Tainted Love @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #LGBTBooks #Q&A

Tainted Love @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #LGBTBooks #Q&A

Tainted Love

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SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town Joe and Chris grew up in.

When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?

A noirish whodunit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.

TAINTED LOVE IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SOHO NOIR SERIES OF COZY CRIME NOVELLAS.

Author Q&A

I am really excited about this new series, so I grabbed a quick chat with T S Hunter to find out more about him and his work.

Who were the biggest influences on you growing up that led you to be a writer?

My grandmother was a great reader. When her eyesight failed, she turned to audiobooks and, when her hearing failed, she told me that she hated not being able to escape into her stories anymore. I’m not sure whether that was a direct influence on me being a writer, but it made me a deeply appreciative reader, and I think one often leads to the other.

I always enjoyed writing at school—though I once had an English teacher tell me I’d been too creative for the exam question we’d been set. I guess no one on the Welsh Joint Exam Board was ready for my “Papa didn’t bleed” horror story in response to the “My Family” stimulus.

Still, I always liked making things up, and was often accused of living in a fantasy world, so I guess I was perpetually in training. Not to paint a negative picture of my experience, my mother has always supported and encouraged my creativity, so I guess she was my first and most consistent influence.

What do you want your readers to feel at the end of your books?

With this particular book, I want readers to feel keen to read the next in the series, of course, but I would also like them to feel like they’ve learned a little about what it was like to be gay in the eighties. It’s such a relatively short time ago, and yet there have been so many advances in terms of rights, understanding, freedoms. I want people to understand that for every right and freedom we have today, somebody had to suffer in the past.

But I also want them to feel like they’ve just read a romping good crime story, and that they almost forgot that the majority of the characters were LGBTQ…

Do your characters always do what you tell them?

Well, if they don’t, I’ll kill them! I’m joking. I like a good plotting session, so I spend a fair bit of time making sure that everybody knows what they’re meant to be doing—who the actual killer is, who the red herrings are and when they need to reveal themselves, who’s going to have a bit-part in this book but a bigger one in the next. Usually my characters all do as they’re told, although sometimes they will get there a bit too quickly, or other times just dig their heels in and make life difficult for me.

The biggest problem I have with my characters is when they refuse to speak to me. It’s really annoying, but there are some days when the voices don’t  come. I find that if I go out for a run or a long walk, they make themselves heard at the point where I am furthest away from either a notebook or my computer. Then I have to negotiate with them the whole way home so that they don’t abandon me before I get to write down what they said.

How many drafts do you tend to do of each book?

Quite a few, but most of them are for me. I tend to write very quickly, skimming over bits I’m not sure about yet—especially dialogue and names, and details. I like to get a feel for the book first, because invariably, detail will change. When everything is basically hanging together, I start redrafting until it is the best I can get it in a reasonable time frame. By the time it goes to the editors it’s already probably three or four drafts in, but there is nothing more I can do with it at that stage—it needs fresh eyes.

Once my editor has had a first pass, I sit and read through all of her comments and digest everything. I then sit on it for a few more days, before opening the editor’s notes again and working through the changes.

A good editor—which I certainly have in Eleanor—is invaluable at this stage. They are able to highlight all the crap, everything that either makes no sense, is a bit trite or predictable, or is just completely wrong, and they are able to word their suggestions to make you still feel like you are the brains behind the machine! It’s a real skill. Usually we push through another two drafts together and then it’s ready for proofreading and final tweaks.

What’s next for you?

Well, I have five more books in this series to publish this year, so I will be pretty busy! I do have an idea for another book. A standalone novel that taps on my brain every day, but for now it must wait. The 80s are still calling and the soundtrack is just so good!

What is a dream scenario for you as a writer?

Fame! Fortune! Great sex! Or a handful of nice reviews and enough royalties to cover the cost of a slap up meal. It’s a tough old world, writing and publishing, and finding an audience for your made up world. I still think it’s hard for me to think of myself as a writer, even though that is what I do. It’s such a strange concept, don’t you think? I would love to be a household name, and you did ask for a dream scenario. I would love to make a living from my words. Realistically, I’d settle for making a difference.

What are your hopes and fears for the Soho Noir series?

The biggest hope is that people love the series and follow the characters through all the books, and the biggest fear, of course, is that they don’t. I really wanted to create a series of good crime stories, that all crime lovers want to share, which just happen to be set in a predominantly LGBTQ community, with gay characters in most of the good roles. I would love this series to become part of the discourse on LGBT fiction, and another step in breaking down barriers for gay characters, but I would also love for people to simply recognise it as good crime writing. It may only ever preach to the choir, but I hope some readers surprise themselves by finding the characters as appealing as any straight detective hero—and preferably more so.

Thanks T S Hunter x

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

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Competition!

To win: a Signed Copy of Tainted Love, a fabulous “Go Away I’m Reading” tote bag, a rainbow button badge, and some chocolate

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More about the Soho Noir Series

The Soho Noir series is set in the decade of big hair, shoulder pads, pastel suits and bright, cheesy pop, in a part of London which, on the surface at least, seemed to accept and adore people from all walks of life—a melting pot of gender, sexuality, colour and race, where celebrities rubbed up against the average Joe in cafes, bars and hair salons on every street.

But the 1980s had a darker underbelly, even in Soho. This was a time when gay rights were hard fought, where the police actively targeted gay men as easy victims for arrest and extortion, the government deliberately restricted gay rights and the tabloids screamed about The Gay Plague—the AIDS epidemic. And yet, gay icons who would go on to endure lasting fame and success were springing up all over the pop and fashion world.

The 1980s forms a strangely fitting, sometimes nostalgic, always entertaining backdrop to this colourful series of cozy crime stories.

Noirish, sexy and delicious.

For information about Red Dog Publishing click on one of the links below.

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Book Review: Death before Coffee @RealDesmondRyan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #MikeOShea

Book Review: Death before Coffee @RealDesmondRyan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #MikeOShea

Death Before Coffee

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By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen.

When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side.

Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book, especially the characterisations

The portrayal of the character of Amanda Blacks who is in a high ranking role in a Male dominated world. How she has to appear harder than she is and not show any signs of weakness or they’d eat her alive. Also the amount of sexist abuse she suffers from those who work for her. But also members of the public.
I also liked the character of Ron Mike’s new partner. Who at times provides comic relief. Because this would never happen in traffic.

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For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan worked as a cop in the back alleys, poorly-lit laneways, and forgotten neighbourhoods in Toronto, the city where he grew up. Murder often most unkind, assaults on a level that defied humanity, and sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the victims were all in a day’s work. Days, evenings, midnights–all the same. Crime knows no time.

Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, Desmond dealt with good people who did bad things and bad people who followed their instincts. And now, as a retired detective, he writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.

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Dyed Souls @dyedsouls @Rararesources #Q&A #Hybrid

Dyed Souls @dyedsouls @Rararesources #Q&A #Hybrid

Dyed Souls

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Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.

Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp.

More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

 

Author Q&A

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With Gary being a winner of the Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards and Chill With a Book Readers Award I was keen to get to know more about Gary.

 

 

Q1: What inspired you to write Dyed Souls?

I worked in settings described in the book early on in my career. Most of us were fresh out of college – hardly what you’d call responsible adults. We’d pour over case histories, diagnoses, and treatment plans, but that always seemed to me to miss the larger point.

We evolved to live in small tribal groups, held together by shared values, taboos and mores. But we’ve radically, and rapidly altered that paradigm. Rather than doing what’s best for our tribe’s interest, we do what is our own interest.

We live in vast cities and suburbs, held together by laws, which may or may not be enforced, and are often subjectively interpreted. We seek out those who share our interests (and often enable harmful behaviour), but in our internet age, even these connections are tenuous.

My goodness, if someone ever invents lifelike sex robots all intimate human interaction may cease to exist. Evolution has no set end game, it just is. But when you look at where we are going in the US – away from acquiring wisdom and knowledge – and ever onward toward materialism, entertainment, and a wide array of pseudoscientific and irrational beliefs and behaviours, you can’t help speculate that throwaway kids I write about are the by-product of such shallow values.

This is the story I wanted to tell. Sure, you can point to biological damage, and abuse, and substance abuse, and poverty, and failed educational systems. But we’re the one’s who created this, aren’t we? It’s laughable to me when people say that redistribution of wealth coupled with more government programs is the answer.

Unless we address the fundamental narcissism at the core of these issues, all the money and government programs in the world won’t mean a damn thing. And the far right is just as misguided. What is more narcissistic than believing there is a God that watches over us, and if we pray hard enough and live by the inconsistent and contradictory doctrine espoused by various religious texts that all will be well? To me, all of this is a problem: our beliefs on the left and right are far too human centric.

As beings, we are an infinitesimally small part of a vast universe. We have to stop acting like we’re the only ones that matter, and that our happiness and all of the plants and animals on the planet are at our disposal. Though we think otherwise, except in the scientific community, we are only one very small step removed from the leap that Copernicus made. And in many ways, we are going backwards.

We are becoming more, not less egocentric. (If you doubt this, spend five minutes on Facebook and Twitter, or watch The Kardashians, which are veritable homages to narcissism.) The book conveys my fervent belief that it is our duty and responsibility to help each other – not because we are trying to gain God’s favour or fulfil some socialist ideology – but because that it what we evolved to do.

It’s how successful tribes flourish. The greatest travesty inflicted on mankind is a modern one: that we are somehow not fully responsible regarding our obligations toward others and that government exists to fill this gap. Once you deflect individual responsibility toward an abstract third entity, you will have what is depicted in this book.

This is why I think it’s an important read.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

I’d love Ang Lee to direct it. I’m not very up on actors. Since the main players are teenagers, it would have to be a bunch of unknowns.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

In the US, I couldn’t even get my foot in the door to get a rejection. I did get a very encouraging letter from a book coach/agent, which is why I went the hybrid-publishing route

Q4: Which authors inspired you to write?

Steinbeck more than any other. But also Andrea Makine, William Saroyan, Paul Auster. Their seeming ease of putting ideas on paper was both inspiring and discouraging, as my own efforts always fell woefully short. Makine’s writing is simply beautiful. Music of a Life is one of my all time favorties.

Q5: What are your writing routines?

Nothing set. My preferred times are early morning and late evening.

Q6: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Seek professional criticism – lots of it. Your friends will tell you what they think you want to hear – which is sweet, but no help at all. Develop a thick skin and don’t take the criticism personally- learn and grow from it. It’s absolutely invaluable

Q7: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Do something else! Life’s too freaking short.

Q8: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

I’m a consultant, so I’m doing it

Q9: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

Since I’m an unknown author that would be a rather long list

Thank you Gary, I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

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Book Review: Arbitrage @ColetteKebell @rararesources #selfpublished

Book Review: Arbitrage @ColetteKebell @rararesources #selfpublished

Arbitrage

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Ryan Logan thinks he has it all… A young attorney specialising in finance and tax law, Logan has earned an impressive reputation and commands a hefty fee for his services. But when he advises his corporate employers against a merger with a shady financial institution, he soon finds himself caught up in a web of betrayal and deceit. Framed for the murder of his wealthy boss, Logan is forced to accept a plea deal, to keep his own dark secrets from coming to light…
Arbitrage is a fast-paced, stand-alone financial thriller. If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, sweet revenge, and twists and turns you won’t see coming, you’ll love this eye-opening look into the world of financial crime.
Can a burned out lawyer outwit an army of con artists and killers?

My Thoughts:

Though Logan didn’t come across very well at the beginning of the novel (intentionally?), I really felt sorry for him after failing in love, being an expecting father to have it all so cruelly ripped away.

I also really like Amelia, my kind of girl she came across smart, independent and though she was about to inherit a bank she wasn’t about to be taken for a ride.

Though I work in insurance, when I read the blurb to this book, I was keen to learn more about financial crime and how they were going to pull it off. I found myself google “Arbitrage” but was also glad that in the book the author broke it down and had a character who has to have things explained to her bit by bit.

Though I need to re-read the end of the book again now I am not so enthralled in the story to understand the ending. I really enjoyed arbitrage, it was one of those books where you think you’ve got it all figured out when in fact you haven’t. It also very much reminded me of the BBC tv programme Hustle that my mum and I used to enjoy.

Is it just me or does the gentleman on the front of this cover look like Tom Ellis as in Lucifier?

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Colette Kebell is an eclectic author, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She publishes mostly for the English speaking market and the Italian one.  Colette Kebell does not stick to just one genre when writing though, as you shall discover from her latest book to be launched on 5th April 2019

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and, when not writing and marketing her books, she likes cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

 

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IWSG Day #IWSG @TheIWSG

Happy IWSG!

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Lots of excitement last month of the book front, I had some super positive feedback from a publisher that made me SUPER Excited and happy.

Book 2 has kinda picked up and kind of not, which has been a bit of a struggle trying to get motivated with it.

Yesterday I spent the day writing what my main character’s conflicts are… Which I am not sure whether it will help or not… So if anyone else can think of ways to motivate me to move on with book 2 I’m looking forward to hearing from you x

Which leads into this months question:

If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

I think right now my wish would be for me to find direction and help in regards to book2 what I am doing and where it’s going.

I hope everyone else is doing okay….

Thanks as always goes to to Alex Cavanaugh and his super team make sure we are all sticking to the rules and keeping IWSG going! Why don’t you pop along and join the blog hop! 

Mothers Day Promotion: Reflected Destinies @keelingFlorence @rararesources #HalfPrice #kindlepromo

Mothers Day Promotion: Reflected Destinies @keelingFlorence @rararesources #HalfPrice #kindlepromo

Reflective Destinies

reflectedDestiniesINGRAMSLaura is happy and content, she has a new boyfriend and loves her job teaching primary school pupils in London.  But when she inherits a rundown house from a stranger on her 30th birthday, memories of her prom night come flooding back, memories of a scary encounter and an antique mirror in the very same house.

Laura visits the house with all its secrets and as she unravels the clues she reveals the biggest secret of all: her own destiny.  But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

Love the sound of this book! Florence is offering it HALF PRICE to celebrate Mothers Day here in the UK on Sunday! So grab your discounted copy before time runs out!

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Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day.  She is married with two teenage chidren.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

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Book Review: Perfect Harmony by @K_RhodesWriter @Bloodhoundbook #Review

Perfect Harmony

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Adrian Stone believes he is a genius. A narcissist, with a psychotic desire to pursue his ambition to become the world’s most revered pianist, Stone joined London’s Royal College of Music as a child prodigy, believing his path to fame was secure. But when his parents decided to send him back to school, he slaughtered them and his older sister in their Richmond home, landing himself in Rampton’s high security unit.

 

Nine years later Stone escapes with two goals in mind: to kill those who denied his destiny and pursue his musical ambitions.

As bodies start to appear around London Dr Alice Quentin is brought in from the Met’s Forensic Psychology Unit. But when she realises her name is on Stone’s list of potential victims, the case becomes personal.

Working alongside her boyfriend, DI Don Burns, London’s most successful murder investigator, Alice must stop Stone to save her own life.

Alice realises that there is logic to the music left at each murder scene, and thinks she’s cracked the case, but little does she know what Stone has in store for his grand finale…

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Perfect Harmony and it’s different take on the police procedural I read, write and enjoy.

The story follows Dr Alice Quentin and her place in the investigation as to where convicted psychopath Adrian Stone has escaped to. But Alice has a problem he might be also after her.

I liked a lot of the characters in this book and also found myself liking Adrian and the relationship he forms with X a nurse he meets and begins to manipulate to only find himself failing for her and her pure innocence.

I also enjoyed the fact that Alice’s boyfriend, DI Don Burns, London’s most successful murder investigator, is also working on the case, at times in the novel he was there to explain the “police stuff.” We also got a peak at how being related to or in a relationship with a DI affects his family and how Alice tries her best to pick up the pieces.

The murders themselves weren’t written in a gruesome way and left a lot to the interpretation of the reader and description of how the bodies were found.

I really enjoyed this book and plan to seek out further Alice Quentin books in the future.

 

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Kate was born in London and tried many jobs before starting to write. She spent time as a cocktail waitress, a theatre usherette, and more recently as an English teacher before writing two prize-winning collections of poetry. Her crime novels have been translated into ten different languages, and have received high acclaim from the press. The Guardian described her books as ‘beautifully written and expertly plotted, a masterclass in crime fiction.’ Her Hell Bay series set in the Isles of Scilly has been optioned for TV.

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