One Groovy Little Paperback – 17th December 2014

Following on from my last post, I decided to publish my 3rd novel on Amazon, so there are now 3 books in the ‘Same Face Different Place’ series.

Same Face Different Place Pleasures

In the last post, I wanted to offer the prelude FREE as a gift to all those who enjoyed other books in the series and wanted a little taste of Book 3 ‘Pleasures’ in advance of its release in Spring 2o15. However, there haven’t been that many takers! I guess everyone is just inundated with free books at the moment – especially with Kindle Unlimited – where the privilege of offering our books as freebies has lost its appeal.

I felt the best way forward was therefore just to get it on Amazon anyway where it cannot be offered free, but at least it’s out there. I spent the best part of a weekend, typesetting a printed version on Createspace. However, when the proof copy turned up a couple of weeks later, I couldn’t have been more delighted with it! I created the cover using two library shots from 123RF and with its ghostly blue forest and architectural plans, it depicts the story very well. It’s a little smaller than the other two books too as I opted for the 5.5cm x 8.5cm.

But it is a really sweet little book.

Book 3 Pleasures by Helen J. Christmas

 There’s nothing quite like holding a real book in your hands, knowing this is something you have created yourself. In fact, I have to admire Createspace and Amazon, for making this possible. Without this self-publishing platform, none of this would be possible. It’s a wonderful platform for authors and I have to confess I’ve very pleased with the result.

Click here to view the new release on Amazon.

Readers can still enjoy this book FREE, by the way, with no strings attached. Visit my previous post for details.

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New release in the Same Face Different Place Series – 28th November 2014

As a special gift, I am about to release a FREE prelude: ‘The Battle for the Land’ in advance of my 3rd novel ‘Pleasures.’

Part One: Chapters 1-7 constitutes about a quarter of the book, which starts in the year 1987 before the story edges its way into the 90s. Here is a short summary of the saga so far.

Book 1 Beginnings

The mystery began in 1972 when a British MP was murdered in a car bomb explosion. Dutch musician, Jake Jansen, witnessed a suspicious scene; whilst the IRA were conveniently blamed for the atrocity. An attempt to have him murdered failed when he was rescued by Eleanor Chapman. The two of them disappeared into hiding and fell in love. Yet it was not until Eleanor infiltrated a press conference that she finally came into contact with a sinister blonde politician who sounded uncannily similar to a description passed on to her by Jake.

Book 1 Beginnings and Book 2 Visions

Book 2 Visions

12 years later (1985) Eleanor finally began to unite with several other ‘wronged individuals,’ hoping she would forge her own tight knit community to fight against injustice. People like Charlie, whose life was destroyed by a ruthless property developer named Peregrine Hampton; People like James Barton-Wells – ruthlessly manipulated by the same man, whilst desperately trying to save his ancestral home. When a rising conflict brought all the characters together in a dramatic show down, Eleanor finally recognised the same sinister blonde man from the press conference of the 1970s.

The danger was beginning to close in again. She began to fear for the safety of her own son as enemies from the past began to creep back into her life. She had one mission; to destroy Perry Hampton and solve the mystery which had been haunting her for 15 years.

Book 3 Pleasures

The Grosvenor Hotel, LondonThe story continues where Visions left off. Eleanor is aroused by a vital clue, one which will take her to London in disguise where she is about to be reunited with a significant journalist from the press conference. 

James’s children, Avalon and William meanwhile, are never likely to forget the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Hamptons especially Ben and his evil sidekick, Nathan. They feel indebted to Community Leader, Peter who’s gentle counsel went a long way towards healing their damaged souls and will do anything to help him fulfil his vision; to get the permission he needs from Rosebrook Council to turn a derelict factory site into an affordable housing trust.

But the enemies are about to up their offensive. In a single clandestine meeting, Perry gathers a group of Eleanor’s most deadly enemies together, each of whom is about launch a campaign to get their hands on the same land Peter is gunning for.

One of them is Dominic Theakston, former London gangster turned entrepreneur who runs his own gym and is planning to use the land to develop his own entertainment complex. Perry too wants a slice of the cake and sees the land as an opportunity to make himself another nice profit.

Hovering between the two is a sly and underhand planning officer from Rosebrook Council. His ploy to lure both men into the town is an attempt to unhinge Eleanor. But he is already a powerful ally of Perry’s and although Perry is interested in the land issue, he has an even more important motive to reunite with these men.

He is desperate to get his hands on Eleanor’s son, knowing this boy is the only bargaining tool he can use to force Eleanor to hand over a secret file she made in the 70s. It is a file which conceals everything she knows about the original conspiracy; one in which all three men are named. Perry believes if he can destroy her testimony, they will be safe.

Further more, Perry’s son is desperate to find his own niche in the criminal underworld. He has joined Dominic’s gym hoping to find an in road although he too, has a sinister agenda.

Stalker dressed in blackIn this first part of Book 3 Pleasures, many characters and story lines from previous books are about to intertwine and with numerous possibilities…

Will Eleanor find the clues she is seeking and evade Perry’s spies? Is there a way she can prove a series of terrible crimes which began in the 70s?

Is their community really safe?
Or will sexual predator, Ben finally subject Avalon to a campaign of terror which he’s been planning for months, whilst he stalks her neighbourhood dressed in black?

And who is ultimately going to win the Battle for the Land?

To claim your free book, complete and send the form below and a copy of ‘Pleasures Prelude’ (The Battle for the Land) will be emailed to you either in kindle or PDF format (please specify in the message field.)

Book 3 Pleasures

Once I have gifted you my book, you will only receive one more message from me and that is to announce the full release of Same Face Different Place Book 3 Pleasures. After this, you may be taken off the mailing list (if you so choose.)

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1st Synopsis for Book 3 Pleasures – 16th October 2014

1st Synopsis for Book 3 Pleasures – 16th October 2014.

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Some of the influences behind Same Face Different Place

In the run up to my new release, I have started thinking about some of the influences which inspired my series.

Rosebrook based in Kent, is a fictitious town but very much based on the small market town of Loughborough which is where I grew up. Some may wonder why I didn’t just stick to Loughborough. I would have liked to – only the town needed to be in easy reach of London and a short distance to the south.

One of the most prominent locations in ‘Same Face Different Place’ is the Community Centre. It is the place where Eleanor works as a volunteer – but it was actually inspired by a place called ‘John Storer House,’ where I worked for a while. In 1989, I worked there as ‘Information Officer’ responsible for running the Information Centre and producing in-house leaflets such as ‘Hotels and Guest Houses’ and lists of self-help groups. It was a varied role as well as one of the most enjoyable jobs, I have ever had.

John Storer House

The manager, Bernard Smith, was a kind man and possibly inspired some of the book’s more virtuous characters such as Bernard James (manager of Toynbee Hall in Book 1 Beginningsand his protégée, Peter Summerville. I was impressed when he and his wife opened up the Community Centre on Christmas Day, mainly for those less fortunate (such as the elderly and the lonely) as a social hub where they could enjoy a little company and get a Christmas dinner.

What influences came into Pleasures?

Some of the Community Liaison officers are based on real people. Being a Community Centre, John Storer house was a nucleus for the multi-cultural society of Loughborough. In the year I worked there, we were invited to have dinner at the house of a Muslim girl, whose family prepared us a wonderful buffet and couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. That same year, I managed to wangle about 5 Christmas dinners, including a special lunch for the volunteers and a meal at our local Hindu temple.

I saw this Community Centre as the microcosm of a perfect world. People from all cultures and religions getting together to eat, drink, celebrate and generally have a great time together. Oh, if only, this was true across the globe! 

The best thing about John Storer House was that it was run by a really nice bunch of people – many of whom were volunteers. It was designed to promote good causes, it was home to the CAB and WRVS as well as being a drop-in centre for the elderly.

In the context of ‘Same Face Different Place,’ Rosebrook Community Centre is managed by a man named Peter, a counsellor, a man so caring, he is almost saint like (though he hides a dark past – an abused runaway from a Catholic run Care Home in Ireland, Peter hides the fact that he was also once an IRA supporter.)

The one thing I learned from my employment at John Storer House, was that people from all backgrounds could mingle and support each other. We live in a world of varied cultures where we should respect each other; form a society based on friendship, not hate.

Same Face Different Place is a mystery suspense thriller which unravels over 4 decades, but at the core of the book is a group of wronged individuals who join forces to create their own perfect community – yet overshadowed by the deadliest of enemies.

Look out for Book 3 Pleasures, with free prelude, ‘The Battle for the Land’ soon to be released.

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1st Synopsis for Book 3 Pleasures – 16th October 2014

It is almost a year to this day, I started writing my 3rd novel, Pleasures and I am delighted to announce, that on Monday (13th) I finally completed it. With the entire story now drafted, I’ve had some time to reflect and before the 2nd stage of editing begins, would like to present a synopsis.

Book 3 – Pleasures

My character, Perry HamptonPerry Hampton is a man who is used to the finer pleasures of life: wealth, power, a beautiful wife and mistress, a successful stockbroker son and two magnificent properties. His life should be perfect but it is not: first, through his fear that he is haunted by the victims of his villainy; whilst, a few miles away, lives his most deadly nemesis. Her name is Eleanor and she possesses a secret file, which he truly believes could destroy him.

Eleanor is driven by her quest to prove Perry’s evil: she has pledged to do everything she can, to protect and avenge those she loves. So when a trail of clues draws her towards uncovering Perry’s most covert secrets, she cannot resist following them – determined to prove his crimes, whilst aware, his spies are watching her every move.

Perry will not rest until he can overpower her community – a ruthless campaign whereby he enlists the help of old faces, including a senior planning officer and a former London gangster. Characters, good and evil are drawn into a concentrated battle over a piece of land; but this is just the start of a more sinister game. Perry knows how he can unhinge them – even if it means encouraging his only son, to immerse himself into the dark labyrinths of the criminal underground, thereby granting him a dangerous advantage.

Scenes from Book 3 Pleasures, show the Criminal Court and character, Robin Whaley

Eleanor’s son Elijah meanwhile, is finally drawn into their secrets; the younger generation are growing up fast. It is a notion which inspires them to inaugurate their own fight against injustice. Yet, this is the catalyst which sparks a war – one which will bear deadly consequences and from where there can only be one winner.

Pleasures is Book 3 in the British series ‘Same Face Different Place’ and the first chapters are soon to be released…

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London Research Trip – 3rd October 2014

This post is a follow up to my last article: Update on Progress: Book 3 Pleasures which I wrote, just before embarking on my latest trip to London to revisit some of the places, where the final scenes of ‘Pleasures’ were about to take place. So it’s time to reflect on that journey – in fact, it couldn’t have been better timed. It started at the Grosvenor Hotel near Victoria; the setting for one of the most gripping scenes of the story, in which arch baddie, Perry and the heroine of the story are drawn into a terrifying standoff. A chance for me to enjoy a coffee, as well as photograph the interior – where staff could not have been more helpful, in explaining a little about the decor throughout the years. Next stop was Holborn, location of Eleanor’s solicitor John Sharp. From Book 1 ‘Beginnings’ I have made numerous mention of an ‘expanse of tall white office blocks… blue sky, streaked with plumes of white cloud, brightly reflected in the mirrored panes of hundreds of windows.’ Luckily, it was a beautiful day with an abundance of blue sky. I photographed a number of white office blocks – where this smart example of 60s/70s architecture seemed perfect.

Office Block in Holborn

Office Block in Holborn

After a good walk around Holborn, I finally ended up in St Paul’s – taking careful note of the escalators and tube stations, which pop up in various chapters; such as an episode where Perry is actually tailing Eleanor, on one of her ‘secret trips.’

The Dome at St Pauls Cathedral in London

I was heading for the Old Bailey, yet stumbled across the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square – a lucky co-incidence, which I wasn’t expecting, since this is the work place of Ben, Perry’s evil son. I also discovered that in 1990, it was damaged by an IRA bomb – it all fits in very neatly with the location, the story and the era! Photos of the London Stock Exchange, front and back Finally, I found myself facing the Old Bailey itself, location for the last dramatic court case before the end of Book 3 ‘Pleasures.’ It has been the inspiration behind much of the writing I have done in the last week, where more photos allowed me to capture its stunning facade: blog-facade

‘Eleanor stole a final glance at the imposing archway where a cast iron grill protected the entrance. An Ionic column towered above – a cloaked statue crouching between the two, which reminded her of the Grim Reaper and as her eyes travelled upwards, she could clearly read the motto. ‘Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish the Wrongdoer.’

Yet its beauty no way compensates for the atmosphere you feel inside. This is after all, London’s most notorious Criminal Court. ‘The building may have appeared outwardly striking – the intricate, classic architecture, a feast for Charlie’s eyes; yet the atmosphere inside felt dark and ominous.’

blog-oldbailey

I observed 3 cases, including manslaughter, drug trafficking and ABH, with some disturbing content, not to mention a sense of menace in the public gallery – which has been the inspiration behind some of my recent story lines: ‘Those walls had veiled some hideous crimes, over the years, she found herself thinking – imagining the passage of evil people, through those same corridors and stairways.’

I am extremely grateful to the staff too, especially the very nice security guard on the 2nd floor, who took me under his wing and warned of the hostile atmosphere. In summary, it was an incredibly absorbing day, which in some ways left me troubled, but definitely put me in the right mindset for creating a convincing ‘Trial’ in the penultimate chapter of ‘Pleasures.’

Same Face Different Face – Book 3 ‘Pleasures’ will be published in 2015, with a FREE prelaunch sequel, scheduled before Christmas.

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Update on Progress: Book 3 Pleasures – 24th September 2014

It’s time for another update on the 3rd book of my series, ‘Pleasures.’ 

It was back in June this year, I completed the major part of this book but came to a standstill. I wrote an explosive storyline which finally reached a peak – but it left me with the feeling of having reached a cliff top, practically toppling over the edge, fearing the story could easily fall flat on its face. I knew where the story was going, it was now just a matter of how to get to next point, without readers losing interest.

I have spent the last 3 months editing the first 25 chapters (shorter chapters than the last book) with the hope, that by the time I reached the point where I stopped, I would have a better idea how to end the story. I’m happy to say, I reached that point in early September and am now finishing the book.

There is one trouble with a gripping climax – nobody likes a weak aftermath. It’s like the hangover you get after a heavy night’s partying. So instead of carrying on, where the story left off, I decided to jump one year ahead and recapture all the main points in a series of flash backs. It worked, allowing me to move the story swiftly onwards.

The Old Bailey

Without giving away too much, someone has to stand trial, but from what I understand, preparing for a court case can take years.

In order to cover the time in between, I have not gone into too much detail of the characters’ lives, this time – more, a condensed summary of what everyone’s been up to, in order to get to the most powerful story lines more quickly.

One of the final chapters is based in the Criminal Court, in London, so what better way to inspire myself than to take a visit? It’s been a long while since I’ve been to London or done any further location research. So before I write the last thrilling episode, I’m off to revisit some of the places, where the final scenes of ‘Pleasures’ take place, including Holborn, Victoria and finally, the Old Bailey, where I hope to see some court action. I’ll be adding to this post very soon, with lots of photos, so watch this space –  and making another special announcement very soon.

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