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Ali McNamara Reveals New Book – Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay

Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow BayAli McNamara has revealed her new book for 2019 called ‘Secrets And Seashells At Rainbow Bay’ and I’m absolutely in love with the cover!

What the back cover says –

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

With a stunning cover and synopsis, this book sounds like an absolute treat!

You can pre-order Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay from Amazon and will be availalbe to buy from good bookshops from 27th June 2019.

The Promise Book Tour – Extract

The PromiseEnjoy an extract from Katerina Diamond’s latest chilling tale called ‘The Promise’.

Imogen put her hands on her hips and looked around the room some more. It was a small space and they were on the verge of being in the way, so she signalled to Adrian who stepped out of the room first. She followed him, nodding to the technicians, and they headed down the corridor, peering into the bathroom.

Another technician was in there taking swabs and samples. They would have to come back when it had been properly processed; there simply wasn’t enough room for everyone. This initial assessment would have to do for now.

DCI Mira Kapoor was standing in the lounge when they got downstairs. She had a suitably sombre expression on her face. She always behaved the way she was supposed to behave, said what she was supposed to say when in public. At the same time, she was quite rebellious, at least on the sly, in her office where it mattered.

She listened when she needed to listen and she never took any action that wasn’t carefully considered. Imogen was quite taken with her, although she still reserved some judgement; she had been burned by her superiors before.

‘Poor girl. I want you two to speak to the neighbours and work colleagues, see if you can get a picture of who she was. Later on, you can speak to the sister, she was pretty inconsolable by all accounts and the hospital have admitted her. She’s sleeping now apparently.’

‘OK, Ma’am,’ Imogen said.

As they went to leave, the DCI spoke again.

‘Grey, can I have a private word?’

Imogen nodded to Adrian who carried on outside. The DCI gestured to Imogen to come closer and jerked her head at Adrian’s fast retreating back.

‘How is he doing?’

‘OK, quiet. He’s OK though.’

‘Do you know if he’s been to see the bereavement counsellor?’

‘He hasn’t mentioned it, but I’m going to guess not.’

‘See if you can get him to, please. Last thing I need is him cracking up.’

You can buy The Promise from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – Happiness For Beginners By Carole Matthews

Happiness For BeginnersCarole Matthews has already revealed her new book for 2019 called ‘Happiness For Beginners’

What the back cover says –

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with an attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

Feel-good, funny and an absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Molly’s story will make your heart sing. New beginnings and second chances abound in ‘Happiness for Beginners’.

You can pre-order Happiness for Beginners from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st February 2019.

The Dangers of Jumping the Shark (and the Risks of Staying on Dry Land) By Helen Fields

Perfect Silence On the book tour for the latest book in Helen Fields’ D.I. Callanach series called ‘Perfect Silence’, Helen talks about writing and jumping the shark.

Rarely is a TV episode so bad that it coins a phrase denoting the point at which all credibility has been lost, but many years ago a show called ‘Happy Days’ did just that when the lead character “The Fonz” decided to water-ski over a shark. From that moment on the show died a creative death, and the phrase “jumping the shark” was born. It’s rather sad for a show that a whole generation loved, but it serves as a lesson to everyone in the writing industry – books, theatre or screen writing – not to overstep the mark.

That may be more true in crime writing than in any other genre. You can get away with a lot more in sci-fi, and to an extent in dystopian fiction, but broadly speaking the same rules apply. Last week I watched ‘Sicario 2’ at the cinema. It’s high budget, the cinematography is impressive and the acting is good. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the entire film, but *spoiler alert* at one point the lead character is shot in the head. Fortunately for the audience all is not lost because we later find out that the bullet passes through one cheek and out the other, leaving our hero free to continue the story. The bullet holes are clean and his teeth seem relatively unaffected. Now I would pay good money to sit down for a coffee with that particular hero (Benicio Del Toro is a heart-throb of mine) but for me – perhaps not for others – the writer had jumped the shark.

Keeping credibility with you audience is vital. Keeping credibility with your audience whilst creating an engaging, thrilling story line, with the necessary twists and red herrings, now that’s an art form in itself. The story has to be believable. If it’s not, and your reader hits that “Really?” moment, you’ve lost them. Honestly, as a writer, it’s a minefield. Some years ago I stopped reading a crime series when it all got too far fetched. These days, as a writer, I’ve a lot more sympathy. There is a demand to produce the most gripping story line you can. Every reader (including me) wants that one special book you literally “can’t put down.” But the cost in terms of credibility can be high. As can playing it too safe. Real life is rarely as exciting as the fiction we love. The stakes are rarely as high. The ticking clock syndrome (portrayed so brilliantly in the series 24) almost never happens. But keep it too real, make it too believable, worry too much about proper procedure and what the police would actually do in any given scenario, and bangs goes your pulse-racing read.

I wish I had answers. I think credibility has as much to do with how you write as what you write. Your characters have to be fully engaged. your dialogue has to be honest and real. If you’re introducing an incredible element, it has to have a credible reason for existing. But the truth is, this is the hardest element of thriller writing to get right. We all slip sometimes. I’m hoping readers will be understanding and a little forgiving. For me, I end each book by inserting an additional editing phrase, which consists of me asking myself the question, “Did I jump the shark?” As and when I do, I’m sure readers won’t hesitate to let me know!

You can buy Perfect Silence from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Murder One – New International Crime-Writing Festival For Dublin

Murder One

A stellar cast of crime and thriller writers have been lined up for a new crime writing festival taking place in Dublin in November. Murder One will feature a host international authors including Peter James, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, Lynda La Plante, Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware, Mick Herron and Robert Goddard together with many of your favourite Irish crime writers including Liz Nugent, Jane Casey, Patricia Gibney, Jo Spain, Karen Perry, Sam Blake and many more.

A three-day long weekend crime writing festival running from 2 – 4 November, Murder One will also feature readings and interviews with Irish and international authors, panel events, a speakers’ corner and forensics and writing workshops. Murder One will be a broad church which will aim to accommodate the kindred genres of thrillers and spy fiction.

International bestseller, Michael Connelly will open the festival with a special preview event on October 28th at 2.00pm in City Hall with Declan Burke moderating. Thereafter the main programme takes place in Smock Alley, one of Dublin’s premier event venues, from 2nd – 4th November.

International bestseller Lynda La Plante brings festival attendees a unique free workshop for anyone interested in the world of forensics or Crime Scene Investigation. This interactive event is hosted by Think Forensic whose experts include CSI’s, forensic scientists, and senior investigating officers. In Lynda La Plante’s CSI Murder Room, get a hands on introduction to forensic science and be briefed on the crime of the day, inspired by Lynda’s newest thriller Murder Mile. Lynda herself will be interviewed by Niamh O’Connor on Saturday 3rd November, talking about Murder Mile and the Steve McQueen movie due out in November, based on her novel ‘Widows’.

Murder One has been developed and will be curated by two of Ireland’s most experienced literary event programmers, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin of Writing.ie, and Bert Wright formerly of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and currently curator of The Dublin Festival of History and the DLR Voices Series. Working with Dublin City Libraries, Dublin City Events, and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, the organisers aim to attract not just an avid local audience but also literary tourists from all over the world.

With crime writing consistently the highest selling genre worldwide, the time is ripe for a great literary city to expand its festival portfolio and Murder One, it is hoped, will become one of the key events in the national and international crime festival calendar.

Bert Wright said: “Not for nothing was Dublin chosen as one of the first UNESCO Cities of Literature. UK visitors always remark upon the enthusiasm and sophistication of Dublin audiences and this has been a festival waiting to happen. Irish crime writers are now rightly respected and admired the world over. England Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own crime festivals, so it really was time for Dublin to step up to the plate. It’s all enormously exciting and we can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Vanessa O’Loughlin said: “As a crime writer myself I’m constantly delighted by the passion and enthusiasm of Irish crime fans and I’m confident that they will welcome this new landmark festival in Dublin. In addition to my fellow Irish writers, we have attracted some major international names to make our first year a memorable one. In 2017, the top three bestselling books were thrillers and we plan to thrill festival goers whether they enjoy cosy whodunits or Cold War spy dramas. Check out murderone.ie to see the plot unfold.”

Alison Lyons, Director of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, added: “Crime novels are enjoyed by a wider variety of readers than possibly any other genre, and are consistently among the most popular titles borrowed in libraries, so we have no doubt that there is a huge appetite for Murder One. We look forward to being a part of the festival and bringing readers and authors together, especially our widely celebrated and internationally renowned Irish writers of crime fiction.”

For more information and how to buy tickets, go to