#BlogTour : Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind by Elizabeth McGivern @MayhemBeyond : @rararesources : #Extract

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Today I am sharing an extract for “Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind” by Elizabeth McGivern as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This is a book that is now on my TBR pile for reading at a future date. You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and also Amazon.com

Synopsis:

Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge.
After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie.
Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not.
After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning.

Extract:

This extract takes place when Elle convinces Amy to come out for the evening. Elle is convinced that Amy needs drastic help with boosting her confidence and decides on an unorthodox approach to solve this particular problem:

“I think you need a bit of a confidence boost. You’re in this little bubble of your family and you just seem so fucking deflated. Like ‘what’s the point in even trying’ type aura around you,” said Elle.

“Look at you tonight, you look great. Why don’t you make that type of effort all the time? Now, before you get all indignant  ask yourself: ‘Did you get a little lift from taking the time on yourself?’ This isn’t about dressing up for Ben or anyone else, I mean do it just for you.

“Bitta lippy can go a long way to helping you face the day. My make-up is my war paint and I’m ready to kick arse in the day ahead. It’s a little thing, but confidence is key. You’re the least assertive person I’ve met and I think a little confidence boost could do you wonders.”

“What’s the point in putting on make-up? It takes up time I’d rather spend sleeping.”

“See? ‘What’s the point’? That defeatist attitude has got to go. You’re amazing and I’m going to shake you back to life even if it kills me.”

“So what? I should shove on some lipstick and sing a power ballad at some cheesy karaoke bar? I’d rather throw myself from the car now.”

“No! I can’t stand karaoke bars. They’re really depressing. There’s always some group of women singing ‘I will survive’ or an ageing crooner, who thought he was a ‘star’ in his youth, massacring a Meatloaf song. My idea is much more sensible. All you’ve got to do is trust me and keep an open mind. We’re here.”

She had pulled up to a trendy bar on the other side of the town. I hadn’t been there before, but that wasn’t hard. Bars and bistros were always popping up and disappearing before I had a chance to even know they existed.

A very cheery-looking hostess greeted us at the door. Her teeth were unnaturally white and I felt unnerved when she smiled at us.

“Hiya, ladies!” she said, “If you want to pick up a wee form over there and pop on a wee name sticker we’ll be starting in a wee while. Any questions?”

“Yeah, can you stop smiling at us for a wee while, because it’s really freaking me out?” asked Elle, nervously.

The hostess immediately dropped her act and nodded her head towards the pens.

“There are the wee pens, move the fuck along. Thanks, ladies.”

I pulled Elle away from the, now glowering, hostess towards the group of women already filling in their ‘wee questionnaire’. I didn’t need to wonder any longer what the evening held; it was in bold print at the top of the page: Speed Dating.

“No. I’m out of here,” I said.

I spun on my heels and headed to the front door, past the confused looking hostess, when Elle managed to get in between me and the exit. She forcefully clotheslined me into a booth, where an unsuspecting couple were sitting. She then proceeded to wrestle me into an awkward lying position, taking over half of the booth. Eventually, she managed to pin my arms across my chest and sit on my legs.

“I told you to keep an open mind, princess. This doesn’t seem like you’re being very receptive to this idea.”

“One: I’m married, two: I can’t imagine if I were single that I would remotely be interested in meeting people this way, three: I’m married and four – “

“Let me guess: you’re married?”

“YES!”

“Sorry, we’re trying to have a romantic meal here can you girls please just take your domestic somewhere else?” said the male half of the disturbed couple.

“Shut up, arsehole; she would be so lucky to have me as her woman.”

Turning to me she continued: “Now if I let you up will you promise to hear me out?”

“Like I have a choice, you drove me here and assaulted me when I tried to leave.”

“Great!” She turned her attention to the couple once again and said: “Sorry about the ‘arsehole’ comment. Can you two, shove up? I need to give this one a pep talk.”

They stared dumbfounded and eventually shuffled up allowing us both to sit in the booth with them. This did not make things less awkward between us.

“Now, as I was saying in the car I think you have a self-esteem issue and I want to help. The make-up is all superficial nonsense, I grant you, but I thought if you could see yourself through someone else’s eyes – particularly someone who wasn’t looking at you as their wife or mother – you’d be able to see you’re not dead yet.”

Was I spending too much time with this woman or did this make sense?

“You deserve to feel desired and attractive and from what I gather by your put-upon demeanour you’re not exactly feeling that within yourself. This isn’t about the men you talk to it’s about the feedback after. Personally, I could live without men – no joke – but I couldn’t find an all-female empowerment conference for this evening in this shitty town so I’m improvising. I just want you to see yourself from another perspective. If you take nothing from this experience, so be it; at least there’s wine.”

I don’t know how long I stared at her saying nothing.

“What have you got to lose?” said the female half of our booth companions.

“See? She agrees with me and she knows what she’s talking about – I just know by the look of you. You’re totally in the know.”

Female booth companion seemed pleased by this ridiculous compliment and blushed while her partner stifled a laugh.

“You are buying all the wine,” I said in a defeated tone, “and we don’t say a word to Ben about this.”

“No problem, I agree to both those conditions, you’re not going to regret this.”

“I already am.”

About the Author:

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Picture credited to Jess Lowe 

Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal.

In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother.

In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born.

Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis.

To witness her regular failings as a parent you can find her on: Website  – Facebook  – Twitter  – Instagram

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#BlogTour : Indigo Lost by S R Summers @IndigoLost : @Authoright #Extract

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I am sharing an extract today for “Indigo Lost” by S R Summers for the blog tour by Authoright. Indigo Lost is available in hardback, paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

After the brutal murder of her family, and the uncovering of her mysterious abilities, a young girl escapes and hides in the city of Las Vegas — but who is going to protect her?
Violence has always has always been familiar to seven-year-old Mysty, known for her piercing indigo eyes. Ever since she can remember her father has been an aggressive and brutish man, but then one day things go too far and Mysty witnesses the violent murder of her beloved mother. Taken in by the police for safety and questioning, she realises that she has nobody to turn to and can only rely on herself to survive. So, when she has the chance, she decides to make her escape; the only problem is she’s three floors up and it’s one hell of a drop. But seeing no other option, she takes a leap of faith out of the window and never looks back.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the king of the city, cut-throat mob boss Donny Capello, is contemplating his next takeover when an out-of-control truck nearly crashes into him. Dazed, he notices a skinny young girl with bright blue eyes injured and crouching in a doorway, who he swears somehow saved his life, like a guardian angel. But before he can speak to her she disappears. Determined to find out who the girl is, and why she would trouble herself to save someone as irredeemable as him, Donny Capello will do anything to find her. But she’s not yet ready to reveal herself, and this time there’s no window for her to escape from, and Vegas is Capello’s city, so it’s only a matter of time before he finds her.
In the first book of her epic Infinity Squared series, author S.R. Summers has drawn on her varied life experiences and the challenges she’s personally faced —from work-place bullying to xenophobia— to craft not only a dramatic and, at times uncomfortable, narrative, but also one which provokes questions within the reader about their place in the world. Through the relationships between her central female protagonist, Mysty, and those she encounters, Summers hopes to highlight the importance of personal growth, the internal conflicts an individual experiences when faced with diicult life questions, and the strength and empowerment of reaching out in life and making real connections and friendships rather than the at-a-distance relationships of today’s technology-mad world.
Blending elements of crime, fantasy, romance and coming-of-age with social fiction, Indigo Lost is the perfect next read for those looking for an exciting and thought-provoking new series to get stuck into this spring.

Extract:

Extract – Indigo Lost – p165

This extract comes from a scene between Donny Capello, mafia boss of Vegas, and our young central female character, a runaway child from a broken home who escaped a brutal end to a tragic domestic abuse case that claimed the lives of her sister, mother and grandmother. This is an important moment when she chooses a new name for herself, as her powerful new friend offers her a chance to get her life back on track. An opportunity she is only partially cognisant of, in her childlike innocence.

He got up and came back with a pad of paper and a pen, and slid it across the table to her right side, knowing she was right-handed, and looked at her. 

Will you write down what you will not tell me?”

Her face paled again and her heart pounded. Why did he have to ruin everything by asking her to do that? She didn’t want to do that. She squeezed her eyes shut. But the urge to wipe her soul clean of the pain, of the hurt and the blood, was growing within her. But why here is this room, with this . . . stranger?

You don’t want to know what I know. I don’t want you to know.” It was a whisper. “Sometimes I wish I was dead too so I wouldn’t be able to remember.” She shook her head. “I can’t write it.”

The man who killed your family, I can make sure he’s never able to come after you.”

Her eyes snapped open, and despite the emotion they were bright and alert now. “He’s in prison. I think he is, anyway.”

Even easier.”

She shook her head. “No. I’m not a killer. Though he deserves to die a million times for what he did.”

You’re sure?”

Yes . . .”

It was a shaky whisper. It was clear the idea was tempting, but agreeing to more death was obviously unthinkable for her. And he didn’t want her to become blood-thirsty, he just wanted her to feel safe.

Will you tell me your name?”

No.”

She picked up the pen and wrote the initials of her mother’s name very faintly, then crossed them out, not wanting to give away any clues.

You can’t go through your whole life being a mystery with no name.”

Absent-mindedly she wrote the word ‘mystery’, doing an impressive slanted ‘M’ and two looping ‘Y’s. She tilted her head and crossed out some of the letters, and then rewrote the word she ended up with. She put the pen down and turned the pad around and pushed it to him.

Then I’ll be a mystery inside a name.”

This was no average kid. He was going to have to get used to that.

Mysty? Two ‘Y’s? Unusual. It suits you. You’re sure?”

She nodded decisively.

Fine. OK, Mysty, now explain to me another mystery: how do you survive those jumps off buildings?”

He crossed his arms and leaned back, looking at her with eyes that told her he wanted an answer and it had better be honest. Squirming a little under the scrutiny, she fiddled with her napkin while she tried to come up with a good enough answer.

About the Author:

  About the author: Living in Leamington Spa, West Midlands, S.R. Summers owns and runs the popular ZouBisou cafe. Previously, she has enjoyed a career working within broadcast media whilst living in Belgium and within the field of e-commerce. She also holds a degree in History from the University of Cambridge. When not managing her cafe, you’ll find her busy writing and working on the final book in her Infinity Squared eight-part series. The first in the series, Indigo Lost by S.R, Summers (published by ShieldCrest Publishing XX April 2018 RRP £20 hardback, £12 paperback and £5.99 e-book) is available to purchase from online retailers, including Amazon, and to order from all good bookstores. For more information you can follow the author @indigolost.

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#BlogTour : The Forever Night Stand by Bena Roberts @benaroberts : @rararesources : #Spotlight

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Today I am shining a spotlight on “The Forever Night Stand” by Bena Roberts for the Blog Tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This is yet another book I would love to have the time in my schedule to read.

Synopsis:

A two hour romance which starts with drama and mayhem!

Sara has her back up against the wall. She is recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy and at her own “cancer free” party, she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

The adventure begins when she leaves her posh lifestyle in Scotland and moves in with her Bollywood loving parents, in West London. Her parents are tragically ashamed of Sara’s actions and her electronic monitor. She decides to make them happy again and considers re-marrying. 

Enter Raj, a possible hero who comes with the promise of a huge Indian wedding in Goa!

George, the childhood love of her life who seems to be hanging around every corner. Or should she just go back to her husband? Sara faces the biggest dilemma of her life, after making the colossal mistake of her life. What will she do and whom will she choose?

Purchase From –  Amazon –  Smashwords – Kobo – Nook

About the Author:

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Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and then with a Masters in 1997.

Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as ‘home.’

Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had lunch with Steve Ballmer and was ‘top 50 most influential woman in mobile.’ Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog.

Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl Grey.

Bena’s favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet also entertaining.

Also –  Available My Cake! A short story

Pre-Order Tammy&Lisa – How far would you go to protect your teenage son ?

Follow Bena on –  Twitter –  Amazon Author Page – Goodreads Author Page

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#BlogTour : Production Values by Liv Bartlet @LivBartlet : @rararesources : #Extract : #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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With all the best will in the world I know I cannot read all the books that come into my email box. “Production Values” by Liv Bartlet is a book I am sharing an extract for as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis:

“Mornings like this I can understand the appeal of killer high heels. How they click with command down the sidewalk: Get out of my way, I’m in charge and I’ve got the footwear to prove it.”

At the age of 28, Kat Porter has become the it-girl of British TV Production. Gut, gumption, and artistry have carried her through a dozen impossible scenarios to arrive at her first run as Executive Producer, and now all three muses point to Ian Graham’s star power as the key to Los Angeles and golden statues.

But disaster looms as Ian twists Kat into a chameleon fit for success. Ian’s young daughter is thrown into the spotlight and Kat must face the consequences of her neverending quest for acclaim.

Production Values takes a biting but fun look at Hollywood—from the way we interpret female ambition to the influence of the paparazzi on how TV shows and stars fail or succeed. 

Purchase Links:   – Amazon US –  Amazon UK

Extract of Production Values: 

Intro:  After Kat and Bea fought about a tattoo-revealing stunt in a script read-through, Kat took off for Germany. Now she’s returned to London, ready to apologize and armed with an idea for a new TV show.

Excerpt

I knock on Bea’s open office door and close it behind me before she can look up from her computer. “So, who wants to be friends again?”

It’s been too many days with the combatants retreated to their respective corners. I’ve knocked on Bea’s apartment every night since I returned from Germany, but she’s not there—she’s been at the refugee clinic, where she goes when life turns bad. When I’m not writing like a dervish, I’m full of abject misery.

Which is why I’ve practiced an apology that I hope will tumble the wall between us. “The tattoo thing was stupid. No matter how it started, I know it looked terrible. I did everything you said. I spent money on a guest star to chase success in all the wrong ways. If we can’t make it on our merits, it’s not worth it. You were right.”

Bea blinks at me, the only crack in her neutral nonconfrontational face. Then she melts. She won’t make this hard. She never does.

“We’ve worked so hard, Kat. If the rumor reaches the board, they’ll shut us down. We can’t be that show.” Bea sighs—deep, from her soul. “But I’m sorry, too. I overreacted.”

I hug her without warning. I want it all the way over. Bea’s not a hugger, not unless she’s applying comfort like medicine, but she takes none herself, so this kind of mutual affection feels like cuddling a street cat.

Bea pushes back and holds my shoulders. She looks at me, reading me, her head tilted to the side. “And how was Germany?”

“It was fine, I’m fine. Still on the rails, I promise.” I cough to cover up the threat of tears.

Bea talks to her mom every day, and the whole family pops in for a video chat at least once a week. My lack of family has always struck her as a great sadness, a heartbreak I know she carries for me all the time.

“Anyway, I think I’m giving up on men for a while,” I lie. I’ll never give up on love, it’s the only thing that thrills me as much as my art.

“Sure you are,” Bea laughs, but lets me have my game.

“And in my spinster state, I’ve decided you need a date. My gift to you. Want me to set you up with Wayne? He still captures more accidental footage of you than anyone else.”

Bea shudders and crosses her arms in front of herself. She never dates, never. “Will I get to go back to giving up on romance in twenty-four hours when you forget your vow of celibacy?”

I snort with laughter.

Bea puts her arm around me and I lean onto her shorter shoulder. “We okay again? I miss being okay. Feels like it’s been a long time.”

“Yeah, we’re good. Better than. We’ve got each other and we’ve got 21 Things. And something new, actually.” I bring up the paper-clipped stack of papers from my side. “I know every idea for post–21 Things has been rejected thus far, but I think this is the one.”

“Ideas are good,” Bea prevaricates and reads the title page. “What’s K-Town?”

“It’s what all the military people there call Kaiserslautern and the surrounding posts and bases.”

“So, military . . . drama? Judging by the number of pages? In Europe?”

“Full-hour comedy with a dash of drama. Dramedy, though I will deny ever saying that word. Edgy. Real people, real lives.”

“This sounds like an excuse for you to watch hot men in uniform. Can I nix any actors you’ve fangirled? Maybe I should do casting.”

“Stop. Ian was good for the show. But, yes, you can have casting privileges if you like the pilot script.”

Bea chews that spot on her lip, the one that bleeds sometimes. “Kat, I don’t have the talent for anything beyond 21 Things. This was magic.”

“Of course you have the talent! What are you talking about? You make money drip out of advertiser pockets!”

“I’ll do what I can. You create. Tell me where you want it. If Anna wins—”

“LA. An American network. It’s going to be possible. Because we are going to get nominated and we’re going to awards shows and we’re going to have it-quality buzz. And then—National Network. National is where this show belongs.”

Bea nods and bites her lip hard. I’m not surprised to see a slight red stain on her teeth. “Let’s think on it. We might have something else. Something I’ve been too in denial to even touch.”

About the Authors:

Liv Bartlet is the pseudonym for writing partners Becca McCulloch and Sarah McKnight, who have been building worlds and telling stories together for more than a decade. They’ve logged hours of behind-the-scenes movie and TV footage and challenged each other in a friendly Oscar guessing game every year this millennium. Lifelong Anglophiles, their Monkey & Me world sprang to vivid life on a trip to London that included divine pastries, sublime art, and a spectacular pratfall in the British Museum.

Becca is a professor, a scientist, and a secret romantic who insisted their first order of business in London was a meandering five-mile walk to see Big Ben. She lives with her husband, children, and an ever-expanding roster of pets in Logan, Utah.

Sarah is an Army brat, an Excel geek, and has a lot of opinions on the differences between science fiction and fantasy. She lives with her cat, Sir Jack—who is featured prominently on Liv’s Instagram —just outside Salt Lake City.

Social Media Links – Website – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram

∗∗∗ GIVEAWAY ∗∗∗

Production Values - Giveaway - Off-ScriptFINAL.jpg Giveaway – Win  Production Values & Off Script e-books & $25 or equivalent Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

∗∗∗∗ TO ENTER CLICK HERE ∗∗∗∗

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#BlogTour : The Penance List by S.C.Cunningham @SCCunningham : @rararesources : #Extract #Giveaway (Open Int)

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Today I am able to share an extract for “The Penance List” by S.C.Cunningham as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis:

This one comes with a warning – a steamy suspense-ridden psychological thriller – think Silence of the Lambs meets 50 Shades and hold on tight! S C Cunningham writes with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour and pulsating sex scenes. Grab a glass of wine, close the bedroom door and read alone!

What happens when opposites attract – when a scorned childhood sweetheart grows into a gorgeous sexual tour de force – when a fun loving career girl, her racy girlfriends and insatiable lovers get caught in his revenge – when sex becomes a weapon, hearts become bait and straight tastes gay – when hi-flying careers, clandestine affairs and wannabe starlets are hunted by celebrity hungry press? Obsession, kidnap, murder… and he’s just getting started!

Purchase from  – Amazon UK

Extract:

Three fun loving friends meet regularly for lunch, they have no idea that a stalker sits in a café opposite, taking pictures of their every move. 

Cellini’s Restaurant, Chelsea, London

“Granted, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, if you swallow, you are in the minority, it needs sugar or brandy or something,” Tara blew her blonde fringe out of her eyes, concentrating on her defence.

“Depends on the guy’s diet of course, pineapple is meant to be good, no fast food, no ciggies, no drugs and it could almost be palatable,” her two girlfriends looked at her blankly.

“It’s full of protein, low on calories,” she enthused, but no, they were still not convinced.

Click, click… hidden in a cafe across the street, he pulled on the focus, fitting all three into shot.

As per normal for most Fridays, the girlfriends giggled through lunch discussing men, or the lack thereof. Tara, Helen, and Josie were single, beautiful, intelligent, best of friends. They’d reached the age of thirty having avoided the three things that sap a girl’s energy; marriage, divorce and kids.

It wasn’t that they didn’t want long term relationships; they were sexually active and adored men, they’d just never quite understood the workings of the male mind.

If you give them what they want the chase is over and they move on, if you don’t give them what they want, you are a frigid bitch and they move on. If you give them the babies their egos crave for, they are out the door, financing as little as possible, and seeing their offspring at weekends, between the golf, football and their latest sexual conquest. They want commitment yet freedom, for you to be faithful, yet them to be free, for you to be a full-time mother, yet them a part-time father. You couldn’t win.

Sourcing a man that knows what he wants, is a balanced, reliable, trustworthy soul mate, a good father, exciting and sexy as hell, was a tough call. Maybe the girls asked for too many boxes to be ticked, their quality control buttons set too high.

Maybe they shouldn’t even consider long term stuff until the guy was at least over thirty five, forty, settled in who he was and what he wanted. The trouble was a girl’s time clock ticked away. The choices were test tubes or older men. The most important choice a person makes is the parent of their child; no one wants to give the poor innocent thing a dodgy one that they have to live with for the rest of their lives.

It was tricky, can’t live with men, and can’t live without them. Hell, did they need to have babies anyway? Weren’t they overrated and oversupplied?

Tara Warr had a particularly high setting on her quality control button, although highly sexed, she was extremely choosy, the consequences of which led to long periods of man-drought. She was currently going through a serious dry patch, climbing the walls; she hadn’t been with a man for a year. She craved the relaxed laissez-faire attitude of Helen.

Helen Howard had a lower par setting, ‘love the one your with’, she made do with whatever was available on the day, or rather, whoever actually showed an interest in her, which, because she was beautiful, was quite a lot of men.

Josie James had little interest, what was all the fuss about? She would laugh along with the girls stories of man-woe, giving advice and sympathy where needed. She seldom dated, was wary of men and happy to be alone; she was more interested in her career and quite satisfied with the trusted middle finger of her right hand.

However cynical they appeared, they each had the romantic seed of hope, that one day Mr Right would come bursting in on his white charger or gas-guzzling SUV and whisk them away to a life of happily ever after. Meanwhile they waited, grazing on titbits that were, more often than not, bad for them.

Tara and Helen had met as juniors at a convent boarding school for young ladies, upsetting a multitude of nuns in their wake. Josie had been adopted by the feisty twosome years later at college. Her cheeky up-front London cockney savvy and their self-effacing Sloaney wit made an entertaining mix. They had stuck together through thick and thin, enduring life’s roller coaster; a good team.

Their bond was about to be tested. Evil was entering centre stage of their cosy, comfortable lives. It had been sitting on the periphery for years, plotting, planning, patiently waiting. It was watching them now; they only had to look up through the restaurant window to see it, hiding behind the large black lens that focused directly on them.

Click, click… the shot pulled in tight, slender fingers wrapped the stem of her glass.

“I love it, but I totally understand those that don’t, especially when you think about where it’s actually coming from… so to speak,” giggled Tara. “Excuse the pun!”

“Yes, urrgh!” Helen groaned, jumping on the gruesome fact with gusto.

Although she loved sex, she was not an advocate of placing anything remotely live or squidgy in her mouth. Her retch-reflex was too sensitive, oysters, snails and egg white had the same effect. She hated blow jobs.

“Think about it T, they urinate out of the same hole, it’s absolutely disgusting!” she raised her hand to the front of her face, blocking out the image.

“Yuk! Second thoughts don’t think about it, don’t even go there,” too late, she’d gone there, her face scrunched up with disgust.

“But, so do we,” corrected Tara, levelling up the case for the opposition.

Helen grimaced; covering her face with both hands to push away two sets of visuals. Looking down at her wine glass, the yellowy chardonnay didn’t look quite so appealing.

“Urrgh… STOP… I’m eatin, do ya mind?” moaned Josie, her cockney accent shouting over the two girls. She punched them both smartly on the shoulder, secretly loving it when they got into full debate on the endless subject of men and their ever-fascinating appendages.

About the Author:

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British Crime Investigator & Crime Writer, Siobhan C Cunningham creates steamy psychological thrillers and kick-ass paranormal romance with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour, and pulsating sex scenes. Having worked in the very industries she writes about, her novels offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction.

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).

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 Fallen Angel Series. Twenty years later she crossed paths with a violent serial attacker who haunted the streets of London, the seed for The David Trilogy was sown, book one is The Penance List, and has been adapted to film screenplay.

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

Social Media Links  – Website – Twitter –  Facebook – Instagram – LinkedIn – Google+ – Amazon Author Page

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Copy of The Penance List (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogTour : Everybody Works In Sales by Niraj Kapur @Nirajwriter : @rararesources : #Extract

Everybody Works In Sales - Cover

Today I have an extract from”Everyone Works In Sales” by Niraj Kapur to share with you as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.  Everybody Works in Sales is designed to help you do better in your career because we all work in sales. Available now on Kindle and paperback Amazon UK. A book that’s helpful for many in all different walks of life.

Synopsis:

We all work in sales. If you work for somebody, you earn a living by selling their product or service.

If you are self-employed, you earn a living by selling your product or service.

When you buy from Amazon, they always recommended other products similar to the ones you are purchasing or have already purchased – that’s selling.

When you download a song, movie or TV show from iTunes, they always recommend more similar products. That’s selling.

When you register for most websites, they sell their products or services to you through a regular email.  

When you attend an exhibition at the NEC, London ExCel, Olympia, Manchester or even a local market, everyone is trying to sell you their product.

We all work in sales, yet few people know how to sell. Until now.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Extract:

The problem is, most jobs don’t get us out of bed. They drain our energy and often leave us feeling helpless.

I called up a few entrepreneurial friends for advice. After 23 years, did I really want to keep working in sales? It had provided me a good life, however, I had recently been burned. Was this a hint? A quiet whisper?

Was I meant for something better in life?

If so, what?

I went to all the amazing independent coffee shops in Milton Keynes to enjoy a cup of Joe and slice of Victoria sponge cake with friends that had taken up entrepreneurial ventures. Once you have a child, the thought of going back to the daily grind doesn’t appeal to most people. The men I spoke to returned to work and, of course, they missed their kids, but they were glad to get back be to their routines.

The women were different.

The thought of being away from their child who they carried in their stomach for nine months, gave excruciating birth to, and in many cases, breastfed for years, was not an option. No 9-5 job was worth going back to for that. Some had tried, come home late at night and not seen their babies all day. On payday, the money they earned went to commuting, food and childcare. Nothing was left over. What’s the point of working hard if you are simply paying for childcare and never see your loved ones?

The entrepreneurs in Milton Keynes made me proud. Sure, you have to work longer hours with your own business than 9-5, however, you decide those hours, you work around the family. That’s pretty amazing way of looking at things. You may not have the salary you once had, but you have something better – freedom to make your own choices. How do they do it? Well, initially, many had no choice. They didn’t have parents who were business people. They decided the life they wanted and build their career around that.

Watching friends give up the corporate grind so they can have a cheese toastie van to feed lunchtime workers and be back for the school run was inspiring. Well done Aida and Bob of Good Times Café.

Observing another friend become of the top bloggers in the country with her website offering advice to writers and novelists. The awesome Lucy V Hay of Bang2Write.

Another friend does the best burgers in town with his incredible flavours and still has time to spend quality time with his wife and bring up the kids together. Congratulations Jonathan Duff of Bandit.

I had no business skills and with my wife being self-employed, the thought of having two entrepreneurs in the family was too risky. Maybe I could have a good life working for somebody else.

Here’s the life I want

  • Be a good dad and husband.
  • Give more value to others.
  • Earn enough money to take care of my family.
  • Enjoy three holidays a year, two in the UK, one holiday abroad.
  • Increase my charity donations from £4,000 to £8,000 a year.
  • Have a boss who isn’t an idiot.
  • Get a dog.
  • Spend 1 hour a day with family 6 days a week.
  • Provide value to others in sales and coaching.
  • Avoid small deals.
  • Work on big accounts for big money.
  • When I have a holiday, enjoy the holiday and don’t spend time working.
  • More money I earn, more money I can give to charity.
  • Find a boss who shares my values of company culture and family.

After 2 months of searching, applying for hundreds of jobs on LinkedIn, having over 20 interviews in London, every company ticked 1 or 2 boxes, but not all boxes. If you settle for second best, you end of up somewhere awful…

… but time was running out. After 2 months of job hunting, we had 5 weeks of money left in my account and it takes 4 weeks to earn salary in a new job – that meant I had to find work in a week or else my mortgage would default and our home was in danger of getting repossessed.

About the Author:

Everybody Works In Sales - Niraj's business photo 2018.jpg Award-winning executive, Niraj Kapur, has worked in corporate London for 23 years.

From small businesses to a national newspaper to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, he’s experienced it all and shares his insight, knowledge, big wins and horrible failures.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Niraj has also had several screenplays optioned, sitcoms commissioned, kids’ shows on Channel 5’s Milkshake and CBBC. His movie, Naachle London, was released in select cinemas across the UK.

He’s working on his next book while advising companies and coaching individuals on how to improve their sales.  Follow at @Nirajwriter

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#Extract | She’s Bad News by Elle Spellman @capesandcorsets @rararesources

She's Bad News Cover

Today I am hosting an extract for “She’s Bad News” by Elle Spellman. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. Purchase links for the ebook areUK: Amazon ~ US: Amazon.

Synopsis:

What would you do if you woke up with super powers?

For Bella Brown, life hasn’t gone according to plan. She’s almost thirty, still living in her uneventful hometown, and her dreams of becoming an investigative reporter have fallen by the wayside.

That is, until she wakes up one morning to find she’s been gifted with some amazing new abilities. What’s a girl to do with heightened senses, super speed and the ability to lift a truck one-handed? Bella quickly discovers that her new powers can easily help her land front-page leads at local newspaper The Hartleybourne Gazette.

Soon Bella’s out every night chasing down local criminals for stories, while keeping her powers a secret from everyone besides flatmate Chloe. But when a burglary-gone-wrong accidentally turns her into the mysterious Hartleybourne Heroine, Bella finds herself on the front page for the wrong reasons. Her secret becomes harder to keep as she tries to track down the source of her powers, and especially when crime reporter Matt Gilmore is intent on unmasking the town’s new vigilante…

Suddenly, having an extraordinary life is far more dangerous than she ever imagined.

 

Extract from “She’s Bad News” by Elle Spellman:

She’s Bad News follows Bella Brown, an aspiring journalist in a small town who thinks that luck is against her – that is, until she wakes up with super powers.

In this extract, Bella is trying to track down the source of her mysterious new abilities. Thinking that a diet pill could be responsible, she turns up at SegPharma, the company responsible for manufacturing the tablets, to try and find out more…

One thing was for certain – this place wanted to blend into the background.

Tentatively I stepped out of Delilah, grabbed my bag from the passenger seat and made my way across the car park towards the door, surveying the place. What was I even expecting, some Willy Wonka-like factory that claimed to make all your dreams come true? Probably. Though I knew from my investigation into BodiBurn that companies like this much preferred to lay low.

Taking a deep breath, I pushed the buzzer and waited. No response. I could hear noises from inside, from the back of the building that, I now realised, was particularly long as well as tall. The back, I presumed, was where the products were made. I jabbed the buzzer again, twice just to be on the safe side.

“Hello, SegPharma,” a male voice crackled from the intercom.

“Hiii!” I said excitedly. “I’m looking for the company who manufactures NARCIS products. Would that be you guys?”

“What is this regarding?”

I stood on the spot, looking up at the small security camera above the door. This was my chance, and I couldn’t blow it.

Having thought about my predicament, I had decided not to rush in and tell all about my P-word. Going in guns blazing would be way too risky. It’d be far too easy for SegPharma, or NARCIS, to deny it; after all, landing abilities like this could also land me grounds for immense compensation. Not that I wanted money – I just wanted answers. And, as I’d previously learned from BodiBurn, asking for the truth straight out often led to nothing. So I was going to try a different method.

“Oh! Well, it’s a bit of a long shot really,” I said, in the perkiest voice I could muster. “I’m a health and beauty journalist from a top women’s magazine! I’m looking into some of the nation’s favourite and most talked-about slimming aids, and of course, you’ve made the top spot! So I was hoping to have a chat with someone about the latest NARCIS range. My colleague has some and says they’re totally life-changing!”

Okay, white lies seemed to be my forte of late. I just hadn’t lied this hard before.

“Wait in reception, please,” the voice said curtly. Let’s face it, I could kick down the door with minimal effort, but I was at least trying to stay civil. The door opened with a click. I was in.

Flattery gets you everywhere.

I stepped into a small reception area, where a young man in a smart grey shirt covered by a white lab coat greeted me from behind an overly-clean white desk. I looked around, taking in the bland, somewhat clinical surroundings; white seats, coffee table decorated with leaflets, generic ornamental pot plants. The usual.

The man looked me up and down, no doubt wondering why some random woman had turned up out of the blue to their hidden headquarters on a desolate industrial park. “In case you’re wondering,” he said, arms folded, “we are a cruelty-free company. We keep any testing to a minimum, and ensure no animal is truly harmed.”

“Truly?”

Truly. We only test on animals when absolutely necessary, and even then, it’s not lethal.” He shot me a look that said, ‘So there. Ner-ner,’ but not before stealing a quick glance out the window to see if a small army of my picketing mates were waiting outside to storm the place.

“Thanks for the clarification, but that’s not why I’m here.”

There was a flicker of dismay on his face. It was so quiet in the building that maybe some sign-wielding protesters from PETA would have brought some much-needed action to his day. “That’s good. Just a prior warning. Wouldn’t want any trouble. If you’re a journalist, I’d be curious to know what kind of story you’re working on.”

“Like I said, one of your products has become one of the most popular in the UK!” I said, trying to keep up my perky attitude and Stepford-like grin. “So I just wanted to have a chat with you about the NARCIS range. The Ultra-Boost range in particular. It’s become quite a hit…”

“Honestly? I don’t think anyone here is likely to help you. The products are developed here at SegPharma, but the brand itself is based elsewhere. If you need Sales and Marketing, you’d be better off speaking to – “

“To Alexis Dean. I know,” I smiled, leaning in closer. I could hear the soft thud of his heart beating as he stood behind the desk. “I saw her on TV just yesterday. The thing is, I’m having a bit of trouble with tracking her down. Do you know how hard it is to speak to someone at NARCIS Life Solutions who isn’t a robot trying to sell me stuff? It’s nigh on impossible. I’m on a tight deadline and so lucky I managed to find you guys! I’ll be writing an intriguing piece on the brand, an article that gives an insight into what you actually do, you know? I want more than just PR. While Alexis is busy fielding off the controversy about those ‘body-shaming’ ads, I’m going to try and dispel that. Really get behind the brand. I’m giving you a great opportunity here. Are you going to throw that away?”

The man looked at me, speechless, as I realised that was probably the most persuasive pitch of my career, and I was only pretending.

About the Author:

She's Bad News - Author Photo ES.jpg

Elle Spellman is a writer and comic book geek living in Bristol, UK. She’s been writing since a very young age, spending her childhood afternoons penning stories about fictional adventures, and illustrating them too.

Now, Elle tends to write contemporary fiction with kick-ass heroines and a little bit of magic. She’s Bad News is her debut novel, and she’s just finished working on her second. Her other interests include running, wine, red lipstick, the paranormal, and all things Batman.

Social Media Links –  Twitter ~  Goodreads Page ~  Blog

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#Extract : Exposition – Act II of the Forward to Glory Quartet by Brian Paul Bach : @ftgquartet @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR

Bach-Forward To Glory II. EXPOSITION Front Cover 300dpi for Gareth.jpg

Today I am sharing an extract from Brian Paul Bach’s book “Exposition : Act II of the Forward to Glory Quartet”.  It is available in paperback and also eBook format and is published by Clink Street.

Book Details:

  • File Size: 1459.0 KB
  • Print Length: 874 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (28 Nov. 2017)
  • Available to purchase from ~  Amazon UKBarnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Butterbugs is becoming somebody. He has come to Hollywood to act, and as an aspiring performer, so far, he is a survivor. His dream persists… though barely. But something’s coming.
He has had to endure nearly crushing challenges with a tenacity deserving its own kind of award. Perhaps simple luck is all that’s needed. It soon appears, from unexpected quarters. And starting there, his ascent begins. Butterbugs is about to be exposed – as actor, as talent, as star. A splash like no other will soon inundate Hollywood. In FORWARD TO GLORY’s guise as a four-part epic-noir-satire, EXPOSITION continues the grand procession commenced in TEMPERING. Proudly episodic, unabashedly sensational, it is a saga geared to a seasoned readership eager to embrace a daring narrative with determination and relish. As he advances, Butterbugs is gifted with the assistance of many: Vonda – the superstar, who literally picks him off the street; The Angry Black Priest – the super-artist, who, out of tragedy, teaches him wisdom; Sonny Projector – the super-agent, who sees something exceptional in this intriguing unknown; Old Atrocity – the super-technician, whose cinematic expertise perfectly compliments the actor’s unique persona; Cody, Saskia and Justy – women to love, who love him; Pepper and Prairie – whose very existence may be nothing more than shadows on a screen but whose power is projected upon him; and Heatherette – whose reappearance saves his life.
The FORWARD TO GLORY Quartet
I. Tempering – the Actor’s struggles
II. Exposition – the Actor’s rise
III. Apotheosis – the Actor’s climax
IV. Beyond Fin – the Actor’s legend

Extract:

Was Butterbugs at all tempted by the Dark Side of Hollywood?

Well, was he?

Or did ‘temptation’, in the classic sense, even enter into it? A sort of anonymous acceptance of the Side’s existence was necessitated by a set of experiences that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that such a Side did in fact exist, with metaphysical certitude, and indeed, it flourished not a heartbeat away from the conventional infrastruc­ture of the city.

What, pray, was the Side, anyway?

The sun shines only half the time, so what was the other half, but Dark?

The innocuous civic fixtures which surround the citizen on all angles, such as wholesome street signs, thoroughgoing sidewalks and curbs, sodium-tinted streetlamps (of lollipop or even Peyton Place configuration – you know, backlot globes in public candela­bras of utmost propriety), and coolly-illuminated horizontal signs with white text on green background, marking the likes of Sweetzer Blvd and its countless mates, as well as the smoothly-paved and excellently-maintained street surfaces themselves, seemed to mask the surety of the eccentric corruption just at hand.

Inside the countless vehicles occupying this matrix of streets, behind the usually closed doors, and well in back of private hedges, lattices, rat cages, loose-boxes, and fences that provided screens of discretion, there, in back of it all – backstage (which was where anyone with any sense in LA would enact their own personal varia­tions of what they wanted their Dark Sides to be) – was the ripe but essential truth that was the exhibition of the community’s true soul.

In these times, innate Dark Sides merged with the generic, until a tremendously high percentage of the citizenry elected to contribute their creative say and deeds to the collective corruption kettle. True, LA was corrupt. From the start, right up to the unfinished present. True, most of the corruption and naughtiness were either conceived or enacted in private (sacred privacy!), but not always. The streets, and the sidewalks of the streets, were at once a setting and a green room for a certain school of acting-out life’s drama, and wherein a special kind of danger lay.

It was because of this easy setting that Butterbugs did indeed explore and experiment with his own exploratory version of the Side. Because, quite frankly, there was no getting around it – he was desperate. He found himself in the kind of dire situation that he had dreaded all along. He couldn’t drive (tank on empty: so said the dipstick he fashioned out of a diseased palm frond and Burkmart straws, in lieu of a withered and shorted-out gas gauge needle), so he took to drifting the streets, halfheartedly looking for ‘opportunities’.

He found them.

Opportunities there were, all right. Especially those to enact Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s theses on fear and loathing. They were there, right on the sidewalks, so remote and unbelievable from the pro­tected bubbles that floated by in vehicular suspension. As long as he was on the streets and vulnerable, how could there not be an encounter with both?

Fear is inherent. Loathing is learned.

About the Author:

Brian Paul Bach.jpg

Brian Paul Bach is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer; he has worked across the entertainment business, in theatre, music and as an academic. He now lives in central Washington State with his wife, Sandra. His previous works include The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, Calcutta’s Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City, and Busted Boom: The Bummer of Being a Boomer. He writes a regular column for Kolkata On Wheels magazine. The first book in the Forward to Glory quartet, Tempering, was released in March 2017.

Website – https://forwardtogloryquartet.wordpress.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ftgquartet/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brianpaulbach/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hooghlyside/

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