The Irish Influence – 17th March 2015

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I have plucked out a sample of Book 3 Pleasures, in advance of its release in April. Peter is a character who hails from Dublin – and making contact with a very old friend, in the midst of a tense trial.

“Don’t be daft!” Peter laughed. He took a long swig of Guinness, savouring its intense roasted flavour. He contemplated his next words carefully.

“Jake saw two men by the roadside. Not just Perry, there was someone else. Someone in overalls lying under the mini bus who Jake believed to be a mechanic. This is where your contact comes in.” He took a deep breath. “Seamus, if he was to confess his part in the conspiracy; that Perry hired him for the job… we might possibly have him nailed!”

Guinness image

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Guest Blog: The Joys Of Working With An Author’s Group by author Helen Christmas

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on A Woman's Wisdom:
It hardly seems a year ago this happened. Here I was, just another independent self-published author, struggling against a rising tide of other like-minded souls desperately competing for a bit of attention on…

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Book Promotion: Visions (Special Edition) by Helen J Christmas

Helen J. Christmas:

So kind of AWW to put up this post for me at short notice: download the first 2 books of my British Thriller series for 99p.

Originally posted on A Woman's Wisdom:

Visions Special

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Get Book 1 (Beginnings) and Book 2 (Visions) of Helen Christmas’s fabulous thriller Same Face, Different Place series for the brilliant price of just 99p/99c until Sunday 8th March in this Special Edition.

Book Blurb

British thriller, Same Different Place is a series of novels, set in the criminal underworld of London and Kent. The first Book in the 70s chronicles the passionate romance between Eleanor, the daughter of a London gangster and Jake, the victim of a sinister contract killing.

Book 2 Visions moves forward 12 years, where the same characters are about to cross paths again, in this dark psychological thriller set around the restoration of a historic country house. The year is 1985. Eleanor is forced to bury the secrets of her past, in the hope that she can protect the people she loves, especially her 12 year old…

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A Tour Through Blogland Award and Karma in the Writing World

I am honoured to have been nominated to take part in “A Tour Through Blogland” or also known as “The Virtual Blog Tour Award.”

My nominator, Wanda Hartzenburg wears many hats; she lives across the other side of the world from me, in South Africa and is also an author. She wrote her first story at the age of 4 (I wrote mine when I was 6) and like me, she enjoys writing and cooking. Her two books ‘Suicide Song’ and ‘The Struggle of me’ are both available on Amazon. I mainly know Wanda through her Facebook Group, Wanda’s amazing Amazon Reviewers which you can read about in my a short article.

You can read Wanda’s Tour through Blogland Post here.

suicidesong

To kick off this blog tour, she asked me to answer these 4 questions:

1- Why write? Why not sing, dance or figure skate?

Writing seems to be ingrained in my soul. I started when I was six. I filled up my drawing book with fairy tales and it was about the same time as my parents took me to ballet! I was too clumsy to dance and the first time I tried skating, I fell over and broke my wrist. That just about sums it up – whereas I derive enormous pleasure from writing.

2- Do you have a musical playlist or do you need to write in absolute silence? If you have a playlist would we recognize any of the songs or artists on it?

Music definitely inspires me – not when I’m writing but when I am thinking about writing. I have a play list for each of my books: some from the decade; for ‘Beginnings’ there are lots of tunes from the 70’s. The current playlist however, contains nothing anyone would recognise. It’s music for the younger generation – Drum and Bass and a lot of thrilling rave music. It would be a great soundtrack if ever the book was made into a film.

3- Can you see a future for yourself in which writing forms no part of your day to day life?

I can’t imagine that at all. Much as I enjoy other hobbies, writing is something which seems to be stamped onto my personality. I cannot bear to think of a scenario where I wouldn’t be able to do it any more.

4- Which author/s inspire you currently? I am not talking about some of the greats but departed. Authors alive today, which of them inspire you?

Ken Follet is and continues to be my biggest inspiration: his books have wonderful characters and are set around historic events. There are some pretty good indie authors around too; such as Terry Tyler who writes modern day British based fiction and Marion Kille who’s crime thrillers set in one of my local towns, are impossible to put down.

Here is my short article: Karma in the Writing World

It was always my intention in the New Year to write a small piece about Wanda’s Amazing Amazon Reviewers group which was how I was introduced to Wanda Hartzenberg.

The idea stems from authors across the world coming together and supporting each other. As the name suggest this is a group for reviewers – which means they are always on the lookout for avid readers, people who love books and are willing to give up their free time for reading and giving honest reviews. It’s a friendly group which relies on mutual support. We give reviews and receive them in return. Not only that, we like each others Facebook pages, tweet each others tweets and generally do what we can to raise each other’s profiles.

What goes around comes around and as a result, I have not only met some very fine authors but had a few new reviews myself, which is something us budding writers have come to rely on more and more, these days, especially if they crave success.

Most of all it is fun. It’s a platform for debates, competitions, giveaways and a forum for authors to share their experiences – post questions on anything to do with writing: from editing to cover design. It is also a good place to make new friends.

In all the years I’ve been an author, I’ve discovered there is a lot of karma in the writing community. I don’t have the time to join many author groups but I’m glad I found this one. Just to finish with, here’s a sample of some of my own reviews from my favourite authors:

The Luck of the WeissensteinersThe Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An ambitious story of how one jewish family manages to escape the persecution of the nazis.

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Baby (Species Intervention #6609, #1)Baby by J.K. Accinni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book. Science-fiction is not usually my genre, but I became so quickly absorbed, I can genuinely say that this is the most unusual and captivating story I have read in a long time.

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Peer Inside My Soul and See MePeer Inside My Soul and See Me by De Ann “Native” Townes Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Definitely one for a rainy day. This is a delightful collection of poems, is beautifully written and with incredibly inspiring words. I know I’ll be picking it up again soon!

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Revealing HamiltonRevealing Hamilton by Sarah Jayne Carr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part thriller with a scientific conspiracy in the background; a notion of secret societies, where you are never quite sure who you can trust.

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Broken Aro (The Broken Ones, #1)Broken Aro by Jen Wylie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Wonderful Story: Fantasy is not my usual genre – yet I was rapidly drawn into a story which was not only beautifully written, but filled with characters I instantly engaged with.

View all my reviews

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Lastly, I have nominated Julian Kirkman-Page for this award. I met Julian via our local authors group CHINDI and enjoyed his first book The 7:52  to London Bridge which is a hilarious set of short stories

“The author is a businessman in the guise of a train commuter trying to make good use of the otherwise dead time to study for a distance learning science degree. Instead, the trials and tribulations of the daily grind between home and London Bridge station force him to reflect upon a life filled with mirth, mystery and sheer madness.”

Julian’s 2nd book I Don’t Drink is a comprehensive guide to giving up alcohol, written in a light hearted comic style and includes a free downloadable self-hypnosis session.

Books by Julian Kirkman-Page

Over to you, Julian!

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New release in the Series – Follow up – 12th January 2015

Back in November, I released a FREE prelude: ‘The Battle for the Land’ in advance of my 3rd novel ‘Pleasures as a gift to my readers.’

The story continues through the year 1987. Eleanor is aroused by a vital clue that draws 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. 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 a powerful ally of Perry’s and although Perry is interested in the land, 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.

I have received two really kind emails from a couple of people who took me up on my offer:

“Just finished the freebie read and loved it! Roll on the finished book 3 Gripped me all the way just as book 1 did. Thank you xx” JA

“I’ve read the teaser which was brilliant.  Looking forward to the rest of the book.” MK

The Same Face Different Place series

With just a few more weeks before the full release, there is still time to grab yourselves a copy, by submitting the form below:

You will not be added to any mailing list and the only follow up message you will receive is when the full release of Same Face Different Place Book 3 Pleasures is available.

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Terrorism: one of the worst evils of the world 7th January 2015

The editing of book 3 has left me with some disturbing memories of the terrorist threat that existed in the 70s, 80s and 90s when the IRA were at their most active. Thankfully, there has been less violence surrounding Northern Ireland in recent years where peace talks must have finally paid off.

At the time however, these incidents induced fear: the occasions I took a train to London when services were suspended because of a bomb scare. On one occasion, I was sat in a tube train in the middle of a dark tunnel amongst hundreds of other commuters for nearly an hour! There was even occasion when my home town of Bognor was targeted – who remembers the bicycle bomb outside Woolworths?

The attacks were mainly confined to the British Commonwealth and took place in England. Here are a few of examples, which I chose to mention – as they occurred in 1987, 1990 and 1991 (the years in which parts of the story are set) and have therefore found their way into the pages of my most recent novel, Pleasures:

Poppy Day Bombing
November 8th 1987: At a remembrance Day parade a bomb was detonated killing 11 and injuring 60 including women and children.

He admitted to being in a dark place; upset by the troubles in Northern Ireland, which had culminated in the recent ‘Poppy Day’ bombing in the small town of Enniskillen. This callous attack, carried out by the IRA, had sent shock waves through the community…

Poppy Day Bombing in Enniskillen

Poppy Day Bombing in Enniskillen

Death on the Rock of Gibraltar
March 7th 1988: A chain of events which began with an IRA plot in Gibraltar and ended with the murder of 2 British soldiers

The news had been rocked by a chain of brutal events, starting with the three IRA terrorists gunned down at point blank range on the rock of Gibraltar. It was believed, they had been plotting to bomb a local changing of the guards ceremony – plastic explosives had been discovered.

A week later, a military style funeral took place in Belfast. Yet in a barbaric twist of fate, a Protestant gunman had materialised, opening fire into the crowd and hurling grenades. Both nationalists and loyalists traditionally respected sectarian funerals – which made this an unusual incident, although it had eventually emerged, the assassin was operating alone.

“What’s this latest atrocity?” Eleanor whispered in horror.
“Two British soldiers have been murdered,” Peter shuddered. “They found themselves inadvertently caught up in the midst of an IRA parade; they were dragged from their car, beaten unconscious, then taken to some nearby wasteland and shot!”

the-ira-bombed-targets-in-the-cityJuly 1990: The IRA stepped up its campaign of violence in the form of a bomb attack on the London stock exchange, followed by an even more terrible attack on a British MP.

Peter closed his eyes. There had been so many incidents in the news since then and as the bus chugged its way through a sea of rush hour traffic, he was mentally listing  them. He blinked, just as they were passing the London Stock Exchange – clocking the sharp grey walls, the columns of tall windows. It was hard to imagine, an IRA bomb had blown a massive hole in that building in July 1990. Peter felt the onset of a shiver. Wasn’t it in the same month, an IRA car bomb had also claimed the life of Conservative MP, Ian Gow; a hefty Semtex device whose effects were nearly as devastating as the one in which Albert Enfield had been killed. 

Mortar bomb attack on the British Government
February 7th 1991

He decided to jump off, knowing it would be quicker to get to his friend’s house by tube. Yet the memories kept jabbing at him. There was no question, the IRA had upped their offensive. Earlier that year, they had fired a mortar bomb at 10 Downing Street – a shocking attack which had left the entire Conservative cabinet reeling!

The above extracts are from Book 3 Pleasures, Same Face Different Place, a British series which begins with a political conspiracy and a car bomb attack which claims the life of a British MP.

Obviously, no-one can ignore the far deadlier threat which now exists in the form of extreme Islamic terrorism via Al-Qaida. It is something that is never going to go away and no longer affects just Britain but the whole world.

It seems like a horrific twist of fate that on the day I finished writing this post, news broke out of a barbaric shooting at Paris offices of satirical magazine, resulting in 12 people being killed. Just another example of the type of terrorist attack which has become one of the worst evils of the modern world.

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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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