Today I am one of the two blog stops on the first day of the blog tour for The Trouble with Words by Suzie Tullett! She is published by Bombshell Books. Today she is sharing a Guest Spot and talking about what helps her to be inspired to write.
Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single, and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident she’s just not ready for a relationship.
Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman – but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.
When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems…but things start to get messy.
Can both Dan and Annabel get what they want?
Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.
As an author, one of the most frequent questions that I’m asked is where do I get my inspiration? Where do the ideas for my books come from? The truth is, inspiration can come from anywhere. It lies in magazine articles and news reports. It comes from events, places, and new experiences. People can inspire by what they do and say. We just have to open our eyes and ears to the world around us, and then ask ourselves What? When? Why? Where? and How? And just as importantly What if?
Take this weekend. I was on a ferry from France to the UK. Public places like these are great for people watching, and glancing around as I sat out on deck, I caught a snippet of a conversation between a young woman and a couple of other travelers. They clearly didn’t know each other, yet the young woman happily shared information the rest of us might prefer to keep to ourselves. A curious situation for any observer, but the exchange became even more interesting when I realized it included the fact that her sister suffered from amnesia. Then to make matters worse, that her sister’s boyfriend of eight years was using this medical condition to deny any knowledge of the poor girl at all.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
I wish I could tell you the rest of the story but I can’t. It was at this point that the young chatterbox noticed I’d tuned in and, looking my way, paused mid-sentence, naturally forcing me to turn my attention elsewhere. Not that this stopped me from wondering what caused her sister’s amnesia? Or why the boyfriend concerned would want to desert her like this? And it certainly didn’t stop me questioning how, in an age of social media, he could possibly get away with such a lie? So, it’s easy to see how these random bits of dialogue can act as inspiration. They sow the seeds of an idea, which is exactly how my latest book, The Trouble with Words, came about.
Listening to people’s exchanges, and I include my own conversations in this, I began to notice how easily we make promises to each other. Simple promises that we have every intention of keeping and I suppose, once made, so we should. But we all know that life doesn’t always go according to plan, that circumstances very often change – a fact that led me to think in terms of What if?
For example, what if maintaining our word suddenly meant sacrificing ourselves in some way? Do we then try to work around our promise? Or do we put ourselves first? Hence the book’s title – The Trouble with Words.
It’s an interesting dilemma and one that I enjoyed writing about. Now I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think too.
About the Author:
Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.
Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.
Today I am one of the stops on the Blog Tour with Bloodhound Books for Red is the Colour by Mark L. Fowler. It was released yesterday, July 25th. Today I am sharing the first chapter with you.
Bullying. Corruption. Murder.
It is the summer of 2002. The corpse of a 15 year old boy, missing for thirty years, is discovered in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is on the cusp of change and Chief Superintendent Berkins wants the case solved quickly.
DCI Jim Tyler has arrived from London under a cloud, moving to Staffordshire to escape his past. He is teamed up with DS Danny Mills to investigate the case, but there is tension between the detectives.
When the dead boy’s sister comes forward, describing a bright, solitary child, she points a finger at the school bullies. Important careers may be at stake.
Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered.
As Tyler and Mills dig deeper they start to suspect a cover-up. What is the connection between the death of a schoolboy in 1972 and this latest killing?
With the pressure building, and the past catching up with DCI Tyler, will he and DS Mills be able to put aside their differences in order to catch a cold-blooded killer?
Nobody had noticed the bone sticking out of the ground. The yellow diggers remained silent and the workers had left the site for the weekend, absolved of all guilt for what they had done; exposing a thirty-year-old evil to the fading summer light.
Josh Smith was walking his black retriever, Stan, along the canal towpath on a warm Sunday evening in June. With an air of resignation, the boy snapped the clip of the lead onto the dog’s collar, and headed through the gate from the towpath down towards the subway entrance. The weekend was all but over. It was time to go home and get that homework done.
The two friends scurried through the empty subway that ran like a labyrinth beneath the giant roundabout. They emerged at the Wall of Death, the notorious accident black-spot, a monolithic curving structure segregating the main traffic artery from the adjacent foot path. From there they began the short climb up towards the ancient village where they lived.
At the top of the first climb was a plateau, a no-man’s land that the villagers refused to lay claim to; a place of shadow that to outsiders marked the outer limits of the village itself. On the site where the old factory had stood, the process of demolition was almost complete. In a few months’ time a splendid new visitors’ centre would herald another exciting chapter in the regeneration of the city.
That’s what the local politicians were promising, according to Josh Smith’s dad. But for now, the place was one more graveyard housing the spirits of a great industrial past.
The usual shortcut, the un-named track leading from the plateau towards a rough and weary tarmac path known locally as The Stumps, had been temporarily fenced off. Undeterred, Josh and Stan slipped beneath the barricade.
Moving carefully between the giant mounds of freshly dug earth, the two adventurers made good progress, crossing the forbidden site towards The Stumps, where the second barricade had been erected. As they edged around the base of the larger mound, Stan yanked fiercely on the lead, the sudden movement taking Josh by surprise and tearing the lead out of his hand.
The dog was sniffing around the base of the mound, and as Josh got closer he could see that his friend was licking at an object poking out of the excavated earth.
Nothing more than a rotten old stick, thought the boy. But the retriever was pulling on the ‘stick’, tugging at it for all he was worth and issuing a low growl as he did so. Didn’t he realise there was maths and history to be done and parents already checking watches?
Stan seemed determined to have the treat and he was growling now with uncharacteristic menace as he wrestled with the dark thing that the ground refused to yield up.
Josh felt the first sickly tug of panic. They should not be in this place, stranded between the barriers festooned with warning signs proclaiming unspecified danger.
Darkness was closing in around them.
Josh picked up the lead and snatched hard enough to feel the leather cut into his hands. In an urgent, shouted whisper, he urged Stan to, ‘Come on!’
Still the retriever’s fangs clenched tenaciously around the new find, while his master stopped to ease the pressure on his burning fingers.
The earth started moving.
The mysterious object was still clinging to some hidden thing inside the mound, something as yet invisible to the eye. Stan was swinging his head from side to side, determined to prise the find loose. His growl becoming savage.
Josh could see that the thing in the ground was not a stick, rather a bone, blackened no doubt by age and burial. More of the earth was sliding. Josh wanted to cry. At any moment, the hill might collapse and bury the pair of them forever.
Renewing his efforts, he hauled on the lead, his hands ready to burst into flames. But Stan was still not giving up the struggle. More of the bone was emerging, bringing with it whatever was holding it back and keeping it partially submerged beneath the dirt and rubble of a bygone age.
Josh let go of the lead and placed his hands under his armpits, squeezing away at the pain. ‘Stan, damn you,’ he shouted, his eyes stinging with tears.
As more of the bone began to come loose, the boy could see that it was connected to something larger, something hideous. He wanted to look away, but found himself unable to do so. Instead, he stood transfixed, awaiting the extent of the revelation.
The scream was forming in the pit of his stomach. He could feel it rising into his throat with the realisation that Stan was holding triumphantly between his teeth the blackened skeleton of a human arm.
The dog was momentarily frozen by his master’s guttural scream, though he still wouldn’t let go of the arm.
In the awful silence that followed, as the scream died in echoes across the darkening city, Josh Smith watched the lower part of the mound collapse, allowing enough of the skull to break free of the earth to leave him in no doubt that the world was full of dark intentions and evil deeds.
All time went to the moon until sirens and flashing lights filled the summer night, the cavalry arriving on the scene thirty years late.
In fact, as Detective Sergeant Danny Mills was to observe, almost thirty years to the day too late.
About the Author:
Mark L. Fowler is the author of the novels Coffin Maker, The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour, and more than a hundred short stories. His particular interests are in crime and mystery, psychological thrillers and gothic/horror fiction.
His first published novel, Coffin Maker, is a gothic tale set between our world and the Kingdom of Death. In the Kingdom the Coffin Maker lives a solitary existence, and every coffin he completes signals the end of a life in our world. One day he discovers that he is to be sent two apprentices, amid rumours that the devil is arriving on Earth.
Mark’s second novel, The Man Upstairs, features the hard-boiled detective, Frank Miller, who works the weird streets of Chapeltown. Having discovered that he is in fact the hero of twenty successful mystery novels, authored by The Man Upstairs, Frank has reasons to fear that this latest case might be his last.
In 2016, Silver, a dark and disturbing psychological thriller was published by Bloodhound Books. When a famous romance novelist dies in mysterious circumstances, she leaves behind an unfinished manuscript, Silver. This dark and uncharacteristic work has become the Holy Grail of the publishing world, but the dead writer’s family have their reasons for refusing to allow publication.
Red Is The Colour is Mark’s latest book, a crime mystery featuring two police detectives based in Staffordshire. The case involves the grim discovery of the corpse of a schoolboy who went missing thirty years earlier. Red Is The Colour is the first in a series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills, and will be published in July 2017 by Bloodhound Books.
The author contributed a short story, Out of Retirement, to the best-selling crime and horror collection, Dark Minds. Featuring many well known writers, all proceeds from the sales of Dark Minds will go to charity.
A graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, Mark lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow up to Red Is The Colour. When he isn’t writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks.[Top]
Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Spark Out by Nick Rippington. Today he is sharing with us some of his favorite things.
Think Arnie Dolan was trouble? Now meet the old man…
MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. He believes eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, his wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and he is about to lose his younger brother Clive to the army.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. With Margaret Thatcher’s government backing initiative and suggesting people get ‘on their bikes’ to find work, Mo believes it is the perfect time for him to expand his business… into armed robbery.
As he plans the ultimate raid to drag him out of the poverty trap, he believes his fortunes are bound to get better… but with the Falklands War just around the corner they are about to become a whole lot worse.
A hard-boiled suspense thriller that’s not for the faint hearted.
A prequel to Crossing The Whitewash, the novel is set in 1982 as Britain comes to terms with a Thatcher government and the prospect of war in the south Atlantic…
This post is about the things that you love, the things that really cheer you up…
I have a soft spot for the underdog… and I’m not talking about the canine variety. As a lifelong supporter of Bristol Rovers, I have become used to taking the rough with the even rougher. My football club has a loyal following for one which has had four different homes – none of them exactly glamorous – and recently hit the lowest of the low by dropping out of the Football League for the first time in their 120-year history. Fortunately, we have just been bought by a Jordanian who owns a bank. Happy days. In tandem with that we managed to climb straight back into the league the following season after a nail-biting penalty shootout win over Grimsby at Wembley, and went on to win back-to-back promotions. Something is sure to go wrong soon, because that is the lot of the ‘Gashead’, as we are known. It comes from the fact that when I first became a supporter we played at Eastville Stadium, which was dwarfed by those giant gas holders. Though I live in London I get together and travel to matches with members of a Facebook group called London Gas. We have a great laugh.
Continuing the underdog theme, I am also a big fan of the England cricket team and once followed them around Australia for nine weeks. They lost EVERY GAME.
My love of sport comes from my dad– even though he only had one leg from the age of 12 after a playground accident he was a massive sports fan. He taught me all sorts of old fashioned games and tricks which gave me hours of solitary entertainment when I was a kid: things like book cricket where you give every letter of the alphabet a value ie A = 1 run D= 4 H = out, bowled, then choose a random page from a novel and go through the page to see how many runs your batsman can score before he’s out. Dad also taught me how to invent your own football fixture list, a priceless piece of knowledge. My first writing involved doing my own football comics and newspapers – it’s no wonder I became a sports journalist. I guess sport in all its guises is my passion, along with writing and reading, of course.
About the Author:
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. Having proudly taken his dream job as the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days’ notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid six years ago. The dramatic events prompted Nick to write UK gangland thriller Crossing the Whitewash, which was released in August 2015. Spark Out is the second novel in his Boxer Boys series. Married to Liz, Nick has two children – Jemma, 35, and Olivia, 7. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex.[Top]