Monday, 30 November 2015

Always Golden - new release!

Today is the release of my newest book, 'Always Golden'. It is a dark fairy tale influenced by the French fairy tale 'The Story of Pretty Goldilocks' by Madame d'Aulnoy. I designed the cover myself - under my design hat of RoseWolf Design - I'd love to know what you think!



About the book:

Being a princess is both a blessing and a curse…
  
Growing up in a castle, Oriana was accustomed to the security of living within its walls…until the day an evil tore through the fortifications and shattered her perfect world. 

Wanted by a ruler known as “The Collector” Oriana now has a battle on her hands to escape his clutches. With The Collector’s best tracker hot on her heels, Oriana is forced to fight for her freedom while trying to work out why she is so desirable to The Collector.

One problem is that Oriana didn’t expect her heart and head to also be at war. Will she do what’s right for the kingdom, or is she at risk of losing not only the realm but also her heart?

Oriana is about to discover life as a princess is most definitely not always golden…




Book links:  Goodreads    Amazon UK    Amazon.com    Smashwords    Barnes&Noble


Excerpt 

Outside wind whistled, rumbling around the wooden house and making it creak. Heavy, pregnant balls of rain splattered against the bathroom window until the splatters gave way to a torrent as a storm took hold, sheeting rainwater against the house so hard it made looking through the windows to the outside impossible. A crack of lightning lit up the sky, illuminating the bathroom and casting Oriana’s shadow long and thin.

It was now or never.

A clap of thunder made Oriana jump and she left the bathroom, slowly descending the stairs, her footsteps muffled by the clatter of the storm. The house shook and Oriana paused on the stairs, clutching the handrail in fear. Was the storm a bad omen? Would she be caught?

No, she told herself, after all, how many of King Hashir’s soldiers would recognise her without her blonde hair?

It was not as if they had been her father’s soldiers and would recognise her face. She had to hope these soldiers, these soldiers who defended a monster, didn’t know what she looked like. Besides, dressed in the riding trousers and tunic, she looked far from a princess.

The light from the kitchen lantern was still the sole illumination in the house bar the odd flash of lightning. Mairsile was crying at the end of the kitchen, her parents’ bodies still on the floor, as Oriana drew up in the doorway.

A tall man, dressed in dark trousers matching his armour, and with lightly curled, equally dark hair, had his back to the door. Oriana could not help but cringe once he turned around to face her.

‘So, the burns are terrible,’ he said wryly. ‘I knew it.’

Oriana lowered her gaze. Something in the man’s searing green eyes unsettled her yet unable to stop them, her eyes slid back up of their own volition. ‘I’m sorry,’ she mumbled, breaking into an uncharacteristic blush. ‘I did not mean to be rude.’

The man reached her in two strides. ‘It is I who have been rude. I’ve not even introduced myself. I am Commander Vilas De-Leal.’

Oriana’s heart jumped into her throat. Sickness washed over her and, unable to stop herself, she swayed forwards.

‘Steady.’ Vilas grabbed Oriana’s elbow. ‘I’m not here to harm you, do not worry yourself.’

At his contact, Oriana shivered. ‘De-Leal?’ she managed to ask.

Vilas nodded as he guided Oriana onto a chair. ‘You have heard of me?’

Oriana kept her gaze lowered. ‘Of your father. Anearr.’

Vilas’ voice was strained. ‘Of course, you are King Germaine’s subject. You would have heard the tales about my father from Germaine’s court.’

Not knowing how to respond without incriminating herself, Oriana kept quiet. She felt a light touch on her shoulder as Mairsile pressed against her and she laid her own hand over the girl’s trembling one.

Vilas cleared his throat. ‘I will have my soldiers bury your parents immediately.’

Mairsile started to cry again.

Oriana squeezed the young girl’s hand before releasing it and rising to face Vilas. ‘Why go to the bother? It was your men who killed them in the first place.’

It did not matter they weren’t really her parents, Oriana thought. They had been parents; they had had a life, a child, a future which had been torn from them leaving behind a frightened, orphaned girl.

‘How many more families have you and your soldiers decimated today? Would you have all of them buried by their murderers? Seems like a kick in the teeth to the survivors if you ask me.’

Vilas rested his hand on the top of his sword. Oriana swallowed nervously, looking from his large hand to the defined set of his jaw.

Why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut?



Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my new book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

* * * * * *

Authors Reach - a co-operative between myself and four other authors, check us out here:


My design site:



Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Launch of Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story by Shani Struthers

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Shani Struthers with her new book, Eve, which sounds deliciously paranormally intriguing...so, over to Shani!





 Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launches on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.

In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…



What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who 
shouldn’t even be there…


Purchase Links: Amazon UK    Amazon.com


Excerpt 

As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone - something - was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide's house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her. 

Theo's eyes widened. "Oh darling, darling," she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide's ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she? 

She inched closer still. "Darling, your name, tell me what it is."

The little girl's arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name. 

"It's short for Theodora. I bet you're called something pretty." The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material - linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too - lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she'd stepped out of an old photograph. 

"I'm here now, sweetheart, I've come to help. You've been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile." 

Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity. 

"Let me help you," Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully. 

She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.

Harriet - the name presented itself whole in her mind. 

"Your name's Harriet. Is that correct? It's lovely, it suits you." Was that a smile on the child's lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she'd be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal? 

"Darling, I'm here," she repeated, no more than a foot between them. "I'm here." 

Joy surged - one spirit had come forward - it was an encouraging start. 

Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour - fetid almost - rose up, making her feel nauseous. 

"Don't be afraid," Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word - terror.

"I'm not here to harm you," she continued. "I'm here to help." 

As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them - disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards. 

"No!" Theo shouted. "Stop it. Leave her alone!" But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She'd been torn away, recaptured; the one who'd dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she'd piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl's eyes - her sweet, brown, trusting eyes - when the expression changed in them they hadn't been looking at her, they'd been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn't be certain. She wasn't certain either if that 'thing' was a spirit or much less than that - something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.



About Shani 

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story - the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a 'Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.'

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.


Catch up with Shani via her website www.shanistruthers.com, on her blog http://shanisite.wordpress.com, or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.





Thanks for stopping by, Shani - I'm looking forward to reading your festive ghost tale!

Shani is also one of five authors who, alongside myself form Authors Reach, find out more about us here: www.authorsreach.co.uk

Monday, 16 November 2015

Authors Reach: Authors Reach - a new frontier!

Authors Reach: Authors Reach - a new frontier!: Authors Reach is a collective made up of 5 authors - Gina Dickerson, Shani Struthers, Richard Hardie, Catriona King and myself - Sarah Engla...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A Scary Dip - Win a mini novelty book of The Haunting of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers!



Today is the fifteenth day of the Halloween themed 'A Scary Dip' - there are spooky going-ons involving giveaways of books and other gifts!

Today's giveaway is a novelty, mini book of 'The Haunting of Highdown Hall' by Shani Struthers (middle mini book)...
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER



Giveaways run from 12:00 AM of the date of the giveaway to the following 12:00 AM - meaning it runs for a whole day (24 hours). (UK time zone). All our giveaways are international.


We'd love to see you at the Facebook main event page, which can be found on bit.ly/ascarydip