Writer Tony Harrison Discusses his Work in Progress

3d under construction

 

 

 

What is your approach to writing? Outline, spontaneous, or both?

I’m a little of both. I’ll jot down random thoughts at first, then piece them together in the order I think works best. Most are just one-liners, that become the basis for full-blown scenes or character POV’s.

 

Where does your story take place?

I actually have two ebooks out, with first one taking place in Aberdeen Scotland, along with snippets in Glasgow Scotland, Belfast Northern Ireland and Dublin Ireland. The other takes place in Marseille France, with snippets in Algiers, Algeria and Morocco.

 

Name your biggest struggles writing this book.

Maintaining consistency in time. Sometimes it is between morning, noon and night, while others is something happening on one day and jumping two days later.

 

What has been helpful to you?

Community and friends, both locally and via the web. HAving someone help me understand the subtle nuances in dialogue, setting and the treaded ‘showing v. telling’ is really helpful.

 

What have you learned in your writing journey thus far?

Each day brings a new challange; whether it is creating better dialogue, making my character’s more ‘believable’ or simply stringing the sentences together, it’s all a learning process.

 

Does your book feature a central protagonist?


Yes, Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Conor McDermott is the main character in the story. A former Royal Navy officer, he is assigned a case that began in Portsmouth when a dock worker who was killed is found.

 

How do you get to know your characters?

Having Conor as a police officer aligns with my grandfather’s brother who was a constable in Edinburgh. I also have two older cousin’s who are members of law enforcement, so Conor is a tribute to them in a small way.

 

What’s the overarching goal of the hero?

Conor is out to find out how his niece was drugged, which led to her death (she jumped from an apartment rooftop). He also looks to redeem himself as his tendency is to bend certain rules in pursuit of catching criminals.

 

 

A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish sign on desert road

 

 

 

Thanks Tony!

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: Detective Hunter Series Book 4 – Hell To Pay

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter #4 – Hell to Pay

 

 

Hell to Pay Cover AUDIO

 

 

About Audiobook #4

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 14 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2018

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 4

Release date: Jan. 01, 2018

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiraling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.
Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #4

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

Rachel Amphlett does it again in book 4 of the series, Hell to Pay. Crafting a sinister plot that Detective Kay Hunter will find all to personal. This series has become on of my favorites of the year in crime fiction. And for good reason–They’re awesome! Kay comes across an old adversary when she come across a traffic accident with links to a ruthless serial killer. Brewing at the same time is a mysterious drama related to Kay. Another great one!

Narrator Alison Campbell is a pleasure to listen to in every book. Very professional and skilled at conveying the emotions of the characters. She delivers an exceptional performance in every book. Way to Alison!

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Alison Campbell photo by Libby Christenson

 

 

Narrator Alison Campbell

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Detective Kay Hunter Series: One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

 

 

 

One to Watch Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About Audiobook #3

 

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 3

Release date: Oct. 03, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Sophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

One to Watch is a gripping murder mystery thriller, and the third in the Detective Kay Hunter series. A whodunit for fans of Jeffery Deaver, Peter James, David Baldacci, and James Patterson.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

Rachel Amphlett’s Detective Kay Hunter series is simply brilliant. Whodunit, mystery, or crime fiction fans will be pleasantly surprised with her skill in plotting a crime with unique twists.  A very creative book to say the least.

Detective Kay Hunter and company must unravel a mysterious murder of a young teen at a party full of inebriated guests. An elitist church group, a strange pastor, bickering aristocrats, and young teens are involved in classic whodunit.

There’s also a running subplot since the beginning of book one that’ll keep you on your toes. Who is out to get Detective Kay Hunter? Someone is trying to sideline her every move and keep an eye on her. That makes things very interesting!

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

 

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Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

 

WILL TO LIVE IS THE SECOND BOOK IN A NEW CRIME THRILLER SERIES FEATURING KAY HUNTER — A DETECTIVE WITH A HIDDEN PAST AND AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE…

 

 

 

 

Will to Live Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

ABOUT AUDIOBOOK #2

 

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 15 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 2

Release date: Oct. 12, 2017

 

Synopsis: Reputation is everything.

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as “Suicide Mile”, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realizes the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realizes the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him….

Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

 

BUY LINKS FOR AUDIOBOOK #2

BUY ON RACHELAMPHLETT.COM

 

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered metallic typeset

 

 

 

 

I’m becoming an avid fan of Rachel Amphlett’s Detective Kay series. They all seem to play out like movies whenever I read them. Kay Hunter combined with sensational plots, horrific, yet fascinating crimes with a good dose of mystery make this series a winner.

I find Amphlett’s writing rather creative and refreshing in the midst of today’s crowded market, which is no easy feat believe me.

The first two books have wonderful beginning scenes that whet your appetite for the rest of the book. In Will to Live, a woman walking her dog discover a man laid across the railroad tracks unable to move and screaming for his life. Only a fence separates them, but the woman is elderly with a bad hip and unable to save him in time. Unfortunately the train is unable to stop in time killing the unknown man instantly with a sickening crunch. So Detective Kay hunter has to determine first who the man is and if it was a suicide or something more deliberate? And why? Great book!!

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RACHEL AMPHLETT

 

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

WEBSITETWITTERFACEBOOKGOODREADSINSTAGRAM

 

 

 

 

Audio Series Blog Tour: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

 

 

 

Scared to Death Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 2, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: “If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized.

With her career in jeopardy – desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun….

Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett’s new detective novels today.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

Rachel Amphlett has found the secret to create a thriller crime series. When I listened to this audiobook I got the sense that everything gels well together.  I’d say the author excels at portraying realistic crime scenes, fascinating plotting, with a unique killer. Which, in this crowded field is easier said than done.  A very solid book and balanced writing.

Narrator Alison Campbell has intriguing style of narration. Her accent is great with the ability to create various character voices.  Pacing is slower, yet lures you more into the story. Great job! I’m definitely looking forward continuing this series!

 

 

 

 

100 percent quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Splendid Q&A with Author Fiona Cummins

 

Fiona Banner

 

 

 

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Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, which sold at auction across Europe, is published in the US by Kensington. It has also been optioned for a TV series with scripts penned by The Grudge screenwriter Stephen Susco. Fiona lives in Essex, England with her family.

 

 

 

Interview Key Shows Interviewing Interviews Or Interviewer

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW – FIONA CUMMINS

 
Compare your career as a journalist and your career now as a novelist.
In some ways, they’re two sides of the same coin. After 12 years on the Daily Mirror, I’m used to meeting deadlines and being edited. Both jobs shine a light on stories that have emotional resonance.

 
But publishing works so slowly compared to newspapers. In my old job, I’d write a news story and within a few hours it would have been sub-edited, laid out and printed. My first novel was published twenty one months after I signed my deal.

 

 

 

Typewriter with Novel buttons, vintage

 

 

 

Tell us about the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course and why you decided to attend.

 
I heard SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) talking about it on the radio and I loved the sound of it. It was expensive and I’d just left my job, so I was worried we couldn’t afford it, especially as I had no idea whether I could write a full-length manuscript. But it gave me permission to take myself seriously as a writer. I also learned the importance of finishing what you’ve started.

 

 

Do you feel like you know your own writing process now?

 
Not really. Every book has a different feel about it. Rattle took multiple drafts to get right while The Collector took one. My third novel – I literally finished it about two hours ago – is quite complex and will need some more work, I think. But I have approached each of them in the same way. I don’t plot, it’s much more of an organic process. I have a rough idea of the shape of the story and that’s it. I don’t tend to start writing until I know the first line, and often, the last.

 

 

 

Rattle book

 

 

 

In another interview you talked about talent.”Talent is all very well tenacity, self-belief, originality, and the ability to get the words on the page….” I love this definition of talent.

 
Describe your experience of tenacity and how this affects writers.

 
I think it’s about keeping the faith. Talent is important, but persistence is key. Novels are rejected for so many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with an ability to write well. An editor is unlikely to buy a book about a crime-fighting circus act if she bought one like it the week before. A literary agent might already have an author writing a novel about a crime-fighting circus act and wish to avoid a conflict of interest. The market may have seen several books featuring crime-fighting circus acts and have become saturated. The point is, we all need a healthy spoonful of good luck too, but if you give up, you won’t even get a chance to lick the spoon.

 

 

 

Kind leckt den Löffel ab

 

 

 

 

Describe your experience of self-belief before after publishing your books.

 
If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will. It takes a lot of discipline to sit in front of a computer and write every day, to keep writing and polishing and editing. What keeps us going? Faith that we can do it. But not blind faith. It’s important to listen too. If your manuscript has been rejected by multiple agents multiple times, perhaps it’s time to think very carefully about where you might be going wrong and the best way to fix it.

 

 

 

Describe your experience of originality and how it can benefit writers.

 
Publishers are always looking for fresh voices, for the Next Big Thing. I enjoy books that do things a little differently, that have a distinctive narrative voice or approach their stories from an interesting angle. I try to do this with my own writing too.

 

 

 

original red grungy vintage stamp

 

 

 

 

Have you ever wanted to quit writing?

 
Never. I’ve been frustrated when I can’t make my stupid brain match my vision for a book, I’ve been beset by self-doubt, I’ve ridden the emotional rollercoaster of rejection and disappointment but why would I ever want to quit the best job in the world? Someone is paying me to sit in bed, wearing my pajamas, drinking tea, eating biscuits and making stuff up. You’ll have to prise my laptop from my cold, dead fingers.

 

 

How important is it to “Keep going?”

 
This was a regular refrain throughout the Faber Academy course and weirdly, this had never occurred to me. I made the mistake of thinking that if the first chapter wasn’t right, the book wasn’t right. We were encouraged to keep writing. First drafts can be worked upon, and often, the end informs the beginning.

 

 

 

 

never give up try again keep going

 

 

 

 

 

What are you working on now?

 
I have just finished my third novel. It is set on an ordinary street but some of the residents of The Avenue hide some very dark secrets indeed.

 

 

 

 

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Fiona Cummins

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

The Collector Fiona cummins

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Unworthy by Stewart Giles

Unworthy cover

 

 

 

THE UNWORTHY MUST PAY

 

DS Jason Smith is dragged away from paternity leave when a woman is killed with her baby in the next room. When more women with children are brutally murdered, Smith discovers that they all have something in common – they all share a secret. When he finds out that the mother of his own child is on this list of ‘Unworthy’ women, he finds himself in a race against time to stop the killer before his whole world comes crashing down around him.

 

Available on Amazon

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR - Unworthy

 

 

 

Don’t miss the DS Jason Smith series

 

 

 

Vintage detective looking through a magnifier

 

 

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Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

One of the first things that stood out to me is the brutal nature of the crime and motivations of the killer. Someone with a twisted sense of justice takes matters into their own hands. There’s also an excellent sense of mystery throughout the book that connects the victims together, but what is it? What underlying factor connects them together? A fascinating crime with a brutal killer on the loose; DS Jason Smith and his team have a huge case on their hands. Stewart Giles, you gained another fan!

 

 

 

Stewart Giles Amazon photo

 

 

 

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few month.

 

 

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Books & Blurbs: March 15, 2018

Books and Blurbs March 15

 

 

BOOK AND BLURBS MARCH 15, 2018

 

I know where you live Pat Young

 

 

 

Penny believes she’s being watched. Yet no one should know where she lives.

Penny seizes the chance of a new life for her family when her husband is offered a job in Europe.

At the airport they meet charming Sophie, fluent in French and looking for work as an au pair. Penny, struggling to cope in France, offers Sophie a job and she soon becomes an important part of the family’s life. But Sophie is hiding something.

Then Penny’s toddler son, Ethan, is abducted and an international hunt for the child begins. The police beg Penny and her husband to take part in a television appeal but the couple refuse. Unknown to the police, Penny and Seth have new identities and are determined to lay low and protect them. But it may be too late for that.

Who has taken Ethan and why?

Are the couple’s true identities linked to the abduction?

And who has been watching them?

To save her son Penny may have to put her own life on the line

 

 

Blurb rating 8/10

 

Yes. I decided to rate blurbs, why not?

This book sounds very interesting.  It sounds shrouded in mystery, suspense and secrets. That sounds like a recipe for a good book! You have a family with a hidden past, hidden identities, in the midst of troubling circumstances leading to an uncertain future. I”m hooked.

 

 

First chapter impression…

 

First impressions are everything, right? I love where this story begins. A couple with an unspoken past that required witness protection involving the FBI. They went as far as getting new identities, so you now its gotta be pretty bad. So it makes you wonder. What happened to them? But that wasn’t even the first impression.

Penny, seems paranoid about someone watching her at every turn. Why is she paranoid? Who is watching her, and why?

Then they meet Sophie at the airport on the way to France. Right away I’m thinking who is the “Sophie” character. She’s already on my radar for a shady person.

This was a great lead in for the first chapter!

 

 

 

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Rattle US cover

 

 

On still nights, when the curve of a winter moon is smudged in the flow of the River Quaggy, the dead clamor for him. And sometimes he coaxes the living to join them. To other people, his victims might be mere medical oddities. To him, they are fascinating specimens, worthy of display. Above all, he is a collector, eager for recognition even as he hides in the shadows.

Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy is the first to recognize the connection between the disappearance of a young girl and a cold case that almost cost her the career she’s sacrificed so much for. A faceless psychopath is walking the streets of London, tantalizing the authorities with clues, taunting them with his ability to spirit his victims out from under their very noses.

Better than anyone, Etta Fitzroy understands loss. But this is one contest she will win if it kills her . . .
 

 

 Blurb Rating 10/10

 

Now that’s how you do a blurb! The first section poetically reveals the mysterious antagonist lurking in the shadows. By reading it you can sense his uniqueness, M.O., and ambition for recognition. Excellent.

Every serial killer requires a hard nose detective, and that sounds like Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy.  I like the fact that this has a female lead. intriguing indeed.

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

The first chapter was juicy! Fiona Cummins is quite poetic in her delivery and has a great command of the language. Her sentences flow nicely leaving you wanting more. I loved the use of metaphors to reflect the nature of the predicament of the family.  A lot is revealed in such a short chapter.

 

 

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Let me Lie

 

 

 

The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother’s absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie….

 

 

Blurb Rating  10/10

 

I’m totally loving this blurb!

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

How can you not love that? Isn’t it striking?

Need I say more? Even in the blurb, nothing is as it seems. You can tell this is extremely suspenseful. Can’t wait to read this one.

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

Very fascinating first chapter! I love how she begins this book. A person flirting with death, or decision that might lead to it at the slightest misstep. The person speaking then turns their attention to their loved one, conversing back and forth in romantic tones. Who will die first? It doesn’t say who is speaking but we can infer it’s Anna’s parents based upon the blurb. Tom and Caroline Johnson. Impressive beginning.

 

 

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The Plea Steve Cavanaugh

 

 

“Rip-roaring legal thriller…Twisty, bloody, and convincing.” —Ian Rankin
An innocent client. A wife in jeopardy. Who will take The Plea?

When billionaire David Child is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Clara, the FBI believes they can get him to testify and take down a huge money laundering scheme.

Con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn is given the job: persuade David to plead guilty and give the agents the evidence they need. If Eddie can’t get David to take a plea bargain, the FBI has incriminating files on Eddie’s wife – and will send her to jail. But David swears he didn’t murder anyone.

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that David killed Clara: the security video showed no one else entering their apartment, the murder weapon was in his car, and he was covered in gunshot residue he can’t explain. Yet as the FBI pressures Eddie to secure the guilty plea, Eddie becomes increasingly convinced that David is telling the truth.

With adversaries threatening, Eddie has to find a way to prove David’s innocence and find out if there’s any way he might have been framed. But the stakes are high: Eddie’s wife is in danger. And not just from the FBI…

The Plea is a locked room mystery from Steve Cavanagh, the author Nelson DeMille compares to John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Brad Meltzer.

“The Plea is one of the most purely entertaining books you’ll read this year. It’s a blast.”
—John Connolly, bestselling author of the Charlie Parker novels

 

 

Blurb Rating 10/10

 

From reading the blurb you can tell the plot is rich in detail, dilemma and complexity. I think I was hooked even half way through. It’s a winner. Steve Cavanagh is one of the new authors I’ve found that I can’t wait to read!

 

 

First Chapter Impression…

 

Even the first sentence is packed with intrigue, and it’s only the prologue! This is going to be a gritty legal thriller full of conflict, tension and moral dilemmas. Juicy, juicy, juicy. Hooked! Definitely recommend this one. I only read the prologue and was so excited had to stop and write something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Award Winning Author Micki Browning discusses Writing

 

 

 

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Please Welcome Award-winning Author Micki Browning!

welcome for Micki B

 

 

Author Interview

 

 

 

Various microphones aligned at press conference.

 

 

 

 

 

  • What does it mean to plot from the POV of the antagonist and write from the perspective of the protagonist? 

  • What’s your experience and how did it help with writing?



The best writing advice I ever received was to plot from the point of view of the antagonist and write from the perspective of the protagonist. Simple, right? But it was an a-ha moment for me.

 

 

 

 

light bulb moment

 

 

 
A bit of background. Like most writers, I have a couple of practice manuscripts currently occupying space in the bottom of a drawer. They both garnered decent feedback from agents, but the novels were episodic—most of the second act chapters could have been rearranged without affecting the story. I wasn’t building on prior events. Why? Because I didn’t know what my antagonist was doing behind the scenes.

 

 

 

 

antagonist behind the scenes

 

 

 
I think most writers put a great deal of thought into the character development of their heroes, but they tend to give their antagonist short shrift. But think about it—the antagonist is the character that drives the story. It is his or her actions that the protagonist must address.

 

 
For most of my adult life, I was a police officer. Part of the job description involved investigating crimes. Most incidents began when someone called 9-1- 1. Upon arrival, I’d try to piece together what happened by observing the scene, obtaining witness statements, and collecting physical evidence. Armed with this information, I’d search databases, develop additional contacts, run down new leads.

 

I was a first responder—just like my protagonist.

 

 

Police Officer grabbing his gun

 

 

 
Imagine how easy police work would be if an officer knew before being dispatched to the scene exactly how the criminal had planned the crime, what motivated the person to do such a nefarious deed, and what steps he’d taken to avoid detection.

 

 
As a writer, you can do that!

 

 

 

 

 

Police work Micki B

 

 

 

 
To combat my story-structure issues, I enrolled in a plotting course for mystery and thriller writers. During the course, the instructor assigned two exercises that I’ve since incorporated into the planning stage of every story I write.

 

 
The first exercise explains the antagonist’s motivation for doing what he did. I write it in first person and it essentially creates the backstory of the character. The first line of this exercise for Adrift, my debut novel reads:

 

 
Ishmael Styx is a man who knows what he wants, and he wants to be dead.  All he has to do is figure out how to make it temporary.

 

 
I then wrote 1200 words explaining what had happened in his life to bring him to this
point.

 

 
The second exercise explains how the antagonist pulled off his crime. Adrift had a complicated crime (more than one, actually, but that developed later in the story).

 

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 

 

 

Drawing on my background, I hatched the plan. Knowing how the crime occurred gave me the insight I needed to identify the clues my protagonist had to notice, what other things could be misinterpreted, and how to follow the breadcrumb trail left by the antagonist. The exercise revealed some surprising options that prompted me to go deeper into my storytelling.

 

 

 
The structure of a mystery novel is such that the antagonist runs the show in the first act. His crime is the inciting incident that ensures the protagonist’s involvement. Roughly the first half of the story involves the hero reacting to the actions of the protagonist. After the midpoint, their roles change. Now your protagonist is hot on the trail, developing those leads, realizing her mistakes. Sure, she’ll have setbacks, but as she gets closer to solving the crime, the two characters are also nearing their final confrontation. Both exercises will help you determine how your cornered antagonist will lash out, try to escape, or outwit your sleuth.

 

 

 

 

 

STRUCTURE - Glowing Neon Sign on stonework wall

 

 

 

 
Mapping out the crime allowed me to structure my storyline so that it built on the information learned in previous chapters. Actions had consequences. My writing was no longer episodic.

 

 
The first time I’d put this writing advice into action was during the writing of Adrift. The novel won both the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for mystery. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

 

 
I knew how to foil the crime because I had plotted it first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIO:

An FBI National Academy graduate, Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for more than two decades, retiring as a division commander. Now a full time writer, she won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for her debut mystery, ADRIFT. 

 
Micki also writes short stories and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in dive magazines, anthologies, mystery magazines and textbooks. She resides in Southern Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment she uses for “research”

 

 

 

Micki's logo scaled

 

Stay in touch with Micki at

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Book Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

Unsub

 

 

 

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An Unsub—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

 

 

 

 

My Review

 

A Damn good thriller!

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and definitely the best crime fiction. Absolutely amazing. A must read. Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective joins an investigation to catch one of the nations worst serial killers that her father failed to catch. In fact, her father Mack Hendrix now a retired cop, tries to persuade to stop investigating since it ruined his life nearly driving him insane. 

I loved what Meg Gardiner has done with detective Caitlin Hendrix. She’s not necessarily an expert, but joins the homicide division due to her father’s connection to the case. Determined, focused, bold, not to mention brillant; she works with law enforcement to catch the UNSUB.

Meg Gardiner does a spectacular job creating the twisted M.O. of the serial killer, UNSUB. He was such a formidable opponent it made for a JUICY conflict. Meg crafts his motivations perfectly.

The suspense is so thick you can cut it with a steak knife. So if you like edge-of-your-seat thrillers, THIS IS IT. Look no further.

In the crowded arena of crime fictiob UNSUB is quite unique. Don’t miss it!!

 

 
Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

Pre-order the next book here: Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel

 

 

Into the Black Nowhere

 

 

Release date is Jan. 30th 2018!

 

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

 

 

I already have this title and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

 

 

 

Hungry meat-eating man

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner is the author of thirteen thrillers. UNSUB, her latest novel, features homicide detective Caitlin Hendrix. Don Winslow says, “Like The Silence of the Lambs, this novel scared the hell out of me. I dare you to try putting it down.” The novel has been bought for development as a TV series by CBS.

Meg was born in Oklahoma and raised in Santa Barbara, California. A graduate of Stanford Law School, she practiced law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California Santa Barbara. She’s also a three time Jeopardy! champion. Meg lives in Austin, Texas.

She’s the author of the Evan Delaney series and the Jo Beckett novels. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Paperback Original. The Dirty Secrets Club won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of 2008.

 

 

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recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger!

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

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