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Review: ‘Deadly Burial;, by Jon Richter

Published By: HQ Digital

Publication Date: 1st March 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9780008219833

Format: Ebook

Price: £1.99

Blurb

A fight to the death…

When DI Chris Sigurdsson is assigned a grisly murder case on remote Salvation Island, he knows that it might be his strangest yet.

A forgotten wrestling star of the 1980s has been poisoned whilst in the ring, and amidst the slippery lies of his dangerous opponents, unravelling the victim’s murky past is almost impossible.

And as a storm threatens to cut Salvation Island off from the mainland, the race is on for Sigurdsson to find the ruthless killer before he strikes again…

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Review: ‘Outbreak Mutiny’, by James Sandlin

OUTBREAKMUTINYCOVER

Blurb

ALTERNATE HISTORY. WITH SUPERHEROES.

December 31, 1929, was a Day That Lived in Infamy. A war between extraordinary beings with superpowers ended in DEFEAT for the United States and her Allies. Darkness fell on a Golden Age of heroes at the hands of the REICH.

Ten years later, all still mourn the anniversary of the day the Reich seized control during Operation TripleReich. Life is a struggle for the Remnant States occupying the middle of the Old US.

A virus in the Chicago Zone reignites the conflict between good and evil as the Outbreak Mutineers gather to stop the plague’s deadly origins.

Join the Outbreak Babies: – Buccaneer, Clockwork, Atlas, and more- as they battle the Warlords of Reich. Their adventures stretch across the years and through the sewers, high-seas, and even a city park.

No Matter the Time or Place, their Choice is Clear:

Die Free or Live in Chains.

Available here: rxe.me/ZDL95Q

Author’s website: www.thenovelcomics.com

 

Publication date: 19th April 2017

Published Independently

I.S.B.N.: 978-1521106679

Format: Available as Kindle e-book and paperback

This book was sent to me by Bear & The Book in return for an honest review as part of the blog tour for Outbreak Mutiny. 

Find Books & The Bear on Twitter @booksandthebear

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Author Interview: James Sandlin

JAMESSANDLIN

Today, as part of the blog tour for his book Outbreak Mutiny, I present to you, an interview with James Sandlin. I will be reviewing his book on 10th July, but for now, let’s get to know the author.

What inspired you to write your book?

When I was in the second grade we were assigned to write stories about Halloween. Every other kid wrote a paragraph or two about trick or treating or candy.

I wrote a two and a half page treatment about being teleported to a haunted graveyard and transformed into a bloodthirsty creature of the night by a cult of ghouls.

I always knew I was different.

While others were playing kickball or some other form of sports, I was hiding under the playground equipment reading Shadows of the Empire or another Sci-Fi novel. I began printing my own books before I was ten. I would have benefited from spellcheck then.

Then I stopped writing for years. I never produced a single word in high school, college, or into my adult life. I fell into a monotony of trying to be “normal”. I wanted to be successful in business and started my own insurance and financial services company when I was 24.

I have been successful but still felt the undeniable pull towards writing. I ignored the message from The Outsiders and did not “stay gold”.  In June of 2016, I read a book on vacation about superheroes in the common world and decided I could mix my passion of history with the idea of superheroes being inserted into world events.

I began to write on the way back from that very trip and came up with the basic idea of Atlas, Okinawa Dragon, and the Reich facing off at Pearl Harbor.
Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I prefer to write in the first-person and follow one protagonist throughout the story. You will see the clear influence from comic books in my life during Outbreak Mutiny. I label my chapters as “issues” and my Volume series is a collection of issues. Just like comic books, each issue must stand on its own but still create a serialized story that flows together. At some points, my story will go to another time or place away from the main narrative or hero. That is when I swap to a third person perspective, like in the issues Sewer Storm or when I travel to another point in the hero’s journey in issue Abandon All Hope …
How did you come up with the title?

Trial and Error. I went through many titles. When this book began it was called The Losers and took place in 2016. I wrote a series background for this book when I realized the history I imagined was more interesting than the story I was writing at the time.

I re-titled the book History of Heroes or HoH and decided to focus on writing historical fiction with a mixture of superheroes.

My early feedback was vital, and I recommend any writer to make use of Betas. I was told the first draft of the book was tedious and bogged down with historical trivia. They were absolutely right. I scrapped months of work which amounted to over 100k words and completely started over.

In creating Outbreak Mutiny and The Novel Comics, I moved away from real history and created an alternate timeline where America had fallen in 1929 and was about to be choked to death by a new empire called The Reich.

Originally I just called them the Third Reich like our enemies in WWII. However, the Reich Ruler would never acknowledge any previous “Reichs” as being legitimate. He would be the sole ruler of the world! That led to the creation of the dystopic Remnant States as the successor to the downsized United States. This is where the story picks up in Issue 1, Paper Purgatory, ten years after the fall of the Old US.
 What books have most influenced your life most?

All of the Star Wars Expanded Universe from the 90’s made me love to read and made me love Science Fiction. The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn began my deep love of written fantasy. Outside of Star Wars I loved the Harry Potter series, Narnia, and many other authors.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is an evolutionary process. Your finished product will only vaguely resemble what you began with. Patience is the most important trait you can develop and it was so difficult for me to learn.

What genre do you consider your book?

My series is alternate history. With Superheroes. Broadly speaking it’s fantasy but I like to think it carries a hint of originality. The Novel Comics is like my DC or Marvel. It is a shared universe of characters and events that will encompass years of storytelling. This is only the beginning!
Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I don’t consider it writer’s block. If I reach a point where I can’t write anymore then it just means I have to walk away from my manuscript until I am in the right frame of mind to continue. An author does not create a story; the story is simply conveyed through his or her fingers. If you find that it’s not flowing, leave it and come back later.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Yes, and that led me to scrap months of work and over 100k words at one point in this process. I realized that my original antagonist was about as exciting as Holden Caulfield if he had stayed at school that weekend. My setting was also entirely wrong. I started fresh and kept the best elements of the previous draft to create something entirely new.

As a writer, you can’t be afraid to kill your investments and redirect your efforts. Even if it means more time.
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?

My original characters are my favorite. In particular, I love Clockwork, Okinawa Dragon, Buccaneer, and Caliente Blu. I like to discover their story as I write it and ask questions like: “What happened to them in the past?” “How did they arrive at this stage in their lives?” “What drives this character/what do they want?” etc.
Where did your love of writing come from?

I would say it came from the love I gained for reading at a young age. I devoured books. As I read them, I felt myself grow sadder as I neared the end. It was like the ending of a friendship. That’s why I felt a love for series and stories that continued. I was in a relationship with the characters and wanted it to continue even after I turned the last page of a particular volume.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?

That one is easy. The hardest part was learning patience and taking my time to deliver a polished product. I felt so many temptations to call my book DONE before it was really ready. Patience was a foreign concept to me when I began, but I have since become more acquainted and I believe we will enjoy a long relationship together.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed the manifestation of the story. I don’t feel as if I wrote it at all, but that it was conveyed through me. It’s like it already existed and I simply had to discover it. Does a writer invent or does a writer discover? I honestly cannot say.
Do you write every single day?

I would say I write the same way I watch Netflix. I binge on writing for several days or weeks and then walk away and experience life without writing or creating. This helps me gain a fresh perspective and distance from the story improves my objectivity regarding its quality. Elements that seemed strong at first grow stale after the manuscript has time to breathe.
Which writers inspire you?

Timothy Zahn, Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephen King, Peter Clines, Jim Bernheimer, J.K. Rowling, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mary Shelley and more!
What are you working on at the minute?

I am actively promoting OUTBREAK MUTINY with all my might. As an Indie Author you have to fight for every download or purchase of your book. I am also planning the bullet points of the next book. I know where I want to begin and where I want to end. The path to arrive there, however, has yet to reveal itself.

I am also planning to write a short story in between about Caliente Blu, the heroine from Issue 0 of OUTBREAK MUTINY. She has received such an overwhelmingly positive response that I want to write a story that takes place ten or fifteen years before her appearance in OM as a young Outbreak Baby gaining her superpowers and fighting for the freedom of slaves in Cuba. And, of course, forming her super team “La Escalera” the female group of Latina Liberators!
What’s is your latest book about?

OUTBREAKMUTINYCOVER

OUTBREAK MUTINY is alternate history. With Superheroes. It takes place in a world where superpowers are real and an entire generation known as Outbreak Babies manifest their abilities after suffering a severe injury or trauma. In this world, superpowers are treated like a resource and those who possess them are in demand by the powerful.

The Reich has taken over the world after Germany pledged their allegiance to the most powerful of all Outbreak Babies, The Reichsmensch. He governs a caste society ruled by Warlords in conquered territories. Those who join the Reich attend Acolyte Academies where they seek the honor of earning a Warlord Trial.

Life is hard for those living outside the Reich in the Remnant States. The map I provided should show the new boundaries of the land known as the Old US. When Issue 1 begins, we find the stragglers in the Remnant just struggling to survive as a Virus breaks out in the Chicago Buffer Zone.

In this world, the choice is clear: You Die Free, or Live in Chains. Which will you choose?
Thanks for the interview, James, and best of luck with the book.

Review: ‘Broken Branches’, by M. Jonathan Lee

Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Published by: Hideaway Fall

Publication Date: 27th July 2017

ISBN: 978-0995492332

Price: £8.99

Format: Paperback

 

Available here

 

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Review: ‘An Almond for a Parrot’, by Wray Delaney

An Almond for a Parrot Paperback  by

Published by: HQ, HarperCollins

Publication date: 27th July 2017

Format: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9780008182533

 

Blurb

‘I would like to make myself the heroine of this story – an innocent victim led astray. But alas sir, I would be lying…’
London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It’s a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror’s assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother’s Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must

Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows.

She is Tully Truegood.

Orphan, whore, magician’s apprentice.

Murderer?

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Novel Extract: ‘Addicted To Death’, by Matthew Redford

Addicted to DeathFor your reading pleasure, an extract from ‘Addicted To Death’ by Matthew Redford, today’s guest in the Author Spotlight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs, have been brutally murdered, bludgeoned to death by an assailant with a large metal spoon. Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading Food Sapiens detective, is talking things through with his Homo Sapiens colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox.

Dorothy smiled at her boss knowing he meant no harm. Their career paths had collided just over five years earlier when the Food Related Crime Division was established. They forged an excellent working relationship, despite Wortel being a carrot and Dorothy being a fully formed human. Dorothy Knox was an experienced policewoman who was approaching the latter stages of her career when Chief Superintendent Archibald summoned her to his office one cold November afternoon. Thinking that she may find herself forced into an earlier than planned retirement, Dorothy was pleasantly surprised when he asked if she would be prepared to work alongside an up and coming young detective who had a tricky case of the crabs.

 

When a number of victims started to fall foul to infected crab meat the case soon became high profile as the public demanded answers as to how the contagion was going to be prevented. Wortel found Dorothy’s experience invaluable and together they unmasked Sammy the Shrimp, a small time psychopath hell bent on destroying the hard earned reputation of the crab. It was the week before Christmas when Wortel and Dorothy tracked down Sammy the Shrimp to a squalid flat on the high street above the local betting shop.

 

Sammy, seeing the two officers arrive with an arrest warrant, attempted to flee by pushing a small child to the floor, grabbing his scooter and using his long narrow muscular tail to pick up speed on the improvised getaway vehicle. Wortel and Dorothy gave chase but just when it seemed Sammy the Shrimp had managed to evade capture, his getaway scooter skidded on a patch of black ice sending him dangerously out of control of the child’s toy, jack-knifing the vehicle and flying through the air towards the shop window of ‘Bamboo-can-do’, the number one store for all bamboo related objet d’art. The unfortunate impaling of Sammy the Shrimp saw the end of the great crab meat infection, with most victims recovering following a dose of salts and the application of soothing cream.

 

Wortel was not comfortable being thrust into the spotlight, but the media latched onto the first food sapien detective and he soon found himself a somewhat unwilling celebrity. The successful resolution of the great crab infection saw the resources offered to the division soar, from diddly-squat to austere. However, being the new media darling was of no help to Wortel and Dorothy during their confrontation with their nemesis, MadCow McBeef. A confrontation  that very nearly cost them their lives.

 

The ‘Pow-wow with MadCow’, as nicknamed by the press, was a titanic bloodbath of a struggle with multiple victims strewn across the food and homo sapien population. The eventual capture of MadCow McBeef on a farm grazing happily next to the bloodied body of his former owner, Old McDonald, made front page news, with the trial at the Old Bailey covered daily by the rolling television news channels. Despite Wortel’s best endeavours, the jury accepted MadCow McBeef’s insanity plea and he was sentenced to life detention at the Farmer Giles Mental Institution.

 

“Have you tried these new flavoured crisps, they’re seriously nice.”

 

The question bought Wortel back into the room from his thoughts. He looked across at Dorothy. “What flavour?”

 

“Ham and honey mustard with a pickle twist.”

 

“No, you’re okay thanks,” he said, somewhat suspicious of the flavour combination.

 

“You don’t know what you’re missing, they’re really moreish.”

 

Wortel hesitated, decided against trying the new flavoured crisps, and sat himself down at his desk. “No news about a murder weapon?”

 

“No boss, whoever has done this seems to have been pretty clean in their dealings and we’re assuming at this stage that the murder weapon was taken away from the scene.”

 

“Fine. Look Dorothy, finish up what you’re doing and then call it a night. I know this is a new murder case but we’ve nothing to get going on just yet and I need you firing on all cylinders tomorrow. When you get home give my best to Graham and the kids.”

 

“And are you making a move for home any time soon?”

 

“I will. I just want to go over the notes from the crime scene to make sure I have my paperwork up to date. And I’m sure the Super will want an update about this case as well as the Cookie trial before I leave.”

 

Another half an hour slipped by before Dorothy pulled on her jacket, picked up her handbag and wished Wortel goodnight. As she reached for the office door it flew open, and Chief Superintendent Archibald strode purposefully into the room, his false leg working overtime to keep up with his real one.

 

“Ah, glad I’ve caught you Wortel. I’m due to for a late night tee-off in under an hour so you’ll have to be brief, but I want an update on this murder. Eggs isn’t it? Hmm, messy business. And we also need to talk about the Cookie biscuit sentence. I’ve arranged a press conference for the morning. We need to make sure we’re both on the same page. After all, we know the press love their Willie.”

And here’s the blurb:

Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation

Following the murder of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs savagely beaten to death outside their home by an unknown, fedora wearing assailant brandishing a large metal spoon, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading food detective in the police force, is called in to investigate. When the only food sapiens minister in the Government, Professor Perry Partridge, is murdered at the Strawberry Strip Club, run by the young damson Victoria Plum, DI Wortel suspects that the two cases may somehow be linked. As the Head of the Food Related Crime Division, DI Wortel is ably assisted by his human colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox. But as their investigation begins, four celebrity chefs are sent death threats. It’s a recipe for disaster as the incarcerated evil genius MadCow McBeef is seeking parole; someone appears to have crumbled Mr Bramley’s apples; and there is an anti-GM food protestor on the prowl. And why do Oranges and Lemons think they owe someone five farthings? DI Wortel and his team must find out who is seemingly addicted to death. It will take all efforts – human, fruit and vegetable – to figure this one out.
Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Addicted-Death-Related-Crime-Investigation-ebook/dp/B010545FEQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1490869221&sr=1-1&keywords=matthew+redford

 

About Matthew Redford

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council

estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

 

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford

Author Spotlight: Matthew Redford

Matthew RedfordToday we have another ‘Author Spotlight’, again courtesy of Rachel Gilbey at Authoright Marketing, who put the authors in touch with me. It’s Matthew Redford’s turn to say a few words today.

Thank you so much for allowing me a few moments to be featured on your blog under an author spotlight. And under the spotlight is a good description because I’m feeling the pressure! I think that’s because I’m really happy in the background and I probably need to push myself forward a bit more.

By way of an example, at work recently we had some training that included a look at personality traits and we had to fill in a questionnaire. The outcome was that under the heading ‘Extroverted versus Introverted’ I fall into the latter category. Well, I didn’t need my Food Sapiens detective, Willie Wortel, to help me work that one out!

So, now that I have got that off my chest let me introduce myself. My name is Matthew Redford; I am 36 years old; I was born and raised in Bermondsey, South London, and grew up with my family on a council estate. I’ve been fortunate enough to have an extremely supportive family who have encouraged me to grow and become the person I am today. And they never turned their back on me when I sat them down and broke the news to them that I was training to become an accountant.

I don’t believe in taking take life too seriously. I’m extremely lucky to be living the life I lead. That doesn’t mean I am not serious about things I care about, I just think its all about perspective. We all can lose perspective from time to time, but you just have to look on the front page on the BBC news website to get everything back realigned. I mean, look down the major news items and then ask yourself whether the fact that your train is running ten minutes late is actually that important really?

So what am I serious about? Well, my family comes first no matter what. My parents sacrificed a lot for me and my brother and they have laid the foundations for any success that I have in my life and career. And then there is my dear Nan who is the ripe age of 93 years young, who, as she often tells me, just needs a new pair of legs.

One thing which I think is important is that we accept we are full of contradictions. I know I am, so embrace your contradictions. For me, they add colour, depth and personality to who we all are. I’ve just said above that I don’t like to sweat the small stuff, so now let me contradict that by saying I absolutely hate it when playing a game of online chess I make a silly blunder and lose. I will chew over that for ages after the event. I am quite hard on myself in that respect. If someone was to lose their temper with me over something that went wrong, trust me, they couldn’t say anything which would be as painful as what I would inflict on myself chewing the situation over, and over, and over once more.

I mentioned at the beginning that I like to keep myself in the background, to keep myself to myself. I think this is representative of my star sign, Scorpio. Hold back; stay hidden in your shell; come out if it is safe. But always, always, keep your tail up and sting ready, just in case. And this is really important. It takes an age to build trust. But it can be lost in a second.

Finally, I enjoy humour. Make me laugh and I’m yours. I hope this comes through in my writing. My books are surreal, after all who else would write about food sapiens (you know, walking, talking food items) and the leading police detective of his generation, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, family man and carrot.

So, that’s me. I hope that I haven’t scared you off completely and that you would like to hear some more about the Food Related Crime team. My debut book Addicted to Death was published in 2015 and my second book, Who Killed the Mince Spy? came out in time for Christmas 2016.

More information can also be found on www.matthewredford.com

Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation

Following the murder of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs savagely beaten to death outside their home by an unknown, fedora wearing assailant brandishing a large metal spoon, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading food detective in the police force, is called in to investigate. When the only food sapiens minister in the Government, Professor Perry Partridge, is murdered at the Strawberry Strip Club, run by the young damson Victoria Plum, DI Wortel suspects that the two cases may somehow be linked. As the Head of the Food Related Crime Division, DI Wortel is ably assisted by his human colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox. But as their investigation begins, four celebrity chefs are sent death threats. It’s a recipe for disaster as the incarcerated evil genius MadCow McBeef is seeking parole; someone appears to have crumbled Mr Bramley’s apples; and there is an anti-GM food protestor on the prowl. And why do Oranges and Lemons think they owe someone five farthings? DI Wortel and his team must find out who is seemingly addicted to death. It will take all efforts – human, fruit and vegetable – to figure this one out.
Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Addicted-Death-Related-Crime-Investigation-ebook/dp/B010545FEQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1490869221&sr=1-1&keywords=matthew+redford

 

About Matthew Redford

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council

estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

 

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford