Lazy Days Blog Tour

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour kicking off the release of Lazy Days, a novella detailing two women’s experience  on a holiday together over forty years ago. They kept a notebook of their experiences during the vacation and have talked for many years of writing a book about their trip.

And that book is now a reality! Congratulations to Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie on the release of Lazy Days. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m hoping to get to it before another month has come and gone.

Today on Reade and Write I’m delighted to share two essays–one by each of the authors.

First, from Anita:

“Hi, my name is Anita and although I am 71, I am by no means a ‘silver surfer.’ I have been writing fiction novels for a while now, but never managed to be picked up by any of the mainstream publishers. They all said they loved what I wrote, but found it hard to slot them into a category!  It came tantalisingly close, but no cigar, as they say.

I realised I would have to try something else. I saved all of the rejection letters, because most of them had very encouraging comments. If my mother had slapped me as gently when I was a child, it wouldn’t have hurt half as much!

I even wrote to James Herbert once in desperation and he was so kind and supportive, it gave me the inspiration to continue writing.

Now I am retired and with the help of my sister-in-law Jaye, (who has learnt to be a ‘surfer’) we decided to dust off some of my manuscripts and try to achieve the impossible with a second chance to find out if anyone out there likes the kind of books I write…

How do I write?

I am a paper and pencil girl. You could chain me to a computer for years and nothing would happen! Jaye, on the other hand is managing to cope with all the editing and marketing, but then she has far more patience than I do.  (And she is as stubborn as a mule which helps a lot!)

They say you are never too old to learn, but in my case never is another word for infinity!

 What made me want to write?

I love music, especially country music. It always seems to take me to where my own hurt lives. Songs about heartache help my pen run along the paper, almost as though the pain writes the words.

How do I find my characters?

They tend to find me. I was listening to ‘Ruby, don’t take your love to town’  sung by Kenny Rogers and a few days later the characters for Bad Moon popped into my head and just took over. I seem to have an affinity with West Virginia and the people who live there. Just hearing the way they talk makes a connection in my head, maybe I lived there once in another life.

It was the same with The Scarlet Ribbon. The words of that song put the characters in my head and they pulled me in.

Not so sure where the idea for Simple came from, even though it is a similar story to Bad Moon, but there was a girl at school when I was eleven who had a bad stammer, and I often wonder what became of her.

The books I like to read…

I love the stories of Merlin and Arthur, but my reading list covers a wide range of genres. One of my all-time favourites is River God by Wilbur Smith; the character of Taita really spoke to me.”

And now from Jaye:

“I had no intention of becoming a writer. I loved to read, and for most of my life, that was enough for me. More than enough really, for I am a compulsive reader and will read anything I can lay my hands on. Give me a bookshelf full of books and I will start at one end and read my way to the other.

Then I offered to edit my sister Anita’s books. She hates computers, so I offered to type them up too. Before I knew it, my brain began to explore what other things I could be doing.

I tried to ignore that inner voice, for I was busy enough already. Anita was writing faster than I could format, and there were all my other interests too. Gardening, DIY, dressmaking and a host of craft projects. I love to be busy, but it came to the point where something had to give, never mind add something else to the list.

I considered myself a writer when I held my first paperback copy of my book Nine Lives in my hand for the first time. Up until that magic moment, I doubted I would ever feel like a writer. But holding that paperback copy finally convinced me.

My favourite character didn’t really appear until book two, The Last Life, and his name is Detective Inspector David Snow. The fact that my detective looks a lot like Tom Selleck should indicate how fond I am of him. I just love writing about him.

That was then, and I have now finished writing The Broken Life, the third book in my mystery thriller series.  The characters just turned up in my head, one by one, nagged me for weeks until I gave in, and listened. So you can never say never.

This genre came as a surprise, for I lean towards the supernatural, spooky kind of book, so I have no idea where the idea came from. If anything, I should have expected to write medical stories, as I always wanted to be a doctor, and these are some of my favourite television programmes.

My favourite fiction book just happens to be The Scarlet Ribbon, Anita’s supernatural mystery romance. I was the editor for this one and fell in love with it. And no, she didn’t have to pay me to say this!

My life has not been easy by anyone’s standards, and now I am growing old, I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get through it all. So, the perfect epitaph for me would be… “She did her best…” Even though I made a pig’s ear out of most of it!”

Here’s a blurb of Lazy Days:

This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.

This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.

Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.

It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.

Where you can find the book and more information from each of the authors:

Website: http://jenanita01.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaydawes2/media

Facebook: http://facebook.com/anita.dawes.37

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Anita’s Author Page/Amazon Link : https://Author.to/AnitaLink

Jaye’s Author Page/Amazon Link: https://Author.to/JayeLink

Thank you, ladies, for joining us today on Reade and Write! Good luck with your new book!

Until next time,

Amy

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Highland Peril Has Arrived!

I’m thrilled to announce that it’s Release Day for Highland Peril!

I’m participating in a blog tour for this book in the hope of getting the word out to lots of people over lots of platforms. Yesterday I was a guest on Kristina Stanley’s Mystery Mondays blog and on Amy Metz’s A Blue Million Books. You can click on the blog names to visit the posts.

Here’s where I’ll be for the next week:

Today: Nadaness in Motion

Wednesday: The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

Thursday: Dee-Scoveries

Friday: Back Porchervations and Readeropolis

Saturday: The Editing Pen and Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book

Sunday: The Power of Words

Monday: Cozy Up with Kathy

Next week I’ll give you a few more posts to check out.

And now I have a wee request: if you’ve already read a pre-release copy of Highland Peril, would you do me a HUGE favor and post your review on Amazon? I appreciate it very much.

Thanks as always for your support and love!

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Blog Tour with Gus Kenney

Today I’m moving a little out of my regular genres to tell you about a book by Gus Kenney, author of The Complications of Being Lucy, a series described as “a fun-for-all-ages new series of modern day magic and adventure.”

Here’s a blurb about Book One in the series, The Changeling and the Cupboard:

NEVER GO INTO THE PARK.

Lucy was never afraid of the dark. She never questioned her family. She never thought that the world of logic and science could be a lie. But on her ninth birthday everything changed when a strange boy came into her life from the very lands she was forbidden from ever entering and she finds herself immersed in a conspiracy that was created before she was born. Her reality is shattered by the existence of magic and things of legend. The bonds of family are tested by a lifetime of deception and the truth of who she actually is becomes the least of Lucy’s torments. For someone has unleashed a nightmare, and Lucy, her family, and her new friends are soon on the run from a creature that even darkness fears.

If you’d like to read more, you can click here for a larger sample.

And here’s a blurb of Book Two in the series, The Changeling and the Borrowed Family:

A NIGHTMARE IS JUST A DREAM IN THE LIGHT OF DAY.

Lucy was used to everyone hiding things from her. Now she is the one forced to hide. The Changelings have been discovered and to save herself, Lucy must slip into the life of a creature who shares her nightmares. With her family scattered in search for answers and her only friend powerless to help, Lucy must guard her heart from the world she always longed for and from the people that want her dead. But how can you fight the agony of your dreams and the secrets buried in your own blood?

If you’d like to read more, click here for a larger sample.

Meet Gus Kenney

Gus lives in western New York with his amazing wife and five four legged children. He decided he wanted to be a writer when he realized that he could never be a spy as good as Timothy Dalton’s Bond and that Hired Sword was not part of any growth industry. When he is not semi-busy writing, he spends his time pretending he knows what he is doing at a nine-to-five job and the rest of it complaining that it is taking way too long for them to start showing new episodes of his favorite cartoons. If you’re bored, or just a creeper, you can check out the insanity that doesn’t make it into his books on his social media outlets.

Facebook

The Complications Of Being Lucy

Twitter

Tumblr

Instagram

Linkedin

​Goodreads

Amazon (Both books are on sale now in the US and UK for 99c/p)

Website

As It Is Blog (Stop over and sneak a peek at Book Three)

Email: guskenney@yahoo.com

If you’d like to find out which scene is Gus’s favorite, click here.  Want to read an interview with him? Click here.

Gus has two offers to share with readers:

The first is a Rafflecopter giveawayclick here to read the rules and enter.

The second is a Name-the-Character contest. Here are the rules for a chance to name one of the characters in Book Three of The Complications of Being Lucy series, Traitor’s Niece 

Purchase The Changeling and the Cupboard, snap a photo of you with the book (if it’s an eBook open it on your ereader device), tag Gus Kenney here and Margaret Daly here and post your picture! That’s it! The winner will be announced here.

And don’t forget to leave reviews of the books you read!

Until next time,
Amy

Just Two More Weeks!

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today (2)

House of the Hanging Jade comes out in two weeks: at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26th. In case you’re counting (I know- I’m the only one who’s counting), that’s just 356 hours and 1 minute from the time this post goes live. So it’s time, don’t you think, for an excerpt? Maybe two?

***

I was still working for Geoffrey a couple weeks later, still floundering through the endless winter weather and finding our relationship a bit awkward. He made excuses to be wherever I was, whether it was in the kitchen or the basement of the restaurant or while I was coming to work or leaving work to go home. I was actively looking for a job on the Big Island, and didn’t want to return home without any employment prospects, but I was seriously beginning to consider going home without a job just to get away from Geoffrey. I had told all my friends and colleagues in DC and on the island of Hawaii that I was going back home; everyone wished me well.

One night I worked very late at the restaurant. I couldn’t catch a cab, so I had to walk home. I walked briskly on the dark sidewalk, trying to stay warm. I slipped on a patch of ice at one point, dropping my bag. As I stooped down to pick it up, I noticed a man walking not too far behind me. He had a toque pulled low over his forehead. I walked a little faster after that, not wanting to be the only woman on the street late at night. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed that the man walked a little more quickly too. A shiver of apprehension crept up the back of my neck. I ducked into a tiny twenty-four-hour grocery store and browsed for a few minutes, buying nothing, but giving the man plenty of time to walk past me and continue on his way.

When I went back outside, I looked left and right to make sure no one was following me. Seeing nobody, I kept walking, but it wasn’t long before I noticed the same man walking slightly behind me and on the other side of the street. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t because the sidewalks were too treacherous. All I could do was fumble for my cell phone and have it handy to call 911 if he came any closer. I looked over my shoulder again; he was crossing the street, walking a bit faster. I went faster too.

I took off my gloves and shoved them in my coat pocket so I could dial 911 quickly. I was almost in front of my building, pulling my phone out of my other pocket when I heard footsteps directly behind me. The man grabbed my elbow and I let out a cry.

“Kailani, it’s me.”

“Geoffrey! You scared me to death! What on earth are you doing?”

“I was just following you to make sure you made it home okay,” he said, still gripping my elbow.

“You’ve never done that before,” I said, my voice grating in irritation. “Why start now?”

“I was just concerned about you, that’s all.”

“Thank you, but I’m fine. Don’t ever do that again. You really scared me.”

“I’m sorry.”

I shook his hand off my elbow and walked away. As I unlocked the door to my apartment building, I saw him out of the corner of my eye, watching me. I shivered, but not from the cold. Now I really couldn’t wait to leave Washington. And Geoffrey.

***

I was crouched down, looking for a Dutch oven, when Akela came in. “Kailani, there’s someone here to see you.”

“Who is it?”

“He didn’t give his name. He’s waiting at the end of the driveway. The police wouldn’t let him come up to the house, so one of them came to escort you.”

I followed Akela to the front door, where an officer stood waiting. He explained that he and his partner could not allow anyone on the property and said he would take me to see my visitor. We walked in silence to the end of the driveway. Another officer was stationed by the large gate, and on the other side of it a tall man in shorts and a T-shirt stood with his back to me. Even before he turned around I knew who it was.

“Geoffrey? What are you doing here?” I asked, incredulous. I had only emailed him a couple times since leaving Washington, and none of those emails had included an invitation to visit or the location of my new job. I opened the gate slowly.

He turned to look at me, a big grin spread across his face. “Surprise!” He came forward and gave me a big hug. I pushed myself away gently.

“I can’t believe you’re here! What made you decide to come all the way to Hawaii?”

“You! What else?” I stole a glance at the officers, who were politely looking in the other direction.

“Wow. I’m flattered. I wish you’d told me you were coming, because I could have met you at the airport or something.” I faltered, searching for the right thing to say. I thought he had realized that I didn’t want to see him anymore. That he wasn’t part of my life in Hawaii the way he had been in Washington.

He stepped back a bit. “Is it okay that I’m here? I mean, do you mind? I just thought it would be a nice surprise.”

“Oh, no,” I assured him quickly. “It is a nice surprise. I just can’t believe you came all this way, that’s all. How did you know where to find me?”

“It’s a long story,” he said vaguely. I let that go for the moment.

“Why are the police here?” he asked.

“Someone died here last night.”

His eyes widened. “Really? Who?”

***

As release day approaches, I will be updating my blog about my blog tours (lots of giveaways!) and other places online where you can find excerpts of House of the Hanging Jade, other guest blogs, and interviews. I hope you’ll take a look!

And one more thing: I’m 51% of the way to my goal in my Thunderclap campaign! I hope you’ll consider lending me your voice of support on the day my book comes out- Thunderclap does all the work. All you have to do is click the link and sign up to support me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr! Here’s the link: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/38945-be-a-part-of-a-book-birthday. And thank you!

Until next week,

Amy