Thursday 28 July 2016

The Devil You Know

Looking at release in early October or possibly before, cross fingers and touch wood!  It's just taken off on its last proof/test read.....

Every killer is someone's son, husband or boyfriend...

The Devil You Know is a psychological drama/thriller/murder mystery.  A move sideways for me, rather than a complete change in genre, because it's still very much character-driven and based on close human relationships.

So what's it about?  There's a serial killer at large in my fictional town of Lyndford in south Lincolnshire, and five people fear that he might be someone close to them.  One of them is right....

It's not a detective or police procedural novel and doesn't centre around the solving of a crime, but is still a 'whodunnit', beause the killer's identity is a mystery until late in the book.  A few chapters are told through the eyes of the victims, with snapshots from the points of view of the detectives, but, essentially, the story centres around these five:

Juliet wonders where her controlling, violent husband goes at night, and when a TV crime expert lists the characteristics of your average multiple murderer, she realises they could be describing the man she's been married to for twenty-four years.

Steve has been friends with Dan since childhood, but a new friend has brought out the worst in him.  Is 'the worst' more terrifying that Steve dares to imagine?

Tamsin is in love with her colleague on the local newspaper.  When Jake rejects her, she begins to look at him with new eyes.

Maisie loathes her mother's new boyfriend.  Her best friend teases her that Gary is the Lyndford Strangler, but could her joke have hit the nail on the head?

Dorothy loves her son, Orlando, more than life itself ~ which makes her suspicions about his secret life so heartbreaking that she fears for her sanity.

Fun version done with some Vincent Van Gogh stylee thing - makes it look like a horror novel!

I'm aiming to get it out in early October (possibly September), cross fingers.  Thanks for reading :)


Thursday 21 July 2016

It's #FridayReads so it's also @ShelleyWilson72's #FridayBookShare :)

I'm finally joining in with Shelley Wilson's Friday Book Share this week, because I've just re-read (for the second time) a book that I raved about when I first read it, and I think it deserves another rave ~ because when I'd finished it for a third time I actually turned back and read the beginnning....again. :)

It's The Turning of the World (click title for my review, with Amazon links) by John Privilege, @JohnPrivilege1 on Twitter

(You can join in as well, if you like!  Just copy the bit below, and supply the details accordingly, on your own blog)


First line of the book.
Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.
Introduce the main character using only three words.
Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).
Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)
Your favourite line/scene.

Okay, here goes...

First line of the book.
I'm deviating already because I don't think the first line is representative of the book, so here's one from later on in the chapter:  "That last summer was good.  A brief span of happiness trapped in amber".

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.
It was all going so well. Bobby Reynolds leaves Canada and travels halfway round the world to begin a new life with Sally in Northern Ireland. They have a nice house in Carrickfergus, good jobs and are looking forward to starting a family. But out in the world, a tipping-point has been reached. A devastating new disease emerges in a Vietnamese town called Quang-Tri. Suddenly, it is no longer far away, or on the news; it is outside in the street. With frightening speed, the familiar, the cherished are all stripped away. Northern Ireland teeters on the brink, then collapses into bloodshed and violence. Bobby, suddenly a stranger in a foreign country, quickly discovers that there are worse things than Quang-Tri Flu.

Introduce the main character using only three words.
Sharp-witted, funny, melancholy.

Delightful design  

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)
Readers like me who are addicted to all things post-apocalyptic.  Any age group or gender.  People who live in or are fond of Ireland.  Readers for whom talented, intelligent, gripping writing with a convincing plot, pathos, humour, action and realism will overcome every comma not being in the right place (there are a few proofreading errors but not that many, and it's such a good book I didn't care).

Your favourite line/scene.
Too many to choose just one.  Here are a couple. 

One by one the districts of Belfast went dark.  I remember watching them with my mouth open, my breath catching in my throat as fright once again washed over me....
....the whole thing was dying, it was inevitable.  Everything we knew was gasping and flapping below us like a landed fish.

"The world keeps turning, Bobby," she said.  "It keeps turning and it doesn't give a fuck about us."....
....I never thought I would be happy or feel safe again.  But here I was, kissing a woman in the sunlight by the shore of a little lake.  There was even a dog.  She was right.  The world turns. 

There are many others much better, but, alas, I always forget to highlight them! 

Other posts:

Shelley has chosen a writer's self-help book this week.
Liz does time travel 
Cathy chooses urban fantasy 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

How would your star sign cope in a #ZombieApocalypse? (and find out your #TheWalkingDead persona!)

NB, this was written before Season 7!  All other Walking Dead posts HERE

Thanks to Shelley Wilson for giving me the idea for this.... I'm fairly into astrology and massively into The Walking Dead, so this post just had to be written :)  Read on to find out how your sign would survive, which TWD character should be your role model ~ and which one it definitely shouldn't be!


The first sign of the zodiac, Mars ruled, brave, warlike, protective, rushing in where everyone else fears to tread, cutting a swathe with your sword.   Sometimes you're too blunt for your own good, can alienate people, but you don't hesitate; you'd slice that Walker's head off before he had a chance to get his jaws around you.  Just be careful not to overestimate your capabilites, and realise that sometimes you need a little back-upAries fights for justice and truth: you see straight through control freaks like The Governor, who use the new world to their own advantage ~ who else could you be but superwoman Michonne?  The battleground is one in which you feel comfortable ~ remember how she missed being 'out there' fighting the zombies in the wild woods once she was safe in Woodbury and Alexandria?

Brave, fearless positive Aries type woman ~ the fabulous Michonne

...or the bad sort of Aries, who just wants to show off with a gun, like Andrea


You don't like change, and when the zombie apocalypse hits you find yourself wildly out of your comfort zone.  Not one to put yourself forward, you prefer to follow the lead of others, providing solid back up.  Lazy?  No, never, who said that...?  It's true that many Taureans are happiest when lying down, or at least relaxing where it's safe and comfortable, but you're not scared of doing your bit, and where you shine is working out practical solutions.  You can be slow off the mark when it comes to leaping down from first floor buildings and attacking the monsters, but you're honest (give or take when a lie is absolutely necessary for survival...), top of the class when thinking up a life-saving solution that could help everyone: the making of new bullets, for instance.  You're tenacious enough to work this stuff out ~ just like your Walking Dead counterpart, Eugene :)

Slow starting, good Taurus ~ Eugene, who got there in the end
....or the bad Taurus ~ Milton, who didn't

You're chatty, witty, communicate easily with everyone, and will do well when it comes to linking up with other groups of survivors, but you're shrewd with it, and will suss out when a situation doesn't feel right; it's all about the mental challenge.  Always ready with a quip, you'll keep your group's spirits up when times are bad, and you're resourceful, too ~ think Abraham, who found the solider hanging from a pipe on that roof of the building where he and Sasha were stranded, leading to one of their best weaponry finds.  You're flighty with your affections at times, but, hey, it's the end of the world, right?  No point in feigning love you no longer feel....

"Given the unpredictable state of the world on any given Sunday..."
 Mercurial Abraham, the good Gemini type who's always kind of charming...

...or bad Gemini type, quicksilver Jesus, (who turned out okay and is fairly hot, so we'll forgive him for the lost lorry full of supplies)


So hard for you to leave your home (Cancerian crab shell) and attachment to your family when the time comes to walk about into the unknown and search for a new way of living, but your inner strength will shine through.  You're emotional, but can use this to the good, channelling it into the strength to take care of those you love.  You're tenacious, too, and will never let go of ~ yes, you're just like MaggieShe held on to her belief that her beloved Glenn was alive, even when he nearly came a cropper when faced by a horde with the 'orrible Nicholas.  You're also the most maternal of all the star signs ~ perhaps, therefore, the only one likely to get yourself pregnant during a zombie apocalypse!

Maternal strong Cancer woman type Maggie... opposed to the weaker sort, Lori, who somehow made it all about her...


Leo, the leader ~ can be bossy and arrogant, but is born to be at the front of a weary group leading them down a dusty road in search of food and shelter, working out strategies and delegating tasks.  Most of your group will put up with the occasional throwing-of-toys-out-of-the-pram, because you have a big warm heart, too, and you do all that you do to keep your friends and family safe.  You're great at organising, almost as fearless as Aries, and will never give up.  Of course, you're Rick.

Good, strong, charismatic, proud Leo boss man Rick....

Leo gone bad....greedy, tyrannical, egotistical boss man The Governor!


In the old world you might have been a conscientious employee, a family member who worked hard for his or her loved ones, a trusted friend (or a pizza delivery boy...) ~ now, you're not a leader, you're a leader's wing man, who can always be relied upon for back-up, to do what's required without complaint or fuss.  You may be one of those who will survive the longest, because you're not rash, or over-emotional ~ you're sensible, practical.  In the zombie world, this can keep you safe.  You'll willingly go on medicine runs, be the one to haul a zombie out of a well, and when exploring dark and dangerous places (like prisons) you'll be the one who remembers to chalk the arrows on the walls so you know your way back.  Be happy that you're Glenn.

The perfect, responsible, sensible wingman, good Virgo type Glenn

...and super-critical, bitter, unhappy and negative Virgo type Shane 
(I did feel sorry for him, though!)


Librans like everything harmonious, they're pleasant, reasonable and just generally good to be around.  You might have trouble making tougher types believe that you're for real, but once new friends trust you, you can become a valuable part of the team, treading the middle ground, never putting yourself in too much danger but not holding back, either.  You're sociable and can get on with strangers, and are able to help negotiations with new groups.  Your Walking Dead counterpart is the lovely Aaron. 

Positive Libra type Aaron, with the quiet strength that wins through

 Equally pleasant, but being a dithery Libra type got Denise nearly dead once, and an arrow through her head when dithering on a railway line....


Deep, intense, secretive and sexy, you feel so deeply and find it hard to let go of hurt and anger.  You love fearlessly, harbour grudges.  In a post apocalyptic world this can make you brave, or sometimes just stupid brave.  Scorpio is said to have the potential for great things, but with a dark side that can so easily turn bad.  Your zombie apocalypse personality is Sasha, who mourned brother Tyreese and lover Bob with such pain that she went a bit crazy, but soon came back stronger than ever ~ and of course she was, unintentionally, sexy enough to lure Abraham away from the drop dead gorgeous Rosita!

Using all that power and intensity for the common good ~ Scorpio type Sasha

....and the worst of Scorpio: who else but Negan? 


As soon as society went to pot, you realised that this is the world you were made for.  You don't like rules or restrictions, you're adventurous, independent, daring, love the outdoors, a born survivor.  You could get on just fine on your own, but as part of a group you will work best if given the tasks that let you go out and be freewheeling on your own, sometimes.  You're optimistic, rarely emotional, and just the sort of person anyone would want to team up with when the world is full of Walkers, cannibals and worse.  Nowhere to wash, no comfortable bed to sleep in?  Who cares, you're free!  You've guessed it ~ you're Daryl (lucky you!).

The best freewheeling Sagittarian in the post apocalyptic world
hold onto your hearts, girls, it's the gorgeous Mr Dixon!

Taking the Sagittarian personality to evil extremes ~ Joe from Series 4
 Oh, okay, then, here are some more Daryl pictures....


You can be your own worst enemy, stopping yourself from finding comfort and joy because you think you don't deserve it, maybe; you don't know why you feel the need to make things hard for yourself, you just do.  Now the world is forever changed you might discover strengths you didn't know you had.  Capricorns are said to get younger as they get older, so if you can survive, it's all good.  You can be harsh, or just practical, sometimes without consideration for others' sensitivitiesThat loner thing inside can get the better of you, but you'll be best off if you can shrug off the black Saturnine moods, learn to relate to others, accept that their point of view might have something going for it, now and again, and find your place within a group ~ like Carol. 

Carol keeps Capricorn traits postive ~ most of the time....

...unlike Jenner, who just checked out: the ultimate in giving yourself a hard time! 


The eleventh sign is independent, with a quirky way of looking at life; you could find your own way within the post apocalyptic world on your own, if necessary. The problem with being an Aquarius in a dangerous situation is that you're idealistic, and see things as you would like them to be, as they should be, in a better world, not as they are; you're said to be the hippies of the zodiac.  Humanitarian, you may sometimes make the mistake of over-estimating the motives and possibilities of others.  Even if you vow never to kill a non-Walker, don't make the mistake of judging everyone by your own high standards.  Your zombie apocalypse persona is Morgan.

Humanitarian, idealistic Morgan, the Aquarian type male who knows when to get practical...

 ..... and poor but equally humanitarian Deanna, whose ideals were just pie-in-the-sky.... 


They're not just dreamy little fish who like to escape into their own worlds; Pisces is symbolised by two fishes, one sinking, one swimming.  The sign is all about death and rebirth; you're adaptable, and when the world you once knew is gone, can accept and make the best of the new one.  You're a softy, but not always as much of a pushover as people think, even though you genuinely care for people.  You can still enjoy a bit of fantasy play time, and romantic thoughts, even when everything's gone to shit ~ just like Carl, who was able to see, long before his parents, that he needed to stop being treated like a child and learn how to protect himself.  

Adaptable Piscean type Carl, who still knows how to enjoy life and dream a little...

...and equally Piscean type Hershel, who embraced the new world even at his great age.


Roll on October!!! 

nb, I've been having trouble answering comments on my blog for the past couple of days, so please don't think I'm being rude if I don't reply, I hope to get it fixed asap :)