Excerpt “A Degree of Uncertainty” Nicola K. Smith

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A Cornish town is slowly fracturing under the weight of its growing university…

Prominent businessman, Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto — and many residents and students are relying on him.

But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.

As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least the need to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.

There can only be one victor in this battle for the soul of a close-knit community…

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EXCERPT

(From Chapter 9)

This extract features the character of Dawn Goldberg, the ambitious Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, as she recalls her late father.

Her memory of that day was a blur, almost to the point that she sometimes questioned whether she had been in the car with her father at all. He had been taking her to her entrance exam at the nearby girls’ school, something he had perceived as a formality for the brilliantly academic Dawn – not that she possessed the same level of confidence in herself. Until then she had been unduly tainted by her mother’s unrelentingly gloomy outlook, believing that her father was, in contrast, overly ambitious on her behalf, riddling her with a desperate anxiety that she would fail him.

Bramley Hill was a twenty-five-minute journey, along roads that her father had driven numerous times. He loved to drive his green Cortina Mk4, purchased from his savings when it rolled off the production line the year before. She often helped him to wash and polish it on Saturday afternoons, and sometimes he would let her top up the oil and check the water. On occasion she would lie under the car next to him as he worked on the underside, revelling in the dark intimacy they shared, her mother tutting and berating her from the kitchen window. It was during these times that his faith in her began to permeate Dawn’s mind, nourishing her self-belief and feeding her courage; letting her dare to dream. He was a man of few words, often quiet and reserved, but he chose those few words carefully, and she treasured every one of them. How she had longed to know all his thoughts.

Other times he would stand with his head under the bonnet for hours, removing parts and replacing them, humming to himself. It was when he was at his happiest; it was when he was at his kindest.

She had insisted on sitting in the back seat that day. She wanted to do some last-minute, uninterrupted revision on her French verbs. Her father had sat silently in the driver’s seat, his oversized brown suit jacket looking faintly ridiculous on his narrow shoulders. He had bought it when he was promoted to factory manager some two years before. It had always been slightly too big for him, almost as if he thought the higher rank, the improved status, would in itself take up the slack. His hair had been slicked across his head in the way he wore it on important occasions. His very demeanour suggested he had finally arrived, that his life’s journey had been about this moment.

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Author BioNK Smith

Nicola K Smith is a freelance journalist contributing to a number of titles including the The Times, Guardian.co.uk, BBC.co.uk, BBC Countryfile and Sainsbury’s Magazine. She lives in Falmouth, Cornwall, a town which inspired A Degree of Uncertainty, although it is set in the fictional Cornish town of Poltowan.

 

 

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Twitter: @NicolaKSmith

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Facebook: @NicolaKSmith74

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Giveaway

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Win 1 of 10 copies of A Degree of Uncertainty (Open to UK Only)

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*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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#Review “Gray is the New Black (Guerilla Grannies, Mission 1)” by Jo Michaels

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5/5 Stars!

Grannies come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and ages. Yet still blue-haired, little old ladies come to mind at the mere mention of the word.

Fuhgeddaboudit.

While two of the group are grandmothers… and Pearl has blue hair… there isn’t anything granny-like about this group of fifty-something lifelong-friends.

Though they’ve lived normal lives apart and experienced too many of life’s milestones—betrayal, loss, divorce, and widowhood—Pearl, Ethel, Opal, Minerva, and Alma are back together now, living on the outskirts of Atlanta.

And they’re bored.

So what do a ballistics expert, a chemical engineer, an edged weapons expert, a martial arts master, and a former member of law enforcement do for excitement? They find a crime to solve before the police can muck up the works.

It’s while solving a bank robbery that this snarky, irreverent team of badass boomers come to the attention of a secret government agency and are recruited into service. Far-fetched? Okay, a bit, but it’s a good look for this group.

Gray is the New Black is such a fun read because the characters are so relatable. These women are not prim and proper matrons of society. They talk about aches and pains and aging, but they also discuss flirting, dating and sex. Especially Ethel! Insults and f-bombs are part of the endless banter but without rancor or spitefulness. These women are family and the deep love and respect they have for each other is the running thread through the story.

Bits and pieces of each woman’s life are shared as the story unfolds and while some questions are answered, I couldn’t help but want to know more.

I volunteered to read an ARC of Gray is the New Black as part of a book tour, but 1-clicked a copy even before I finished, and I’ve preordered book two. This is Golden Girls meets James Bond meets Mission Impossible and I’m here for it!

Enjoy!

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coverGuerrilla Grannies, Book 1
Women’s Action/Adventure Comedy
Date Published: December 9, 2019
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These aren’t your typical grannies.
Pearl Etta Riggs just buried her husband of a million years (no, not literally, but it felt that way sometimes), and her dear friends are trying to find a way to cheer her up. So, they meet for coffee and cheesecake at their favorite place, the Cheesy Cream Café. Ah, the taste of childhood.
Ethel spots the story of a local bank robbery in the paper, and pitches solving it as “it will give us something to do.” She begs, she pleads, and she… Flirts with the waiter?
Alma, always the level-headed one, cites the fact that the man may be one of those panty-sniffing rapists for the reason they shouldn’t. Consider that she was raised by a Southern Baptist preacher and always naysays; her friends rarely listen to her sage advice.
Opal and Minerva are all in, as usual, and they work with Ethel to wear Pearl down. Eventually, she caves, gets Alma on board, and…
You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens after that. What? Did you expect the author to give it all away in the blurb?
It’s a crazy thrill ride full of laughs and shenanigans as these women take the law into their own hands. What happens after is anyone’s guess.
After all, gray is the new black.

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 Excerpt
Chapter 1
“Pearl, your husband just died. You could use some cheering up. We should do this.” Ethel put her forearms on the table, her hands clasped and her eyebrows wiggling, a smile on her face so big it turned her crow’s feet into eagle talons.
“He was such a good man.” Pearl’s heart constricted, and she dabbed at her eyes with the tissue again, trying to ignore the growing desire for action and adventure tickling the back of her mind. We could, but I’m not sure we should. We’re too damned old…
“It’s really warm in here. Why don’t you take off that hat, honey?”
That question snapped her out of her thoughts. She’d considered removing the thing several times earlier in the day, but she wasn’t sure how her friends were going to react to her new hairdo. Sighing, she relented, pulling the black, wide-brimmed cap off and closing her eyes, preparing herself for the onslaught.
Opal giggled behind her hand.
“You look like a couple of blue Easter eggs got busy on your head. What the hell did you do?” Ethel’s mouth was hanging open.
Indignation rose inside Pearl, and she squared her shoulders. “Like you have any room to talk. Your damned lavender streaks look like a grape-eating bird shit on your head.”
“Maybe, but that’s what I was going for.”
“Ladies. Calm down,” Alma said, patting their hands. “It’s not that bad.”
“The hell it isn’t,” Ethel muttered. “Makes her look like a school marm. An old one.”
Pearl stuck out her tongue.
“Hush, you two. You’re ruining my reminiscing.” Misty-eyed, Opal gazed around the diner, a soft smile on her lips. “I missed this place. Memories of our teen years came flouncing back through my head immediately with the smell of the coffee, the creaminess of the cheesecake, and even the waitresses shouting orders. I know we’ve been here several times since I moved back, but it never gets old. We didn’t have anything like this in Japan. Over there, it was mostly tea houses.”
“We remember.” Minerva pressed her lips together.
“Oh, yeah. I try to block that period out.” The smile disappeared.
“You always were an old softy.” Taking a long drink of her coffee and closing her eyes, Minerva reached out to pat Opal’s hand, seeming keen on changing the subject before she lost control of her emotions completely. “But I know what you mean. There was nothing that compared to this in Florida, either.”
Ethel ignored them and went back to her nagging, stabbing the front page of the newspaper for emphasis. “We have the skills, ladies. It’s not like it would be a difficult case to crack. Look at this loser.” She held up the paper and pointed at the man’s grainy security-footage photo.
He had a scruffy beard and a terrible haircut. Not an incredibly nefarious-looking fellow, but not very welcoming, either.
It was tempting, and Pearl was on the verge of saying yes when Alma butted in again.
“No. Noooo. Absolutely not, Ethel. You want us to go running all over the great state of Georgia trying to find a man that only made off with”—she squinted at the print and gulped—“half a million dollars?”
“There’s no such thing as only half a million dollars, sweetie. And yes, I do. Not only will it cheer Pearl up, but it’ll give our rusty educations some badly needed workouts.” Gently, Ethel lifted her cup and took a dainty sip of the strong brew. She sighed and put it back down. “I like my coffee like I like my men: sweet and white. Damn. This is good. Best coffee in Georgia!”
“Move your wrinkled old ass so I can go to the bathroom. This stuff’s going right through me.” Opal shoved, trying to get out of the booth.
With both feet planted firmly on the floor, Ethel pulled one side of her mouth into her cheek and lowered her eyelids halfway. “Or maybe I just want to sit here and see how long it is before you piss yourself.”
“You’re such a grouchy old bitch.” Minerva winked over her cup. “I love it.”
“Come on, Ethel. Let Opal out before she has to change her diaper.” Alma chuckled.
“Fine, fine.” Ethel scooted to the end of the bench and stood as she rolled her eyes. “Ow!”
“That’s what you get!” Opal retorted as she sprinted for the ladies’ room.
“What’d she do?” Minerva asked.
“Pinched me on the ass. Hard.”
Everyone laughed.
One of the waiters came over and asked if anyone needed anything.
Ethel leaned forward, her elbows on the table, coffee cup between her raised hands, and ticked her head at him, indicating that he should lean closer.
Pearl watched in earnest as the young man leaned down and put his ear close to Ethel’s mouth. Her lips moved, and her eyes sparkled.
His eyes widened, his face turning bright red as his jaw dropped.
When he straightened again, she winked at him, and he mumbled something under his breath before rushing away. She chortled, sipping her coffee, a look on her face like she was the cat that got the cream. “Where were we?”
“What was that about?” Minerva asked. “What did you say to that poor boy?”
“I don’t tease and tell.”
“Ethel, really; he’s half your age!” Alma turned bright red.
“Yes. Yes, he is. I figure, if I can grab ‘em young, they won’t keel over like my husband did.”
“You really have to let yourself off the hook about Leo, sweetie.” Minerva put her hand on Ethel’s. “He just had a bad ticker.”
“Yeah, right. He was only thirty-five and fit as a fiddle. Not really enough time to develop heart problems.”
Gazing at the other women, Pearl gave thanks they were back in her life. It was rare to find so many amazing women, and she loved having all of them around again after so many years apart. Her heart filled with the love of friendship and comradery they’d forged, and she stabbed her chocolate cheesecake gently, putting it in her mouth, the flavor bringing back so many memories.
“Can I get back in, or is your replacement hip not high-tech enough to get you to your feet again?” Opal crossed her arms over her bosom and cocked her head to one side.
In a huff, Ethel scooted out again and got to her feet. “My hips are all mine, thank you very much. Not a single shred of titanium in my…” Her face turned red, and she sat back down.
Opal, Minerva, and Alma knit their brows.
Pearl could barely breathe she was laughing so hard, but she forced an inhale so she could speak. “You almost lied!”
“Shut up.”
When the questioning looks of the others landed on her, she held up one finger and pulled herself back together. “Just think about it.”
A collective gasp went up.
“When?” Opal asked.
“How?” Minerva added.
“Did it hurt?” Alma’s face was so red it was bordering on purple.
Ethel grimaced. “About two years ago. You don’t want to know. Yes. A lot.” Slapping the newspaper again, she caught Pearl’s gaze. “Please? If not for me, do it for them.” Gesturing at the other three, Ethel stuck out her bottom lip. “Look how old and decrepit they’re getting. This will give them new life.”
Alma pressed her lips together and shook her head a tiny bit from side to side as she gave that look she was best known for. They were going to get into trouble if they went along with it, and Ethel would be the ringleader, as she always was.
A war broke out inside Pearl. She wanted to do it, but she knew they really shouldn’t. Nothing good ever came of Ethel’s ideas—well, rarely.
As though she could read their thoughts, she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Y’all are no fun anymore. It’s not like we don’t have the skills. I was an upstanding officer of the law until a few years ago.”
“Seven, if you’re counting.” Alma smirked.
She got a look from Ethel that would’ve melted a car. “Fine. Seven, but Pearly is a chemical engineer! She could make us some knockout gas or something.” Turning, she continued as she pointed at each lady in turn. “You’ve knocked down whole buildings in huge cities without a single hiccup, you’re a freaking ninja, and there’s no one on the planet better with a blade than Minerva.”
“Gotta know how to use them if you’re gonna make them.” Minerva winked.
“I’m not a ninja,” Opal muttered into her coffee cup.
“Okay, martial arts master.” A laugh burst out of Ethel. “And a master of disguise, am I right?”
“That was way back in the eighties. I’m not even sure how to use all the newfangled stuff on the market.”
“So you’ll brush up on your skills!” She turned back to Pearl. “Please?”
“I’m afraid we simply can’t right now. We’re all too old, anyway.”
“Why can’t we, moneybags? Did Mansfield not leave you enough cash? And like hell we’re old. Gray is the new black, bitches.”
No one said a word for a long time, as though they were all sharing Pearl’s thoughts. It was an interesting idea, and she didn’t want to go home and sit in her newly empty house without Manny. There were too many crushing memories contained in those walls. Construction was nearly complete on the new house in Manny’s most recent development, Shady Pines, and she wondered if it would be better to occupy herself with something else until everything was done. Nearly all the houses were built already, there were only about ten to go, so she wouldn’t be busy with an agent on site yet. It had been Manny’s dream to build a whole neighborhood before letting anyone see it.
Her fingernails tapped the tabletop. Finally, she inhaled, but her pending speech was cut off by Alma once again.
“Ethel, you’re crazy as a Bessie bug. Forget it. No way. If I have to be the voice of reason, then so be it. We’re absolutely not doing this.”
“But, Alma, wh—”
She held up a hand and shook her head. “We don’t know what kind of criminal that man is. He might be a murderer or one of those crazy, panty-sniffing, rapist guys. When it comes down to it, we’re just five old women. Flesh versus gun, the firearm always wins—as you well know.”
Ethel’s hand moved to her shoulder, rubbing the place she’d been shot in the line of duty.
A phone ringing brought the conversation to a halt. Heart beating too fast, Pearl dug through her bag and pulled out the offending device, flipping it open and putting it to her ear. Her daughter, Katarina, was on the other end.
“Hey, Mom. Any idea when you’ll be home?”
“In a few minutes. Alma and I were just about to leave.”
“Okay. Do you want me to cook dinner?”
“No thanks, baby girl. I just had cheesecake. I’m all set.”
Katarina laughed. “You and that cheesecake. Be safe driving. I’ll see you soon.”
“I will. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
After flipping the phone closed, Pearl threw a twenty on the table, put her hat back on, and bumped Alma’s hip. “We need to leave. Katarina called.”
“That girl. You’d swear you were ninety the way she checks up on you all the damned time.” Ethel rolled her eyes.
Nothing would’ve given Pearl more satisfaction in that moment than smacking the shit out of something, but she held her temper. “She just cares.”
“Yeah, cares about losing her free babysitter.”
“Stop it! I love my grandchildren!”
“I never said you didn’t, but you’re in too deep. Your daughter and her husband can afford daycare.”
“Not today; okay, Ethel? Not today.”
Lines around Ethel’s face softened. “Okay. Sorry.”
“Y’all get up and give me and Alma hugs!”
Everyone squeezed Pearl extra tightly and told her to be safe.
Alma led the way to the car and got in on the passenger’s side, putting her seatbelt on right away.
She’d always been the levelheaded, law-abiding, church-going one. Any time there was trouble worth getting into, she’d shut Ethel right down with a snarky remark or soundbite of wisdom from dear old Daddy. What made Alma even more insufferable was, they’d avoided a lot of bad situations because of her naysaying. Her daddy had been a Baptist preacher, and he’d always threatened her with the wrath of God if she misbehaved. Though, if she ever wanted something badly enough, she always did it. Pearl knew that, and she planned to use it to her advantage.
Solving a local bank robbery was becoming more tempting by the minute. She was positive her crew of misfits could pull it off without a hitch. Everyone but Alma got excited when it was first brought up, and their eyes took on that gleam like when they were younger and were about to do something they’d never forget.
Pearl started the Caddy and put it in reverse after clipping her own seatbelt into place to avoid getting yet another speech about proper vehicle safety. As she backed up, she plotted a way to make Alma agree to take on the bank robbery case.
They were well on the road to home when Pearl started talking again, deciding the best way to get what she wanted was to use the new widow angle and a little fast talking. “You know, I’m not sure I want to be in that big old house by myself all day every day.” She glanced to the right. “Without Manny there, it’ll sure feel empty.”
“I can stay with you a couple of days if you want.”
Damn. “No, no. Kat will be there today and tomorrow with her family. I just meant when they leave.”
“Won’t you still have the kids every day?”
Damn! She’d forgotten about that. “I was thinking I’d ask if they can start daycare.”
“Really?”
“Mmhm. Ethel’s right. I deserve to have a proper retirement from raising kids.”
“You just have the one, like me. Not like it was that hard.” Alma smirked.
“I’m not saying it was hard, just that I’m tired of babysitting. Plus, it’s all I can do to lift that baby anymore.” Even as the words left Pearl’s mouth, she regretted them. Elizabeth was the sweetest baby ever, even more so than her mother had been.
“Pearl, I know what you’re doing.”
Alarm bells rang in Pearl’s head, and she sat up straighter behind the wheel. Trying to sound like she had no idea what was going on, she asked, “Oh? What’s that?”
After a deep sigh, Alma shook her head and closed her eyes. “Fine. If you want to do the bank robber thing, I’m in.”
“Really?”
“Yes, but just so you know, this isn’t a good idea, and it’ll probably end badly, but I’ll do it. For you. We really could use some flexing of our skills. I know I’m itching to blow something up.”
Pearl wanted so badly to squeal like a schoolgirl in that moment, but she kept her face as stoic as possible. “Well, if you insist. Wouldn’t want you blowing up things without supervision.”
“That’s not what I said!”
“Oh, look. You’re home!” She put the car in park and grinned. “Love you! I’ll call Ethel and tell her! Meet at my house at ten tomorrow morning! I’ll have Enrich make us brunch!”
Alma closed the door, and Pearl sped away, her cellphone already in her hand.
“Ethel? Alma’s in.”
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About the Author

 photo Gray is the New Black Author Jo Michaels_zpssgymhjib.jpgJo Michaels loves writing novels that make readers gasp in horror, surprise, and disbelief. While her browser search history has probably landed her on a list somewhere, she still dives into every plot with gusto, hoping “the man” will realize she’s a writer and not a psychopath about to go on a rampage. Her favorite pastimes are reading, watching Investigation Discovery, and helping other authors realize their true potential through mentoring. She’s penned the award-winning Pen Pals and Serial Killers series and the best-selling educational book for children, Writing Prompts for Kids, which has rocketed the kids that use it into several awards of their own.

Most of Jo’s books feature the places she’s lived: Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia. That’s given her a special amount of insight to what makes those locations tick. Her works are immersive and twisty, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
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RABT Book Tours & PR

#BlogTour “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow” by Columbkill Noonan

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Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!

Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.

Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they how to use it.  Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.

Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.

The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.

Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?

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Columbkill NoonanAuthor Bio

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling Barnabas Tew series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

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#Review “Palm Trees in the Pyrenees” by Elly Grant

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3.5/5 Stars!

The splendor of the Pyrenees Mountains provides the backdrop of this short read about death in a small French town.

Steven Gold lies dead in the street after falling to his death from an apartment building. Did he jump? Was he pushed?

Storyteller Danielle, the gendarme who ends up investigating the death, introduces us to a host of suspects, all of who have more than enough reason… and hatred… to help the unscrupulous businessman to his death.

Danielle is burdened by her own load of hatred and discontent. Underappreciated and ignored by her superiors, at odds with a mother who barely tolerates her, and the constant subject of a gossipy town who questions her sexuality, the young police officer is not living her best life.

Everyone has their prejudices and sensibilities, but the bigotry Danielle admits to is jolting. Her opinions of the usurpers or foreigners as she calls them is not unwarranted, just unexpected from someone so young. She likens them to the palm trees that grow in her Pyrenean town—incongruous and out of place, but here, nonetheless. I believe along with the possibility of finally getting noticed by her superiors and promoted, Danielle’s bigotry motivated her to take the path she chose.

Palm Trees in the Pyrenees has a good story premise. Danielle’s list of suspects run the gamut from meek and depressed to rude and arrogant. I would like to have spent a bit more time with them and gotten to know them… or understand them more, but as this is told in the first person, Danielle’s view of them is all we get.

And despite the town rumors and gossip revealed in conversations and her internal thoughts, Danielle’s view of herself is all we get, and it wasn’t enough for me to accept the ending. Her fears over a possible attack by Alan or being manhandled by David seem hollow in comparison. For me, it’s a great plot twist, but it’s out of place. It answers a question I had at the book’s beginning but with little conflict or suspense. I wasn’t shocked or surprised.

However, I don’t have a problem with being in the minority on this. I can see mystery fans enjoying the investigation and plot twist.

Enjoy!

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A rookie cop, a dash of mysterious death, and a heap of suspicion – as the heat rises, lethal tensions boil over in the Pyrenees.

Unappreciated, unnoticed, and passed over for promotion, thirty-year-old Danielle’s fledgling career in law enforcement is going nowhere – until the unexpected death of a hated Englishman turns her small town upside down.

Set in the idyllic south of France, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is the first whodunit novel in Elly Grant’s thrilling murder mystery series. Against a background of prejudice, jealousy, and greed, Danielle pieces together the sparse clues of a fractured homicide. But will she find enough evidence to solve the case – and get the recognition she deserves?

To find out, get your copy of ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ – right now.

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/palmtrees

Palm Trees in the Pyrenees will be FREE

16th – 20th Sept 2019

Creativia    Amazon US     Amazon UK

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#BlogTour “Palm Trees in the Pyrenees” by Elly Grant

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cover

A rookie cop, a dash of mysterious death, and a heap of suspicion – as the heat rises, lethal tensions boil over in the Pyrenees.

Unappreciated, unnoticed, and passed over for promotion, thirty-year-old Danielle’s fledgling career in law enforcement is going nowhere – until the unexpected death of a hated Englishman turns her small town upside down.

Set in the idyllic south of France, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is the first whodunit novel in Elly Grant’s thrilling murder mystery series. Against a background of prejudice, jealousy, and greed, Danielle pieces together the sparse clues of a fractured homicide. But will she find enough evidence to solve the case – and get the recognition she deserves?

To find out, get your copy of ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ – right now.

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/palmtrees

Palm Trees in the Pyrenees will be FREE

16th – 20th Sept 2019

Creativia    Amazon US     Amazon UK

 ~~~

Elly GrantAuthor Bio

Hi, my name is Elly Grant and I like to kill people. I use a variety of methods. Some I drop from a great height, others I drown, but I’ve nothing against suffocation, poisoning or simply battering a person to death. As long as it grabs my reader’s attention, I’m satisfied.

I’ve written several novels and short stories. My first novel, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is set in a small town in France. It is the first book of my Death in the Pyrenees series and they are all published by Creativia. The others in the series are, Grass Grows in the Pyrenees, Red Light in the Pyrenees, Dead End in the Pyrenees, Deadly Degrees in the Pyrenees and Hanging Around in the Pyrenees. Creativia has also published my grittier crime novels set in Glasgow, The Unravelling of Thomas Malone and The Coming of the Lord as well as my thriller, Death at Presley Park.  Also published is my Romance Never Ever Leave Me, as well as a collaboration on the quirky black comedy But Billy Can’t Fly and short stories called Twists and Turns.

As I live much of the year in a small French town in the Eastern Pyrenees, I get inspiration from the way of life and the colourful characters I come across. I don’t have to search very hard to find things to write about and living in the most prolific wine producing region in France makes the task so much more delightful.

When I first arrived in this region I was lulled by the gentle pace of life, the friendliness of the people and the simple charm of the place. But dig below the surface and, like people and places the world over, the truth begins to emerge. Petty squabbles, prejudice, jealousy, and greed are all there waiting to be discovered. Oh, and what joy in that discovery. So, as I sit in a café, or stroll by the riverside, or walk high into the mountains in the sunshine, I greet everyone I meet with a smile and a ‘Bonjour’ and, being a friendly place, they return the greeting. I people-watch as I sip my wine or when I go to buy my baguette. I discover quirkiness and quaintness around every corner. I try to imagine whether the subjects of my scrutiny are nice or nasty and, once I’ve decided, some of those unsuspecting people, a very select few, I kill.

Perhaps you will visit my town one day. Perhaps you will sit near me in a café or return my smile as I walk past you in the street. Perhaps you will hold my interest for a while, and maybe, just maybe, you will be my next victim. But don’t concern yourself too much, because, at least for the time being, I always manage to confine my murderous ways to paper.

Read books from the ‘Death in the Pyrenees’ series, enter my small French town and meet some of the people who live there —– and die there.

Alternatively read about life on some of the hardened streets of Glasgow or for something different try my other books and short stories. 

Social Media Links  

www.facebook.com/elly.grant.92

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#PublicationDayPush “The Worst Couple in the World” by Holly Tierney-Bedford

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No longer content to just be Snappigram sensations, folk hop singers Zeke and Angelique are ready to move up from coffee house performances to the big stage. With songs like “Uh Huh, Future Baby Mama” and “Don’t Worry About the Bills, Little Missus” there’s pretty much no way they can fail.

But if their musical career takes off, will it leave their love behind?

This satirical novella about an over-the-top fame hungry duo is for fans of David Sedaris and Don DeLillo.

Purchase Links

Amazon US     Amazon UK  

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Holly TierneyAuthor Bio

Holly Tierney-Bedord is the author of over twenty books ranging from serious women’s fiction to romantic comedies, domestic thrillers, humor, and cozy mysteries. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Social Media Links

Website     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Twitter     Amazon

Blog     Facebook     Goodreads     Bookbub

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G I V E A W A Y

Win a $5 Starbucks© Gift Card (Open to US Only)

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E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –US 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.

#ReleaseBlitz “Unlikely Friends” by Sahar Abdulaziz

Title: Unlikely Friends
Author: Sahar Abdulaziz
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/
Humor/ Satire
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Cover Designer: Patrick knowles Patrick Knowles Design
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Irwin is not only the local Librarian; he’s also a book snob and an all-around grouch. There’s nothing he values more than his privacy. As a loner, he’s happy to be surrounded by books instead of subjected to the incessant blatherings of dysfunctional people.

The one thing Irwin despises more than people is change. He’s content in his predictable, routine existence…until a young girl barrels her way into his dreary life and turns it upside down.

Harper is witty, smart, free-spirited—but most of all, stubborn. Baffled by her need to gain his friendship, Irwin does his best to brush her off, but Harper refuses to budge. In fact, it only makes her latch onto him even more. Friendship, after all, can be found in the most unusual places.



Cornelia plucked another cookie from the tin. “And what part, if any, do you play in this family tragedy?”

“Good question. And to be honest, I’m not sure, except the kid has latched onto me. For whatever reason, Harper’s got it into her head that I can do something to help her.” Irwin threw his palms in the air. “I’ve barely spoken to this kid if you don’t count our daily exchange of obnoxious notes and verbal potshots.”

Irwin walked the dirty dishes to the sink. “Well, time for me to pack it in for the night.” Cornelia feigned a yawn. “I’m exhausted, and I have a big day tomorrow.” She stood and stretched. “Remember, Irwin. Harper needs a friend right now and like it or not, you’re it.”

Irwin groaned and began washing out the mugs.

“Abdulaziz is a master at crafting a thriller that is paced by truth.”

Sahar Abdulaziz has authored seven books: But You LOOK Just Fine [Health/non-fiction], As One Door Closes [Contemporary Fiction], The Broken Half [Contemporary Fiction], Secrets That Find Us [Fiction/Thriller/Suspense], Tight Rope [Thriller/Political Fiction], Expendable [Psychological suspense] and her children’s book, The Dino Flu. Her next literary fiction novel, Unlikely Friends, is due for release Feb 19, 2019. Abdulaziz’s work covers a wide range of hard-hitting topics: mood disorders [depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, PPD], domestic violence and sexual assault, marital and family dysfunction, racism, sexism, and prejudice, but most of all–survivorship. Her multidimensional characters have been described as having “substance and soul.”

Originally from New York, Sahar moved to Pennsylvania in 1993 with her growing family. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Science degree in Health and Wellness Promotion and Administration, as well as a certification in Community Health Administration. In 1995, she received a Certificate in Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Counseling, and shortly after, as a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Counselor/Advocate. She volunteered for many years as a hotline worker and counselor/advocate. In 2016, Abdulaziz received an award for Community Written Expression at the Second Annual Monroe County Image Awards and in 2018, nominated for the Rabata, ‘We Are Aisha’ Award in the category Writer/Author. Most recently, she has guest co-hosted for Sistah Chat Radio, WESS 90.3 FM, Gynesis Radio, and is a member of the Pocono Liar’s Writer’s Club. Rep’d by Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Limitless Publishing.

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#Review “The Plastic Seed” by Maisie Porter

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3.5/5 Stars!

The cover of this read refers to cat and mouse games and that’s a spot-on description.

The problem is the cats are the mice and the mice are the cats, and… and…

Okay, it goes like this.

As this novella opens, it’s obvious someone is going to die.

The story progresses and things look pretty cut and dried.

They’re not.

Thirty-eight-year-old Jean Hima is bottoming out. The widow is barely hanging on to her home, job, and sanity, but she has no problem hanging on to the booze.

Jean insists she wants to make a better life for her eighteen-year-old daughter, Amy. Her lack of direction is obstacle enough, but a midwife who drinks before work and mixes up babies in the nursery, consequently delivering the wrong infant to the wrong mother doesn’t stand a chance.

The story moves forward five years to when Jean has hit the bottom and formulates a plan to pad her bank account and get revenge at the same time.

Carlana is Jean’s former neighbor and the person Jean holds responsible for her dismal lot in life.

One of three realtors in Jean’s old neighborhood, she feels it was Carlana’s behind-the-scenes machinations that kept her from finding decent housing after losing her job.

The watershed of problems after that snowballed, with the only positive outcome being Jean got sober.

But clear-headed Jean wants revenge, and the photos she’s been hanging on to for over five years are her ticket to a better life.

She has proof the now married, affluent Carlana isn’t the caring health and mindfulness coach and motivational speaker she promotes herself as, so she sets her blackmail scheme into motion.

And things got even weirder.

Such an intriguing read that kept me turning pages to see what Jean would do next… because her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.

But, if Jean is nuts, so is Carlana…and her husband, Evan (Him! OMG!), and her friend, Bettina.

Jean’s daughter, Amy, isn’t nuts, just preoccupied with getting anyone into bed, but by the time I got to 80% in this read, I was ready to pass out Xanax cocktails… and lobotomies to everyone!

In the blink of an eye, revenge and a honey trap both turn into murder, but who dies? You have to hang on to the very end to find out!

I stumbled with the editing a few times, having to re-read sentences again, but it didn’t diminish the story. However, the time jump near the end is jolting.

Multiple POVs give the opportunity to look through each main characters’ eyes and learn why they feel justified in their behavior.

The Plastic Seed delivers nice bait and switch scenes and good complex characters, and this crazy story of revenge and retribution is laced with humor and satire.

Enjoy!

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The Plastic Seed coverTwo schemes uncoil—and, very quickly, begin to unravel—on the same day in the Australian town of West Glassport…

Jean Hima isn’t happy with the way her life has been going. First, her husband leaves her. Then, she loses her job as a midwife at the local hospital, over the easily-fixed misplacement of a baby or two…

Now, Jean is sure a snooty real estate agent is blocking her efforts to find a rental in a nice part of town.

Given possession of a batch of incriminating photographs, who wouldn’t begin thinking about a little life-restorative blackmail?

Written in three acts and covering a quarter of a century, The Plastic Seed is an environmental thriller that explores the hypocrisy of some aspects of the philosophy of wellness. This novella is part satire of the human potential movement, and sincere testimony to the ability of humans to face facts when given no choice.

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Purchase Links

mybook.to/theplasticseed

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#BlogTour “The Plastic Seed” by Maisie Porter

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The Plastic Seed coverTwo schemes uncoil—and, very quickly, begin to unravel—on the same day in the Australian town of West Glassport…

Jean Hima isn’t happy with the way her life has been going. First, her husband leaves her. Then, she loses her job as a midwife at the local hospital, over the easily-fixed misplacement of a baby or two…

Now, Jean is sure a snooty real estate agent is blocking her efforts to find a rental in a nice part of town.

Given possession of a batch of incriminating photographs, who wouldn’t begin thinking about a little life-restorative blackmail?

Written in three acts and covering a quarter of a century, The Plastic Seed is an environmental thriller that explores the hypocrisy of some aspects of the philosophy of wellness. This novella is part satire of the human potential movement, and sincere testimony to the ability of humans to face facts when given no choice.

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Purchase Links

mybook.to/theplasticseed

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Author Bio Maisie Porter

Maisie Porter works as a professional photographer in Australia, with wide experience covering weddings, though she has neither abducted nor been abducted by any competitors. No Reception is Maisie’s first novel.

Social Media Links

Twitter  

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“Unhappily Ever After: A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups” by Lucinda E. Clarke

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Unhappily Ever After: A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups

by Lucinda E. Clarke

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tales/Fairy Tale Mashups/Satire

99¢ at time of posting!

Fairyland is in chaos. It is nearly time for the Grand Royal Annual Ball and Cinderella, has had enough of Prince Charming and desperate to get a divorce – as long as she can continue to enjoy her current standard of living. Harold and Snow White quarrel over his philandering and her refusal to go where every woman has gone before. Augustus also has a problem, his wife Sleeping Beauty is making up for lost time, producing 28 children, and he can’t meet the household bills. There is a dearth of suitable princes for the available spinster princesses and the annual festivities are held for that very reason. There is friction between Ermintrude the Fairy godmother by Royal Appointment and Featherduster who favours the proletariat. Into all this turmoil, the Green Giant arrives, sent by the ‘Party’ to ferment an uprising among the downtrodden peasants who appear quite happy as they are and not interested in anything he has to say – unless he can provide them with TV sets. A non-politically correct tale much closer to the truth than anything you have ever seen on the movies.

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