Welcome to author Kathy Sharp!

Today, I'm delighted to welcome author Kathy Sharp. Her novel, All the Wild Weather, the third instalment in her fabulous 'Larus' trilogy, is released today. Many congratulations, Kathy!

I'm handing over to Kathy to tell us more about that elusive island of Larus and its quirky inhabitants. Make sure to check out the trilogy on Amazon and other outlets. 

Over to Kathy!
~~~

Hello, Cathie, and thank you for the opportunity to talk to your readers.

A couple of summers ago I made a visit to Portsmouth. I had reached an impasse with the book I was working on, All the Wild Weather. It’s a seagoing sort of story, and I hoped a couple of days immersing myself in all things maritime might kick off the creative process once more.

So off I went, and had a wonderful time in Portsmouth, clambering about HMS Victory with my mouth open in awe, trying not to confuse my trenails with my trunnions. Even in dry dock with her rigging taken down for repair, the old ship was a remarkable link with the past. You can feel surprisingly close to the spirit of Lord Nelson when you stick your nose down the mouth of a cannon.



I visited HMS Warrior, too – more open-mouthed gawping – and even got out on the water for a boat tour round the ships in harbour. I told myself this was research, of course, but the simple truth is that it was unashamed tourism, and much as I enjoyed the atmosphere of the historic dockyard, I can’t say it shifted my writers’ block one iota.

The inspiration came from a more unexpected source – our accommodation at Lombard House Bed and Breakfast – with special emphasis on the breakfast, as it turned out. This house dates back to Tudor times, we learned, and had been given a facelift in the eighteenth century with a new frontage. The owners were historians and collectors of all things Nelson. The place overflowed with Nelson memorabilia.



Best of all was the dining room in the basement, where we had breakfast. This wonderful room was filled with naval uniforms, paintings, model ships and Nelsonian knick-knacks of all kinds. Swords were suspended from the ceiling, and every surface of the walls and furniture held objects either commemorative or contemporary with the great man. The excellent poached eggs kept missing my mouth as my eye was caught by one fascinating object after another. I knew straight away that it was just the setting I needed for the turning point in my story, and my writers’ block melted away.

The room appears as the ‘many-sided room’ in All the Wild Weather, including many of the objects just as I saw them in Portsmouth. Inspiration takes many forms, but I am guessing not many writers have found theirs in a breakfast room.

~~~

Writer Paddy Fields sets out to investigate the mysterious disappearing Isle of Larus – but never dreams he will find himself helping to defend it against a seemingly unstoppable enemy. His adventures with the gentle people of Larus lead him into a profound, exciting and life-changing experience. 

Can Paddy juggle fighting off rampaging pirates in the world of Larus as well as keeping the press in his own world from discovering the island’s secrets? 

Return to the elusive Isle of Larus for the final adventure in the trilogy. 

The Larus Trilogy: 
Isle of Larus 
Sea of Clouds 
All the Wild Weather 



All the Wild Weather, third and final part of the Larus Trilogy, is published in 
e-book formats today http://amzn.to/29QyIqJ

~~~


Kathy Sharp lives by the sea in Dorset (UK). She is a prolific writer of short fiction and song lyrics, and is the author of the Larus Trilogy of novels, inspired by the dramatic scenery of the Jurassic Coast. The third part of the trilogy, All the Wild Weather, will be published later in 2016. 

Kathy says: "When I first began writing fiction, I asked myself what exactly it was I wanted to write. The answer came back, 'Something magical!' The result was three novels about the not-quite-real Isle of Larus. Since then, I have looked for that sense of the magical in all my writing."

Find Kathy online:
Twitter: @KathySharp19
Read my regular Monday blog on Goodreads


The heat is on...

...in the sizzling Crooked Cat Summer Sale

For this long weekend only (until Sunday, 10th July), my two historical romantic adventures, Highland Arms and Dark Deceit are on sale across all Amazon outlets, at 99p/99c! 

Plus, readers will find many other brilliant reads by those talented Crooked Cat authors on offer. Don't miss their fabulous FB event where you can meet them and discover new books! 


Now, let me take you back to the Scottish Highlands with Highland Arms! Picture a Highland rogue plotting rebellion, a Lowland lass with a curious nature that gets her into trouble all the time – and the undeniable beauty of the Scottish Highlands around Glencoe, Ballachulish and the shores of mysterious Loch Ness! Add a murder, a missing load of muskets, and a scheming brother...

Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her home to her godmother’s manor in the remote Scottish Highlands. While her family ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble–and into the arms of a notorious Highlander. 

Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause–until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now, Rory is faced with a decision that could either save their lives or destroy both of them. 

But he’s running out of time… 


Grab your copy now at Amazon!

~~~

Or you could head straight back into the Middle Ages. A.D. 1141, to be precise. An age of upheaval in England and Normandy. Anarchy rules. Meet an undersheriff with a mission and a lady without an inheritance. Travel with Geoffrey and Alleyne across southern England and Normandy!

Murder. Betrayal. Hope. 

On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty. 

Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust. 

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver. 

"...a great read..." 

"...captivating...engrossing...highly recommended"



Find Dark Deceit on offer on Amazon!


Happy reading! :-)


Chilling new release by bestselling author Shani Struthers

It's time again to draw the curtains and hide behind the sofa: bestselling author of paranormal mystery fiction, Shani Struthers, has a new title out: 44 Gilmore Street! Sounds like a scary place to me...

I'm therefore delighted to welcome Shani back here to celebrate. And she's sharing a sneaky teaser of 44 Gilmore Street. Wishing you much success with your new title, Shani! :-)

Now, folks, prepare for the thrill!



Blurb – 44 Gilmore Street

“We all have to face our demons at some point.”


Psychic Surveys – specialists in domestic spiritual clearance – have never been busier. Although exhausted, Ruby is pleased. Her track record as well as her down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach inspires faith in the haunted, who willingly call on her high street consultancy when the supernatural takes hold.

But that’s all about to change.

Two cases prove trying: 44 Gilmore Street, home to a particularly violent spirit, and the reincarnation case of Elisha Grey. When Gilmore Street attracts press attention, matters quickly deteriorate. Dubbed the ‘New Enfield’, the ‘Ghost of Gilmore Street’ inflames public imagination, but as Ruby and the team fail repeatedly to evict the entity, faith in them wavers.

Dealing with negative press, the strangeness surrounding Elisha, and a spirit that’s becoming increasingly territorial, Ruby’s at breaking point. So much is pushing her towards the abyss, not least her own past. It seems some demons just won’t let go…

~~~

Excerpt – 44 Gilmore Street

     Come on, Ben, where are you?
     Was he hiding? Was that it? Despite his defiance the other day, had they cowed him? If so, he might be more amenable to moving on. And if he were the show would be over. The fuss would die down. Unlike the Enfield case, which went on for months and months, this would be a paltry one-day affair as far as the public were concerned – nothing in comparison, disappointing – certainly not the stuff of books, films and drama. She found herself fervently hoping. Please, please, let it be that easy. What joy if it was! She’d grab Cash, Corinna too, maybe even cajole Theo and Ness into it too, head to the pub and celebrate – buy the first round, the second, even the third. Damn it, she’d buy the entire pub a drink she’d be that relieved.
     “Ben,” she called again. “You need to go to the light. Leave the Gordon family in peace and find peace yourself. And you will find it, Ben, because that’s what there is on the other side, peace. You’re holding on to such negative emotions, but you don’t have to, you can let them go. There’s no judgement in the light either if you’re worried about that – you’ll be welcomed because that’s where you belong. Go, Ben, go now.”
     The atmosphere was as still as a millpond. No creaking of cupboards warning of an attack to come, no mugs hovering threateningly in mid-air, no kettle boiling. Ruby could feel hope radiate from her centre outwards.
     “Has it worked?” Corinna whispered. “Has he gone?”
     “I don’t know, I can’t sense him,” replied Ruby. And she couldn’t, it was as if the room was indeed empty. She dared to let hope envelop her.
     “He has, he’s gone­–”
     “Wait!” The command had come from Ness. Ruby turned to look at her. “Something’s wrong.”
     “But the kitchen’s empty,” began Ruby but Theo interrupted.
     “It’s not the kitchen you’re referring to, is it?”
     From behind them they heard a scream.
     “What the hell–” Ruby swung fully round.
     It was Samantha.
     Cash was already moving forward and the others followed at his heel. The door to the living room was closed – had Samantha done that? Ruby remembered leaving it open. Cash tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge.
     Another scream pierced the air. It wouldn’t be only them who heard it; the reporters were sure to as well.
     “Cash, open the damn door.”
     “Erm… hello… that’s what I’m trying to do here.”
     And he was, she couldn’t deny it. He was throwing the full weight of his body against the painted wood and still it wouldn’t budge.
     “Is there a lock or something?” Ruby said, her eyes lowering to the handle.
     “It’s Ben that’s stopping us,” Ness explained. “He can’t keep it up though, the door will weaken soon. Keep trying, Cash.”
     Cash did as he was told.
     Bitch!
     The word was whispered in Ruby’s ear.
     Fucking stupid bitch!
     It was much louder this time. She whipped her head from side to side.
     “Where are you, Ben? Where the hell are you?”
     “Right now, he’s everywhere,” Theo answered. “His presence is filling this house. Visualise white light and remember, Ruby, words can’t hurt you.”
     No, but implements could and Samantha was in the living room with a ton of them, including the knives. There came a cry from within.

~~~

Find Shani and all her books here:

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9
Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/beoHLv

Book Links:
Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street



Meet author Jeff Gardiner

Today, I'm delighted to welcome multi-published author, Jeff Gardiner, who is currently celebrating the release of his latest novel, Pica, released through Accent Press.

Over to you, Jeff!



PICA is the first in a trilogy that explores our relationship with the natural world, and how we can rediscover its ancient magic and secrets. It touches on environmental issues and has a modern setting. I’m going to give a little insight into a few of the main characters – hopefully avoiding major plot-spoilers.
  • Luke is a teenage boy who hates being dragged out for walks in the countryside by his enthusiastic parents. They enjoy pointing out the ‘fascinating’ flora and fauna. He prefers computer games or shooting animals and birds with his air pistol. Luke begins as a stroppy and cynical teenager who finds anything that doesn’t involve a screen or violence ‘boring’. School is a mere treadmill for him, and he’s become disaffected, with no real aim in life. Until Guy turns up…
  • Guy is the enigmatic ‘outsider’. He’s fostered and new to Luke’s school. His unkempt appearance and unusual features make him an immediate target for bullying. But Luke soon recognises that Guy’s differences make him interesting. Guy seems to have a power to attract wild creatures that allow him to handle them. He shows Luke some of the wonders happening around us every day, and then he begins to let Luke in on some of the more extraordinary and fantastical secrets of nature.
  • A magpie (Latin name: Pica pica) is persistently knocking on Luke’s bedroom window, and however much the boy scares it away, the bird returns. He keeps seeing magpies. Is it the same one? Are they ganging up on him? Is it trying to communicate with him? One day he lets it in.
  • Connor and Simon are annoyed that their so-called friend seems to have snubbed them for Guy – the weirdo. They begin to suspect that something strange is going on, and spread rumours that Luke and Guy are gay. This gets round school quickly and leads to homophobic cyber-bullying.
  • Guy mentions his real mother who is too ill to look after him. He wants Luke to help him find her, and yet seems to have no idea where she is.


~~~

Extract

Luke is bunking school and decides to explore an overgrown roundabout near his home, thick with trees and thickets, which he imagines must be a great for a den or hiding-place. In the middle is a little clearing containing a surprise…
There – just a few inches in front of me – another face peered straight back into mine with cold blue eyes in a curious expression. I recognised it immediately. Guy.
I felt his hot breath. It smelt stale and its reek clung to the insides of my nostrils. But still I couldn’t move. His black hair fell in matted curls around his eyes and his teeth were yellow and jagged. To my horror he leaned in until his nose touched my cheek. And then he sniffed me. I swear it. He sniffed me! Like he was some kind of dog testing to see if I was friend or foe. His eyes scanned my entire face; covered the whole area whilst staying only a few centimetres from my skin. And then he suddenly pulled his head away from me and scampered back to the middle of the glade now filled with rabbits.
It seemed Guy saw me as no threat. Just like the first rabbit. He didn’t give me a second look after the very close inspection. Instead I watched him with mounting curiosity. What the hell was he doing in here? How had he got there without me hearing him?
My fascination grew as Guy fell over playfully onto the grass, miraculously without crushing any rabbits which now swarmed over what floor-space there was. He lay on his back and the rabbits came to him. They clambered on top of him; they nuzzled his hands and face; they hopped out the way happily when he shifted or rolled over. He played with them as if it were the most natural thing in the world. They appeared to respond to his every movement and sound. The rabbits crowded the space in their hundreds and yet all their movements were synchronised like liquid, flowing this way then that.
I watched this strange boy interacting with the rabbits until I wondered why the hell I was still there. Why was I so intent on watching this weirdo frolicking about? Had I suddenly turned into some kind of wimp who loved fluffy bunnies? Or worse ... watching boys roll around in the grass? Hell! What was happening to me?
One part of me wanted to leap forward and punch this saddo really hard in the face. Maybe I could stomp on a few rabbits too for good measure. Watch their guts and brains ooze out under my shoe, whose soles I could then wipe clean on Guy’s shirt.
What stopped me was the other part of me which insisted that this boy meant me no harm and didn’t deserve such treatment. In fact, there was something entirely interesting and mysterious about him. His incredibly strange behaviour was both intriguing and embarrassing – at the same time. Should I hate someone just because they were weird? Certainly, if the others at school knew my parents were friends of his I’d never hear the end of it and might just as well commit suicide. It would surely be social suicide to actually hang out with him.
Without really thinking it through I stepped out and into the clearing, but as I did so, all the nearby rabbits skittered away. I didn’t have the guts or even the desire to stamp on them. Instead I just found a place to stand, and waited.
Guy jumped up with impressive agility and walked boldly up to me. His eyes darted around as if checking different parts of me randomly before putting all the images together in his mind. I was grateful he didn’t sniff me again, but his lips definitely twitched into a smile. It occurred to me that he might fancy me and was ‘checking me out’.
Then he put out a hand – more in greeting than in intimacy. I offered mine cautiously and they gripped each other. His skin felt surprisingly gnarled and hard. I pulled my hand away quickly and began to retreat. He didn’t react, but just watched me with a look of curiosity as I backed off.
Deciding not to look back again, I shoulder-barged my way through the thicket in a direct line. It wasn’t the same way I had entered, but I just wanted to find my way outside as quickly as possible. I burst through the final section of undergrowth, feeling something scratch my cheek as I found myself back on the grassy edge, surrounded by speeding cars.

 ~~~

Jeff Gardiner is the author of four novels (Pica, Igboland, Myopia, Treading On Dreams), a collection of short stories, and a work of non-fiction. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and websites.

Pica is the first in the Gaia trilogy – a fantasy of transformation and ancient magic, which Michael Moorcock described as “An engrossing and original story, beautifully told. Wonderful!”

“Reading is a form of escapism, and in Gardiner’s fiction, we escape to places we’d never imagine journeying to.” (A.J. Kirby, ‘The New Short Review’)

For more information, please see his website at http://www.jeffgardiner.com and his blog: http://jeffgardiner.wordpress.com/