EVENT ALERT: FEMMES FATALES PANEL – 6.30pm Thursday 24th November. Portsmouth Writer’s Hub

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If you’re in Portsmouth on Thursday then why not pop along to the Portsmouth Writer’s Hub ‘Femmes Fatale’ event.

As part of Portsmouth DarkFest, five female authors will be talking about the dark themes in their work, why they chose them and how they write – and one of the authors is me!

Here’s the full ‘femme fatale’ line up …

Cal Moriarty, Author is the creator and author of the Wonderland series published by Faber. A series which can be read together or as standalone novels. The first novel in the Wonderland series, The Killing of Bobbi Lomax, was published by Faber in hardback on May 5th, 2015 and described by the London Times as a ‘Total wow of a debut. Superb.’ It was named as A Crime Novel of the Year (2015) by the Financial Times.

Steph Broadribb – ‘Crime Thriller Girl’ – was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Her debut novel Deep Down Dead published by Orenda books is out as an eBook now and in paperback in January 17.

V.H.LeslieVictoria Leslie – writes fiction that focuses on psychological issues and perspectives, that blurs boundaries or takes place within liminal or marginal spaces. Her stories are driven by setting and often connect to other texts, to mythology, folklore and art. Her short story collection ‘Skein and Bones’ and her first novel ‘Bodies of Water’ were both released earlier this year.

Carolyn Hughes – Author is writer of historical fiction set in the middle ages. Her debut novel ‘Fortune’s Wheel’ published by Silverwood books is about the aftermath of the Black Death in a fictional Hampshire village and is out this Autumn.

The panel will be moderated by Diana Bretherick – a criminologist, former barrister and author. She has written two historical thrillers in the Lombroso series – ‘City of Devils and ‘The Devil’s Daughters’, published by Orion. Both are set in 19th century Turin and feature the world’s first criminologist.

The event is free. To find out more follow this link – Femmes Fatale

Hopefully see you there!

RT for chance to #WIN a #DeepDownDead Special Edition Limited Proof #crimefiction #books

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It’s Monday morning, so time for a competition I think!

To celebrate the publication of my debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD as an eBook I’m giving away a special limited edition bound proof of the book (which comes out in paperback on 5th January 2017) and a few book-related goodies – handcuffs, a map of the USA, and some rather tasty chocolates – pictured above.

About the book:

DEEP DOWN DEAD is an action thriller and the first of a series featuring bounty hunter and single mom, Lori Anderson.

Here’s the blurb: “Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal …”

DEEP DOWN DEAD is available as an eBook now from Amazon here

And, if you’d like a sneak peep at the book, you can read the prologue here

How to enter: **THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER NOTIFIED**

For a chance to win a paperback limited edition proof all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below and including the #DeepDownDead hashtag) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. [You’ll also need to follow CTG on Twitter, so that we can send you a direct message should you win].

Rules
(1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winners at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 9pm GMT on Tuesday 18th October 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

Whoop! #DeepDownDead released as eBook today!

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Today is a little different.

Today my debut novel – DEEP DOWN DEAD – is published in eBook! So I hope you’ll indulge me a little, and allow me to tell you about my book …

Deep Down Dead is an action thriller, and the first in a series featuring bounty hunter Lori Anderson.

Here’s the blurb: “Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.”

To give you a little taste of the story I’m giving you an exclusive sneak peep at the prologue. I hope you enjoy it …

 

DEEP DOWN DEAD

Prologue

Today

I open my eyes and the first thing I see are the cuffs. Flexing my wrists, I test their weight and try to ignore the dull ache in my right hand where the gash across my skin has dried crusty brown. The bruising on my forearms has turned a deep purple. From the way my ribs feel, I figure they must look the same. I keep my breathing shallow; seems it hurts a little less that way. I look up.

He’s sitting opposite me, arms folded, legs stretched out beneath the table. Waiting. In this windowless box it’s impossible to tell how much time has passed. Still, I can’t look at him, not yet, so I focus just below his eyes, where the dark shadows lie. My heart’s racing, a voice in my head screams, run, just run. I want to, I surely do, but I can’t. For all that’s gone down, someone has to pay. It’s time for me to pony up.

‘You lookin’ at me now? Good. So answer the question.’

Same Kentucky accent, but he’s not at all how I’d imagined. Guess that’s the way it goes when your only contact has been by cell. I force myself to meet his gaze, swallow down the nausea, try not to let fear distort my voice. ‘Can’t believe all you hear.’

‘Tell me why.’

Now the moment’s come, I don’t know if I can. Was he in on it? Should I trust him? Sure, he looks the part. He’s wearing the uniform black suit, smart and efficient, shades hooked inside the breast pocket. He’s a little older than I’d imagined, nearer fifty than forty, and wears his hair on the long side, slicked back to keep it tamed. He runs his hand through it, smoothing the strands into place. I wonder if he’s nervous. I sure as hell am.

His cold stare says he figures that I’ll talk eventually. All he need do is wait, because time’s almost up for me. Every second I baulk, the people I love get dragged further from me. So we both know I have to give it up on his promise, tell him enough to end this, to stop all the talk of death row. But there’s an order to these things, and we both know that too.

He puts a plastic beaker on the desk, pushes it from his side to mine. Inside there’s a red liquid, two shades paler than blood. ‘Drink. Medical said you’re dehydrated.’

They’re right. My mouth’s drier than gator hide in August. Can’t remember the last time I drank or ate properly. Shit like that hasn’t figured much these past few days. The drink looks real tempting, but I need something from him first. This situation, it’s all about power. If I do something for him, the balance swings over to his side, but if he does something for me, I get it a little more on mine.

I glance down at the cuffs. Look back at him. Wait.

He takes the hint. Leans across the table with the keys in his left hand, ready. As he moves, I catch the scent of his cologne – lemon, clean and sharp. Hope he’s that way too. I have to trust him; we’re all out of time to do anything else.

I push my hands over the wooden veneer towards him, palms up. The torn muscle in my shoulder feels like it’s on fire. I don’t let it show; bite back the pain. He uncuffs me, slips the bracelets and key into his jacket pocket. Eases back in his chair. Watching, again.

That’s first base, right there.

So I drink. Show willing. Know I need the fluids, can’t risk the dehydration muddling my mind, confusing the story. Have to tell it right. The liquid’s raspberry-flavoured water. It’s sweet, too sweet, and stings the corner of my mouth where I’ve taken one too many punches. I grimace at the taste. ‘So how does this work?’

He stares right back at me. ‘Tell me everything.’

I jerk back, spooked. Try not to wince at the spur-sharp pain in my side. He’s moving way too fast. You can’t jump from first base to fourth, it ain’t polite and I can’t allow it.

The pain doesn’t fade. Nausea rises real fast and bile hits the back of my throat. I cough. Makes my bruised ribs hurt like a bitch. I bite my lip and press my arm against my side. Show no weakness. ‘I have to get out of here, take my daughter home.’

He shakes his head. Leans forward, elbows on the table, face level with mine. ‘Not going to happen. This situation? It’s real serious. You’re in no kind of position to be making demands.’

He’s testing me. Wants to know how desperate I am. The answer? Real desperate, but I know way better than to let that show. This game here is all about timing. What I say, and whether he believes me, that’ll be the difference between life and death. ‘So what then?’

He stares at me, unblinking. Leans closer. ‘Tell me the real story. Multiple homicide an’ the rest that’s gone down? There’s no one else can help you. I’m the guy you’ve got to convince. Right now, and right here.’

The room seems to shrink. The space feels airless, more claustrophobic. What he’s just said, I hate it. I want to howl at the unfairness of it all, punch him until he feels the pain too. But I don’t, because I know that he’s right. I’ve got no other choice but to trust him. So I put down the beaker. Watch the liquid ripple once, twice, before lying still. Count in my head, all the way up to ten, then look up and meet his gaze. I can’t delay any longer, need to move us on to second, defuse the situation. ‘Honey, I can give you answers, just as soon as I know we’ve got a deal.’

He sits back in his chair, and crosses his legs, real relaxed. Keeps eye contact. ‘Depends.’

There’s a certainty about him, a determination that’s somehow quite attractive. He plays hard to get real well; oftentimes I like that. Not today, though. Not now. Hard to get is hard to read, and one wrong move, one wrong word, will only end one way: everyone I love gone. ‘I’m listening.’

‘You tell me what happened. No bullshit, just the absolute truth from start to finish. Do that, then I’ll tell you if we’ve got a deal.’

No guarantee, but I figure it’s my best shot. So I nod, and let him take third. Act like it’s my idea, though. Force a smile as I swallow down the fear. ‘You best get comfortable, sweetie. This’ll take a little while.’

He nods, and I know that it’s time. Now I have to get us to fourth, tell the story right, secure a deal.

There’s a click as he switches on the audio recorder. He leans forward and places it on the table, dead centre. Looks me right in the eyes. ‘You’re up.’

And so I tell him.

 

DEEP DOWN DEAD is published by Orenda Books and is out today as an eBook and on 5th January 2017 as a paperback.

To buy the book from Amazon.co.uk click HERE

And be sure to drop by the CTG blog tomorrow for a chance to win a limited edition paperback proof.

CTG NEWS: #DeepDownDead Special Edition Bound Proofs Arrive!

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When I got home last night a box was waiting for me under the plastic crate where the postman leaves any post that won’t fit through my letterbox. I recognised the sender’s address – my wonderful publisher Orenda Books.

My heart started beating a little faster.

I tore open the box, and there inside nestled a few copies of my debut novel – DEEP DOWN DEAD! I actually whooped! The book that has lived for so long in my head, on my laptop screen and on my editor’s computers, is now an actual physical book!

This is the special edition bound proof. It’s got a special black and red version of the book cover that the paperback will have when it comes out on January 5th – and I think it looks gorgeous!

I can’t stop stroking it!!

Next Saturday – October 15th – DEEP DOWN DEAD will be published as an eBook. To celebrate, I’ll be running a competition to win a copy of the special edition proof and a bunch of other goodies, so if you’d like to get your hands on an early copy of the physical version be sure to pop back to the blog next weekend.

In the meantime, you can find out more about the eBook version of DEEP DOWN DEAD at amazon here

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#GIVEAWAY: RT for your chance to #WIN a book bundle of #LongTimeLost #WillowWalk #TheEvolutionOfFear #ARisingMan

 

It’s Friday, so I reckon that’s a good excuse for another competition! And you’re in for a treat as the giveaway today is for a book bundle of four of this weeks awesome new crime thriller releases – Chris Ewan’s Long Time Lost, SJI Holliday’s Willow Walk, Paul E. Hardisty’s The Evolution of Fear, and Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man. Plus I’ll even throw in the sampler for my own thriller Deep Down Dead and Michael J. Malone’s A Suitable Lie.

HERE’S MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS …

LONG TIME LOST by Chris Ewan: “Nick Miller and his team provide a unique and highly illegal service, relocating at-risk individuals across Europe with new identities and new lives. Nick excels at what he does for a reason: he’s spent years living in the shadows under an assumed name. But when Nick steps in to prevent the attempted murder of witness-in-hiding Kate Sutherland on the Isle of Man, he triggers a chain of events with devastating consequences for everyone he protects – because Nick and Kate share a common enemy in Connor Lane, a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means tearing Nick’s entire network apart.” Rapid paced, and packed with tension, twists and turns, this is a must read for thriller fans. You can find out more about Chris Ewan and his books here and follow him on Twitter @chrisewan

WILLOW WALK by SJI Holliday: “When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight? When a woman is brutally attacked by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s increasingly bizarre behaviour. As Gray investigates the crimes, he comes to realize that there has to be a link between Marie and the man on the run. It’s the only thing that makes any sense. But he also knows that if he confronts her with the truth, he risks losing everything.” Chillingly nuanced, pulse-poundingly suspenseful, this is a great second book in the Banktown Trilogy. You can find out more about SJI Holliday and her books here and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday

THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR by Paul E. Hardisty: “Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.” Gripping, exhilarating and frighteningly realistic, this is a great second book in the Claymore Straker series. You can find out more about Paul E. Hardisty by following him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul

A RISING MAN by Abir Mukherjee: “Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Culcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatize to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues – arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID – embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.” Atmospheric and packed with intrigue, this is a fabulous debut novel. You can find out more about Abir Mukherjee by following him on Twitter @radiomukhers

AND THE SAMPLER …

The sampler gives you a sneak peep at the first chapters of two books:

A SUITABLE LIE by Michael J. Malone: “Some secrets should never be kept … Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything …” A Suitable Lie will be published on 15th July in eBook and 15th September in paperback. Find out more about Michael J. Malone and his books here and follow him on Twitter @michaelJmalone1

DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb: “Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as a single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s form mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past. Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.” Deep Down Dead will be published on 15th October in eBook and 5th January 2017 in paperback.

 

*** THIS COMPETITION HAS ENDED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED ***

 

HOW TO ENTER …

For a chance to win, all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. You’ll also need to follow us @crimethrillgirl on Twitter so we can send you a direct message should you win.

Rules: (1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 11pm GMT on Friday 6th May 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!