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Author Interview, Crooked Cat Books, New release

Opening Scene: Hunter’s Revenge

Val Penny is the next author to be featured in my Opening Scene series, specifically for her next mystery set in Scotland, Hunter’s Revenge. Here’s how she pitches the book, the second in her Hunter series: “Hunter by name – Hunter by Hunter's Revenge Covernature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until his friend’s death is revenged.”

I read the first in this series and was hooked. But then again, I am a huge fan of mysteries set in the UK. She is also a fellow author at Crooked Cat Books.

Hunter’s Revenge has a Sept. 9 release.

Here are the links to buy Hunter’s Chase and Hunter’s Revenge: myBook.to/HuntersChase and myBook.to/HuntersRevenge. 

So how does Hunter’s Revenge begin? Here’s a description from Val.

 DI Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is shocked to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Who would want to harm the quiet, old man? Why was a book worth £23,000 delivered to him that morning? Why is the security in George’s home so intense? Hunter must investigate his friend’s past as well as the present to identify the killer and identify George’s killer.

Hunter also finds a new supply of cocaine from Peru flooding HMP Edinburgh and the city. The courier leads Hunter to the criminal gang, but Hunter requires the help of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable, Sir Peter Myerscough and local gangster Ian Thomson to make his case. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.

Here is an excerpt from the prologue of Hunter’s RevengeHunter's Revenge Banner

The last thing Georg did on his eighteenth birthday was kill a man.

He really hadn’t meant to kill the Stasi officer in front of him, but it was him or Georg – and Georg did not want to die. It was the first time he’d seen a corpse. The streets were slick with ice. The man lost his balance and cracked his head on the pavement. Georg stared down at the body: there was blood and brains all over the pavement. He looked into the officer’s eyes. They stared blindly to heaven, but Georg knew there wasn’t a Stasi officer on earth who was going there. He looked away from death and towards his friends in horror, but when they saw what had happened, they scattered. Georg picked up the officer’s gun and began to run.

More Stasi officers appeared as the boys fled.

Georg was out of breath when he got home.

“What’s the rush, son?” his father asked.

“Shit, Dad! It’s bad.”

“You’re drunk! No language in this house, boy,” said his grandmother.

“Dad, the boys and me were leaving the bar to come home and we saw a Stasi officer”

“So?”

“We were laughing and having fun.”

“And?”

“For a laugh I knocked his hat off.”

“Idiot! You know Stasi have no sense of humour. Ever. So what next?”

“He pulled his gun and told us to stand silently against the wall.”

“And you apologised and complied, I hope.”

“I panicked and punched him. He slipped on the ice and fell over. He hit his head on the ground, and when I checked him, he wasn’t breathing. He was dead. I just took his gun and ran.”

The silence in the room was deafening.

“You did what? You fucking idiot! Did you really punch a Stasi officer? Are you mad? You know we don’t even have to openly engage in resistance to draw the attention of the Stasi and incur its retribution. Just failing to conform with mainstream society can be enough. Shit! I sired a fool.” Georg’s father’s red face reflected his rage.

“And now you are here,” his grandmother added. “You ran home, leading them straight to us. We will all die now. Thank you.”

“What is all the noise?” Georg’s mother came through from the kitchen, drying her hands on her apron. His twin sister Ingrid and younger brother Wilhelm followed her. They looked bewildered. Their father rarely raised his voice, especially not to Georg.

As his father explained the issues, Georg’s mother burst into tears.

“They will kill him,” she whispered. 

About Val Penny:

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 and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

Val Penny on social media:

www.authorvalpenny.com

www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

twitter.com/valeriepenny

 

 

 

 

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6Ws, Author Interview

6Ws with Author Sarahlyn Bruck

Sarahlyn Bruck is the next Crooked Cat Books author to be featured in my 6Ws series. Contemporary women’s fiction is the genre for this Philadelphia-based author. Designer You, her debut novel, officially launches Aug. 31. Yes, I have my copy ordered.

29343289_1873365232703276_6394784370451808256_oI especially like Sarahlyn’s answer to the question when does she write. It appears anywhere and everywhere, no surprise for a working mom.

Here are Sarahlyn’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Sarahlyn Bruck?

Hi Joan! Thanks for hosting me on your blog. I’m a writer based in Philadelphia. I also teach writing and literature full-time at a local community college and am a part-time book coach for Author Accelerator.

What does she write?

I write contemporary women’s fiction.

When does she write?

It depends. I’m a morning person, so when I’m writing a first draft and need that laser focus, I carve out my drafting time in the mornings. When I’m in editing mode, I edit in the afternoons, usually after grading student papers and working on client material. I try to work on my writing every day. I’m not always successful, but I try.

How does she write?

I write mostly on a laptop. Sometimes I write on my iPad that has one of those little, cramped keyboards attached.

Where does she write?

I’m fortunate to have a “room of my own,” so to speak — an office slash guest room on the second floor of our Philly townhouse. I love it, but I can write anywhere and sometimes I have to. I’m a working mom, so I need to be flexible if I want to get the words in. I can write at 5 a.m. perched on a barstool in our kitchen. I can write at work in between classes and meetings with students. I can write in a coffee shop waiting for after-school pick up. I can write sitting on a hard wooden bench in a gym during my daughter’s indoor soccer practice.

Why does she write?

I’m crazy about stories in any form — books, magazines, movies, TV, dance, theater — and always have been. Books, though, have provided a constant stream of stories for me since early childhood. Libraries were always magical, wonderful, and safe places. I was never one who could get anything done in a library — too distracted by books! So for me, writing is my way of participating in storytelling, using a form that comes really naturally to me and is the most fun.

More: Give readers a brief description of your new book plus when it is available to buy and where, plus the publisher.

Title: Designer You

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Release Date: Aug. 31

Format: Paperback and Ebook

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DH6B38H

Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn’t get away from each other, sharing not only their bed but also a successful joint lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors. When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam’s suddenly a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old — too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool. And now a single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam’s life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her grief and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that? She also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had so carefully built.

Now is the time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate’s shadow and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefullyfind love, again.

Sarahlyn Bruck on social media:

Website: www.sarahlynbruck.com

Email: sarahlyn@sarahlynbruck.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlynbruck/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@sarahbruck/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slbruck/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5803427-sarahlyn-bruck

 

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6Ws, Author Interview

6Ws with Author Megan Mayfair

Megan Mayfair is the next Crooked Cat Books author to be featured in this 6Ws series. An Australian author, her genre is women’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Things We Leave 29063929_1882822228424243_7643968187891644825_oUnsaid, is set for an Aug. 22 release.

I love her answer on why she writes: “For relaxation, escape and pure enjoyment.”

Here are Megan’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Megan Mayfair?

Megan is an Australian writer, based in Melbourne. She has a background in public relations and working in the higher education sector. She’s married with three young children and loves a good cup of coffee, collects scarves and follows Aussie Rules football.

What does she write?

Megan writes women’s fiction with a strong dash of romance and a spoonful of family intrigue. Her books are set around Melbourne and regional Victoria, including local wine regions.

When does she write? 

With three young children and other work commitments, it’s about fitting in writing wherever she can. Sometimes during the day if the kids are at school or preschool, other times in the evenings.

How does she write?

Megan starts with a general plot idea – usually, a what if? She then starts to write a couple of chapters without a clear plan to see if the idea is coming to life. Once it is, she stops and starts a general plan to help guide the chapters but apart from that, the rest is very loosely planned and more of a ‘see where this leads’ process. She writes out of order at times and edits as she goes so first draft is really a draft of sections that have been edited and rearranged hundreds of times! Effectively, she breaks most of the ‘rules’ on how to write a book.

Where does she write?

Megan has a favourite café walking distance to her home where the baristas make fantastic coffee and play the best music. She’s never asked for the WiFi to ensure she focuses on writing! It’s a fantastic place to write but when they’re not open or she’s drunk three cups of coffee, it’s time to bunker down in her study or on the couch with her laptop.

Why does she write?

For relaxation, escape and pure enjoyment.

More: Give readers a brief description of your new book plus when it is available to buy and where, plus the publisher.

The Things We Leave Unsaid is Megan’s debut novel and focuses on the impact of what we don’t say to those we love. It will be released by Crooked Cat Books on Aug. 22 in paperback and ebook via Amazon. Here’s the link: https://mybook.to/leaveunsaid

Megan Mayfair on social media:

https://twitter.com/MayfairMegan

https://www.instagram.com/meganmayfairwrites/

https://www.facebook.com/meganmayfairauthor/

www.meganmayfair.com

 

 

 

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Author Interview

Alice Castle’s New Mystery

Great news for fans of mystery series. Alice Castle’s Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in her London Murder Mystery series, officially launches Aug. 13. And the next is not far behind. She and I have a few things in common including a career in journalism, an interest in mystery, and our publisher — Crooked Cat Books.

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK national newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Calamity in CamberwellChocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, is available to pre-order now and will be published Aug. 13, with Homicide in Herne Hill following on Oct. 3. Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure, Revenge on the Rye. It will feature Beth Haldane, DI Harry York, a mysterious artist, an ageing Labrador, and an out-of-control cavapoo puppy.

Alice lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

More about Calamity in Camberwell:

Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly gets remarried and moves to nearby Camberwell.

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her new husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth IS Jen anyway?

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Met Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?

About the opening of Calamity in Camberwell:

Calamity in Camberwell opens with Beth Haldane, single mum and amateur sleuth, stuck in traffic – an all-too-familiar experience for anyone who lives in the London suburbs. But this brief hiatus in Beth’s busy day, between rushing around looking after her son, Ben, and working as the archivist at prestigious local school, Wyatt’s, gives Beth the time to reflect on recent changes in her life. Her good friend, Jen, has remarried and moved away. Meanwhile Ben is about to take school entrance exams which will map out his future. Beth is poised to make some difficult, potentially life-changing decisions – and, as usual, she is worrying about every single one.

What she hoped to accomplish with the opening:

In the opening pages of Calamity in Camberwell, my aim is briefly to reacquaint the reader with Beth, the heroine of the books, and then throw them right into her latest dilemmas. She starts off worrying about her son, but ends the chapter thinking seriously about her friend, who has just got married for the second time and should be glowing – but is she? This nagging doubt sows a seed. Beth is a worrier by nature, but is this more evidence of her own inability to relax and trust others, or is she right to be concerned? She is also intrigued, yet terrified, by the idea of dating herself, when friends suggest it’s about time she got out there herself, eight years after the death of her husband.

Was it spontaneous?

“I love writing these London Murder Mystery stories and, once I had the initial idea for Calamity in Camberwell, Beth very kindly wrote it for me herself. I had to make a few changes here and there but at this stage, we know each other pretty well. She’s a lot more reckless than I am, as you’ll see. Sometimes I just have to cover my eyes while she gets on with it.”

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Excerpt from Calamity in Camberwell:

Beth Haldane leaned forward in the driver’s seat to twiddle the car radio dial. We found love in a hopeless place was blasting out of the tinny speakers of her Fiat 500. She knew some Dulwich wags would say the lyrics were hilariously appropriate for a visit to her newlywed friend, Jen Patterson, in Camberwell, but Beth wasn’t like that. The area, with its wide Georgian streets, herds of red buses sweeping towards central London and the optimistically-named Butterfly Walk shopping centre, was fine, absolutely fine – though of course it wasn’t quite SE21. But she still loathed the song.

Just as she’d found the comfortingly stuffy tones of Gardener’s Question Time instead, the car in front of her shuffled forward a couple of feet and she had to follow suit, slamming the car into gear, lurching on a little, then yanking the handbrake on again. Oh, the joys of the rush hour. Though why it was called that, when no one was able to rush at all, was one of life’s mysteries, she thought, with a flick of her heavy pony tail. Maybe it was the whoosh of drivers’ blood pressure ascending, as the centipede of traffic wound its way down East Dulwich Grove, past the no-nonsense gates of the College School and the red brick behemoth that was the old Dulwich Hospital.

Calamity in Camberwell buy links:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DP3KG84?tag=geolinker-21
https://www.MyBook.to/CiC

Launch date:

The book is available to pre-order NOW but is published Aug. 13.

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Alice is also a parent blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy first two books in the London Murder Mystery series:

http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery

http://www.myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich.

Previous novel: http://www.myBook.to/HotChocolate

 

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6Ws, Author Interview

6Ws with Author C.J. Sutton

C.J. Sutton is the next author to be featured in this 6Ws series. Dortmund Hibernate, a psychological thriller, is the debut novel for this Crooked Cat Books author who lives in Australia. It has an official launch July 18.IMG_20180501_230430_452

He shares his takes on writing and how it works for him. How about this fun quote: “Writers can commit crimes all day on the page. I can’t think of another gig with such freedom.”

Here are C.J.’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author C. J. Sutton?

That’s my alter ego. No, I’m not some superhero. I’m much better at being the villain, in a words-on-the-page sense. I live in Coburg which is a suburb in Melbourne (Australia) with my wife, our two rabbits, Florence and Leo, and enough books to sink a fleet. I’ve adopted this as my official author name, and it makes its debut with Dortmund Hibernate.

What does he write?

I tend to stray towards the dark, the disturbing and the psychologically challenging, but I also love to write about small towns with big issues. Everything is magnified in a rural town, and the location becomes a character in itself. My perfect scenes are when the troubled protagonist meets the smiling antagonist; I thrive for this dialogue, the push and pull, it’s like an exciting version of chess where one wrong move could result in death. I place high emphasis on dialogue because while others state “actions speak louder than words” it is words that lead to action. And words are the craft writers deal in. Currently I’m focused on promoting my debut novel (out July 18) and writing another novel which takes a completely different direction.

When does he write?

Whenever he can. Working a full-time writing job means I have to find both the time and the drive to write novels. The latter comes quite easily, but the former can be a challenge. Generally that time between getting home from work (5 p.m.) to before dinner (7:30 p.m.) is my best writing slot of the day, but I also type furiously on the weekends. I’m the kind of writer that could easily stay up all night, but once I’m asleep I don’t want to get up until my alarm shoves me out of bed. I am in awe of writers who can get up at 6 a.m. and start writing; my brain is sloppy, still waking up, searching for caffeine and a place to hide from the all-too-bright world.

How does he write?

With a coffee. There’s something comforting about a well-brewed hot drink, a friend on the shoulder that encourages you onward and gives you this energy of creation. To me it’s like petrol to a car; when there’s none left I hear a faint dinging sound reminding me to either stop or top up. I also need to hide my phone away, because there are simply too many distractions available on that little jerk.

Where does he write?

I have a space upstairs in my two-bedroom apartment that has a built-in desk and a hanging picture of Heath Ledger’s Joker; it’s a sketch made up by his quotes, with half of his face drawn as the Clown Prince of Crime and the other being simply Heath. The space is enclosed on three sides so it locks me away with my thoughts. I love a landscape, a pristine view, but I find I’m easily distracted and I’d probably watch the leaves fall from the trees or a dog chase a car.

Why does he write?

Because if I didn’t write I would probably be a character in Dortmund Hibernate locked in an asylum. Writing is my creative outlet and has always offered escape. Despite the darkness of my themes, I enjoy the freedom of creation. There are no limits, and a strong piece of writing can leave a name etched into history. Some work a trade, others deal in figures, but with me it has always been words and characters. How can one ever be bored when there are no boundaries? Writers can commit crimes all day on the page. I can’t think of another gig with such freedom.

About Dortmund Hibernate:

Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum; nine criminally insane individuals hidden from the world due to the extremity of their cases. Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act. The small rural town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill. As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the Asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare. And the most notorious man of all is strapped to the floor of his cell, urging Magnus towards a new life of desire…

Get your copy of Dortmund Hibernate via this link: mybook.to/dortmundhibernate

C.J. Sutton on social media:

Website: www.cjsutton-author.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjsutton.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/c_j_sutton

 

 

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