Introducing the lovely Andi Ramos

I'm delighted to meet fellow Tirgearryan author Andi Ramos. 
Andi's debut novel 'Gumshoe Girl' is released on 30th May. It's a very exciting time for her.

First of all I'll let Andi tell you a little about herself.

I grew up in central Massachusetts where I still lives today with my family, goat, and Boston Terriers. My love for reading grew into a passion for writing. I dabbled with pen and paper for a long time and eventually stopped pushing such amusements aside and started developing those stories into novels. One of my favorite things to do is to hop into our motorhome with the family and write while traveling down the road as they journey to various destinations.

Gumshoe Girl is released by Tirgearr Publishing, on May 30th. Tell us a little about the book.

Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the pros, despite the constant reminder of her amateur status from an annoyingly attractive FBI agent, Colin 'Mac' MacEvine, who’s forced himself into her life.
How does she feel when an old high school friend hopes to ignite a new romance?
Will she be able to discover if detective work and love can mingle before someone gets hurt?

I love the cover, Andi, which I understand was designed by the talented Elle Rossi.

Here is an excerpt 

Sheagan blinked back the sting in her eyes as sweat drizzled from her forehead. Her shoulders and forearms cried out as determination inched her body forward through the tin walls that framed her slender figure. The narrow shaft rendered her legs useless as they dragged behind her like dead weight. She made a vow to start working out as she approached her destination, the metal grate that looked down into the sweetheart suite of the Eliot Hotel.

She shimmied her binoculars out of her bag and clutched them in her sweaty palms as she readied herself to delve into the world of private investigating. The friction of her movements caused her mahogany mane to cling to all the surfaces of her temporary confinement. Perched behind the filigree frame, peering like a caged animal, she was a mere 20 feet from her target. Her target? The Rat Bastard, who up until this very moment she’d called boyfriend.

She wasn’t there to kill him, even though the thought had crossed her mind; no, she was there to catch him in the act. She suspected he had been cheating on her for some time, so proof would end her suspicion or the relationship. Spying on her significant other through an air-vent of a swanky hotel room was hardly a promising start to her so-called glamorous career as a private detective. But it snapped her back into the reality that her new chosen profession would often be messy and difficult.

She peered through the grate and envied the spacious room below, but her viewing angle was no good for the task at hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks rise along with her anger as she scanned the room and soaked in the extravagance–the hardwood tables, the Italian marble fireplace, the opulent sheen of the fabric on the overstuffed furniture that glimmered in the soft candlelight. The Rat Bastard was not known to overindulge on frivolous expenses, unless it was on her dime. Thoughts of killing him resurfaced.

What is wrong with me? Why did I wait so long?

She immediately regretted the fleeting question. She knew why. The answer brought back the pain and significance of her father’s sudden death. He had been the only family she had left, and he was gone. All that was left behind was his detective agency. She had thought about giving it up, but she couldn’t; it was her only connection to him, to her family.
She closed her eyes briefly, realizing that now she was facing more loss–even if he was a lying, cheating Rat Bastard.

No! It’s better this way, stay focused.
She choked in a breath and turned her attention back to the room. His secret love nest was finished with soothing tones on the walls and thick, plush carpeting.

What is that on the end table?
Her gaze was drawn to the bottle label as it bobbed upside down in the melting ice. She sharpened the focus of her binoculars, and her eyes widened in recognition.
Her cheeks flushed. Cristal, she scoffed. Who is this Bimbo, anyway?

As if she had room to criticize this girl’s intelligence, when Sheagan was the one sweating her makeup off in a four-by-four-foot air-duct.
Yeah, who’s the stupid one?

She heard passionate sounds coming from the right of the room and recognized his tone. Leaning sideways, Sheagan pressed her face to the grate, but her limited view revealed only a portion of the bed and unable to make out major details, like faces.

Crap, I can’t see anything. Damn! She needed to get a better look
As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.
Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesn’t last that long.

Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense.
Ugh, that’s it, I’ve had it!
She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.
I just need a peek to confirm.
She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.

Just a little further.
She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.


Publisher Page:
Amazon US:

I have many more buy links on my website if you don’t see the one you need here!

The Multi-Talented Claire Boley

I'm saying  hello to Claire Boley on my blog today.  Not only has Claire written a successful novel but this multi- talented lady has also published a book on the craft of hand spinning and natural
However more of that later.

So welcome Claire, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

.When did you start writing?
 Ten years ago. I read an article by a friend and decided that perhaps I could write one about hand spinning as at the time I was running workshops plus having solo exhibitions on the subject across the South West of England. The article was accepted by Country Smallholder. A year later Good Life Press gave me an advance to write a book on hand spinning and natural dyeing. After finishing this book I thought perhaps I should attempt to write a novel. I never dreamt that a publisher would take it on.

That must have been really exciting for you. What is your novel about?
The story of If Only I’d Listened is based in 60s London when 16 year old school girl Samantha Smithson gets pregnant by Peter Knight a 6th form student from Samantha’s school. All this happened in an era when pregnancy outside of marriage carried a stigma.
Peter comes from a middle class family and is studying for his A levels with plans to go to university. These plans are scotched as soon as Samantha mentions that she is pregnant as he wants to stand by her and the baby, so he needs to find work and accommodation suitable for him and his young family.
Sam comes from a lower class background, lives in a tower block with parents that drink a lot and a father that is abusive. She spends most of the nine months in hospital worrying about her future and wondering if she should have an abortion.
Pete visited Sam in hospital most days but is encouraged by his mates to go out and about enjoying himself in both clubs and pubs.

Where did you get the inspiration for If Only I’d Listened?
      I lived and worked as a nurse in 1960s London for four years. I took most of the ideas from my life at the hospital.

         How did you research the book? 
     From the worldwide web where I found out about the buses and tubes – where they stopped and the London A to Z where I looked up the names of the roads.

     Did you plan the book? 
     I do not plan my writing. For me the first paragraph for writing  anything is the hardest. Once I have written that I am away until I get writers block – if I get that I find it hard to get going again.

How do you organise your writing time? 
My brain is at its most creative in the morning. I get up at 8am and start writing at 9am and finish at lunch time unless I am on a roll then I continue until about 3pm.

 Will there be a follow up? 
Most probably and I will send Pete to University. 

Having written one craft book have you continued with your creative lifestyle? 

For the last ten years I have been writing articles for the national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning, ceramics, cooking and gardening. 

Please tell us a little about the book. 
I have enjoyed many years of hand spinning and have been a full member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen where I showed and sold my designer knitwear. In the past I have held regular workshops for hand spinning along with solo exhibitions across the South West of England.
In 2011 I was offered an advance to write the craft book Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing by the Good Life Press.
This book takes you through the complete process of hand spinning explaining how to spin wool using your fingers a drop spindle and a spinning wheel. It also guides you through spinning different types of yarn from the most basic to the elaborate. I also share recipes for producing wonderful colours from plants that I grow in my garden.

Thank you so much for coming along Claire.  I am in awe of such a talented lady. It takes me all my time to sew on a button!

.Links Amazon for If Only I’d Listened
                 for Hand Spinning and Natural dyeing

What is happening in my writing world?

Two things are on my mind at the moment.  Resolutions received an excellent review from InD'tale magazine.  If you can read it, sorry it's a little small, this is the review.

This has qualified it to go through to go through to their RONE awards. It's a huge surprise as I'm in the steamy category - well I never!

My fellow author Susan Clayton Goldner is also in the running , but for the much more respectable mystery category for her novel, Redemption Lake.

Voting happens during next week (21st - 27th May).
Apparently anyone can vote, after registering, but only once. I'm hoping as many of you as possible will go along and vote and coerce your family and friends to do the same. It would be amazing to get through to the last five.

Don't worry about finding a link. I'll be all over social media throwing them around like confetti, next week.  Maybe some will be left over from 'THE' wedding!

The second thing on my mind is my new novel.
I've been asked on a few occasions if I'm writing a second novel. Yes, I am...sort of. It's going painfully slowly. I know what I want to write, I have a good idea of the plot and characters but life and time don't always play fair.  I also have to admit I am a terrible procrastinator.

However, thanks to my friend, author Paula Martin, it does now have a title. I really needed one to focus on and despite throwing various ideas around nothing worked. However I have settled on...
 'Summer's End'.  I love it- it's perfect for the story.

The first chapter has been re-written quite a few times now, so I'm feeling a little happier with that. The book has a long way to go yet, I'm probably only a quarter of the way through the first draft. However here is an excerpt from the beginning.
What do you think?


Lyn narrowed her eyes and peered across the grassy expanse of the outer bailey. Were her eyes playing tricks on her, or was a man leaning against the castle wall, near the ruins of the medieval chapel? He was motionless, and seemed to be gazing out across the sea.
The castle had closed over fifteen minutes ago, and she’d watched the remaining few visitors heading past the stark ruins of the tall stone tower towards the exit. She was positive all the visitors had gone.
It was probably a trick of the light. In the past few minutes, ominous black clouds had rolled in over the bay, and it was difficult to see anything clearly in the gloom.
She squinted again at the shape in the distance. When the figure started to walk slowly along the wall toward the headland, she knew she hadn’t imagined him. But why was he still here? Hadn’t he realised the castle closed to the public at six o’clock?
Cupping her hands on either side of her mouth, she called out, ‘The castle has now closed. Please make your way to the gate.’
The man continued to walk. Obviously he hadn’t heard her. The only thing to do was to set off in his direction, and ask him to leave the castle grounds.
A rumble of thunder reverberated in the distance as she jogged across the grass. She waved to try to attract the man’s attention but doing so caused her to stumble over a clump of grass. Regaining her balance, she checked the ground in front of her. When she raised her head again to continue running, she frowned.
The man had vanished. She screwed up her eyes, scanning the length of the wall, but there was no sign of him. Confused, she swivelled in a half-circle. She’d only taken her eyes off him for a few seconds. Where on earth was he?
Another clap of thunder made her jump. At the same time, cold drops of rain fell on her head. Any minute now, the heavens were going to open, and she’d soon be drenched.
She wavered in indecision. Should she continue running to where she’d last seen the man in the hope of finding him? Or should she return to the café and tell Tom there was still a visitor somewhere in the castle grounds?
A cold gust of wind made her shiver, and whipped long strands of her dark hair across her eyes. As she struggled to push them back, the rain, already coming down more heavily, plastered them against her face.
Most of the outer bailey was now lost in the misty half-light, and she’d get soaked if she continued her search. Instead, she turned back toward the café, just as a jagged flash of lightning illuminated the area.
She blinked in surprise when she saw the man close to the stone wall of the Great Tower. How had he managed to get across from the outer wall so quickly?
But at least she could keep him in her sights now. He was walking toward the Master Gunner’s house, the eighteenth century building which housed the museum and café. Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to be in any hurry, even though the rain was hammering down.
Shivering as water soaked her thin jacket and dripped down her face, she increased her pace. She expected to close the gap, but somehow the man seemed to keep the same distance away from her. Maybe that was simply an optical illusion, created by the driving rain in front of her.
As he reached the wooden picnic tables in front of the house, she assumed he would turn left toward the exit. Surprise jerked through her when he continued walking to the house.

A light shone from the café window. She knew Tom was in there. He’d arranged to meet her, having promised to show her how to cash up the day’s takings. If the stranger had gone in there, he’d be able to deal with him.
Lyn ran the last few yards towards the café. After pushing the door open, she stopped for a moment while catching her breathe and shook the rain from her hair.
Tom stood by the counter and looked up, smiling at her. “At last! I thought you’d got lost.” His smile faded and he frowned. “You’re wet through.”
Lyn took a gasp of air. “Not lost, but trying to follow a visitor, or one of the actors, who’s still in the castle. He came in here a few seconds ago.”
Turning her head she surveyed the small room. “Where is he?”
Tom looked at her blankly, a look of puzzlement in his eyes. “No one has come in here, only you. I’ve not left here for the last hour or so. Are you sure you saw someone?”

Her shoulders slumped and she leaned against the window ledge. “He came through the door as clearly as I did. There’s a man around her somewhere, who doesn’t realise the castle is shut for the day. I saw him wandering over by the curtain wall across the headland but lost sight of him. Then I spotted him walking this way.”

Welcome Paula Martin talking about her latest release.

I'm delighted to have Paula Martin along today. Many of you will be familiar with Paula's 'Irish' series of books. They are also well known as the Mist Na Mara series. 

If you've not read them yet I do highly recommend them. The first in the series is Irish Inheritance.

Her readers are eagerly awaiting the fifth book called Irish Shadows. Paula's books combine mystery and history with a great romance, all set in wonderful Connemara scenery.

However today we are talking about Her Only Option, another of my favourite books which, is  re-released and currently available for pre-order. The links are below.

1. Where did the inspiration for Her Only Option come from?
From the Nile cruise I did in 2010, which had been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years. For most of the week, we were busy visiting many different ancient sites and temples, and I hadn’t even thought about writing, let alone the plot of a new novel. But on the final day of the cruise, we had a free afternoon to relax on the sundeck of our cruise ship at Aswan. The cruise ships are usually moored four abreast, and our sundeck was at the same level as those on the neighbouring ships. I found myself idly wondering if it was possible to vault across the three or four-foot gap from one sundeck to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand, but I had a mental image of the hero vaulting over the rails to join the heroine. In fact, it never actually happened in the story I eventually wrote, but that was the moment when the story was first conceived. Within the next twenty-four hours, I had decided that the heroine was a cruise ship tourist guide, and the hero was an archaeologist.
Moored cruise ships

2. Ross is an archaeologist. How much research did you have to do into ancient Egyptian tombs and hieroglyphics for example? What was the most interesting part of the research for this novel?
During the cruise, we visited several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, so I had plenty of memories to draw on. In the week following the cruise, we stayed at a hotel overlooking the Nile at Luxor, and I bought what turned out to be an invaluable book about the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Having been a history teacher for twenty-odd years, I already knew a fair bit about Ancient Egypt, but I still needed to do a lot of fact-checking. I love researching, and it was fun to include throwaway lines like ‘early development of the offset axis’. Having said that, I think the most interesting part of the research was finding out fairly trivial details about modern day Egypt, such as ‘Are there any pizza takeouts in Luxor?’ and ‘How long is the train journey between Aswan and Luxor?’

3. Did you know who was going to be the ‘baddie’ and threaten Ross’s work all the time you were writing the novel?
When I first started thinking about this story, I didn’t even know there would be a baddie! Originally, it was going to be a ‘relationship’ novel i.e. a heroine torn between two lovers. The ‘intrigue’ side of the novel crept up on me and took me by surprise, and then I had to work out who was doing what and why. I actually thought about three different ‘baddies’ before I eventually decided who it was! Then it was a case of introducing a few ‘red herrings’ to keep the reader guessing, too.

4. Where did the idea for Wasim, the Elvis-singing boatman, come from?
A Nile boat similar to Wasim's
Actually, I have no idea, because he simply appeared! I was doing a ‘filler’ scene, where Ross takes Neve across the Nile to visit the Valley of the Kings. As they walk along to where the motorboats were moored, Ross says, ‘I always use the same private motorboat. Elvis should be moored along here.’ He then explains how the boatman sings Elvis songs – and I’m thinking, Where on earth did that come from? because I hadn’t planned it all! But I ended up loving my Elvis-singing Nile boatman and decided (or maybe he decided?) that he needed a bigger role in the story, which ended up as quite a pivotal role. It was one of those wonderful occasions when the characters take over the story!

5. If this was made into a film, the scenery would be stunning. Who would you like to see play Ross and Neve in a film?
Definitely Hugh Jackman for Ross! In the movie ‘Australia’,

 Hugh appears at a charity ball in a white dinner jacket – and I think there was a collective intake of breath in the cinema, because he looked so amazing. I’ve replicated that moment in my story when Neve sees Ross in his white dinner jacket!
As for Neve, I can picture her in my mind – and my cover artist found a perfect picture of her, but I’m not sure which actress would be right. Maybe the one who played Sybil in Downton Abbey?

6. You’ve just written your fifth book in the Irish Mist Na Mara series. Do you think you’ll ever return to Egypt for a sequel or a new stand-alone novel?
My visit there was just three months before the revolution in January, 2011, and since then unrest and also terrorist attacks have increased. Although I’d love to go to Egypt again, I don’t think I will get there. One of my reviewers did suggest a possible spin-off story about Joanne, Neve’s friend, which occasionally flutters through my mind, so – never say never!

7. How do you organise your writing day/time?
Organise? You must be joking! I have no excuses because I’m retired, my family (including my two grandsons) are grown-up now, and I live alone. But my muse is a night-owl, and so am I. So, although I can edit and write blogs etc. during the day, I tend to do all my writing in the evenings, as that is when my brain goes into creative mode.

Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.
Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist. She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her.
When she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which she feels is her only option.
Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?

HER ONLY OPTION will be released on May 23, 2018, and is currently available for pre-order at only 99c/99p

Twitter: @PaulaRomances

On my travels part 2. Kiel Canal and Warnemunde.

The regal wave to the crowds who gathered to watch our ship enter the lock which would take us into the Kiel Canal.
It took us about eight hours to cruise the canal.  I didn't take many photos as it was mainly heavily wooded on both sides and it rained all day!
However it was an interesting experience and one we had on our 'to do' list. We've visited the Baltic twice but each time it was on a ship too large to go down the canal.

The first thing that greeted us, on arrival in Warnemunde were these barrel organ players. Something I hadn't seen since childhood. In fact they were on every street corner.  The town was filled with music. It is a lively, busy spot and the weather was excellent.
Der Alte Strom (or Old Channel) reminded us very much of Nyhaven in Copenhagen. it was lined with bars, restaurants and shops. We especially liked the boats, moored alongside, selling fish and chips.  Warnemunde is now a port call for the larger ships going into the Baltic. Many passengers take advantage of a trip to Berlin from here.  I've been to Berlin a few years ago and was glad I didn't miss this intriguing place.
 It was originally a fishing village and still has many of the charming fishermen's cottages.  There are lovely squares and back streets to explore.
Warnemunde used to be in East Germany and was a popular holiday spot then. You can see why.
It's coast line is the Baltic and it has the most amazing, huge beach.  The sand is dotted with thousands of the towns trade mark wicker basket sun lounges. They spread out in every direction. Along the long promenade, it was busy with stalls and fairground attractions. There was plenty to eat and drink if you needed it.
The Neptune hotel was pointed out to us, as of particular interest.
Apparently during the time of the 'Cold War' it was a popular meeting spot for spies and double agents and the like. How true that was I don't know, but its an interesting thought.

On my travels - Bremen and Kiel canal

I had no idea what to expect when we visited Bremen. We'd taken a cruise, sailing through the Kiel Canal and Bremen was the first stop. Bremen is on the river Wesser. While many larger ships dock at Bremerhaven, we were able to sail into the port. The city centre was just a few minutes tram car ride away.
 We arrived first at the Marktplatz. Here you can visit the Ratshaus the Ratskeller or just have a coffee and watch the world go by.

Bremen is an enchanting Hanseatic city, with a long history. The architecture flows from the 10th century, through medieval and Germany's 1930s and 1940s to modern day.It's like walking through a living museum
The gilded entrance to Bottcherstrasse.
The Glockenspiel House

Bottcherstrasse (in medieval times was the street of the barrel makers) was transformed in the late 1920s. This became an inspired mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings. The Glockenspiel House has a carillon of Meissen porcelain bells.

Walking towards the harbour area, we came across Schnoor. This is well preserved lanes of fisherman's houses and now includes artisan shops and art galleries. It's narrow lanes, old buildings and cobbled lanes reminded us of the Shambles in York.

A visit to Bremen has to include at least a photo of the statue of the Town Musicians.
The Town Musicians
This portrays a donkey, dog, cat and a rooster of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

After leaving Bremen we were to sail through the Kiel canal and on to the intriguing and surprisingly lovely city of Warnemunde.  More of that later.

Meet Paul Smith

I 'm delighted to introduce the multi-talented Paul Smith to you.  Many Yorkshire writers (born or living here) are now familiar w...