Stone Angels Bestseller Sticker
Character Traits, Darkstroke Books

Character Traits: Meet James Ravencroft

Next up in this series is Paula RC Readman, a fellow darkstroke books  author who lives in the UK. Paula is the author of the Stone Angels, an intriguingly dark novel I enjoyed. Frankly, I believe it would also make a great movie. For this post, Paula has chosen James Ravencroft, the highly flawed protagonist of her novel. Her journey as a writer and author is also well noting. Here, I will let Paula take over.

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Paula RC Readman

Thank you Joan for this opportunity to introduce my main character from Stone Angels to your audience, James Ravencroft, an artist with a dark heart. He’s passionate about the pure beauty of art. James first appeared in a winning short story I wrote for the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival/Writing Magazine Competition in 2012.

Extract from Roofscapes

“Hey, be careful with that!” the man snarled. With a single sweep of his hand the dangling picture found its place. He then turned his dark blue eyes on me, his shoulder-length black hair shone under the lights. In an upper class tone, he stated, “Aesthetics, my dear woman, art is for art’s sake,”

I caught my balance, and stepped off the ladder.

“Ravencroft,” the man said, offering me his hand, as his dark eyes shone with an eerie hilarity.

I ignored his proffered hand, and instead snatched up my clipboard, hoping he would just leave us to do our job.

“I love your work.” Jude fluttered her eyelashes and flashed her winning smile at him. He chose to ignore her, turning his attention fully on me.

Ever since he had arrived in the gallery with these godless pictures, Jude swooned over this hedonistic, overbearing man in his tight black jeans. I had kept my distance.

“Tina isn’t it?” he said, extending his hand to me again.

I nodded, still not accepting it.

He let his hand drop, unlike his smile. With a nod in the direction of his paintings he said, “You’re doing a grand job, though I expect the public will find something to criticize.”

I lowered my clipboard, “Really?”

“Yes,” he said, letting the word out slowly, “Tell me honestly what you think of my work.”

“Your work?” I shook my head. I had no wish to share my thoughts with the likes of him

“Yes,” He stepped forward, blocking my way.

“I see a darkly delicious city alive in the crowded street below,” Jude said.

Ravencroft turned to her, his smile too sweet, too nauseating. “I wasn’t asking you, my dear.”

How did you come up with the character and his name?

I knew I wanted the name Raven . . .  Something. James Raven on its own was a flat name to me. It didn’t roll off the tongue. According to my dictionary of surnames, Ravenscroft is a town in Chester, England. I just dropped the S, so it became Ravencroft. James’s description I based on the 15th century German artist, Albrecht Durer. There’s a famous self-portrait of the artist with his flowing hair.

Tells us more about Stone Angels.

The inspiration for Stone Angels came from my short story I wrote in 2011, which won the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival/Writing Magazine Competition the next year. The story Roofscapes was told from the view point of Tina Whiteoaks, a picture hanger in an art gallery. She met James, who wasn’t the main character in the story, through her work. In fact we learn everything we need to know about James through Tina and her friend, Jude via their emotions and reactions to him, and his interplay with them. Jude admired James on two levels as an artist, and a subject of desire. Tina, on the other hand found him to be hedonistic, arrogance, and intimidating.

Was a real person your inspiration for this character?

Yes and no. Yes, in as much as my research into serial killers show that most had the ability to be charming and unthreatening to their prey. No, not anyone I know personally who is a serial killer, but a mixture of arrogance and manipulative people I have known during my life time, mentioning no names of course.

Is your character likeable or not?

Yes, James Ravencroft is very likeable. Many people would find him charming, intelligent, a little reserved at times, and even charismatic. Most serial killers are highly intelligent, (it’s why most of them get away with their crime for so long) until you discover their darker side, by which time it’s normally too late if you’re their chosen victim. Of course James’s upbringing, like so many real-life serial killers, has some bearing on his outlook on life.

Athor’s bio:

Paula R C Readman is married, has a son, and lives in Essex, England, with two cats. After leaving school with no qualifications, she spent her working life mainly in low-paying jobs. In 1998, with no understanding of English grammar, she decided to beat her dyslexia by setting herself a challenge to become a published author.

She taught herself “how to write” from books her husband purchased from eBay. After making the 250th purchase, Russell told her “just to get on with the writing.” Since 2010, she has mainly been published in anthologies in Britain, Australia, and America and won several writing competitions. InDays Pass like a Shadow Large 2020 she had her first crime novella The Funeral Birds published by Demain Publishing, and a single collection of short stories Days Pass Like A Shadow published by Bridge House Publishing. Her first crime novel Stone Angles was published by Darkstroke.

Blog: https://paularcreadmanauthor.blog

Amazon Author’s page

Author of Stone Angels, mybook.to/stoneangels

The Funeral Birds https://mybook.to/thefuneralbirds

Days Pass Like a Shadow https://mybook.to/dayspasslikeashadow

Facebook: https://facebook.com/paula.readman.1

Twitter: Paula R C Readman@Darkfantasy13

 

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Edinburgh Crime Mysteries 4 (1)
Character Traits, Edinburgh Crime Series, Val Penny

Character Traits: Meet DS Jane Renwick

Val Penny - relaxed

Author Val Penny

Today, I begin a new weekly series — Character Traits — in which I invite authors to share one of the characters in their book(s). It is fitting that Val Penny, author of the Edinburgh Crime Mystery Series, which I’ve read and enjoyed, is the first to go. Val is a big supporter of other authors, including those with our publisher darkstroke books. She’s chosen DS Jane Renwick to profile. I will let Val take over.

ABOUT DS JANE RENWICK: Detective Sergeant Jane Renwick is one of the main female characters in my Edinburgh Crime Mystery Series of novels. It is, therefore fitting that in 2021 she should become the main protagonist in her own series of novels.

We first meet Jane early in Hunter’s Chase, the first of The Edinburgh Crime Mystery books. DI Hunter Wilson describes her to us.

Hunter stopped concentrating on Mackay’s summary; he let him witter on while he glanced around the room. He noted Rachael had moved to stand near the most elegant DS that Hunter had ever worked with: Jane Renwick. They stood at the far side of the room, whispering quietly together, glancing in his direction. Rachael did look tired and stressed, probably due to the early start and putting up with him. He didn’t blame her. Hunter knew he was sharp when things did not go according to his plans.

In contrast, as always, Jane Renwick was immaculately turned out, with faultless hair, nails and make-up. Hunter would have given his eye teeth to know how the woman could constantly look so spruce. He felt more like DC Colin Reid and DC John Hamilton looked: unshaven and dishevelled. Reid and Hamilton both caught his eye and he nodded acknowledgements. Hamilton brushed the crumbs of his breakfast off his face with the back of his hand as Mackay continued talking.

But Jane is not just an elegant woman, but as we learn later in that book, she is also a capable detective sergeant.

Hunter knelt, surrounded by people but completely alone. It felt like an eternity before he heard Jane Renwick’s clear voice.

“I need you all to move back. Come on now, move back. Everybody move back now and make room. Bear, Mel, move everybody back at least ten feet. Now!”

Bear used his body mass and began waving everybody back, while Mel Grant went to get Tesco staff to help. She instructed them to form a cordon of shopping trolleys to keep the inquisitive public at bay. This was probably the most interesting thing the trolley collector had done all week, Hunter thought. The lad looked so proud and took photos of his work, presumably to share later on Facebook and Instagram. Tesco supplied staff so that potential witnesses did not leave.

When I was creating DS Jane Renwick, I wanted a short recognisable first name that was neither exotic nor fashionable this would contrast with her outward attire. She is always smart and well-dressed. The surname had to be more unusual, because that is not her birth name, for Jane had a difficult start in life and grew up in the care system. The character is not based on any real-life person, but is a figment of my imagination, created to fill an important role in the police team that investigates the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.

Jane is able, likeable, dependable but severely affected by her unfortunate start in life. She feels that this left her alone in the world, unloved and unlovable. However, we learn that she has found her life partner amongst the members of Hunter’s team in Hunter’s Chase.

Is it any wonder that she moves to the Major Incident Team where she will move forward in her own series of books?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adultLet's Get Published daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood and  Hunter’s Secret are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke. Her first nonfiction book Let’s Get Published is available now and the first book in the new series centring on Jane Renwick will be published in 2021.

CONTACT INFO: 

www.valpenny.vom

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

hunter's secret

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

mybook.to/hunterschase

mybook.to/huntersrevenge

mybook.to/huntersforce

mybook.to/huntersblood

mybook.to/hunterssecret

bit.ly/LetsGetPublished

 

 

 

 

 

 

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author, Author Interview, Character Traits

A New Author Series: Character Traits

One of the pluses of being part of Crooked Cat Books and darkstroke books is getting to know my fellow authors. I am impressed with those who are friendly on social media — the group is spread around the world — and generously support each other. So for my part, I am offering a bit of space on my website with a new series called Character Traits.

Val Penny - relaxed

Val Penny

The series begins Wednesday with Val Penny, an American who lives in Scotland, and is the author of the Edinburgh Crime Mystery Series featuring D.I. Hunter Wilson. I understand she has a new series in the works as well. I look forward to that … and finally meeting her in Edinburgh when we can safely travel again. Val has been a huge ally in this publishing game.

So, what is Character Traits about? I am asking authors to write a post about a character — it doesn’t have to be a protagonist — from one of their books and/or series. I am booked until the end of the year, but I am hoping to keep this going. Send me a message on Facebook or leave a comment here on how to reach you. Those who have my email address can contact me that way.

What I hope for: Introduce your character and the important role that person plays in your novel(s). Here are some questions to consider. How did you come up with this character? The character’s name? Is a real live person the inspiration? If so, how did people who know that person react? Is your character likable — or not? If you are writing a series, will this character continue? I welcome your own insights.

How about including a brief scene — say 200 words — where your character appears?

Give me a short bio of you, the titles and Amazon links to your books, your photo and cover of the book your character appears in.

I will be publishing these on Wednesdays. My deadline is the previous Wednesday.

FREEBIE SATURDAY: Thanks to those who downloaded Redneck’s Revenge, No. 2 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, on Saturday, Nov. 14. My goal is to attract more readers.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the top of the piano that came with out house — a long story there. Hank made the candlesticks. The pottery is part of a small collection. And the silk screen print showcases the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls Village where we live.

 

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Isabel Long Mystery Series, Kindle

Free for One Day Only

I am writing about Redneck’s Revenge, no. 2 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. The book is free Saturday, Nov. 14 — Kindle only on Amazon. I’ll post the link below.

Why am I giving away a book I created?

 Frankly, I want people to read it. And to be honest I might make a little money when people who are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited download pages.

Normally, the price tag is $2.99 but who could resist a deal, even a small one?

Another benefit: readers have been buying my other books outright.

This is my sixth time giving away one of my books for free, and I’ve gotten hooked. Of course, I do a bit of paid promotion to get the word out to a much broader audience than I could accomplish.

So what’s Redneck’s Revenge about? Here you go:

Just months after solving her first case, Isabel Long is in a funk. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over. Then she finds out she must work for a licensed P.I. before going solo.

But encouraged by her ‘Watson’ – her 92-year-old mother – Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case. But it’s not at all clear-cut.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited his junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could Waters’ death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

Curious? Here’s the link: Redneck’s Revenge on Amazon

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seasons

Messing with the Clocks and Other Stuff

Ugh. The time changed after midnight Saturday. Fall back, as they say, so that means we lose an hour. Thanks a lot.

Just so you know, my writing time is at 5:30 a.m. Except for much of the summer, it’s pretty dark when I grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer. First, I quickly check the news, and then I get into my work in progress — no. five in the Isabel Long Mystery Series. So my 5:30 is really 4:30 now. I’ll be driving home in the dark from my job as editor-in-chief of a daily newspaper. It’ll take a coupla weeks to get used to that.

Of course, daylight will be diminished over the next few months. Blah.

This is the time of year for change where I live in rural Western Massachusetts.

Most of our deciduous trees have shed their leaves after putting on a spectacular display of color. Certainly, that’s true of the trees surrounding our property. Now, that means raking and hauling leaves that are in our way, like the driveway, on a tarp to dump on a hill. The rest I leave in place to protect my plants and let nature compost them.

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About two-thirds of the hill I cleared of Japanese knotweed and other nasty weeds.

During the late summer, I began my biggest outdoor project — cutting down the Japanese knotweed that previous owners let take over a large slope in our yard. It’s an invasive species and this year I couldn’t use my blade cutter, so I chopped each one down with a sharp lopper I bought. I did it in large sections. I’ve been doing this since we moved into this house three years ago. It won’t kill the knotweed miraculously, but my hope is they give up at some point if I keep it up. The hill also had briars and vines to clear.

Yeah, it was a bit nuts doing it this way, but I liken it to writing a novel: one word at a time, one knotweed at a time. It took me over a month of weekends. My next novel, Working the Beat, will take longer.

Then, I got the flower garden ready for winter, moving plants and bushes around, taking care of the compost piles.

We got out first snow the other day, not much really. But the drop in temps usually comes just after a warm period in the fall, so you think the kids don’t have to wear a coat with their costume, but it is always cold on Halloween. Always, although this year Halloween is different because of the pandemic.

Then, we have the presidential election. I opted for early voting. I don’t want to give up my voice and choice. I hope you don’t either.

I am also driven by the change to do old-fashioned fall cleaning. I used half of my vacation to clean cabinets, my desk, wash and wax the kitchen floor … oh, the list goes on. All I have l left are waxing the floors in the two front rooms. Piece of cake.

Yeah, I am almost ready for winter.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Frost on my neighbor’s holly bush.

 

 

 

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