Category Archives: Blog Tours

Blog Tour! – Kin of Cain by Matthew Harffy

Today I’m very glad to be the next stop on the Kin of Cain blog tour. First let me tell you I jumped at the chance and did receive a copy of the book in advance but as always with Harffy’s work it was already on my pre-order list so I’ve paid for my copy too 🙂

Other stops on the tour

1st March – Hoover Book Reviews
2nd March – Speesh Reads
4th March – Parmenion Books
5th March – For Winter Nights
6th March – History…The Interesting Bits!
7th March – Lives and Loves of a Book Nerd

Matthew has kindly wrote a post about what the future holds which will follow on from my review so sit back and enjoy! My thanks go to the author and Yasemin at Head of Zeus for making this blog tour happen!

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Title – Kin of Cain
Author – Matthew Harffy
Genre –  Historical Fiction
Length – 86 Pages
Publication –1st March 2017
My Rating –5/5 Stars

Synopsis

AD 630. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical tale set in the world of The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Winter grips the land in its icy fist. Terror stalks the hills, moors and marshes of Bernicia. Livestock and men have been found ripped asunder, their bones gnawed, flesh gorged upon. People cower in their halls in fear of the monster that prowls the night.

King Edwin sends his champions, Bassus, Octa and band of trusted thegns, to hunt down the beast and to rid his people of this evil.

Bassus leads the warriors into the chill wastes of the northern winter, and they soon question whether they are the hunters or the prey. Death follows them as they head deeper into the ice-rimed marshes, and there is ever only one ending for the mission: a welter of blood that will sow the seeds of a tale that will echo down through the ages.

Review

When I first read The Serpent Sword I was shocked at how quickly Octa disappeared from the tale, it’s this murder that sets Beobrand on his journey but I was  left wondering who Octa really was.. was he anything like his brother?

Well now we have the chance to see a little of the man himself in a short story set before the events The Serpent Sword.

86 pages is a decent amount of pages for a short tale in my opinion and Harffy doesn’t hold back. For me what I really enjoyed was this tale has a bit of fantasy and mystery to it. The unknown force that is attacking people..is it human or beast.. either way the King wants it dead!

Octa sets out with a band of men to prove himself to his King and one of my favorite characters is included in this group, Bassus! oh how I love that man.

Harffy weaves a tale which includes the death and gore we are used to but it also manages to give some depth to Octa that wasn’t possible before.

The tale is full of suspense, it’s dark, gritty and gruesome..what more could you possibly want?

When I was reading the tale I couldn’t help but see Octa as Beowulf and reading the author note it was really great to see the Harffy’s thought process on this. It really made the tale stand out.

Personally I feel Harffy has loads to offer and I hope to see  more shorts in the future as I feel they bring depth to the authors world and allow them the chance to share some great stories with us the readers. When I commit to an authors work I want to feel like they are committing to me also..to give me their best and Harffy never disappoints.

Kin of Cain is thriller/mystery/fantasy/myth/folklore and so much more wrapped in to 86 glorious pages and it’s well worth the asking price.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon


What the future holds for me and my writing – Matthew Harffy

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If you’d asked me four years ago what the future held for me and my writing I would have said I hope to find an agent and then get published. In February 2013 I was close to finishing the first draft of my debut novel, The Serpent Sword. I’d never written anything longer than a few hundred words before and I could see no further than completing the book and somehow getting it out in front of readers who hopefully would like it. That was it. I really had no ambition beyond that, apart, of course, from the secret dream of selling millions of books and becoming rich enough to retire to a tropical island somewhere. But we won’t talk about that.

So much has changed in the last four years. I finished The Serpent Sword and found an agent. I then wrote the sequel, The Cross and the Curse, while my newly-acquired agent tried to sell the first book, and, unfortunately, failed. This failure pushed me to self-publish both books, whilst pressing on with the writing that had somehow become part of my life by this point. Both books were doing well and garnered many positive reviews. This finally piqued the interest of a publisher, so I signed a contract with Aria, a new imprint of publisher, Head of Zeus. Aria re-published the first two books and then published book three of the Bernicia Chronicles, Blood and Blade. They also managed to sell the rights for the three novels to Audible, who have now released the audio books for them, narrated by a great actor called Barnaby Edwards.

I have also written a prequel novella, Kin of Cain, which is out now, and completed book four in the Bernicia Chronicles, Killer of Kings, which is due out in June.

I am now well into the first draft of book five in the series, which will also be published by Aria, who have plans to release all the books in hardcover and mass market paperback in the coming months and years. I am even hearing talk of possible translations of the books in the works!

The point of this rambling on about the past and all the great things that have happened in the last four years is that I had no idea what would happen then, and I don’t really know what the future will bring in the next four years. But what I do know is that there will be more novels in the Bernicia Chronicles. Beobrand’s tale marches on into the seventh century and he will see more kings come and go. He will face his foes in the clash of shieldwalls in battles throughout the island of Albion and, who knows, perhaps even beyond its shores.

And when I decide to move on from Beobrand? When I am done with the mead hall and the shieldwall? What then? Well, I would love to write a western, but I am told there is no money in them. If I am ever close to living in my dream where I have enough money to write what I want and not care about how many people will read it, I will probably turn my hand to the American West. I can almost smell the rotgut whiskey and the pungent stench of gunpowder in the air of a rowdy cattle town when the ranchers and their cowhands have rolled in from the dusty trail. If you look carefully, you will see much of the so-called Wild West in the Bernicia Chronicles, but I would relish the chance to write at least one book set on the Frontier of civilization in the 19th century.

If, as is much more likely, I will have to write books that might sell and which appeal to readers of my books, I have an idea for a Viking saga, which actually has elements of a western in it. But I can say no more now, as it is just a twinkle in this author’s eye! It’s either that or romance, which my wife assures me sells better than the violent books I write. I’m not sure I would do very well at that, but I might have to think of pen name if I want to find out!

I am sometimes tempted to write a fantasy. I am a huge fan of writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell, so I have a firm understanding of the genre. And the thing that I like most about it, is that I would not have to stick to historical facts! In many ways, the stories I tell could easily be transposed into a word of epic fantasy. But as I am writing historical fiction, I am constrained by what is known to have happened, the technology available, and when things occurred. Oh, and no dragons or magic!

I would love the chance to be able to just create a plot and write whatever I wanted because I would be in total control and nobody could tell me I had got something wrong, as it would be my creation!

So, what of the future? I think we’ll have to wait and see. But if people keep buying my books, I think I can safely say I’ll continue to write them.

Hopefully others will enjoy whatever directions in which the muse takes me.

Author info:

Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first three books in the series, The Serpent Sword, The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade are available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and all good online bookstores.

Kin of Cain, a standalone prequel novella set in the same world as the Bernicia Chronicles was published on Amazon and all good online bookstores on March 1st 2017.

Killer of Kings , the fourth of the Bernicia Chronicles, is available for pre-order now on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

Blog Tour – Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn (@lee_leecockburn)

Today I’m very glad to be the next stop on the Porcelain – Flesh of Innocents blog tour.

About Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

Follow Lee Cockburn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lee_leecockburn

Title – Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents
Author – Lee Cockburn
Genre –  Police Procedural
Length – 266 Pages
Publication – 21st Feb 2017
My Rating –3/5 Stars

Synopsis

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

Review

I must forewarn readers that this book won’t be for everybody.. it’s dark and tackles such issues as child kidnapping and paedophilia.

It’s an engrossing and downright scary read and as a new parent it had my pulse racing at times.

Throughout this book we learn about a brother and sister who’ve suffered abuse at the hand of those they should be able to trust during their childhood.

While that tale unfolds we also learn of a present day vigilante who is standing up for those who need protection..this vigilante soon gets wrapped up in an active police kidnapping case when a child goes missing!

This book does really make you think.. these are bad people who get what they deserve but at the same time we have laws and the vigilante is breaking them too.

There’s a team of detectives on the case to hunt down this vigilante and for some there’s a very full on complicated love relationships going on and there is a load of sex scenes. For me this is the only bit I didn’t enjoy about the book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude and it did add to the sexual nature of the book and explores the emotional needs of sex but it took my focus away from the main plot which I was fully committed to. By the third major sex scene I ended up just flicking past the pages as I just wanted to get back to the main focus of the tale..the vigilante.. that storyline had me hooked.

Did the sex ruin the book? No..it’s just not for me..It’s just not what I expected to happen.

It’s a dark and gritty book that really makes you think.. these things can and do go on in the world around us.. this is a subject most of us wouldn’t even want to think about.

As the pressure mounts the vigilante makes a mistake and the police are closing in..I kept going back and forward between characters trying to decide the identity of the vigilante until the big reveal and I wasn’t disappointed.

The ending left me wondering what’s next… either more is planned or more likely left up to your imagination and I loved it.

It’s a tough subject so by its nature some people may not like the book but it’s definitely worth the read. I can honestly say I would have rated it 5* if the book had stayed on the case and had a little less sex..but that’s my taste.. I know many of you will love the book.

A disturbingly good story..take a look

I’ve read the other reviews so far during the blog tour and the book is receiving a very positive response!

My thanks go to Authoright and the author for the chance to read and review their work in exchange for an honest review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.


Author spotlight

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About me, I love my family more than life itself, my boys make my heart beat, I have a beautiful wife, a lovely kind supportive mum, and my late dad was a kind and remarkable man, someone you could rely on, someone who said I should write poetry, which I did do a year after his death, and unfortunately through dementia never got the chance to read my book.  My wider family are also very supportive and believe in me, and listen to me when I‘m letting it all out.

I have always been sporty, swimming for 12 years, training 5 hours a day when I became quite good at it, swimming in the youth Olympics when I was 15, representing Edinburgh.  I then started playing rugby at 22 and represented Scotland for 15 years and the British Lionesses earning 81 caps in total.  We won the first ever 5 nations tournament, we also won the European championships in 2001 and won 70% of our games always in the top 2 or three in the 6 nations, very proud to play and represent this proud nation, appearing in 3 world cups and 4 European championships.  My last game I was punched in the face, breaking m cheek bone, nose and damaging my eye, very sore, but played on for 40 minutes. I still play the occasional game now and then and I am 48, 6’1” and 15 plus stone, a big strong lass and not over the hill yet.

 

I used to work in the Commonwealth Pool for 13 years, lifeguard/duty manager, I loved that job, very entertaining time, a really good bunch of people.

I joined the police at 32, came second in the fitness, just because my sprint wasn’t good enough, I was gutted, 10.15 for my mile and a half, never to be repeated.  I have been in response policing (front line) for most of my service, other than three years in the public order unit, which is helmets and shields and crashing down doors and that type of thing.  I was promoted at nine years service and left the public order unit and went back to response once again and I am still there.  I have been pushed and shoved around a bit, but only assaulted once when I was knocked out in my first 6 months of service, a big black eye and I didn’t see who did it, so she got off with it, but did ask at court how my face was.

I was a little bit flighty when I was younger, but it wasn’t an easy life for a gay woman coming out 31 years ago in 1986, 6 years after it was against the law to be gay as a male.  I was assaulted at nineteen in Princes Street for being gay, I sometimes had to lie about my life to protect myself.  I have always been lucky enough to have someone special in my life, and now I am married and settled.  I‘m very glad things here in Britain have changed for the better, and I hope it stays that way, for the sake of my family.

Writing, I never though I would ever write, it was all because of a dull book and I wanted to write one the way I’d like to read one, so I did and I am now on book three, I find it a great source of escapism and I do like to entertain people, and this is just a new outlet to do this.

I am a fun loving humorous woman, I love life and thrive on filling it with as much happiness as I can, especially with the children.  One thing I don’t like is unfairness, I hate bigotry, and I am a great believer in live and let live, protect those that need help, I hate a bully, and people should stand up for what is right.

I miss my dad, and I love the isle of Arran.

Purchase from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Porcelain-Flesh-Innocents-Lee-Cockburn-ebook/dp/B01MR8004F/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486590103&sr=1-1&keywords=porcelain+flesh+of+innocents

Purchase from Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/porcelain-lee-cockburn/1125500067?ean=9781911525318

 

Blood and Blade by Matthew Harffy – The Blog Tour

I’m not quite sure how you could have missed it but the third book in The Bernicia Chronicles was released 1st December and I’m lucky enough to be part of the blog tour.

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Matthew has kindly allowed me to share with you an extract from chapter one of the book to hook you in!

Before you read it here’s the blurb:

635AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and third instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Oswald is now King of Northumbria. However, his plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising.

Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive.

Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge. Beobrand will give his blood and blade in service to his king, but will that be enough to avert disaster and save his kith and kin from the evil forces that surround them?

And if you’d like to read my reviews on the previous installments click below to open a new window!

Book 1 – The Serpent Sword

Book 2 – The Cross and the Curse


Chapter 1 – Blood and Blade

They attacked at night. Beobrand had known they would. The ragged group of Picts was driven by their desire for blood and death; their hunger for vengeance. And that was something he understood well.

The Picts descended on them in the stillest part of the night, as silent as the wraiths that haunt the burial mounds of ancient kings. Blades glimmered dully in the cool starlight. Approaching from the south, they were hopeful for the element of surprise. They had traipsed far to the west before crossing the river Tuidi and then circling round to move on Ubbanford from the desolate hills where few men lived.

The plan was good, but Beobrand was also cunning. Anticipating such a move from his enemies, he had set his men to watch the hills. At sunset, Attor, the most lithe and soft-footed of Beobrand’s warband, had padded into the newly-finished great hall.

“They are coming,” he’d said, the glint in his eye from the hearth fire speaking of his thirst for battle-fame.

“How many?” Beobrand had asked, setting aside his horn of mead unfinished. He would need his wits about him this night.

“A dozen. Mayhap more.”

Beobrand had scowled. He hoped all the planning was enough. His warband would be outnumbered, it was true, but they would also be prepared, armed and waiting for the attack.

He had stood, pushing his freshly-carved gift-stool back and looking at each of his warriors, his gesithas, in turn. He nodded, his face grim in the flickering flame light.

“We have prepared for this. Each take your position and await the signal. Attor, fetch Elmer from where he wards the river and have him get the women and children to safety.”

Now, in the pre-dawn gloom of the summer night Beobrand watched as the shadows of men flitted between the buildings. They made their way towards the hill where the new hall commanded the valley. He straightened his right leg, tensing his calf muscle, testing it. He cursed silently. The arrow wound was still stiff, not fully healed. He could not run. He would have to spring the ambush sooner than he would have liked, or else he feared he would not be able to close with the enemy. Beobrand felt the throb of the leg wound and wondered whether Torran was amongst the Picts who crept through his settlement. Torran, son of Nathair, had loosed the arrow that had skewered Beobrand’s leg. But not before Beobrand had slain his brother. He flexed his left arm, wincing. The skin pulled at recent scabbing where Broden’s axe had bit deeply into his flesh. He bared his teeth in the blackness. The pain and memories of the battle at Nathair’s hall only weeks before brought whispers of the battle fury into his thoughts. He had felt little these last few weeks. His lack of feelings frightened him more than the thought of bloodshed.

He signalled to Acennan who stood in the star-shadow of the smithy’s forge. He could barely make out his friend’s form in the darkness, but there was the slightest of movements in the gloom and then a piercing blast on a horn, as Acennan announced the moment of the ambush to the defenders who hid in the night.

Light flared suddenly as men uncovered torches and thrust them into prepared piles of kindling. Beobrand’s gesithas burst from the shadows, their weapons and armour shining red in the sudden firelight. Beobrand too leapt forward, drawing his fine sword, Hrunting, from its fur-lined scabbard. He hurried towards one intruder, whose back was turned to him. He limped forward as quickly as he could, clumsy on the wounded leg. His arm felt naked without a shield, but he had decided before the fight that a linden board would hinder him in his current state. Both his arm and leg would heal, in time, but for now, he would need to fight without a shield, and hope that the Picts did not run away before they could be slaughtered.

The man who was the focus of his attention turned towards him at the last moment. His face was pallid. He was young, probably less than twenty years, perhaps the same age as Beobrand himself. But he was no warrior. He held a long knife, but had barely raised it to defend himself when Hrunting’s blade sliced into his throat, splashing warmth over Beobrand’s forearm and face. The young Pict fell back silently, his eyes wide, mouth opening and closing like a beached salmon.

With the first kill of the night, battle lust descended upon Beobrand. After the weeks of inaction, the numbness after Sunniva’s death and the events at Dor, Beobrand embraced the battle-ire, welcoming the familiar rush of power as a cold man clutches to a warm cloak in a blizzard.


What did i think of the book? Well in case you missed it here’s my review –

I’m so glad to be back in Beobrand’s world..it’s not been that long since the last book but I’ve been chomping at the bits and boy did Harffy use the time well!

Straight from the off the book just felt tighter, more defined. Beobrand has been wonderfully developed over the last two tales in the series that he’s grown and I felt this growth allowed for the plot of this tale to become the best one yet of the series.

Fans of Harffy won’t be disappointed with this one, Beobrand is haunted by his past more than ever and this time things are taking more of a toll on our hero. Beo isn’t fully healed after the injuries he received in the last book..he’s getting older but he’s as sharp and deadly as ever.

Harffy easily brings you back into the world he’s created. The first few chapters are written so well to hook you in but also remind the reader of some of the main characters in the tale. I won’t spoil it for you but these early chapters stood out for me.. it set the tone of the tale and included some very moving moments with Beo’s closest. We really see how much the events in the past have changed Brobrand..he’s one death away from a complete breakdown.

Beo is a man torn. He misses his wife and the events surrounding her death still haunt him, although there’s a potential love on the cards for him in this tale. You can really tell how hard this must be for him.. he loves his wife.. but he yearns for physical love..I feel he’s lost so much he just needs someone by his side, to keep him warm, to make him feel alive..and to give him something to live for.

While performing his duties for King Oswald Beo still has his own issues to deal with.. namely Nelda and Torran who don’t seem to want to give up on the idea of vengeance any time soon.

The plot for this one really was brilliant, there are lots of strands to the tale to make it wonderfully full and complex but so well written it’s effortless to follow and understand.

One of the highlights for me was how well the author dealt with changing attitudes towards religion and medicine. There are some really great scenes with one of my favourites Coenred but if I say any more it will really ruin the enjoyment for you.

The major thing I really like is Harffy’s ability to remind you of the events of the previous books..even just mentioning the name Cathryn brings me back to the first book in the series.. the emotions I felt at the time flowing back.

This is the best yet from Harffy, who has put so much time into crafting and developing such a rich and invigorating tale.. more than once I gritted my teeth and shouted obscenities in my head (I don’t like to swear while on public transport 🙂 ). I’ve really been taken into the series and credit to the author I really care about how things play out.. from the moment I open the book the world around me shuts off and the only thing that exists is this wonderfully brutal and harsh world Beo lives in.

I must admit towards the end of the tale I wasn’t sure if Beo could make it out alive or not..there’s some brilliant twists to this tale and fans of Harffy will know anything is possible…I had my hand over my mouth a number of times thinking it was the end for Beobrand.

I’m excited to see what the author comes up with next but at the same time I’m truly scared. I don’t want this series to end..

Overall this is a whopper of a book, Harffy builds on his well-developed characters and throws in a super plot. It’s the brutal dark gloomy tale we expect for Beo but the author always leaves you with that feeling that Beo can right the wrongs that have been done and that although he can’t change the past there is always hope.. Things can in time.. hopefully..get better..

Let’s wait and see.


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Author info:

Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. The first of the series, The Serpent Sword, was published by Aria/Head of Zeus on 1st June 2016. The sequel, The Cross and The Curse was released on 1st August 2016. Book three, Blood and Blade, was released on 1st December 2016.

Book info and links:

The Serpent Sword, The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade are available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and all good online bookstores.

Killer of Kings and Kin of Cain are available for pre-order on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

Contact links:

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

 

12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event: Guest Post – Peter Worthington (@CatshillPeter )

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As part of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas blog tour i’m very happy to bring you a guest post from Peter Worthington, author of “The Eden Tree” which i reviewed back in July. If you missed the review click the image below to open a new window 🙂

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I’m very glad to say Peter has kindly offered to share with us a little flashback revolving around the charterers in The Eden Tree. I hope you enjoy


The Last Christmas at Kirmingsham Hall

Back in 2006 – before his grandson Wesley was diagnosed with cancer – John Morgan had said: “Christmas is made for grandads.” Thanks to a chance meeting with a flower-seller John traveled to Israel and returned with a mysterious antique box the contents of which saved Wesley’s life and led John to an amazing adventure. One considered his destiny.

A decade later on Christmas Day John’s thoughts were of a familiar aroma floating towards his nostrils. He reminisced of his grandma’s baking and entered the Kirmingsham Hall kitchen to the dulcet tones of “Mary’s Boy Child” playing in the background.

“Is that mince pies I can smell?” he said, taking a long sniff, and reached for the overflowing plate.

“Yes, John, we’re baking for the party tomorrow,” his wife said, tapping a wooden spoon in her palm, “and don’t touch again.”

He kissed her cheek, ignored her chastisement, quickly grabbed a pie, and ran for the lounge, crumbs falling onto the hall tiles. His eyes found the faces of family and friends relaxing on blue leather sofas, chairs, or cross-legged on soft pillows and red carpet. The spacious Tudor property had been their home since John and Liz married in the summer of 1986.

The gathering was planned for weeks. The Morgan Christmas Day celebrations would begin with a full English breakfast at The Black Swan and continue with traditional turkey dinner at home. Traditions would be broken, however, in ways that were staggering.

“Mince pies. Yum.” James said as he followed his wife Alyanna through the swing door.

“Keep ya’ mitts off them, James my boy,” Sean said with a wink as he grabbed one off the plate. “Jesus, these are hot” he blew on his fingers as Rachel play-punched his shoulder.

Rebecca, their toddler, was in the lounge playing horsey on Goliath’s back. Goliath – aptly named as he was six foot eight and weighed twenty-six stone –  was Aly’s cousin. Rebecca and her mum had benefitted from a miracle too. On Christmas Day the family would travel together to the mysterious garden. Probably for the last time.

The laughing toddler’s tiny legs hardly encompassed the giant’s massive frame. Roisin, Goliath’s fiancée, knelt close as guardian angel.  The lounge door opened and two teenage boys bounded in to take their turn at the rodeo.

“Mum and Josh have just arrived,” Wesley said, looking through the patio window.

“Oh great,” Iggy said, “now we have ex SAS and Mossad here. What Christmas party-poopers!” He slapped Goliath on his rear as he mounted his back. “Gee up, horsey.” The man mountain twisted and Iggy fell off laughing.

Watching her labours devoured Liz said with a shrug, “I can make some more.”

The two family dogs lay by the stone hearth. Presents under the tree testified that Christmas was for dogs too.

After a sumptuous breakfast handshakes and farewells were given to the landlord and staff. Sadness and anticipation in the air. Cars made their way past the iced-over pond, the remnants of festivity strewn around the village. Steering his BMW through the double gates for the last time John grasped Liz’s hand and pushed open the front door.

Christmas carols by choristers played over the hi-fi as the household opened presents. A pile of multi-coloured wrapping paper growing on the carpet.

“Slippers. Bleedin’ slippers,” Sean tore at his parcel.

“Language, Captain,” Rachel pointed to a toddler placing Lego blocks together to make a huge tower which toppled to her exasperation. Periodically someone carried turkey remnants, mashed potato, sprouts and other greens on a platter, alongside pizzas, chilli and rice. The group dined until the Queen’s speech after which James called out “Okay, Rambo, you can come back in now.”  Sean returned and gave a thumbs up.

“Can we have some games?” Wesley said, winking at Iggy.

“Yes of course, Sweetheart,” Becky said, “and you were a brilliant innkeeper.” Wesley blushed as his mum smiled proudly.

Through the late afternoon and early evening there was laughter, fun and merriment as various games were played. After a very competitive final attempt at Twister Becky surrendered and John realised it was time.

“Okay everyone. It’s time to go.” John gathered everyone for a massive group hug.

One by one the family and friends stepped through the portal and entered Eden –  never to return.

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The Eden Tree Blurb

” Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why. John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future? The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”

About Peter Worthington

Today Peter Worthington lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire with his wife Margaret. Peter has enjoyed a bright and varied career as a church minister, financial adviser and internet consultant. Now retired he is busier than ever thanks to his three grandchildren, studying for an Open University Degree in Creative Writing, voluntary work, playing World of Warcraft, serving on the board of a housing association and writing. He has previously published short stories in a number of Christian magazines. His first novel, The Eden Tree (published by Clink Street Publishing 19th July 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £2.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information you can follow Peter @CatshillPeter or visit http://www.edentree.co/

Short Story by AW Rock (Part Three) @SohoHoney #12DaysofClinkStreet

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As part of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas blog tour i’m very happy to bring you part three in a short story from AW Rock, author of “Soho Honey” which i reviewed recently

If you didn’t see the review click the image below 🙂

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Before you read part 3 you can find parts 1 & 2 on the blogs below. Click the links to open a new window

Part one can be found on The Nerdgirl Review – http://thenerdgirlreview.blogspot.co.uk/ 

Part two can be found on Between The Lines Book Blog– https://betweenthelinesbookblog.com/ 


Soho Noel – Part Three

Father Christmas said, “Don’t jump to conclusions. You have no idea what this is all about. When I saw you I knew that you have seen things and experienced things that most people know nothing about.. that’s why I’m here.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I have had to deal with fear.. I have seen terror in people’s eyes too many times. I have learned to understand people.”

“You didn’t show much understanding earlier on today.”

Father Christmas jumped as Costas broke in, “Christmas isn’t on my agenda and I don’t know you..”

“I’m no threat to anyone..”, said Father Christmas.

I looked at him with disbelief.

“.. I’m celebrating having removed a cancer from the past and looking forward to spending Christmas with my kids.”

Costas was a Greek Cypriot and family life and traditions were part of his culture so he let it go. He turned to me, “You don’t usually have a snorter this early.. what are you up to?”

“It’s been a fascinating day so far, Costas, and I’ve no idea how it is going to end.”

Jack jumped in, “Well knowing you it’s either a fuck or a fight.”

“You don’t know me”, I said.

Charlie suddenly woke up and waved his glass in the air, “Get me another fucking drink, will you? Where’s that useless barman?”

Jack had moved over to be with the women in the corner.

Costas checked him out, “There’s too much testosterone in this place… Jack, get Charlie a drink.”

Jack, “Doing my best, Boss.”

Costas went over to the optics and poured Charlie’s drink.

I turned to Father Christmas, “So now what?”

“People put presents in stockings at the bottom of their children’s beds. That man violated many children and he got away with it.. and there is more, much more.”

“What do you think I’m going to do about it?” I asked.

 

Father Christmas didn’t answer. He got up and walked out. He knew I was no threat to him either.

 

THE END.


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Soho Honey

This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London. Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soho-Honey-W-Rock/dp/1911110241/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478775644&sr=8-1&keywords=soho+honey

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About AW Rock

Based in London AW.Rock has been a regular on the Soho scene since the 1960’s working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.

Website – http://sohohoney.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sohohoney

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sohohoney/

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbobu4S36R9CSMklBZ4AEMA

12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event: Guest Post – Monika Jephcott Thomas

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As part of the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas blog tour i’m very happy to bring you a guest post from Monika Jephcott Thomas, author of “Fifteen Words” which i reviewed recently

If you didn’t see the review click the image below to open a new window 🙂

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I hope you all enjoy the guest post! My blog is yours Monika.


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Christmas In Germany 

Christmas for me as a child was a wonderfully long drawn out affair. It started 4 weeks before X-mas with Advent and ended on the 6th of January on Epiphany. During that time there were highlights filled with long established traditions in our family.

There was no Father X-mas. Presents would be brought by ‘Christkind’ i.e. baby Jesus, on Christmas Eve.

Every Saturday night before the 4 Advent Sundays we children put our shoes outside our bedroom door, well cleaned and polished and lined with x-mas wrapping paper. If you had been a good girl the angels would come during the night and bring you little presents and on the first weekend also an Advent calendar. Not a bought one with doors to open and finding chocolate behind it but one that was made by my Mum, which must have taken her ages for all of us. Little felt bags on a string for every day with the dates on it.  When you opened it there might have been a couple of marbles, some sweets something little that I was really looking forward to.

On December the 4th , St Barbara, we would go into our garden and cut some branches from our fruit trees. These would blossom at Christmas and would decorate our dinner table.

On December  6th , St Nicholas was celebrated. In the early evening we would gather as a family in our living room and sing X-mas and Advent songs, read poems and my parents would read us stories. Then at some stage there would be a loud knock on our front door. St Nikolaus, dressed up as a bishop and Knecht Ruprecht, St Nikolaus’ slave, dressed up as a chimney sweep, black and dusty, would arrive when snow was outside, on a horse drawn sleigh. He would come into our living room with a golden book and a sack of presents. We would sit with big eyes and in expectations of what presents we would receive and also a bit frightened about how Knecht Ruprecht might punish us if we had not been good over the year. St Nikolaus would read out from his golden book all the good things we had done during the year and also remind us where we had to improve so Knecht Ruprecht would not have to be angry with us next year. Then he left the sack of presents and we waved to him good bye from our front door when he left in his sleigh. It was so realistic and I wondered for many years how he knew all the things we had done over the year.

On the 3rd Advent Saturday night we wrote a letter to Christkind with our wishes for presents for X-mas and the angels would take this to him.

Every day during Advent we also had a wooden crib on the window sill of our living room. Every night before going to bed my mother would take us to the crib. We had to either choose some hay if we had been good to put it into the crib or some straw if we had not. We were in other words responsible for how comfortable baby Jesus would be when he was born and would lie in the crib under the X-mas tree. An effective way for parents to get 4 weeks of good behaviour!

On X-mas eve we would gather up in our dining room and sing X-mas songs until a little bell rang and the angels had finished arranging our presents under the tree (a big fresh pine tree with real candles). After a delightful time of unwrapping all we had our dinner which was always fish and then went to Midnight Mass

X-mas day was spent with our grandparents and X-mas dinner always was a goose, red cabbage and Kloesse (dumplings)

We had a relaxing time playing with family, celebrated NY eve with fireworks in our garden and had a family holiday till Jan 6th, Epiphany. At breakfast my Mum would have baked a sponge cake and a coffee bean would be buried in it. Whoever got the slice with it was King for the day and could do what they liked (within limits of course.) After breakfast my father followed by us would go to our front and back door and write e.g. AD 19 C+M+B 56 (initials of the 3 kings) in chalk over the front door to bless the house for the coming year and the same on the back door which would first be opened to let the bad spirits out.

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Fifteen Words Blurb

Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max – whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been conscripted to join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler’s regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry.

But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?
Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history.

Purchase on Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Fifteen-Words-Monika-Jephcott-Thomas-ebook/dp/B01MCWG3IJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1477564925&sr=1-1&keywords=fifteen+words

About Monika Jephcott Thomas

Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002.

12 days of Clink Street Christmas Event: Enemy Series Intro & Review – Rob Sinclair

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Today i’m very  happy to bring you my review of Dance With The Enemy by Rob Sinclair and also a little intro to the series which Rob has kindly written for us.

First off i must say I’ve heard many a good things said about this author by fellow bloggers. I’ve actually had the three books in the series for a little while already so when i heard he would be taking part in the Clink Street Christmas event it was an easy decision for me to pick him as someone i’d like to feature . Word of mouth speaks a lot to me and with so many good comments i just had to buy the series and i’m very glad that I’ve had the time to read/review the first book in the series.

I’ll pass you over to Rob to give you an intro then you can read my review 🙂


Intro to Enemy series

My Enemy series of books have now sold 200,000 copies worldwide since the release of the first book, Dance with the Enemy, in 2014, which was followed by Rise of the Enemy and Hunt for the Enemy. But for those people not familiar, what are they about?

I set out with the Enemy series to write books that were fast-paced and filled with action, because those are the types of books that I’ve always enjoyed reading myself (not to mention the types of TV and film that I watch too). I had a vague concept in my head as to who the central character would be. A tough guy. An all action hero who’d lived much of his life in that vast area of grey that separates right and wrong, but who had a certain vulnerability about him too. That last part was very important to me. I’d become increasingly tired of heroes who were too perfect, almost superhuman, and wanted a much more grounded and human hero. One who makes mistakes and one who gets hurt. And so was born Carl Logan.

Many years ago Logan, as a tearaway teenager, an orphan moving from foster home to foster home, and increasingly getting himself mixed up with gangs and drugs, was recruited by a shady law enforcement figure – Mackie-  as a low level informant. Over the years that relationship grew until Mackie himself moved on in the world becoming a Commander of a secretive intelligence agency known as the JIA (Joint Intelligence Agency). Seeing potential in Logan, largely given his bleak outlook on life and his nothing to lose mindset, Logan was brought into the fold at the JIA and, through years of physical and psychological training, was turned into something of a killing machine, travelling the world and carrying out the dirty work of the UK and US governments, under the radar.

But, despite the brainwashing training, there was always a gnawing inside Logan that he was more than just an assassin, a feeling that wholly comes to the fore when Logan is captured, tortured and left for dead while on a JIA mission in the Middle East. Which is the point in time where the Enemy series picks up, with Logan struggling to come to terms with that trauma, and trying to figure out exactly who he is, with many in his organisation now believing him to be goods damaged beyond repair.

The three books follow Logan from that lowest point on a journey of not just redemption and proving his self worth, but of revenge too, as he tries in vain to get his life back on track and to get his own back on those who’ve wronged him. Starting in Dance with the Enemy, Logan is drawn into a plot to kidnap America’s Attorney General in Paris, and the series follows Logan across the globe as he tracks down the bad guys whilst coming to terms with betrayal after betrayal – some closer to home than others – and all the time wondering where his life is headed, and whether he can ever truly escape his past, and what he is.


 

My Review – Dance With The Enemy 

Carl Logan is a man who has been trained to take orders and not ask questions but after things go wrong on a recent job he’s no longer the same agent he was. He’s been broken and it’s clear throughout the story that while he’s still good at his job he’s just not as focused as he should be.

From the first big scene involving the kidnapping of the Attorney General Frank Modena I was hooked. The detail had me gripped as I focused on the action.

Logan is sent in to find and retrieve the Attorney General little does he know that the man who broke him is involved somewhere along the line.

What happens next is a great spy thriller  where Logan has to put the pieces together and find out what’s truly happening. It’s clear to Logan from the start not everything is clear cut as some would like it to be.. so what is the real truth behind the kidnapping??

I won’t give the game away but the author did throw in some great twists. One i’ll admit i thought was coming but as to how it played out i had no idea.. and wow..it’s a good one.

Development is a big thing for me. Not only do i have to like the characters but i need to see a path for them to grow and Rob Sinclair delivered everything i could have wanted with Logan. You’re  given tit bits of info building as the story unfolds and this way of developing the lead character really helped hook me in.

I loved that Logan isn’t perfect..he’s far from it. You know he won’t come out of this without a scratch and it just makes the whole tale all the more  gripping.

The supporting characters were pretty well covered too. i loved the way the author managed to again give little bits of info.. just enough at the time but never overdoing it..keeping you just a little in the dark to everyone’s motivations.. as it should be with a spy thriller.

When i reached the end i could easily see why so many people had given great reviews..it’s more than deserved.

This tale is ultimately about revenge. It’s full of action and intrigue. The plot has to be the number 1 thing that stood out for me.. lot’s of different motivations and agendas and i just couldn’t put it down

My rating – 5/5 Stars!

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About Rob Sinclair

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Rob’s first novel, Dance with the Enemy, was published in June 2014 and is the first in the bestselling Enemy Series following embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan. Rise of the Enemy, the second book in the series, was released in April 2015, with the third book, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016.

The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob’s latest thriller, the pulsating Dark Fragments, was released by Bloodhound Books on 8th November 2016.

Rob worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. He now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Rob’s website is www.robsinclairauthor.com

He can be followed on social media at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSinclairAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robsinclairauthor/

Dance With The Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dance-Enemy-gripping-international-suspense-ebook/dp/B00KK6FJSC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Dance with the Enemy is the explosive first chapter in the highly-acclaimed Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring Carl Logan.

Rise of the Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 2

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Enemy-The-Series/dp/1909477850/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1438198518&sr=8-3

Redbrick “Carl Logan may be a battled hardened agent, but Rob Sinclair has managed to find his soul” – bestsellingcrimethrillers.com

Everyone has a breaking point. Carl Logan might just have found his. The Joint Intelligence Agency sends agent Carl Logan on a routine mission to Russia. It should have been simple. But when Logan’s cover is blown, he’s transported into a world of hell he thought he would never see again. Something is different this time, though, and before long doubts begin to surface in Logan’s mind as to why the assignment went so wrong. Logan has never been short of enemies. And sometimes the enemy is closer to home than you think. Could his own people really have set him up?

Hunt For the Enemy – The Enemy Series Book 3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1911110128/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7RN6PPZTNPA2HH8A440W

They’ve erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn’t finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan – once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor – has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labeled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down… and they’re not the only ones. But there’s much more at stake than just Logan’s life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.