite parts of England. It’s beautiful, yet haunting. In other words, the perfect setting for a psychological thriller.





4Q: Your website tells us about your writing journey and the numerous stories you’ve written and that you are working on your second novel. What can you tell us about that?



WC: My second novel is called ‘We Were Sisters’ and is about an over-protective young mother, Kelly, who is struggling after the birth of her third child. One day, she finds a locket in her baby’s pushchair, but when she looks closer, she recognizes it as the one her foster-sister Freya had been wearing when she died. The find brings back haunting memories of Kelly’s lonely childhood and she fears someone from her past wants to harm her family. Slowly but surely, her well-ordered life begins to unravel



4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory.



Photo Credit: Annette Batista Day - Unsplash.
WC: Whenever I’m asked this, a particular one comes to mind from when I was about six years old. Each year, the town where I lived had a fete which, along with coconut stalls and a dog show, held a fancy-dress competition for the children. In the past, I’d never come close to winning but this year my mum had made a big effort with my costume. I was a mermaid complete with shell headdress and a green tail covered with silver milk bottle tops. I felt a million dollars. What’s more, the judge was the current ‘Miss World’ which, for a child in those days, was the equivalent of meeting a Disney princess. When I won and received a kiss on the cheek from this beautiful lady along with my rosette, I couldn’t have been happier.





4Q: Please tell us about your writing habits and do you have a “special place” to write?





WC: Every January 1st, I tell myself I will have a proper writing schedule and a serious ‘writerly’ place to produce my work. Every year I fail. Basically, I’m a writing nomad. I write in the living room, in the conservatory and on the swing chair in my garden. Anywhere except in the ‘writing room’ my husband lovingly created for me. The same goes for my writing habits. I sometimes write in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon but never at a regular or set time.







4Q: Anything else you would like to add?



WC: I would just like to thank you for inviting me onto your lovely blog and to leave your readers with this message. If you believe in your writing, don’t give up… You just need to find that one person who believes in you.






An Excerpt from What She Saw.

(Copyright held by the author. Used with permission)





“Beautiful day, isn’t it.”

Graham leans his back against the shelves of cigarettes and nods across the small parking area towards the distant peaks. I hear the soft click-click of the window vent as it turns and notice the way the sun streams through the window, picking out the cracks in the wooden counter.

“It is lovely, yes.”

“Scott out today?” He scratches the side of his cheek, his fingers rasping on the whiskers that grow there. His weekend stubble he calls it, even though the weekend is yet to begin.

“He’s taking a party of four out to Castle Crag this afternoon. The nearer it gets to Easter, the busier he’ll be.”

“Well, it’s certainly the perfect day for walking.”

I wonder if Graham Hargreaves ever walks. I doubt it. Like many of the people who have lived in the Lakes all their lives, a walk to him is a Sunday afternoon stroll along the flat path beside the River Brathay. The people Scott takes out are tourists seduced by pictures in the cottage brochures of majestic peaks and sky-blue tarns, the clouds reflected in their mirrored surface. I don’t say any of this to Graham, just check my list.

“Hold on a sec. I’ve forgotten the frozen sweetcorn.”

Leaving the basket, I walk to the tall freezer cabinet and as I do, the bell above the door tinkles, making me turn. A young woman backs into the shop, struggling to drag a pushchair over the threshold but, as the wheels get stuck on the step, Graham lifts the flap of the counter and comes to her rescue. Shouldering the door to keep it open, he grasps the front wheels of the buggy with his free hand and lifts it over. I hear the woman thank him. She’s not from round here – I can tell by her accent. Her back is to me, but I can’t stop staring at her long dark hair. It’s like a magnet to me.

Dragging my eyes away, I reach out a hand to pull open the freezer door. I hear the woman’s footsteps in the aisle and that’s when it happens. In one heart-stopping moment, Ria’s face is reflected in the glass – just as I remember it. She’s standing behind me, her dark hair falling to her shoulders, her eyes wide in terror. The shock is like a fist to my stomach.

Instinctively I turn but the young woman has moved away and all I can see is Graham Hargreaves rooting around in a basket of discount DVDs. When I look back at the glass door, Ria’s face has gone but the feeling I had when I saw her hasn’t. My hand is still raised to the door and I see it’s shaking. I stare at it as though it belongs to someone else. With a great effort, I try to still my racing heart but instead of lessening the feelings become stronger.

“Are you all right, Leona?”

Graham is by my side but it’s as if his voice is coming to me through a fog. I want to answer him, but I can’t. I feel light-headed and disembodied, as if at any moment I might float away. My fingers close around the handle of the freezer cabinet and I’m scared to let go.

“Is something wrong?”

The sense of terror I feel is debilitating. I’m unable to move, the nerves and muscles of my body unable to respond to the messages my brain is sending to them. Graham Hargreaves has his arm around me. He’s saying something else, but I can’t hear his words.

The young woman is there too now, standing beside Graham, unsure what to do. Now she’s closer, I see she’s nothing like Ria. How could she be?





Thank you, Wendy, for being our guest author this week. Your story sounds captivating.



For you readers wanting more info on Wendy and her stories, please follow these links:







Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyclarke99/

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Guest Author Michelle Connors of England





The Scribbler is most fortunate to have another guest from “across the water”.  Her website describes her writing as Fantasy with Heart. Intrigued by history, her novella series is set in medieval times. We are most fortunate to have her participate in a 4Q Interview and an excerpt from her novel – The Bound





Michelle Connor lives on the North East coast of England in a town called Grimsby. She has been with her husband for twenty-two years. They have three children together, their youngest is almost eighteen. She is the princess of the family and has two older brothers.

As well as writing, Michelle loves to paint, draw, and take lots of photographs. She has a great intrigue for history and spends many a summers day hunting for castles and ruins to visit. This passion comes through in her first novella series as it is set in the medieval era.








4Q: When I visited your website, I noticed the heading right away. Fantasy with Heart. Tell us about that.



MC: All my books no matter what they are about on the surface, at their base they're about the heart. Whether the emotions are love, fear, friendship. Above my readers enjoying the characters’ adventures, I want them to feel their emotions right with them.










4Q: I was impressed with your Nine World Protection Agency series. Very imaginative. Please tell us more.




MC: The idea for this series came when I couldn’t sleep one night. I wrote a short piece from the POV of Odin. He was in a mental asylum with no clue of who he was. (I haven’t used it yet, as I’m holding it back for a later book in the series.) The next day, I sat down with my laptop and the character of Rifinn came to me. I knew she was Odin’s granddaughter and sat it a club but that was all. I’m a Pantser and do not plot. By the end of the first chapter, I knew she worked for the Nine World Protection Agency, had a berserker work-partner called Augustus who could turn into a bear, and she was hunting someone who had kidnapped wolf-skin children. From there, the idea took wings and Where Ravens Soar was born.





4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.



MC: Wow! This one is hard. I was a tomboy as a child. Most of my memories are of me climbing trees, getting nails stuck in my feet and driving my mother to madness. For example: We were going to a party, so my mother dressed me in a frilly frock, white socks and black painted shoes. I hated it, but it had rained the night before. So, while my mother was getting herself ready, I decided to sit in a puddle. As you can imagine, my mother wasn’t happy, but I got to wear something less girly.





4Q: Many creative people have their favorite spot to either write, or paint, etc. What’s your like? Any particular writing habits?



MC: I need mood music. I make a new playlist for each book I write.





4Q: Anything else you’d like to add?



MC: Just a thank you for having me.





Excerpt from The Bound – Hers to Save, Part One.





A YA, fantasy book written in British English.

 (Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)





CHAPTER THREE



AVELINE

The wind whistled outside, rattling loose shingles on the roof. Aveline lay awake on her small, straw pallet, listening to the obscure sounds of bleating sheep. The heated stones at her feet had long since lost their warmth, and her old, scratchy blanket did little to hold away the bitter cold filling the house.

Air laced with the stench of mead, and Aveline's own quiet desperation filled her nostrils. Her father sat slouched in his armchair. The warm, flickering glare from a tallow candle reflected off a silver flagon each time he lifted it to his lips. Aveline pretended to sleep. She covered her mouth and held in the urge to cough. Even though she was on the other side of the room from the dying fire, the thick, noxious smoke made her throat hoarse. After a while, her father staggered to his feet and stumbled over to his bed, and she breathed out a small sigh of relief. 



She observed a family of mice scurrying across the floor as she counted to a hundred in her mind. Her father's loud snores drifted from across the room. Now was her chance to escape. Drawing back the blanket, Aveline crawled from her bed. She slipped her hand under the straw mattress and found the silver penny she had hidden there. She’d been tempted to spend it on food a hundred times, but something always held her back.

Aveline grabbed a hessian sack from the floor, gathering up what little clothes she could. She snuck toward the dining table, wrapping up a few small portions of leftover cheese and salted venison in a piece of cloth. Placing the bag near the front door, she tiptoed to a wooden chest lying in the room’s corner and raised the lid. As she picked up her mother's boots, her heart thumped in her chest.

Aveline slinked towards the door, and spotted the little rabbit Ethan had carved lying discarded on the floor. She snatched the wooden animal and placed it in her pocket.

Though her brother treated her with scorn, she detested the prospect of leaving him behind. Aveline had raised Ethan since their mother died from childbirth, and she didn’t begrudge him their father's love, although she received none herself. When she was younger, she always thought she must have done something wrong to anger her father, but as she grew older, she realised he must have hated her because she looked so much like her mother.

Slipping out into the night, Aveline squatted on the ground and pulled her mother’s boots onto her feet. A sad smile graced her face as she knotted the laces. Standing, she paused one last time to glance back at her old run-down home, with its tatty, red door. She had an ache deep in the pit of her stomach as she turned away. How does one leave behind a part of themselves and not feel hollow inside? And that was what Ethan was to her. She'd not found the courage required to run away before because of him. She recalled a time when he followed her around whilst she struggled to get on with her duties. His small, chubby hands would hold onto her skirts and refuse to let them go. He would chuckle often and offer sweet smiles, and it was only this last summer he pulled back from her. Though he'd never answered her other prayers, she made the sign of the cross over her heart, and silently beseeched God to keep her brother safe until she could come back for him. 


Aveline stole her way along their garden-path and crept past the other villagers’ dimly lit homes, feeling a deep sense of finality. She knew the people sleeping inside the buildings noticed what went on in her homestead. Many times, the bruises she received were in plain sight and couldn’t be missed by those with eyes.

A sliver of moonlight pierced the blanket of darkness produced by the dense foliage. Aveline always assumed she knew the forest surrounding her village, but it was a different place at night. Even the sounds weren't the same—gone were the voices of the birds and other creatures she heard in the daylight. Instead, the trees swayed and creaked, owls hooted, and bats flew about, the noise of them flapping their wings as they swooped marking their passage.

She tiptoed around a large shrub, whose dark branches seemed like gnarled fingers reaching out at her, snagging her clothes. She bumped into something large and fell, banging her skull with a thump on the ground.

“Ouch.” Her head stung and the surrounding thicket seemed to shift to the side. The sound of the animals faded away as if the whole woodland held its breath. She sat up, and reached behind her head, touching a painful lump under her hair. Aveline peered through her fringe. The moonlight reflected off something enormous and silver. She clambered to her feet and took precarious steps backwards, blinking her eyes. Nope, still there.

She couldn't believe what she was looking at standing in front of her. Four times her height and covered with silver scales stood a dragon. Bat-like wings tucked tight to its sides and enormous claws sunk into the soft forest floor. They could tear the meat from bones.

Aveline scrambled away from the creature. She must have bumped her head harder than she thought. No one had spotted a dragon in fifty years, they were all thought to have fallen in the Last Great Battle. Sometimes she believed they were a fable that the folk around her village made up.

Maybe her mind summoned up the creature to help her cope with the terror of being on her own in the dark. She recalled seeing the brightly coloured sketches of dragons in the books her mother would read to her as an infant.

“Do not be scared, I will not hurt you,” a deep-toned voice said in her mind.

She sucked in a sharp breath and looked up into a pair of olive and gold eyes. An overwhelming wave of calm and safety blanketed her in its warmth and her panic evaporated. She hadn't felt this way since her mother last cradled her in loving arms. It was a wonderful feeling, almost like a forgotten dream. Running forward, she wrapped her arms around a scaled leg as thick as a tree trunk. He seemed real, but he couldn’t be. Could he?

“Can you not see in the dark? I heard you stumble, and scare away all the tasty animals,” said the dragon.

“Sorry,” Aveline replied as she let go of the dragon’s leg and took several steps back. She rummaged in her sack, pulled out a piece of salted venison, and held a palm towards the dragon. “You can share my food.”

“Thank you.” His rough tongue scooped up the meat from her hand. “Where are you going?”

“Far away from here,” she murmured.

“I will come with you. Keep you safe. You look too scrawny to be a meal, but I don’t think it mattered to the pack of wolves following you before I frightened them away.”

Aveline’s eyes widened.

* * *

Photo by Michael Samuelson Photography.
It was just after dawn when they made it to the edge of the forest. Aveline halted and took in the never-ending green fields.

“Do you have a name? I can't keep calling you the dragon,” she asked.

"Aeolius is what my mother named me before she vanished," he communicated telepathically.

"So, you’re motherless as well. What happened to yours?"

“I do not know. I remember her telling me to not be afraid, and then she was gone. I have not seen her since.”

Aveline leaned her head against the creature’s scaly side. “We have each other now.”

Picking a direction, they set off. The sun travelled across the cloud-filled sky as they trudged over a carpet of grass and thick undergrowth, stopping at an occasional leafy bower to rest. There were no roads, buildings, or signs of humanity. But with each stride farther away from her father, she was moving closer towards carving her own destiny.







Thank you so much Michelle for being our guest this week. 



For you readers, thank you for visiting. I hope you'll leave a comment below. 


****For those of you that would like to know more about Michelle and her writing, please follow these links;


Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Authormichelleconnor/






Books:






The Freed: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077SL6CDM/