Tag Archives: Thriller

Guest Post – My Top Five Excuses Not To Write by Penny Joelson

 


Today I am over the moon to have the wonder Penny Joelson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her new YA Girl In The Window.

Girl In The Window is due to be released on the 9th August 2018 published by Electric Monkey and is set to be an eye opening compulsive page turner that will have you hooked.

I often wonder how writers motivate themselves as it’s often easy to procrastinate (*cough at myself who instead of writing today scrolled through twitter*) so today Penny shares her top 5 excuses not to write…..


About The Book!

See the world from another unique perspective in the thrilling new novel from the author of I Have No Secrets (a World Book Day title for 2018).

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes . . .

There was a girl in the window opposite – did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all.

There is no girl.


My Top Five Excuses Not To Writ

  1.  I only started using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when I was writing ‘I Have No Secrets’. Now I, like many others, am guilty of spending far too long on these things. It is a wonderful feeling when you look at Twitter and see that someone has commented excitedly about how much they love your book. It is hard not to keep looking for ‘mentions’ or ‘retweets’.

2.  I get lots of lovely emails – especially from schools about visits as well as important emails from my editors, publicity team and my agent. I get many less important emails too – but it is hard not to keep checking in case something interesting comes.

3.  Goodreads, Amazon, Blogs. I was warned against looking at these things too much but again I am drawn to them and sometimes find the pull too tempting.

4.  I am very disorganised. Often the one piece of paper where I wrote some notes or the particular notebook I was using have disappeared under a pile and I just can’t get on with writing until I have found it.

5.  I love my family very much, but they require attention – things like meals (I can’t think why!) often at moments when I am most inspired to write. They also require taking and fetching from swimming lessons, Brownies etc. They even want clean clothes!

You can buy a copy of Girl In The Window here or from your local bookshop!


About Penny Joelson

Penny Joelson’s debut novel, I Have No Secrets, was a World Book Day 2018 title and won the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. Penny has loved reading and writing stories since she was a child and began working with disabled people when she was a teenager, which gave her inspiration for her first novel I Have No Secrets.  Penny teaches creative writing and lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Find Penny on Twitter: @pennyjoelson


A huge thank you to Siobhan at Electric Monkey for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to Penny for such a fab guest post!

Have you read Girl In The Window?  What did you think?  What did you love about it?  What are your excuses not to write or blog?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – The Lies We Told by Camilla Way


Today I am shining the spotlight on a brilliant new adult thriller, The Lies We Told by Camilla Way!

The Lies We Told was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by Harper Collins and is set to be an absolute page turner of a book!

So lets find out more….


DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL?

A DAUGHTER
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A SON
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A LIFE BUILT ON LIES
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke’s long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke’s life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it’s too late?

You can buy a copy of The Lies We Told here or from your local bookshop!


About Camilla Way

Camilla Way was born in Greenwich, south-east London in 1973. Her father was the poet and author Peter Way. After attending Woolwich College she studied modern English and French literature at the University of Glamorgan. Formerly Associate Editor of the teenage girls’ magazine she is currently an editor and writer on the men’s style magazine Arena. Having lived in Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Clerkenwell, she now lives in south-east London.

You can follow Camilla on twitter – @CamillaLWay


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

#thelieswetold


A huge thank you to Heidi Bland for asking me to take part and sending me a copy of the book.

Have you read The Lies We Told?  What did you think?  Did it keep you guessing?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Cover Reveal – Glowglass by Kirkland Ciccone


I am over the moon to have been asked by the awesome Kirkland Ciccone to reveal the brilliant cover for his new YA due to be released on the 3rd May 2018, Glowglass.

Kirkland is just fantastic and has gained a reputation as a hugely entertaining YA author and makes me smile all the time.

I am super excited to read Glowglass and of course reveal this truly stunning cover!  I also have a little super fun intro from the main man himself, Kirkland…..


The Blurb

Glowglass

Starrsha Glowglass s face is on the front page of every newspaper. She isn’t a model, Vlogger, or reality TV show contestant. Starrsha is famous for something darker: she survived a massacre that claimed her Brothers and Sisters.

Hers was no ordinary family. They were The Family Glowglass – a religious order set up by an eccentric businessman as a tax dodge. One morning the parishioners sat down to breakfast…Most didn t get back up.

Only Starrsha and her mute Brother, Simon, survived. Both now have a chance to lead an ordinary life. For Starrsha that means high school. Can a videotape bring back the dead? What s behind the red door? Why won t Starrsha s best friend reveal her true sexuality? When is a poster on a wall actually a trap? Will My Chemical Romance reform? Why is Father obsessed with vintage technology? Why does Barbie freak out Starrsha? How many rich husbands has Aunt Imelda bumped off? And why is God crank-calling Starrsha? All will be revealed when someone presses PLAY…


About Kirkland Ciccone

WINNER OF THE CATALYST BOOK AWARD 2014 – Conjuring The Infinite

Kirkland Ciccone writes and performs quirky one man shows for any theatre or venue lucky enough to have him. It wasn’t always this way though. He left school bored and restless, plotting to become a journalist until the time came for him to make a choice – performing arts or writing stories about jumble sales. Fact, in Kirkland’s case, is always weirder than fiction. He has written for cool music ‘zines such as This Is Fake DIY, Rock Louder, Neu Magazine, and Subba Cultcha. His previous shows include In Bed with Kirkland Ciccone, The Dead Don’t Sue, A Secret History, Kirkland Ciccone Plays Pop and others.

Conjuring The Infinite is his first novel.

His second novel is Endless Empress, or to give it the full title, Endless Empress: A Mass Murderer’s Guide To Dictatorship In The Fictional Nation Of Enkadar. An over the top YA book deserves an over the top title!

His latest novel of quirky YA fiction is North of Porter, a tale about a boy who takes on the world armed only with his sharp wit…and expensive designer handbag!

Kirkland lives in Falkirk with his dog Lord Fanny.

For news on upcoming novels, events and general juvenilia:

www.kirklandciccone.co.uk
www.twitter.com/kirklandciccone


Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for, but first lets hand you over to Kirkland….

I started writing Glowglass (original title The Gerard Way Fan Club) last year after I’d recovered from A Mystery Illness. I couldn’t walk properly for three months. I was bloody miserable. I’d also found myself battling against a stalker and having to get that sorted out. Anyway, everyone was obsessing over 13 Reasons Why and suddenly there was a vogue for YA novels featuring retro technology. Hipster revivalism is very real. If Glowglass was a song, it might be a diss or response track. Here’s an exclusive: tapes were crap and videos took ages to rewind. Nostalgia is overrated!

In the midst of all this was the rise of the YouTube Vlogger-As-Author. I have no problem with Tallia Storm or ‘Pop Girl’ or the Vloggers – but there HAS to be other points of view, especially in YA fiction, and I see my role as someone to provide that, for better or worse. I’ve always regarded myself as a punk and that inspires everything I do, and with luck there’s a little punk spirit in this cover art. Glowglass will NEVER be on Zoella’s Book Club and it won’t be comfortable reading for everyone. There are no love triangles. The morals are murky. The protagonist isn’t relatable. It’s violent. Dark. Funny. A bit uplifting. And of course it wouldn’t be me if it didn’t spew bile in other directions. It’s also my best book so far. I know we all say that, but there’s something about Glowglass I love. I’m proud of it.

The artwork is by Andrew Forteath.

Isn’t it awesome!!

You can buy a copy of Glowglass here

(Please note that this book is not due for release until 3rd May 2018)


Previously On Tales….

You can find previous posts with Kirkland on Tales by clicking on the following links…

Whatever Happened to Kirky Ciccone?


A huge thank you to Kirkland for the wonderful intro and insight into his new book and for asking me to host the cover reveal!

What do you think of the cover for Glowglass?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Kirkland’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Spotlight – Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley


Today I am spotlighting the second book in this brilliant thriller of a series, Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley and I have a fab extract from the book to share!

Tell No Lies was released on the 19th February 2018 following on from the huge success of Ask No Questions, the first book in the series.

So lets jump straight in….


Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky…

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin.


Extract

Caelan didn’t make the call until she had left the train at Canada Water and was approaching the apartment building she had, until the previous evening, called home. Nicky answered immediately and Caelan began to talk, not giving her any opportunity to interrupt.

‘Listen, I’m five minutes away, can you let me in so I can grab some of my gear? I’ll be in and out, don’t want to disturb you. See you soon.’

She ended the call and shoved the handset into her jeans pocket, cutting off Nicky’s voice and ignoring the sting of guilt. Beckett had demanded professionalism, and that was what she would get.

She marched towards the building, six storeys of pale-yellow bricks and immaculate royal-blue paintwork. She smiled up at the CCTV camera on the corner of the building as she walked beneath it, knowing Peter would be manning the reception desk at this hour. The glass door already stood open and she stepped inside. When she had left the previous evening, she had had no intention of ever returning. Now, less than twenty-four hours later, she was back.

‘Caelan.’ Peter was on his feet, clearly confused. ‘Ms Sturgess is here, she’s upstairs.’

Caelan forced a smile. ‘It’s okay.’

‘I wasn’t sure if you knew…’ His voice trailed away and he ran a hand over his mouth, embarrassed.

‘I saw her last night. She’s moved back in.’

‘But…’

Caelan kept walking. ‘I’ll keep in touch, Peter. Say hi to your wife for me.’

He nodded, sensing she didn’t want to talk.

Nicky’s apartment was on the sixth floor. Despite her aching, bruised body, Caelan made herself walk up the stairs. She usually took the lift, but the stairs would take longer, and today, giving herself extra time mattered.

On each landing was a huge window offering a view of the Thames. Caelan paused, looked down at the green-grey water. Peter would have rung to tell Nicky she had arrived. The temptation to turn and run was almost overwhelming. She took a breath, steadied herself. She had done nothing wrong. She had mourned someone she believed to be lost to her, someone she had begun to love. There was no shame in that. She looked up to the floors above, began to move again.

As she approached, the door to number 135 opened. Nicky stood there, dressed in jeans and an old T-shirt Caelan recognised, because it was one of her own. Nicky said nothing, but stepped back, allowing her to enter. Caelan nodded.

‘Thanks. I won’t be long.’ Her chest was tight, her throat feeling choked. She didn’t trust herself to say any more. She still couldn’t quite believe Nicky was here, alive and well though clearly exhausted, her eyes shadowed and watchful. She hesitated, wanting to speak but with no clear idea of what to say.

‘I’ll be in the kitchen.’ Nicky’s face was closed, her arms folded. She turned and walked away. Caelan watched her go, her jaw clenched. She wouldn’t break down again. She was a professional, and she was working. There was no room for emotion.

In the bedroom, she pulled her rucksack out of the wardrobe, filling it with tops and jeans, a couple of hoodies. Underwear, socks. Enough for a few days. She pushed her feet into a pair of gaudy pink and purple Air Max trainers, pulled on a padded jacket. In the bathroom, she grabbed shower gel, toothpaste and her toothbrush. She’d go back to the hotel to shower. The apartment seemed smaller somehow, the atmosphere suffocating. She had enjoyed living here, though it had never felt like her own. Now she knew why. It wasn’t, and never would be. Whatever legal processes had resulted in the property being signed over to her would have to be reversed now that Nicky had reappeared. It didn’t matter.

She heaved the rucksack onto her shoulder and forced herself to approach the kitchen. Nicky sat at the table, shoulders hunched, drinking a glass of orange juice. Orange juice Caelan had bought. She frowned, realising she was being petty, and pushed the thought away.

‘I’m going now,’ she said.

Nicky set down her glass. ‘Caelan, listen. I want you to stay here. This is your home, not mine. I’m going to rent somewhere else.’

Caelan stared. ‘No. I can’t.’

‘I’ve never felt comfortable here anyway.’ Nicky glanced around, her eyebrows drawn together. ‘I don’t want to live here. I’ve spoken to my solicitor. It’s yours.’

‘I don’t want it.’ Caelan hitched the rucksack higher on her shoulder as she turned away. Nicky stood abruptly, the chair legs screeching on the floor, but Caelan didn’t look back as she pulled the door closed behind her.

You can buy a copy of Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley here


About Lisa Hartley

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

You can follow Lisa on twitter – @rainedonparade


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops


A huge thank you to Ellie at Canelo for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and host this awesome extract!

Have you read Tell No Lies?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Writing Advice by Dan Smith


Today I am thrilled to be hosting this brilliant Dan Smith here on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of Below Zero!

Below Zero was released on the 4th January 2018 published by the lovelies at Chicken House and is a chilling thriller that will chill you to the core.

Today Dan gives us all some amazing writing advise in this fab guest post!


When Zak’s plane crash-lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark nightmare. The power’s out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else – deep beneath the ice – which only he can understand …


Writing Advise

I just typed ‘advice for writers’ into Google. 4,940,000 results. ‘Tips for writers’ gets 16,800,000 results. ‘How to write a novel’ gets 142,000,000 results.

What you’ve got right there is a LOT of advice for writers. But is any of it any good? I don’t know, maybe. Probably. Some of it might be.

When I go into schools I’m sometimes asked if I have any tips for writers. Often it’s a teacher who asks, but sometimes it’s one of the students. Or maybe I’m asked to write an article along the lines of ‘5 tips for budding writers’. You know the kind of thing. Unfortunately, though, I can’t impart any sure-fire-publication-guaranteed nugget of advice, because such a thing doesn’t exist.

I reckon there are two things you can do if you want to be a writer or improve your writing. The first is to read books. I don’t think I’m giving away any of the Majestic Brotherhood of Author’s secrets when I say that reading books will help with writing books. The other thing you can do is write. And write. And write. Because writing is like many other things – it takes a lot of practice, a huge amount of perseverance, a mound of dedication, a dollop of talent, and – if you want to be published – a monumental amount of luck. Multiply the luck by a gajillion if you want to get rich by writing books.

If I could put all those things in a bottle and sell them, I would now be sitting by the pool in my villa in Bali, watching the sea through the palms and wondering what to do tomorrow – stroll along the beach, or go and find a jungle waterfall to swim in.

So my advice would be to not listen to all that advice. Someone once told me that when writing a book for younger readers, the most important thing to do is to find a way to get rid of the parents. In fact, the most important thing to do is to write a story that will engage young readers – though don’t ask me how to do that!

When I started to write Below Zero, I didn’t want to get rid of the parents. I wanted Zak’s parents to be front-and-centre in his story. For many children, their parents are the most significant people in their lives, so it doesn’t seem strange to me that they should feature in a story about something that happens to children. But Zak’s parents are not perfect – just like my parents and your parents. They have flaws. They have quirks. They are human. They can be embarrassing, reassuring, strong, weak, fallible, and, most important of all, they can be wrong. And sometimes, when parents are wrong, they need their children to remind them of it – just like Zak and May do in Below Zero.

Stories reflect life. They are often hyper-realistic versions of life, or even weird, overblown, and crazy versions of real life, but they still reflect life and relationships, and worries and fears and so much more.

There is no right way to tell a story. All we can do is try our best.

BELOW ZERO by Dan Smith out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House). Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com and connect with Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor

You can buy a copy of Below Zero here or from your local bookshop!


About Dan Smith

Growing up, Dan Smith led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say he still lives most of the time.

Dan has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. He’s even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but he’s now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two young children to keep him on his toes. And, boy, do they keep him on his toes!

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he’s always kept writing.

Dan writes for both children and adults.

You can follow Dan Smith on Twitter – @DanSmithAuthor

Or on his Facebook page here


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Dan for a brilliant guest post and to Laura from Chicken House for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Below Zero?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – 5 Steps To Creating Your Ideal Villain by Jacqueline Silvester


I am so excited to have been asked to be the final stop on the amazing Wunderkids blog tour!

Wunderkids by Jacqueline Silvester was released on the 18th June 2017 and is set to be a dystopian YA thriller that will have you turning the pages!

Today I have the lady herself on Tales with a super guest post about creating the ideal super villain….


15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys. However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run.


5 Steps To Creating Your Ideal Villain

A good villain is very important. Villains create opposition to the desires/motives of your protagonist. Villains also create instability, they cause chaos, and they can add a lot of entertainment value to your story.

Step 1- Flesh out your villain

Who is your villain? What does he look like? How does he move? What are some evil things that he does or has done? Does he torture people? Does he eat them? Is he a dictator? A traitor? A pirate? A monk? Perhaps he’s just a normal person with a sinister agenda?

How does he act? Is he manic? Eerily calm? Does he like to watch people scream?

You get the picture.

Ask yourself 1000 questions, Pinterest relevant photographs, and re-watch films with your favorite villains, then hone in on what your villain looks like. Describe how they speak and how they move. Once you have a general idea of what your villain is like, you can start working on how they came to be that way.

Step 2- Backstory

If you believe in the idea that no one is born evil then you are expected to explain how your villain became evil in the first place, and your explanation needs to be convincing. This is where backstory matters. Was your villain neglected as a child? Seduced by greed and corruption? Irreparably hurt by someone? Did they watch their parents get taken away, like Magneto? Were they abused like the Joker? Or driven to insanity like Harlequin?  Can you tell I really like Marvel?

Write a paragraph about your villain’s history, and then create a timeline of events and actions that have shaped them and led them down the wrong path. Personally, I like villains with sympathetic backstories, because they make you question yourself as a reader/viewer, how could you empathize with someone who has done such evil things? Think back to the Darkling, or Maleficent.

Step 3- Motivation

What does you villain want? What are their end goals? What are their motivations in the long term? What (if anything) would technically make your villain happy? What would satisfy or appease them? Villains who are simply born evil and have no concrete desires or motivations are flat.

Step 4- Develop their fear factor and their duality

What is it that truly makes your villain scary? Is it a lack of empathy? Or excessive cruelty? Senseless actions? Limitless control?  Not all villains are grand or epic; a high school bully can be a villain, or a nasty parental figure. What’s important is not the extent of their villainy, but the way that they make people feel. Think about what you are afraid of. To some people a politician who is threatening their freedom is a villain; to others it can be a cruel teacher that made them give up on their dreams. It’s important to decide what exactly makes your villain scary. How will they wake fear/anxiety/terror in your protagonist and your reader?

The best villains are full of duality. Beautiful exteriors combined with horrible motives, like Mrs. Coulter from the Dark Materials trilogy, or a peaceful and comforting air combined with malicious plans. There is a reason that evil porcelain dolls, killer clowns, child ghosts, and many other such polar combinations are so prevalent in horror. We fear that which deceives us, and we find duality fascinating. With that same duality in mind you should try to humanize your villain so that the readers can empathize with them. Everyone loves a villain you can root for like the Darkling, Loki, Mystique and Cat Woman.

Step 5- Flesh out the relationship between your villain and your protagonist

Plan out their relationship, what are its parameters? In what way does your villain create opposition for your protagonist? Draw a timeline of their lives intersecting. You don’t have to follow the timeline exactly but it’s helpful to draw something out. Harry Potter’s entire life was affected by Voldemort’s actions, in one way or another. Now that you know what your villain looks like, how they became this way, what motivates them, and what humanizes them, all that is left is to figure out how these factors will affect your protagonist and their journey.

For a list of notable bookish villains visit a previous stop on this tour hosted by @Popthebutterfly.

Thank you so much to Michelle for hosting this last stop on the Wunderkids books tour! It was an amazing and fun ride, full of wonderful bloggers and epic questions.

You can buy a copy of Wunderkids here


About Jacqueline Silvester

Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in her debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika. Wunderkids has been translated into a number of languages and featured in Vogue magazine!

You can find out more about Jacqueline Silvester on her website – www.jacquelinesilvester.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @Jacky_Silvester


Blog Tour

Catch up of the rest of this epic fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Jacqueline for such a fab guest post and for having me as part of the tour!

Have you read Wunderkids?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Who are your favourite villian and why?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – I Know Where She Is by S. B. Caves


I am thrilled to have been asked to feature a chilling extract from new adult thriller, I Know Where She Is by debut author S. B. Caves as part of this fab blog tour.

I Know Where She Is was released on the 14th August 2017 on e book published by Canelo and is set to be an explosive gripping thriller for fans of Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay and Karen Dionne.

So today I am shining the light on this gorgeous book and sharing that chilling extract…..


On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?


I Know Where She Is – Extract

Chapter 2

At five a.m., a full two hours before her alarm was due to sound, Francine kicked out of the twisted sheets and got dressed. She wasn’t sure whether she’d dozed at all, but guessed that she’d probably managed to snatch a few minutes of shallow sleep. Her mind had whirred incessantly, the caffeine and anxious excitement making it impossible for her to switch off.

It was still pitch black as she drove to the gym, but it had stopped raining. It wasn’t unusual for her to put a shift in on the free weights before work, but today she’d given herself enough time to swim too. The pool didn’t open until seven, so she did the rounds on the cross-trainer, the treadmill – upping the incline almost vertically – and her usual dumb-bell routine. All the while she’d been eyeing the punchbag. She’d always wanted to use it but couldn’t trust herself not to scream as she unloaded on it. She wasn’t really sure how to go about hitting the thing, but the place was virtually empty, so she could afford to look silly. She picked up a pair of gloves that lay by the side and slipped them on, then gave the bag a few jabs for practice. It felt good. Once she’d settled into a rhythm, the volume of punches increased, as did their ferocity. Soon her arms were throbbing and her lungs flamed inside her. She punched until she could no longer lift her hands, her slick forehead resting against the bag.

Afterwards, she swam for an hour without stopping. She couldn’t remember ever having done that before, especially after such a strenuous workout, but she wanted to push her body until she’d burned all that anxiety to cinders.

Her body was a patchwork of pain by the time she sat down at her desk. It was as though she’d given her mind a spring-clean, sifting all that sludge, and now she could focus. She worked solidly through to lunch, processing invoices and sending out reminders, only stopping to confer with colleagues where absolutely necessary. All of the six employees crammed into the tiny back office of Worldwide Golfing Supplies knew Francine’s story, and they had never tried to engage her beyond routine chit-chat. That suited her fine. When she’d first started, one of the other accountants, a divorcee named Henry who drank lots of black coffee and ate neatly cut ham sandwiches for lunch, asked her if she would like to go for a drink some time. Francine offered him only sincerity in her reply: no, she didn’t want to go for a drink – not now, not ever. She hoped her expression would dissuade any future attempts at courtship. He didn’t ask again.

As usual, she left her desk and went for a stroll during her lunch hour. She stopped at Starbucks for a cappuccino and bought a newspaper from the corner store before walking to her car. She liked having lunch in her car, comforted by the notion that at any second she could turn on the ignition and drive away forever.

She began skimming the newspaper, waiting for her cappuccino to cool. Quite suddenly, the lack of sleep and the exertion of her morning workout seized her. She could feel her eyes losing focus on the page, her head dipping. She placed the cup in the holder and closed her eyes. Very soon, she was out.

When she woke, her coffee was cold and a girl, maybe eighteen years old, was standing in the centre of the parking lot, staring at her. The wind whipped the girl’s hair about her face, tugging at her frumpy dress. She had scrapes and scabs lining her legs and was drowning inside a man’s bomber jacket. Francine yawned, looked at the clock, then back at the girl, who still hadn’t moved.

She got out of the car and stretched. The girl turned on her heel and cut briskly across the parking lot, casting glances over her shoulder before vanishing through the automatic doors of the small indoor market.

Francine returned to her desk ten minutes late from lunch, but nobody seemed to notice. While she was in the middle of composing an enthralling email to their suppliers regarding low stock on fluorescent golf tees, it began to rain again. The first drops plinked against the window, and then a low rumble of thunder distracted her. She stopped typing and looked out into the parking lot. The girl in the baggy bomber jacket was standing next to her car, peering curiously inside like a child at an aquarium. Francine stood up and watched as the girl cupped her hands around her eyes and pressed herself up against the car window for a better look, before walking round to the passenger side, idly running her finger along the bodywork, then scoping out the back seats.

‘What’s she doing?’ Francine muttered to herself. She walked out of her cubicle and left the office, hurrying down the corridor before taking the stairs two at a time. Pushing through the double doors of the reception, she marched toward the car. ‘Excuse me? Can I help you?’

The girl had been looking through the back window when she snapped upright at the sound of Francine’s voice. From a few yards away, Francine thought she saw something amiss in the girl’s expression. It was only as she neared that she noticed that she was severely cross-eyed, her pupils pulling away from one another like magnets. Kermit the Frog, Francine thought. She has eyes like Kermit the Frog. Given the distraction they presented, those eyes made it impossible to tell whether the girl was pretty or not. She appeared gaunt, birdlike almost, her hair a blonde so dull it bordered on silver.

‘I said, can I help you?’

‘I put a letter through your door. Did you get it?’

You can buy a copy of I Know Where She Is here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads List here


About S. B. Caves


S.B. Caves was born and raised in North London. He loves crime and thriller novels, classic horror movies, Korean/Japanese thriller films and true crime documentaries. He is also a huge boxing fan.

You can follow S. B. Caves on Twitter – @SB_Caves


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to S. B. Caves and Canelo for letting me share this fab extract and for having me as part of the blog tour.

Have you read I Know Where She Is?  Are you intrigued?  Do you love a good thriller?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Top Five Things About Detective Caelan Small by Lisa Hartley


Today I have a fab guest post to celebrate the release of Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley.

Ask No Questions was release on the 10th July 2017 published in ebook format and is set to be a page turning adult fiction thriller that will set your pulse racing!

So today I thought we should find out a little about the main Detective in the novel, Detective Caelan Small…..


Some secrets were meant to stay hidden… Trust no-one

After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.

Soon Caelan is drawn back into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect – even close colleagues.

Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions.

This isn’t an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.

The nerve-shredding new crime thriller from bestseller Lisa Hartley starts a must-read new series. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza, it will keep you guessing until the very end.


Top Five Things About Detective Caelan Small

Thank you for the opportunity to write a guest post about Detective Caelan Small, the main character in my latest book, ‘Ask No Questions’. I’m so excited about bloggers and readers meeting Caelan, and stepping into her world. She’s a character I’ve really enjoyed getting to know, and as this is the first book in a new series, I feel there’s much more to come from her.

Here are five things to know about Caelan:

1) Caelan was a police officer with the Metropolitan Police, specialising in undercover work. At the beginning of the book, she has resigned from her job. Her decision was made when operation she was involved went disastrously wrong. During the fallout which followed, Caelan decided she could no longer work for the Met. She went on holiday to Egypt to recover, and to consider her options. Before long, she is offered an opportunity, and has decisions to make.

2) She is loyal to her colleagues, and willing to stick her neck out for the people she trusts. In her job, she and the people she worked with had to rely on each other, especially during undercover operations, when a mistake could have cost them their lives. She knows who she can trust, or believes she does. As the book progresses, and Caelan is drawn deeper into an investigation, she begins to question everything she thought she knew.

3) Caelan has lived in London for nine years, though she doesn’t feel as though she has explored the city as much as she would have liked to. She’s spent a lot of time getting to know the people and places of the darker side of the city, and not so much seeing the sights. She recently moved into an apartment in Rotherhithe, on the banks of the Thames, and previously lived in Camden.

4) She is confident in her own abilities, and knows her own worth. The head of her undercover unit describes her as “the best we have”, and most of her fellow officers agree. Some, however, believe Caelan is a liability, and aren’t afraid to voice that opinion.

5) Her name is pronounced “Kaylen”. Not Carlin, Callen or Colin. Some sources say “Caelan” is an Irish or Gaelic name meaning ‘powerful warrior’ or ‘child’. I’ve read it was originally thought of as a boy’s name, but more recently has been used for girls as well.

You can buy a copy of Ask No Questions here

Or why not add this to your Goodreads list here


About Lisa Hartley


Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. In addition to this new series with Canelo she is also working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel.

You can find out more about Lisa on her website – www.lisahartley.co.uk

Or why not follow Lisa on twitter – @rainedonparade


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Lisa for a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of his fab blog tour.

Have you read Ask No Questions?  What did you think?  Do you love a good thriller?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – End Times by Joss Stirling


I was super excited to have received a set of the brilliant Young Detective Agency series by Joss Stirling to celebrate the recent release of the final book in the series Scorched.

Scorched was published on the 6th April 2017 by the lovely people at OUP and I literally cannot wait to jump into this series.

So I asked Joss Stirling if she would like to feature on Tales to discuss endings and how it felt to write and ending.  Do things ever really end…..


Love is a fire. But who will get burned?

Ember Lord is facing charges for the murder of her father. She was found at the scene of the crime, holding the murder weapon, and refuses to explain herself.

Joe Masters is tasked with getting under Ember’s skin, and breaking through her stony facade; to gain her trust and find out what her plans are now her father’s legally-questionable business is under her control.

But as the two get closer, Joe begins to break down the wall that Ember has built around herself, and gets a glimpse of the truth behind. Is he really falling for a cold-hearted killer? Or is there more to the murder than meets the eye?

The incredible final instalment of Joss Stirling’s Young Detective Agency series, a companion novel to Stung, Shaken, and the award-winning Struck. Romantic thrillers that will make your heart skip a beat.

Check out the other books in this fab series….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


End Times

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Frank Herbert

That’s how most writers feel when they get to the end of a series. I’ve just waved off Scorched to your bookshelves, the last in the Struck series. This was always planned as four books (Struck, Stung, Shaken and Scorched) so I knew I was on the last lap. My young detectives had gone undercover in a boarding school, been on a chase from Jakarta to London, rocked New York and now…well they had to break out of prison, naturally!

Yet there was also the matter of the bigger patterns in the story stretching across all the books. I had settled some things, found partners for my young detectives, but I also needed to discover what would be a suitable stopping point. I knew some things in advance:

–    I wasn’t going to do a Hamlet (i.e. all the main characters die)

–    It was going to be upbeat, a little euphoric. On this I usually side with Bilbo, here talking to Frodo as his nephew sets out on his quest:

“Have you thought of an ending?”

“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.”

“Oh, that won’t do! Books ought to have good endings. How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?”

There is enough darkness in the world without adding to it in a series that, though it covers serious themes, is mainly there for your reading pleasure.

–    There ought to be a sense of what life might be like in the future for the characters, allowing of course for the ups and downs we all experience. Perhaps a little bitterness mixed in with the sweet so that it feels more like the mixed-bag-that-is-life?

–    Everyone should be there. In a series, a reader invests time in all the characters so it’s only fair the reader gets to see them all again, something like the curtain call at the end of a show.

So, without giving any more away, that was what I was trying to do for the boys from the YDA, Joe, Damien, Nathan and Kieran.

Yet, as Herbert says, there is no real ending. I know I will get messages from readers wanting more – that is like asking for the film to start up again after the credits role. I’m sure that is why J K Rowling added that scene at the railway station at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She was trying to get ahead of the fans. But, of course, that turns out not to be the end either. She went back to it in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It is so difficult to leave your story alone.

Do you have a favourite ending? Thinking about this blog post, I was wondering if there had ever been a poll on this. I found a list on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/574.Best_Ending) which includes a some of my favourites. The Great Gatsby gets my vote for sheer poetry. 1984 for bleakness. A Tale of Two Cities must be one of the most heroic and poignant. The Lord of the Rings also wins for its message that sometimes the heroes don’t get the reward, but it is left to those that they save. Pride and Prejudice is perhaps the happiest.

I can’t possibly try to match the brilliance of these examples but I hope you enjoy what I did in Scorched with my own sense of things coming to an end. However, I should warn you, I’m going to give my last word to the novelist, Graham Greene, who wrote in a book aptly named The End of the Affair:

‘Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell you that if you halve each pace in crossing a room, you will never reach the opposite wall, so what an optimist I would be if I thought that this story ended here.’

You can buy a copy of Scorched or any of the fab Young Detective Agency series here or from your local bookshop!


About Joss Stirling

Joss Stirling is the winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2015 for STRUCK (first published as Storm and Stone) – the first time the award has been given to a teen book. You can find a book trailer on this page, where young detectives take a turn to star. The sequels are called STUNG and SHAKEN.

She is also the author of the internationally successful FINDING SKY, STEALING PHOENIX and SEEKING CRYSTAL, the first three books about the Benedict brothers, a family with extraordinary gifts. The stories combine her love for romance, mystery and travel – oh, yes and some seriously attractive heroes.

Readers demanded to know what happens to the remaining brothers so the next in the savant series, MISTY FALLS. Find out which Benedict brother meets his match! The story continues in ANGEL DARES – meet Joss’ most outrageous heroine yet! The series concludes with SUMMER SHADOWS.

Joss lives in Oxford, UK, is married with three children.

You can find out more and speak to Joss at www.jossstirling.co.uk.

Or why not follow Joss on twitter using – @jossstirling

I previously spotlight Joss Stirling’s Benedict Brothers series here


A huge huge thank you to Joss for such a fab post and to OUP for sending me the books and asking me to host!

Have you read Scorched or any of the Young Detective Agency series ?  What did you think?  What are you favourite types of endings?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Top 10 Literary Influences by Louise Cole


Today I have a fab guest post from the lovely Louise Cole in celebration on the release of her YA Thriller The Devil’s Poetry.

The Devil’s Poetry was released on the 13th June and you can see a spotlight post on the book here.

So today Louise is chatting to use about her Literary Influences….



Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.


Top 10 Literary Influences

When Tales of Yesterday asked me for my top 10 fictional inspirations, I really had to sit and think. It’s one of those questions that you are sure you’ll be able to answer and then, the more you consider it, the further a true answer seems to run.

1

Like most writers I’ve been an avid reader since I was very small, so my first pick has to come from those books which seeded my love of story. My wonder at being able to escape into another world, live other lives. That sense of magic from being totally absorbed in a new book.

The first book I can remember wanting to live in was Judith Berrisford’s Jackie Won a Pony – I warned you I was going way back to childhood. I suspect my first attempts at writing a story were my own pony books, now mercifully lost to my mother’s ruthless housecleaning. Berrisford led me on to other wonderful novelists like Patricia Leitch and, of course, Monica Dickens.

2

The next significant influence was KM Peyton. Peyton created whole worlds – and stories that, amazingly, went beyond horses, a development I wasn’t entirely convinced by when I was 12 – but she also created characters with depth. People who grew and changed. The discovery of characters like Ruth Hollis, who was growing up just a little ahead of me, or Flambards Christina Parsons, helped shaped my sense of how complex people could be. And how very interesting it was to watch them ‘put away childish things’ and become adults. It didn’t hurt that all those books featured men I fancied like mad. (Mind you, I always fancied the slightly brutish Mark over scared-of-horses William, which just shows that literature can’t teach you everything.)

3 & 4


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By now I’m starting to perceive that there is a whole world of literature around me. The books that finally settled in my soul and I believe shaped me as a writer are….

Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave trilogy and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. (I never did like The Hobbit.) They probably share the responsibility of ruining me for literary fiction. Although I later read English at Oxford and paid due homage to all the classics of the English cannon, nothing has ever exerted so strong a pull on my imagination. I never wanted to be a character in Dickensian London or George Elliot’s Middlemarch… but Middle earth? I’d go in a heartbeat, orcs and all.

5

OK, so this will seem an odd choice after the childish escapism and epic fantasy I’ve listed so far. Jane Austen. I remember reading Austen at a teacher’s suggestion when I was 11 and just not getting it. I wasn’t old enough to understand her wit or her beautiful control of language. But I got there. There’s probably no other author who has taught me as much about economy or restraint as a writer, or about affectionately showing your characters in all their flaws. In The Devil’s Poetry, Callie probably has quite a lot in common with Austen’s Emma, although I hadn’t thought of that before writing this piece – she too misinterprets and makes poor choices and has to grow past her self-obsession to really understand what other people want and need.

6

Six is Emily Bronte with Wuthering Heights. If you think WH is a love story, read it again. It’s a masterpiece in narrative technique. Ellen Dean is no loving housekeeper to that family. I think she’s a jealous woman and a totally unreliable narrator – as is Lockwood because he’s a fool. And yet it is from their accounts, a gossip and a fool, that we build our idea of Catharine Earnshaw and Heathcliffe.  Emily taught me trust no one and always to read between the lines.

7

Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose. Probably one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read. There is the detective story, with its medieval Sherlock Holmes character. There is the young novice who gives us our Watson. There is the dark and terrifying backdrop of the inquisition and such a vivid recreation of the snow-bound monastery that I can still imagine it 20 years later. And, of course, ultimately he’s talking about books and ideas. The reader as the detective, following the clues through the novel and how wonderfully dangerous and subversive books can be…

8

Gosh, I’ve talked a lot. OK, the next two camps are easy. I have this theory that every writer should write a thriller, if only for practice. So much of writing a novel is about telling the reader exactly what they need to know at exactly the right time, so they can be fully immersed in the story so far but, all the while, anticipating the twists and reveals ahead. Writing a thriller is this ability taken to the extreme, purified.

So my next influences would be the great thriller writers. There are lots of them but if I had to pick the most influential for me, I’d say PD James. She was a master of her craft and her detective Adam Dalgliesh is a lovely rendition of the poet-warrior. PD also produced a wonderful homage to Austen in her Death at Pemberley in which she proved that a great writer can write in any style they choose. I am fascinated by writers who can replicate or finish others’ work. It proves to me that the voice belongs to the story and that a great artist can use any voice they choose – and that I have a depressing amount to learn.

9

Modern thrillers and YA also need adrenaline in today’s world and I am a sucker for high-octane novels – and crescendos, as anyone who reads TDP will discover. Again there are lots of writers I could name but I think Jeff Abbott probably nails it.

10

This choice has to come from the great fantasy writers because they caught me at 10 years old and never let me go. If you allowed me to place my books on a shelf next to any writers in the world, I’d nestle with Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Daniel Abraham, Robert V.S. Redick. But my absolute fangirl pick, who epitomises great fantasy writing is Robin Hobb. If you haven’t tried her Fitz novels, just do it. Read them now. The Assassin’s Apprentice is just wonderful.

I am aware that I haven’t named specific YA writers but I think that’s because YA as a category didn’t exist until recently and I’ve been cooking as a writer for a while. The best of YA draws on so many other genres – thrillers, romance, literary, fantasy. The only difference is that YA always has a teen protagonist. But as with all novels, the best YA books are simply great books, not just for teens but for everyone.

Happy reading

Louise

You can buy a copy of The Devil’s Poetry here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads shelf here


About Louise Cole


Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Louise Cole and Faye Rogers for asking me to host this fab guest post and having me as part of the fab blog tour!

Have you read the Devil’s Poetry?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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