Blog Tour: Sleep by M K Boers

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Sleep by M K Boers and I’ll be sharing a guest post from the author.

About the author:

M K Boers spent her early childhood in Surrey, in the south of England, and her teens moving round the UK, but currently resides in the Netherlands. 
Under her pen name Miranda Kate, she has been featured in several Flash Fiction anthologies, and has published two collections, one of dark flash-fiction tales called Mostly Dark, and another of science-fiction stories called Slipping Through, the latter containing a short novella for which a sequel will be forthcoming this year. 

You can find out more at her website:
Facebook @MirandaKateAuthor and Twitter @PurpleQueenNL 

About the book:

A marriage made in heaven, a murder made in hell.

Why kill the man you love?

Lizzy was struggling, everyone knew that.

He shouldn’t have done those things.

He shouldn’t have pushed her so hard.

And now, her children, her marriage, her hope – gone.

It was all her fault, she knew that, but was there a chance of redemption?

Lizzy Dyson’s on trial for her life. She knows she must pay for what she did, even if it wasn’t planned, but will the jury believe her?


Guest Post:

What inspired Sleep

I wrote the prologue for Sleep back in 1991, while at work. It was for an entry to win a copy of James Herbert’s book ‘Portent’. I sent it away but got no response, which wasn’t a surprise. It needed a lot of work, being the first piece I had ever written! 

From that, I had an idea for the full novel I wanted to write, but at that time I knew I didn’t have either the life experience or the writing experience to pull it off. I wanted to write about what would drive a woman to kill her husband, starting from when she met him and fell in love. I wanted the reader to watch the downfall of the marriage and have empathy for her and understand her motives, but I needed a few years to gestate on it – turns out it took 28! 

My influences came from various places. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Really his writing has always shaped how I think as a writer: the depth of characters he portrays; the inner struggles of some of them; and how nothing is ever black and white. I was also influenced by my playwriting teacher at college, where I studied Theatre. He worked in a prison, helping inmates who were doing the last third of their life sentence with their writing. He talked to us a lot about what it was like to be in prison and the difficulties the inmates experienced, emotionally and mentally. This shaped how I wanted Lizzy to come across. 

As someone who has struggled with mental health, writing about the breakdown came naturally; it was easy to imagine what would have played a part. In some ways the emotions Lizzy experiences are reflective of my own over the years in various relationships – exaggerated of course, even though I did own a freezer knife! 

I hadn’t envisaged writing a court drama, and the initial draft was heavily influenced by American crime shows I’d watched, like The Good Wife and Boston Legal. I had the set up completely wrong and had to research the legal systems in the UK. I found out how Crown Court was conducted, and fortunately have a friend who is a barrister, and who was able to connect me with a criminal barrister who answered all my questions about the case and the plea.

Lizzy’s story is important to me, because I think as a society we tend to judge others quickly, and see things in simple terms. I believe things can get very complicated, especially emotionally and in the way people respond to what they have experienced. People suffer abuse and trauma in a multitude of ways, and what might be traumatic to one person isn’t to another. Our feelings and emotions are squashed to maintain a facade for the external world, and we suppress ourselves, as well as the things that upset us, often to breaking point. But Lizzy’s story shows that it is possible to recover, to take responsibility for your actions and emotions and still be a valuable, worthy human being. 

Check out the tour:

Blog Blitz Guest Post ~ The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall

Hi everyone,

Today I’m on the blog blitz for The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall and I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all a little further down!

About the authors:

download (1).jpg


Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.



Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

About the book:

Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall - The Bitter End_cover_high res.jpg

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

Guest Post from Robert D. Tysall:

The idea behind the story.


I’ve always felt that a lot of the witch stories were all along the same lines and I wondered if it could be approached from a different angle. What if the witch wasn’t just a human witch but a demon witch, in fact the first of her kind; and that she has been walking side by side with us through the annals of history, throughout the time that mankind has been here – and doing the biddings of Beelzebub.

She and others of her kind have spread all over the planet and Satan has been using them to cause all the mayhem and catastrophes in the world – all the hatred, wars and fighting. Unbeknown to us they have all been caused by this almost alien-like creature.

The working title for the book was Witch One but we felt it was too simplistic to tell the full tale. Also, it dawned on me that Lamia and those of her kind may not even consider herself to be, as we call them, a witch. As the conception of a witch is purely human.

I also wanted to create a situation where people of the military fighting forces who tend not to have any belief in such supernatural ideals, find that they have no other choice but to believe. They have to accept there is something else here that is not helping us, or on our side. Hence the creation of the protagonist Paul Christian, a former Naval Officer.

You often hear people in authorive professions such as the police say that they don’t believe in coincidence or conspiracy theories, but our characters are faced with undeniable evidence that can’t be dismissed.

Thinking of a new angle for any supernatural or horror type of situation is never easy, but I do think we’ve actually achieved it with the story of The Bitter End.

Follow the blog blitz:

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Blog Tour Guest Post: Our House by Louise Candlish

Hi everyone,

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Our House by Louise Candlish. I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all further down, but first, its time for the all-important bookish information!

About the author:


Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF THE FRASERS (2015) and THE SWIMMING POOL (2016). Her new thriller OUR HOUSE is published in the UK in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster.

Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly.

Follow her on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at or

About the book:


When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?


Our House by Louise Candlish

Over to Louise…


Top 5 properties in literature


Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Thornfield Hall is, of course, one of the classic houses of English literature, part of an august group that can be considered characters in their own right. A roll call of great mansions have followed, many with hauntings of one variety or another, but at Thornfield the hidden secret in all the more shocking for taking real bodily form. Jane’s own bond with Thornfield is powerful – ‘I grieve to leave’, she tells us – and we’ve all felt that sense of deep loss when we’ve left a place where we’ve been content.


Dr Jekyll’s house, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

In most crime and thriller novels, the monster behind closed doors is metaphorical: a shameful secret, a sense of jeopardy, an atmosphere of evil. Not so in Dr Jekyll’s Victorian London house. Though it ‘wore a great air of wealth and comfort’, there is attached to it sordid and rundown quarters where Jekyll’s murderous alter ego resides. Over 130 years later, readers are well advised to be on guard when encountering a desirable-sounding residence in their fiction: a respectable-looking house does not necessarily contain respectable people.


Manderley in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A quick Twitter straw poll before writing this confirmed Manderley to be the best-loved house in fiction (closely followed by Pemberley). A symmetrical edifice of grey stone, set in a natural paradise of woodland and coast, it is ‘secretive and silent’, the ultimate haunted house. It possesses the reader from the first line – the most famous of all first lines – and is all the more precious for being gone: ‘Manderley is no more’.


Malory Towers in the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

The first books I remember loving were the Enid Blyton boarding school series Malory Towers and St Clare’s. It’s Malory Towers that comes with a memorable sense of place: a great castle on a Cornish clifftop, its architecture likely inspired by Lulworth Castle in Dorset. And who can forget the swimming pool cut from the rocks, where poor friendless Gwendoline Mary almost drowns?


51 Pepys Road in Capital by John Lanchester

Adorned with all the status symbols of the noughties’ affluent classes, including a sleek German kitchen and a Damien Hirst Spot painting, the Younts’ Clapham house has already had £650,000 lavished on ‘work’. When we first go inside 51 Pepys Road, Arabella Yount is putting up shelves in the store cupboard ‘she liked to call her pantry’ (the rustic pretensions of the urban middle class!) while plotting to give her husband a nasty shock. He’s not the only one to get what’s coming to him in this superb satire.

 Many thanks to Louise Candlish for this great post, and to Jess Barratt for letting me take part 😊


Make sure to check out the blog tour:

Our House blog tour.jpg

Blog Blitz: Never Rest by Jon Richter

Hi all,

Today I’m taking part in the blog blitz for Never Rest by Jon Richter and I’ll be sharing a guest post from the author!

About the book:

Jon Richter - Never Rest_cover_high res

Chris Sigurdsson has left the police force to start his own detective agency in London. He and his assistant, Priya, have built a strong reputation, and their casebook for the coming months is full. But Sigurdsson’s mind drifts back to his time as a Detective Inspector, and to the surreal week he spent investigating a case on Salvation Island.

When the estranged wife of David Lithgow, a writer who had been working on the island, approaches him to help locate her missing spouse, he cannot resist the allure of that sinister, mist-shrouded place…

The case leads him back to Salvation Island and into a treacherous labyrinth of deceit.

Is there a link between the mysterious proprietor of a travelling freak show and the malevolent spectre of a vicious serial murderer who butchered six young women on the island?

Has the killer continued his murderous spree from beyond the grave, or is there a copycat on the loose?

To solve this case, Sigurdsson will need to enter the mind of a sadistic serial killer and unravel the island’s darkest secrets. And if he wants to survive, he must confront his deepest fears.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:


Jon Richter lives in London and spends most of his time hiding in the guise of his sinister alter ego, an accountant called Dave.  When he isn’t counting beans, he is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a good story.  Jon writes whenever he can and hopes to bring you more dark tales in the very near future.  If you want to chat to him about this, or about anything at all, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites; he’d also love it if you would check out his website at

Guest post:

A ‘normal’ writing day


Although I have been writing since I was about six, I still think of myself as a ‘new’ writer – certainly in the world of publishing.  My debut thriller was released last year and my new book, Never Rest, will be released at the end of March, and I’m still slowly figuring out how to navigate the labyrinths of social media, self-promotion, blog tours, book launch events… and I certainly don’t think I’ve got it anywhere near sussed out yet!


Another thing I am yet to figure out is exactly how a ‘normal’ writing day should work… writing sessions for me are often snatches of time squeezed in to an evening after work, a hasty half-hour on the commute, some garbled ideas types into the Notes app of my phone when I wake up after a particularly intriguing nightmare… but, whenever I can, I do like to try to set aside an entire day to focus on writing, and I thought it would be interesting to talk you through what usually happens on such days.  Having read similar posts by other writers I get the impression that there is a HUGE variety of different preferred approaches, which I find fascinating… and ultimately I suppose it’s about finding whatever works for you.  All that really counts is the number of words that have been spawned by the end of it!


Most writing days for me usually start with a feeling of dread, as though I’m about to sit an exam; because of my busy full-time job and other commitments it’s always a challenge to carve out such a chunk of time, and I find the weight of this precious day often hangs over me until I finally get going.  This starting point can often be delayed by several hours due to chronic procrastination – sometimes I go for a run first, ‘to wake myself up’, and other times I’ll decide that the house needs a thoroughly good tidy before I can concentrate properly.  Another favourite distraction comes in the shape of the two ragdoll cats we own, who will often decide on writing days that they will be extra-cute and distract me with lots of insistent meowing and cuddly behaviour… or they will be possessed by Satan and start hurtling around the house, trashing the place.  As you can see, there are many potential pitfalls!  But if I am successful in navigating all of these, the final step before I can get cracking is to make the obligatory cup of coffee (I invested in an espresso machine a few years ago and it was definitely money well spent), and choose some background music.


I am a huge music fan and am still resisting the urge to join the Spotify generation – I like to OWN the songs I enjoy, so I still buy albums the old-fashioned way (although I have accepted that some of them might need to be downloaded rather than physically purchased from shops, I still make a habit of then burning off physical CD copies of these to pointlessly store in my attic).  However, I’ve found lately that a lot of the stuff I own and love doesn’t make for ideal writing accompaniment (e.g. Mark E Smith ranting over a nasty, crunching guitar and keyboard din) so I often turn instead to ambient music, in other words something more relaxed and without lyrics, and ideally with a dark edge to help create the sort of ominous atmosphere I’m looking for in my writing.  Some of Aphex Twin’s output is ideal for this, as are the sinister soundscapes that Akira Yamaoka created for the Silent Hill videogame series.


Once this important choice has been made, I will finally get to work on that day’s project.  These days I am lucky enough to have a spare room with a little writing desk, and I do find this infinitely preferable to trying to write in bed or on the couch (or squeezed onto a train, although sometimes this is still a necessity!)  I write on my laptop, as I’ll constantly edit, chop and change as I write, such that the finished draft is usually of decent quality rather than needing major surgery; I’ve heard lots of people say, ‘forget editing, just get the first draft finished’, and I’m sure this is good advice, but I just can’t bring myself to work in that way.  This means that progress is gradual, a sort of slow, creeping word count increase rather than an unfiltered splurge – although I’ll usually end up with somewhere around three or four thousand words done by the end of the day.  I really do have absolutely no idea how anyone ever wrote anything before word processors were invented, and I’m full of admiration for the authors of decades gone by who had nothing to work with but their pen, paper, imagination, and maybe a handy thesaurus!


I will write for as long as I can before hunger overcomes me, and then I’ll head downstairs to figure out some sort of snack – this can often result in more procrastination if a trip to the shop becomes necessary.  The day will then proceed very much in that pattern: a burst of writing, maybe leading me off on a tangent to research something, then a break to eat or make more coffee, then another burst of writing, and so on until either it’s really late and I’m falling asleep at my desk, or I’m so happy with my output that I decide I can smugly call it a day (this rarely happens!)


If my partner isn’t busy she will sometimes pop in to check on me, and I suspect I look a bit of a bizarre sight, hunched over my laptop and typing feverishly while eerie music swirls in the background, my internet search history encompassing various horrifying murder cases, unsolved mysteries and other dark inspirations… but hopefully the finished novel is worth it in the end!

Check out the other blogs taking part:

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Blog Tour: Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley and I have a great post from Mary-Jane for you all further down. First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

mary-jane riley

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.


Twitter: @mrsmjriley

Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor


About the book:

Cover Dark Waters

Secrets lie beneath the surface…

Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.

Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.

But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

And now, over to Mary-Jane…

I can’t believe DARK WATERS is my third book and that it’s been three years since my agent called me to say that Killer Reads/Harper Collins had offered me a contract for my first book, THE BAD THINGS (now I’ve just got to think of a  way of squeezing the name of my second book, AFTER SHE FELL, into that sentence…). Writers often talk about the long and winding road to publication – the difficulties, the rejections, the blood, sweat and tears, and all that is true (except for those who strike it lucky first go … grrr), but do you know what? What? I hear you cry (I hope). I have learned even more over these last three years that I would like to share with you….

  1. Trust your instinct.

I wrote a book to send to agents. I wrote a prologue for said book, then I read a lot of stuff about how agents/publishers/uncle Tom Cobbley and all didn’t like prologues. I took the prologue out. The lovely person who was to become my agent asked for some revisions on the manuscript, then said ‘I think you need a prologue”. Reader, the prologue went back in.

An extreme example of not following my instinct came some time after the prologue incident. I wanted to get my book to my agent (a different one). My instinct was telling me, nay screaming at me, that I should read the whole thing again because the book wasn’t ready, wasn’t polished enough. I knew it in my gut. But what did I do? I sent it. It was returned with a very stiff admonishment and a long bruising phone call. I polished that book.



Don’t fret about other people’s deals/success/prizes.

Therein lies madness and the waste of several hours on social media and Amazon stalking the author and wondering why your book isn’t racing up the charts/in the Sunday Times/the subject of a bidding war (actually, a little boast here: my first book was the subject of a bidding war in Germany and it was very exciting!). You have to remember that people put their best faces on Facebook, and the best bits of their writing lives on Twitter. No-one talks about falling sales or publishing deals falling through in a public space… if they do, point me at ‘em! No, the best thing to do is put your head down and write your book and make it the very best you can. Ignore the success stories, they really are few and far between.



Turn off the WiFi

This advice is everywhere, but it does bear repeating. Social Media is a total time-suck. If I leave the wifi on, I find that I look at social media every two minutes when I’m writing a difficult scene or I don’t know where I’m going next. As if watching a BGT performer from Romania will help! Turn it off, keep it off. Of course, it’s a bit difficult when you need to do some research – I do mine as I go along – because it has to go back on. And then it’s just a little look at a couple of cute cat/dog/baby videos….



I can call myself an author


Yes, I can! Three books in and it starts to feel as though I’m not the biggest imposter in the world. Possibly.




Every. Step. Of. The. Way. (I usually hate seeing separate words punctuated by full stops, but it seems appropriate in this case). This was my agent’s very good advice. It’s a huge thing, writing a book. When you finish, celebrate. When you get an agent, celebrate. A publisher? Celebrate. Self-published? Celebrate. Finished editing? Celebrate. You get my drift?



The support of readers and bloggers

Invaluable. I didn’t realise how many people would see my books, would read my books, and it has been so exciting. It is always fabulous to get reviews (as long as they are nice, thank you very much). It was lovely after the first book was published to get messages from people I had worked with saying how great it was to read my books (especially as I had plundered their names for characters) and friends I hadn’t seen for many years got in touch to say they were buying my books (whether they read them is another matter, but they have bought all my books so far).

And as for book bloggers, your enthusiasm and hard work is amazing and I can’t thank you enough. You treat each book you review/read/host on a tour as though it was the only book in the world at that moment. I don’t know where you get your time and energy from, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Huge thanks to Mary-Jane for such an insightful post, and I wish you all the best with Dark Waters 🙂

Check out the other fab blogs taking part in the tour:

Blog Tour - Dark Waters

Caimh McDonnell’s Last Orders~Guest Post

Hi guys,

Today I’m bringing you another laugh out loud guest post from Irish author Caimh McDonnell. While I haven’t read this series (YET, dear reader!!!), I know Ellen and plenty of other fab folk have, and raved about them all. Here’s all you need to know about Caimh and his books…


Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces, which was nominated for a CAP Award in 2017, is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The sequel and prequel, The Day That Never Come and Angels in the Moonlight, were published in 2017. The books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s hometown of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme,A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh

Facebook:  @CaimhMcD

As I mentioned above, my super guest reviewer Ellen has read and reviewed the first three books, and you can check out her reviews by clicking the links below:

A Man With One Of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

The Day That Never Comes by Caimh McDonnell

Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell 

The last book in this series is Last Orders, and it is out now, published by McFori Ink. Here’s what you need to know about that one:


As a wise man once said, just because you’re done with the past, doesn’t mean the past is done with you.

Paul can’t let an incident from his past go. When he finds out a rival detective agency played a key role in it, he drags MCM Investigations into a blood feud that they can’t hope to win. Soon they’re faced with the prospect of the company going out of business and Brigit going out of her damn mind.

When long-buried bodies are discovered in the Wicklow Mountains, Bunny’s past starts closing in on him too. Who can he trust when he can’t even trust himself? When he finds himself with nowhere left to run and nobody he can turn to, will the big fella make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the ones he loves?

When all that’s left is the fall, the fall is everything.

And even the mighty fall.

Last Orders is the thrilling conclusion of the critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit. It’s best enjoyed having read the other books in the series, particularly the prequel Angels in the Moonlight.

Click the links below to order your copy now:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

A Blurbering Wreck

People often ask me ‘what’s the hardest thing about being a writer’?  To be clear, that isn’t the most common question I get asked, in fact those are;

1/ How do you say your name?

2/ Are you going to buy that pie?  You can’t just stand there and ogle it.

3/ Seriously, that’s how you say your name?

4/ Have you seen the packet of biscuits that was just here?

5/ Are you absolutely sure that’s how you say your name?

But number 6 is that question about what’s the hardest thing about being a writer. Prepare to be shocked, but it’s the writing. I know, who could’ve seen that coming? The follow-up question is generally along the lines of ‘which bit of the writing?’

That’s a bit trickier. For me it’s not fight scenes – although my editor did give me a strict ‘one nut shot per novel’ rule, it’s not argument scenes – you should meet my family, and it’s not even love scenes – although to be fair, while there is reference to nookie in my books, I’m far too bashful-lapsed-Catholic to go into what-goes-where details, as I’d imagine is clear from my insistence in referring to sex as ‘nookie’.

No the hardest bit of the book to write isn’t actually even in the book, it is on the back cover. I cannot describe how utterly tortuous it is to write the blurb. It’s not supposed to be a summary, you’ve got to make it sound exciting, it has to capture the spirit of the book, you have to put a question in the reader’s mind that they need answered, you can’t use the word gobshite or certain retailers get upset – it’s an absolute minefield.

In fact, there’s an argument to be made that the worst person to write the blurb for a book is the person who actually wrote the book. You’re simply too close to it. It’s incredibly difficult to boil down what you think is good about it into a few pithy sentences. In all honesty, it’s a bit like trying to write a dating profile for your own partner. Actually, that’d be easier (woman with the patience of a saint seeks nice person for strictly no-nookie relationship who knows how to fix the light in the utility room. No Carls from run club need apply).

Just the thought of writing another blurb is far more intimidating than the idea of writing another 100k word novel. I do wonder if the difficult back-cover ballet is part of the reason for those annoying ‘This is a twisty thriller with a twist that you won’t see coming’ subtitles that seem to have become so popular. With no disrespect to any author who uses them, as clearly they must work, but I can’t be the only person who is turned off by them? I’m really tempted to put a book out with the subtitle ‘It’s got a beginning, a middle and an end, all of which happen where you’d expect but there’s a dog in it, that people really like.’ Or perhaps, ‘this is a novel, it’s got a plot and some characters, that’s what a novel is’ or who can forget, ‘the book everyone is talking about, the one that finally reveals once and for all where Wally is.’

My point ,dear reader, is that you must respect that we authors are tortured souls and we’re giving blood, sweat and tears all in the hope of entertaining you and of course ‘giving you a shockingly shocking twist that you won’t see coming’. If you take nothing else away from this, please do remember not to judge a book by its back cover and also, Carl from run club is a creep and I don’t trust him. I’m pretty sure he has a twist I do see coming.

As always, many thanks to Caimh for a funny and insightful guest post, and to the lovely Elaine at McFori Ink for having both myself and Ellen along for Bunny’s journey! 🙂

You guys can check out Ellen’s review on the blog soon too!

Happy reading!

Blog Blitz~ Stateline by Dave Stanton

Hi everyone,

I’m taking part in the blog blitz for Stateline today and I get to share a guest post from Dave Stanton with you all!

About the author:


Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, Dave Stanton moved to Northern California in 1961. He attended San Jose State University and received a BA in journalism in 1983. Over the years, he worked as a bartender, newspaper advertising salesman, furniture mover, debt collector, and technology salesman. He has two children, Austin and Haley, and lives with his wife, Heidi, in San Jose, California.

Stanton is the author of six novels, all featuring private investigator Dan Reno and his ex-cop buddy, Cody Gibbons.

Twitter: @DanRenoNovels

About the book:


Cancel the wedding. The groom is dead.

When a tycoon’s son is murdered the night before his wedding, the grief-stricken father offers private detective Dan Reno a life-changing bounty to find the killer.

Reno, who is nearly broke, decides he’s finally found himself in the right place at the right time. But when a band of crooked cops get involved, Reno finds himself fighting for his life.

Who committed the murder, and why? Which cops can he trust, if any?

Haunted by his murdered father and a violent past, Reno wants no more blood on his hands. But a man’s got to make a living, and backing off is not in his DNA.

Traversing the snowy alpine winter in the Sierras and the lonely deserts of Nevada, Reno must revert to his old ways to survive. Because the bounty won’t do him much good if he’s dead.



It was 2001, and the bubble was bursting. My timing was bad – a few months previous I had left a steady job to work for a “promising” startup that offered more money. As a salesman, I quickly realized the product they hired me to sell was doomed. I drew this conclusion despite claims otherwise by some smart (and temporarily wealthy) people. Like many during that time, they had been sucked into an illusion.


I sat at my cubicle in Silicon Valley, California, regretful, certain I’d be unemployed soon. The customers I’d been assigned had all considered my proposals and firmly declined. I had nothing to do, and the boredom was killing me. Spontaneously, I started writing.


Three months later I was at a new gig, one that involved regular travel to Asia. I sat on a jet over the Pacific Ocean, hunched over my notebook, typing like a mad man. The paragraph I had written while employed at the now defunct company had become a novel, and the first draft was nearly finished.


Many of the characters and situations I write about come from a time when my companions were irreverent and reckless, and I participated willingly in endeavors that for a few had permanent consequences. These episodes occurred in places like Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, and Ely, Nevada. Some of my old friends are respectable citizens today, others are in and out of jail, and some didn’t make it.


Stateline, like the other five novels in the Dan Reno series, is hard-boiled detective fiction. The action and characters are just as gritty as the Western U.S. locales where the story takes place. Readers who enjoy the novels of authors such as Lee Child, Robert Crais, and Elmore Leonard often write me to offer praise for Stateline.

Check out the other blogs on the blitz:

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