#AuthorSpotlight “Meet Penny Hampson, author of The Unquiet Spirit”

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Thanks for stopping by Nesie’s Place today! Author Penny Hampson is here to share a little bit about herself and her latest release, The Unquiet Spirit.

Welcome, Penny! What inspired The Unquiet Spirit?

I was also keen to introduce elements of real life that are sometimes overlooked or ignored — issues that I feel strongly about that don’t easily fit in a historical novel. One of the characters in The Unquiet Spirit suffers from a chronic illness, and I wanted to show how that can impact the whole family, something I have personal experience of as a carer.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

No, I quite like all my characters, even the ones who are a bit naughty. I think that, as a writer, one has to feel something for the characters one creates, even the villains, in order to make them believable.

What is your work schedule like when writing a book?

My work schedule can be erratic whether I’m writing a book or not. I try to write most days but it is not always possible. As soon as I finish one book, or at least the first draft, I start the next one, it’s a continuous process. I find it’s good to leave a gap of time between completing a first draft and then going back to it to correct and rewrite. 

When did you write your first book?

coverI started writing my first book, A Gentleman’s Promise, about four years ago. I was working full-time then, so I was only able to write at weekends. I came to writing quite late in life, so I feel like I’m catching up. The downside is that I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to reading because I no longer have lengthy commutes.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written four books in total. The Unquiet Spirit is my third book and my first contemporary novel. My fourth book, an historical novel called A Bachelor’s Pledge will be released next month. I don’t have a favourite book, I enjoyed writing them all, though they each had their difficulties. The Unquiet Spirit was in some ways easier to write because it’s set in the present day, so there were no tricky historical issues to deal with.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I’m a hybrid author. My historical novels are all self-published, but The Unquiet Spirit is published by Darkstroke. It’s good having total control over one’s stories and how they look, but the costs of professional editing, proofing and covers are significant. These are costs which I considered to be essential before releasing my books. However, I’m happy to say that my experience with Darkstroke has been excellent.

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

I gave up full time work a few years ago to care for a chronically ill member of the family. While this restricts my writing time, I now have considerably more time to write than I did before.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

A lot of my time is taken up with the usual household tasks like cooking and cleaning, but in my downtime I enjoy going for walks, swimming, reading, and visiting family and friends. Of course, this year has been rather different for everybody, thanks to Covid, so trips away and socialising have been off-limits. I still manage to fit in a daily walk, and now lockdown here has relaxed I’ve been able to get a bit further afield — doing the same circuit round my town everyday for several months was beginning to send me crazy!

Coffee or tea?

I drink both, but only decaffeinated. The husband is a budding barista who is working on his latte art, so I enjoy a wonderful decaffeinated flat white every day.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

I can’t have pets I’m afraid, because of the ill-health of a member of my family. If I could, I’d probably have a dog – one like Sal, who appears in The Unquiet Spirit.

Where’s Oxfordshire located? What’s one interesting thing about it?

Oxfordshire is a county just north-west of London. It’s quite a rural county, which is lovely for me, because it means that the countryside is on my doorstep. Being city born and bred, it’s still a novelty for me to see green fields and open vistas every day. Oxford, the county town of Oxfordshire has two universities, one of them, established in the 12th century, is the oldest university in the English speaking world.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I have a Twitter account and I’m on Facebook, so I suppose you could say I’m addicted. I spend some time on both everyday.

What’s your next project?

My next book is already written. A Bachelor’s Pledge, an historical mystery/romance set in 1810 will be released on 7th October. It tells the story of government agent, Phil Cullen and Sophia Turner, the young lady he rescues from a notorious brothel. Both become embroiled in a plot to unmask a ruthless French spy and prevent a hidden cache of gold reaching French shores. Expect lots of adventure and action. Like The Unquiet Spirit, it too is mainly set in Falmouth and Bath, making my research trips to these places doubly useful! 

Beyond that, I have more contemporary paranormal mysteries to come. I’ve plans for Freddie, a minor character from The Unquiet Spirit, to have his own encounter with the supernatural, and I’m also working on a short story about witches set in Glasgow.

Please share an excerpt (extract) with us from one of your favorite scenes.

This scene occurs on Kate’s first morning in Falmouth. She’s in a coffee shop where she’s had an abrupt encounter with a guy who couldn’t get away fast enough and his dog Sal who contrarily had wanted to stay. After the guy and his dog had departed the waitress is eager to chat.

“Think you made a bit of an impression there.” Kate jumped at the waitress’s voice. The woman placed a fresh cup of coffee on the table.

“Sorry?” Kate guessed she meant the dog. The guy had wanted nothing to do with her. Hadn’t even given his name.

“On Tom…and Sal, of course. Lovely dog, but very shy; doesn’t like strangers. Bit like Tom, really. Sal usually sits good as gold outside the door while he gets his coffee. It’s his parents’ dog, but he brings it for a walk first thing. Nice bloke.” The woman started to clear the table of Kate’s now empty plate and used mug.

“Really?” Kate was unconvinced. He was brusque and overbearing in her opinion.

The woman nodded and put the dishes back down. She was in no hurry to work. “Yeah. Known Tom for years. We were at primary school together. He went on to the grammar and then university. He was working in London, then out of the blue he came back.” The waitress gave a sigh. “S’spect he’d made enough money. Keeps himself to himself. No girlfriend as far as I know – and that’s not for want of trying by some of the local girls.” She giggled and leaned forward conspiratorially. “Most he does is one date and that’s it.” She smirked. “Yeah, there’s a few disappointed ladies in Falmouth, I can tell you.”

“Hmm?” was Kate’s response to this flood of unwanted information. Why would anyone think a guy so rude was a catch? Though she had to admit, he was easy on the eye when he wasn’t scowling.

The waitress leaned her hip against the table. It seemed she had time on her hands and wasn’t ready to finish the conversation. “You on holiday then?”

“No, I’m here for a while. It might be permanent, not sure yet.”

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Oh, I love chatty waitresses, Penny! They know everything about everyone! LOL! Looking forward to reading more about Kate, Tom, and Kate’s house! Many thanks for spending time on the blog with me!

Thank you, Felicia for choosing me and my book, The Unquiet Spirit, to feature on your blog. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.

Keep scrolling to read more about, and get your copy of The Unquiet Spirit. It can also be read through Kindle Unlimited!


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Synopsis

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Fans of Barbara Erskine will enjoy this tale.

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Author Bio

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

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Meet T.L. Mahrt, author of “Withstanding the Enemy”

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Thank you for stopping by Nesie’s Place today, TL!

Do you go by TL, or do you have a nickname?

Thanks for having me. I do go by Traci. T L is an abbreviation of my name Traci Lynn.

I’ve only read the blurb of your latest release, Withstanding the Enemy, TL. Can you tell us a bit about it?  What inspired the story?

Of course, Withstanding the Enemy is a suspenseful steamy romance. Emma Andrews is the main character. Emma must learn her strength to endure the life she was given. She has a tendency to mix reality with her imagination, which, gets her in trouble time and again. Rick is Emma’s captor; he is dark and he loves hard. Rick has twisted himself into the depths of some underground business. Rick hires Chance as Emma body guard to ensure Emma safety. Chance is working undercover trying to build a case against Rick, but Chance wasn’t expecting to meet Emma and the overwhelming need to save her.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

I really don’t. I love them all in their own way.

When did you write your first book?

This is my debut novel.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I am self-published, however, I call it, Indie. I hire professionals. For example, editor, cover artist etc. I know where I have to draw the line and somethings are best left to professionals.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I am a stay at home mom to two inspiring children. My son (4) was diagnosed with DYRK1A and Cerebral Palsy before his first birthday. My daughter (10) is a warrior of a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from a fall in 2016. Between raises my children, I work at trying to raise awareness to brain injury’s and how they can affect a family.

 As a child, What did you want to do when you grew up?

Honestly, be a mother. I did go and get my cosmetology, barbering and massage therapy licenses. After having my own business for eight years, I decided to stay home to raise my children, which was my first dream and I love it.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

Totally addicted but only because I use it as my platforms. Otherwise, I could live without it…

What’s your next project?

Currently, I am working on Book Two of With Emma Series, Within the Shadow.

Please share an excerpt with us from one of your favorite scenes in Withstanding the Enemy.

“An attacker will take you out when you least expect it; when you are most vulnerable.”

I open my mouth to respond, just as he advances on me and sweeps me to the floor. I quickly adjust my position; when he pins me, I have one of my legs free.

“That’s better… Now get yourself free.”

I turn and rock myself underneath him in an attempt to wiggle myself free. His hand lands on my hip, firmly holding me into place. The heat of his hand sends a tingle across my skin, stopping me. Shit… I think as the sensation drives to my center. He pins me deeper into the mat. Warmth radiating from him awakens all my senses. The smell of pure woodsy male assaults my nose, causing me to feel dizzy with need.

His weight shifts and he hovers over me. “Emma?”

I blink myself back to reality and nod my head.

“Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

“Um… No…”

“You went limp, I thought you blacked out.”

“Oh… I…” I stutter, watching his eyes question me.

He looks down my body and I begin to heat like a wildfire everywhere his eyes touch.

He stops and I watch his eyes flicker to life.

“You…” he says in a deep, low tone.

My chest squeezes and I lose all words as I dive into the depths of emotions that flash through his eyes. First, shock to disbelief, and then the green of his eyes flame with hot desire. He knows it was me … that I was the woman in the mask.

I feel his hand cup the curve of my thigh and he runs his thumb across my birthmark. His eyes lock onto mine. I watch as the blue depths of his eyes vibrate with longing. I’m completely powerless in stopping him as he lowers his lips to mine.

Do I even want him to stop?

He softly brushes his lips against mine, so light at first it feels dreamlike. Then his lips come crashing down, causing a thousand sensations to explode inside me. His lips part and he licks the outline of my bottom lip. A surge of desire slams hard to my core. I… I have to have him… My soul vibrates with need.

A loud crashing sound startles me, and I break the kiss.”

Many thanks to Traci for visiting with us today! Keep scrolling to check out Withstanding the Enemy and pick up your copy today!

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Synopsis

 Emma Andrews was orphaned at a young age with no family to turn to. Tired of the broken foster-care system, and believing it was her only option, she runs to a multi-millionaire with a reputation of hiring young women. It is only then that she learns what real monsters look like…

Emma uses her overactive imagination to help her get through the toughest of days. By daydreaming a life full of love and freewill, she manages her colorless prison, but even in her wildest dreams, she would have never imagined it could become a reality. That is, until she meets Chance, a man willing to lay his life down to save hers.

But what Emma doesn’t expect is to fight her own personal demons—her heart.

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About the AuthorTL Marht

T.L. Mahrt is a former business owner, where she utilized her education in cosmetology, barbering and massage therapy for several years. She was raised on and is currently living on a farm in Nebraska, where you can find her running barefoot in the country side with her loving husband and inspiring children and massive dogs.

After having her son, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, she made the life altering decision to stay home to care for her two children and pursue her love for writing. She has a love for romance and poetry where, her overactive imagination, along with her adventures and up beat lifestyle drives her inspiration for her writing.

T.L. Mahrt has a thirst for knowledge and is currently working on her Bachelor of Applied Science in Communication Studies degree.

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Q&A w/Laura Briggs, author of “A Train from Penzance to Paris”

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Thanks for joining us today, Laura! Your latest release, A Train from Penzance to Paris is the fifth book in the A Little Hotel in Cornwall series. Is it the last book in the series? Who’s your favorite character?

Hi Felicia, and thanks so much for letting me chat about my newest book Laura Briggstoday! I’m happy to share that there will definitely be further Cornish adventures for my character Maisie—in fact, there will be three more installments in the series before all the secrets are finally revealed! As for my favorite character, that’s way too difficult to answer, lol! I just have quite a lot of fun writing about plucky Maisie, charming and semi-mysterious Sidney, and the very quirky staff at the hotel Penmarrow.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I’m a hybrid author, having worked with two publishing companies in the past in addition to publishing independently. I’ve had some lovely experiences doing both and am grateful for the different opportunities.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It was a short book that only took a few weeks to write. It was a fun story about a bookstore owner who teams up with a popular author to keep her store from closing. It was the first of six titles I would write for the lovely Christian fiction publisher known as Pelican Book Group.

Pantser or Plotter?

I’m a plotter, definitely. I almost always have an outline of some kind, whether it’s a detailed chapter by chapter type or just a few lines to help get the plot mapped out. It helps me to keep the book on track and cover more ground quickly if I have notes on the project.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I would probably have to say Mystery, although I do enjoy many different types of books from classics to contemporary. Some of my favorites in the Mystery genre are those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart.

What’s your next project or release?

My next release will be this summer, with book six in A Little Hotel in Cornwall, which promises more adventure, romance, and surprises as Maisie returns to the village of Port Hewer and her friends at the seaside hotel Penmarrow.

Many thanks to Laura for spending a few minutes with us today. Scroll down to learn more about her latest release, A Train from Penzance to Paris, and grab a copy for 99c!

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SYNOPSIS

When Maisie accepts a celebrated author’s invitation to mentor her, she finds herself leaving Cornwall behind on train tracks bound for the glitter city of Paris. Instead of making beds and serving coffee at the Penmarrow hotel in Cornwall, she’s making notes on her manuscript while sitting in a French cafe, meeting famous writers at private dinner parties, and trying to ferret the secrets behind the author’s unfinished future novel.

It’s glamorous, it’s breathtaking … but it’s also an ocean channel away from the place that she loves, and, more importantly, the person to whom she just recently confessed her deepest feelings. Separated from Sidney by distance and circumstances, Maisie fears that their connection will be lost despite her words to him – and maybe because of those words, and the ones she didn’t allow him to say in return.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of things in her new life trying to distract her – the professional editor hired to critique her novel, the eager young literary agent who sees pie-in-the-sky potential for Maisie’s talent, but Maisie finds solace in the eclectic group of amateur writers into whose midst she finds herself by accident. Their critique and advice is fast becoming as important as the editors – maybe even more important than the published author Maisie believed held the keys to refining her skill.

But it’s missing Sidney that fills Maisie’s thoughts the most, along with her life back in Port Hewer, and she can’t stop wondering whether his feelings are the same as her own. His unspoken answer has become one of the most important pieces of her life, even as she struggles to match the pace of her new life and keep her dreams in sight. And when she unwittingly becomes privy to a seeming literary conspiracy, she must decide what to do in light of its truth – and decide what’s most important in her quest to become a professional writer.

Join Maisie in a whirlwind tour across two of the world’s greatest cities, filled with questions, dreams, and a chance for fame that she believed far beyond her grasp, as she discovers herself as a writer, and how to embrace an unexpected future on her own terms.

Amazon UK     Amazon US

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Laura BriggsAbout Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Meet Jules Hayes, author of “The Walls We Build”

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Thank you for stopping by Nesie’s Place today, Jules!

Let’s talk about your new book, The Walls We Build, which has Winston Churchill’s estate, Chartwell, as the backdrop. It centers around three friends and has a dual timeline. Wow! What’s your inspiration for the story?

Lovely starting question, and thank you so much for having me here.
I’ve always been intrigued with the life of Winston Churchill and so when I came across a photo of him addressing his troops in 1943 Tripoli, North Africa, I had that ‘what if’ moment. What if a soldier amongst the crowd was Churchill’s old employee from Chartwell? Perhaps his bricklayer, as I was intrigued with Churchill’s passion for bricklaying in his spare time! Perhaps they had a unique relationship – I liked the idea of juxtaposing the ordinary and the extraordinary man. How will their paths cross again? And in what capacity will Florence, my other main protagonist, and Frank’s friend but true love, fit in to the story? I knew then that at the heart of the novel would be an unconventional love story, as well as a mystery, and all set against the rich backdrop of war and its aftermath. But I also knew too that I needed a present day protagonist, Richard, Frank’s grandson, to untangle the intrigue of the past.

Research books
A pile of books I used for researching The Walls We Build

 Please share an excerpt with us.

This section is told from Florence’s viewpoint in October 1940, the setting is Blitz London. At her lodgings she’s getting ready to attend a fundraiser at the Savoy hotel, invited by Mary Churchill, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s, youngest daughter.

Florence was late getting home from Kings Cross where she’d bought her ticket to go up to Yorkshire to visit Anna; tomorrow’s train, 3 o’clock. First though, was the Savoy bash. Tonight. It was time to wear her dress, and try to be someone she wasn’t. Her mum had told her not to worry, born in the wrong household you were, my girl. You’ll fit into the Savoy as easily and snug as ol’ Cinder’s foot slipped into that slipper. She missed her mum.

Florence surveyed her tiny bedroom but the mirror on the wall was huge and she could see herself in full, nearly. Her feet were missing in her reflection. She didn’t mind this though, because she hadn’t been able to afford new shoes. But as she looked down at her suede turquoise slip-ons that she’d buffed up with an implement Elizabeth had lent her, she was pleased at the match with the emerald green dress.

She’d straightened her hair with irons and put on the reddest lipstick she’d ever worn. She fiddled with her hat. She loved it but was unused to such frivolity in her headwear. It sat precariously on the front of her head, just as the shop assistant had shown her. The ruffles of red fabric seemed to her to be asymmetrical. She pushed and pulled them but finally, after hearing the church clock outside strike six, gave in. She scrutinised her reflection. Not bad. Not bad at all. Momentarily she thought about Frank, guessing the shine in the eyes staring back at her was due to the afternoon in his hotel.

She picked up the red gloves, checked her hat one more time, and left her room.

Florence was ready.

‘You could have come with me, you know, Elizabeth.’ Florence went to sit at the kitchen table, but not before shoving a paper handkerchief under one of the legs of the uneven surface.

‘Not my thing, Florence. I want ol’ Churchill to win the war for us. He is the right man for the job. I mean, he likes a good war doesn’t he? But I hate all that upper-class stuff.’

Elizabeth was at heart a staunch labour supporter, not a commie though, she was always keen to emphasise. Left in her politics, although it didn’t stop her from sleeping with a wealthy man who lived in Knightsbridge. Elizabeth’s socialism was a bit like Churchill’s domestic communism. When it suited. Wednesdays were Elizabeth’s nights with her lover. Florence’s room was the one below where Elizabeth slept. Every Wednesday Florence had to sleep with cotton wool stuffed in her ears, and every Thursday morning there was always a late breakfast. The gentleman politely doffed his cap to her on leaving, a huge smile in place. He reminded her a bit of Mr Churchill, the way he was able to appear quite ordinary and at home with the lower class, in a way peculiar to the confident and rich.

‘It’ll probably be deathly boring,’ Florence said.

Elizabeth grinned. ‘Probably. Lots of lovely food, though, I’m guessing.’

‘I hope so.’

Elizabeth laughed. ‘Never known a girl with an appetite like you.’

Asylum
An image from inside an asylum, which I used to create the asylum in The Walls We Build, where my character Anna is a patient.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

I have three point-of-view characters in The Walls We Build, and I do like all three, but I love Florence the most. She’s ahead of her time, liberated and mischievous, but ultimately she is driven by love, honour and duty. She is the character who has a fair amount of page time in both the past and present sections, and it’s Florence who links the two timeframes.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love reading modern historical fiction, anything from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. I do have a degree in modern history. But I like a modern day thread too, which is why I suppose I tend to often write in this structure. I like a good thriller/mystery and love it when a story set in the past incorporates these elements too.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a biography on Gladstone, a Kate Morton novel and CJ Tudor’s new book!

Where are you from?

I was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire but went to uni in London at 18, where I completed a history degree. I’ve lived in the south east for a long time now, although I’m still a ‘northerner’ at heart. “You can take the girl out of the town but not the town out of the girl” sort of thing!

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

With the publication of The Walls We Build I’m joining the ranks of the Hybrid Author Club, using my pseudonym, Jules Hayes. My debut psychological thriller, Falling Suns by JA Corrigan was published in 2016 (Headline Accent.)

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

For the past 3 years I write pretty much full-time.

Where do you get the most writing done?

I’m lucky as I have a study and its there where I do most of my writing, although in the summer I take my laptop and sit on the patio; sometimes in the summer I also write in our summerhouse at the bottom of the garden. It’s perfect as it has no internet! I have a treadmill in there too, so that comes in handy!

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

We have a very cute cockapoo, champagne-coloured – Harley. He follows me everywhere, although that does change when my daughter comes home from university, when he follows her everywhere and I lose my shadow for a few weeks!

Our dawg, Harley, with his winter coat on!

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I don’t think I’m addicted but that’s what all addicts say! I wish I could sign-out to be honest, but I do find out so much in there and have made a lot of friends on social media. I’m a big Facebook user (that’s my generation my daughter tells me!), not so into Twitter, although I loved it 8 years ago when I first started out writing, but it’s a much more hostile and commercial selling place these days. I’m just getting into Instagram, it’s a forum I like, even if my photography skills aren’t up to much.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on my next Jules Hayes novel – another dual timeline historical, although simultaneously, I’ve also begun work on another JA Corrigan novel, which is a speculative thriller – although still in its early stages.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Success in the literary world is all about stamina, passion and having an extraordinarily thick skin. It’s also about being able to sift through good and bad advice. Interact with other writers, find your tribe, it’s the only way to survive in such a brutal, transitory, mercurial and ultimately, supremely competitive environment.

**Many thanks to Jules Hayes for spending a few minutes with us today! Scroll down to get your copy of The Walls We Build–which is also in the Kindle Unlimited program–and don’t forget to enter her international giveaway. You could be the lucky winner of a signed copy of The Walls We Build!**

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Three friends … 

Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life … 

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.

“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.”  #1 bestselling author, Nicola May

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Author BioJules Hayes

 Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.

Jules Hayes can be found at:

Website:

Twitter @JulesHayes6

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor

Instagram: JulesHayes6

Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website

Twitter: @juliannwriter

Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann

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Giveaway

Win a Signed copy of The Walls We Build

(Open INTERNATIONALLY)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the link above  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Q & A with Jo Johnson, author of “Surviving Me”

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I’m chatting with Jo Johnson today about her debut novel, Surviving Me, a unique work of fiction focusing on mental health from a man’s perspective.

Thank you for stopping by Nesie’s Place today, Jo!Jo Johnson

Thank you for having me.

Your latest release, Surviving Me, covers some timely issues including mental illness. What inspired the story?

I’m a clinical psychologist so I spend a lot of time thinking about people’s business.  I spend even more time in cafes. Over the road from my office there is a traditional tea room called the Vintage Rose. On one occasion, I noticed a middle-aged man, by himself, staring out of the window. I wondered about him and his story. In my head, his name was Tom. This observation inspired the first line of my novel.

‘At this point in time, I can accurately be described as unemployed, impotent, and a liar. It still puzzles me that, just a few weeks after my first wedding anniversary, I am sitting alone in a café for misfits, miles from my home’.

This is the table where I first saw “Tom.”

Did writing Surviving Me change or enlighten you in any way?

The key theme in my book is mind health, a subject I know very well.

The enlightenment was to do with the writing and publishing process. I hadn’t planned to write a novel, it just happened. I started writing as Tom and couldn’t stop until his story was finished. This was all a surprise to me.

I realised how much a gifted editor can do. I thought my book was finished but the editorial process was so enlightening. One of my characters had been pregnant for fourteen months! Lots of beta readers hadn’t noticed. As a result, my advice to authors would be, you can’t edit your own work!!

 Do you have a favorite character in the story?

My favorite is probably the main character, Tom. He is a lot like me, he’s an over thinker who has a loud inner voice shouting at him. I wrote from his perspective and with each chapter, my affection for him grew. I even cried proper tears when his life took a terrible turn. My husband was very unsympathetic. Tom is kind and loyal and always does his best. I notice a few readers on Goodreads have confessed to a crush on him!!

 What’s your favorite genre to read?

Commercial or women’s fiction.

What are you reading now?

Little White Lies, a novel written by another clinical psychologist.

 Where are you from?

West Sussex.

 Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I think I’m a hybrid. I published with unbound digital who I think are the only publisher who let you sell books before they produce them.

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

I work as a clinical psychologist and as a resilience trainer.

 Where do you get the most writing done?

 At the vintage rose tea rooms. Surviving Me starts in the tea room. My office is over the road but I go there for breaks and that’s when I write.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

Four kids!

 Yep! You have your hands full!

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I can live without it which is probably why no one knows about my novel despite its good reviews.

What’s your next project?

I’ve just finished a sequel to Surviving Me called Surviving Us. I’m also writing a chapter for a text book.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Write what flows from you, don’t try and write like someone else or what’s fashionable. Get your work professionally edited.

Jo, is there anything else you like our blog visitors to take with them today?

Let’s learn to talk about suicide.

In my debut novel, Surviving Me, the main character, Tom Cleary becomes suicidal. There has been a lot of recent talk in the media about what makes people take their own lives.

However, people are often reticent to talk about suicide with friends or family. Suicide is still a social taboo.

Often people fear they’ll say the wrong thing or make things worse. I can assure you that if you are concerned, most likely you won’t say the wrong thing.

We need to get better at talking about emotional pain and how it impacts all of us. If everyone felt comfortable to do this, it would save lives. In the UK, suicide remains the top killer of men between 30 and 50. We need to do something.

Most people who kill themselves have told at least one person they don’t feel life is worth living or that they want to die. Listen carefully to people and ask about how you can help.

1 in 5 people have thought about suicide at one point in their life. It’s actually common to have fleeting thoughts of suicide. Even if someone is actively suicidal, it’s often only temporary. Supporting someone to get help at the time they feel suicidal can save a life.

There is no such thing as them and us, there is just US. You don’t have to be mentally ill to feel suicidal. Many people who don’t seem depressed take their own lives. In my novel, Tom appeared to be ok, but on the inside, he was becoming increasingly distressed and isolated. Look out for subtle changes in people. Signs of distress can include drinking more alcohol, withdrawing from usual routines or avoiding social contact.

Most people who feel suicidal don’t want to die. They don’t want the life they have and the emotional pain feels unbearable, talking can really help. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering options that aren’t suicide.

Many people who feel suicidal don’t mention it for fear of upsetting or worrying others. But, by asking someone directly about suicide, you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal often say it’s a relief to talk about what they are experiencing.

If someone tells you they are feeling low or suicidal, it’s you they want to talk to, they trust you and you have sufficient skills to be with them and ask the right starting questions.

Ask this question if someone is feeling low or talks of not wanting to live.

“Have you thought of killing yourself?” If they say yes, ask them to talk about those thoughts and if they have a plan.

Research makes it clear that these direct conversations can reduce someone’s risk of suicide. After you’ve had a conversation about suicide, support the person to get professional help. Go them to their GP or if out of hours or they already have a suicide plan, go with them to A and E.

Follow this link to read the reviews on Surviving Me or to purchase the book on Amazon:

Jo Johnson is a clinical psychologist specializing in neurological disorders and mind health. She is the author of nine nonfiction publications but best known for a mind health workbook called ‘shrinking the smirch’. This is an innovative resource on how to better manage your mind using principles from the ACT model of psychological therapy.

10% of the royalties from my novel will go to The Beachy Head chaplains.

Many thanks to Jo Johnson for such an enlightening and informative chat today!

Keep scrolling to learn more about Surviving Me and enter Jo’s international giveaway!

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Synopsis

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     |     Amazon US    |     Add to Goodreads

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Author Bio

I’m very excited that my debut novel Surviving Me is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Social Media Links

Facebook

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G I V E A W A Y

Win two signed copies of Surviving Me & five Surviving Me fridge magnets

Open INTERNATIONALLY

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Q & A with Louise Worthington, author of “Distorted Days”

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Indie Author Louise Worthington is on the blog today to chat about her new release, Distorted Days.

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Thank you for stopping by Nesie’s Place today, Louise!

Thank you for inviting me.

Your bio says you’re from Cheshire, and now live in Shropshire. Please give us non-Brits some idea of what that’s near.Louise Worthington

Shropshire is a beautiful, rural county in the West Midlands famous for its hills. It’s about an hour’s drive from Birmingham airport.

You were an English teacher! Best subject on the planet! What ages did you teach and was it hard to leave the classroom behind?

I taught English to pupils aged 11-18, so I’d prepare them for GCSEs and A-levels before going on to university. I still tutor and examine as I enjoy contact with children.

I’ve only read the blurb of your latest release, Distorted Days, Louise, and I believe it’s main theme is friendship, did I get that right?

Yes, friendship and kindness as an antidote to the ups and downs that can make someone lonely or depressed. Small acts of kindness are transformative.

What inspired the story?

Reading and friendship! Doris locks herself away for a while and uses literature for escapism. I love Shrewsbury library (https://originalshrewsbury.co.uk/visit/shrewsbury-library), which Darwin attended when it was formerly a school, and that’s a key setting in the story where Doris makes friends and helps others. I have always enjoyed reading and it’s been important to me since I was a teenager, so I am thrilled to have made my small contribution to the book shelves.

Do you have a favorite character in the story?

I really like Doris because she’s quirky, flawed and good-hearted.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have 2 thrillers in the pipeline and I’m writing a novella-in-flash. They are all very different so it’s hard to say which is my favorite.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Self-published. Distorted Days is literary fiction and 53000 word so I didn’t think a publisher would go for it. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of self-publishing and have learnt a lot along the way – and I am still learning.

Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

I write pretty much full time around tutoring and school-runs and family-life.

 What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read! I love walking the dogs and run occasionally. I have family quite close by so I enjoy seeing them. I compete in triathlon occasionally when I’m feeling super energetic.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you? (Include a photo if you like.)

Yes- I have a dog, Maddy and daily I walk a friend’s dog. We have 5 ex-battery hens.

 

As a child, What did you want to do when you grew up?

I’m a huge animal-lover so I wanted to be a vet! But I was rubbish at science so I gave up that pipe-dream to study Literature at university, and then a postgraduate qualification.

What’s your next project?

It’s a thriller called Rachel’s Garden of Rooms. The rest is a secret for now!

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Stick with it, be patient and have a support network.

Please share an excerpt (extract) with us from one of your favorite scenes in Distorted Days.

Extract

Doris gets a job as a librarian in Darwin library. Here she befriends Colleen, her manager, and finds joy and escapism through literature and the people who visit and work at the library. It explores the power of friendship, words and the kinship public places like libraries can bring to many lonely people. (750 words)

Behind the poetry section, a disheveled-looking man lies prostrate with the deepest and darkest circles under his eyes. At first he looks crestfallen to see someone else in the room but then he notices the name badges. Colleen kneels to take a closer look. He is much younger than her, perhaps only thirty, but his voice and eyes belong to a much older man.

‘I’m looking for a book,’ he murmurs.

His voice has a musical quality with a seesaw of notes: it goes up in the middle, then down at the end.

Doris takes in the coal smudged under his smeary blue eyes and knows she must help in whatever way she can. ‘Do you know the author?’ she asks, in an attempt to be assertive in front of her line manager whom she respects enormously and would like to impress.

‘Author?’

His expression suggests he has no idea or is nonplussed. He remains flat on the floor, his feet pointing to opposite sides of the room, a perfect V-shape. As Colleen is calm and collected, Doris assumes this is a regular occurrence.

‘Or perhaps the genre, topic? Fiction or non-fiction?’

‘Sleep,’ he says, full of sibilance, like the S sound is the sweetest sound on any lips.

Doris spots a pale-blue cotton handkerchief protruding from his pocket and a small cut on his hand that looks like it needs Savlon and a plaster. A familiar maternal feeling sweeps over her. Talking seems to exhaust him further so she steps back to give him more air. His hand reaches for the bookshelf to get himself upright but he is clumsy, misses, reaches too late. He topples, turning into a heap of duffle-coat and loafers, emitting a puff sound as he lands in the same place.

’I can search on the computer downstairs, if you like,’ Doris offers helpfully, flapping slightly, turning to Colleen for guidance on what on earth to do next.

‘To sleep. I just want to sleep.’ He still speaks with a musical tone despite the edge of frustration; his sing-song self sounds at odds with the desperation of his sleep-deprived self – only an insomniac is left in the duffle-coat and loafers.

Colleen asks Doris to open his duffle-coat because he looks hot while she retrieves a book from the shelf. Beneath his stubble and his smudgy eyes, he is a truly handsome man. Her calm, purposeful manner soothes Doris. Perhaps this is an ordinary incident here?

The yellow-bound book is called The Wishing Tale, a slim volume with a gold-leaf title. Colleen kneels beside the heap as if to pray but immediately starts reading from the book. The crucifix around her neck swings forward. She gestures at Doris to keep stroking the man’s brow while she continues to read.

Words begin to fly from the volume in Colleen’s hand, as if they circle his head in worship to make a halo around his crown. The word ‘slumber’ places itself ever so gently on each of his eyelids, and the word ‘lullaby’ whistles into each ear.

Colleen keeps reading. A tremendous surge of letters, words and sounds make a run for his coat and under his collar. His body makes little wave movements and his head turns to one side. Then a hissing sound envelops the three of them, a low fluting hiss, the gentle but certain beats of a Z. The word ‘sleep’ dissects itself as if in pre-rapid eye-movement segments to walk up and down his body. A deep satisfying snore emanates from his nose. It is a giant’s snore. Doris puts her hand to her mouth, in part to stifle a smile. He is fast asleep. Colleen quietly closes the book.

Into each ear, the events of the day, the week, surge into his brain. The sound of a camera clicking fills the space as he processes the memories one by one. A spindle peeks out from his ear and discards an unwanted memory like a small pile of the rejected and the painful.

Colleen puts her finger to her lips and ushers Doris to the exit. They don’t speak until they are back on the first floor. The sight of the check-in desk and the library stamp brings Doris back to normality with a bump. Colleen takes Doris’s hands in hers and looks into her eyes before speaking with such earnestness that Doris feels touched and honoured to be working there with this wonderful woman.

‘Sometimes our visitors just need a bedtime story.

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Many thanks to Louise for visiting with us today! Keep scrolling to learn more about Distorted Days and grab your copy today!

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Distorted Days

If she could speak to them, she would say they have exploded her heart, released firecrackers through her senses. She wishes she could call the police, the ambulance, the fire brigade, to arrest and anaesthetise and waterboard the bastards.

So, what happens when your husband runs off with your best friend? When you discover the dead body of an old man halfway through your delivery round? When your house is burgled, and you get beaten up? Doris, Andy and Colleen are about to find out. They’re also about to discover that you can find friendship and support in the oddest of places…

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.

Purchase Links

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon UK   |   Amazon US     |     Lulu    

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Author Bio

Louise is the author of Distorted Days and Rachel’s Garden of Rooms. The Entrepreneur will be available later in 2020. The Thief, a short story published by Park Publications, is available to download Louise Worthington’s website.

​Before writing full time, Louise worked mainly as an English teacher after getting a degree in Literature and later, studying business and psychology at Masters level.

​Louise grew up in Cheshire and now resides in Shropshire.

“Louise’s characters, without exception, are skilfully wrought which make the reader genuinely care for them.”

        Twitter     |     Website    

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#Spotlight Nancy Joie Wilkie, author of “Seven Sides of Self”

Nancy worked for over 30 years in both the biotechnology industry and as a part of the Nancy Joie Wilkiefederal government’s biodefense effort. She served as a project manager, providing oversight for the development of many new products. Now retired, she composes original music, plays a variety of instruments, and records many of her compositions. “Seven Sides of Self” is her first fiction publication. She is currently working on more short stories, a novella, and a science fiction novel. Nancy resides in Brookeville, Maryland. More about Nancy and her work can be found at www.mindsights.net.

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The stories in Seven Sides of Self are so thoughtful and engaging, and at times very personal. What was your creative process?

Actually, the stories really are quite personal.  If you know me well, the collection can be thought of a scavenger hunt. There are little pieces of me in each of the seven stories — hence the title. As for my creative process, there is no one magic formula. As an example, An Intricate Balance came to me while out on a long walk. I got home and started writing — several hours later, I had the first draft of the story. You just never know when the Muses will show up!

As a former scientist, musician, artist, and now published author, your resume is really impressive. What drew you first to science and then to music and art, and do you see connections between these?

My maternal grandfather was an organic chemist. As a youngster, I would watch him work in his laboratory and always thought, “That’s what I want to do when I grow up,” and so I did!  I’m lucky to have known what I wanted to do; not everyone knows their calling. As for the music and the art, I had two musically gifted grandparents and a bunch of mostly older cousins who were musicians, artists, and writers. They were my inspiration. As for a connection, all of these fields are about creating something — taking what one sees or hears in one’s mind or feels in one’s heart and then bringing the thoughts and feelings out into the real world — hence my moniker: mindsights.

You’ve mentioned what you call “spiritual dynamics,” referring to the connection between souls and physical bodies. Why are you interested in souls, and can a reader find that interest in the book?

Being a distant relative of William Thomson — better known as Lord Kelvin, a major contributor to the Third Law of Thermodynamics — and having been a scientist myself, I have always been interested in the Three Laws of Thermodynamics. After I lost my father to cancer 13 years ago, I started to rethink how I viewed the soul and the afterlife — trying to make some sense of my father’s passing — and then started thinking about our “before life.” It was then that I thought developing the Three Laws of Spiritual Dynamics would be an interesting analog and might be used in some of my stories. An Intricate Balance is really my first venture into that arena. I do plan to more fully explore these ideas in future stories.

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About Seven Sides of Self

As a musician, artist, writer, and former scientist, Nancy Joie Wilkie’s first collection of short stories is designed to stimulate the intellect and engage the imagination. Seven Sides of Self (She Writes Press) explores seven aspects of an individual — the storyteller, the skeptic, the survivor, the saint (or the sinner), the scholar, the seeker, and the savior.

Through the lives of the central characters, Nancy examines themes of battling strong emotions, the lengths we might go to for self-preservation and self-sacrifice, the inability to accept things as different, and taking responsibility for what we create.  Each story seeks to contribute something to our ability to better understand ourselves, the world around us, and the conflicts we all face. Original and thought-provoking, these stories will delight any fan of science-fiction and fantasy.

 

Links

Amazon

Website

Goodreads

#Spotlight “A Friend In Deed” by G D Harper

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I’m happy to welcome author G.D. Harper to Nesie’s Place today. Tell us where you’re from, G.D.

Originally from Scotland, but now I live in East Sussex, 50 miles southeast of London.

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

Married with two grown-up sons.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Self-published, although I use Matador to print and distribute my paperbacks.

How long have you been a writer?

Since 2014.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

Two years

Pantser or Plotter?

Very, very much a plotter. I plan out chapter by chapter and define major characters and their character arcs before I write a single word. Things can change as the story progresses, however, and I have to frequently rewrite my plan as the story unfolds as I write it. I am in awe of pantsers.

You’re touring three of your books this fall. Tell us a bit about Love’s Long Road, Silent Money, and A Friend In Deed.

They’re all psychological thrillers, but in three sub-genres. Love’s Long Road is a coming-of age -story set in the 1970s about a young woman who leads a reckless double life; Silent Money is a crime novel also set in the 70s and is about an assistant bank manager who becomes a ruthless crime lord; A Friend in Deed is a political thriller set a few years in the future where an over-the-hill journalist discovers that the Russians are controlling the new populist political party that governs Britain.

What makes the books unique is that each story is told from the point of view of a different one of the three main continuing characters in the three books. They’re all stand-alone stories, but for instance with Love’s Long Road and Silent Money, the same scenes and even the same dialogue is in both books, but they have a completely different meaning when seen from the point of view of the different characters.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

Psychological thrillers in fiction and history/biographies in non-fiction. I like books that are easy to read, and really struggle with some literary fiction that makes too many demands on the reader.

What are you reading now?

The books of Helen Matthews and Katharine Johnson, fellow psychological thriller writers who I’ll be sharing literary festival platforms with in 2020. I admire their writing styles as well as their proactive approach to marketing their books.

Where do you get the most writing done?  

In the room above the garage, with great views over the Sussex Weald.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

Not really, but I like listening to ambient music, especially Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, to help me relax as I write.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I do a bit, but I don’t like bothering people with endless updates of what I’m up to.

What’s your next project or release?

I’m midway through a 25-store book signing tour with WHSmith and I’ll be visiting a store in London and the South East practically every weekend from now up to Christmas. On the writing side, I’m planning to do a Ken Follett and make my next book a historical fiction epic, set in 12th Century Kent. I’ve just started the research and planning and it looks like it will be a formidable challenge. But exciting as well!

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Decide on your goal and go for it. For many people, simply producing a book that’s as well-written and as good quality as it can be is enough, for others they want to reach out and have as many people read it as possible. If you take the latter route, be prepared to invest at least as much time in marketing as you do with writing

Many thanks to G.D. for stopping by. Scroll down to check out her latest release—A Friend In Deed—and UK blog visitors can enter her giveaway for a chance to win paperback copies of all three of the psychological thrillers she mentioned today.

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Britain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.

Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government’s policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.

A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.

Purchase Links

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon UK  

Amazon US

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Author Bio  

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.

Social Media Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

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G I V E A W A Y

Win all 3 paperbacks of GD Harper’s Psychological Fiction Trilogy (Open UK Only)

       Prize features all three books, Love’s Long Road, Silent Money and A Friend in Deed

giveaway prize

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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Meet Deborah King, author of “Bedazzled Dreamer”

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Please welcome author Deborah King to Nesie’s Place! Thank you for spending a little time Deborah Kingwith us here on the blog today!

You’re welcome, it’s my pleasure.

Where are you from?

I’ve lived in St. Louis, MO, a mid-western state in the US, for most of my life. I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to live in a rural area of the state for a few years.

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

I’m married to an extremely supportive husband. I’ve been blessed with considerate adult children, a son and a daughter. I’m also a stepmom to two, teenage young men.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I chose the Indie author route after watching many webinars and learning about how the traditional book publishing avenues have changed over the last few years. It’s been a long drawn out process, and I continue to struggle with the marketing aspects.

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been a writer for a little over three years, though I’ve spend most of my time learning the ins and outs of the industry, marketing, etc.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

Daring Dreamer cover

Daring Dreamer, book one in the Inspiration in Cologne series took me one year to write, not including my editor’s reviews and suggestions. I’ve managed to tone my writing skills and have written books two and three in six months.

Pantser or Plotter?

I do plot my stories, though my characters take over and I become a pantser!

What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

I only write in one genre: romantic women’s fiction. I will continue to write in this particular genre, though will add a bit of suspense or mystery in my next series.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I enjoy reading many different genres. If I had to pick my favorite genre, I would choose romantic women’s fiction.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor. I’m enjoying her story immensely.

Where do you get the most writing done?

I write in the late afternoons until eleven or twelve o’clock in my favorite comfy chair with one or both of my cats sitting on my lap, legs, or wherever they can find a spot.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

I’m so happy you asked! I adopted two rescue kittens some years ago: tabbies, brother and sister. They are adorable! I’m honestly afraid to keep track of their age at this point in time. I wrote them into Daring Dreamer.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to social media, though I love interacting with my Advanced Reader Group on Facebook. Twitter and Pinterest are fun if I’m looking for a break, though I run out of time to become overly involved.

What’s your next project or release?

I have just finished writing the first draft of book three in the Inspiration in Cologne series and am now reviewing and editing my manuscript. I will write a fourth book in the series to tie up loose ends.

I then plan on beginning my second series, which will be set in a picturesque valley of a majestic mountainous region. My favorite travel destinations are in the mountains and I enjoy hiking, which will enable me to write about another passion of mine.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Have patience with yourself and the marketing aspects, if you go the self-publishing route. Don’t doubt your writing. But most importantly, if you think your story has been written, it hasn’t. Only you can write your story because we’re all unique and possess our own perspectives. So, of course, I would encourage someone to follow their dream of writing and advise them to continue. The process evolves with each book you write.

Thank you!

I would like to personally thank you for participating in Bedazzled Dreamer’s Rachel’s Random Resource’s tour.

You’re welcome, Deborah!

Keep scrolling to find out Deborah’s latest release, Bedazzled Dreamer, and U.S. residents have a chance to win a paperback copy of Bedazzled Dreamer simply by entering Deborah’s Rafflecopter.

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Bedazzled Dreamer cover

Bedazzled Dreamer

She’s about to launch her dream business. The last thing she needs is a distracting housemate and his son…

Shelby is excited to open a shop with her best friend. But with Janna just-married and moved out, she worries their hopes of starting a boutique will never come true. And things get more complicated when her old distrust of men is put to the test by her handsome new roommate and his little boy…

With Oktoberfest decorations forgotten and replaced by Christmas cheer, she slowly allows Shane and the child a space in her heart. But she doesn’t trust her second chance at romance or the success of her boutique when surprising news threatens her newly minted courage.

Can Shelby find the strength to let her ambitions flourish, along with her new passion?

Bedazzled Dreamer is the second touching book in the Inspiration In Cologne women’s fiction series. If you like heartwarming stories, cozy small towns, and festive holiday experiences, then you’ll love Deborah King’s romantic women’s fiction tale.

Purchase Links

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon UK     Amazon US

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Deborah KingAuthor Bio

Deborah King is a spirited woman who was inspired to pursue her dreams due to her mother’s death from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She has the unique ability to read people and tackle life’s hardships.

Deborah is a distinctive new voice in women’s fiction. After raising two children, working with a not-for-profit wildlife rescue organization, and reading too many books to count, she retired from her personal training and weight management business to follow her dream of writing.

Deborah is extremely grateful for having the opportunity to work with many different people sharing and teaching what inspires her, which you will catch glimpses of in her books.

She lives in Missouri with her supportive husband, two cats, who believe they’re dogs, her mini fitness store, and her eclectic collection of books.

For all the latest information, excerpts from her upcoming books, general fun, or to chat, join her at Facebook – Deborah King The Inside Scoop: Launch Team .

She loves to hear from her fans. To follow her social media links, reviews of women’s fiction books, blog, and to sign up for monthly updates, visit her at deborahkingbooks.com.

Social Media Links

Facebook     Facebook Launch Team     Twitter     Pinterest     Goodreads

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G I V E A W A Y

Win a Paperback copy of Bedazzled Dreamer by Deborah King (Open to US Only)

Bedazzled Dreamer cover 3D

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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full tour banner

#AuthorSpotlight DiAnn Mills, author of “Fatal Strike”

DiAnn MillsIt’s a pleasure to welcome bestselling author, DiAnn Mills to Nesie’s Place today. DiAnn is an author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

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Welcome, DiAnn and thank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today!

Tell our blog visitors a little something about DiAnn Mills. Let’s start with where are you from?

I’m from Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, horses, hurricanes, and Harleys. And no, I don’t have a Harley. I love cooking, gardening, exercising, and all things healthy. 😀

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I’m traditionally published. However, I’ve self-published a few titles when the traditional rights were reverted to me.

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been a writer since I could form stories in my head. My first book was written in the second grade on a Big Chief notebook with a #2 pencil. But I didn’t have the self-confidence to pursue my dreams until my husband challenged me to write a book. That was 78 books and novellas ago.

78? Wow! How long did it take to write that first book?

About 4 months.

Pantser or Plotter?

Pantster! I’m an organic writer. Everything is rooted in character. I conduct an extensive study of my characters before writing a word. I want to know personality type, strengths, weaknesses, flaws, victories, backstory, motivation, and the list goes on. 😀

What excites you about writing?

The ability to create an adventure story that others may enjoy. If the story is not an adventure for me, then it won’t be for the reader.

What frustrates you most about writing?

Time. Too many ideas and not enough hours.

What is your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

I write romantic suspense. But I did write a middle-grade fantasy with my granddaughter. And I wrote 2 nonfiction books.

Where do you get the most writing done?

LOL On the treadmill. DiAnn on treadmill I’ll also show you a pic of my desk. DiAnn's desk Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?

No pets! But my grandkids are always an inspiration.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I believe in social media to help establish and maintain a writer’s platform. But the focus is not about me but the audience. If I can help anyone in my audience with what I know or have learned, then I want to do so. Social media is a means to establish relationships not to sell books. I direct the Mountainside Marketing Retreat with Edie Melson to teach other writers how to do social media effectively and efficiently.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release?

In Fatal Strike, I took my biggest fear—snakes—and created a story about killers who were injecting lethal doses of rattlesnake venom into the hearts of their victims. Then I decided my heroine—an FBI special agent who worked SWAT as a sniper—had a snake phobia. Favorite character?

Nope. I fall in love with all of them!

What’s your next project or release?

Airborne is a 2020 release. Super excited about this story too! An FBI agent boards a plane for Salzburg, Austria for a much-needed vacation and to make decisions about her future. Her husband has asked for a divorce, and he doesn’t know she’s three months pregnant. Two hours into the flight, several people on board begin showing evidence of a deadly virus.

Oh my! Airborne sound like a page-turner!

Many thanks to DiAnn for being here today. Follow her on social media to get updates on her 2020 release, but scroll down right now and read on about her latest release, Fatal Strike.  Check out the excerpt and enter her giveaway!

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Fatal Strike cover

Fatal Strike

by DiAnn Mills

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

 

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Tyndale House Publishers

Publication Date: September 3rd 2019

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 1496427106 (ISBN13: 9781496427106)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

SPECIAL AGENT LEAH RIESEL scanned the headlines on her phone. A prosecutor from Galveston had been found murdered behind a construction site, the second apparent victim of gang violence in two days. Both deaths were caused by rattlesnake venom injections to the heart. Before she could pull up additional reports on the woman’s untimely death, Leah’s phone rang. “Riesel, hostage situation in Galveston,” the SWAT commander said. “Grab your gear. The chopper takes off in five.” “On it.” She took a last lingering look at the half-eaten blueberry donut and coffee on her cubicle’s desk. Could this have anything to do with the two murders in Galveston? Before most of the city began the workday, Leah boarded a Little Bird helicopter beneath whirling blades and the pressure of a critical operation. Dressed in full camo and shouldering her sniper gear, she inhaled the rising temps. Feverish Houston. With the familiar air transport sounds ushering in memories of past missions, her adrenaline kicked in. A pilot from the tactical helicopter unit lifted the chopper into the air for the twenty-minute ride to Galveston. She recognized him from previous assignments involving aircraft used to deliver SWAT and the elite hostage rescue teams to crisis incidents. This morning her focus eliminated any chitchat. Leah grabbed sound-canceling headphones and contacted the SWAT commander already on the ground. “Riesel here. Special Agent in Charge Thomas briefed me on a home invasion that’s turned violent.” The SAC would be watching the operation at the Crisis Management Operations Center. “Negotiations have gotten us nowhere.” The SWAT commander’s voice rose above the chopper’s blade-snap. “Two unidentified men are holding two women and three children at gunpoint. Galveston PD estimates they’ve been inside the home for at least an hour. Demanding we leave the area after giving them five hundred grand and a gassed-up speedboat. Clock is ticking with forty minutes max. We’ve backed off as far as they know.” Leah swiped through pics taken with telephoto lenses and sent to her phone. Each ski-masked man held a child as a shield. Leah detested the savagery and the horrific emotions the hostages must be feeling. “We’re located on San Luis Pass Road on the western section of the island. Nearest house is five hundred yards away. Owners are in Europe. We’re in contact with the agency managing it.” She didn’t need a key to access the home. The SWAT commander continued. “One of the hostages is the owner of the home, Amanda Barton.” “Is there a Mr. Barton in the picture?” “Divorced. Lives in California.” Unlikely the ex-husband was behind this. “Agent Jon Colbert will be on scene shortly,” the commander said. “He had a deposition early this morning in Texas City and drove on to Galveston. Over the weekend, his SWAT partner had emergency knee surgery. Out for six weeks.” And Leah’s partner had left the city yesterday on vacation. The luck of the draw meant she and Jon would be working together. “I’ll contact you as soon as we land.” Jon Colbert, a sniper who had excellent marksmanship and a stellar reputation, also worked organized crime. But she and Jon had never worked together. The idea of teaming up with an agent she barely knew made her uneasy. If a sniper mission required a partner, she preferred an established relationship where she would know how the person processed information. Shoving aside her doubts, she narrowed her thoughts on what lay ahead. The precarious situation and local law enforcement’s inability to negotiate added up to why she and Jon had been assigned to the case. She grasped her backpack, lighter than usual with only a spotting scope, ammo, water, communication equipment, extra batteries, granola bar, and a handheld radio. Her Glock, as comfortable in her right hand as a toothbrush, found its spot in her back waistband. She touched her H-S Precision heavy tactical rifle. The sooner she got to Galveston, the sooner she could provide intelligence and help neutralize the circumstances. Her priority was seeing the women and children freed from these ruthless men. * * * Jon received a text from Special Agent in Charge Thomas that Leah Riesel had left the Houston FBI office and was en route to Galveston. He’d met her a few times, and they’d qualified together. Attractive woman—dark-brown hair, light-olive skin, New Yorker with the accent to prove it. Her professionalism in the violent crime division wavered between exceptional and extraordinary. A touch of toughness. Jon had heard not to make her mad—she had earned the nickname Panther for a reason. He remembered her stats—number three in the US for distance shots. Good thing he wasn’t easily intimidated. Once the chopper landed, Leah would be transported in an unmarked car to a vacant house more than a quarter of a mile away from the Barton home. No point in making the two men more trigger-happy when they’d warned law enforcement to back off. The SWAT commander spoke through Jon’s radio attached to his collar. “Thermal imaging confirms four adults and three children inside the Barton home. The men claim they’ll kill the children first. We have fifteen minutes.” In Galveston, Jon stopped at Broadway and Sixty-First Street. Tourists persisted in the middle of the thoroughfare, pushing strollers, riding surrey bikes, and enjoying the day. Some were dressed for the beach and others clutched what they needed for their excursion. All hindered his turn. Obstacles in his mission. If they knew the situation not far from them, they’d grab their loved ones and speed home. Each moment delayed his shot and shoved the hostages closer to death. A chilling composure took over his emotional, mental, and physical reactions. The busy street finally cleared. Jon turned west onto Seawall Boulevard and drove on to San Luis Pass. The hostage site was four and a half miles beyond there. Were the two men inside the Barton home wannabes looking to make a name for themselves? Strung out on drugs? Was this a personal vendetta? No matter how this ended—either a surrender or he’d be instructed to take a shot— their moment in history would likely be the lead story on tonight’s news. His phone alerted him to an incoming call. He responded before the first ring ended. “Colbert.” The chopper’s rhythmic whir reverberated through his phone. “Riesel here. Landing in five at Galveston Island State Park. SWAT commander has given me a location on the west side of the Barton home.” “I’ll be on foot by then. Taking a position on the east, beach side.” “I’ll need seven minutes to get into place,” she said. “Okay.” No need to remind her of the ticking clock. He touched End and whipped his truck onto a beach-access road where police officers had instructed residents to shelter in place. He switched off the engine. Grabbing his gear, he bolted down the beach. A Galveston police officer stopped him, and Jon handed him his ID. Seconds later, he moved toward his site. A sultry breeze blew across the water, and he recalculated his shot. Crouching low, he moved past police SWAT standing guard. FBI SWAT held the position Riesel was headed for. They were racing against time, a commodity that stopped for nothing or no one. At any moment, one of the armed men could pull the trigger on those inside the Barton home. Restraint. Control. Tense muscles relaxed. His heartbeat slowed. A clear head laid out the steps before the kill shot. No mistakes. Precision. Accuracy. A chance for the women and children to live another day. Near a sand dune, he tuned out the occasional seagull and the waves rushing against the shore. After wiping the sweat from his hands on his pants, Jon set up his rifle and scope, activated his radio, and spoke to the SWAT commander and Leah Riesel. *** Excerpt from Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills. Copyright © 2019 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.

 

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DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on: diannmills.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 2 winners each winning one (1) Gift Card (choice of Amazon or B&N). The giveaway begins on September 1, 2019 and runs through October 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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