Her Last Move – John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @amazonpub @emmafinnegan #blogtour #HerLastMove

Her Last Move cover

 

It’s not easy being the baddie: erasing evidence; disposing of bodies in ever increasingly different and hard-to-find ways; watching out for CCTV cameras; researching into the intended victim’s routine and every move; thinking of an imaginatively appropriate method of killing them… seriously, it is exhausting. This last one was particularly tricky – getting the tube of Pringles inserted into their fundement, and getting Sniffles the gerbil to actually go inside, was way harder than he imagined it would be –  but that makes it all the more satisfying in the end. Now he gets to settle back and bask in a job well done. After all, they had it coming to them and no one is going to cry after them once he tells everyone what they were really like. As always, he uncorks a bottle of his favourite red wine, opens a new packet of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes (for some reason Pringles no longer appeal), and settles down to celebrate in his own little way. The tea cakes are sticky and delicious as always, and as he takes a sip of wine – raising a small toast to the forever traumatised, reluctant, and now sweetcorn averse, accomplice Sniffles, who hasn’t even touched his celebratory teacake – he mentally goes back through the moments immediately after the kill, and, in a moment of clarity – or Clarety, if you will – he spits out the wine in a spray covering the packet of Tunnock’s and the the table in front of him.

He’s forgotten something.

He’s left something behind at the scene of the crime. Something he was not supposed to.

He left behind….a blurb.

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

Continue reading “Her Last Move – John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @amazonpub @emmafinnegan #blogtour #HerLastMove”

Advertisements

Don’t Open The Door – A Cautionary Halloween Tale.

Hello and a very warm welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Beardy Book Blogger.

Why is it special, I hear you cry?

Well, you see, as it is Halloween I decided on the spur of the moment to write a short story.

I know right? I was sitting there last night quietly minding my own business when my brain piped up and said, “Hey, why not write a short story for your blog? That would be fun, right? Right?”

Stupid brain. Anyway, several hours later (No, it was not rattled off in 5 minutes, but it doesn’t show 😉 ), I had a finished story.

quite like it.

This is the first piece of fiction that I have written since I left school. Ok, I know my reviews have the element of fiction about them, but this is the first time that I have committed pixel to screen in a purely original and fictional format and put it out there for EVERYONE TO READ!

WHAT AM I DOING THAT FOR? ARGHHHHHHH!

Well, I guess it is Halloween and it supposed to be the scariest time of the year, right? So why not scare both myself and you with my terrible writing skills?

Exactly, that’s what I thought too.

So, without further ado, or adon’t, your choice, please sit back, dim all the lights and enjoy (?) “Don’t Open The Door – A Cautionary Halloween Tale”.

Continue reading “Don’t Open The Door – A Cautionary Halloween Tale.”

Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AW

 

It’s a beautiful day down at the beach; the sun is shining, the wind is practically non-existent, and the temperature is a balmy 25ºC – just how you like it. There are several other people around, but not too many to spoil the perfect day you have been looking forward to all week. You take a sip of the cocktail you bought earlier at the little bar facing the sea, nearly taking your eye out with the little plastic pink flamingo that the barman put in despite your protestations; all part of the experience, you guess. There are flamingo images everywhere: on the beach signs, on the sunbeds, even the toilets are differentiated by a flamingo with a top hat on and one with a tiara on. The only thing missing are actual, real flamingos. All at once the peace is shattered by an explosion behind the dunes. you spill your cocktail, sending the little flamingo flying, where it lands beak first in the sand. As you wonder what the hell has happened, and as the other people all cry out in alarm, a piece of burning paper lands on top of you. Panicking you swat it away, throwing the rest of your cocktail onto it to douse the flames (which are extinguished with a weak fizzle; you suspected there was little actual alcohol in there). Once the flames are out you cautiously pick it up and realise that there is writing on it, untouched by the flames. You haven’t got your glasses on – they flew off with the flamingo – but as you squint you realise that in your hands you hold….a blurb!

“Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.”

Continue reading “Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour”

Bloggers Bash…ing. It’s been a funny old week.

It has been a strange old week for bloggers.

If you’re a Twitterer then you couldn’t have failed to notice the attack, for attack it was, by one publisher on the blogging community. I won’t name the publisher here, but it rhymes with Baffeene Flights. Their comments – for I do not know if it was the work of one person or several; though I suspect it was one – set off a powder keg of emotion that they seemed to be totally oblivious to.

They called into question the role of the blog tour, of the bloggers who participate and therefore those who organise them. This was the text of the original tweet that kicked the whole thing off:

Stepped away from social media for a few months. Have to say, I haven’t missed it. Closed our FB account haven’t missed FB at all. Quick word on blog tours…save your money for something that works. Most book bloggers have no reach or influence. They just think they do 😂” 

Who the actual fuck do they think they are, and what’s with the crying with laughter emoji, ffs? With one tweet they completely disregarded and insulted every book blogger there is (and not just book bloggers, no doubt). They clearly believe that book bloggers are an arrogant breed of people who believe that they are the true key to a books success.

I don’t know about you, but that is not how I feel. Reading the replies, and from personal experience, I also know it isn’t how many publishers feel.

I blog because I love books. For me, blogging is a creative outlet that also allows me to shout about the books I love. To celebrate great talent. To help promote, and improve the awareness of the authors that I respect and admire. To enable others to discover the books that make me happy and that I love. Sure, not everyone will agree with my reviews, but, so what? That’s what makes us as human beings the wonderfully diverse people that we are; our differences of opinion. You may not agree with them, you may not like them, but that’s life.

Ok, I realise that may sound contradictory to what Baffeene Flights were saying; after all, it’s their opinion, right? Well, yes and no. As a publisher they are not only insulting us as a community, surely they are also insulting their authors? I have recently reviewed a BF book, the excellent Medium Wave by Rose Zolock (and just to rub salt into the wound you can check it out here), and I know that Rose was thrilled with it. Without the blog tour I wouldn’t have even heard of Rose or her book. Of course I have no idea if it made any difference to her sales, but people saw it on the day of the posts publication; people who may not have even been aware of its existence until that morning. I loved the book, and my review reflected that.

On that note, this was another thing that came up in the ensuing thread; that bloggers on a particular tour are biased in their reviews. I’m not someone who gushes about a book just because I’m on a tour (and I admit I am an unashamed gusher when it comes to certain books 😉 ). I gush because I love the book and I want people to know about it. If I hadn’t enjoyed it I would’ve contacted the tour organiser concerned to say so and we would work something out. I don’t write, or publish, negative reviews. I know that this is a controversial subject in itself, but that is my choice. If I enjoy/like/love/gush over a book I shall say so. If I don’t, I don’t feel the need to tell everyone about it. I feel that if someone reads a positive review it may encourage them to buy the book, or at the very least to look into it further. If they then don’t enjoy it then it’s my reputation as a reviewer that is on the line, not that of the author. But at least they may have bought the book, looked it up, downloaded it, or whatever, and that may give the author another chance. If I publish a negative review, the reader may not even consider the book, plus it seems that negative word always seems to spread fast, and then it is the author who ultimately loses out.

For me, blogging isn’t about personal gain; I don’t chase stats or want some online fame, I want the author to be the recipient of any gains. Of course I get a little buzz from seeing my name on a blog tour poster, and recently I was even quoted inside a book – I won’t lie, that was a thrill – but that is just gravy on the meat of satisfaction that people will be aware of, and hopefully buy, the books of an author they may not have heard of before.

The original BF tweet called into question a blogger’s reach. I have no idea what my reach is. Most of my posts get way less than 100 views. In fact, with the exception of my “Let’s talk about chapters baby” post, which gets daily view into double figures, all from the US – which I suspect is some kind of bot; it’s a truly bizarre thing I do not understand – I really do not care. I have a small but hardcore group of fans, which I like to call my Beardy Blog Fans, who regularly retweet and share my posts. But although I find it is often the same people who do this, and truly I love each and every one of you, they often have far more followers than me and therefore, logically, it stands to reason that more people will ultimately see my posts than If I posted to my blog alone. Surely that’s reach? People don’t have to like/comment/retweet/etc to validate that reach. I often read things and think, “that’s interesting. I’ll come back to that later” without doing any of those things. Then there are those who come across your post much later. I have, and continue to have, views or likes on posts from weeks, or even months ago. As far as I’m concerned that’s another person my blog has reached, and who is to say that they won’t then go and tell others.

The arrogance of this publisher was truly staggering. Even amongst all of the passionate defence of bloggers that followed they still didn’t back down. They even found the distress they caused, “fascinating”. At one point they even appeared to personally attack one blogger via Direct Message. They claimed to have been hacked and that it was “Fake News”, but it still left a distinctly rotten taste. There was, and continues to be, no apology or signs that they understood the upset they caused. Of course they are entitled to their opinion, but to fail to offer even the smallest of apologies to the community that supports them is quite disturbing (though they did try to distance themselves from the personal attack mentioned earlier, but not with very much effort). I have seen little comment from their authors, but I guess that is to be expected. I would imagine they wouldn’t want to rock the boat even further. I have also noticed that their follower count has not changed. I admit, although I was sorely tempted to, that I haven’t unfollowed them on Twitter as I feel to do so will hurt their authors, and I will be less likely to see any new book releases. But this particular publisher is clearly dismissive of social media. They deleted their Facebook account, claiming to not miss it, and obviously couldn’t care less for Twitter either. To be honest, even though I have it, I don’t use FB, but as a publisher, to dismiss its value as a promotional tool is very short sighted. It reaches millions, assuming your profile is public as a business profile most likely will be. After all, they are a publisher and their job, amongst others, surely is to promote and publish their authors to as many people as possible; to enable them to earn money doing they thing they love, which is writing and bringing their books to as many people as possible? Maybe it isn’t. What would I know?

I realise that I’m picking on Baffeene Flights here, but that is only because they kicked this whole thing off. They aren’t the only ones to have done so though. There have been other Twitter users – and I only say Twitter here as that’s my social media outlet of choice – who have had similar views on blog tours and blitzes. Twitter is well known for things getting out of hand where no real offence was meant. It is difficult to get across in 280 characters what you may really intend to say; it is very easy to be misunderstood or to be misinterpreted. But that just means that one needs to be that more careful when constructing one’s tweets. In this case however, I feel that there was no misunderstanding; the intention was clear from the outset.

There have been some blog tours I’ve seen where the posts have mostly been spotlights – where the basic blurb and author profile/purchase links are posted. I’m not remotely being snobbish here – this is still a valid form of promotion – I just think that, on the whole, reviews are more valuable as they give an opinion on the book in question. The more reviews there are, surely the more of a diverse and informed opinion the blog tour visitor will get? There’s nothing wrong with a spotlight, of course. I did my first one recently (and you can find that here), and it genuinely piqued my interest in the book – in fact I ordered it on the strength of it. I did it because I didn’t have time to read and review the book before the tour started, but it genuinely looked interesting from the email I received. I tend to think that you don’t get a proper feel for the book from a spotlight alone though (unless it’s one of my spotlights that is, as I have clearly demonstrated 😉 ).

The original tweet was also an attack on the blog tour organisers. Tour organisers are a remarkable species: they have a very tough job generating interest in books and authors that many will not have heard of before. We are most often asked to take the plunge on an unknown author purely on the strength of the blurb alone most of the time. But that’s the excitement of the blog tour for me; will I enjoy it? The discovery of a new author is quite thrilling. Plus many, if not all, blog tour organisers are bloggers themselves and do it in their spare time; fitting it around work, home life, kids, etc whether for payment or for free.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that blog tours as a whole, and not just the individual blogger, are a invaluable tool in the marketing, promotion and word-of-mouth of a book and author; whether it be a review, spotlight, interview, or a cover reveal. To say otherwise – to allude, as BF did, that bloggers are a deluded bunch who think that they are all important and whose word is sacrosanct – is to deny, and insult, a community of people who love what they do. Who gives a shit anyway if a blogger enjoys the limelight or exposure it may bring? Is that such a bad thing? Of course it bloody well isn’t. Everyone gets something different out of the experience. For me it’s the enjoyment of the writing of the review. I try to do it a little differently. I attempt to inject some humour into my posts, whatever they are (except for this one it seems, ha.). I want my readers to take notice and for my reviews to stick in their minds, but not at the expense of the book. I want it to stick so that they remember it and buy the book 😉 It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be, too. The pressure to read and review books, fitting them around my day job as the deadline looms, is quite stressful. There are days when I just can’t think of anything to write. Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because I’m knackered and, as I mentioned above, I try to do something different with my reviews and therefore I have kinda shot myself in the foot a little 😉 But it’s ultimately great fun and when things come together it feels fantastic and very satisfying.

This post isn’t meant to speak for every blogger out there. It’s a personal viewpoint. But I can’t help but think that others will feel the same way, at least for some of the points. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I feel compelled to comment on anything controversial, but this tweet, and the subsequent replies from BF, really pissed me off.

I do not charge for my reviews – another thing alluded to by BF. A family member recently suggested that I should, but that just isn’t why I started blogging in the first place. I do it for the love, as corny as that sounds. Yes I love it when others read my reviews and enjoy them, of course I do, but I get a much bigger thrill when the authors and publishers do, and you all know who you are 😉 Since I began blogging back in February ’18, I have had fantastic support from both authors and publishers alike, including the publisher who started this off, which makes this all the more frustrating and surreal. I guess they were just having a bad day? It can’t be easy running a small independent publishing company, but there’s no need to take it out on us. Sometimes you just need to know when to hold your tongue.

Peace and book love, TBBB. X

Let’s twist again, like we did last summer…or let’s not!

Have you felt it?

A disturbance?

A rent in the very fabric of reality…and something has slipped through.

As if millions of people suddenly cried out and….would not be silenced.

A creeping insidiousness invading the covers of our books; our reviews; our tweets…

emperor-palpatine
Darth Sidious: “Good…Goooood! Let the hatred flow through you. Only through the Dark Side can this diabolical practice be stopped!” Tbf, It’s probably not his fault, but he looks like the kinda guy who would start this sort of thing. Plus, also, he should seriously rethink his facial care regime. Just sayin’.

You see, there’s a trend these days, I’ve noticed.

A trend that is slowly starting to get on my wick. One that is innocent enough really, but none the less is bloody annoying.

What is it?

Continue reading “Let’s twist again, like we did last summer…or let’s not!”

The Lion Tamer Who Lost: Author Q&A with Louise Beech. @louisewriter @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour

*shimmies sideways singing* Well, I don’t care if the sun don’t shine, I’ll get my lovin’ in the evening time, when I’m with my bayyyyBeeee…

Well, it ain’t no fun with the sun around, I get going when the sun goes down, And I’m with my bayyyyybeeeeee…

Well, that’s when we’re gonna kiss, and kiss and kiss and kiss, and we’re gonna kiss some
more…..*stops suddenly dropping a photo of Louise*

 

Ummmm, oh…ahem…er…hello! I didn’t see you there. Please, please excuse me. I’ll, ummm, I’ll just remove this tutu and take off my make-up and, oh pick up this totally random photo that I have just found on the floor and is not at all covered in lipstick kisses, no, no it isn’t…. 

Right *cough* um, helloooooo and the warmest of beardy welcomes to my humble blog. You may be wondering why you are here. In fact, I am certain of it. Some of you may actually have chosen to come here of your own free will. Well, that was silly of you, but I am glad you’re here. Seeing as you are here, either by hook or indeed by crook, let me help to ease your confusion and enlighten you as to to point of this post.

You see, today I am very proud to host a Q&A as part of the blog tour for Louise Beech’s sublime new book, “The Lion Tamer Who Lost” (published by the immense powerhouse that is Orenda Books).

But wait! Before we continue, you may not know what a Q&A is. Silly me, let me explain; It’s really quite simple. a “Q&A” is a blogging term meaning Questions and Answers: the ‘Q’ part – that’s the “Questions” and the ‘A’ part – that’s the “Answers”. The squiggly thing in-between the Q and the A is an “and”. See? It’s hardly rocket surgery this blogging lark.

So, if you are ready, sitting comfortably, and have a stiff drink to hand, we shall begin:

 

glitter shower

Continue reading “The Lion Tamer Who Lost: Author Q&A with Louise Beech. @louisewriter @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour”

After He Died – Michael J Malone @michaeljmalone1 @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour

thumbnail_AFTER HE DIED cover
Look at this beauty. Yet another Orenda/Kid Ethic thing of beauty. All three of Michael’s Orenda books to date have featured a circle/semi circle motif, but this one is the best yet. Love it.

 

As if the day wasn’t difficult enough for you – burying a loved one is never easy, but Chirpy Cheep-Cheep was a beloved budgie and the neighbour’s cat will face justice over this feathered crime, as will the person who left the cage open in the first place – there is one face in the crowd of mourners (yourself, your youngest, the nosey, pervy neighbour peeping behind their bedroom curtains, and their murderous cat, looking smug and with a I’m-totally-digging-him-up-later look on his stupid feline face), that you don’t recognise. You’re not even sure how she got into the garden, but you notice that the gate is open when it should be bolted; another mental note to admonish this persistent door-leaver-opener – probably your eldest as they can never seem to keep their mouth closed either. As you make eye contact the stranger walks across the lawn towards you – the lawn that Chirpy Cheep-Cheep will never gaze at through the window ever again – and embraces you. You feel her slip something into your pocket as she whispers her condolences, and, as quickly as she came, she leaves through the still open gate. Befuddled you put your hand into your pocket and pull out a piece of paper. On it, in neat writing, is a……blurb:

“When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…”

Continue reading “After He Died – Michael J Malone @michaeljmalone1 @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour”

Overkill – Vanda Symon @vandasymon @orendabooks @annecater

Overkill Cover
Look at that cover. Lush or what, eh? Bloody gorgeous and it really does suit the tone of the story inside. Another Orenda cover success.

 

The doorbell rings. In the middle of a particularly tricky jigsaw you tut, tear yourself away, and look through the peephole in the door. On the other side is a man, cap pulled down so to obscure his face, dressed in the dark blue overalls of a tv repairman. But you haven’t got a tv; your passion is jigsaws. Who needs telly when the act of slotting those lugs into their correct piece is so thrilling. Something isn’t right here. The bell rings again making you jump, but you cover your mouth to stifle any call of surprise. The man’s body language belies his impatience, but he turns to leave. You realise that you have been holding your breath and you start to let it out, but he turns suddenly, thrusting a piece of paper through your letterbox. It falls to the floor, twisting as it does before landing face up. In crude, almost childlike writing you see the words. Upon the paper is……. a blurb:

“When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.

To find the murderer … and clear her name.

A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.”

Continue reading “Overkill – Vanda Symon @vandasymon @orendabooks @annecater”

Crack Apple & Pop – Saira Viola @sairaviola @f13noir @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles

crack apple and pop
I think that’s a Braeburn. Maybe a Russet? No, too green. Certainly not a Granny Smith’s or a Pink Lady. Maybe it’s a crab apple? We need an apple expert here. Anyone? 

 

Backed up against the wall you sweat and you gibber

But despite what they say you ain’t no grass and you ain’t no fibber

Drawing his gun he points it straight in your face

In your chest your heart hammers at an accelerated pace

All of a sudden he squeezes the trigger

Your legs giving way in a slip and a jigger

But as the hammer comes down for your brains to disturb

Poking out of the barrel is a flag with a blurb…..

 

Tony is a handsome young boxer forced into a life of crime after suffering a vicious blow in the ring.

Seduced by the glitz and glamour of London and mentored by charismatic gang lord Don March he rises rapidly up the crime ladder until he spies an opportunity to start a semi-legit Natural Highs business.

Bankrolled by an eccentric British dandy and accompanied by a cast of starry misfits including a 3ft tall blue-haired money man, an Etonian drug mule, two dominatrix debt collectors, a dodgy lawyer and a host of demi-celebs, Tony carves out a roll for himself in a city where money creates its’ own morality.

All seems to be going well until in the shadows, a Bollywood mobster threatens to derail their plans.

Chaos ensues, of course it does – wonderful, beautiful, visceral chaos.

The deft wit of Hammett meets the vivid poetics of Chandler: Crack Apple and Pop is slick smart and razor sharp. A gritty and sometimes metafictive slice of London noir.

A city of artful dodgers, yardie gangsters, kinky aristos, cocaine dusted starlets and social thrill seekers where everyone’s hustling and everyone’s getting high.

Whether it’s law, finance, the music biz, or the boxing ring: money is king. And only the ones prepared to risk everything will survive…

Continue reading “Crack Apple & Pop – Saira Viola @sairaviola @f13noir @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles”

Crimson Siege (Blood Riders Book 1) – Jay Raven @jayravenauthor @rararesources

Crimson Siege

 

Hey you, yes you! No, not you….no, yo….you, you over there in the cape! Finally *tuts* Do you like horror? Do you like vampires? Do you like a rollicking good jailhouse siege (Yes, I’m talking to you now, yes you in the Elvis wig – I see you)? Do you like your story to be set in a dark, gothic, mountainous setting, preferably during the 19th Century?

What’s that? You do? Well, hurrah and break out the bunting (black, bat-shaped bunting, of course), because this could well be the book for you.

But, what if I said “NAY” to all of the above? What if we don’t like capes, or Elvis? What about us? Well, I say shut yer whining and open your mind, this may still be the book for you – and rethink you attitudes towards Elvis, man. Don’t worry about the capes, though.

edna mode no capes
Don’t mess wit da Mode, man!

  Continue reading “Crimson Siege (Blood Riders Book 1) – Jay Raven @jayravenauthor @rararesources”