Archive for June 2013

Cover Reveal - Missing Believed Dead by Chris Longmuir

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to reveal the cover for another fabulous book by Chris Longmuir - Missing Believed Dead. Desperate to find out a little more about the book before my review on 2nd July? Read on........

About the book:

Missing children! Internet predators! Dead bodies! 

She crossed his arms over his chest, and placed the jade beads in his eyes. ‘To remind you of me,’ she said. 

Jade was 13 when she disappeared, five years ago, and DS Bill Murphy suspects someone from her family is responsible for recent Dundee murders. But is it her mother, Diane, who now suffers from OCD? Or Emma, her twin sister, who was catatonic for a year after Jade’s disappearance. Or Jade’s brother, Ryan, who enjoys dressing in women’s clothes and is going through a sexuality crisis, unsure whether or not he is gay. 

What happened to Jade? Is she alive or dead? Or has she returned to wreak a terrible revenge on all male predators?

The book will be officially launched on the 11th July and you are invited to meet Chris Longmuir herself! The book will be available to purchase on 1st July!


Author Bio

Chris Longmuir was born in Wiltshire and now lives in Angus. Her family moved to Scotland when she was two. After leaving school at fifteen, Chris worked in shops, offices, mills and factories, and was a bus conductor for a spell, before working as a social worker for Angus Council (latterly serving as Assistant Principal Officer for Adoption and Fostering). 

Chris is an award winning novelist and has published three novels in her Dundee Crime Series. Night Watcher, the first book in the series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award. Missing Believed Dead is the third book in the series.

Her crime novels are set in Dundee, Scotland, and have been described as scary, atmospheric, page turners. Chris also writes historical sagas, short stories and historical articles which have been published in America and Britain. Writing is like an addiction to me, Chris says, I go into withdrawals without it. She is currently working on a further 2 crime novels.

Chris is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. She designed her own website and confesses to being a techno-geek who builds computers in her spare time.

Chris Longmuir is an award winning novelist. Night Watcher, the first book in the Dundee Crime Series, won the Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Award, and the sequel, Dead Wood, won the Dundee International Book Prize, as well as the Pitlochry Award.



 *Don't forget to pop back to the blog on the 2nd July to read my review of Missing Believed Dead.

Title: Missing Believed Dead


Series: Dundee Crime Series


Author: Chris Longmuir


Cover designer: Cathy Helms, Avalon Graphics


Genre: Crime thriller


Release date: 1 July 2013

Ceri's Journey : Angels by Linn B Halton

Ceri can see Angels. They appear to give her warnings so that she can help other people. Although Ceri has been able to help many people, she is resentful of how her premonitions have impacted on her personal life. Whilst Ceri is saving other people her love life has suffered as a consequence. There are few people she trusts to share her secret and she is feeling alone and isolated.  Ceri is a twin and finds it incredible that her twin brother Seb neither shares her gift nor tries to understand it.  Ceri struggles with trusting someone close to her and telling them about the burden she carries.  What does life hold for Ceri and are things spiralling out of control for her?
Having read Linn B Halton’s book Never Alone, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to read Ceri’s Journey.  The subject matter interests me greatly and I was not disappointed with this great little book which I devoured in one sitting.  Linn B Halton has created such interesting characters and I love the way they develop throughout the course of the book.  The reader feels Ceri’s frustration about not being able to change the course of her own life when she has a hand in changing the destiny of others.  I can highly recommend this book for those of you who love a good paranormal romance. The book ended on a cliff-hanger and has me desperate for the next book. I just didn’t want it to end! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Linn B Halton is a fantastic writer and her writing style will have you hooked from page one.

Introducing Ceri's journey: Angels – a psychic romance
Release party on Loveahappyending Lifestyle emag July 6th, 2013
This is a three-part series (each book is a novella of around 30,000 words in length - Angels, Truth and Decisions) and it follows Ceri's journey - her love story with the sensitive and loving Alex. I have written a couple of novels now that feature life after death, the ‘other’ side and each time I like to think I’ve sparked some very different questions. In Ceri’s journey it’s all about the detail of how it works when angels experience life on earth. Angels are only in heaven, right? But what if there are rare occasions when they are called here to carry out a specific task?
It’s been a surreal time spending my days trying to figure out the why, what, when and how of life as an angel. Snapping back into my regular wife and mom role isn’t always easy. It’s a bit like having to come back down to earth, as after a long day of writing I then have to write shopping lists and think about the ironing. In truth, once you have a work-in-progress (I’m half-way through the second novella, Truth, at the moment) it never leaves you. Even after you go to bed you find yourself jumping up in the middle of the night and having to jot down an idea that pops into your head. It’s all in a day’s work for a writer .....
But let's start the very beginning... with Ceri's journey: Angels, the release party will be featured on Loveahappyending Lifestyle emag on July 6th, 2013.
Pop over to on that day for details of how to win an angel all of your very own!
Ceri thinks she sees angels…everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. They have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets, and a lot of wine, result in them ending up in bed together. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?
Ceri's purpose here on this plane is to correct a series of incidents that alter the course of many of the people's lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. But how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?
She's alone for a reason; she's not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It's meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths…but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex…
This is a romance story that explores the possibility of there being something more than just the ‘here and now’. If that were the case, how would it work? What keeps us on the path determined for us, when we have free will? How would the spirit world link with us as we go about our lives? Love is a powerful emotion, but can it change the course of someone’s destiny? Ceri’s journey has begun.
Linn’s links:  

Little White Lies and Butterflies by Suzie Tullett

Lydia Livingston isn't like other young women of her generation. She isn't career driven and her greatest ambition in life is to get married and have a family of her own. She isn't one of those women who wants it all. In the modern world of high powered business and women struggling to achieve a glittering career and balance a family life, Lydia is considered somewhat of an oddity. Unfortunately for Lydia, her ambitions for a perfect husband and a family have not come to fruition and approaching her 30th birthday, she is still single. And not happy about it! Frustrated with the direction her life is going, Lydia decides to go abroad to re-evaluate life and the lack of a man in it. This also gives her the opportunity to get away from her family who are driving her nuts!
Lydia finds herself on a beautiful Greek island where she rather stupidly tries to reinvent herself - as a professional chef. Thinking that her little white lie couldn't possibly cause any problems, Lydia soon realises that that lie will propel her into a series of events - namely being asked to cater for a Greek wedding! Not great for a woman who can't even boil water! To further complicate matters, Lydia meets Sam and  hates him on sight, convinced that after finding out about her little white lie, he is going to blackmail her. Just when things can't get any worse for Lydia, they do! How will the Greeks and Lydia cope with the arrival of the rest of the Livingston clan!? Is there anyway out of the mess Lydia manages to get herself in? Is Sam all he appears to be?
This wonderful book by Suzie Tullett is the sort of book that is perfect for holiday reading. Set in the beautiful Greek island of Kalymnos, the descriptions of the outstanding scenery instantly transports the reader there and the author's knowledge of the area is evident. I adore the main character Lydia. I love that she goes against convention and wants a husband and family instead of a career. Lydia was such a refreshing and vibrant character.
Little White Lies and Butterflies was a great romantic comedy that had so many cringe-worthy moments for poor Lydia that I often found myself shouting out.......'No Lydia!!!' This is a great fun read with just the right amount of romance and comedy throughout and highlighted just how important family can be, no matter how crazy they are!  I defy anyone not to love Lydia and her family instantly, despite the comedy situations they manage to find themselves in. Suzie Tullett has a writing style that is easy to read and leaves the reader with that 'feel good' factor that is so important. I shall be following her career with interest. Little White Lies and Butterflies is published 1st August 2013.
 *I had a very special interest in this book as I was the editor so I can doubly recommend it!
About the Author
Born and raised in Lancashire, Suzie Tullett has worn many hats in life: from office work to teaching, from managing an advice centre to being an outreach worker for Women’s Aid. She’s achieved a Bachelor’s and a Master’s and works with the BBC as a scriptwriter—all while raising her family. Ultimately, she wants to leave scriptwriting behind and write full-time. She says “it’s fair to say my working life has given me the chance to get to know all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds; a definite asset for anyone looking to write for a living.”
Author Links:

A child of the nineties, Lydia Livingston is different. The last thing she’s ever wanted is to be superwoman; she knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a definite case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man.At almost thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice all those years ago. And realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and banishes herself off to a distant land—all in the hope of finding a new direction.

At least that’s the plan. But Lydia Livingston isn’t just different, she’s misunderstood. A fact she knows all too well. So when the totally unsuitable Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, reinventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity to come up with for a woman who can’t even cook. Of course, the last thing she expects is for him to find out the truth and start blackmailing her. Let alone find herself roped into catering for a local wedding. But with things going from bad to worse, her madder than mad family also turn up in something of a surprise visit, intent on celebrating a birthday she’s no intentions of celebrating!


Belfast Book Festival 2013 - Meeting John Boyne

This year I attended an event at the Belfast Book Festival which ran from 10th - 16th June. It was the first time I'd attended such an event and had hoped to attend more of the Festival but work commitments meant the only event I was able to go to was a reading by John Boyne, of his new book ‘This House is Haunted’. There subsequently followed an interview with John Boyne and a book signing. 

When I arrived at the venue - The Crescent Arts Centre, I was pleasantly surprised to be lead into a large room with a stage at the front and lots of round tables with black tablecloths and candles. I wasn't sure if I was walking into a book reading or a séance! The atmosphere was fab and perfect for a reading from a ghost story. The event was attended by people of all ages from young kids who were obviously huge fans of John Boyne's children's books, to older adults. It was great to sit and have a chat with fellow book lovers before the reading began. 

When John Boyne came onto the stage he began to read an excerpt from the new book. The book is essentially a ghost story and is narrated by a governess, Eliza Caine. The year is 1867. The extract that was read was when Eliza meets, for the first time, the two children who are to be in her charge. The reading certainly piqued my interest in the book as I adore a good atmospheric ghost story.

After the reading came an interview with Hugh Odling Smee, who is himself a writer and theatre producer. So, just what did I, a reader and blogger discover about the book, Mr Boyne himself and the writing process. With Eliza, John Boyne had wanted to create a strong female character, and the story to be told from a female perspective. It is the first time he has written a book this way and he wanted Eliza to be strong-willed and brave. Eliza is essentially a Feminist before Feminism itself became a strong movement. She is described as 'a modern.'

A lot of John Boyne’s children’s books have child characters who are enduring some form of difficulty or hardship. John Boyne himself did not have a difficult childhood. He talked about how it was in fact a great childhood but he is interested in how early childhood experiences can ultimately shape us and how we overcome them.

The interview then turned to how John Boyne writes his books and how he structures his writing. He discussed how he used to have set plots but doesn't tend to do that so much now since he wrote ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. He now starts with a general idea / character / theme and simply writes, seeing where the story will take him. As he went on to explain, he feels that he can use this style of writing and plot development as he is now more confident as a writer. When he is close to finishing a book he starts to get his idea for the next book and never seems to take time off from writing. Does John Boyne get writers block or get ‘stuck in a rut’ like some writers do? This was one of the questions posed by an audience member. He replied by saying that he must be very disciplined and write every day. This is certainly what I am hearing from a lot of the writers that I interview for the blog. It’s obviously good advice. He went on to say that he certainly doesn't believe in being struck by inspiration but remains focused on the story he is working on. 

Given that the new book is a ghost story we were treated to the writers own experiences and he told the audience a great 'true' ghost story about not just one ghost but an entire pub-full of ghosts. Only in Ireland would the ghosts be enjoying a Guinness! He went on to discuss how he likes ghost stories because he likes being scared and had always wanted to write a good ghost story himself. He always knew that his ghost story would be called ‘This House is Haunted.’ There was further discussion later on in the evening around book titles. A member of the audience enquired as to how he got the ideas for his titles and whether they evolved further along the writing process. He discussed how his latest book ‘Stay Where You are and Then Leave’ came about after he visited Christchurch in New Zealand which unfortunately experienced a serious earthquake a few years ago. He read a safety advice notice about what to do in the event of an earthquake – Stay where you are and then leave! This was apparently a ‘light bulb moment’ for him. He went on to discuss how his biggest regret was the title that he eventually settled on for his book 'Mutiny on The Bounty'. The original title was ‘Bligh and I’ but he was convinced by his publisher to change it.

In order to carry out research for his novels John Boyne tries to read books written in the particular era that his own book will be set. He feels that this is the best way to gain a true sense of language and etiquette of a particular era rather than reading about it in history books or books written about an era in history. In ‘This House is Haunted’, there is a theme of class divide and of the hierarchy even within the classes. John Boyne is a huge Charles Dicken's fan and has read his books many times over. After reading all of Dickens’s 'orphan' books he became obsessed with orphans and boarding schools. He discussed how he would love to see children today read more Dickens but feels that the format of such books puts children off a little.

No-one could of course forget John Boyne's acclaimed book ‘The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas’. He was asked if he was worried whether through the film adaptation of his book, the emotions of the characters and their experiences would be conveyed properly. He said that he didn't give it too much thought and essentially doesn't set out to write a book that he hopes will be adapted. However, at the moment a screen play is being written for his book ‘The Absolutionist’. Despite his books being set in countries all over the world, he hasn't yet written any set in Ireland. His next book will be!

Another question posed to him was around what we can, as readers expect next from him. Well, he has a children’s book due for release soon – 'Stay where You are and Then Leave' which is due to be released on 26th September. He is in the process of writing an adult’s book at the moment which is the book due to be set in Ireland and he is a little nervous about that and whether he will be able to convey and represent the area, the place he grew up, properly.

I found John Boyne to be an extremely interesting and pleasant person and really enjoyed my first experience of such a literary event. Afterwards there was the opportunity to purchase some of his books and he very kindly signed them for me. I was a bit star struck and did stumble a bit when he asked how I spelled my name! The man must think I am a total idiot!

How Not to Murder Your Grumpy by Carol E Wyer

At some point in a woman's life she says to herself, 'If that man doesn't get out from under my feet I am actually going to kill him!" What? No? Oh is that just me? I don't believe you! Well anyway, I digress. Carol E Wyer has written a wonderfully fun little book called How Not To Murder your Grumpy.
This very brightly coloured book is a must to the woman who has a man at home who is driving them insane. Especially useful to the woman who has one of those hard to manage retired grumpy! This very funny book lists in alphabetical order some activities for your grumpy to keep him out of the house and away from the rolling pin that you keep ready to hit him over the head with.
How Not to Murder Your Grumpy is such a fantastically funny guide that provides you with ideas for hobbies to keep your grumpy busy. I'd especially like to see my grumpy take part in Zorbing or Extreme Ironing! Those of you who have read any of Carol E Wyer's previous books will know just what a funny lady she is and this book does not disappoint. I recommend you read it with a glass of wine in one hand and a small tribe of your girlfriends cackling along with you!
I made some suggestions outlined in the book to my very own grumpy (the not retired species) and he raised a very grumpy looking eyebrow at me and shuffled off to complain about some teenager with pink hair who had just walked passed the house.  Oh I so can't wait until he retires...........not! My only saving grace is that he will hopefully spend his retirement on the golf course!
So, if you want a bit of a giggle then you need this book. Of course, once you have finished reading it you can always throw it at your grumpy when he refuses to leave the house! I read the book in one sitting, having a bit of a laugh as I went along. I loved it. Well done to Carol E Wyer for giving us more laughs.  
There is some fab swag to win as part of the book tour! Just use the Rafflecopter link!
You can also take part in the How Not to Murder Your Grumpy high jinks going on over at the Events Page. Total madness. You will love it!
The Blurb!
Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied.
From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humour.
Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn't mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, "How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?" It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.
The following is an excerpt from a recent article published in Men’s Health on NBC News

The look: A scowling face, a wagging finger, and a shaking head. The targets: The economy. Teenagers. Windmills.
Some informally dub it “grumpy old man complex.” British author Carol Wyer labels it “irritable male syndrome,” a spike in the outward crankiness of guys of a certain age.
“Women have friends and we talk about our problems and we take medication and all that kind of stuff. But for men, it’s something they suppress. It’s a male thing ,” says Wyer, author of the upcoming humor book “How Not To Murder Your Grumpy."
Feeling that they no longer are useful, especially, if a man has held an important position in employment prior to retirement, "can result in severe depression at worst and general grumpiness at best,” Wyer said.
Wyer's husband of 25 years, John, turned 60 this year and became very grumpy just after his birthday, she says. "I have spoken to other women in the same position who have said exactly the same: Husbands, even those who have looked forward to a big birthday, have become morose soon after,” Wyer says.
John Wyer, who owned his own business and misses "the cut and thrust" of his work, has self-diagnosed his own occasionally gloomy anger as something of a byproduct of Western society’s collective view toward — and value of — people who are 60 or beyond.
“One of the things that really took hold of me was the fact that I was approaching a ripe old age, let’s say, and I felt society can cast you off as a little bit of a no-hoper. I just feel that isn’t right. I feel people in increasing years have a lot to offer. And they shouldn’t cast off to one side. And I suppose my grumpiness is a little bit of a protest against sliding down that particular route,” he said.
“You think, well, gosh, there’s got to be to be something a little more than this. Being grumpy is just my way of getting through it and laughing at myself.”
Want to know a bit about the lovely Carol? Oh ok then.............
About the Author:

After completing a degree in French and English, Carol E Wyer became a language teacher. She actually began her working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where she taught English as a Foreign Language in an American Language school. It was soon discovered that she could speak French rather well, and she became a translator and teacher to large organisations and companies such as ‘Regie de Tabac’, Morocco’s largest cigarette company, and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
After a few years she was ‘head-hunted ‘to run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school in the UK. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.)
Carol taught English up to, and including‘A’ Level, along with English as a Foreign Language. She also qualified to teach pupils with Dyslexia and became Head of English for Special Needs.
In 1988, Carol set up her own language company called Language 2000 Ltd and worked in schools and for companies. She taught a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, to all ages and translated documents.
A recurrence of spinal difficulties that began when she was a teenager, forced her to give up teaching and choose a new direction. In order to deal with her health problems, Carol attended a fitness course (Premier), took the qualifications to become a fitness instructor and became a personal trainer. That led her to become a trainer for others, particularly for older people who, like herself, had undergone major surgery.
Thanks to older age, Carol now no longer trains people, but she is currently writing a series of novels, articles and books which takes a humorous look at getting older. It is her hope that they will educate through laughter and help others appreciate life.
Carol has written several short stories over the years, including humorous books for children which served to teach them French. She was not able to fulfil her desire to be a full-time author until two years ago when her son flew from the nest, leaving his bedroom which Carol turned into her office.
Since then, she has written two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos, both of which have enjoyed media attention and success, becoming best sellers and winning awards.
Carol writes regularly for author websites and she has recently become a contributing author on a help guide entitled Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age.
Carol’s links:



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