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Currently Browsing: crime

Opening Lines: Country Rose by Nell Peters

Don’t panic- it isn’t the end of the month!!

Nell Peters is with me today to share her ‘Opening Lines’ rather than her bloggish wisdom. So, get cosy to read the beginning of Nell’s work in progress- Country Rose.

 

Hello! How strange to be lurking on Jen’s blog in the middle of the month. Why am I here? Oh yes, it’s Opening Lines …

I’ve chosen Country Rose, the third book in a psychological/crime series and a work in progress – although in truth, the progress bit has been somewhat lacking over the last year or more. My protagonist is DCI Rose Huntingford, an atypical murder detective who’ll not see forty again and who wages a constant but losing battle with her weight, amongst other things. I’m very fond of her.

The real Rose was my paternal Great Grandmother, born in Kingston upon Thames workhouse in 1876. She and her single mother – also Rose and also born in the workhouse – must have experienced an unimaginable degree of poverty and hardship in those patriarchal Victorian days of extreme inequality. However, it seems Rose was made of stern stuff because she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and married a wealthy landowner. Well done her! The only picture I have of Rose is when she’s in her fifties, I would guess.

Blurb for Country Rose:

Rose Huntingford has taken a sabbatical following the violent death of a colleague, and rented a cottage away from it all hoping for a quiet life, while dangerously unaware that someone is watching her every move. When an old lag seeks her out to claim he didn’t commit the murder for which he was imprisoned, he winds up dead in her garden, before Rose herself is viciously attacked. And his corpse is just the first, as skeletons aplenty fall from cupboards and the past comes back to haunt those who wrongly thought they were safe from detection after so many years.

Because this is a WIP, I have roughed (very rough!) up a cover – use of (non-copyright) image with thanks to www.pixcove.com 

 

 

First 500 words…

Glancing up briefly at a sky the colour of a dirty dishrag, Rose tossed a generous handful of bird seed in a low arc, and immediately had to intervene as referee when an unseemly scramble ensued, ‘Hey Jasper, ladies first – remember your manners!’ When he ignored her, she resorted to flattery, ‘You’re looking very dapper this morning, by the way.’ She could have sworn the cockerel’s chest swelled with exaggerated masculine pride.

How typical of the male of any species.

Poking his head around the back door, and giving The Watcher a nasty moment, Drew mock-frowned at her; he didn’t need to say ‘you know you’re talking to the chickens, right?’ because his expression did that most eloquently on his behalf. She grinned, shame-faced. ‘Can you pass me the bag of meal worms, please?’

He reached back to the counter and lobbed it her way, ‘There you go. How come you feed them before me?’

‘You are quite capable of getting your own breakfast, whereas Pavlova, Svetlana and Jasper might struggle turning the gas on.’

‘There’s no hope for you … fancy coming back to bed, take pity on a condemned man?’

She shivered in the cool March breeze and pulled her coat firmly around her girth, ‘If you’re hoping for a sympathy shag, you’re out of luck. I promised to meet Liz in town to have coffee and check over wedding stuff, most importantly outfits.’

Once inside, Drew closed the door behind them, ‘Hers or yours?’

‘Both – since I’m Best Woman, we should at least co-ordinate.’ She dragged her coat off by the sleeves and flung it over a chair back.

‘I can’t believe she didn’t invite me.’ His bottom lip jutted like a spoiled child unused to being denied their own way.

Rose shrugged, ‘She can’t stand you, never could – as you well know, and you really don’t help yourself in that respect with your smart-arse remarks – so when I said you’d most likely be out of the country anyway, she didn’t bother wasting an invitation.’

‘But I’d have been your ‘Plus One’! Just an extra flick of the pen away … unless Rob Roy is hoping to dive in there?’

Ah, lovely Rob Carnegie – what are you doing these days?

‘For goodness sake, will you drop it – I’ll almost certainly go on my own. Have you finished packing?’

‘Now you’re trying to get rid of me – I know when I’m not wanted.’ He sniffed loudly, chronically overacting.

Rose was starting to feel tetchy, a combination of dreading Drew leaving so that she’d be on her own again twenty-four seven, and annoyance at his constant probing – which she accepted was a totally unreasonable reaction, after he’d been such a stellar support to her when she’d hit rock bottom, following Lydia’s death. However, she knew deep down that he really did have her best interests at heart and so made a supreme effort to appear bright and breezy, ‘Toast and scrambled eggs?’

‘If you’re sure the chickens won’t object?’

***

If the Opening Lines of Country Rose grab you and you’d like to read the self-published prequels, you can find them here:

Double You (Book I)       www.myBook.to/doubleyou

Santa’s Slays (Book 2)     www.myBook.to/santa

Thank you for having me, Jenny – great idea for a blog series!

Toodles. NP

***

Thanks Nell! Brilliant as ever.

Don’t forget to come back next Thursday for more Opening Lines with Heide Goody

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 


Romancing Robin Hood: A Hooded Man

My timeslip novel, Romancing Robin Hood, has a special place in my heart for many reasons . It reflects a great deal of my own life within its many pages- it gave me by first taste of writing medieval fiction (the novel is part modern romance and part medieval mystery)- and it gave me a chance to doff my hat to all those who were involved in the recording and production of the ITV series, Robin of Sherwood- a formative part of my upbringing.

Here’s the blurb…

When you’re in love with a man of legend, how can anyone else match up?

Dr Grace Harper has loved the stories of Robin Hood ever since she first saw them on TV as a teenager. Now, with her fortieth birthday just around the corner, she’s a successful academic in Medieval History—but Grace is stuck in a rut.

Grace is supposed to be writing a textbook on a real-life medieval criminal gang—the Folvilles—but instead she is captivated by a novel she’s secretly writing. A medieval mystery which entwines the story of Folvilles with her long-time love of Robin Hood—and a feisty young woman named Mathilda of Twyford.

Just as she is trying to work out how Mathilda can survive being kidnapped by the Folvilles, Grace’s best friend Daisy announces she is getting married. After a whirlwind romance with a man she loves as much as the creatures in her animal shelter, Daisy has press-ganged Grace into being her bridesmaid.

Witnessing Daisy’s new-found happiness, Grace starts to re-evaluate her own life. Is her devotion to a man who may or may not have lived hundreds of years ago really a substitute for a real-life hero of her own? Grace’s life doesn’t get any easier when she meets Dr Robert Franks—a rival academic who she is determined to dislike but finds herself being increasingly drawn to… If only he didn’t know quite so much about Robin Hood.

Suddenly, spending more time living in the past than the present doesn’t seem such a good idea..

 

Little did I know when I wrote Romancing Robin Hood that the book itself would give me a chance to thank the actors and behind the scenes team who worked on the show over 30 years ago- in person.

This weekend I am attending my second Hooded Man Event – this gathering (evey 2 yeaars) brings fans of Robin of Sherwood together- along with the stars themselves- to talk all things RH and medieval. It is a lot of fun and one of the friendliest events I have ever attended.

Last time I went- thanks to my novel-  to sell books from a stand in the corner of the room. I stood and watched the world go by in a sort of RH heaven.

This year however, I am selling 3 books- Romancing Robin Hood, The Outlaw’s Ransom and The Winter Outlaw. The latter 2 books are the direct result of comments made to me at the last event by kind readers.

I will not be staying behind the safety of my book  year – on Sunday afternoon I will be up on the main stage with  fellow writer, Tony Lees, talking about writing audio scripts for Robin of Sherwood. I am still not sure I can quite get my head around that I do that- but I do!!

And all because- four years ago- I wrote a novel called Romancing Robin Hood… I owe that novel BIG time!!

***

If you would like to read Grace’s adventure- not to mention discover what Mathilda of Twyford gets up to in fourteenth century Leicestershire- then you can buy the new look Romancing Robin Hood from all good retailers, including…

Paperback

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517319761&sr=1-2&keywords=romancing+robin+hood+Jenny+Kane

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Robin-Hood-Jenny-Kane/dp/1999855248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517404290&sr=1-1&keywords=Romancing+Robin+Hood+Jenny+Kane  

Kindle

So why not treat yourself to a little something to read this weekend while I am away talking to the merry men- and a couple of Robins!

Happy reading,

Jenny and Jennifer xx


Opening Lines: Briguella by Vicki FitzGerald

It’s Thursday – so it’s ‘Opening Lines’ blog day!

Today we are in the world of crime with Vicki Fitzgerald…and a book based loosely on reality!

Over to you Vicki… 

Briguella is a crime thriller based loosely on real events and a serial investigation that I covered as a journalist.

Blurb

After seven women fall victim to a serial killer, journalist Kate Rivendale becomes embroiled in the manhunt. The authorities have no suspect, only one forensic link dating way back to the 1930s.

Detective Chief Inspector William Beckley needs to salvage his career; he has too many deaths on his conscience. Beckley entices Kate to go undercover, a decision which backfires with devastating consequences.


While DCI Beckley reaches a horrifying conclusion about the murderer Kate enters a desperate fight for her life… while battling to keep her own secrets buried.
500 words…

***

The first 500 words!!

Chapter One – DCI Beckley

Monday 14 December 2015

Death lingers like fog weaving through frosted branches across the ashen sky. The mangled doll-like corpse forms a stark silhouette against the estate; limbs sprawled gracelessly and bathing in blood stolen from her veins. The stench of rotting flesh blankets the air with a suffocating abattoir aroma. Crimson streaks solidify, congealing on her mottled skin and seeping beneath her between pavement cracks. No one can save her; the deathlike pallor of her face indicates she’s long been devoid of life. Her previous beauty marred by violence; nose shattered and plugged by crisp obsidian blood. It has been ten days since the last victim. This is not the end of his killing spree – it’s only just begun.

Her blanched hand reaches out; four fingertips severed and taken as trophies to add to his growing collection. The calloused finger remains point, as if offering a clue to her murder. She stares at me with haunted eyes; panic and defiance locked in her pupils. This girl didn’t die without a struggle. Her beaten body is partially frozen by the -4 degree temperature. Ice shards cling to her bruised lips like sugar granules, her breath forever gone. She has been dead for several hours; left rotting proudly on display like contemporary art to be admired.

The scene projects into my mind, one I’ll never be able to erase. It adds to the ghouls already lurking in my head. I don’t remember the last time that I felt angst; it is clawing through my body torturing my guts in tense cramps. I thought the first victim was an isolated incident; I was wrong. My eyes slam and see her bluish lips hung wide open begging for mercy. Her cries echo in my ears. I want to vomit, bile is already seeping into my dry mouth thinking about the fear they encountered in their final moments.

The stunned faces rubbernecking and capturing the gore with their iPhones are as unwelcome as the blade that pierced her heart and severed her fingers. It’s his signature move; mutilation for his own gratification. We are clueless as to his identity and can only surmise that a serial killer has darkened our door. A warped monster is lurking on the streets, blade clutched in his bloody hand ready to butcher his next victim. The thought instils anger and dread; I’m dealing with a ticking time bomb and the countdown to his next kill has already begun.

Press helicopter rotor blades slash the layered candyfloss clouds breaking the eerie stillness to film the morbid scene from above. Erratic camera flashes encroach the boundary as satellite trucks arrive in droves. Reporters are drawn to the police tape like maggots to flesh. My heart contorts, panicked and afraid by the intrusion in to her privacy. I turn my back on the media glare eyeing her snapped stilettos resting on the silvery glass blades. I imagine how the attack ensued, the killer smashing her skull…

***

Book link https://mybook.to/Briguella

Vicki FitzGerald is a crime thriller author of debut novel, Briguella. A former newspaper reporter across all sectors including crime at the Bristol Post, Weston & Worle News, FitzGerald covered numerous notable stories and was selected as a finalist in the Press Gazette Scoop of the Year Awards (2008). Her past experiences in journalism helped to ignite her writing career. FitzGerald is passionate about writing and reading. She encourages everyone to pick up a book and try a new genre. She writes full-time and lives in the West Country, UK, with her husband, two children and her Bichon Frise. Learn more: https://www.creativia.org/author-vicki-fitzgerald.html

Follow her:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vickifitzgeraldauthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/AuthorVickiFitz

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/vickifitzgeraldauthor/ 

***

Many thanks Vicki- another wonderful ‘Opening Lines’

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny

PS. Next week join me to enjoy the first 500 words from Helen Pollard


Interview with Terry Lynn Thomas

I’m delighted to be joined by the lovely Terry Lynn Thomas, today.

So, go and grab a cuppa- maybe some cake- and come and put your feet up for a few minutes and join us for a chat.

What inspired you to write your book?

My dad fought in the Navy during the World War II. (I know, dating myself.) And he regaled me with stories of his time in the Pacific theater, stories of bravery and courage in the collected effort of the military and civilians to overcome the axis powers. His stories inspired me to memorialize this period of history lest we never forget this global war. As I dug into the research of the Sierra I quickly became captivated by the events which led up to the war, and the state of the world at that time. In light of the divisive times we live in now, it struck me how United help the people were in their efforts to support the war. People made sacrifices in their everyday life, selflessly committed to those who experienced battle firsthand. The bravery encourage of the people who fought in the war and lived through its difficulties inspired me to write mystery set in this time. As a writer of historical fiction, my goal is to transport my readers into my story and stay out of their way, so they can experience what it felt like to live in the world at this particular point in time.

I have always loved mysteries, especially those written during early- to mid-twentieth century. (Think Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth.) So writing a mystery series set in the United Kingdom during the time leading up to World War II was a natural fit. The Silent Woman is set in June 1937. King Edward has abdicated the throne to Mary Wallis Simpson, and the country is in coronation fever as King George takes the crown. While in Germany, Adolf Hitler is conscripting an army and building planes in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. England is headed to war, but her citizens do not know it. I couldn’t ask for a more dramatic backdrop for story. (True confession: I also really like hanging out in an era where people aren’t so connected via its cell phones and computers. I am hoping that young readers will visualize what the world was like without this technology when they read my books.)

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

My favourite topic! When I set out to write a new book, the first thing I do is pick a specific time set for the arc of the story. Once I have a specific date, I read the newspapers during that period of time, paying attention to the small details of day-to-day living. (Sidebar: the personal columns were the equivalent of social media. I’ve come across ads such as this, “Will the woman with the Green Beret please meet me under the old maple tree.” I can’t help but wonder if she met this person, and what they said.)

I also research the socio-political climate at the time read proper novels, and watch movies that were playing at the cinema. The National Archives provides a cornucopia of diaries and papers, so I spent some time researching there as well, and usually budget four weeks for this type of effort. By the time I’m finished with this research, I’m well versed on the world my characters inhabit. Then I step away. It’s important to remember that only a fraction of this information will make it into the book. A light touch is needed, as I don’t want to bore my readers with an info dump.

 

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I wrote the Sarah Bennett Mysteries in first person, and loved the immediacy in the way I could crawl inside Sarah’s head and show her thoughts and motivations to my readers. I changed point of view with the Cat Carlisle series and now write in third person. The switch has set me free! Third person allows me to let my story unfold from the viewpoint of different characters and-in my opinion-allows me to flex my “deep” point of view writing muscle – I hope my readers are able to bond and empathize with my characters and become emotionally invested in what happens to them in my third person writing. My job as a writer is to write in such a fashion that I get out of the reader’s way and let them sink into the story. I am a third person point of view writer now and I love it!

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I am a confirmed plotter and have been known to spend as much time working on my treatment as I spend writing a novel. The treatment includes detailed character sketches, scene development, and the most time consuming a detailed plot outline I use the outline as a map, and often compare writing a book to a sea voyage. When I push away from the dock and lose sight of the shore, it’s nice to know where I’m going. Having said that, my outline is never set in stone. More often than not, my story takes an entirely different direction. If that happens — and it often does — all stop and re-outline. I use my outline is a way to track arcs and tie up all the loose ends.

What is your writing regime?

Mornings are best! I like to get up around 4:30 AM, drink a giant (think soup bowl) cup of very strong coffee, and plug away until 7 AM or so. I set a word count (usually 1500 to 2000 words) and try to hit that five days a week. I think it’s important to step away from story a little bit and let things gel. Sundays are my day to spend with my husband and animals. It seems at times that the biggest challenge is to get my you-know-what in the chair. But I do love this job, and I’m grateful that I’m able to entertain readers with my stories.

Links

http://Terrylynnthomas.com

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780008271596/the-silent-woman

https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Bio

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches, windy dunes, and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. Neptune’ Daughter is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, is slated to release in April 2018.  When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

 ***

Fantastic interview. Thank you so much for coming along today Terry. 

Your mysteries sound wonderful.

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny xx

 

 


Opening Lines: Uncommon Cruelty by Liz Mistry

Thursday has come around again – which means it is Opening Lines blog day!

This week I’m welcoming Liz Mistry to my site with the first 500 words from her crime novel, Uncommon Cruelty.

Over to you Liz…

Uncommon Cruelty is a gritty police procedural based in Bradford, West Yorkshire and is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series.  It was released on April 14th 2018.

Inspiration comes from a variety of places for most writers. In this instance, a teenage house party gone wrong, raised the question, I’m always asking myself… What if …?

It was from that seed that Uncommon Cruelty was born.

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BQVLGNQ/ 

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Cruelty-McGuire-case-Book-

Uncommon Cruelty Blurb

DI Gus McGuire and his team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a teenage boy after his parents return from a weekend away, to find their home trashed and their son missing.

But that is just the beginning.

As the investigation unfolds, Gus must discover what links a violent bikers’ gang, a Muslim youth group and a fundamentalist American based Christian church.

Alongside this, two cases from the past come back to haunt DI Gus McGuire and his DS, Alice Cooper.

Gus has a lot to juggle, but will he cope?

Uncommon Cruelty is the fourth in the DI Gus McGuire series set in Bradford West Yorkshire and is a gritty, Northern Noir read.

***

So, here’s the first 500 words of Uncommon Cruelty:

Prologue

Leeds, 2012

Mushrooms of dense throat-clogging smoke hung in the air. Every breath was like sucking through cotton wool and, even after gargling with mouthfuls of cold water, Detective Inspector Sandy Panesar could still taste it; a coating of ash, sharp and acrid on her tongue.

‘Have they got the child?’ Her voice was shrill as she rushed forward towards the dark figure of a firefighter wearing breathing apparatus leaving the blaze.

The figure carried an amorphous bundle that was wrapped so completely in a blanket that it was impossible to tell if it was even human. With practised ease, the package was transferred onto a stretcher trolley, leaving Sandy to watch, her heart hammering in her chest as the paramedic unwrapped the small, still body. Her heart plummeted. The child’s face, beneath its mucky streaks, was pale and its eyes remained closed, its body unmoving. Sandy focussed on the child’s chest but could detect no movement as she willed the paramedics to make a miracle happen. Their examination seemed to take forever and Sandy’s view was obstructed as they started chest compressions and fitted a drip. Their muttered words meant nothing to her as they worked with an economy of movement she would, in different circumstances, have admired. Just when she’d given up hope, one of the paramedics turned towards her with a smile and stepped away from the child; ten years old yet, the size of a three-year-old, with an oxygen mask dwarfing its tiny face.

Sandy, realising she’d been holding her breath, took in a huge gulp of air and sent a quick prayer heavenward before bending down and gently ruffling the child’s matted black hair. Two huge unblinking eyes stared right through her, seemingly lost in whatever hell played out in its mind. Her heart almost broke. Surviving the fire was only half the battle for this little one. The biggest battle lay ahead. She patted the kid on the arm and stood back.

The paramedic smiled. ‘It’s the shock, that’s all. It’ll pass with a good night’s rest and some food.’

Sandy wondered if he was referring to her or the child. Watching them take the child away, she thought, Yeah, a good night’s rest, some food and a lifetime of counselling. Pulling herself together, she glanced through the darkness at the crowd. The tall distinctive figure of her detective sergeant, with his head of three-inch-long dreadlocks, rose like a sphinx above everyone else. He tilted his head to let her know he’d seen her and continued directing the uniformed officers to control the gathering crowd before striding over.

He pointed to the departing ambulance. ‘Was that the kid, then?’

Sandy thrust her hands in her pockets, and glowered, ‘Yep, uninjured bar some smoke inhalation and shock, according to the paramedics.’

DS Gus McGuire acknowledged her words. ‘Yeah, although not unharmed.’

‘No, not unharmed,’ she agreed and kicked a loose stone towards the blazing house. ‘When the fire service have left and their assessors …’

Liz is contactable here:

Facebook: @LizMistrybooks

Twitter: @LizCrimeWarp

Blog: https://thecrimewarp.blogspot.co.uk/

Website: https://lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.com/

 

Liz’s Books  available here

Book 1   Unquiet Souls       http://ow.ly/1NLZ30iSwY4

Book 2   Uncoiled Lies        http://ow.ly/YOD630iSx4K

Book 3   Untainted Blood   http://ow.ly/fTtn30iSxa5

3 book Set  1, 2 & 3            http://ow.ly/FtpC30iSxeM

Book 4  Uncommon Cruelty

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BQVLGNQ/ 

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Cruelty-McGuire-case-Book-

***

Many thanks Liz. Fabulous stuff.

Come back next week for the first 500 words from one of Vicki FitzGerald’s novels.

Happy reading, 

Jenny x

 


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