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blog tour, Checking the Traps, launch

Taking this Baby on the Road

My new mystery, Checking the Traps officially launches Friday, March 22. Wow. Yes, the book has been available in paperback for weeks now, but this is the day those who ordered the Kindle version will see them pop into their device. Procrastinators and those who are just finding my book can get the eBook version right away.

Checking the Traps is the third book in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. No. 4 is in the works.

Unfortunately, with my new job (more another time) I can’t have a Facebook launch that day. I had a lot of fun engaging with family and friends, including running contests. Ah, but duty calls.

So what I will be doing is spreading the word via social media that day … and Checking the Traps will be going on an official blog tour via Rachel’s Random Resources. Rachel Gilbey has drawn together 30 bloggers for this tour — three a day for ten days, ending on March 31.

You can see the tour in the image above. Many of the bloggers will be doing reviews. Others will be posting blogs I wrote for them. Each one is on a different subject. Yes, I’ve been busy.

Plus, my fellow authors at Crooked Cat Books have been kind enough to give me space to post on their blogs. (Yes, they are the best friends I’ve never met.)

My intention is to cast a wide net to snare readers, who will read Checking the Traps, hopefully enjoy and recommend it.

I will be posting links to each one.

So, what’s Checking the Traps about? Here’s a brief synopsis:

Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.

Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.

The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

I do have two readings scheduled in Western Massachusetts: April 13, 4 p.m. at the Worthington Library in Worthington and April 14, 2 p.m. at Floodwater Brewing in Shelburne Falls. Yes, beer and books. My son, Zack makes the beer and I write the books.

One last thing. If you read my book(s), I would love it if you wrote a review on Amazon. A one-liner will do it … “Joan Livingston kept me guessing until the end” or “Darn, I liked this book.”  Hey, even a two-word review would make me happy and give me more status on Amazon.

Review or not, I am grateful for those who have shown their support. Thank you so much!

 

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The Departed cover
Building Character, On Writing

Meet Helen Anne Carter of The Departed

J.V. Baptie is the next author to participate in what I call the Building Character series on this website. I invite authors to write about one of the characters crucial to their novel. J.V., a fellow Crooked Cat Books author, chose Helen Anne Carter, who appears in her new novel, The Departed, as well as her first, The Forgotten. (I read The Forgotten and highly recommend it to fans of UK crime mysteries.)

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I like this about Helen — “Helen never gives up, she cares about her cases and the people around her.” We sure need more people like that. Here, I’ll let J.V. tell you all about her.

Who is your character?

A main protagonist in both my novel is Helen Anne Carter. She features very heavily in my first novel, The Forgotten.

What does he/she look like?

Helen likes to keep fit by jogging.  So she is slim but likes to have a box of Cadburys milk tray occasional and a glass of red wine. She had brown eyes and short brown to just above her shoulders. Often described as a bit of a tomboy as a child but she sometimes she likes to dress up and wear some mascara when the occasional calls for it.

What is your character’s back story?

Helen is a police officer, just like her late father. She studied psychology at college.  She’s not afraid to stand up for herself and speak the truth. (That gets her into trouble sometimes.)

What is your character’s role in your novel?

Helen never gives up, she cares about her cases and the people around her. She wants to get justice for victims, despite her own anxieties and the fact that it might put her in danger.

A brief synopsis

One secret will tear a family apart. 2008.

A body is found in a car boot following an accident, and Detective Inspector John Morrison is under pressure to identify the killer. Was it someone who had murdered before, several decades ago? Or is it a copycat killing?

Meanwhile, Trish, John’s ex-girlfriend, had been working hard to forget the past – until she finds new evidence about her aunt Moira’s disappearance nearly two decades earlier.

Did Detective Inspector Helen Carter miss something in the initial investigation in 1978, and could she live with the consequences if she had?

The past and present intertwine in this gripping case of murders and missing persons.

 

From The Departed

This is a snippet from the second novel that Helen features in, The Departed.  (This scene is about the case she investigates.)

‘Is it a good idea?’

‘I don’t know.’ Moira McKenzie shrugged and pulled away. She rubbed the condensation from her glass as a classical record spun on the turntable. Most of the sound was being drowned out by the heavy rain that pounded off the windows. She swallowed hard to push back the words that wanted to spill from her. ‘I think Reggie suspects,’ she finally said. ‘I’m sure he does.’ She could feel the familiar burn at the back of her eyes. Reggie’s words echoed in her ears.Worthless. No one would ever want you. Mutton dressed as lamb. Pathetic. Each one like a punch to the stomach.

‘He can’t.’

‘It’s in his eyes.’ She paused to think. ‘The way he looks at me. It’s hard to explain.’ She shivered thinking about his moods and how quick they could change.

‘A man like Reggie.’ He grimaced. ‘He would do something if he really suspected. No,’ he reached out and squeezed her hand, ‘that’s just the guilt talking. You’re just feeling guilty because you’re finally happy.’

Moira shrugged and looked at the chandelier that hung above them. She never imagined herself in a lovely house like this, with big bay windows and garden, on the other side of Edinburgh.

‘I can’t do this.’ She put her glass down on the coffee table. ‘I need to go home.’

‘Don’t.’ He looked at her wide-eyed. ‘I don’t understand—’

She dragged the heel of her hand down her face. ‘We’re both married. This will end badly.’ Moira stood up and grabbed her jacket from the coat stand. ‘What happens when your wife is back from her mother’s?’ Her eyes pleading with his, willing him to say the words that she wanted to hear. Say something to stop her going home. She swallowed back the painful lump in her throat. ‘When your wife gets back, I’ll be forgotten about.’

He lowered the volume on the record player and stared at her. ‘That’s not true. I just don’t want to tell her about us until she gets better. It would knock her back… We’ve been through all this.’

‘Do you even think she’ll get better?’ Moira asked, leaning forward. ‘You didn’t think so before.’

He shook his head slowly and stepped towards her, arms outstretched. ‘Don’t be like that. I can’t just walk away from her now.’

‘I should leave.’

His cool fingers brushed against her hand. ‘Will I drop you home, then?’ He frowned. ‘We can meet for dinner next week. We could go to Aperitif again?’

She looked away from him. What was she thinking, a good-looking, educated man – what the hell would he see in her? This was like a dream and all dreams end when you wake up to reality. She nodded and slipped her mac on. ‘Drop me home.’ She kept her gaze on the red carpet and blinked back tears; not wanting to look at the wedding photographs that adorned the mantelpiece and the pictures of his wife that always seemed to be staring at her.

‘If that’s what you really want.’ He picked up his keys from the coffee table. ‘I wish you would stay, though.’

Moira twisted the wedding band on her finger. ‘I can’t. I should be home waiting for Reggie.’

‘After all the things you’ve told me he’s done to you? All the bruises I’ve seen?’

‘I’m married. What else am I meant to do?’

‘Do as I say. Let me protect you.’

‘He’ll never let me leave.’

‘Then let me help.’ He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.

‘No,’ she pulled away. ‘You can’t. Take me home.’

Moira got out the car a few streets away from the house, despite his protests that it wasn’t safe. Reggie was right, anyway. She sobbed. No one would want her. She reached into her pocket for her tissues and dabbed at the mascara that trailed down her face. Reggie would probably still be at the pub, so there would be enough time to get cleaned up before he got home. He was always there on a Friday night before he’d come home pissed and overly friendly. It was the only time that he would be nice to her. Shivering, she wrapped her arms around her body. Rain seeped through her trousers and trickled down her spine. She sniffled and look over her shoulder. She was enclosed by council flats on both sides of the street; only a few lights were on and the lampposts flickered. The sudden screaming howl of a fox filled the silence and she whipped around but couldn’t see anything. She walked faster towards home. Her stomach twitched when she looked up at her flat and saw the bathroom light on.

Moira closed the front door softly. The sound of rushing water and banging pipes trailed from the bathroom. The door was ajar. She saw Reggie hunched over the sink scrubbing at his arms with a pink towel. Strange, as she couldn’t remember them having any pink towels. The sleeves of his white shirt rolled up to just underneath his elbows and his brown hair flopped over his forehead. She stood at the gap in the doorway. The sink was stained red, it was only then Moira realised that it wasn’t a pink towel. It was a bloodstained towel! His head snapped towards her. Moira gasped and stumbled backwards.

‘Why are you back? I thought your mother was sick,’ he snarled.

‘Are you hurt?’ Moira mustered, feeling the bile rise in her throat, as the metallic smell drifted up her nostrils. There was something about the sight of blood that just made her want heave.

Reggie shook his head. ‘It’s just a cut.’

‘How?’

‘You dinnae want to know,’ he spat and threw a towel at her. ‘Wash this.’

‘Reggie,’ she sobbed. ‘You promised.’

‘Someone jumped me when I left the pub.’

‘Where are you bleeding from? You need to go to the hospital. Have you called the police?’

‘Am I on Mastermind?’ He clenched his jaw. ‘Just dae as you’re telt before I lose my rag.’

After she had cleaned the bathroom, Moira peeled her jacket from her shoulders and slumped down into the armchair. Reggie had cleaned himself up and gone to bed. She closed her eyes and heard the soft mumbles of his snores. How could he sleep after what she had just cleaned up? She couldn’t follow him to bed, that was for sure. She climbed up from the seat and grabbed a half-empty can of Tartan from the dresser. She downed the warm lager in one gulp, and her eyes fell to the Evening News that lay next to it.

Picture House Murder Solved.

They don’t solve the ones that matter, though, do they?

She needed another drink. Crushing the can in her hand, she stood up and staggered through to the kitchen. Her temples throbbed, and even though the blood was gone, she could still smell it, taste it, every time she swallowed. She envied Reggie. The way he never had trouble sleeping, never seemed to have trouble forcing any of the horrible things from his mind. Her only escape was a drink. She picked up another one of Reggie’s Tartans from the worktop and sat down, glancing at a couple of books she got from the library which were lying on the centre of the table.

Reggie cleared his throat behind her. She had her back to him but could imagine the look on his face if she’d woken him up. From the corner of her eye, she could see him take a step forward.

‘What are you doing up?’ he asked.

‘I… couldn’t sleep.’

He placed his hand on her shoulder. ‘It’s no’ good for you.’

‘I’ll go in a minute.’

‘I’m sorry,’ he muttered. ‘I shouldn’t have been so…’

Moira straightened. ‘It’s fine.’

He grimaced as he sat down opposite her and rubbed his side.

Moira glanced at him. He looked like he was thinking of what to say next. She made a move to stand but he stopped her.

‘Wait.’ He put his hand over hers. ‘Let’s start again. I got into a fight because I was so upset about your affair.’

‘I’m not—’

‘Don’t. I saw you.’

‘What are you going to do?’

‘Nothing – if everything stops.’ He reached into his dressing gown pocket and pulled out a little gold chain with a cross. ‘I got you this.’

Moira made no move to take the thin necklace. She wasn’t even religious, nor was Reggie. They’d only got married because she’d fallen pregnant, and it was the done thing.

‘Everything that happened tonight is your fault. I wouldn’t have got into that fight otherwise. I wouldn’t have been so angry…’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘You’re always sorry. Ah’ve had enough of this.’ He stood up and walked over to the window, keeping his back to her. ‘I try so hard to make you happy. Given you everything.’

She saw the peeling wallpaper, along with the space in the kitchen where the washing machine used to be. ‘I made a mistake, Reggie. It won’t happen again.’

‘Why have you always got tae annoy me, Moira?’ Reggie picked up the photo of their son on the windowsill, brushing dust off the silver frame with his thumb. ‘We had everything then, eh?’ He put the photo back.

‘I miss him too, Reggie. Not a day goes by—’

‘Nah!’ He scoffed and shrugged his shoulders. ‘It doesnae matter now, does it? He’s dead, nothing’s going to change that.’

He turned to face her and looked her up and down, a sneer curling his top lip.

‘Reggie, please. Let’s just have a quiet night.’

Reggie scoffed and grabbed one of her books from the table. He flung it against the wall where it landed with a thud in the sink. Smiling, he picked up the glass of wine from the worktop and emptied it onto her lap.

‘Sorry, Reggie. I didn’t mean it.’ The wine seeped through her denim skirt and soaked her legs. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she sobbed.

Reggie had his hand braced to slap her.

‘I’m sorry, Reggie. I’m clumsy.’ She shook and swallowed back tears. ‘I’ve been drinking too much. I didn’t mean to make you angry. I’ll stop and do anything you want. Just don’t…’

‘Ah ken,’ he snarled and knelt in front of her, putting his hand on her shoulder on top of the bruise, ‘you just know how to wind me up. You’re trying to play games with me.’

She bit down on her lip. Ready for the familiar sting.

‘You’re always daeing ma heid in.’ He squeezed her shoulder as he stood back up. Her eyes were shiny from tears.

The dog in the flat below was barking wildly.

‘Do you want me to get you a drink, Reggie?’

‘A drink? That’s your answer to bloody everything’ He shook his head and rubbed a hand through his perm of black hair. ‘You ken I dinnae like you drinking, but you do it anyway.’

‘It was just an idea, Reggie.’

‘You always have to have an idea, don’t you? You cannae have a bloody good one, though, can you?’ he spat.

‘I’m sorry.’ Moira clambered up and moved towards the sink. He followed her. She put the glass in the basin and ran the dishcloth under the tap to clean her skirt. The maroon stain wouldn’t budge.

‘I didnae mean to say that you dinnae have good ideas. It’s just been bad at work. The production’s no’ where it’s needed, and now we’ve lost another contract.’

She nodded and dabbed her skirt. ‘But you’ve lost contracts before and we’ve got by. The company has always got by. Indestructible – that’s what you said. We always get by somehow. We can ask my mum and dad for some money to tide us over.’

‘Why? What hiv you been saying to them?’

‘Nothing.’ Moira shuddered.

‘You better keep it that way.’ He stabbed a finger into the small of her back. ‘I’ll find the money fae somewhere. We’re no’ doing that again, I ken you dinnae understand all of this but it’s different this time. It really is.’

JV Baptie on social media

http://getbook.at/TheForgotten

Website@ http://www.jvbaptie.com

Twitter: @jvbaptie

Facebook: @authorjvbaptie

 

 

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Hunter's force cover
Building Character, On Writing

Meet Hunter Wilson of Hunter’s Force

Val Penny is the next author to participate in what I call the Building Character series on this website. I invite authors to write about one of the characters crucial to their novel. In this case it is D.I. Hunter Wilson, protagonist of Val’s The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. She’s on to number three — Hunter’s Force. I’ve read the first two, enjoyed them, and fans of UK crime stories should take note of this series. Hunter’s smart and a great boss, who enjoys darts and beer when he’s not solving crimes. I’ll let Val tell you all about him.

Who is your character?

Author pic Edinburgh

Author Val Penny

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is the main protagonist of all my novels. He is a career policeman
with a keen sense of justice. He is loyal to his children, his police team and his darts team. His partner is pathologist Meera Sharma. Hunter is besotted with her.

What does he/she look like?

Hunter is 48 years old. He is slim, 5’11” tall with intelligent, piercing blue eyes and short, straight brown hair.

What is your character’s back story?

Hunter is the son of a Church of Scotland minister. He and his brother were educated in the state system, not privately. He is intelligent but not University educated. Hunter and his wife divorced several years ago, after her sister had an affair with Hunter’s boss. When the man, Sir Peter Myerscough, dumped Hunter’s sister-in-law, the stress within the family caused Hunter and his wife to split. Hunter loathes Sir Peter but is fiercely protective of Sir Peter’s son, Tim who is a member of Hunter’s team

What is your character’s role in your novel?

Hunter leads the police team that investigates the crimes in my novels. He is central to the stories and he knows of the strengths of each member of his team and utilizes these to solve the cases.

Why should readers care about this character?

Hunter is a good guy. He cares about the safety of the citizens of Edinburgh, the well being of his team and the future of his children, Alison and Cameron. He is a normal, real person who enjoys going out with his partner Meera, and playing darts with the team in his local pub. He also enjoys a beer with friends.

 Give a brief excerpt featuring your character.

DI Hunter Wilson looked at the time on his phone before he answered the call. 4.03am. If this was some comedian from the sub-continent calling to tell him about putting in a claim for the accident he hadn’t had… Then he noticed it was Cameron calling him.

“What’s the matter, son? This is a hell of a time to phone.” Hunter whispered.

“I didn’t know who else to call.”

“What’s the matter? And it had better be good.”

“It’s far from good.” Cameron told his father of the scene that had met him and his new friends when they got back to his flat.

“She’s had what cut off? Bloody hell!”

“I know, Dad, I know. And her head has been bashed in too. What do I do?”

“Well, now we have Police Scotland in place there is a Major Incidents Team, imaginatively know as MIT, that deals with cases like this.”

“Oh Dad no! The other girls’ll go mental. You come. Please? At least at first. I need your help.”

Hunter thought back to the days when Cameron used to ask for his help regularly: tying his shoelaces, drying him after swimming, learning to ride a bike. Those had been the golden years. It had been a long, long time since his son had sounded so desperate and pleaded for his help. It made Hunter feel good. He could help Cameron again. Brilliant!

Hunter’s Force Blurb

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature 

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

DI Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son, Cameron. Who has murdered the young student who shares Cameron’s flat? Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city? 

Hunter's Force bannerNow that the united police force, Police Scotland exists, Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation. Hunter’s ability to investigate anything further is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?  

Hunter’s team must work closely with MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.  

Author Bio

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult 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, and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

Author contact details

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

twitter.com/valeriepenny

Author buy links

myBook.to/HuntersChase

myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

https://myBook.to/huntersforce 

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Checking the Traps, Isabel Long Mystery Series

Spreading the Word

I’ve just completed a marathon session writing blog posts about Checking the Traps, the third book in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. The posts will appear on other people’s blogs — all part of a plan to spread the net wide for readers. In all I wrote 20 posts, each on a different topic. Yeah, that’s a lot.

The first batch was for a 10-day blog tour I’ve booked on Rachel’s Random Resources that begins March 22, the day Checking the Traps is officially released. Many of the blogs will have reviews. Others will feature excerpts, with an intro I wrote. The rest of the bloggers wanted original posts, including one Q&A.

The second batch I wrote for authors. Most are with my publisher, Crooked Cat Books. I have yet to meet any of them in person since the publishing house is an international one. But I am chuffed, as my UK friends say, at the support they’ve offered through social media and our occasional Skype meetups.

So, how did I come up with 20 topics? First, I made a list. Then I started writing. I aimed for 300-400 words with an excerpt from Checking the Traps to illustrate my point.

The topics range from “my next victim” to “when a bad boy becomes a good guy” to “what’s with the title Checking the Traps?” The victim in this book wrote poetry, so I had to write poetry. I tell readers about that. I write about the characters and their relationships. One blogger wanted something history-related, and amazingly, I was able to do that.

Admittedly, it was a bit tricky since Checking the Traps is book three in a series. I didn’t want to spoil anything plot-wise for those who haven’t caught up with the other two books. I also didn’t want to give away anything crucial about the current one. So, I had to be a bit coy about details. I chose excerpts toward the start of the book.

I got into a rhythm, and wrote two or three a day. It was actually fun, especially now that they are done.

The posts will begin in mid-March. When one appears on a blog, I will let you know. I will also post it on my website. Yes, its all about spreading the word.

ORDERING: Kindle fans can pre-order Checking the Traps on Amazon now for $2.99 and it will pop into your device on March 22. Paperback fans can get their copy now for $10.99. Here’s the link: mybook.to/checkingthetraps

Thank you for your support!

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Your Secrets Safe With Me Cover 1
Building Character, On Writing

Meet Becca Gates of Your Secret’s Safe With Me

Rosie Travers is the next author to appear in what I call my Building Character series, in which I invite authors to write about an important character in their novel. In this post, the character is Becca Gates from Rosie’s novel, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, which had a Feb. 18 release. This is the second book for this UK author.

She describes her character this way: “Everything Becca does is ‘sensible’ and controlled.” I get the feeling things are going to change. Here, I will let Rosie tell you all about her.

Who is your character?

My character is Becca Gates, age 39, single, works as a Personal Assistant and Editor to her mother IMG_0076 (1)Pearl, a best-selling romantic novelist.

What does he/she look like?

Becca is 5’ 6, slightly heavier than she wants to be, shoulder length mid-brown hair. She dresses ‘sensibly’, wears subdued coloured clothing, practical shoes. Everything Becca does is ‘sensible’ and controlled.  She is the antithesis of her mother.

What is your character’s back story?

Becca’s father was killed in a motorbike accident when she was a baby. She and Pearl were on their own for several years before Pearl met and married Dieter, husband number two. Becca was eighteen, studying at finishing school in Switzerland when Pearl and Dieter embarked on a bitter divorce just as baby Freddy arrived on the scene. Becca was recalled to London to help out and has been in charge ever since. She once thought she’d found her soul-mate in policeman Nick, but he broke her heart when he jilted her at the altar.  Managing Pearl’s writing career has taken precedence ever since.

What is your character’s role in your novel?

Your Secret’s Safe with Me is a story about the intricacies of family relationships and the consequences of keeping secrets.

Becca is the lead protagonist and faces the dilemma of family loyalty versus independence.

When Pearl announces she is about to get married for the third time to Jack, a man she has only just met, Becca is determined to prevent her mother from making another disastrous mistake. Pearl is equally as adamant the wedding will go ahead, further insisting she intends to quit writing and retire to Rivermede, Jack’s idyllic home on the coast.  This immediately causes conflict between the two women. Becca doesn’t want to up-rooted from her home and she certainly doesn’t want her mother’s career and subsequently her own livelihood to end.

All families have taboos and Becca, Pearl and Freddy, along with new fiancé Jack, have plenty to hide from each other and those around them.  At first Becca struggles to adapt to her new surroundings and situation, but gradually, as a new career opportunity unexpectedly comes her way, she realises this is her chance to break out of the cycle of co-dependency within the family and forge a new life for herself. However, her plans stall at the first hurdle when she encounters an unwelcome face from her past, and receives a grim warning that Rivermede is not the calm, safe haven it seems to be.  Becca takes on the pivotal role in protecting her family from danger, but in doing so, she has to risk exposing an awful lot of secrets.

Why should readers care about this character?

Becca is intelligent and self-effacing but her past heartbreak makes her very vulnerable. She has made a lot of sacrifices to ensure Pearl’s career flourishes and to provide stability for Freddy but in doing so has created her own personal comfort zone. As the strings that bind Becca to Pearl and Freddy begin to unravel and the family dynamic begins to change, the threat of danger awakens Becca’s hitherto hidden powers of resilience and tenacity.

I’m hoping readers will be rooting for the new, improved, Becca, to pull through.

Give a brief excerpt featuring your character.

‘I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss about it.’ Freddy yawned as he spoke, and his words, like his arms, stretched towards the ceiling. ‘Maybe this’ll be third time lucky. Don’t you want her to be happy?’

‘You think this toy boy will make her happy? I’ve Googled this Jack Robshaw character, look, Freddy, look at him.’ I held out my phone, thrusting the screen into his face. ‘A former world championship powerboat racer? Twenty years her junior. Is that what you want for a step-father?’

Pearl’s phone call had left me shell-shocked. How could she do it again?  I’d fended off palpitations with deep breathing exercises, whale songs and a mug of camomile tea, but it had been impossible to get back to sleep. I’d called Freddy first thing to impart the news and he’d very reluctantly agreed to meet me for lunch to plan a campaign strategy. His lack of concern was demoralising. He could hardly keep his eyes open despite a second coffee.

‘I am not going to let her make another disastrous marriage,’  I continued. ‘I can’t bear the thought of another gold-digger like Dieter coming into our lives. This guy is hardly her type, is he.’

‘Who knows what Pearl’s type is?’ Freddy replied, brushing my phone away. ‘She’s had her fair share of oddballs over the years.’

This was true, although luckily none of them had hung around for very long, least of all Dieter, the last husband. The aftermath of Pearl’s catastrophic second marriage had heralded a horrendous period in our lives. Freddy, now age twenty-one and struggling through his final year of an art degree, was the one positive to come out of the whole sorry episode. At least Pear had now reached the age when childbearing was no longer an option.

She referred to Dieter as her cloud, and Freddy our silver lining. I’d been a teenager at the time, unaware of the financial implications of my mother’s messy divorce. Now I was an adult, and very conscious of the consequences. Jack Robshaw wasn’t so much a cloud as a potential thunderstorm.

Brief Synopsis

Career Girl Becca Gates’ organised life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met.

Becca reluctantly follows Pearl to Rivermede, Jack’s home in an affluent sailing community on the south coast of England, where she encounters an unwelcome face from her past. She receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede and her family are in grave danger. But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

Rosie Travers Bio

I grew up on the south coast of England and after initially training as a secretary I juggled a career in local government with raising my family. I moved to Southern California with my husband in 2009 and began a blog about life as an ex-pat wife which re-kindled a teenage desire to become a writer. On my return to the UK I took a part-time course in creative writing and following some success in short story competitions, I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme. My debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was accepted for publication by Crooked Cat Books and officially launched on in August 2018. My second book, Your Secret’s Safe With Me, was published on 18 February 2019.

Universal buying links:

mybook.to/yoursecretssafewithme

mybook.to/theatreofdreams

Website: www.rosietravers.com

Twitter @RosieTravers

Facebook:www.facebook.com/rosietraversauthor

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