Hi Emma – what’s this I hear about a new novel?
It’s just been launched, and I’m really excited! Love Bleeds Blue is firmly in the ‘suspense romance’ genre, and features another sassy female hero-cop who is as passionate about her job as she is about the love in her life. Each Passion Patrol novel can be read as a stand-alone story, characters from previous stories make cameo appearances across the series. It’s a stand-alone fast-moving action adventure with a love story at its core – the third novel in the Passion Patrol Series, featuring hot cops, hot crime and hot romance.
Tell us more.
‘A London girl cop, a violent political crisis, an instant decision. One moment of courage to catch the destiny of history.’ Here’s what the blurb says: When single mother Sergeant Sophia Castellana stumbles into a terrorist shooting, things are not as they seem. Global forces beyond her grasp sweep her up into an audacious scheme to re-unite a world in chaos. The love of a far younger man, the infatuation of a charismatic woman leader seduce her into a blur of inappropriate love and infinite danger. Power and celebrity beckon, betrayal and violence threaten every move as events unfold in the city of Paris. Her brute courage and loving woman’s heart confront ruthless enemies who offer no second chances. She knows the streets, she knows her power as a lover. Can she, dare she seize the prizes before her? Will a world offer her the choice?
Wow, sounds fantastic. Are you doing any offers?
Yes! For the two weeks following the launch there is a Rafflecopter sweepstake link in the back of the book, to win a brand-new Kindle Fire 7″ Tablet worth $50 (gift card equivalent alternative in countries where product not available). The new book is on offer at 99p/99c until 17th April (when it will go up to£2.50/$2.99). And if you fancy trying one of the earlier standalone books in the series for free, here’s a link: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/1LZ7p
How can anyone resist? Good luck with the book, Emma.
Love Bleeds Blue is out, worldwide, on Amazon for Kindle and digital e-readers, on the 3rd April 2017. The print edition will be available by May 2017.
The launch price is 99c/99p and FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited but will go up to $2.99/£2.50 after the 17th April.
Universal Book Sales Link on Amazon: http://www.smarturl.it/AmazonLBB
What they’re saying:
“Politics – Philosophy – Terrorism – Romance – Coup D’ Etats – Assassinations – World Reordering – Steamy Hot Sex! An intriguing love story.” Charles Smith, USA.
“Between the criminal plots, assassination attempts, and cases of almost innocent subterfuge, Ms. Calin weaves in passionate sex scenes that threaten to set the pages on fire.” Anneli Purchase, Canada.
“Staggering!! Wonderfully descriptive coupled with an outstanding story line makes this book a must read! The underlying satire provides some essential humor through out the book.” Evonne Hutton, South Africa.
Emma Calin is the author of the #1 Kindle bestselling suspense romance series ‘Passion Patrol’ and #1 Kindle Children’s Category Bestseller ‘Alf The Workshop Dog’
TRY YOUR FIRST BOOK FREE: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/5Hn0I
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I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Aberdeen-based author Bill Kirton for around a decade now. He is versatile and polished, and he can be excruciatingly funny – and the same adjectives can be used about his writing. I’m delighted to be hosting Bill here today, as he launches The Likeness, the sequel to The Figurehead.
Welcome Bill – and tell me, what inspired this book?
I’m not sure if ‘inspired’ is the right word but it does have a definite starting point. About seven years ago, a friend said to me, ‘You should write a novel about a figurehead carver’. Neither of us knew where his suggestion came from, but I liked it, love sailing ships and the 19th century, and so I wrote The Figurehead. What I hadn’t planned was that the two central characters, carver John Grant and Helen Anderson, daughter of a successful businessman, would start a relationship, but they did and some readers asked, ‘What happened to them? We need a sequel’. The Likeness is that sequel. It’s still a historical crime novel but it also develops the far from straightforward romance between them. In fact, writing the solution to the mystery part of the story was much easier than arriving at a satisfactory conclusion to the love element.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
The ending of The Likeness proved to be an interesting experience in this context. I had to rewrite it several times because, as I wrote, I could feel the disapproval of Helen over the direction in which I was trying to lead her. She’s a strong woman who, in her repressive mid-Victorian society, resists conventions and wants to chart her own way. In the end, I had to reach the conclusion by following her preferred route. It raises the whole question of whether men can create authentic female characters and vice versa. She and I were at odds but I felt and understood her uneasiness about some of the compromises I (unsuccessfully) asked of her.
More generally, I think there are bound to be aspects of the writer in all her/his characters, good or evil. Mine have their independence and frequently surprise me by things they say or do, but if I’m going to ascribe particular qualities or flaws to them, they have to be things I can feel from the inside. The policeman in my modern crime novels definitely shares some of my characteristics – a congenital grumpiness, a desire not to take life too seriously, the occasional childishness, and other things which I’m not prepared to reveal. He has my good points, too, but it would be immodest to claim them.
Hmm. If I had a bit more time, I’d be pushing you about those secrets! Let’s move on and talk about research. Do you do any? If so, what has grabbed your interest most?
Readers nowadays are very well-informed so your research has to be meticulous. In modern crime novels, you daren’t risk short-changing them on forensic details.
Most interesting? That’s easy. For The Figurehead, I needed to know how carvers create their wonderful creatures and characters so I joined a carving class. It’s a different type of modelling; with clay you build up a structure but, with wood, you have to discover the form inside it. I’ve been carving things ever since.
Also, for The Figurehead, I realised a lifetime’s dream. In order to experience what some of my characters would go through, I signed on as a paying crew member of the beautiful sailing ship the Christian Radich to sail from Oslo to Edinburgh. To know just how magical it was, look on Youtube for the title sequence of the old TV programme The Onedin Line. The ship you’ll see is the Christian Radich.
Wow Bill, that sounds amazing. And there was me thinking that a conducted tour round a wind farm was exciting! You do a lot of writing tuition, don’t you? So you must have some great tops. Go on – do share!
Yes, I give workshops on crime writing, writing in general and, (in schools) academic writing. My three main points are always the same.
- Trust your own voice. Don’t imagine that flowery images or posh, complicated words and sentences have more impact than your own, natural way of using language.
- Read your work aloud to spot repetitions, awkward constructions, mistakes, and all the other things that interrupt the flow and convey a lack of professionalism.
- Cut, cut, cut. All writing is better for being pared down.
Thanks Bill – and good luck with the new book.
Aberdeen, 1841. Woodcarver John Grant has an unusual new commission – to create a figurehead to feature onstage in the nautical melodramas of a newly-arrived theatre troupe. Simultaneously, he’s also trying to unravel the mystery of the death of a young woman, whose body has been found in the filth behind the harbour’s fish sheds.
His loving relationship with Helen Anderson, which began in The Figurehead, has grown stronger but, despite the fact that they both want to be together, a conventional marriage, in which the woman is effectively the property of the husband, holds no attractions for her. She’s also challenging yet more conventions of a male-dominated society by asking her father, a rich merchant, to let her join him in his business.
The story weaves together the threads of romance, mystery, Helen’s first steps in business, the activities of the actors, and life around Aberdeen harbour. Finding resolutions to complete the tapestry is a challenge for all of them.
Bill Kirton was born in Plymouth, England but has lived in Aberdeen, Scotland for most of his life. He’s been a university lecturer, actor, director, TV presenter, written and performed songs and sketches at the Edinburgh Festival, and had many radio plays broadcast by the BBC and the Australian BC. He’s written five books on study and writing skills in Pearson’s ‘Brilliant’ series and his crime novels, Material Evidence, Rough Justice, The Darkness, Shadow Selves, Unsafe Acts, and the historical novel The Figurehead, set in Aberdeen in 1840, have been published in the UK and USA. He’s also published a spoof of the crime/spy genres called The Sparrow Conundrum which has won two awards, a satirical novella about online gaming, Alternative Dimension, and a children’s novel, The Loch Ewe Mystery. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and Love Hurts was chosen for the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 2010.
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Thank you for having me on your blog, Jenny.
My usual writing genres are magazine short stories and serials but I wanted to challenge myself to write something longer. I had to learn to allow myself to add words – when writing for magazines you’re always cutting to keep to a word limit. But writing serials was good training because magazines ask you to do a detailed synopsis first and I found it useful to do one for Stella.
Stella’s Christmas Wish was originally called Don’t Ask Alice. At my creative writing class we were brainstorming titles and that was one I came up with off the top of my head (although it turned out that someone else had already thought of it). I wanted to take the exercise further – to find out who Alice was, and what she couldn’t be asked and why, so I created Stella and her younger sister Maddie. Alice is their granny who brought them up. She lives in Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, and Maddie shares a flat in Edinburgh.
The sisters and their granny are very close so Stella is shattered to get a phone call in Christmas week to say that Alice is in hospital, unconscious after a fall. Stella is unable to get hold of Maddie and when she dashes up from London it’s to find that her sister has gone away. She gets hints of where and why from various people but it seems it’s only Alice who can provide all the answers – and it emerges that there’s something in Alice’s past that Stella knew nothing about.
On top of Alice being ill and Maddie missing, Stella knows that in coming home she’ll inevitably come in contact with her ex-boyfriend Ross, a former rugby international who now runs a restaurant in Melrose. Theirs was an acrimonious parting and she doesn’t know how either of them will react when they meet again. And of course, when celebrating Christmas is the last thing on Stella’s mind, there are signs all around of seasonal festivities.
So, the themes of Stella’s Christmas Wish include:
Sisters. The story is not in the least autobiographical but little personal things do creep into your writing. Like Stella and Maddie, my sister and I both have our birthdays in May – and, like them, it was a puzzle to us when we were little why her birthday came first when I was older …
Secrets. There’s a secret in Alice’s past, something she’s buried deep for many years. When it surfaces, it becomes the catalyst for a whole chain of events. Family secrets are a subject I find fascinating – and every family has one.
Then there’s the secret, known only to Stella and one other person, about why she suddenly decided to take up a job offer in London, leaving Ross bewildered and hurt.
Stella’s Christmas Wish: an extract specially for readers of my blog.
Six days before Christmas a family crisis brings Stella back from London to the Scottish Borders – and to Ross, the man she left fifteen months earlier. In this extract Stella has unwillingly accepted a lift from Ross.
‘And your work?’ He sounded as remote as if they’d met as strangers at a dinner party. ‘You enjoy it? At least, when it’s not inadvertently getting mentioned on the news?’
‘I’ve had some interesting assignments – the current one is a management buy-out,’ she said. ‘It’s vital it works out otherwise there’ll be job losses.’
He blew out his lips. Almost like a kiss. ‘Big stuff then,’ he said, unconsciously echoing his grandfather’s reaction. If this were before, when she was in the Edinburgh office, he’d have asked questions, wanted to hear more. But now, like herself, he seemed unwilling to respond to her replies in a way that would turn this into a proper conversation. He reached into his jacket pocket for his wallet. ‘Perhaps we should get on.’
‘Let me get this.’ Stella gestured to him to put his money away. ‘As a thank you for the lift.’
He stood up, pushing his chair back so that it scraped along the floor. ‘I may not be earning mega bucks in the Big City but I can afford to buy you a coffee.’
They stared at each other.
Was this it? Stella’s heart pounded. Was this the showdown she’d been half-expecting from the moment she got into the car? She looked away first, biting her lip to stop it trembling. ‘I didn’t mean that. I just—’
The waitress was back. ‘Did you enjoy your coffee?’
Stella got to her feet. ‘Yes, thank you,’ she said. ‘Could you tell me where the Ladies is, please?’ She lifted her phone and her purse and left the café without looking back.
In the cloakroom she stared at herself in the mirror.
Ambitious girl keen to get on in her career, not letting anything – or anyone – stand in her way. That’s how Ross must have interpreted her decision to move to London.
The real story was much more complicated.
Stella’s Christmas Wish is published by Black and White Publishing at 99p. https://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop/coming-soon/stellas-christmas-wish.html
About Kate Blackadder
I live in Edinburgh with a view of the Castle. I’ve had around fifty short stories published and three magazine serials. Stella’s Christmas Wish, myBook.to/Stella set in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, is my first full-length novel. Two serials The Family at Farrshore myBook.to/Farrshore and The Ferryboat myBook.to/Ferryboat are available on Kindle, and in large-print library editions. I blog at http://katewritesandreads.blogspot.co.uk/ and can be found on Twitter @k_blackadder and https://www.facebook.com/KateBlackadderAuthor
I’m having a bit of a fan girl thing at the moment – and in between blinking in awe at the light bulb moments, I’m learning a fair bit about how to write. I’ve written ten books (eight published an…