Guest Post: with #Thriller Writer SC Cunningham

This month, I am very excited to be discussing the life and works of Siobhan Cunningham, author of The Penance List, Unfinished Business and The Deal.

Photograph of Siobhan Cunningham, authorS C Cunningham creates psychological crime thrillers and paranormal romance with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour, and pulsating sex scenes. Having worked in the industries she writes about, her novels offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction.

Abducted as a child, she survived; and every night for months afterward, she prayed to God, asking for a deal. This personal journey sparked the fuse behind the intriguing and riveting fictional world she portrays in The Deal, the first in The Fallen Angel series. Twenty years later Cunningham crossed paths with a violent serial attacker, sowing the seed for her mind-bending thriller, The David Trilogy; The Penance List, Unfinished Business, For My Sins.

An ex-model, British born of Irish roots, she married a rock musician and has worked in the exciting worlds of music, film, sports, celebrity management and as a Crime Investigator for the British Police (Wanted & Absconder Unit, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Investigations Hub).

She is the proud mother to contemporary Artist Scarlett Raven and owned by three dogs.

So Let’s start by exploring a little more about your Genre, Siobhan… why did you choose to write in this genre?

I write Paranormal Crime Romance and Psychological Rom Thrillers. Also, as respite from the blood and gore, I’ve written a children’s picture book about a rescue dog (based on a rescue Pyrenees Mountain Dog I had when living in Texas), my artist daughter, Scarlett Raven, produced the art work.

My current passion is a Paranormal Crime Romance series of 8, The Fallen Angel Series. When I was about 3 or 4 years old I was taken, I got away, the following week another little girl was taken, but she didn’t get away, she died. I come from an Irish Catholic family; I remember saying my prayers at night, asking God to do a deal with me. If I was a good girl, when I die would he let me sit on a cloud for a while, invisible, and help him get the baddies that slip through his fingers? I have always had a strong feeling of justice, of looking after the underdog.

Book cover for The Deal by Siobhan Cunningham

There have been a few times in my life where I seemed to have been extremely lucky to have survived situations. I call it my Angels looking out for me.

There is something else up there; I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. If my gut says something, I have learned to follow it. My paranormal works are taking this idea to the next level, of Vigilante Angels dishing out tough karma from the skies. I am a romantic, therefore there is always romance.

My Psychological Thrillers are based on an incident that happened to me in my 20’s, I crossed paths with a prolific serial attacker who was haunting London at the time, targeting girls living on their own in basement flats in Notting Hill and Olympia. I got away unscathed (those angels again) and helped Police with a photofit. I remember looking at him wondering why? What makes someone so evil? The seed for my David Trilogy was sown.

The common thread here is I write about what I know. I guess it choses me.

Oh my God, that’s actually quite chilling! It’s easy to see where you got your inspiration from.

Yes, from life experiences; story-lines that provoke thoughts, that teach, that help others. I’ve worked in various industries; Music, Film, Football, Modelling, Sports Celebrity Management, and more lately in crime – Crime Investigator, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Wanted and Absconder Unit for Sussex Police.

So to be short and sweet, how would you describe your novels in 10 words?

Fast paced, exciting, thought provoking, sexy, funny, heart pounding, thrilling.

Now just to lighten the tone a little, let’s talk about your writing environment.

I have a writing room at home. I write whenever I can, I have no social life, am a bit of a recluse. I set the scene to write, with lovely smells/candles, soft music, lighting and dogs curled at my feet. It takes hours to block out the world in my head, then I settle down to churn out the words. It’s hard to get to the writing ‘place’ but once you are there, it is wonderful. My ideal place would be in a villa with a pool in the sunshine, where I could pop out to take a dip in the pool between chapters… but hey, one day…

That sounds so chilled out. Dogs are great writing companions – mine curls up with me too when I’m writing but moving on, are any of your characters based on real people?

From my own life experiences, studying people, observing, listening, I see stories in everything, even as I walk down a street… sometimes it’s a bit exhausting. Characters are a mishmash of different people I know. It is easier to write about the truth.

So I must ask, which authors do you like and do you have a favourite book?

My chosen authors include Lee Child, Martina Cole, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Agatha Christie, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell and Karin Slaughter. The Lee Child Jack Reacher Series is my favourite… I have a crush on Jack Reacher. Although if I ever get to meet Lee Child I will bollock him for selling out to Tom Cruise. Cruise is wonderful, but he is no Jack Reacher.

Thanks for sharing that! So who would you like to see playing the lead character in your book?

My Psycho Thriller books, Tom Hardy. I think he has the depth of mind to play the part. He’s been there and done that in his own life, therefore can bring it to the fore in his acting. My Fallen Angel Series, Hmmmm… (scratches head)… I actually cannot think of anyone yet… maybe an unknown actor could step forward and shock the socks off people!

So going back to your books, do you work out a strict plot or just start writing?

I just start writing and it develops itself. If I knew what happened in the end I would be bored. I love the way a story writes itself.

Writing is the fun part, so what about research?

My life is research in a way. I’m constantly observing, learning and adapting my own experiences to the page, and am of course SO grateful to google which answers any technical questions I may have i.e. blood splatter, gun calibre, drugs, health symptoms etc (my web search history is damming). My Police Investigation work is like a university degree in the criminal mind. However I have signed the official secrets act, therefore am not able to talk about cases I work on – which is of course right.

That’s understandable… I know what you mean about browser history, the mind boggles. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about writing, to inspire others?

Just start, keep doing it, every day, the first outline can be as rough as you like, no one else sees it. The magic then comes in the first edit, shining the coal into a diamond.

That’s a lovely analogy. So do you have any future plans for writing, that is, are you working on anything now?

I am finishing off the series and trilogy, then adapting them to screenplay. Book I of the David Trilogy has been adapted to film script and is sitting on a desk in Hollywood as the moment. Fingers crossed.

Good luck! That would be amazing. Last but not least, here are the links to the books.

Books by S C Cunningham


Author Page:

UK The Deal (Fallen Angel Series Book I)

UK The Penance List (David Triogy Book I)

UK Unfinished Business (David Trilogy Book II)


“Cunningham has crafted an epic in proportion novel here. Her characters are sultry and as real as they can get.”

“The book is dark, naughty…sometimes downright nasty. Cunningham will hold your attention to the very end.”

“Delicious and salacious, this novel offers a new twist on the modern romance and the classic psychological thriller.”




  • Sports Celebrity Management job consisted of working for the management company of footballer personalities – i.e. David Beckham, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Gaby Logan and helped coordinate a EURO Football Tournament in Belgium and Holland. Got to see first hand the crazy way fans and women react when a footballer walks into a room/club!!
  • Worked in music business (8yrs) with first husband, Raf Ravenscroft, who played sax on Baker Street by Jerry Rafferty, he played with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed etc. We had a recording studio in Oxford Circus, making music for film,TV and radio. Was the eye candy in a band (couldn’t sing or play an instrument), appeared on Wogan Show twice, entry for Eurovision Song Context.
  • Single mum with Scarlett from age of 7. Worked in London until she finished Uni, then she didn’t need me any more and could start my writing life in earnest.
  • Worked in Horse racing for 5yrs, running events, looking after international VIPs coming into UK for Ascot, Derby etc. The horse racing world is racier than any other industry I have worked, its all that hay and sweat. Great fodder for authors like Jilly Cooper.
  • Got fed up lining the pockets of the rich, wanted to line the pockets of the poor so worked for a year or so as an international coordinator for Children’s Charity raising awareness and funds for HIV, orphanages, schools, meds etc in Africa – visiting these children was a humbling experience.
  • Got drunk and married in Vegas to second husband, a tall dark handsome Texan. We lived in Dallas, had great fun for 2 years, love the Texan larger than life, can-do-anything mentality.
  • Fashion model for 5 years, catwalk and beauty (makeup etc). Europe USA & Far East. Witnessing the behind the scenes behaviour of the glamour world. Sadly, I liked my food too much and didn’t bow down to the ‘casting couch’ mentality/pressure.
  • All of the above are great fodder for my story-lines.
  • Charitable causes I wish to support are; Veterans, Mental Health and Animal Abuse. 

I am angry with the way Veterans are treated in this country, MH is increasingly prevalent, especially in my Police work, and I prefer animals to some humans.

It’s been an absolute treat to have Siobhan as a guest on my blog and I am intrigued by her novels. Check them out for yourself and add them to your reading list!

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Kicking off the New Year with #BlogTour and #Giveaway

As a follow up to ‘My Brilliant #BookBlitz across the Blogscape‘ I enjoyed the first part of January 2018 with an amazing Blog Tour for my debut romantic thriller “Beginnings.”

This is the first time I have used the professional services of a Book Blogger to do some serious marketing – and who better to turn to than Rachel’s Rare Resources with a host of different packages for authors.

This is how the Blog Tour worked. Every day for 7 days, my book was promoted on 3 different book blogs. For some, this included a bit of blurb about my book, my biography, my social networks and best of all, a prize giveaway for a signed paperback. The sharing on these posts across social media was phenomenal, potentially reaching 1000s of readers.


Best of all, a number of these bloggers reviewed my book and some of their testimonials moved me to tears. It’s often easy to lose faith in yourself as an author (and I’ve been there!) Dwindling sales and reviews can make you feel like giving up at times…

But if ever my flagging confidence needed a boost, this Blog Tour hit the spot. So I’d like to share just a few of those kind words.

“This thriller is action-packed and engrossing located in the seamy side of London in the 1970s,” says The Eclectic Review.

“Beginnings is a truly white knuckle ride of a book with a heart warming love story weaved within its pages.” says Wrong Side of Forty about the first book of the Same Face Different Place series.

“10☆ Exceedingly Good, Fast Past Thriller, Hooked from the Start!! Danger at ever turn!” says Dash Fan Book Reviews about Beginnings

“The atmosphere that the author creates is electric in places, … The action sequences are swift, brutal and gripping.” says Welcome to my Worlds.

And here is an embedded tweet:

Concluding the Blog Tour

In essence, I had 21 promotional posts and when each blog was published, loads of people shared it on Twitter (and lots more retweeted it to their followers.) Some shared it on Facebook and a small number of the reviews were posted on Goodreads on Amazon too which is brilliant way of furthering the success of this book. Did it increase my sales? Well no, not immediately… but I see this promotion as more of a long term venture and not an instantaneous sales boost. The exposure for Beginnings has been tremendous and great for raising awareness. The giveaway also earned me some extra likes on my Facebook page which tipped me over the ‘500 likes’ milestone. I am sure that over time, it will not only generate sales but promote the whole series.

Beginnings by Helen J. Christmas

A massive thanks goes out to all the Bloggers and most of all, to Rachel Gilbey for all the hard work she put into this. I will be doing another blog tour in April to promote the second book of the series, Visions. But in the mean time, here is a list of all the Book Bloggers who participated.

Me and My Books

Overdue Book Reviews

Chat About Books

The Eclectic Review

Emma The Little Bookworm

Wrong side of Forty


Sals World of Books

Dash Fan’s Book Reviews Dough_nut81

Hair Past A Freckle

Welcome to my Worlds

Being Anne

Chelle’s Book Reviews

Book Babble

Donna’s Book Blog

Reflections of a Reader

Book Junkiez

Stephs Book Blog

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog

Read Along with Sue

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Riches and Rags, a Day Trip to #Brighton

Brighton is a town of Colour

Today’s post is a recapture of a recent trip to Brighton. I’ve been visiting this town since my early teens, in fact it was 1980 when I was first captivated by the quirkiness of The Lanes.

The Heart of Brighton, leading to The Lanes

Nowadays, I treat myself to a mooch around this lovely seaside town at least once a year. With an ever growing array of amazing shops and restaurants, it never fails to amaze me. Brighton has it all. Added to the cornucopia of clothes shops, I spotted a shop selling traditional sweets, another selling vegan sweets, there were bespoke cakes and macaroons in every colour of the spectrum… It seems impossible to imagine so many temptations, which leaves me wondering if there is anything left to invent.

A traditional sweet shop

Julien Plumart, Brighton

As for the choice of food… cafés and booths sell just about everything from homemade cookies to noodle bowls. Mexican, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, I could go on forever listing the choice of eateries but I eventually stumbled across a little French Bistro; a traditional 13th Century Fisherman’s cottage tucked away in the oldest part of The Lanes. It offers an array of fresh seafood and shellfish but all I cherished was a tureen of fish soup. Warming and delicious it was packed with succulent fish and shellfish and a portion of rustic french bread, perfect for a light lunch.

D’arcys Restaurant in the Lanes

But a town blighted by Poverty

As I explored the streets, enjoying the decadence, I could not ignore the number of homeless people scattered around the town. Sadly, rising homelessness is the one regrettable downside of this age and this government conveniently choose to ignore it. It’s all too easy for people to say “get a job, lazy scroungers,” but the truth is NO ONE will employ a homeless person. To qualify for any type of work, you need a fixed abode. But how can anyone at rock bottom climb their way out of this trap? Rents in the south have quadrupled in the last six years but wages have not.

The reason for their plight is often more complicated than people think. Many turn to drugs and alcohol but in some way, I can empathise… No one chooses this existence and will surely turn to anything to numb the harsh reality behind their broken lives.

Graffiti in Brighton

Graffiti in Brighton (interpret this as you will)

I don’t want to end on a depressing note but I will finish my saying that in my next novel (a work soon to be in progress), one of the main characters will start off as a homeless man before the suspense gets rolling… and that’s all I’m saying.

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Beginnings by Helen J Christmas #Blogtour #Review #Giveaway

Just had to share this very inspiring review from another book blogger as part of my Blog Tour for Beginnings…

Wrong side of forty


Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people.

Her life is spiralling out of control yet on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.

Their daring escape across London eventually draws them into a place of hiding before Jake’s chilling story begins to unfold. He was the one vital witness to a sinister scene leading up to the death of a British MP and now those responsible want him silenced. As two young people, thrown together by fate they develop intense feelings for each other…

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#BlogTour Beginnings by Helen J. Christmas @SFDPBeginnings @rararesources #Crime #Competition #Win #Giveaway #Thriller #AmReading

So chuffed to see this post, published via ‘Emma The Little Bookworm,’ part of my #BlogTour With Rachel’s Random Resources. To relaunch ‘Beginnings’ there’s also a chance to win a signed copy. A big thanks to all these wonderful book bloggers!

Emma The Little Bookworm

I am delighted to be hosting a competition for one lucky winner to win a signed copy of Helen J. Christmas’s novel, Beginnings.

Beginnings is the first book in Christmas’s series which starts life back in the 70s and it’s one I’m looking forward getting stuck into!

Before that, here’s the blurb …

Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people.

Her life is spiralling out of control yet on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.

Their daring escape across London eventually draws them…

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Reflections of Christmas 2017

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,
please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

Winter Sunset taken outside our house

There is something a little extra poignant about that song, which I can’t define, Christmas being the one time of year that stirs mixed emotions.

On the one hand, it’s a wonderful time of year to catch up with friends and relatives, send each other cards, exchange gifts and enjoy a traditional celebratory end of the year feast. On the other, it strikes me as being very commercial, with retail giants rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of how they can maximise their profits.

I wrote this blog to ponder over a bit of both…

Seasonal Weather

The weather really leant itself to the season; crisp cold walks, a sparkle of frost on the ground and beautiful winter sunsets. We were lucky this year to have an skating rink in Bognor, an absolute treat for families where even the more senior folk took to the ice.

Ice skating rink in Bognor

December, I also found myself coming to the end of a long edit of second novel, Visions. Filled with reminiscences of the 80’s, such memories provided inspiration for a Christmas scene, in which younger character, Elijah, found a visit to London quite enthralling:

“They were mesmerised by the window displays in the West End, the streets hugged by tall Regency buildings, not to mention the pretty street lights.”

It got me thinking how nice it would be to go back, after a 30 year absence. So on December 16th, a week before Christmas, my husband and I took a train and enjoyed an entire day mooching around London with friends. Despite the crowds, we immersed ourselves in a spectacle of sights, sounds and smells from live acts in Covent Garden to hot chestnuts in Oxford Street, also famous for its magical Christmas Lights.

Our Itinerary: (for those thinking of a tour)

Google Map of central London showing the highlights of our walk.

1. Covent Garden: bursting with character, live entertainment, shops, markets and eateries, this is a great place to start, have a coffee and soak up the atmosphere.

Some of the best bits in Covent Garden, this Christmas

2. Trafalgar Square: street artists, living statues and buskers fill this iconic place, flanked by the National Galleries and dotted with an array of monuments.

Trafalgar Square, London Just around the corner from Trafalgar Square, walking up towards Soho

3. Moving on to Soho: before we got there, we discovered an amazing Danish bakery for lunch. Ole and Steen in Bedford Avenue offers a delicious choice of breads, cakes and pastries, including a mouth watering focaccia with gruyere.

Ole and Steen Bakery in Bedford Ave, London

From there, feast your eyes on the bright city lights of Soho and wander into Chinatown.

China Town, London

4. China Town filters its way gently into Leicester Square, filled with theatres and famous for its West End shows such as Les Miserables.

China town leading into Leicester Square

5. From Leicester Square wander into Piccadilly but are the streets lined with gold? Just past the theatres of the West End, the shops are expensive, possibly the most exclusive to be found, including the Ritz and Fortnum and Mason, finest of all food halls.

The food hall at Fortnum and Mason

Various shop window displays and Christmas decorations in London

6. and 7. Short cut through the back streets: we stumbled across a craft fair, a peaceful church and a park, not to mention beautifully decorated shop windows and Christmas trees; a welcome diversion from the crowds.

One of the many pretty restaurants in London's west end. One of the many pretty back streets in London's west end. London christmas trees

8. Oxford Street: starting from Marble arch and moving east, the lights got better and better; a kaleidoscope for the eyes, before the tube station at the junction of Regent Street marked the end of the day and the start of our homeward journey (9).

Selfridges in Oxford Street Stunning Christmas lights in London, Oxford Street Regents Street in London and the spectacular Christmas Lights

Treasure the High Street!

Thinking back to that day in London, I cannot emphasise how much I enjoyed the tradition of shopping in the High Street. The local towns of Bognor and Chichester too, provided endless inspiration for gifts and put some ‘people power’ back into Christmas. I blatantly boycotted Amazon this year. I’ve seen hundreds of traditional retailers sinking under the swelling mass of online giants and if we’re not careful, this quintessential ingredient of British culture could be lost forever.

Don’t let it happen! High Street shopping is a far more personal, interactive experience, it supports local businesses and keeps our town centres alive.

Gotta love shopping in the High Street!

A Final Word

Before I round off my post, I’ll finish by saying this was a very special Christmas for me, but at the same time I want to spare a thought for those less fortunate. On Christmas Day, I read a most heart-warming story in which 200 homeless people in London tucked into a free Christmas dinner served by volunteers: (source: i newspaper 25.12.17). The article describes how “Euston Station opened its doors for the festive treat, thanks to a partnership between charities and Network Rail.”

My message for 2018 is, the world can be a better place if we all do our bit. Enjoy yourselves and have a happy new year; be thankful for everything you’ve got but most important of all, be kind to others.

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My Brilliant #BookBlitz across the Blogscape

A big shout went out this month for ‘Beginnings,’ first novel of my thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place.’

Beginnings - Book Blitz Banner

Thanks to professional book blogger, Rachel, I took her up on her offer of a 1 Day Blitz on December 2nd.

This is in celebration of a new version of ‘Beginnings’ which included some professional editing and proof-reading. To re-launch this edition on the market, I decided to give it a final push before Christmas and this is what happened…

On December 2nd, 20 Book Bloggers Nationwide, ran a feature on ‘Beginnings’, including a synopsis and author bio. Best of all, many of the blogs included extracts from the book, to give readers a taste of what to expect… Part romance and part thriller, these extracts range from the opening chapter where the danger begins to unfold, to the development of romance between the two main protagonists. A couple of gripping chase scenes introduced the thriller elements of the story.

Beginnings graphic used on Twitter

One by one, the bloggers began sharing these posts across social media.

Twitter was the most prominent network with the added bonus of reaching out to thousands of readers. There were a fair few shares on Facebook too. Being a Saturday, I couldn’t be at home all day, but believe me, my phone seemed to be bleeping up new Twitter notifications every second! All in all, I was pretty thrilled with the buzz Rachel created for my book and I would recommend her services. I even received a review!

Listed below are all the bloggers who took part in the initiative and a link to my review in an embedded tweet from the campaign.

Dash Fan’s Book Reviews – Extract

Ali – The Dragon Slayer – Promo

Literary Flits – Extract

Steph’s Book Blog – Extract

Shyla’s Uncensored Opinions 

Short Book and Scribes -Extract

Wrong Side of Forty – Promo

Donna’s Book Blog – Extract

Bound2Escape – Promo

Duvet Dwellers Books – Promo

Chelle’s Book Reviews – Q&A

MiniMac Reviews – Promo

Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Extract

My Eclectic Reads

Between The Lines – Extract

Read Along With Sue

Book Babble – Promo

Hair Past A Freckle – Extract

The Pen and Muse Book Reviews – Promo

Carole’s Book Corner – Extract

Book Junkiez – Extract

Reviews With Room By Books – Promo

Birdie’s Bibliotheca – Review

In January 2018, I will be celebrating the New Year with a 7 Day Blog Tour for Beginnings. This is another initiative from ‘Rachel’s Random Reviews’ vault which I am really looking forward to.

Blog Tour Same Face Different Place Book 1 Beginnings by Helen J Christmas

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