The Weighing Of The Heart by @PaulTOwen @ObliteratiPress #BlogTour #GuestPost #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Paul Tudor Owen’s The Weighing Of The Heart blog tour with Love Books Tours!

The Weighing of the Heart tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following guest post by Paul Tudor Owen…..

The Weighing of the Heart suthor


Paul Tudor Owen, whose debut novel The Weighing of the Heart is published by Obliterati Press, explains why he chose to set his book in New York City

Like many people, I fell for New York before I’d ever set foot there.

Growing up 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in Manchester, for me New York was the city of impossible possibility described in The Great Gatsby, of underage drinking and comically hard-boiled teenage slang of The Catcher in the Rye, the place packed full of artists and writers and musicians in James Baldwin’s Another Country. It was the grimy, crime-plagued and thrilling grid of traffic depicted in Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, horns honking, neon swimming in the night.

It was the “voices leaking from a sad cafe” in Simon and Garfunkel’s Bleecker Street, and “music on Clinton Street all through the evening” in Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat. It was the home of Public Enemy and Edward Hopper. “Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,” Fitzgerald wrote.

Every artist, musician, filmmaker or writer I loved from America – and many from much further afield – seemed to have either cut their teeth there or depicted it in their work. David Bowie and John Lennon lived there. It inspired PJ Harvey’s best album. Dylan Thomas died there. Jack Kerouac set off from there in On the Road.

But to me as a teenager, New York was as remote and out of reach as the moon. It was almost a fictional place – a set for some of the greatest works of art and literature of the 20th Century, many of which I was studying at the University of Sheffield.

The third year of my American Studies degree was spent abroad, at the University of Pittsburgh, and in January 2000 I visited New York for the first time.

Even the journey there gave me a sense of moving into a fictional world – my friends Tony and Heidi and I boarded the Greyhound in Pittsburgh just as Paul Simon’s characters do at the start of America. Heidi tapped me on the shoulder to wake me up early the next morning as the coach thundered along the overpass somewhere near Newark and the skyline of Manhattan came into view. I remember the Twin Towers, and the crush of buildings below, beside and around them compressed between the rivers. It seemed simultaneously instantly familiar and strangely unreal.

We stepped off the bus at the unlovely Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown. It was cold and grey and the streets were filthy. But we were walking the same sidewalks as the characters in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy and Don DeLillo’s Underworld; we were stepping straight into a song by Blondie or a scene from a Woody Allen film.

Not everyone in the streets around us was going to become the next Don DeLillo or Debbie Harry – of course not. But it felt to me like if the next Don DeLillo or Debbie Harry existed, they were probably here somewhere, toiling away in obscurity. I wanted to be part of it.

Over the next few years, after returning to the UK, I would try to visit New York as often as I could, and that feeling never wore off. The skyscrapers that are New York’s most potent emblem symbolised the city’s sense of infinite possibility for me – the layers of lives stacked one on top of another; the lateral thinking of just deciding to build straight up; the yearning I felt seeing the skyline from the airport or the rivers or the bridges. I hoovered up books and articles about the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron and the Twin Towers – especially after the horrifying destruction of the latter had made New York the focal point of a terrible geopolitical realignment in 2001.

Eventually, four years ago, just as I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that I would never live there, my girlfriend and I both managed to get jobs there, and in March that year I arrived at JFK airport with three enormous suitcases, and within a week or so had found an apartment on St Marks Place – where Jeff Buckley recorded Live at Sin-é, where William S Borroughs, Leon Trotsky and WH Auden all once lived (not together), where Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground ran their legendary night Exploding Plastic Inevitable and Billie Holiday and Miles Davis played at the Five Spot jazz club.

By that time, I had finished the first draft of my novel The Weighing of the Heart, my attempt to set down some of what I felt about New York in writing as I told the story of Nick, a young artist who steals a priceless painting from the wall of his landlords’ home on the Upper East Side. Nick moved to New York long before I did – how he feels about the city is how I imagined I would feel if I ever managed to live there. Life ended up imitating art.

But some things I got wrong. I discovered, embarrassingly behind time, that the city’s cultural centre of gravity had clearly moved from Manhattan across the river to Brooklyn – and had to rewrite scenes and references in the book as I redrafted the manuscript over the next three years. I found that the dome of the Chrysler Building – where I’d claimed there was a restaurant in the book – was actually the unlikely home to a number of dental surgeries, one of which I enthusiastically signed up to as soon as I could, getting six fillings for my trouble along with a spectacular panoramic view as I sat in the chair.

In the book, Nick, British like me, finds himself gradually beginning to feel like an American, but I never did – although I can see some of my friends are on their way along that path. And I found that being forced to reinvent yourself, something Nick embraces unreservedly from page one of The Weighing of the Heart, has downsides as well as upsides.

On the other hand there were one or two moments in the book that I’d invented from whole cloth that ended up playing out in real life – for example the startling sight of a goods train barrelling through our local subway station late one night.

And when Nick describes how “out past the flat roof almost all the skyscrapers had disappeared into mist, just the odd coloured light blinking groggily here and there”, and “feels exultantly what the New Yorkers of a hundred years ago must have felt, two hundred, three hundred, that this island and this city was theirs to create from scratch,” that was how I felt, looking out at “the ragged buildings in front of the park, windows sparkling, plate glass reflecting the last fragments of the sunset, the sheets of offices hanging high above the rushing streets … The enormous country was spread out behind us and New York was leading it like the prow of a ship.”

And there was an echo of my own first sight of New York, arriving on the Greyhound with Tony and Heidi in 2000, in the chapter when Nick describes his plane touching down for the first time at JFK: “the vast wall of skyscrapers like a gateway in the harbour, the Twin Towers its two gigantic gateposts.” It had become my second home.

Paul Tudor Owen in New York in 2000

Paul Tudor Owen with his wife Eleanor in the East Village, 2018

The view from the dentist’s in the Chrysler Building

• Paul Tudor Owen’s debut novel The Weighing of the Heart is published by Obliterati Press and has been nominated for the People’s Book Prize 2019 and the Not the Booker Prize 2019

Twitter: @paultowen
Instagram: @paultowen

The Weighing of the Heart cover


Following a sudden break-up, Englishman in New York Nick Braeburn takes a room with the elderly Peacock sisters in their lavish Upper East Side apartment, and finds himself increasingly drawn to the priceless piece of Egyptian art on their study wall – and to Lydia, the beautiful Portuguese artist who lives across the roof garden.

But as Nick draws Lydia into a crime he hopes will bring them together, they both begin to unravel, and each find that the other is not quite who they seem.

Paul Tudor Owen’s intriguing debut novel brilliantly evokes the New York of Paul Auster and Joseph O’Neill.

Buy Link

happy reading 🙂

The Weighing of the Heart full cover



#ShesBack by Lisa Unwin & Deb Khan @shesback @UrbaneBooks #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on the She’s Back blog tour with Love Books Tours!

She's Back tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview…..

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

The genesis of the book was Lisa’s own experience. She’d had a successful twenty year career as a management consultant but after taking a six year career break when her children were young, she found getting back on track very difficult. Impossible, in fact.

Deb was working as a consultant to lots of companies in the creative sector – advertising agencies, architects and the like. She knew the problems were just the same there. Together Lisa and Deb set about figuring out exactly how women could get their careers back on track.

The She’s Back book was the result of four years of research into exactly what the hurdles are and how to overcome them,


Could you tell us a little about the people who feature in your book?

The book is full of the stories of women and men we met along the way. People whose careers didn’t follow nice straight lines and who had to be inventive, creative and determined when it came to picking up again.

Our online survey reached over 1,300 women and we ran workshops with over 120. Added to which we met lots and lots of individuals )and drank a vast amount of coffee in the process).


Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

The thought of writing 60,000 words was daunting, to say the least, so we began by breaking it down into chapters. Each chapter would talk about one aspect of the problem or the solution: we identified around 18 chapter headings which we thought of as 18 articles of around 3,000 words. Still not 60,000 but definitely more achievable.

We wrote around Lisa’s kitchen table, taking one chapter at a time. We like to write the way we speak so if ever it felt as thought the writing was becoming too “corporate” we’d stand up, pace around the table and say what we wanted to say out loud. And then write that down.


Who are your top 5 favourite authors?


Margaret Atwood
Maya Angelou
Jane Austen
Salman Rushdie
Rohinton Mistry


If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. What’s next?

(Deb) Great answer, I can’t top that.


Were you a big reader as a child?


Totally. All the classics. The Little Princess, What Katy Did, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables – all very girly. But also Treasure Island, White Fang … I would hide up a tree in the garden so that I could finish a book.


When did you start to write?

Lisa My last “proper” job was as Director of Communication at Deloitte, so I had to write for that but the writing was a little dull. I think I first found my groove when I had to do a blog about the Beijing Olympics as part of the team that went out there.

Everyone else was writing about the sport …I tended to muse on why people who clearly had never done a day’s exercise were suddenly walking about wearing sports gear and the truly awful pastel colours of the kaghouls we were given when it rained.

Deb I’ve worked for myself for the last 20 years, and a lot of that has been about helping organisations and teams tell their story. I would craft and shape the narrative for architects, charities, marketing and creative agencies when they were pitching, and I would help leaders tell their stories. So I guess I’ve been writing, on and off, for the past 20 years. But never anything as ambitious as a book like this.

However, when I started working with Lisa, we clicked. We quickly found a way to write collaboratively, talking through the words on the page so they felt like speaking to an informed friend. It was a very rewarding process.


If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Is there a book you wish you had written?


The end of a Fine Balance. They’d all live happily ever after.

A book I wish I’d written? The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg. Or anything by her really, sublime writing.


I would re-write the ending of Gone With The Wind. Scarlet becomes president.


If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?


She’s Back: the inside story. I’m not very inventive when it comes to titles.


Do The Hustle.


If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?


Anne of Green Gables. I think taking her to the Ritz would be a laugh.


Bernadette, from Where’d You Go Bernadette. I’d convince her to take up architecture again, and I think we’d get on.


What are you working on right now?


Practising what I preach. I’m working on a new venture called the Reignite Academy which is providing paths back to work for “career break” lawyers.


I’ve just taken up a new role as VP of Culture at Kano, a creative tech company, so I’m helping lots of women in that industry. And I’m continuing to do what I’ve always done with my clients: creative inspiration, delivering business growth differently.


Tell us about your last release?



Do you have a new release due?



What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?


On publication day we had a fabulous party hosted by one of Deb’s ad agency clients and drank copious amounts of pousse rapiere (an orange liqueur from the south west of France that you mix with prosecco). Delicious.


The creative agency was Mother (who happen to be brilliant) and their brand was a perfect fit for us. We also had the luxury of a private dinner at Claridges, hosted by Annoushka Ducas, founder of Links London, and now running Annoushka Jewellery. Annoushka is a huge champion of women in work, and we had so many great women at that dinner, representing so many sectors.


How can readers keep in touch with you?

We have a Facebook group called She’s Back that’s pretty active, I’m also do quite a lot on LinkedIn, and we’re on instagram sporadically @shesbackuk


Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I’m pretty proud of the fact that I found my creative flair in my fifties.


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

She's Back cover

Authors Info


She's back author Lisa Unwin
Lisa Unwin is the founder of She’s Back, a business whose purpose is to enable business to access the unique talent in women returning to work after an extended career break. A former partner with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting and Director of Brand and Communication at Deloitte, Lisa had a 20 year career in professional services prior to setting up She’s Back.


She's Back Author Deb Khan

Deb Khan combines two successful careers, leveraging her background in the creative arts. She has a proven track record affecting change across a wide range of businesses in the Advertising & Media, Technology, Charity & Education sectors. Deb is a results driven Trainer, Workshop Leader, Facilitator & Coach.

Buy Link

happy reading 🙂



The Humundo Sorterium by Daniel Thompson (Author) @AuthorDThompson & Connor Edwards (Illustrator) #BookReview

The Humundo Soterium

Having read and LOVED The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale, I was only too happy to read and review The Humundo Sorterium by Daniel Thompson and what another fabulous book it is!

If you and your children enjoy wonderfully imaginative, rhyming stories then you will LOVE this book. It is unique and highly entertaining with a very important message for us all.

Such excellent use of language. I have a few new favourite words now! This author has a natural way with words.

The illustrations are just awesome and compliment the story perfectly. Daniel Thompson and Connor Edwards make an excellent team and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. This is most definitely another book of theirs which I will happily buy for nieces, nephews and friends.

I recommend to all with younger children. Mine are 19 and 17, although I’m sure they’d both still enjoy it all the same.

Many thanks to Daniel Thompson for my gorgeous review copy.

I will treasure it and plan to pass it on to my future grandchildren (hopefully, if we’re blessed with any. Not too soon though!).



The Christmas Tale of Elaine Gale by Daniel Thompson @AuthorDThompson #BookReview #childrensbook

happy reading 🙂


The Calibre Of Death (A DCI Timothy mystery, Book 5) by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

The Calibre of Deathh

The Calibre Of Death is book 5 in the DCI Timothy mystery series and I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole series!

In this book we are treated to another suspenseful murder mystery. The story is set in Staffordshire when the HS2 rail link is becoming a very real possibility and not everyone is pleased about it. Aasa Heald is visiting from London for a meeting which has to be cancelled, so she finds herself having coffee with a local elderly lady by the name of Thelma Hodgson. Thelma has found herself in a very difficult situation having been deceived out of all she owns by two less than honest excuses for human beings claiming to be long lost family. Maybe Aasa would be able to help? She doesn’t get a chance though as she is shot dead right there at their table in the café. No-one is able to save her, and no-one knows where the bullets were fired from. I can’t even imagine witnessing such an horrific act of violence.

DCI Christopher Timothy and his team have their work cut out trying to piece together a very confusing puzzle. Who locally would want this woman dead? Was she even the intended target?

As well as investigating murder, Chris has his teenager sister-in-law, Florence, staying with them as her alcoholic mother has gone to a clinic for help. This brings its own challenges for their little family, especially as Florence seems to have befriended their main suspect!

Nothing is ever straight forward, but it all comes together with dedication and determination. Another excellent police procedural.

I LOVED the last chapter, although tinged with sadness. Exciting times ahead for the Timothy family. I can’t wait to read book 6!


New to this series?

I recommend you start with book 1…..


happy reading 🙂


Ryder On The Storm by Ray Clark @T1LOM #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Ray Clark’s Ryder On The Storm blog tour, with Love Books Tours!

Ryder On The Storm poster

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Ray Clark…..

Ryder On The Storm author Ray 2018

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

From an early age I have loved stories, firstly listening to them, and eventually wanting to write them. My first came when I was at school and if I remember correctly it was a story I entered as part of my English ‘O’ level. I remember you had to submit something like 6 stories. I put forward one I had started writing a couple of years previously and had never finished. At the time, I still couldn’t finish it. I think I had run of out steam. I rushed and pretty much put any old ending to it. Many, many years later I stumbled across it, read through it, and decided I could make a far better job of it – because I had more patience. I even gave it a title – One Rainy Night, which eventually became part of the collection, A Devil’s Dozen. Since then I have written many stories, and a number of novels. I am also the author of the Gardener/Reilly books, known as the IMP series.


Where did/do you get your ideas from?

This sounds awful but whenever that question is pitched to me the answer is always the same: usually other people. I don’t mean I plagiarise other people’s work but often they will make a throwaway comment and I will seize upon it. One classic example was a conversation between a friend and myself about a classic, 60’s sci-fi series, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. I absolutely loved it. So did he, and he said to me, I’ve seen loads of those but I’ve never seen the same one twice. I replied, neither have I. When I asked a number of other people, they all said the same thing. I simply had to write something. The title was Lost & Found, and if I remember correctly that was also part of A Devil’s Dozen – or it might have been A Detective’s Dozen.


Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Only once: all my characters are usually fictitious with either a little bit of me or a hint of someone I know. Only once did I ever use a colleague. His mannerisms and his speech pattern were far too good and far too funny to ignore. I suppose if he ever finds out he’ll have a few choice words for me. He featured in the second book in the IMP series, Imperfection, which was set in the world of film and theatre, featuring a killer who had an obsession with the one time film idol, Lon Chaney, who was so good with make-up that he was dubbed, The Man of a Thousand Faces, which the killer was able to use to great advantage. The research on that book was very absorbing and time consuming but I learned so much about a world I love, allowing me to blend fact and fiction to support what I wanted to say. I suppose I’m giving far too much away now but he had a minor role, looking after the stage door of the theatre where the first murder took place, on the stage, in front of the audience, prompting the question that if your killer was that good with a make-up bag, how were you going to catch him?


How do you pick your characters’ names?

Names are very important, and I simply don’t think you can pluck them out of thin air: you really have to think about them. I believe that the plot and time period that you’re writing about play a very important role. When I wrote Seven Secrets, the lead role had to have a very old-fashioned detective who used old-fashioned policing methods to solve his crimes. I knew that he was going to be approaching retirement age and he’d never had an unsolved crime. After some serious thought, a very simple name of Arthur White dropped into my head and it fitted perfectly. As did his young sidekick, Stuart Robinson, who was the polar opposite of White. Strangely enough, for the IMP series, which have been my most successful crime novels, I really can’t remember how I came up with Stewart Gardener – how bad is that?


Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

It’s quite a long one for me because I such a stickler for detail. The whole process will take me something around a year. I’m usually inspired by a throwaway comment in a conversation. I know when it’s going to work for me because the comment will continue to spin around in my head, and then I find myself adding to it. Before long I’ll have lost of pieces of paper all over my desk. Once I decide to put them all on the computer in a file and I can finally make sense of those mad ramblings, I join them up into some kind of skeletal framework. And then I start to get really serious with the research. I usually have around 150 pages of ideas, which include plot, synopsis, characters, and a variety of other bits and bobs, before I actually start writing the novel. The beauty of that for me, with all those notes, it virtually writes itself.


Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Peter James.
Graham Masterton.
Nigel McCrery.
Peter Lovesey.
L.S. Hilton.


If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

If you’d asked me that question two or three years ago I would probably have gone for one of the past masters like H.G. Wells, or Bram Stoker, but today it has to be L.S. Hilton, author of the trilogy that has become a global phenomenon. First you had Maestra, then Domina, and finally Ultima. The books have been described as The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Fifty Shades of Grey. I would simply have to ask what one thing inspired those novels. I might be tempted to ask her what experience she had to write those novels but I might end up with a black eye.


Were you a big reader as a child?

Not really. I don’t think I started to take a real interest in reading until I started school, and even then it was later in life, around the age of eleven when you were properly introduced to books in your English classes, when the teacher would read a book to the class. I think one of the earliest I took an interest in was John Stienbeck’s Of Mice And Men. After that I think it was Black Beauty, but the one that really caught my interest was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


When did you start to write?

Definitely at school, around the time of my ‘O’ levels. I remember having to submit 6 pieces of fiction. One of those stories featured an old stationmaster, out in the sticks, checking and locking the station for the night in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm when suddenly he comes face to face with an intruder. I got so carried away building that story up that I couldn’t finish it: I had no ending, I didn’t know where to go. I remember rushing something down. It was many years later that I revisited it and I did know where I was going, so it ended up with the title, One Rainy Night and was the first story in the collection A Devil’s Dozen.


Is there a book you wish you had written?

Lots of them. When I read The Manitou by Graham Masterton I simply couldn’t believe anyone on the planet could capture my imagination so much. Straight after that I picked up a couple of his political thrillers entitled, Ikon and Sacrifice, and I was so absorbed by the quality of his writing and the conviction of the plot that I actually started to believe what he was saying: that America was being run by Russia.


If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

I think there’s only one title it could be, The Lord of Misrule. The only problem there is, I would be stepping on the toes of the acting legend, Christopher Lee.


What are you working on right now?

I’ve literally just finished writing a new cross genre novel entitled Spirit. Last year, I took a trip to Romania, a country I’ve always wanted to visit because I seem to remember spending my childhood watching old Universal and Hammer horror films, most of which were set in Transylvania. I realise that neither cast nor crew were anywhere near the place and most – if not all – of the films were made at Bray Studios. But the atmosphere and the haunting sets drew me in.

I joined eleven other people on a guided tour and we had the most fabulous time, taking in all the popular locations and sights, Bran Castle being one of them, reportedly the home of Dracula. On a visit to a small village called Viscri, where time has stood still since the dawn of mankind, the guide was drawn into conversation with one of my fellow travellers, where I overheard him mention an old custom for exorcising ghosts in Romania. The conversation would not leave my head and as the rest of the party knew I was an author, we all found ourselves discussing possible ideas for the book whenever we met up for food and drink.

The trap was set and I simply had to write something. When I came home I immersed myself into the research, which is always my favourite part of any book. A year later, the end result is a 400-page cross genre novel set in Whitby (also reportedly the home of Dracula), entitled Spirit, which also gave me the chance the revisit (six years later) the characters from Seven Secrets.


Tell us about your last release?

The last one was the third book in the IMP series, entitled, Implant, featuring detectives Gardener and Reilly. The idea came from a book talk I was giving locally, and in the audience were a number of young people – some of them teenagers, which is quite staggering because you don’t really think of them as book readers. They are, but they do it in a different way – on their phones. In fact, they pretty much run their whole lives on phones, which I find quite amusing. I spoke to a number of them afterwards and I couldn’t believe how much trust they placed in those small gadgets. An idea suddenly struck me, what if someone was clever enough to use that machine against them – possibly even control their lives before finally taking it?


Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire.
Monday morning, as the clock strikes 9:00, Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.
Above his head are two plain white envelopes. They do not contain any answers – only further problems, especially when they find out the scar is hiding a very sinister secret.
Within twenty-four hours, they have one body, one suspect – with a motive but no evidence – and a number of other possible suspects.
But they’re all missing.
Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims: no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.
Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?


Do you have a new release due?

Yes, in fact it came out July 1st. Ryder On The Storm was inspired by an article in a local publication I have, entitled, Heroes, Victims & Villains of Leeds, written by Stephen Wade, a writer who specialises in the history of crime and law. The article was all about an unsolved crime in 1855 when police found a body on the line of the Lancashire to Yorkshire Railway near the Bowling Tunnel:


When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs … and it’s cheap! But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850’s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.
Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella, featuring one of the characters from the IMP series, desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.


What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

To be honest I don’t really do much of anything special these days. If it’s going to be anything, a meal and a glass or two of wine with a small group of friends often hits the spot.


How can readers keep in touch with you?

The best way is through my website ( There is a contact page on there. I do also have an Amazon page, as well as a Facebook and Twitter account, so there are any numbers of ways.


Is there anything else you would like us to know?

When I’m not writing I am usually heavily involved in music. I pretty much grew up as a working musician cutting my teeth on the workingmen’s club scene in Hull. My interest in music has continued to this day and I still do live performances but these days it mostly in theatres and for charity, raising money and awareness for the OPA (Oesophageal Patients Association). They are a small charity that receive little or no government backing but it’s a pleasure working with them. One of the patrons is Emmerdale actress Fiona Wade.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ray 🙂




When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs … and it’s cheap!
But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.
Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.


Buy Link

RYDER COVER 5x8 Main.png

happy reading 🙂



A Pair Of Sharp Eyes by #KatArmstrong @HooklineBooks #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Kat Armstrong’s A Pair Of Sharp Eyes blog tour with Love Books Tours!

A Sharp Pair of Eyes poster

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Kat Armstrong…..

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

I’ve done a variety of jobs over the years, but writing has been a common thread since the beginning. In my forties I took an MA in Creative Writing and my persistence finally paid off this year when I secured a contract for my first novel, a historical murder mystery called A Pair of Sharp Eyes. The story is set in Bristol where I grew up.
I’m fascinated by the eighteenth century, especially the lives of ordinary people then. The slave trade is the backdrop to my story; the wealth it generated for Bristol’s merchants ultimately explains why my heroine travels to the city to find work. There her adventures begin.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?

The best are unexpected. A character arrives like an interesting stranger, and I have to stop and pay them attention.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Sometimes a character might echo something said in real life, but that’s the extent of it.

How do you pick your characters’ names?

I used to find it difficult to come up with my characters’ names. Now I love the chance to add colour to the narrative with vivid names. I make sure all were current in the early 1700s, and many in A Pair of Sharp Eyes are specific to the West Country. I collect likely names from gravestones, subscription lists, trade directories and contemporary texts.
My heroine Coronation Amesbury was named for a different reason. Researching his family tree my father discovered a Georgian ancestor who christened his son ‘King.’ The spirit of mockery amused my father – King George was destined to become a Cumbrian hill farmer – and inspired me to give Coronation a staunchly Protestant father who marked his devotion to William of Orange by naming his daughter in memory of William’s ascension to the English throne. The name certainly suits Coronation, who considers herself the equal of most people she meets.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Read a lot. Read a lot more. Write a first draft. Throw it away. Write a second. Edit, edit, edit. Tear it up. Write it again. Realise most of those scenes aren’t needed. Write new ones. Edit, edit again. It took me three years to write A Pair of Sharp Eyes. For me that was quick.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Shakespeare. Defoe. Austen. Dickens. Hardy. Modern novelists: J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald, Hilary Mantel, Anne Tyler, Sarah Waters.

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d invite Henry Fielding to watch the Albert Finney/Susannah Yorke film version of Tom Jones with me because I’m sure he’d love it. Fielding would be a wonderful person to spend time with: he was funny, humane, learned and worldly-wise.

Were you a big reader as a child?

I learned to read aged three, much to my mother’s pride, and my first reading memories are the Ladybird books, a chunky compendium of fairy tales I was given for Christmas when I was about five, and unlimited quantities of Enid Blyton. From there I read virtually all the childhood greats from The Water Babies to the Narnia books (I was equally keen on North American classics like Anne of Green Gables and The Girl of the Limberlost as I was on The Little Princess and The Would-Be Goods). I was lucky that my mother read vast amounts of children’s literature and YA – she was an English teacher and a voracious reader of practically everything – so I had access to lots of teen fiction too. I enjoyed it so much, historical fiction and time-slip stories in particular, that I found it hard to graduate to adult fiction until I came across Agatha Christie on holiday one summer. Her detective novels bridged the gap, and my extensive reading of them in my adolescence came in handy years later when I started writing murder mysteries of my own.

When did you start to write?

When I was 7 or 8 I used to write in a den I made in the back garden from planks, pieces of corrugated plastic, and offcuts of carpet. It was no designer shepherd’s hut, and my parents were remarkably tolerant to let me leave it there for years, in full view of the house. The neighbours must have been furious.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Is there a book you wish you had written?

There are lots of books I wish I’d written, and it would be presumptive to re-write another author’s ending. Perhaps I can dream of imbibing the genius of Jane Austen and complete the ending of her unfinished Sanditon, giving the heroine the kind of happy ending that doesn’t involve a wedding. Come to think of it, what Phoebe Waller-Bridge did with the last episode of Fleabag. I definitely wish I’d written that.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

I would never write an autobiography. At gunpoint, how about ‘How to Become a Novelist in a Hundred Tortuous Steps’?

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I’d like to know what Virginia Woolf’s Orlando would make of where we are today re gender and identity. And if it was Orlando it would need to be somewhere flamboyant. The Café Royal?

What are you working on right now?

A sequel to A Pair of Sharp Eyes, called The Darkest Voyage.

Tell us about your last release?


Do you have a new release due?

A Pair of Sharp Eyes is published by Hookline Books on September 10 2019.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

This will be my first launch event, but the best way to celebrate would be to write non-stop all day and add a few thousand words to my work-in-progress. Like many writers I’m not much of a party animal I’m afraid.

How can readers keep in touch with you?

Via my website,, or my publisher:
Is there anything else you would like us to know?

If you want to publish, find other writers and swap work. It will save you a lot of time.


Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Kat 🙂

A Sharp Pair of Eyes cover


Coronation hears of the murders before she even reaches the slave port of Bristol – six boys found with their throats slit. Horrified, she questions the locals’ readiness to blame the killings on Red John, a travelling-man few have actually seen. Coronation yearns to know more about the mystery. But first she has to outsmart the bawds, thieves and rakes who prey on young girls like her: fresh from the countryside and desperate for work. When the murderer strikes shockingly close to Coronation, she schemes, eavesdrops and spies on all around her until the shameful truth is out.  

Buy Link

happy reading 🙂



The Chase BookFest with Phillipa Ashley @PhillipaAshley & Kim Nash @KimTheBookworm + many more awesome #authors :-) #BookFest #September #Event #CannockChase #Staffordshire #Readers #Writers

Chase Book Fest

Authors, Phillipa Ashley


and Kim Nash

Kim Nash.jpg

have joined forces with the Museum of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, to create a book festival where book lovers are invited to meet some of the UK’s most popular authors.

The Chase BookFest will be held at the Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Road, Hednesford on Saturday 21 September 2019.

The event is Cannock Chase’s first book festival devoted to women’s popular fiction and thrillers. It has attracted a host of star names including Milly Johnson, Cathy Bramley, Miranda Dickinson, Iona Grey, Nicola May, Mark Edwards and many more best-selling and award-winning popular novelists.

Readers will be able to enjoy author readings and join in question and answer sessions and discussions with favourite writers from the local area and further afield.

They can even have tea with an author by booking onto ‘Tea and Conversation’ audiences with Sunday Times best sellers Milly Johnson in conversation with Cathy Bramley, Romantic Novel Awards winner Iona Grey, best-selling crime thriller writer K.L. Slater and number one best-selling novelist Mark Edwards.

A pop-up Waterstones book shop will be on site for the day along with a variety of book and craft stalls and a unique book-themed ‘Yarnbombing’ display outside.

Bestselling author Phillipa Ashley said: “The support for previous events shows how much popular fiction is loved by readers.  We’re thrilled that the Museum has been so supportive of this event and of fiction in general.”

Author and Head of Publicity at publisher Bookouture, Kim Nash said: “We’ve been so lucky to get so many amazing authors on board and would love to thank them all for being so enthusiastic about the festival.’

Lee Bellingham, Museum Services Manager for Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, said: “The museum has been hosting very popular ‘Meet the Author’ events for some time now, and along with local authors Phillipa Ashley, Kim Nash and the book loving members of staff, we thought it would be lovely to have a book festival here. We are thrilled to be the venue for the first ever Chase BookFest.

Events like this showcase the museum not just as a home for local history, but as a community venue for arts and cultural activities. We look forward to welcoming authors from around the country to Cannock Chase for the day.”

The day runs 10am until 4pm with tickets available for £3 by calling the museum on 01543 877 666. Tea and Conversation with an author costs £5 and includes tea or coffee and cake, and Q&A Panels cost £3.  Don’t miss the chance to meet your favourite author, book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Please see the museum Facebook page and website,, for timetables and start planning your BookFest!


#ColdHorizon by Kristy McCaffrey @McCaffreyKristy #BlogTour #BookPromo #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Kristy McCaffrey’s Cold Horizon blog tour with Love Books Tours!

Cold-Horizon tour

Cold Horizon cover


Ambition and courage at the top of the world …

Lindsey Coulson likes to scale mountains. With her sister, Alison, she has made a name for herself climbing the tallest and most treacherous peaks in the world. But when Alison dies on a K2 expedition—the second highest mountain on earth—Lindsey stops climbing. Unable to shed her grief, it becomes clear she must return to the wilderness and only one place will do—K2, the Savage Mountain.

Tyler Galloway has finally secured a permit from the Pakistani government to bring an American team to K2. When Lindsey Coulson inquires about joining the expedition, he gladly brings the famed mountaineer on board. Her strong climbing resume precedes her, and she’ll be a welcome addition to the small crew he has assembled. But K2 is a force unto itself, as is Lindsey. Both will test his limits. And both will test his heart.3

Author Bio

Deep Blue KristyMcCaffreyAuthorPic1

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

With the release of Deep Blue, Kristy is launching The Pathway Series, a project she’s been developing for years. Each book will combine her love of animal conservation and environmental awareness, while also shining a light on unique and diverse locations around the world. Come along for high adventure with honorable heroes, determined heroines, and Kristy’s trademark mysticism.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’sInstagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

Connect with Kristy






Buy Link


#DeepBlue by Kristy McCaffrey @McCaffreyKristy #BlogBlitz #Interview #LoveBooksTours

happy reading 🙂


#FlashbackFriday September 2019 with Alex Walters @MikeWalters60 Nikki Ashton @NikkerAsh Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes Jo Furniss @Jo_Furniss & SarahJane Ford @sjfordauthor #BookReviews

Hi and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog!

Here are my reviews from September 2018 and previous FBF’s…..

Their Final Act (DI Alec McKay Book 3) by Alex Walters @mikewalters60 #BlogBlitz #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

Their Final Act cover


Guess Who I Pulled Last Night? by Nikki Ashton @NikkerAsh #BookReview

Guess Who I Pulled Last Night


Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes @AmazonPub #BlogTour #BookReview



The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss @Jo_Furniss #BookReview

The Trailing Spouse cover


I Give You My Heart by SarahJane Ford @sjfordauthor #BlogTour #BookReview & #Giveaway with @rararesources

I Give You My Heart Cover



#FlashbackFriday with @jasminehaynes1 @GuyFSAuthor @VivWrites & @writermels

Have you read any of the above?


Stains of Suspicion by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

Stains of Suspicion

Ooooo, I didn’t see that coming!

It has been so great to catch up with DCI Timothy again. Due to other blogging commitments this is the first chance I’ve had to continue with this excellent series and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this story. I think this has been my favourite book yet, but I’ll probably say that about them all!

Timothy is back within a team having recovered from being attacked (read the previous books first, if you haven’t already!). He’s still not 100% though and it shows at times. It’s also having an impact on his marriage. I enjoy that we see this personal side to the character’s story. It makes them all the more real.

In Stains of Suspicion a body is found under a tarpaulin in a carpark and it’s assumed by the witness that it is the body of a child but, is in fact a tiny older lady. The family are located and informed and an investigation begins. It soon transpires that the lady has died of a heart attack, but how did she covered herself up?? Her car is also missing. It doesn’t make much sense and the team have their work cut out if they are to prove this lady was indeed murdered.

To add further intrigue to the story, a man they believed to be the victim’s brother insists that this lady isn’t his sister. So, who is this woman and whatever happened to his real sister??

The victim’s family are interesting to say the least. There are four children, one of whom was adopted and all as different as they can be. They have odd relationships. The (older) husband is suffering with dementia and is now in a care home but seems to have been quite controlling and abusive in the past. This woman’s life is quite a mystery. I enjoyed following the team as they put the pieces of the puzzle together and figured out the facts.

The suspense had me completely gripped and I was totally shocked when the truth was revealed. This killer is nothing short of brutal! Their matter of fact attitude made my blood run cold. Another brilliant murder mystery, full of surprises and intriguing characters. I highly recommend.

I’ve already started the next book in the series, The Calibre of Death.

Watch this space for my review!


Local authors

The Bridport Dagger by Alison Lingwood

Q&A with author, Alison Lingwood

A Wild Kind of Justice by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

happy reading 🙂