Book Tour and Author Interview for The Girl on Camera by Morgan Dun-Campbell

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This is my stop during the blog tour for The Girl on Camera by Morgan Dun-Campbell. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 6 till 26 August. See the tour schedule here.

The Girl on CameraThe Girl on Camera

By Morgan Dun-Campbell

Genre: Thriller

Age category: New adult, Adult

Release Date: March 14, 2018

Blurb:

Reality TV is about to get real…

“Are you ready to win the heart of the nation? Compete with seven other contestants for the cash prize? Change your life forever?”

Twenty-six-year old Rory Stevens is thrilled to be selected as one of eight contestants for new reality show: The Retreat.

However, on the second day of filming – during a televised broadcast from the show’s host – all power shuts off with no explanation: leaving the contestants, quite literally, in the dark.

Completely stranded, it is now up to Rory and her seven companions to figure out what is happening.

And then one of them disappears…

For fans of Naomi Alderman, Dave Eggers and John Marrs.

Excerpt

He leans forward again, and shakes his head. ‘I knew this would happen.’

‘Knew what?’

‘That you couldn’t go through with this. And you see, this is your problem. You’re acting as though you need to make some grand gesture, because this,’ he jabs his finger down on the tablecloth, ‘this is the risk. You and me, moving in together. And you can’t handle it. Because you never take risks. You just keep your head down, hope for the best. You’re scared of getting out of the comfort zone, and you always have been. All this talk of doing something spontaneous, seizing the moment – you know what? It’s all bullshit. I know you. You’ll attempt to try something new, maybe go to a cookery class on your own where you have to share a mixing bowl with the person next to you, and in a couple of weeks or so, when you’ve gotten bored of trying to find a new hobby, you’ll call me. And we’ll have wasted a perfectly good evening right here, right now. This is a Michelin restaurant, you know.’ He opens the menu again, scanning his finger down the options. ‘The mushroom risotto is supposed to be delicious.’

I can’t take this.

‘David. Please. You aren’t listening. Nobody is, that’s the point.’ I draw my chair out noisily, people from other tables glance over momentarily, before resuming their conversations. ‘I feel like I’m being suffocated. And if you can’t take me seriously, then we shouldn’t be together at all.’

I am gathering my handbag, when to my alarm, he reaches over and seizes my arm.

‘Rory. If you really are being serious, then I hope you remember this moment, over the coming weeks and months. We have a good thing, here. I can’t guarantee I’ll be there for you if you end up sorry for what you’ve wished for.’

‘I’ll be fine. Please let go of me.’ I steel my voice, waiting for him to let go.

His eyes darken, and he presses his lips into a thin white line.

‘Fine.’ He promptly lets go. I gather my handbag, brush strands of hair away from my face.

‘I’m sorry, David. I know you think this is just some momentary freak out, but it isn’t,’ I tell him. ‘But I’m sure you’ll make someone else very happy.’ He slowly shakes his head, then points at me, a strange smirk on his face.

‘Remember this moment. You’re always running, dear. Too scared to take a risk.’

*

By the time I get back to my flat after hailing a taxi, the emotions of the night have caught up to me. I pace the room, David’s words fresh in my mind. Never before has it felt so like a cell.

Too scared to take a risk? It wasn’t the reaction I’d expected from him at all.

I make myself a mug of Earl Grey, then sit at my laptop. Has it always been so quiet? The ticking of the wall clock is my only company.

I check my emails.

And there it is again. That one, tantalising message, staring at me from my inbox.

Bored of everyday life? Dream of being rich? Famous?

My mouse hovers over it. Of course, it could easily be a Trojan virus. But so what if it is? Isn’t that a risk that I am taking, David?

I click on the email.

THE RETREAT: A REALITY SHOW WITH A TWIST

Big Brother? Too tame. I’m A Celebrity? Outdated. What do we want? A cutting-edge new show to push the boundaries!

In five weeks, Channel 10 will be broadcasting our brand new show The Retreat live to the nation – will you be the one to seize the opportunity of a lifetime?

Eight contestants, four male, four female, will be carefully handpicked and taken to our secret location. The experience will include group tasks for the contestants – which may result in punishments or rewards – and a cash prize of £50,000 up for grabs – as well as earning the heart of the nation.

Do you dare to audition? Can you entertain an audience? Have you got a game-plan for the cash prize?

Auditions are being held in London on the 25th of September, as well as the 1st of October in Manchester the following week: click below for post code and directions.

DISCLAIMER: Boring people need not apply

There’s a video link, too. Caught up in the moment, I go ahead and click on it.

At first the screen is black. Then there is the scratching noise of a match being struck across the sandpaper edge of a matchbox, and an orange flame flickers on screen. Two slender fingers with purple nail polish are illuminated by the glow. The hand moves forward and a stunning woman’s face comes into view, with high cheekbones, light blue eyes and white blonde hair. She wears dark purple lipstick to match the nails.

‘Guys, I’ve got a secret,’ she whispers, and the flame flickers some more. Her eyebrows are raised high, and her breaths are short and fast. I assume frightened excitement is what she is going for. ‘But I haven’t got much time,’ she carries on, and she looks to the match for a moment. ‘This is the hottest show around and word about it is catching on fast. We are ready to make television history. We just need you.’ She is so mesmerising, I get that impression radio DJs are always trying to perfect, that she really is speaking just to me.

The flame is getting ever closer to her hand.

‘Are you ready to win the heart of the nation? Compete with seven other contestants for the cash prize? Change your life forever? This is a once in a lifetime chance. But you need to be in it to win it. Ever felt like spicing up life?’ I think of the spiced candles rack. ‘Are you ready to take a risk?’ Now I’m getting goose bumps.  ‘Great, cause we’re waiting for you,’ I almost expect her to finish the sentence with my name. ‘So hurry up, before it’s too –’ just when the flame is almost touching the skin of her thumb and index finger, she blows out the match. A second later THE RETREAT appears on screen in white, and flickers, lines and blotches covering the screen, like an old-fashioned film reel.

So here I am. Filling out an application.

As I say, and as David agreed, I don’t take risks.

But there’s a first time for everything. After all, what have I got to lose?

You can find The Girl on Camera on Goodreads

You can buy The Girl on Camera on Amazon

Morgan Dun-Campbell

Author Interview
  1. Tell us about your writing process. Do you aim for a daily word count, page count, or a couple of scenes each day?

In terms of the writing process, I think the most important thing is to keep things ticking over. Some days you might write 4,000 words, other just 100. Writing should be an organic process, and I feel that – for me personally – setting a rigid structure for exactly how much to write, each and every day, disrupts the nature of it. I have gone for days on end without writing, and then will suddenly find myself writing 15,000 words in a couple of days. It’s important to live your life in the moment, because experiences are always invaluable sources of inspiration – particularly when it comes to drawing out a character’s emotional reaction. So, although in the past, I have tried to make the process more systematic, it never seems to work. Writing is just too random: as is life. Maybe I am fortunate that I have been writing since childhood, so it’s a hardwired habit now. But, I would advise to let it flow naturally, otherwise your story could suffer.

  1. What gave you the inspiration for your book? Is it part of a series?

This is a good question. I came up with the idea several years ago, when I was just thirteen. So it’s tricky to say what sparked the inspiration at the time. I know I’d watched that year’s Big Brother (fortunately I don’t watch it now), perhaps a movie set in the woods also left a strong impression? Often my ideas come to me subconsciously, there’s no clear external source. For example, for my current novel, the premise came to me, quite literally, in a dream – which has never happened to me before. I woke up, acknowledged it was a really interesting idea, and quickly jotted it down. Over the years, I’ve accumulated several novel ideas, trying to make them as imaginative as possible, and this is one of them. It’s a story I’ve been drawn to time and again, in-between working on other literary projects, because I still believe the premise to be fairly unique.

  1. Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both?

Definitely bit of both. I think an author should certainly know the bare skeleton of the story – and should have an ending in mind (while also considering that this could change, depending on how the story develops). But, for me personally, I don’t transcribe each and every scene, because you need to give your characters room to breathe, and behave naturally – and you don’t always know what they will say or do, until you’re actually writing that scene. I always start with a premise, which is asking the question: ‘what if?’ So, in this case: ‘what if, you were a constant on a reality show, but something went wrong? All power shut off, and you were stranded without any idea as to why?’ Then there’s the protagonist. I always spend a while getting to know my protagonist, because they are selling the story to the reader. There are some exercises you can use, e.g. describing their bedroom, because the items a person keeps in their room says a lot about their personality. Then, they should always have some fear, or weakness, which they will have to face/come to terms with, during the novel’s climax. After that, I write the first few thousands words, letting inspiration come naturally. At this point, I’m generally mentally jumping ahead, and am brainstorming as I go along. But I do make myself stop, jot down the ending, have a clear idea of a beginning, middle and end, the ‘midway mirror moment’ halfway through the book, and what my protagonist’s main goal is throughout the novel.

  1. Do you prefer a certain type of music to listen to when you’re writing, or are you better with silence? 

Often, I will assign a song to a certain book – I’m not sure if other readers do this! When I first start reading a new novel that has me gripped, I’ll play a few songs, until I find one that fits the book’s ambience, and then play that on repeat. So, for example: The Secret History is paired with Oasis’ Supersonic. I would like to add that I am not normally a fan of Oasis, and wouldn’t have thought these two would fit. But, for me personally, they are now associated with each other. Other examples: The Girl on the Train is paired with Sia’s Cheap Thrills (but not the version feat. Sean Paul!) There is something haunting about the musical accompaniment of Cheap Thrills which works really well with that book. Because I should add, the pairings rarely have anything to do with the song lyrics. I also associate the song Lucky Man by The Verve with Stephen King’s 11/22/63, because of the sense of wonder and adventure in both the song, and the premise of the book. (FYI, this is an excellent King book – and it isn’t horror, it’s science fiction). There are also songs I associate with my own books. And, yes, I listen to music when writing, though not always. But I find it helpful to have certain songs I associate with the story. There are three songs connected with The Girl on Camera, but I’ll just share one of them: the song Crazy by Seal – which is most commonly known from the film The Devil Wears Prada.

  1. What book(s) are you reading now?

I’ve just started Force of Nature by Jane Harper, after thoroughly enjoying her brilliant crime debut The Dry, which won several awards. I’m also reading literary novel The English Patient, which has just won the Golden Man Booker prize. I generally lean more towards commercial fiction rather than literary, although I did recently read literary novel Call Me By Your Name, as the movie adaptation was my favourite film of last year. It was very well-written, but personally I preferred The Dry, which was utterly compelling, with fully fleshed-out characters, and a genuinely unpredictable ‘whodunnit’. I also enjoy non-fiction, and Carlo Rovelli’s Reality is Not What it Seems is currently top of my TBR pile.

  1. Anything else you’d like us to know about this book or any others (past or future)?

Certainly! I always try to make sure the novels I am working on have a unique premise. I don’t want to follow a tried-and-tested formula for a certain genre, though I know this can work for others. So, I hope you will look out for my future novels, if you enjoy The Girl on Camera, because you should discover a unique concept each time. My novels are also always fairly grounded in reality, but with a twist: because I love the union of the familiar with the abstract. I would never set a book on another planet, for example. I think real-world scenarios are fascinating enough. Also, I consider all my books to be set in the same ‘universe’: that is, some characters may feature in other books, too. For example, with the novel I am currently working on, one of the main characters is a friend of a friend of one of the contestants from The Girl on Camera.

About the Author:

Morgan Dun-Campbell lives in London. She has an MA (Distinction) in Creative Writing and Publishing, has participated in two Arvon literary writing courses, and has worked as an intern for numerous publishing houses, including Penguin Random House and Bloomsbury. The Girl on Camera is her first novel.

You can find and contact Morgan Dun-Campbell here:

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Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Girl on Camera. Five winners will each win a prize bundle including a signed copy of the book The Girl on Camera, a bookmark, and a small box of Celebrations. Giveaway is UK and US only.

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Blog Tour for The Azrael Initiative (Kayla Falk Series #1) by K. Hanson

The Azrael Initiative (Kayla Falk Series #1)
by K. Hanson
Genre: Adult/New Adult Thriller
Release Date: March 2017

Summary:

Best friends Kayla Falk, an engineering student, and Olivia Bellamy, who is studying nursing, are nearing the end of their college career when terrorists attack their university. Through a combination of cleverness, bravery, and luck, the two manage to foil the deadly plot. A mysterious man from the United States government, Mr. Hightower, sees their potential and attempts to recruit Kayla and Olivia for a program to take on ISIS. They initially refuse, but another terrorist attack that strikes close to home pushes them to change their minds and join the Azrael Initiative.

After several months of hard training, the two women are dropped into Al-Raqqah, the capital of ISIS, in Syria. Once there, they must blend in with the locals as they strike from the shadows to kill ISIS leaders, destroy their facilities, and free captives. As Americans deep within enemy territory, they know that they will be killed if discovered. As women, they also know that they would suffer before death. Walking the line between vengeance and justice strains their relationship. As they work to resolve their differences, the symphony of brutality around them ultimately pushes them closer together and forges them into the warriors that they were meant to become.

Read the first three chaptershttp://www.khansonbooks.com/first-thr…
Add to Goodreads

Amazon Purchase Linkhttps://www.amazon.com/Azrael-Initiative-Kayla-Falk-Book-ebook/dp/B01NAGQQ2F/

First Three Chapters: http://www.khansonbooks.com/first-three-chapters-of-the-azrael-initiative/

Chapter 1

Dodging to her right, Kayla sidestepped the fist aimed at her head as it passed close enough to feel the air move. Her auburn ponytail swinging as she danced around her opponent, Kayla watched with bright green eyes and waited for any opening, any weakness to exploit. She did not waste her energy on extra movements or attacks, preferring to let her adversary tire herself and present an opportunity.

Her opponent had a fierce look in her blue eyes as she came at Kayla with a strike of her left hand. Kayla stopped the blow. The hand latched onto her shoulder and dug into the flesh above her collarbone. Kayla staggered back at the pain. The hand released, then both combatants regained their balance.

As another blow came toward Kayla, she sensed that her foe had placed too much weight on her front foot. With a swift movement, Kayla slid to the side, grabbed the incoming arm, and sent her attacker tumbling to the blue padded floor.

“Enough!” said Olivia, with her arms up and palms facing Kayla.

“Next time, don’t let yourself get caught off balance,” said Kayla, as she extended her hand to help Olivia to her feet.

“Off balance? Naw, I just hadn’t done a somersault in forever,” grinned Olivia, her sapphire eyes twinkling. “Besides, I felt like taking a nap on this comfy mat.”

“Maybe next time I’ll give you that nap.” Kayla joked.

“Just make sure you tuck me in first,” responded Olivia as she brushed herself off.

“I believe that I’m two out of three this week. Hope you’re not losing your edge,” teased Kayla.

“Of course not. After kicking your ass all of last week, I thought you could use a couple of wins,” Olivia smirked.

Catching her breath, Kayla glanced around the gym where they held their morning training sessions. She saw other pairs finishing their own bouts and heading to the locker room. Training here required hard work, but Kayla always left feeling reinvigorated and confident about facing the challenges of being an engineering student. Besides, she always enjoyed throwing Olivia around a bit.

As the two of them walked toward the locker room, Kayla wiped the sweat from her forehead and Olivia shook her long blonde hair free of her headband.

“I’d better get ready so that I can head to the workshop to work on my senior design project,” Kayla said.

“Yeah, I need to head out, too. Class is in half an hour. See you for dinner?”

“Sure, we’ll just meet at the Union around 5:30, if that works.”

“Sounds good to me!” smiled Olivia.

As Kayla undressed and stepped into the shower stall to rinse off the sweat from her workout, she ran through a mental checklist of everything that she needed to do that day. Despite not having class on Thursdays, she had a lab report to finish and at least two hours of engineering homework to do. She also needed to spend a significant amount of time in the workshop working on her senior design project, a new design for a small, efficient wind turbine. She would certainly have a long day, but another day closer to graduation in just two months.

As she stepped out of the shower, Kayla dried her hair, pulled it back into a neat ponytail, and put on her jeans, a modest purple tank top, and black cardigan. She stuffed her workout clothes into her duffel bag and hauled it to her shoulder as she hurried out of the locker room.

As she left the Wellness Center and stepped out into the spring air of the South Dakota State University campus, Kayla Falk lifted her hand to shield her eyes from the crimson sun rising on the horizon, before she turned west toward the rest of campus. The closest building was the Student Union, a large building that was in a constant state of expansion. After countless meals and endless hours of studying within those walls over the course of nearly four years, it had become practically another home for her.

Kayla took a deep breath of the spring air. The grassy smell and cool atmosphere were refreshing changes from the heat and sweaty odor of the gym. In the distance, the bells of the campanile rang through the atmosphere. While she looked forward to seeing what the next chapter of her life brought, she would always treasure lovely mornings walking across campus.

As she strode toward the workshop on the other side of the SDSU campus, she slipped one of her backpack straps off of her right shoulder and pulled the bag around to her front to access its contents. Unzipping the small pouch, she pulled out an energy bar and an apple for her post-workout breakfast. The sight of the food made her stomach growl and her mouth watered as she bit into the peanut flavored bar.

While she chewed, she thought about how it was basically a candy bar for breakfast. It did, however, contain some protein, so it didn’t entirely lack nutritional value. At least she also had her apple for something a bit healthier.

As she approached the shop, she tossed her wrapper and apple core in the trash bin just outside. Opening the door, the sound of power tools greeted her, as other engineering students worked on their own projects. The oily smell in the air always reminded her of the time she had spent helping her father, a mechanic, in his garage. When she had been younger, he had her do simple tasks like changing oil or putting new tires on a car. By the time she had become a senior in high school, she could dismantle and reassemble an engine almost as well as her dad.

She walked over to the work area that her team had reserved for their project and set her bag under the workbench. Today, she had set the goal to assemble the system of gears that transferred energy from the turbine blades to the generator. Having worked with automobile differentials in her father’s shop, she had volunteered to design and assemble this piece of the project while other members of her group handled other aspects.

Kayla opened her project binder and flipped through the pages until she arrived at the diagram depicting her design. For several minutes, she reviewed the schematic and contemplated the steps she needed to take to assemble the collection of parts correctly. Her design was a planetary gearing system. She would attach the generator shaft to a sun gear, at the center of the arrangement, with blades attached to interlocking gears flanking it. By using such a system of gears, the generator shaft would rotate in the correct range of speeds when the blades rotated.

Satisfied that she had refreshed the design in her head, Kayla hauled the crate of parts to the top of the workbench. She pulled out each gear and piece needed for the assembly and arranged them in the order in which she needed them. For the next several hours, she fixed each gear in its proper place.

When she finished, she checked her phone and saw that it was already one o’clock. As the task at hand required all of her focus, she didn’t realize until then just how much she craved lunch. Kayla’s stomach growled as she gave the gear assembly a test spin. Satisfied that it operated smoothly, she set it in the crate before putting away all of her tools and equipment. After stashing her design binder in her backpack, she threw it over her shoulders and walked out of the workshop to find something to eat.

Reaching the Union, she went to Weary Wil’s Sports Grill to grab a burger to go. When it was ready, she put it into her backpack so she could head to the engineering building and find a quiet corner to grind through some homework. After she reached the building, she walked into the mostly empty study area, which was surrounded by rows of windows.

On a sunny afternoon such as this, it made for a cheerful and energizing work environment. Settling into a comfortable seat, she pulled out her lunch and munched on it as she started working through her Turbomachinery homework. Her work kept her busy until the time arrived to meet Olivia for supper.

At a quarter after five, Kayla packed up her notebooks, calculator, and pencils so that she could meet her friend. After sitting down for three and a half hours, she groaned as she stood up, her muscles stiff and sore after the morning’s workout. Gathering her bag, she left the engineering building to head back to the Union. As she approached her destination, she spotted Olivia Bellamy walking on another sidewalk.

“Hey Liv,” Kayla called.

Olivia jumped a bit as the shout startled her. She looked around for a second before spotting Kayla. “Oh, hi! Good timing.”

“Have a good day?”

“Yeah, classes weren’t too bad today and clinicals at the hospital were pretty interesting. You?”

“Definitely. Got a lot done on our project and made some good progress on my homework for the night. For now, I’m ready to grab some food and relax, at least for a bit.”

“Same here. Let’s head in and get a bite to eat.”

About the Author


K lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he works as a software developer. In his spare time, when he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading, working out, playing video games, and spending time with his wonderful fiancee, Bobbi. Some of his favorite authors are Tom Clancy, George R. R. Martin, and Sarah Maas.

Author Links:
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Blog Tour for Harbinger (Dragonrider Legacy #2) by Nicole Conway

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Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40198441-harbinger  
Giveaway Info:

One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Harbinger (INT)

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Link to Giveaway:
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Purchase Links

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Tour Schedule

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/tour-schedule-harbinger-by-nicole-conway/

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Harbinger (Dragonrider Legacy #2)

by Nicole Conway

Publisher:  Month9Books

Publication Date:  August 14, 2018

Victory is written in the blood of the brave. As the armies of the Tibran Empire continue to march across Maldobar, a path of scorched destruction and despair is left in their wake. Even with the formidable princess, Jenna Farrow, leading the charge, the strength of the dragonrider

s is waning. Tibran victory appears inevitable—especially after Princess Jenna and Prince Aubren are taken hostage by the infamous Lord Argonox. Separated from her brother and tortured for information, Princess Jenna refuses to bend to the iron will of Argonox. But her strength and resolve may only last so long. Held prisoner in his dark tower, it would take a miracle to set her free—or perhaps a pair of demigods and their dragons. With revived dragonrider legend, Jaevid Broadfeather, at his side, Reigh must now make a choice: face the truth about the origin of his dark powers, or turn his bac

k on world in need. But throwing off a lifetime of shame and self-doubt is not so easily done—especially when the cost of failure means the destruction of the world. The long-awaited hero has awakened. The ancient spirits are stirring. The dark goddess has chosen her champion. But is he ready to embrace that rite and become the HARBINGER Maldobar needs him to be?

About the Author

Nicole-Conway

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.  Other works include MAD MAGIC (Sept 2017), FAULBENDER (tbd), SCALES (tbd), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN STARS (May 2017).

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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Blog Tour for Her Revolution by C.S. Hand

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Her Revolution
by C.S. Hand

Genre: YA Dystopian
Release date: August 8th 2018
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Summary:

For fans of Divergent, Red Rising, and The Hunger Games comes a gripping new tale of ambition, treachery, and love.

When what appears as a prank on arrogant ambassadors at an exotic vacation city turns out to be the first tremors of a revolution, the Enlightened Council of Castillia turns to its 11-year old undefeated military prodigy and her loyal Guardians for help.

After all, it was Innocence who liberated the Jewel of All Cities in the first place. Everyone knows she will be the last to let it slip from her grasp.

But why would anyone want to leave Castillia? Its laws are just. Its Council is democratically elected. It has liberated more cities than any other Republic, past or present.

But Castillia has enemies, that’s for sure.

Sedition is the favorite trick of the southern Republic Ausonia. In fact, the exotic vacation city used to belong to Ausonia—and they have always wanted it back.

But could those hedonists really organize anything between all their dancing and drinking?

Or has Vesper, the mighty Republic to the North finally woken from its slumber? It has plenty of old scores to settle with Castillia and it’s palm-lined streets.

Squashing the uprising and re-uniting the town and her city could be the perfect way to end the most legendary military career Castillia has ever known and begin a new, exhilarating life as a prominent politician.

But it also might just be the perfect way to start what Innocence has secretly always yearned for: her own Empire.

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Chapter Excerpt:

Salute
“As long as the enemy is not defeated, he may defeat me; then I shall no longer be my own master; he will dictate the law to me as I did to him.”
Clausewitz
When I was six I commanded the Sun Battalion to charge the center of Ausonia’s forces at Serenissima, the most beautiful and opulent city on this planet.
Every single man, woman, and child from that legendary unit died in the melee.
But it broke Ausonia’s center and then we out flanked them—on both sides.
Ausonians begged for their lives, but when you lose your Republic’s most famous battalion you cannot allow for survivors.
Even if you have just stolen the jewel of cities from an enemy’s grasp.
When I was seven I saw my own army nearly overrun.
That was until I came out from my command hub and grabbed the banner from a fleeing Guardian and turned Lazarus on, then began sweeping through the enemy’s ranks with my sword of trembling lightning.
That was the first time I had ever been shot more than thirteen times.
When I was eight I had to execute my second-in-command for treason. We were low on ammunition and my lightning blade wouldn’t turn on, so I had to do it with a rock.
When I was nine I led a lightning-sabre charge straight into the heart of Vesper’s Hyper Accelerated Rifles.
Everyone but a child named Beatrice was mowed down.
But between myself and Beatrice and the second, third, and fourth fearless waves we cut them to pieces.
The problem with Hyper Accelerated Rifles is if they fire too fast for too long they overheat and then don’t fire at all.
That was not the first time I had killed defenseless human beings—and enjoyed it.
When I was ten I ambushed Jacob Heist and his band of outlaws who were traveling to various cities in the South preaching about freedom and liberation and brotherhood—the very ideals my City was founded upon.
They said we were the very opposite of those things and that we were what they called a “Dysotpia,” which is a new word used by uneducated thugs to incite rebellions against people like me.
When we ambushed them on the shore and they didn’t even try to run I assumed it was because they knew it was over.
They had no weapons but refused to surrender, even after I offered it to them a second time.
So we murdered the band of outlaws and searched for the weapon we knew we would find, “The Chariot Buster,” which they usually used to blow our ships out of the sky.
Heist and his gang loved to beam our hovercrafts into vapor, like he did the previous seventeen times we tried to ambush him. In fact, he did it so much, we called it “bait and beam.”
But all we found in his traveling caravan were hundreds of copies of an unsettling novel from some ancient planet about an elf and a minotaur who overthrow an entire world.
If that isn’t criminal literature worthy of suppression then I don’t know what is.
What I also didn’t know was that we were being recorded and streamed live over an inventive social media application called Periscope.
So it looked like I butchered a peaceful intellectual on a paradisiacal white sand beach in spite of his repeated cries for mercy and justice.
Blogs went crazy.
They reported that we murdered them when they were defenseless and did terrible things to their corpses.
What they didn’t mention is that my dogs were starving and that we had a long march back. We weren’t going to be the ones eaten alive.
Besides, you can’t take heavy machinery on an ambush.
The outlaw preachers would have heard us coming miles away.
So I had to take the dogs.
And the dogs had to eat.
There were hundreds of uprisings.
I crushed them all.
My City stood by my side. Esteemed Council members lost their seats because of me, some had attempts made on their lives, and some were successfully assassinated.
That’s when I learned someone can strike at you even from death, and when possible never turn an enemy, who is mortal and fallible, into a martyr, who is infallible and immortal.
I’m eleven now, and this is my last year as Commander.
After this year I will retire from my duties as a Guardian of the Republic, squelching rebellions from the other cities who never pay their tributes on time, are never fair in their dealings, and are always plotting against my perfect, beautiful City.
Oh, my name is Innocence—which as far as I can tell is just some made-up word.

Author Interview

  1. What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?  

I either write early in the morning, nap…more like a deep sleep through the afternoon…and then write again late at night or only write late at night, from about 9 or 10 until 3 in the morning.

There used to be a lot of red bull and monster energy drinks involved, now I’m down to just some good coffee and silence—the secret charm to call the muses.

Ok and Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Muse, the Offspring, Linkin Park, and AC/DC and some other bands and musicians that seem to help me write.

I aim for working through ideas or scenes which usually amounts to 2-5k words.

Those are the best days.

Other days, usually after I’ve broken through writer’s block to unleash a fresh wellspring of good writing and am sure I’ve finally found an endless font, the muses leave me and it feels like I’ve had brain surgery and have no thoughts at all.

  1. What sort of research did you do for this book?

All reading this time and no killing. But hey, I’m working on a book 2 so…

I revisited my roots in political philosophy which meant reading and re-reading Plato, Plutarch’s Lives, Seneca, Horace, Ovid, and some other ancient Greek and Romans (which is way less exciting than it sounds) before settling in with some really exhilarating Enlightenment philosophers like Kant and Hegel.

Importantly, though, I also wanted this book to “participate” in the dystopian fiction space. So I read the Hunger Games, Divergent, Red Rising, Legend from Marie Lu (whose Legend books I love utterly) and there are references to the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising sprinkled throughout.

  1. What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?  

There is! I am already working on the second installment of the series and a prequel exclusively for people who sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dyc7G5.

  1. How did you come up for the idea of your book?  

Taylor Swift. I think Taylor Swift is the Julius Caesar of the 21st century.

One day after reading Julius Caesar’s Life by Plutarch I thought, what if I wrote a story about an ambitious, charismatic girl with the military prowess of Julius Caesar in an epoch when warfare was an acceptable way to gain notoriety and music was (in some cities) frowned upon as illegal.

For the setting, I was outside wondering around my parent’s back yard on a winter night when the air is quite frigorific and the sky is cuttingly clear and you can see all the stars—and maybe even a little bit of the past, present, and future if you squint hard enough.

And I just thought about all the lives that haven’t happened on the stars that I can see, and all the lives that must have happened further out in the darkness that I can’t see.

So I decided to put the story on a wild star hundreds of thousands if not millions of lightyears away from our own world, where the remnants of the human race have crashed and created a burgeoning outpost among in the heavens.

  1. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?

There are so many great TV shows and movies it’s hard to keep this list short, but here goes:

Enjoyed:

  • Dark
  • The Expanse
  • Charmed (I didn’t watch much TV growing up…so I’m catching up!)
  • Jessica Jones
  • Mr. Robot
  • Rogue One

Disliked

The Last Jedi (sorry couldn’t resist)

About the Author
christopher-scott-hand-kissing-books

C. S. Hand loves philosophy, literature, and science-fiction and fantasy books. He studied British Romanticism at Cambridge before leaving to translate great science-fiction and fantasy books. You can read more about his 3 great loves here.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreads

Blog Tour Organized by:

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YA Bound Book Tours

Blog Tour for Echoes by Alice Reeds

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Echoes
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: August 7th 2018
Entangled Teen
Summary:
“Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story.” —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait
They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.
Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.
Something that won’t let them leave alive.
Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.
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About the Author
Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let’s plays and figure skating videos.
Author Links:

 

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Author Interview for Everything Under the Sun by Jessica Redmerski

Everything Under the Sun banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Everything Under the Sun by Jessica Redmerski. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 30 July till 12 August. See the tour schedule here.

Everything Under the SunEverything Under the Sun

By Jessica Redmerski

Genre: Dystopian/ Post apocalyptic

Age category: Young Adult/ New Adult/ Adult

Pages: 683 pages

Release Date: 28 August 2017

Blurb:

Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

You can find Everything Under the Sun on Goodreads

You can buy Everything Under the Sun here on Amazon

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Author Interview
What inspired you to write EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN?
Daryl and Beth on the television show The Walking Dead – If Beth had been just a little older, a relationship between them, forced by survival and the post-apocalyptic world they lived in, would have been sweet. But because that could never happen, I made it my duty to tell the love story inspired by them, that grew in my heart.Tell us a little about why you write in so many different genres. Does it work for you?

I can’t stick to one genre. I love writing all types of stories. Does it work for me? Yes and no. Yes, because I’d start to feel claustrophobic if I had to write in the same genre all the time. No, because I think it confuses my readers that I write everything under the same author name. I regret that decision to this day. My advice to authors considering it: Don’t make this mistake! I’m in the process now of correcting that error.

How do you plot your novels? Do you outline?

I never outline because I like to let the story and the characters take me where they want to go. Some authors can outline very well and it works for them, but I can’t do it. It has always felt more natural to me to just go along for the ride and see where it takes me, kind of like in real life, I guess. Some scenes in my books were figured out ahead of time, but not ‘planned out’ ahead of time, and there’s a big difference. The only exception to this method is that I do always know my ending before I begin. (Except with my book DIRTY EDEN)

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

The last sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love getting into the story, living out my character’s lives, but there’s nothing like a finished manuscript. It’s a huge accomplishment and I doubt I’ll ever tire of it.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don’t have a favorite – I have several! Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman I have admired for many years. I love Rice’s deep, descriptive style and Gaiman’s unique ideas. But I also love Paullina Simons and Cormac McCarthy – there are just so many! And, of course, there’s J.K. Rowling, but I don’t really have to name her, do I? Isn’t she everybody’s favorite by default? 😊

How important is it to understand the basics of publishing before delving into selfpublishing?

Writers need to understand that self‐publishing is not easy. Sure, you can write a book and upload it and start selling, but there is so much more to it than that. If a writer chooses to self‐publish they must commit to some hardcore self‐promoting and spending a lot of their own money (professional editing, giveaways, review copies, cover art, advertisements, etc.). Bypassing all of this stuff can leave your book buried beneath the avalanche of millions of other books competing for the same exposure.

 

Jessica RedmerskiAbout the Author:

Jessica Redmerski is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, international bestseller, and award winner, who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. Her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, has been optioned for television and film by actor and model William Levy.

She also writes as J.A. Redmerski.

You can find and contact Jessica here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon Jessica Redmerski

Amazon JA Redmerski

Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Everything Under the Sun. 3 winners will each win a signed paperback copies of Everything Under the Sun, along with signed bookmarks and postcards (United States and Canada only).

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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Cover Reveal for Into the Darkest Night by Cassandra Giovanni

Today is the cover reveal for Into the Darkest Night by Cassandra Giovanni. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Into the Darkest NightInto the Darkest Night (Chaos Theory Duet #1)
By Cassandra Giovanni
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 18 September 2018

Blurb:
I was born a child of the Elite; destined to live a life of privilege in Sun City.
With one decision I gave it all up.

Ana Jacobs knows the Elite and their depravity all too well. She was one of them once. Her father was a member of the Inner Circle and head of the Trinity funding the corruption of Sun City. When he learned she knew the names of those he’d hidden so well, he turned his back on her; had her kidnapped and tortured to protect his secrets.

When she escapes the island and learns of her father’s death at the hands of a knife-wielding vigilante called the Nightwatchman, she returns to Sun City, vowing to use her knowledge to protect the city. As a city cop, she blends into the background, and no one suspects her real motives.

Levi Bennett knows where Ana’s been. He’s also an Elite, but where Ana was sent to the island, he ended up there by accident. While Ana buries herself in her work and stopping the flow of illegal drugs and weapons into the poverty-stricken Blue District, Levi covers his pain by partying and spending his trust fund on buying bars and restaurants.

Thrown together by Levi’s constant pressing of the limits, the two can’t deny the connection they share through their dark pasts.

Their demons are one in the same, but some demons can’t be tamed.

Into the Darkest Night

You can pre-order Into the Darkest Night here:
Amazon
Kobo
B&N
iTunes
Google Play

Book Excerpt:
I’ve been on patrol for two hours, and the most exciting thing I’ve done is help an elderly woman find her car.
“507 located at 222 Star Avenue, White District. Complaint regarding noise.” Comes over the radio, and I can’t help but smile as I put my siren on.
“10-4. Officer 2239 responding.”
The smile disappears from my face as I realize where I’m going. I swear to myself as I turn my sirens off and get out, looking up at the glowing sign.
All the Right Moves.
Of course, Levi Bennett’s bar would have a name like that. The music pulses so loud that the building is practically shaking. I grit my teeth before heading inside. I expect some sort of rave, but when I can actually make out the music, I realize it’s country.
It’s still way too loud, and when my eyes lock on Levi’s, I have a feeling he did it on purpose.
“Someone call the cops?” he shouts over the twang of the acoustic guitar as he comes around the bar and smiles at me. “Or did you just miss me?”
I blink in rapid succession at him, but his smile doesn’t fade. He leans back against the bar and then signals to someone behind me to lower the music.
“I told you the music was too loud,” a voice says from behind me, and my body tenses. “I told him.”
The person stops next to me, and then their mouth drops. “Ana?
Robbie Bisson. Levi’s best friend. My ex, and the last person to see me alive before I disappeared.
The awkwardness only spreads when a woman comes up and wraps her arms around Robbie’s back before putting her cheek on his arm.
Lily Smith. Levi’s girlfriend, and also his ex, by the looks of this.
Levi looks between Robbie and me, his brow furrowing a shadow over his eyes. They’ve taken on a dark blue that makes my palms moist, or maybe it’s just this whole situation or the heat of the bodies dancing behind me.
“You know each other?” Levi asks.
I blink hard as I try to determine what to say. I cock my head at Robbie as his mouth continues to hang open. It doesn’t appear like he’s able to answer, so I do.
“One summer vacation and a lot of tequila.”
“Oh,” Levi says. His tongue slips over his teeth beneath his lips as he glances at Lily, and then away into the crowd.
“You disappeared shortly after that,” Robbie says, rubbing his neck. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
I want to say define okay, but instead, I nod.
His eyes race over mine, and Robbie taps on the bar. He holds up his fingers, four, he signals. “Tequila, right here.”
The bartender puts the glasses down, each making a sharp clinking noise as they hit the modern concrete counter. Then he tosses the bottle behind his back, over his head and from one hand to the other before tipping it up and filling each glass. The movement makes my stomach turn, and my eyes fall to the clear liquid in the glasses.
Robbie was the last person I drank with, too.
“To Levi and Ana. We’re happy to have you both back,” Robbie says, holding his glass in the air to toast. The offer for a drink reminds me why I’m here in the first place.
“Officer 2239, 10-26 at 222 Star Avenue.” I say into my transmitter, and then looking at the time; “Officer 2239 10-10.”
The response only takes a second. “10-4, Officer 2239.”
“Off duty, now?” Levi says, holding out a shot for me.
I narrow my eyes at him before taking it, and we kick back the burning liquid at the same time. I want to cough, but I don’t. I swallow hard instead.
“So, you and Lily?” I ask, pointing between the two of them as the familiar burn settles into my throat. Alcohol isn’t something I’ve missed, and I watch Levi from the corner of my eyes as he shakes his head when the bartender offers more. It’s in direct violation of everything in his files. My fingers tingle, and I pull them into fists at my sides as I look back to Robbie. He nods, and his nose twitches as he signals for the bartender to fill him up. Lily tucks a loose strand behind her ear and shakes her head to the bartender. She shifts from foot to foot as she stares down at her tan and teal cowboy boots.
“Want to dance?” Robbie asks Lily, and her eyes widen with relief.
“Yeah, that sounds great.”
They disappear into the crowd on the dance floor, and I sit on the stool beside Levi, letting my head roll to my shoulder, so I’m looking at him. “Just happened to get too loud tonight?”
He smirks, watching the crowd sway to the music. “Check the business’ file like you did mine, and you’ll see it happens regularly. Our neighbors just aren’t that fun.”
“Mhmm,” I reply as I lean back.
“So, you and Robbie—how did I not know you?” Levi finally asks, changing the subject.
I raise my eyebrows at him, and his hands are in fists, the smile on his lips gone.
“It was after you went missing— but I was around before that – we’re both Elite, well, were. You were just a tad bit engrossed with Lily from what I remember,” I reply.
His eyes drift to the ceiling. “Ah, yeah—that.”
“It must’ve been awkward coming back to…” I don’t know how to put softly your best friend dating your girlfriend. I don’t understand why my throat thickens as I watch his reaction. I shouldn’t care if it bothers him.
Maybe it’s because I get how lonely coming back is. My toes curl in my shoes at the thought. Loneliness is my only friend.
Levi leans forward, pressing his muscular forearms into his knees. “Just a little bit.” His shoulders lift, and his eyes come up to mine, causing an eruption of tingles up my spine. “But they’re good for each other. I’m not who I used to be, so it’s not like it would’ve worked anyway.”
Butterflies erupt out of dormant chrysalis I never thought would be awakened as his eyes flick over my face. The calculated smugness is gone, and the man before me is part the innocent boy I had a crush on all throughout high school and part damaged man that I feel, stupidly–no doubt–that only I could ever understand.
I turn in the stool, so I’m facing the bar. “Do you have anything that doesn’t taste like Windex?”
Levi laughs as he goes behind the divider. He reaches up to the top shelf lined with expensive looking bottles, and his shirt lifts, showing one of the dimples in his back and a pale scar that travels diagonally from it. My eyes follow the line to a tattoo of a kanji—Japanese character—for a skill I’ve yet to master.
Seishinteki kyōyō: spiritual refinement.
Judging by its placement on his back, he has almost as many skill marks as I do. Not only did Levi survive the same hell I did, but he’s received the same training.
Levi Bennett is a Shinobi—a ninja.
Just like me.

Cassandra GiovaniAbout the Author:
Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. She writes romance books in various genres, including adult romance, new adult romance and teen romance. She also has several kids books. In addition to being a published author, Cassandra is a successful full-time financial marketer. When she’s not making the characters in her head come to life, she either has her bow and arrows or longboard skateboard in hand. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with their daughter Hope and their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

You can find and contact Cassandra Giovanni here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Into the Darkest Night. Three winners will each win an e-copy of Into the Darkest Night. Open International.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Book Tour and Author Interview for Skerryvore by Lee Williams

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Skerryvore

By Lee Williams

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery

Book description

Teenage twins Rose and Daniel aren’t allowed phones, computers, even a TV, thanks to their conspiracy-obsessed father. But when the people he always thought were after him actually turn up, the twins realise he wasn’t as paranoid as they’d always thought.

With their dad missing and their house burned to the ground, Rose and Daniel find themselves at the centre of a worldwide conspiracy that stretches back through the ages, involving some of the most powerful and mysterious organisations on the planet.

Why them? Why their dad? The answers to these questions and other, darker mysteries lie beyond the doors of an ancient house called Skerryvore.

These mysteries link the twins to a Dark Age king and queen, to a secret society that stands behind the City of London, and an energy source that links some of the world’s most ancient sites into a network that has the power – literally – to change the world.

Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series.

Author Interview

  1. What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?

No I don’t do either of these. I just do as much work as I can in the time that I’ve got. This could be a whole day (when I’m lucky – rarely!) or a couple of hours in the evening. Balancing creative writing with a job – or two! –  and a family often means that the writing has to take a back seat, as I’m sure many other writers will have experienced. 

  1. What sort of research did you do for this book?

Being a YA fantasy it didn’t require much research at all. Just lots of imagination! 

  1. What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?

I’m currently working on my journalism and marketing Skerryvore. I literally don’t have time to write anything else. Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series so yes there is a sequel that I’m dying to write. Unfortunately being able to write it depends largely on the success of Skerryvore to provide me with some extra income to free up some time. 

  1. How did you come up for the idea of your book?

I did something which I would recommend to anyone that is looking for creative inspiration, especially for a children’s book – I sat down on my own in a room and played!

I drew a map of a house, a house that I would love to visit. Quickly the house turned into something which closely resembled Skerryvore in the final manuscript. It had a library that was also a labyrinth, a great hall, a mediaeval tower with a seeing stone at the top, and an observatory atop an old lighthouse on a tiny island attached to the house by a swinging bridge.

The house fascinated me so much that stories just started to evolve around it naturally and soon I had the basic plot for Skerryvore. After that I was hooked!

  1. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?

I don’t get much time to watch TV or movies but I really liked McMafia – a BBC serial about a man who gets caught up in the Russian mafia. A film I loved recently, although it was difficult watching, was Manchester by the Sea. Very powerful and hard hitting – especially for someone who has just become a father.

About the author

I am a journalist and writer living in Dorset, England with my wife and rampaging toddler. I write about technology, innovation, green issues and political commentary for various publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Wired, Private Eye and International Business Times. Skerryvore is my first, and hopefully not last, novel!

https://www.facebook.com/lee.williams.188

https://www.facebook.com/leewilliamsjournalism/

https://twitter.com/leeroy112

Website: leewilliamsjournalism.com


On Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DHZ2YLB
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40387630-skerryvore

Excerpt

Daniel took a deep breath. It must be right. This must be the last piece in Mr Picketty’s jigsaw that led to the secret of Skerryvore – a sword in a stone. He couldn’t just be imagining this.

He had to have faith.

Daniel closed his eyes and went through the technique Mr Humblestone had taught them for being in the present. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Empty your mind of thoughts. Listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? He could hear the sound of waves and gunfire echoing around the metallic roof of the chamber. What can you feel? The cold sea air against his face, the hard ground against the soles of his feet, the movement of his ribcage up and down and the beating of his heart inside it. What can you smell? The smell of the sea, the metal and oil of machinery. Now open your eyes. What can you see? He opened his eyes. He could see a sword standing in a stone with no thoughts attached to it, no hopes or fears.

Just a sword in a stone.

He reached out and wrapped his fingers around the cool leather of the hilt. He closed his eyes and pulled.

With a scraping of metal on stone the sword came free in his hand, so easily in fact that he stumbled backwards and fell to the floor dropping it with a harsh clattering noise that echoed around the chamber.

Then, slowly, another sound began to rise and overtake the first. It was a sound that came from all around, like some huge and rusty gate that hadn’t been oiled in centuries. Looking up, Daniel saw that the roof of the observatory was moving, but not in the usual way. This time it was moving outwards and away from the building, like giant hands were peeling it back. The noise roared to a deafening crescendo and Daniel watched in horror as the two sides of the roof leant outwards, balanced precariously for what felt like an eternity, then toppled and fell to the rocks below like two giant petals dropping from a flower.

He was suddenly alone on a windy platform, above the sea, under the night sky.

And behind him something else was moving.