“Tall Chimneys” by Allie Cresswell #Excerpt

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Tall Chimneys coverTitle: Tall Chimneys

Author:  Allie Cresswell

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: December 12, 2017

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.

Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.


One of the most terrifying experiences a parent can have is when a child goes missing. Imagine the panic, the sheer terror, the mind in over-drive thinking of all the dreadful possibilities. In this extract Awan, aged five, has disappeared somewhere in the gardens and woodlands which surround Tall Chimneys. It is winter, dusk has come early and the search parties are struggling to make progress in the darkness. Some instinct takes Evelyn, Awan’s mother, to a disused Gatehouse which stands at the top of the forested drive.

Lost Child Found

The gatehouse door was never locked, but an accumulation of leaves inside the little portico which sheltered it lay undisturbed. It yielded at my push. The scullery was dark and full of cobwebs; they caught stickily to my hair as I passed. I put my hand in the sink – it was dry – there was no indication anyone had been there for a drink of water. In the main room dust lay over the table – I wiped my hand across the old, scarred surface and it came away furred. The clock which we kept on the mantel was silent – long unwound. The air was chill and un-breathed. I stood for a long time drawing it into my panicked chest, deriving some unnamed comfort from it, as I always had done. The safe embrace of the walls around me, the familiar furniture and little bits of domestic paraphernalia which I could see in my mind’s eye as clear as if it was bright morning, gave me succour. I fell into the chair by the cold fire, the same chair where I had collapsed with Awan in my arms when she was less than an hour old. I needed John, needed him more than I had ever needed him before and, heaven knew, my need of him on those other occasions had been dire enough. My soul sent out a sort of cry – I don’t think I voiced it – it was more spiritual than a mere shout.

I rose from the chair and half stumbled across the room towards the door, my confidence in my surroundings gone. The sole of my boot hit the edge of a raised floor-slab and I fell against the corner of the dresser, jarring my hip and setting the crockery a-jingle on the shelves. As I steadied myself I felt, on my hair and cheek, the slightest possible brush of something, a falling mote dislodged from the wooden ceiling boards which formed the floor of the room above. All my senses tuned themselves to the room upstairs. My ears homed in, my skin was alive to any breath of air or vibration. My eyes, despite the utter darkness turned up.

Then I heard it. Hardly a sound at all, less than a whisper, the slightest slide of one material against another and the tiniest noise that lips make when they part, the susurration of a drawn breath.

Outside, the men of the village must have called their search off. I could hear voices calling farewell, dogs being urged into vehicles. I cursed them, as though their noise could cause whatever was upstairs to disappear into thin air.

Treading carefully, I crossed the room and put my foot on the bottom stair. All my old assurance in the room had returned to me. I reached out and found the banister under my hand, smooth and solid. I mounted the stairs, avoiding the creak in the middle of the third, the loose board on the sixth, the slightly proud nail-head in the next-to-top. Outside the engines of the cars and trucks coughed into life. Lights pierced the darkness. There was the sound of maneuvering as they reversed off the grass and turned in the road to head home. Suddenly the lights of one vehicle shone straight in through the uncurtained window. It lit up the room and traveled across the space, illuminating John’s skeletal easels and half-finished canvasses, his table of paints, the divan, covered with a heap of bedding, a small child.

She stood in the middle of the room like a marble statue, white and petrified, I saw her only briefly while the light remained. Lit up from behind, I must have looked to her like a dark, advancing monster. She could only have seen my silhouette, briefly, before the car’s lights slid away and the total blackness of the room engulfed us both again.

Awan started to scream.

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Allie CresswellAuthor Bio

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/

Website – http://allie-cresswell.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Alliescribbler

Tall Chimneys Tour


“No Quarter – Wenches: The Complete Series” by MJL Evans and GM O’Connor #Giveaway

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No Quarter Wenches coverTitle: No Quarter: Wenches – The Complete Series

Author: MJL Evans and GM O’Connor

Genre: Historical Romance

Contains Volume 1-5

Behind every successful pirate is a cunning wench! In 1689, Atia Crisp finds herself imprisoned in the wickedest city on earth, Port Royal, Jamaica, while the refugees from Strangewayes’s plantation in the Blue Mountains are on the run and seeking a new home, deep in the Caribbean. Captain Jean-Paul la Roche must get them to safety and find a way to liberate the woman he loves while waging a war against the English with the pirate Laurens de Graaf.

While besieged people suffer and starve, a group of women form a secret and illegal society deep from within the bowels of the city called: WENCH. A network that deals with smugglers, merchants, cutthroats and thieves. Dragged into the struggle for supremacy of the Caribbean, the women are divided and find themselves engulfed in bloodshed. The pirates of Port Royal and former enemies may be their only hope of escape.

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No Quarter Wenches bannerAuthor Bios

MJL EVANS wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old and in 2014 she finally got her act together and pursued her dream. Author of No Quarter: Dominium and No Quarter: Wenches, she is a huge fan of Monty Python, Red Dwarf, and other BBC shows, her time is devoted to acrylic, oil and watercolor painting, catering to her two senior cats and of course, writing.

You can connect with MJL Evans on Twitter at @artistmjlevans or noquarterseries@gmail.com

GM O’CONNOR is a huge movie fan, writer and visual artist. A lover of sci-fi and history, half his brain lives in the 17th century while the other half sails perpetually through space. Author of No Quarter: Dominium and No Quarter: Wenches, he hopes to one day bring the No Quarter Series to film and/or graphic novel format.

You can connect with GM O’Connor on Twitter at @gm_oconnor or noquarterseries@gmail.com



~ Giveaway ~

Enter the authors’ giveaway for a chance to win one of 5 eBook copies of No Quarter – Wenches: The Complete Series.


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The Forgetful Man And Second-In-Command Available Now

Hello all.

I’m delighted to announce my two sci-fi novellas, The Forgetful Man and Second-In-Command are available now, having launched in November and December respectively.

The stories are dark, with gruesome happenings throughout. They are from the sci-fi genre and in an urban setting, based in modern times in the fictional city of New Hampton. To give you an idea of the type of city you’re dealing with reviewers have referred to the city as reminding them of Gotham City or Sin City.

The mystery theme plays a big part in both novellas and in my overall series.

These novellas delve into the background of a few characters and add a little more information to the overall world itself.

Now, to the good stuff…

The Forgetful Man coverThe Forgetful Man:

Do you ever feel like someone else? Like you could just focus and change into something new, something different.

New Hampton is full of mystery these days, and the man who is beginning to forget is the epitome of unusual within the cutthroat city. Will the urban jungle swallow him whole or will he remember the truth…



Second-In-Command:Second in Command cover

 You have got to be a fighter to rise through the ranks of New Hampton’s criminal underworld.

You must be willing to do the necessary, especially when you have designs on a top spot within the most notorious gang in the city’s chequered history. Guy Hagan was not aware of what was required. He will learn and carve out a legacy that others will never forget.

It was not always that way for Guy but nice guys finish last, and he is not planning on finishing last.


These stories are all set before the events of my debut novel The Rain: The Government Rain Mysteries and as such are set in the same world.

Think of the series like a jigsaw, you can read in any order. The story could be read the main novel, The Rain, first and then the prequels in any order. Alternatively, you could read the prequels and then the main book. Whichever way you choose to read you will achieve the same result, but within reason, it will be a unique trail of breadcrumbs for each reader.

The Government Rain Mysteries Series:

Prequel Novellas & Short Stories (Read in any order):

The Last Doctor- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheLastDoctor

The Lost Boy- http://subscribe.lafrederick.com/subscribe
The Forgetful Man- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheForgetfulMan
Second-In-Command- myBook.to/BGSSecondInCommand


Book One- The Rain- myBook.to/BGSBlogTheRain
Book Two- (Currently writing)

“The Lost Macaw” by B.L. Blair

The Lost Macaw cover

The Lost Macaw is the fourth novella in the Lost and Found Pets series.

Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.

A former client hires Alex to find her lost parrot. The bright colored bird has flown away before, but this time there is evidence that Molly was kidnapped. The demand is simple—the bird for the pictures.

When her client suffers a stroke, Alex is left with a ransom note, a missing bird, and some very incriminating photos. She is in a race against time to solve the mystery of the lost Macaw.


“Your little old lady is quite interesting, Alex,” Halie said.

“What do you mean?”

“She didn’t exist until about thirty years ago.”


“I did a preliminary background search on her. In general, she is clean. No debt. The house is paid off as is her car. The one thing that jumped out at me was the fact that she had a safe deposit box at four different banks.”

Luke raised one eyebrow. I got a sinking feeling. I had noted the bank accounts but hadn’t really given them much thought.

“Yeah,” I said, “I saw those.”

“So why does an eighty-year-old woman need four safe deposit boxes?”

“Why does she need more than one?” Luke muttered.

“Exactly,” Halie said. “So I dug a little deeper.”

“What did you find?”

“About thirty years ago, Joseph and Trudy Kearns purchased the house on Carriage. Back then, it was a new neighborhood, and the prices were cheap. They paid cash. They also opened a bank account, and Joe got a job working for the city. Those are the first records I can find for either one of them.”

“Trudy would have been fifty at that time. Her husband probably a few years older. What about birth certificates? Social security cards?”

“They had them, but conveniently, they were issued from a small county in Virginia where a massive flood destroyed all their records. The county office was in the process of moving the old paper records to electronic when the flood hit.”

“Let me guess. The Kearns’s records did not survive the flood.”


“So the only records for them are the ones they had in their possession.” I paused a moment. “Do they look real?”

“Yes,” Halie replied.

“So they could be authentic.”

“Or really good forgeries. In some ways, it was easier back then.”

“Anything else?” I asked.

“Not really. Lives on a fixed income of social security and a small pension from her husband’s job. It isn’t much because he only worked for the city for twelve years before he had to retire.”

“Okay, thanks Halie.”

After ending the call, I looked at Luke. He had a perplexed look on his face that I had a feeling mirrored mine.

“Who the hell is Trudy Kearns?”


Available on Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.