Army of Authors Blog Tour – Paul Toolan

It’s a question many people ask of a writer. “Where do you get your ideas from?”

Paul Toolan – author of  ‘A View from Memory Hill’- gives his answer here, in a beguiling short story format that follows the seed of an idea to the keyboard, and henceforth to the readers. 

So, Paul, where do your ideas come from?

If only I received royalties every time a reader asks me this!

Here, there and everywhere is the true but unhelpful answer. In ‘A View from Memory Hill’, there’s a story called Old Man, Young Pub that was triggered by seeing…an old man in a young pub!

I was at the Brighton Festival [Brighton, England – I used to live there] with old friends/fellow retirees. We dropped in to a wonderful, low-ceilinged pub called The Basketmakers, whose decor has barely been touched since it opened. I remember thinking we were the oldest people there, among many young and lively folk, some dressed in the trendiest fashion, some so far ahead they were next year.

It was a hot day, but as I looked around I spotted an old gentleman in a tweed jacket and tie, standing at the bar, quietly sipping his pint. All around him, bright young things were loud and full of energy. They squatted on bar stools, but no-one offered a seat to the old guy, and his legs could have used one. I wondered about his silent thoughts.

His anonymity, mine too, amongst this colourful crowd threw up a name: Smith. With the conscious germ of a story now in my head, I called him Frank Smith in hope he would eventually be frank enough to tell some sort of tale. I never spoke to this old man, but later when I sat at my keyboard, I spoke to Frank Smith, or he to me. I really don’t know which came first.

What I had was a character and a setting. No plot, no events, no history. Yet. But Frank Smith travelled with me, later in the Arts Festival, to a shabby-chic little theatre where, on hard seats, we watched a trio of skilled actors on a bare, dark stage. Magically, they brought to life some of Damon Runyan’s New York Prohibition stories.

Shortly after, inside that inexplicable swirl called a writer’s head, two separate experiences merged. Frank Smith went to his local pub; and he went to see a play. To keep the story structure tight, I made the theatre a blacked-out room at his pub, and had him go out of sheer boredom. Frank would have liked the Damon Runyan stories, but there’s insufficient conflict in what characters enjoy. I needed to change the play, to find one that Frank Smith liked less, that triggered something of his history, his demons or regrets.

On my bookshelves I have ‘Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works’. I browsed through it. ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ seemed ideal. It featured an old man’s memories, recalled with the aid of an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. Krapp is a drinker too, which resonated with Frank. While flicking through, I revisited ‘Rockaby’, a short Beckett play featuring an old woman in a rocking chair, remembering her past. Within moments, Frank Smith had a wife.

A day or two later, I named her Lucy. Then killed her off. The story would have become a novel if I hadn’t, and I wanted to balance Frank’s ageing memories – of Lucy and others – with voices of youth. So along came the young woman who ushers the audience to their seats in ‘the long thin dark theatre’ where Krapp’sLastTape is performed. Her surprise that Frank turned up at all, among so many young people, releases the demons that rumbled as Frank watched the play. Short stories need a moment of realisation or change, and the clash between her enthusiasm for the play’s use of the past and Frank’s disturbed memories provided this.

‘We’ve all been something,’ was all he managed to say. ‘Known someone.’

The story might have ended there, but because the theme of age and youth was well-established I felt more could be done. I went back to the keyboard and jiggled the plot, making Frank inadvertently upset the ‘woman in black’, so her young hopes and dreams could quietly confront his regrets.

“In the half-dark, she looked squarely at him, black T-shirt and jeans appraising jacket and tie. A slight twitch flickered her lips. He thought there might be tears.

‘We all have dreams,’ she said, in the quietest voice he’d ever heard. ‘I’d rather dream than drift, any day.’ She pressed her lips together to control the twitch, but it continued. ‘What’s wrong with having dreams?’ she asked.”

This exchange then allowed a more positive development in Frank, making for a more satisfying conclusion [in my view, anyway, but I’d love to hear yours too].

So, a chance observation in a pub, a visit to a play, a book on a shelf, some musings and experiments at the keyboard – and before too long there’s a character’s voice, a felt situation, and a set of realisations. If it was as easy as I’ve made it sound…

I drop in to a pub maybe once week. I’m wondering if I should go more often. Pubs are full of people, and where there are people, there are stories.

Readers have already had their say – and will no doubt continue to do so.

Here’s a few snippets from reviews so far :-

“a fascinating collection of short stories, twelve in all, each written from the perspective of protagonists who are in their ‘golden years’ – facing both the ravages time has wreaked upon bodies and minds as well as the feelings of disconnection from the hectic pace of the present day.”

“Being that I am a getting close to that “certain age” I understood the feelings of quite a few characters. The author writes his stories with true feeling.”

But, there’s also a surprise in store for those of you who, like me, have enjoyed Paul’s series featuring Zig Batten – the hard-boiled Detective Inspector from ‘A Killing Tree’ and ‘A January Killing’. You weren’t expecting that now, were you?

You can find ‘A View from Memory Hill’ here, or you can check out Paul’s other books on his Amazon page.

You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Stephen Bentley

I’ve got something extra special today. No kidding around. This post features an author with absolute authority on the genre in which he writes. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop

Yep! Pretty cool, or what? Here’s how the author puts it:

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.

It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.

The book is available from October 31, 2017 in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online book stores.

The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

From Amazon UK bestselling author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from a bestselling author who knows how to suck you into a story.”

This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!

As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop! I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.

But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.

The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks

And to prove Stephen has the credentials – and to help you make your decision as to whether this novel is a ground-breaking, first of a kind – here’s the info you need:

Stephen Bentley: 

Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Are you convinced yet? Okay, why not check out the book in the meantime.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

So, maybe the last bit doesn’t help in proving Stephen’s ‘claim’, but knowing he lives in the Philippines and follows Liverpool FC has to count for something. I mean, you wouldn’t make that up, would you?

Don’t forget to leave a review if you choose to this book. Reviews keep authors writing!

Thanks for reading.

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Kitty Boyes

Have you ever helped out a stranger only

to have it turn your normal life into something

that resembles a nightmare?

Arina did.

After a dead man is discovered in one of her motel units, his only relative, an older sister, asks Arina to help her. The sister believes her brother was murdered.

Despite being dissuaded from getting involved, true to form, Arina dives in. Head first.

Without knowing exactly what she was getting into, she inadvertently puts lives on the line. Including the life of her two-year-old son, Ben.

Money laundering and multi-million-dollar tax evasion scams are uncovered. Ruthless and desperate people will do all they can to avoid detection to protect their interests. Including murder.

Book Three ‘HER BROTHER’S KEEPER’ of the Arina Perry Series takes a psychological ride on the wild side.

Releasing in e-book late November 2017 and in paperback late December 2017.

Get your copy from Amazon here 

About the author:

Kitty Boyes resides on the coast of Western Australia.
Her debut novel ‘The Sins of Our Mothers’ written and published November 2015 is already a hit with romantic thriller readers. Kitty promised a sequel for early 2016. She delivered ‘Her Fathers Daughter’. Now, book three is looming. Are you ready?

Catch up with the author on her Amazon page and check out books 1 and 2 in this suspenseful series.

Still unsure?  Take a look at this review for Boyes’ first book – Her Mother’s Sins

“Her Mother’s Sins” is an absolutely spectacular, thoroughly engrossing novel. 
Boyes is a born storyteller and a fantastic writer. 
A unique, intriguing plot combined with masterful pacing, exciting suspense, romance, and strong characterization makes this book stand out. 
Readers will be captivated from the start and eagerly await Boyes’s next novel. 
Five-stars!” – NY Literary Magazine 

If you decide to grab a copy, be sure to leave a review for Kitty.

Reviews keep authors writing! 

Thanks for reading.

Have you read … Heartless?

Will Riley captivate you as he has done so many others?

Author Alena Des tells me how Riley came to be, why he deserved his own story, and who  – if anyone – can resist his charm.

I created Riley in the second book of my Kings series as a dark angel and the brother of my main female character. He was supposed to be a side character, a character that played his role and then jumped back into non-existence. But the Riley I created soon became much more. He was rebellious enough to take off on his own, defy my plans for him to be nothing more than a side character. Soon, he was backstabbing me as his creator, talking to my readers, making his secretive connections to a large fanbase. Every time he talked, he was mysterious, manipulative. I knew he was the King of Deceptions and soon began to believe he was playing with all of us. Readers kept asking: Is he good? Is he bad? Who is he?

The sexy, humorous and cocky angel soon had my readers panting after him. By the time I was done with my second book, I faced desertion by them unless I wrote his story, the angel who had captivated their hearts. Oh, well…So, I was stuck with Riley. He almost screamed in my head as I was writing his book. I stopped apologizing to my readers for his vulgarity, rudeness and shallowness. He couldn’t help it, he was the son of the Sex Goddess. And, I was merely his voice. Besides, my readers wanted to know more about him, right? This was it. They were free to hate him.

It didn’t really work that way. Riley effused a natural charm. Who am I kidding? There was nothing natural about it. Women were after him. And he just didn’t give a damn. I almost didn’t like him. Almost. But as I scratched the surface with Riley, I found out so much more about this dark Angel.

I knew I was dancing with death. But I was gonna play the game until it claimed me. And eventually it would. There was no escape.”

I began to wonder: Who was he running from? And why was he behaving this way? I had to find out.

I needed help to bring out the fun, vulnerable side which was bottled deep down Riley. For that, I needed to save him from himself and from the one who was after him. I found the help I needed in Oriana. The woman who lived among the humans but was so much more. The woman who was immune to his sex appeal. The woman who held her own secrets. I knew she would be my savior. And, she would be his.

“Hi there, luv,” I said, turning on the charm. From up close, she was an even better catch. Though she was shorter and not as curvy as I desired, there was something about her which made me pause. “My name is Riley, baby.”

“Get lost, Riley,” the woman said.

I had misheard her. There was no other explanation.

“C’mon,” I said, making sure I touched her. It was done.

I had her. I was sure. “I’m rather impatient, honey. What’s your name?” I asked, knowing full well I would not remember it a few seconds after she told me. It was still polite to ask.

“My name is Oriana,” she said politely, but I noticed the sarcasm. “Now get lost,” she repeated. I watched in amazement as she raised her middle finger.

She was making a ‘fuck off’ sign.

I was confused. I was shocked. There were only a few things that generated those feelings in me. I was having a truly weird moment right now. I liked it.

I can tell you that this whole book blog is all part of his plan. It is nothing but his masterful Deception. Read him at your expense, available since 15th of September, beware that he is waiting to charm you. And, no one, but Oriana, is immune.

If you’ve fallen under his spell, then there’s only one thing you can do: click here to read Heartless.

Reviewers call this “amazing and intense”, “a must-read” and “totally YA”. Check it out for yourself., and let Alena know if you’ve found a way to withstand his appeal.

Thank you for reading.

Looking for some noir fiction?

Look no further.

Welcome to Central City

is the latest book by Adam C. Mitchell, and includes three hard-boiled noir novellas and a gripping short story, all following private eyes, detectives and crooks.

Each tale is set against the backdrop of the 1940’s….

No wonder an early reviewer calls it “reminiscent of Bogey and Bacall”.

With comments like “gritty, dark and dangerous”  this is a book that will delight readers who enjoyed “Sin City”.

But if that’s not enough to tempt you in, how about a brief excerpt:

Ready to one-click?

You can get your copy from Amazon via this link:  Welcome to Central City

Enjoy the stories and be sure to leave a review for the author.

Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Book Blitz – The Conclave – with R&R Book Tours

Stopping by today we have Tenille Berezay with THE CONCLAVE, book 3 in The Converters Trilogy.

THE CONCLAVE is the intense, action-packed final book in the Converters trilogy; the conclusion of Desiree’s journey.

Having escaped the dangers of The Keep, Desiree is determined to free Blake. But when a government-enhanced converter goes rogue, the ensuing battle for power, control, and lives makes Blake’s rescue a secondary mission. As Desiree struggles to overcome past demons and new, stifling expectations, she faces converters more powerful, dangerous, and desperate than ever. To protect those she loves, redeem the convergence, overtake The Keep, and honor the Conclave, Desiree will have to redefine her future.

It’s already garnering some fab reviews on Goodreads. 

Take a peek at this excerpt:

Pausing at the door, I peer through the tiny window into the lab. Just as the doctor said, Michelle is there, her bright skirt touching the floor, her glasses firmly planted on the bridge of her nose, her small frame hunched over a stool.

The lab is like her; mostly organized with small spaces of chaos. Reminding myself of my sole purpose for visiting, my solitary question, I push through the door.

Glancing up, Michelle stills at the sight of me. Between open shelves filled with metal plates, computer chips and various other tools, her eyes go wide. Under dark frames her blue gaze studies me intently before softening. “Desiree,” she says and I can almost believe she missed me.

I pick up a remote-like object from the counter, shifting it from one hand to the other, suddenly as awkward as the scientist in front of me.

“It works almost like a magnet, you pass it over an ankle band or an Equalizer and they automatically open,” Michelle says, before stopping abruptly.

I set it down, thinking of the many times a device like that would have come in handy. Looking to the ceiling for surveillance cameras, I ask, “Is this lab secure?”

“One of the most secure locations in the building.” She glances down at the counter before her. “Damiz wanted all my inventions kept secret.” As I round the counter, I can see the pencil swinging in her hand, the drawing laid out before her.

“And Talbot?”

She looks back to me, curiosity overcoming her guilt. “What about Talbot?”

“How many secrets is he demanding?” I rap my fingers on the counter.

Michelle glances to the exit. Flipping the pencil, she taps the eraser on the paper. I allow the awkward silence, my fingers drumming, opposing her nervous beat.

Finally, her hand stills. The pencil drops and her shoulders slump. “The number doesn’t matter, does it?” I inch forward to hear her quietly whispered words. “One is enough. Enough to condemn me.”

Condemn. That’s what I’ve done to her—put the weight of my expectations and disappointments on her. If she had had more fight, would I have had less of one?

Staring vacantly at her paper, she reaches for the discarded pencil. “The least I can do is keep my work from hurting anyone else.”

“Do you trust Talbot?” I ask the question that’s been growing, clawing at my resolve since I stepped into Amplified Industries. The question I keep asking myself.

Michelle’s face becomes open in its honesty. “I don’t trust anyone anymore.” Her confession comes out pained. It was what I expected but hoped not to hear.

I shift away from her hurt, turning to the door. There, I pause, hand on the doorway when Michelle’s says, “It seems like the more secrets we have, the more threatened we are.”

Without turning back, I answer, “Then maybe it’s time to stop hiding.”

***

If you haven’t read the earlier books in the trilogy, go check them out too.

 

Here’s a little more about the author:

After living throughout the western U.S., Tenille now claims rural Northern Nevada as her home. If she’s not being consumed by a book—whether her own or another author’s—she’d like to be found horseback riding, backpacking with her high-school sweetheart/husband, or photographing their three beautiful children.

Tenille loves to read any genre (as long as there’s great dialogue with a touch of snark). She believes in authentic characters, romantic sub-plots, and realistic, happy endings.

Preorder link

You can contact Tenille here:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

And there’s even a Giveaway

Enjoy! 🙂