Your Banner could be here too!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Book of the Day - Applause by Madalyn Morgan


In the early years of World War 2, Margot (Margaret) Dudley works her way up from usherette to leading lady in a West End show.  Driven by blind ambition Margot becomes immersed in the heady world of nightclubs, drink, drugs and fascist thugs – all set against a background of the London Blitz. To achieve her dream, Margot rises to the heights and plummets to the depths – and risks losing everything she holds dear.

Applause is the second book in the Dudley Sisters Quartet – The first, published in 2013 is Foxden Acres.  Both are available for Kindle and paperback.


 CHAPTER ONE




‘Look out!  Stop!’
     Margaret didn’t look. She didn’t stop until she was pushed into a doorway. ‘What--?’ was all she had time to say before her body slammed into the door.  With the wind knocked out of her, Margaret gasped for breath.  She struggled beneath the body of a man twice her size until she found a pocket of air, and inhaled deeply.  A combination of sweat and brick dust filled her nostrils.  Her mouth snatched for air and she began to choke.  Her captor didn’t relax his grip.  He held her tightly as tiles from the roof of the once quaint Jardin Café on Maiden Lane, in London’s Covent Garden, crashed onto the pavement where Margaret had been standing seconds before.
     The cracking, splintering sound of snapping slates gave way to a heavier, duller sound like rolling thunder.  With a vice-like grip, the man shielding Margaret took hold of her wrist and threw himself at the door they were leaning on.  The door groaned, and the wood splintered at the side of the antiquated brass keyhole, but it didn’t give way.  Still holding her, the man lunged again.  This time there was a loud crack and the lock buckled beneath his powerful body.  The door burst open, propelling Margaret through its gaping entrance as the chimney from the café’s roof crashed to the ground, missing them by inches. 
     Frightened for her life, Margaret stumbled into the darkness, lost her footing, and slid bottom-first down a flight of stone steps.  The strap on her handbag snapped and the bag flew through the air, scattering its contents over the ancient flagstones.  With the cardboard box of her gas mask digging into her ribs, Margaret came to a halt beneath a huge wooden cross.
     ‘Have you had enough of life, young woman?’ the burly workman bellowed from inside the door at the top of the steps.
     ‘What do you mean?’ Margaret said, coughing and spluttering.
     ‘That was a bloody stupid thing to do.’
     ‘You’re the stupid one, for pushing me down these stairs.  I could have broken my neck.’ She put her hand up to shield her eyes and peered at him through swirling brick dust.  Because the light was behind the man she wasn’t able to see his face, but she could see he was wearing workman’s clothes.    
     ‘Didn’t you see that bloody great big sign sayin’ No Entry?’
     ‘I didn’t have time to look.’  Margaret put on her best voice, emphasising the aitch in have.  ‘I was on my way to an important job interview and didn’t want to be late,’ she said, in an attempt to justify her stupidity, while biting back her tears.
     ‘You could’ve been killed, never mind late!’ the man hollered, and he stormed off.
     ‘I’m sorry!’ Margaret shouted after him, but he had gone.  She could have been killed, and so could he.  The workman had put his life at risk to save her and she hadn’t even thanked him.  As the reality of the danger she’d put them both in hit her, tears welled up in her eyes. 



HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! 



Applause!  In Kindle In Paperback! 

Madalyn’s Links







Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon continue to create new and different platforms to encourage readers and authors to be part of their world wide group. As an author I have so far resisted trying out their various offers to promote my books that is until now.

Their move to Kindle Unlimited attracted my attention both as a reader and an author particularly as I enjoy the benefits from the music world who are now offering a monthly subscription for unlimited downloads. In fact we subscribe to Deezer and although we will never own the music, we download all the tracks we enjoy and have already created several playlists.

Kindle Unlimited is similar in this way in that you pay a monthly subscription and within this subscription you are able to download Kindle books, registered in the scheme, for free.

As a toe dipping exercise I have enrolled Storm Clouds Gathering into Kindle Unlimited, so if you are enrolled in this scheme you can now read this book for free! And yes, I still get a royalty too! 

Amazon uk
Amazon Com

I’ll let you know how it all goes and if I will be enrolling my other books too. Here is a reminder of what you can expect from Storm Clouds Gathering.


Storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom.

Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up.

Can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything?


Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever.










Saturday, 18 October 2014

HUG A BOOK with Tall Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb


Hug A Book is sponsored by




It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Lizzie Lamb

And


Tall, Dark and Kilted




Meet Lizzie


Lizzie Lamb - After thirty four years as a primary school teacher, Lizzie decided it was time to find out if she had it what it took to become a published author. Leaving the chalk face behind, she toyed around with various romantic sub genres before deciding that rom coms were her ‘thang’.

She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and spent the next few years honing her craft. It was at an RNA Conference that she met Amanda Grange (Mr D’Arcy’s Diary) who was self publishing her back catalogue on Amazon -quite an innovation at the time. Mandy encouraged Lizzie to write from her heart and not to focus too overtly on what she ‘believed’ agents and publishers were looking for.

After some deliberation, Lizzie formed the New Romantics 4 with three other members of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and went down the self-publishing route. It was the best decision she ever made. With help and encouragement from Mandy and the other three members of NR4 she finished Tall, Dark and Kilted and published it as a paperback and formatted it for kindle download on all amazon sites in November 2012.

Since then she has written and published Boot Camp Bride and has designated November 2013 her promotional month. Boot Camp Bride has won Lizzie a nomination in the New Talent Award at the forthcoming Festival of Romance. Watch this space !!



Details of Tall, Dark and Kilted


Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the  dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester RossScotland.

Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family.

Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?


Available for Kindle & paperback

paperback UK    http://tinyurl.com/cn8fylt
kindle UK           - http://tinyurl.com/cdjyec6




Excerpt


Two hours later, Murdo pulled off the main road and started a long slow descent, leaving the mountains behind and following a minor road flanked by a mixed plantation of pine and deciduous trees. Eventually he stopped and pulled off the road, turning round to Fliss he gestured at the stunning view in front of them.
‘There she is: Tigh na Locha, Fliss. The House by the Loch
‘Oh God.’ Isla laid her head on her arms on the dashboard. ‘Dead man walking,’ she intoned, as if thoroughly dejected by the thought of the life she’d left behind in London.
‘Don’t be such a drama queen, Isla,’ Cat slipped in one last dig as she and Fliss clambered out of the Land Rover with Lassie hard on their heels. 

From their vantage point, the mountains behind them were hidden by trees and Fliss could see soft, rounded hills that swept all the way down to a large loch. The colours were dazzling; the green of the hills and trees, the blue sky reflected in the deeper blue of the loch and the ochre of the sandy beach, which gave way to paler sand near a pebble path. The shore line dipped in and out of the expanse of water and in the distance, at vanishing point, the opposing shores appeared to link hands, cutting the loch off from the sea.

And, way below them, nestled in the trees with a wide lawn leading down to the waters’ edge where it became a beach, was Tigh na Locha. Solid, ancient, a slice of Scottish history complete with white painted turrets and stepped gables, and with a look of permanency that said: ‘I’ve been here for a thousand years. Wha’ dares challenge me?’
After the car journey, the view of the loch was balm to her soul and Fliss let out a long, shuddering sigh. Unasked for tears prickled her nose and blurred her view. ‘It’s beautiful,’ she said, a catch in her voice. Then she whispered softly so that no one could hear: ‘I’ve come home.’


Lizzie’s Links
twitter: @lizzie_lamb


twitter: newromantics4



Saturday, 11 October 2014

HUG A BOOK with the Death Game by Chris Longmuir



Hug A Book is sponsored by




It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Chris Longmuir

And

 The Death Game




Meet Chris



Chris is an award winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Chris has recently published a non-fiction book entitled Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution, as well as the first book in a new series set just after the First World War. This series features Kirsty Campbell, Dundee’s first policewoman,

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it. She is currently working on a new Kirsty Campbell novel.

Chris lives in the seaside town of Montrose which is 30 miles north of Dundee. She is an Open University graduate and has a qualification in criminology. She retired early from a social work career in order to concentrate on her writing, but she has also worked in a variety of jobs including, shops, offices, factories, and was even a bus conductress for a time.

Chris is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. She designed her own website and confesses to being a techno-geek who builds computers in her spare time.


Details of The Death Game



Kirsty Campbell, former suffragette and a policewoman in Britain’s newly formed women’s police service, returns to her home town of Dundee to become the city’s first policewoman. Her struggle for acceptance in the all male police force is not easy, and she fights for recognition. But Kirsty is not easily intimidated and, despite police attempts to curtail her activities, she defies her superior officer to pursue an investigation into a murder which is linked to missing orphan girls.

Kirsty is an unusual character with a fascinating history and background. She has demons of her own to fight, as well as becoming involved in a deadly game of sacrifice and death? But how will she cope when the sins of the past come back to haunt her?

This book was inspired by Mrs Jean Forsyth Thomson, Dundee’s first policewoman who worked in the city from 1919 to 1921. However, Kirsty Campbell is not modelled on Mrs Thomson and is a completely fictitious character.





Available for Kindle & paperback



Excerpt



Prologue of The Death Game

Friday, 31 October 1919
She presses herself into the wall when she hears the scrape of the key in the lock. Which one will it be? And which game will she have to play.
So many men. So many games. She does not want to play their games, but she has to. She has to show them whatever they want. Fear. Sorrow. Anger. Gratitude. And above all she has to show them how much pleasure they give her.
The door opens, and light spills into the dark, windowless room. Her ankle chain clinks as she tries to push herself even further into the wall. The silhouetted shape moves towards her, and she clutches her arms around her body in an attempt to protect herself. All the time knowing she will have to do whatever he asks.
The shape reaches her and sits on the edge of her bed. He turns to face her, so his face is faintly illuminated.
‘Oh, it’s you.’ She sighs with relief.
 ‘Yes, child. I have come to take you away, but we must be quiet.’
 ‘I can’t go,’ she says.
 ‘Why not?’
‘Because if I go they will make Cissy take my place.’
‘I have arranged for Cissy to come as well. No one will be able to hurt her, and you will not have to do this anymore.’
‘Where will we go? We have nowhere but here.’
‘Trust me. I have it all arranged. You will both be safe and no one will be able to hurt you again.’
She feels the chain fall from her leg when he unlocks it. Standing up, she takes the hand held out to her.
She hesitates before walking through the door. ‘You are sure we will be safe?’ A trace of fear sounds in her voice. ‘They won’t be able to come after us and make me play the games again?’
‘Of course you will be safe. There is nothing for you to be afraid of. But we have to be quiet, and you have to be brave.
Think of this as another game. The biggest game of all.’



Chris’s Links
Ebook: Amazon.co.uk
Ebook: Amazon.com
Ebook: Smashwords

Paperback: Amazon.co.uk
Paperback: Amazon.com




You can now watch the Trailer


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Happily Blind Sighted by an Honor



I’m crawling out on a limb and hanging on for dear life as I reveal a little-known fact to all of the wonderful readers who visit Famous Five Plus. First, the facts that are very much known: I’ve written two novels, Leave of Absence and My Life in a Nutshell. Both are adult contemporary fiction, and both set out to humanize mental illness.

The little-known fact is that I wrote a novel long before these two. It’s entitled Losing Elizabeth. The gist of it is this:

When the school year begins, Elizabeth Carter’s life is fantastic, and she is a happy, confident, well-adjusted teenager. She and her best friend Meg are not only on the school tennis team but are even candidates for the varsity level. Elizabeth is in advanced classes and already planning for a bright future. She is ecstatic when greatly-admired Brad Evans asks her out. Slowly and insidiously, though, Brad takes over her life. Readers will find themselves on a tumultuous journey filled with both joy and pain that ultimately is a search for love, friendship, and identity.

Losing Elizabeth addresses the very core of teen life experience, which is learning to engage in meaningful relationships at the same time as an independent sense of self is developing. The novel reaches the young adult reader deep inside her heart and soul and speaks not only to what she likes but to whom she is and what she is becoming.

To my very pleasant surprise, I learned this week that Losing Elizabeth has been nominated for Storytellers Campfire’s prestigious Voyager Marble Award. I am deeply grateful that this literary organization has recognized Losing Elizabeth for its contribution to society.


According to their news release, “Storytellers Campfire is presenting Marble Awards to those who have dedicated themselves in their work beyond expectation and have shared their passion and commitment with the world. Many of the Nominees have exhibited a sincere desire to help others through their work and have been a source of inspiration to others.”

The reason I am surprised about this is the same reason I tend to be a bit hushed about the book: I always have anxiety about what I write, and I worry that Losing Elizabeth is too simple. I worry that it’s not in my genre – how can I promote both adult and YA/middle grade books? And really, I’m not a YA author. There are so many elements in Losing Elizabeth that I know I could have done better. Really, though as humans, don’t we all strive constantly for improvement?

I suppose I really shouldn’t remain so hushed about this novel, for I really do believe in its message. In fact, I’m proud of it. When I was a high school teacher, I had so many students, both male and female, become trapped in toxic, unhealthy, or even abusive relationships. I wanted to write a simple little story to illustrate to illustrated the dangers of such relationships. So I wrote Losing Elizabeth.
I want middle and high-schoolers to read it. Many do, for it’s in some school libraries, and I receive positive feedback. Among reader comments are ones like these:

“This is a cautionary tale teenage girls (and boys) should read. The very realistic picture drawn of an abusive, controlling relationship is something an unfortunately good number of young people will recognize only too well…. [T]he story is compelling and should be enough to keep the pages turning.” — The Sacramento Book Review & The San Francisco Book Review

“…[T]his young adult novel quite simply grabbed me.  Losing Elizabeth is a good book.  But more than that, it’s an important book, especially for teenagers who are just getting into romantic relationships.  Author, Tanya Peterson, handles the subject with expertise and sensitivity.”  – Sue Bronson, Colonygram, the official newsletter of The Oregon Writers Colony

“The staff at Storytellers Campfire highly recommends this book for parents and young teens and young adults.  This is a strong story and a necessary one.” —Storytellers Campfire, “Where Literary Art Comes To Life”

“Losing Elizabeth by Tanya J. Peterson…is a young adult book I definitely want to share with my daughters….Never before have I read a book with an exclusive focus on this subject…With sensitivity and grace, the author of Losing Elizabeth paints a realistic and troubling scenario for readers….This short but harrowing story will stay with me for a long time.”  —Susan Ortlieb, Lost in Fiction’s Lost in Young Adult event

This book by Tanya J. Peterson should be read by every teenage girl.  It will show them the darker side of some guys that they may not see or choose not to see.  “Losing Elizabeth” will open everyone’s eyes to the rough subject of abuse.  I would give this book ten stars if I could. :) Not only is it a great story, it is well-written and fast paced.  I couldn’t put it down!  I look forward to reading more books by this author.”  —Hailey17, amazon.com

“Yes, the story is solid and well told, with all the subtleties of teenage attraction and naivete as they approach their first relationship with the opposite sex.  [B]ut the important aspect of this novel is in its providing a story to which young adults can relate that warns about abusive relationships….And for that reason, Tanya J. Peterson has performed a social duty in addition to writing a fine little book.”  —Grady Harp, amazon.com

“Losing Elizabeth is a powerful read that needs to be in every high school.  Tanya J. Peterson did an excellent job and the characters were very realistic.  This book made me very angry to think how often this story happens.”  —Brianne Smith, memoriesovertakingme@blogspot.com

“Losing Elizabeth is a book every young woman and her parents should read, it gives insight into how easily our young people can be swayed.  Tanya Peterson is a gifted author who expresses exactly what goes on in our schools today.  Social Pressures are enormous to handle at this age.  Great job, great book.”  —Deb Roseth, amazon.com





As a writer, I think I’ll constantly criticize my work and strive to improve. That, I hope, will make me a better writer each time I craft a novel. For now, I am going to continue to feel so deeply honored that Storytellers Campfire chose to nominate Losing Elizabeth for one of their prestigious Marble Awards. 


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Book of the Day - Tall Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb



 Tall, Dark and Kilted


Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the  dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester RossScotland.

Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family.

Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?


Available for Kindle & paperback

paperback UK    http://tinyurl.com/cn8fylt
kindle UK           - http://tinyurl.com/cdjyec6





Monday, 6 October 2014

A Tapestry Woven from the Strands of Downton Abbey


Today, Pauline Barclay has a special guest on Famous Five Plus, former member, Phillip Winberry who talks about his latest book and the amazing story that inspired him to write, Fallen From The Sky.


You come from the Pacific Northwest in the USA.  What motivated you to set your latest novel, Falling From The Sky, in England

I come from a lineage of English immigrants to America during the 1700s, perhaps earlier.  As a result, I’ve always been fascinated with English history and culture.  In addition, I fell in love with London while working there for almost two years (1979/80).  During that time, I began many lifelong friendships. So, when interest in my genealogy led me to an interesting late 18th century tidbit in my paternal grandmother’s family history, I hit upon the idea of creating an imaginary English family that would allow me to tell a highly fictionalized version of what I envisioned that tidbit could have been.  Readers interested in the morsel of information that piqued my interest can use their favorite search engine to explore the world of John Mobbs, a wealthy Englishman who died in 1791.  He is believed to be my uncle six generations removed.  His will makes for intriguing reading.



What an interesting backdrop to inspire you. Your latest novel, Falling From The Sky takes place during World War II.  Is setting the story in this time-period important to the plot?

Not really, Pauline.  The novel’s first draft, which I called The Pouch, was set at the end of the 20th Century, with substantial flashbacks to events that took place in the mid 18th Century.  When finished the first draft, while I had a good story, it wasn’t one that told the tale I wanted to tell.  At its core, it lacked soul.  Many drafts followed, but it wasn’t until I changed the plot focus to a time and place that had always intrigued me, World War II and the role American B-17 bomber pilots played in that conflict, that I finally hit upon a premise and characters that allowed me to get the words down on the page to make my vision sing.


Now I am more intrigued. What compels you to write mystery and suspense stories that have readers sitting on the edge of their seats?

Mystery and suspense stories make up the vast majority of the books I read.  I enjoy the genre and take pleasure in creating stories for the entertainment of others.


Tell us a little about Falling From The Sky?

Falling From The Sky is a tale of heroism and a tribute to the American bomber pilots who served unflinchingly at a time of crisis and peril by flying daytime bombing missions over Europe during the war.  Those incredible young men and their crews were heroically brave in the face of extremely long survival odds.  Despite massive losses of life and property, all who took to the sky played a major role in defeating the German enemy.  It also is a story of romance and exploration of family conflict as well as, in the words of one Amazon reviewer, “a tapestry woven from the strands of Downton Abbey like opulence . . . a mystery with evil/deceit/uncertainty/ and greed.”  It was great fun weaving all those stands together to create the final saga.


Having read your first novel, Reno Splits, which was a gripping thriller, can you tell us if a book three is being penned?

Of course there is.  A writer’s work is never done.  My next effort is another mystery, this time set on a small island in the middle of Washington State’s Puget Sound.  The book’s title tentatively is Foxglove.  I’m still toying with the plot and trying to decide the appropriate time-period to make the story work.  I find myself quite comfortable writing stories set in the 1940s so that probably is where the narrative will land.


What about you, Phil?  Tell us a little about you and what made you turn your hand to writing.

I am a lawyer by training, retired after a four-decade-long career.  Around the time I walked away from the practice, my interest in my family genealogy led me to John Mobbs’ story.  From that point I realized I would like to create a novel drawing on some aspects of his tale.  After all, I knew how to write.  I’d done it my entire career.  Was I ever wrong!  Oh, sure, I could write—like a lawyer.  But like a novelist?  That was something I had to learn—and I’m still learning.

Most of my retirement years have been spent on Whidbey Island, located at the top of Washington State’s Puget Sound.  My wife and I live with our beloved Weimaraner on a bluff overlooking the Sound’s shipping lanes and the majestic snow-capped Olympic Mountains.  Sometime in the next year, though, we’ll be leaving the island to move back to Seattle to be closer to our kids.  But wherever we land, you’ll always be able to find me at the keyboard spinning my next yarn.

Phillip, a HUGE thank you from me for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat about you and your latest book. I’ll leave you to enjoy the wine, whilst I go and download a copy of Falling From The Sky.




A PEEK INSIDE THE COVER

When American B-17 pilot Alex Kent isn’t struggling to survive World War II bombing raids in the skies over Germany he spends time trying to unravel a conundrum with even greater dangers:  uncovering the lost legacy of William Kent, his great-grandfather seven generations removed.  Alex knows nothing about his ancestor’s life prior to William’s arrival in 1740 colonial Virginia as an eleven-year-old indentured servant although Kent family folklore suggests William might have been the exiled child of an English noble.  Over the generations, several Kent family members have tried to confirm that speculation.  None succeeded.  Some died trying.

On leave in war torn London, Alex meets Sarah Perkins, fiancée of the Duke of Wyeford’s only son.  Alex and Sarah soon realize they are attracted to one another and she volunteers to help in his pursuit of William’s heritage.

When the Duke of Wyeford becomes aware of Alex’s quest, he understands the American pilot poses a threat to the conspiracy of silence concocted two hundred years earlier to deny young William his legitimate birthright.  Exposure of the conspiracy would topple the Wyeford dynasty, stripping the duke of his title and wealth.  He vows to take whatever actions are necessary to see that never happens.  Danger and tension escalate as Alex’s search barrels toward a shocking conclusion.



Phillip Winberry
NOVELS OF MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE
Reno Splits, 2012 indieBRAG Medallion Honoree
Falling From The Sky


e-mail: winbp@msn.com
Blog: www.phillipwinberry.com
Twitter: @phillipwinberry