A Psychological Thriller in #Sussex

With publication of LETHAL TIES less than a week away, I’ve been writing about my characters, the psychological issues that affect their lives, but this weeks post is about my book’s all important location: West Sussex.

Bognor Regis

I’ve lived here since 1996 and despite some of the adverse (and in my opinion), unfair publicity, Bognor in fact, boasts more hours of sunshine than anywhere in the UK, has a lovely stretch of beach and a unique coastal landscape to the west. The rocks lining the shore (Bognor Rocks) are haven to many fossils, a mysterious sight at low tide, even more so behind a sea mist or in the fading light of a sunset.

Bognor Beach

Woven into in the storyline, Sussex residents will recognise some familiar haunts: from meetings in the Waverley pub on the seafront, to a meal at Mamma Mia, and there is even a touch of romance when two character dine at Sen Tapas.

Bognor town centre features, as does the Job Centre and Marine Park Gardens. Maisie has a flat in Annadale Avenue (chosen for it’s proximity to the Station, a sneaky escape route through a garden) and Joe gets a job in Sainsbury’s as an online shopper, (a job I was hired for myself in 2016).

I have already mentioned the sea mists in Bognor Regis and in one scene, this creates an eerie atmosphere when characters find themselves at the centre of a police investigation.

sussex and the south downs

The story begins in Bognor. Maisie finds her old friend, Joe, sleeping rough in the beach hut opposite the Waverley and helps him to turn his life around.

That is, before Joe receives vile abuse on twitter. Clues in the tweets suggest they could be in danger but with a build up of suspense, one character is drawn further afield to other areas in West Sussex, fascinated by the countryside and various beauty spots.

Eartham

Nestling on the edge of the South Downs sits the village of Eartham, its idyllic pub, the George, and the Woods beyond. But when Maisie is invited on an impromptu day out, she has no idea what is in store for her.

The George at Eartham
The George is a pub where the characters enjoy Sunday Lunch
Eartham Woods
A lovely place for a walk… but for Maisie, forests cause panic.
Views from Goodwood Trundle
The view from Goodwood Trundle
The Pergola at West Dean Gardens
The Pergola at West Dean Gardens

The day takes many twists and turns. After nearly suffering a panic attack in Eartham Woods, (as a result of her phobia) she suggests heading over Goodwood way and a visit to West Dean Gardens, one of her favourite places. West Dean Gardens is an impressive estate which looks stunning in all seasons, notable for its pergola, mature trees and walled Victorian kitchen gardens.

“… as we strolled across the lawn, I could not wait to show him the pergola; a spectacular three-hundred-foot Edwardian walkway paved in flagstone. 
An air of mystery immersed us as we followed the path to the end; the climbing plants twisting around the pillars, a riot of wild roses fragrant against the feathery purple plumes of wisteria…”

East Lavant

The concluding part of the story takes place in East Lavant, a tiny village just outside Chichester. Maisie is lured to a mysterious but beautiful cottage nestling in the countryside beyond the village. Could this be the house of her dreams?

East Lavant, near Chichester

There is something about the remote woodland location that evokes suspicion in Joe. All he wants to do is protect Maisie yet fears she is becoming isolated. From the first trip to East Lavant however, the story gathers momentum, before the mystery that’s haunted them since childhood is revealed…

Pagham

The story ends in Pagham, with reference to the tranquil harbour, a nesting place for migrating birds and the tiny white herons known as egrets. Where do the characters go from here? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, West Sussex

My debut Sussex based psychological thriller LETHAL TIES will be published this coming Sunday (April 18th 2021) and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

It will soon be available in paperback too, and I am hoping to hold a Bognor book launch in the summer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog in the run up to LETHAL TIES being published. For more information, stay in touch by networking with me on social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.helenchristmas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFDPBeginnings
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/helenchristmas7/
Website: http://www.samefacedifferentplace.com/

Girl in a forest: FACING YOUR CHILDHOOD FEARS

Facing your Childhood Fears

Continuing with themes behind Sussex thriller, LETHAL TIES, with a special emphasis on mental health, I would like to introduce another main protagonist in this story. Maisie. She might appear professional on the outside but on the inside, her world is falling apart.

A possible survivor of child abuse like Joe, Maisie turns to psychotherapy. This post looks deeper into the symptoms of abuse, a turmoil that affects her every day life, as well as other young adults like her.

  • What are the origins behind Maisie’s recurring nightmares?
  • For what reason does she have a phobia of forests?
  • What causes her to suffer anxiety and panic attacks?
  • Maisie finds it hard to settle into relationships, lacks confidence, has a fear of intimacy.
  • But can psychotherapy regress her enough to unlock those painful childhood traumas?

What could have happened in Maisie’s life to trigger such powerful responses? Let’s start by examining her experiences, starting from her early childhood.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MAISIE

Maisie Bell, a character from LETHAL TIES
  • Maisie lost her entire family in a car accident when she was small.
  • Traumatised beyond reason, she became withdrawn, froze people out, shied away from relationships and made herself unlovable.
  • Condemned to live in a children’s home, she befriended Joe and later Sam.
  • She also remember’s the home’s creepy owner, Mr Mortimer.
  • Her memories are vague, but something bad happened in that home, something that has haunted her right up to present day.
  • Her lucky escape came when she was fostered by a loving couple in Kent, with whom she spent the rest of her childhood.

A character driven thriller, there is a mystery at the heart of this story.

Maisie has never forgotten Orchard Grange, the children’s home she and Joe lived in, nor the parties Mortimer dragged them to. Neither can they forget their friend, Sam, a vulnerable 11-year old boy who disappeared one night… He has been missing for twenty years.

Nightmares 

Trees seems to be a common theme in Maisie’s thoughts. In addition to her unusual phobia – where the very thought of walking into a forest brings on a panic attack – she sees trees in her recurring nightmare; specifically a spidery network of branches silhouetted against a night sky.

Maisie has no recollection of what happened on the night of the party she was taken to, other than what Joe has spoken of himself. It’s as if this memory has been erased, leaving a terrifying black void. But from leaks in her subconscious mind, (resulting from therapy) she begins to form the impression that whatever trauma happened took place in some forest…

Tree branches silhouetted against a night sky

Why Panic Attacks?

Thinking of a conversation I had with a senior officer from the Metropolitan Police, who handled child abuse cases, I was advised that recovered memories from psychotherapy cannot be relied upon. He did say however, that one of the most powerful triggers in recalling memories originates from smell, e.g. a particular aftershave at the time the abuse took place. 

In Maisie’s case, it is the musty smell of forests, traces of leaf mould and damp soil that has her reeling in fear, every time she goes near them.

TYPES OF THERAPY

For people like Maisie who suffer some form of trauma in childhood – something that impacts on every day life – there are various types of help available. 

In the first instance there is counselling. Just talking about problems can be a huge help as opposed to bottling them up inside. Even a fear such as a common spider phobia can be attributed to something harrowing in the past. Facing childhood fears is never pleasant, but in some cases may act as a release valve and once addressed can help the individual to move forward.

Counselling is available on the NHS but in some cases, may not go deep enough to get to the root of more complex traumas. This being the case, the next stage may be to look for a less general, more specific type of help.

Psychotherapy

When stressful events that people experience or witness make them feel unsafe or vulnerable, psychotherapy can help by eliminating or controlling troubling symptoms, in order to function better and improve well-being. Like counselling, psychotherapy is designed to get people talking about their symptoms, and devising coping strategies to improve mental health. 

Regressive Therapy involves placing a patient into a relaxed state, or inducing a mild hypnotic trance, so they can recover painful memories. These may include childhood traumas. 

Anyone considering this type approach needs to do their research though, make sure the therapist complies to accepted medical standards and is accredited with governing bodies such as BABCP (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies), BPS (British Psychological Society) or UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). Some examples of regression can be dangerous and have even been known to implant harmful ideas.

CBT

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, reference: Mind-health.co.uk) is designed to help patients understand their current thought patterns. This may include such things as their mental image and beliefs, but is used to identify harmful thoughts and misperceptions, anything that may be holding them back in life. It is possible that negative thought patterns can be reversed by trying to do things differently, which may in turn help the patient discover new paths in life.

IN THE CONTEXT OF MAISIE 

Maisie’s phobia of woods, anxiety attacks and nightmares are the cognitive responses that have a negative impact. But at a deeper level, her fear of intimacy is the more harmful issue that stops her from enjoying a happy, fulfilling life and settling into a lasting relationship. This is not unusual in abuse victims as I have read in various blogs I’ve researched. Thus, in one of her therapy sessions, she describes her first sexual experience as traumatic; that she became so frozen, so tense it felt more like consenting to a rape. 

A hooded figure used as an illustration in my blog

LETHAL TIES is a work of fiction, intended as a suspenseful, twisty novel, but also addresses some of the mental health issues that prevail in today’s society. Next time, I’m writing about Asperger’s with a view to promoting a better understanding of the condition.

Back from the Beta Readers

Bognor Beach at dusk

Beta readers are essential. Beta readers will reveal aspects of your writing you may not be aware of and I have come to rely on honest feedback to fine tune my works of fiction. You may not like it. On the other hand, you may be thrilled by the response you get, but ironing out these potential flaws is what makes your work stand out above others. So be brave, ask someone impartial, someone who isn’t a friend or family, who might otherwise be afraid of offending you.

Latest Update

Time is marching on and I am delighted to report the news that my debut psychological thriller is close to completion.

The cover has been decided. I appreciated everyone’s feedback, but the 3rd design was a winner and stood out clearest as an Amazon thumbnail.

Lethal Ties by Helen Christmas

This post however, is a heartfelt thanks to those who were kind enough to give ‘Lethal Ties’ a first look. This book underwent numerous edits and re-writes and by the time it was as polished as it could be, I sent it to an editor (who I’d also like to acknowledge). But first allow me to share some of the views that came back from the beta readers.

Pacing and Style

The first of my beta readers thought ‘the pace was a little slow, with perhaps too much descriptive content which tended to slow the plot down.’

I take this onboard, while at the same time thinking about personal preferences – i.e. this is not a high-octane action thriller, but a psychological suspense thriller, which tend to be slower paced. Having read many books in this genre, I realised in my earlier draft that I revealed too much too soon, and it killed the suspense. This slow drip feed of action was done for a reason. Having said that though, the descriptive content needs looking at so I will cut this down to a reasonable level. Descriptions add colour but less is more. There is no point overdoing it and any ‘overly elaborate literary language’ can go. I was also advised on dialogue tags, e.g. trying too hard to avoid the word ‘said.’ Even my editor pointed this out, another area I can improve on. 

Dialogue Tags

Set up and pay off

Reading the response from my second beta reader got me thinking about character motivation and this was a real eye-opener, especially where the evil protagonists are concerned. 

The baddies in this story don’t feature much. They are shadows in the background, their presence so subtle, you won’t know who they are until later. This was also done for a reason and being a suspense novel, I want to keep my readers guessing. Yet I don’t want to ‘stretch people’s credibility’ too far, so this needs looking at too. Investing more time in setting up the bad guys, as well as their motives, will have all the more impact when the final twists are revealed.

A shadowy figure

The final edit

In response to this feedback, I am in the process of a final edit now, taking on board all the comments. I can reveal that ‘Lethal Ties’ is on Amazon and available to pre-order, while at the same time, I’m approaching digital publishers and agents. Having the backing of a professional company will get this out to a much wider audience, if successful; but if I have to stick to the self-publishing route, so be it.

and finally…

With publication getting close, I am so excited to reveal who my editor was. Joel Hames is a best selling author who has written many books in the corporate world of finance and law. His newest book, ‘The Lies I Tell’ is a brilliant psychological thriller about identity fraud and has just been relaunched by ‘Spellbound Books.’

The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames

Joel gave my book an extra polish in his copy edit, but his response to my book was very positive.

‘I really enjoyed this and I think you’ve hit what you were aiming for here. It’s tense and thrilling, and it was impossible to know what was going to happen, even with the benefit of the prologue.’

******

In my next blog, I’ll be exploring another theme and that is child abuse in its various forms, the impact on victims and how the cycle can be broken. This will include a special tribute to Graham Lovell, whose chat was the biggest inspiration behind one of the book’s main characters, Joe.

My 2019 Holiday #BookBlog

Holiday reading by the poolWith a weeks holiday ahead of us, a chance to unwind , I was very much looking forward to catching up on some essential reading time. So with three books on at the top of my TBR list, which one to read first? A twisty psychological thriller – a romantic comedy – or a dark dystopian tale. Sod it, I thought, I’ll start all three and see which takes my fancy.

About the Books

We landed at Nice Airport. With my husband stuck in a car hire queue for an hour and a half, I was sweltering in my leggings, socks and boots. (I don’t recommend Gold Cars!) So what better diversion from such stress than a gentle romance. By the time we finally left I was smiling, having ploughed through two chapters of ‘Maybe Baby’ by Carol Thomas. Settling down in the evening with a glass of wine, I knew I’d be doing some writing of my own soon, so to get into the zone I opened ‘We Were Sisters’ by Wendy Clarke (psychological thrillers are my genre at the moment.) Come morning, I was thinking about my current WIP (which has been off the boil of late) and before the crack of dawn, I was re-shuffling the whole script in my head. A good start. But it was only a little later by the pool side , I couldn’t resist dipping into the dystopian novel.

All three books were very different but seemed to balance each other perfectly, affording a much pleasurable reading experience. ‘We Were Sisters’ was indeed gripping and packed with psychological suspense; ‘Maybe Baby’ had great characters, a lovely tale of friendship; and ‘Hope’ had a bit of both, a suspenseful storyline that had me hooked as well as characters I could fall in love with.

My Reviews

A full length review of each book can be viewed on Goodreads. But I would like to share an extract (and hope the authors don’t mind me pinching their Twitter graphics.)

Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas

Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas

Maybe Baby (Lisa Blake #2)Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the Purrfect Petsitter on holiday last year, I was looking forward to the sequel. With engaging characters, light romance, enduring friendships and lots of humorous animal shenanigans (loved the one about the kitten stuck up a tree – been there!), I got straight back into the world of Lisa Blake. And I couldn’t wait to catch up with the next instalment of her life.

Newly re-discovered love, Nathan, is so adorable and every woman’s hero. But when Lisa discovers a half naked woman (who has not long taken a shower in his flat) you wonder what secrets lurk in his past, especially the way she winds her up about it. This is a story about coming clean and facing up to life’s ups and downs, past present and future. It has after all, been many years since their school days and even with the flush of a new romance on the horizon, how much do they really know about each other? | Read More |

We Were Sisters by Wendy Clarke

We Were Sisters by Wendy Clarke

We Were SistersWe Were Sisters by Wendy Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do like psychological thrillers. Kelly comes across as a much troubled woman, struggling with a new baby, getting her twin girls to school on their first day (one confident, one shy) but from the moment Noah’s pram is moved and she finds a locket engraved with the word ‘sister’ you just know from her very reaction she is scared stiff. Such fear, such anxiety, coupled with an obvious OCD (the constant counting). I sense something is haunting her and then the truth of her childhood begins to unravel…

Kelly has suffered a lack of love from her parents, the only excitement in her life the arrival of a new sibling. With so many foster kids coming and going, you start to wonder why her mum and dad can’t find a little more room in their hearts for her… that is until a mysterious girl called Freya arrives. Pale skinned and mute, she is an enigma, a girl you desperately want to know more about. | Read More |

Hope by Terry Tyler

Hope by Terry Tyler

HopeHope by Terry Tyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I rarely read dystopian books because I find them a bit scary. Yet from the blurb (and reviews I caught on Twitter), I became evermore intrigued and wow! What a story! I struggled through the first chapters with a frown on my face, thinking ‘Hell, this depicts just about everything in Britain I fear; automated machines replacing humans, giant corporations swallowing up the smaller companies, more and more people put out of work, food banks, spiralling rents, cuts in social provision, less affordable housing and an ultimate increase in homelessness. By the fourth chapter, I found myself nodding in places, reciting parts to my husband… this is happening now! ‘Hope’ is a wake up call, a chilling depiction of where this country could be heading if we allow it.

I loved the main characters. Dystopian or not, it is the people at the heart of this book that captivated me; from the cheerful camaraderie to a fight for survival. |Read More |

Thanks go out to these talented authors for giving me so much entertainment. This was binge reading at its best! Now back to the challenge of creating something brilliant myself… (one can dream!)

** FREE Short Story ** with #NewRelease Rosebrook Chronicles

Publication Day is getting close for noir suspense saga, ‘Rosebrook Chronicles, the Hidden Stories’ with a FREE short story to download.

Rosebrook Chronicles is a series of interlocking stories which fuse into a compelling saga. People inspire me and while my favourite genres are thrillers and suspense, I like stories that delve deep into the human psyche.

ROSEBROOK CHRONICLES The Hidden Stories, a novel by Helen J. Christmas

Abused as teenagers, three young adults strive to repair their broken lives; Robin has ambitions to rise to power, while orphaned siblings, Beatrice and Peter, yearn to find one another.

Deeper stories of these characters drive the plot, intended to keep the reader emotionally hooked. What lies at the heart of Robin’s political power play? Why are Peter and Beatrice kept apart for so long and is there something more sinister behind their segregation?

A dark suspenseful drama from the 70s to the 90s, this is a unique blend of social history and domestic noir. 

New Edits thanks to my Beta Readers

This book has passed under the eagle eye of four beta readers, successful, talented authors in their own right. I would like to convey my thanks to Ray Green, Joel Hames, Rose Edmunds and last but by not least, best selling historic fiction author Beryl Kingston, for taking the time to read my book.

Inspiration

Completing some extensive edits (to address points raised my beta readers), I was pondering over the launch date. I approached a few literary agents, since Rosebrook Chronicles was quite different from my previous work. Writing this book, I found a distinctive voice for each character and endeavoured to explore the deeper issues of child abuse, the impact on victims and the way it shapes people’s lives.

It’s been interesting but I know what it feels like to be suppressed by controlling people, the power of lies and of not being believed.

This leads me to mention the books I enjoy reading, all psychological thrillers.

Recommended Books

The RumourThe Rumour by Lesley Kara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the most original stories I have read. This book certainly opened my eyes; a story of gossip with terrible consequences, how one rumour can unleash suspicion and any one of your friends could be a killer. An absorbing book with a heart-stopping twist.

Spare RoomSpare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by Dreda Say Mitchell but Oh Boy what a good read! The secrets of the past are drip fed through the plot. Why is Lisa so drawn to this house? Who is the mystery man who left the suicide note and could her life too be under threat? Brilliant.

The Secret Child (DI Amy Winter, #2)The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A crime thriller packed with psychological suspense, where you start to question who the victim really is. Amy is forced to confront her past, to get into the head of a sinister kidnapper. What ensues is a gripping game of cat and mouse, a race against time to save the victims.

What She SawWhat She Saw by Wendy Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am currently reading this and utterly hooked. It is not just the beautiful descriptions of the Lake district I am enjoying but the pure unadulterated suspense. I am dying to know what is causing Leona’s panic attacks, a phenomenon I can relate to. A real page turner.

To conclude, there are some bloody good psychological thrillers out there at the moment. But aspiring to their standard is something I dream of!

FREE SHORT STORY

So let others be the judge with a FREE story to download and read at your leisure.

Chapter 14: The Bracelet can be downloaded either as a PDF or mobi file… and if you enjoyed this short story and want to read more about the lives of Bibi and her daughter, my book can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

The Bracelet, a free story by Helen J. Christmas

| CLICK HERE FOR PDF VERSION | CLICK HERE FOR MOBI VERSION |

Please note: the mobi file cannot be delivered wirelessly to your Kindle as with Amazon. You need to email the file to your device (the address can be found in your Amazon account under devices) or use the Kindle app on your computer.

Rosebrook Chronicles, The Hidden Stories
Publication Date: 1st July 2019

Available to pre-order on Amazon, in Kindle or paperback.

With a publication date planned for July 1st 2019 I am also participating in a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources from 14th to 20th July.

 

Book 2 #BlogTour and #Giveaway

After a successful Blog Tour in January for ‘Beginnings‘ I thought it would be nice to follow this up with another tour and relaunch ‘Visions’ the second book of the series, ‘Same Face Different Place.

Visions Blog Tour Banner

As before, I asked Rachel of Rachel’s Rare Resources if she could arrange a similar tour for my book. The nice thing is, I have already attracted a few new ‘fans’ from the last tour, some of whom were eager to jump on board.

This Blog Tour was great for reviews; some from bloggers who had read the first book in the series and a few who hadn’t. For the latter, obviously they were not familiar with the opening story but it didn’t seem to be a problem. Visions can be read as a standalone psychological thriller and with enough background infused into the story to get a gist of the story. But one thing that did emerge is that some bloggers really want to read the first book now. This has been really encouraging.

As before, there is a competition attached to the tour where you can win a signed paperback of VISIONS. Each post has a rafflecopter link where you can enter.

So without further ado, here are some of the best comments, picked from all those wonderful reviews:

“The synopsis is intriguing, but I was surprised by  this story, it was totally captivating, addictive and I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Says Yvonne from Me and My Books

“There are moments of shock, surprises and stand out jolts, some quite extreme violence and psychological warfare, yet as well there is love and tenderness. The term emotional rollercoaster is often used, I have to say that in the case of this story, it applies perfectly.” Says Richard from Welcome to my Worlds

“I thoroughly appreciated how all the stories weaved together perfectly. Giving the reader little insider peaks at what was going on behind the scenes. Building up the suspense.” Says Dash Fan Book Reviews

“Helen has a great ability to create powerful and rememberable characters.” Says Wrong Side of Forty Book Magic

“It is a great series with some brilliant characters and excellent story-telling.” Says Donna’s Book Blog

” I love a good psychological thriller, where I question everyone and everything.” Says Ashley’s Got Book Excitement

“It is called a Psychological Thriller, and it most definitely is that, but it’s much more. For me it was a time travel, love story, emotional thriller, as well as psychological thriller.” Says Sassy Redhead Book Reviews

“The second book in the Same Face Different Place series is as suspenseful as the first.  Ms. Christmas effectively creates cunning and sinister antagonists that give the reader a high level of intense foreboding.” Says The Eclectic Review

Video Trailer for Visions

And last but not least here is a list of all the book bloggers who took part in the tour and a big thanks to Rachel for organising it all:

Stephs Book Blog
https://stephsbookblog.com/2018/04/08/visions-same-face-different-place-book-two-by-helen-j-christmas-blog-tour-review/

Bound 2 Escape
http://bound2escape.com/giveaway/blog-tour-giveaway-visions-by-helen-j-christmas/

Just Books
https://rainnes.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/visions-by-helen-j-christmas.html

Me and My Books
https://vonnibee.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/blogtour-same-face-different-place-visions-by-helen-j-christmas/

Welcome to my Worlds
https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/in-association-with-rachels-random-resources/

Dash Fan Book Reviews
https://dashfan81.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/blog-tour-visions-9418.html

Being Anne
http://beinganne.com/2018/04/blogtour-visions-by-helen-j-christmas-sfdpbeginnings-rararesources-giveaway/

Wrong side of Forty
https://wrongsideoffortyuk.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/visions-by-helen-j-christmas-blogtour-review/

A Booking Good Read
https://www.bookinggoodread.com/2018/04/visions-blog-tour_9.html?m=1

Donna’s Book Blog
https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/blogtour-review-of-visions-by-helen-christmas-rararesources/

Book Reviews by Jasmine
http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/visions-by-helen-j-christmas-book-tour.html

Ashley’s Got Book Excitement
http://ashleysgotbookcitement.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/blog-tour-visions-by-helen-j-christmas.html?spref=tw

Reflections of a Reader
https://reflectionsofareader.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/blogtour-visions-by-helen-j-christmas.html

A Magical World of Books
https://amagicalworldofwords.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/blog-tour-book-blitz-giveaway-visions.html

Nesie’s Place
https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/blogtour-visions/

Chelle’s Book Reviews
http://chellesbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/visions-by-helen-christmas-blogtour.html?spref=tw

Portable Magic
http://portablemagic.net/blog-tours/helen-christmas-visions

Birdie’s Bibliotheca
https://birdiesbibliotheca.com/2018/04/13/visions-a-review/

Sassy Redhead Reviews
https://sassyredheadbookreviews.blog/2018/04/14/blog-tour-of-visions-by-helen-j-christmas-rararesources-sfdpbeginnings/

The Eclectic Review
https://eclecticreview.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/booktour-bookreview-visions-same-face-different-place-book-2-by-helen-christmas-sfdpbeginnings-rararesources/

Book Babble
http://memesandfiction.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/book-tour-and-giveaway-visions-same.html

What next for ‘Same Face Different Place?’

The whole series is finished but I cannot resist going back and editing the books from time to time. Right now I’m enjoying ‘Retribution – Phase 1’ having picked it up for the first time in a year and tweaking a few things. Next I was to give Book 3 Pleasures another look, since out of all the books in the series, this is the one I enjoyed writing most.

At the same time, I am putting together an anthology of stories based on the lesser known characters of the series and hope to have the new book out this year…

Book 3 Pleasures Published on Amazon

On Easter Sunday (April 5th) 2015, I formatted and published the 3rd book in my ‘Same Face Different Place’ series, PLEASURES.

The title seems apt. Writing this book has indeed been a ‘pleasurable’ experience, but at the same time it’s been quite an emotional journey for me. It has combined some hard-hitting action thriller scenes with the tender processes of growing up, as the children from VISIONS evolve into young adults.

Cover Design for the Kindle Version
Cover Design for the Kindle Version

Hovering in the background of everyone’s lives are the fragments of a conspiracy which began in the 70s – a situation where everyone is starting to pick up the idea, there’s something very sinister going on – and none more than Eleanor’s son, Elijah. It is a situation which is exacerbated when a tidal wave of crime hits Rosebrook (fictitious setting of this story, a small town in Kent, south of Bromley).

The story’s main character, Eleanor, meanwhile, is hell bent on following the clues to solve this mystery as she continues to add to her ‘secret file.’

It is an ambition draws her to London (often in disguise) knowing her arch enemy, Perry has her constantly under watch – and where she is about to discover secrets which leave her stunned. But her research carries terrible risk and it is in the last section of this story, when her enemies up their offensive, leading to a situation more threatening than could be imagined.

Pleasures is a romantic British based thriller with a flavour of the late 80s/early 90s Rave culture; and centred around a 1970s political conspiracy.

Lastly, I have decided to end this piece with a summary of my own personal journey in writing his book.

October 2013 Got my first ideas and began writing on the 17th: It’s starting again…. I seem to get my best ideas when I’m walking the dog – 8th October 2013

sunset1

January 2014 Took a trip up to London to visit Pimlico (where arch villain Perry owns a house). The trip was primarily to visit my niece, Chloe, who was living in London for a while, but a valuable opportunity to look around a place I have never before been. I never did write a post about this trip but Chloe also took me on a walk through central London, which provided further inspiration for me to mention other areas such as Soho, Chinatown and Leicester Square.

Warwick Square Pimlico
Warwick Square Pimlico

June 2014 Got about 25 chapters drafted out and had to stop, simply because the climax of Part 3 left me in an emotion turmoil. It was time to pause, reflect and edit in preparation for the 4th and final part: 1st Edit of Pleasures gets underway – 3rd July 2014

July 2014 Followed this up with the post What is Pleasures about? 4th July 2014

young-lovers-light

September 2014 Finished the first edit and with a good idea how I was going to finish the book, I pushed ahead with the 4th and final section. It was on September 24th when I took another journey to London to visit the Old Bailey – which is one of the most valuable pieces of research I did and great inspiration for writing those court scenes.

The Old Bailey

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

November 2014 I released the 1st 7 Chapters (Part 1 The Battle for the Land) as a prelude free to anyone eager for a sample: New release in the Same Face Different Place Series – 28th November 2014

Book 3 Pleasures

In December 2014 I published a little paperback version of that prelude as a keepsake: One Groovy Little Paperback – 17th December 2014

Book 3 Pleasures by Helen J. Christmas

April 2014 FINALLY I finished the book. By this time the whole book had been read by 3 people whose feedback was a Godsend. This enabled me to successfully carry out the 2nd and 3rd edits as well as the ‘fine tuning’ of each chapter. It has now been published (as I write this blog) and here is the link on Amazon: http://apn.to/prod/B00VOTFZ1K

HAPPY READING!

 

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.