Sunday, 19 October 2014


My Thoughts on this deep, dark, unsettling but compelling novel .......


Publishing Date:  February 2015
Publisher:  No Exit Press
Approx Pages:  201

At the start of another pitiless winter, the wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been taken from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old boy of Medora and Vernon Slone.

Stunned by grief and seeking consolation, Medora contacts nature writer and wolf expert Russell Core. Sixty years old, ailing in both body and spirit, and estranged from his daughter and wife, Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings. Immersing himself in this settlement at the end of the world, he discovers the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora Slone and learns of an unholy truth harboured by this village.

When Vernon Slone returns from a desert war to discover his son dead and his wife missing, he begins a methodical pursuit across this frozen landscape. Aided by his boyhood companion, the taciturn and deadly Cheeon, and pursued by the stalwart detective Donald Marium, Slone is without mercy, cutting a bloody swathe through the wilderness of his homeland. As Russell Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband’s vengeance, he comes face to face with an unspeakable secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil—a secret about the unkillable bonds of family, and the untamed animal in the soul of every human being.


Hold the Dark is one of the most unsettling, shocking and deeply disturbing books I've ever read.  But it is also one of the most compelling.

The inhabitants of the Alaskan town of Keelut are not very friendly to outsiders, they look after their own, and they don't appreciate strangers coming and trying to meddle in their affairs.  It is a sad and depressing town, but somehow this makes it more readable, more interesting .... what secrets are they hiding?

When the writer, Russell Core, makes a shocking discovery, the woman who had written to him and asked him to help find her son who was taken by wolves then disappears into the pitiless wilds of Alaska.  But why?  And why won't any of the villagers talk to him or help him?

Some of the incidents in the story are truly shocking, yet didn't stop me reading, I was totally engrossed in this darkest of dark tales, I wanted to know some answers and couldn't put it down.  The writing was intelligent, never boring, always moving on, no words were wasted, I felt a sense of foreboding throughout.  

A gripping and mysterious thriller that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a darker side to their novels.

My thanks to Real Readers and No Exit Press for a review copy of this book


About the Author

William Giraldi is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Busy Monsters 
(W.W. Norton). He teaches at Boston University, is the Senior Fiction Editor for the 
journal AGNI, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review. He 
has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in the category of Essays and 

Criticism, and has received a Pushcart Prize. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Virtual Book Tour - HOLD ON! BY PETER DARLEY Guest Post & Giveaway of $30 Amazon Gift Card


Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Date Published:  9 July 2014

Two lovers! A deadly conspiracy! A race to freedom! 

When Carringby Industries, a government-contracted arms manufacturer, is raided by what appear to be terrorists, the CEO’s secretary, Belinda Reese, is rescued by Brandon Drake, a dashing young AWOL soldier. Using an experimental test aircraft, he flees with her to his remote, isolated cabin in the mountains of Aspen. 

While assisting in the design of military weaponry, Brandon discovered a plot within his own government to attack its own facilities, under the guidance of immoral politician, Senator Garrison Treadwell. Belinda’s body was not found among the dead at Carringby Industries, and Treadwell suspects that Drake was responsible for rescuing her. In an effort to entrap him, Treadwell arranges for an all points bulletin to be placed on Belinda. 

Deeply in love, Brandon and Belinda attempt to escape from America, only to endure one harrowing experience after another as they try to evade and expose Treadwell’s corrupt faction. 

But on the run, with danger around every corner, Brandon makes a discovery so devastating that it shatters the very foundations of his reality.



The Nemesis You Never Knew About

Toward the end of my quest for a publisher, and also during the coveted editing process, the reason behind my prior rejections was finally identified. They were largely down to multiple points of view within scenes, popularly known as ‘head hopping.’

Head-hopping, is when you write a scene, and you illustrate the thoughts, feelings and actions of all characters present. Single POV scenes are what are required today. This means that the entire scene must be entirely from one person’s point of view. Anything that the primary POV character can see, hear, or feel can be described, but the emotions of any other character within the scene cannot. The POVs of the other characters must be reserved for subsequent scenes or chapters, where it becomes their turn to dominate the scene. 

It is my experienced view that the single POV rule has no actual, discernible merit. It is, primarily, a recent phenomenon. 

So how did it come about?

From the outset, I will admit that I am speculating here. What follows should be interpreted as a hypothesis.

Consider the identified drop in educational standards over the last fifty years, and the growing epidemic of illiteracy in Western culture. One visit to a Youtube video forum will reveal the social decline in spelling, punctuation, and the fact that a sentence begins with an upper-case 
(or ‘capital’) letter. 

Picking up the phone and talking to someone, or dropping round for a coffee have taken a back seat to texting, emailing, and Facebook. Human physical interaction is on the decline, in deference to the soulless vacuum of typing across cyber-space. The experience of seeing a reaction in someone’s eyes, or feeling their emotional response is vanishing from the human experience. We will send someone an email (from our POV) and then we will wait for a response (page break). Then the other person’s response will come through (from their POV) and then they will have to wait for our response (another page break). 

Nothing is ‘in the moment’ with the way we communicate anymore – and I believe that this has affected the way in which people read. I feel that this is evidenced by the fact that the single POV style has only become virtually mandatory in recent times. This will become immediately apparent when a modern paperback is compared to any one of the classics

I don’t agree with it, but I can’t stress enough the importance of going along with it if you wish to be signed to an agent or publisher. It may require that you spend months re-editing your novel, and literally restructuring your vision. It’s heartbreaking, it’s laborious, and you may well be feeding into the social collapse of literary standards.

But this is the world in which we now live.

Peter Darley
Hold On!

Soul Mate Publishing, 2014

An interesting and thought-provoking piece from Peter Darley


About the Author

Peter Darley (P.D. to his friends) is a British novelist, whose professional history is in showbusiness. He is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Speech and Dramatic Art, and he studied television drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA.) His television credits include guest-starring roles is UK productions such as BBC’s Crime Ltd, Stanley’s Dragon for ITV, The Bill, and Sky One’s Dream Team, and numerous TV commercials. He has also worked as a model, presenter, and voice-over artiste for ten years, and has acted as an agent for several variety acts.

His lifelong admiration of heroes, and love of roller-coaster-style thrills have been a huge influence on his writings.

He is a keen athlete and body builder, and lives with his partner in rural England.




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Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


My Thoughts on this witty fun revenge tale ......


Published:  14 October 2014
Publisher:  Notting Hill Press

Cinderella meets Falling Down in this wickedly funny tale about having it all

Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the "W" in banker.

How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?

With humour and empathy, Perfect Girl lays bare the balancing act that working women face in a man's world


Perfect Girl has an intriguing start where Carol is being put into a police car ....... then we go back six months to discover how and why.

Carol is 26, has never done anything naughty in her life and is proud of that fact!  She tries to be perfect and please everyone because she believes her family count on her and, besides, she loves doing things for them.  What's so wrong with that?

The problem is that Carol can't see that her sister is expecting her to make all the plans for her forthcoming wedding saying "There are a million things to take care of but I know we can rely on you completely Carol", a boyfriend that is too busy, too tired, too stressed to make any plans for anything.  Not to mention a boss who is not only a perv but a bully who belittles her at every opportunity, even though she's spent a year making a program that will make the bank millions of pounds......and he takes all the credit for it!

Carol is lovely, it's difficult to dislike her but I found myself shouting at her telling her to stick up for herself and that she should be mad as hell for being treated as a doormat by everyone.  She has become a master at stamping down her emotions at work, if they can't see them, they can't use them against her she reasons.

Then when something disastrous happens at work Carol's world is turned upside down and she's forced to re-evaluate her whole life, with surprising results!

I enjoyed reading this story, with annoying characters, memorable characters, funny moments, a little romance, though it had far too much detail about the bank's program, most of which went over my head ..... but most of all I enjoyed it because Carol Colbert HAD THE SAME FULL NAME AS ME!  And it was fun to keep seeing my name in print!

I received an ebook copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.


Available to buy from



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Book Trailer for PERFECT GIRL BY MICHELE GORMAN (Published Today)

Notting Hill Press are publishing globally today in all formats Michele Gorman's new romantic comedy PERFECT GIRL and they've created a fun book trailer.

Cinderella meets Falling Down in this wickedly funny tale about having it all

Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the "W" in banker.

How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?

With humour and empathy, Perfect Girl lays bare the balancing act that working women face in a man's world


Here's the book trailer (a 2 minute modern fairy tale with a twist)


I've just finished reading Perfect Girl - check out my review here


Available to buy from


Giveaway of 10 Christmas Cards (Santa's Little Red Book)

I am giving away 10 high quality Christmas Cards with envelopes
The design is entitled Santa's Little Red Book and, as the picture above shows, it features Father Christmas looking at his book!
Very cute
The Christmas Cards measure 6" x 6"

The words inside read:

These are lovely high quality Christmas Cards!
All with envelopes

If you would like a chance to win them all you need to do is enter by Rafflecopter below

Open to UK only

The lucky winner will be selected randomly by and be notified by email

The winner will need to respond within 48 hours of being contacted, failure to do this may result in another winner being selected

The Cards will be posted as soon as I receive address details, in plenty of time for Christmas!

If you're not lucky enough to win this time I will be running more Christmas Card Giveaways every week in the run up to Christmas

Check out my shop on eBay for all my other festive designs here

If you want to see the listing on eBay for these popular Santa's Little Red Book  Cards please click here

Good Luck!  

Enter every day for more chances to win

Friday, 10 October 2014


I'm thrilled to be a part of the tour for Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista by Aven Ellis

Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista

Aven Ellis

Recent college graduate Avery Andrews is ready to begin a new life in the big city. She’s landed an apartment in Chicago’s famed Lincoln Park neighborhood–and has her eye on the cute commodities trader just a floor above.

If Premier Airlines knew about her fear of flying, they never would have hired her to be their marketing assistant—but it’s not like Avery wants a lifelong career. Right now she simply wants a job to pay her bills...and fund a few little shopping excursions, too.

Her new lifestyle comes with a price tag, as Avery is not only faced with paying a ridiculous rent but finds she’s perceived as one of the vacant, husband-hunting fashionistas who live in the area. Avery resents this stereotype—so she doesn’t want a lifelong career, and she loves fashions she can’t afford, but that doesn’t mean she is empty-headed and spoiled, does it?

When an opportunity to participate in a documentary at work arises, Avery finds a two-fold solution to her problems. She’ll earn extra money for it, and the documentary will show her as a serious career woman, enabling her to shed that husband-hunting fashionista label for good.

When the camera is on, Avery attempts to be a motivated professional woman. But when she is challenged by Deacon Ryan, the videographer assigned to cover her story, Avery finds herself wanting things she was never supposed to want—like a lasting career—and Deacon. And Avery might just gain more from the experience than a perfect career image and extra cash to put in her Tory Burch wallet...



About Aven Ellis

Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night. Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel. Waiting For Prince Harry was published in April 2014.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway - BLOND CARGO BY JOHN LANSING

Blond Cargo

by John Lansing

Visiting with the Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tour Company

Book Blast on October 7th

on Tour at October 8 - November 30, 2014

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller
Published by:  Karen Hunter Publishing / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  20 October 2014
Number of Pages:  320
2nd in the Jack Bertolino series

* Blond Cargo does include some graphic violence

Jack Bertolino is back… in the sequel to John Lansing’s, Barnes & Noble bestseller, “The Devil’s Necktie.”
Jack’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In “Blond Cargo,” the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave. John Lansing taps into the real life world of cops, crime, drugs and murder to deliver another sizzling whodunit.
A sizzling whodunit for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, Blond Cargo taps into the real-life crime world to deliver a thrilling, action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive, unprecedented finale.
"A pulse-pounding thriller with a charming protagonist"
(Kirkus Reviews)

Read an excerpt:


Jack carried a Subway turkey sandwich, a tall unsweetened iced coffee, a bottle of water, and a smile as he keyed the security gate that led to the dock in Marina del Rey where his boat was moored. The marina was always quiet during the week. Just the way he liked it.

He stopped to admire his twenty-eight feet of heaven before stepping onto his boat’s transom and then . . .

“Yo, Mr. B.”

Jack never forgot a voice, which explained his reluctance to turn around.

“Yo, yo, Mr. B.”

Miserably persistent, Jack thought. He turned to face Peter Maniacci, who was dressed head-to-toe in black. With his outstretched arms draped over the chain-link fence, Peter looked like an Italian scarecrow. The black circles under his eyes belied his youth. The sharp points of his sideburns, his boots, and the .38 hanging lazily from a shoulder holster added menace to his goofy grin.

So close, Jack thought. His only worry that day had been whether to eat his sandwich dockside or out on the Pacific with a view of the Santa Monica Pier.

“How you doing, Peter?”

“How you doin’?”

Jack let out a labored sigh. “We could do this all day. What’s up?”

“That’s funny, Mr. B. How’s the boy? How’s his pitching arm?”

Jack’s face tightened. He wasn’t happy that Peter knew

any of his son’s particulars. When he didn’t answer, Peter continued.

“Hey, nice boat. I used to fish for fluke off the north shore. Long Island. I think I must be in the wrong business.”

“Count on it,” Jack said. “What can I do for you?”

“My boss was wondering if you could spare a few minutes of your time.”

As if on cue, a black Town Car materialized behind Peter and came to a smooth, silent stop. The car rose visibly when Peter’s boss, a thick, broad-shouldered man, stepped out of the rear seat.

Vincent Cardona. Expensive suit, the body of a defensive linebacker—fleshy but muscled. Dark, penetrating eyes. Cardona looked in both directions before leveling his feral gaze on Jack. An attempt at a smile fell short of the mark. A thick manila envelope was tucked under one beefy arm.

Jack had been aware there would be some form of payback due for information Cardona had provided on Arturo Delgado, the man responsible for the attempted murder of his son. He just didn’t think it would come due this quickly. He opened the locked gate and let the big man follow him down the dock toward his used Cutwater cabin cruiser.

As Peter stood sentry in front of the Lincoln Town Car, Jack allowed the devil entry to his little piece of paradise.

“How’s your boy? How’s the pitching arm?” Vincent asked bluntly. Just a reminder of why he was there.

“On the mend.” Jack gestured to one of two canvas deck chairs in the open cockpit of the boat. Both men sat in silence as Jack waited for Cardona to explain the reason for his visit.

Jack wasn’t comfortable with Cardona’s talking about Chris, but the big man had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John’s Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona’s enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that might have saved his son’s life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack. The debt weighed heavily.

“It rips your heart out when your children have problems and you can’t do nothing to help,” Cardona said with the raspy wheeze of a man who had abused cigars, drugs, booze, and fatty sausage for most of his life.

“What can I do for you?” Jack asked, not wanting to prolong the impromptu meeting.

Cardona, unfazed by Jack’s brusqueness, answered by pulling out a picture and handing it to Jack.

“Angelica Marie Cardona. She’s my girl. My only. My angel. Her mother died giving birth. I didn’t have the heart to re-up. I raised her by myself.”

Mobster with a heart of gold. Right, Jack thought. But Cardona’s wife must have been a stunner because Angelica, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes, didn’t get her good looks from her father. Cardona’s gift was her self-assured attitude, which all but leaped off the photograph.


Jack Bertolino, master of the understatement, he thought.

“And doesn’t she know it. Too much so for her own good. You make mistakes, my line of business. Whatever.”

“What can I do for you, Vincent?” Jack said, dialing back the attitude.

Cardona tracked a seagull soaring overhead with his heavy-lidded eyes and rubbed the stubble on his jaw.

Jack would have paid good money to change places with the gull.

“I shoulda never moved out here. L.A. I’m a black-socks- on-the-beach kinda guy. East Coast all the way. Never fit in. But I’m a good earner and the powers that be decided they were happy with the arrangement. Everyone was happy except Angelica and me.

“She turned thirteen, didn’t wanna have nothing to do with her old man. Turned iceberg cold. I tried everything— private schools, horses, ballet, therapy, live-in help; nothin’ worked. She closed up tighter than a drum. I finally threatened to send her to the nuns.”

“How did that work out?”

“I’m fuckin’ sitting here, aren’t I? On this fuckin’ dinghy . . . no offense meant,” he said, trying to cover, but the flash of anger told the real story. “I hear you’re an independent contractor now.”

It was Tommy Aronsohn, his old friend and ex–district attorney, who had set him up with his PI’s license and first client, Lawrence Weller and NCI Corp. But Jack Bertolino and Associates, Private Investigation, still didn’t come trippingly off his tongue.

And thinking of the disaster up north, he said, “We’ll see how that goes.”

“This is the point. I haven’t seen my daughter in close to a month. Haven’t heard word one since around the time your son was laid up in Saint John’s,” he said. Reminder number two. “It’s killing me,” he continued. “I’m getting a fuckin’ ulcer. Then this.”

Cardona pulled out the L.A. Times with the front-page spread reporting on the woman who had died when her boat crashed on the rocks at Paradise Cove. As it turned out, a second woman down in Orange County had washed up on the beach a few weeks earlier at the Terranea resort, scaring the joy out of newlyweds taking photos at sunset. Talk about twisted memories, Jack thought. As if marriage wasn’t tough enough. He’d already read both articles with his morning coffee and hadn’t bought into the pattern the reporter inferred.

“And the connection?”

“I got a bad feeling is all. She’s never disappeared like this before—not for this long anyway,” he said, amending his statement. “And then . . .” Cardona said, waving the newspaper like it was on fire. “It says here they were both blonds. Both about Angelica’s age. They could be fuckin’ cousins. Could be nothing.”

“Did you file a missing-persons report?”

Cardona gave him a hard side eye. “Jack, don’t fuck with me. We take care of our own.”

Jack thought before he spoke. “I’m not one of yours.”


“What about your crew?”

Cardona flopped open his meaty hands. “I get angina, I don’t call my cousin Frankie, who has a certain skill set but stinks when it comes to open-heart surgery. Look, I get it. You were on the other team. But this is straight-up business. One man to another. One father to another. I need you to find my girl. You got my number. Use it, Jack. Money’s no object. Find my baby.”

Strike three.

Jack didn’t answer. He stared out at the navy-blue water of the marina, past row upon row of beautiful yachts, symbols of dreams fulfilled, and knew they were empty notions compared to family.

Cardona hadn’t actually spoken the words you owe me, but they filled the subtext of everything he’d said. He was not subtle. The big man had reached out when Jack was in need, and Jack had accepted the offer. Now Vincent Cardona wanted his pound of flesh.

“This is everything I know. Last address, phone numbers, phone bills, e-mail accounts, bank, credit cards, friends and whatnot. The whole shot,” Cardona said, holding the manila envelope out in Jack’s direction.

“I have other commitments,” Jack stated.

“You look real fuckin’ busy, Jack, if you don’t mind my sayin’.” His eyes crinkled into a sarcastic grin. Vincent Cardona does charm.

Jack accepted the overstuffed envelope with a sigh.

 “If she don’t want to come back, fine. No funny business, no strong-arm bullshit from my end. You got my word. I just need to know that my blood is alive. I’m fuckin’ worried and I don’t do worry too good. Sleep on it, Jack. But do the right thing.”

Cardona’s eyes locked on to Jack’s. Jack remained silent. He’d take a look. No promises, not yet.

Vincent’s knees cracked and the canvas chair squeaked like it was in pain as he stood up. He covered a belch behind his fist and rubbed his gut as he moved stiffly past Jack. The boat rocked when Cardona stepped off and walked heavily away, his Italian leather shoes echoing on the wooden dock.

The weight of the world. Jack could relate.

Peter Maniacci opened the gate for his boss and then the door to the Lincoln Town Car, which plunged to curb level as the big man slid in. Peter ran around to the other side of the car and tossed Jack a wave like the queen mum. He jumped into the Lincoln, which lurched forward before Peter could slam the door shut.

Jack walked into the boat’s deckhouse, grabbed a bottle of water, and downed two more Excedrin. He stretched his back, which was going into a spasm from yesterday’s violence, and chased the pills with a Vicodin to stay one step ahead of the pain that he knew was headed his way.

Jack had already decided to take the case.

Author Bio:

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. “The Devil’s Necktie” was his first novel. “Blond Cargo” is the next book in the Jack Bertolino series. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

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