“Where do you get your ideas?”

I always thought this question was a bit of a writer’s myth – but people really do ask me this. And in answer? Real life. That’s where I get my ideas (as tempting as it sometimes is to reply ‘the Ideas Shop dot com’).

It’s always a bit tricky to pin down the real source of inspiration but for my current work in progress, it’s easy. This time last year, Somerset (the beautiful county in which I live) was suffering appalling flooding. I remember watching a report on the news – a landslide had revealed the long-buried remains of a Viking long boat. In the instance of watching that thirty second clip, an idea went FIZZ – what if what was revealed was a long-buried body? This also tied in with the reportage around the same time (if memory serves) of Jean McConville and the rest of The Disappeared (a term that still sends shivers down my spine).

In fact, all of the Kate Redman Mysteries have plots based on real life events – all apart from the first, Hushabye. I can’t remember exactly how the plot for Hushabye came about but I do remember having a conversation with my mother which encapsulated the motive the murderer has in the book. It’s also a recurring theme on the forums on Mumsnet :) I think, basically, my plots come from two things. A specific scenario (e.g. the landslide) and character motivation (how people might really behave in real life). The big challenge for me, always, is to create a plot which is a satisfying mystery but also is always believable in terms of character. There’s no point having an incredible mystery if it means that the solution comes from characters acting in a way that doesn’t make sense.

Echo (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 6) is available for pre-order in March 2015.

A working blurb for Echo (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 6)

This is the book I’m currently writing – the first draft is about half done and I’m happy with it so far. Each of the Kate Redman books has an overarching theme to the plot and with Echo, it’s the investigation of historic abuse. Rather a timely subject, what with all the current news stories.

Here’s the blurb, just to whet your appetite…

The West Country town of Abbeyford is suffering its worst floods in living memory when a landslide reveals the skeletal remains of a young woman. Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is assigned to the case but finds herself up against a baffling lack of evidence, wiped files and the suspicion that someone on high is blocking her investigation…

Matters are complicated by her estranged mother making contact after years of silence. As age-old secrets are uncovered and powerful people are implicated, Kate and the team are determined to see justice done. But is the truth worth dying for?

Echo is the sixth in the bestselling Kate Redman Mysteries series. Available for pre-order in March 2015.

 

Mailing list subscriber goodies and a print copy prize draw!

  

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is to take my writing career to its next level – really step it up a pace. Now I’m a limited company, it’s time to start getting business-like about things such as branding, marketing and production. So, starting early, here’s business resolution number 1: grow my mailing list.

Every indie author should have their own mailing list (hell, every trad-pubbed author should too). Facebook, Twitter, etc are great, but with a mailing list you can reach your readers directly and your list belongs to you, not to some third party. You can appeal for reviews and for beta readers (just as I have in my wonderful Advance Reader team who get free advance copies of my new books – if you’re interested, drop me an email and I’ll add you to that list), you can respond to reader queries directly… suffice it to say, get yourself a mailing list, pronto!

But you can’t expect people to sign up for yet another email newsletter without an incentive. I always used to give my subscribers a free copy of my short story collection A Blessing From The Obeah Man but now my subscribers will also get a free copy of Requiem (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 2) AND a free copy of A Prescription for Death (The Asharton Manor Mysteries: Book 2) as well. I’m nice like that ;)

And, so my already subscribed readers don’t miss out, I’ll be running a monthly giveaway where one lucky subscriber will win a signed print copy of one of my books. Names will be drawn at random from my mailing list so sign up to be in with a chance! First draw will be on New Year’s Day…

The opening chapter of Chimera, just for you…

Just to whet your appetite, here’s the opening chapter of Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5). It’s available on pre-order from Amazon if you fancy reading the rest of it!

Prologue

The night sky over Abbeyford was spangled with a million little explosions of light; red, blue, gold and green lit up the dark clouds before falling and fading into oblivion. In the town below, the crowds thronged the pavements and the open space of the fairground that lay to the north of the town park gardens. Along the high street came a fantastic beast, jointed in three places; a giant, scaled snake with huge yellow eyes. Children yelled and pointed, and adults clapped and cheered at the sight. Beneath the snake costume, fifteen sweating men held up the frame that supported its body. The night air carried the acrid tang of cordite from the fireworks and billowed with smoke from chestnuts cooking on braziers. It was thick with the greasy smell of the fast food vans offering chips and hot dogs and candy floss. Thumping bass music blared from the funfair on the park ground itself, pierced by the shrieks and delighted yells of those on the fast rides and the bumper cars. Abbeyford was enjoying its annual pagan festival; for one night in late September the town celebrated the myth and legend of the Abbeyford Wyrm, a giant snake-like creature once rumoured to have lived in the woods and forests surrounding the town.

Olly Chandler had something more than the festival on his mind. He and his girlfriend, Mia Smith, strolled through the fairground, hand in hand. Mia wanted to go on the Ghost Train but Olly scoffed. “Got something even better than that,” he said, pulling Mia close. “A quiet place just for us and some decent weed. How about that?”

Mia looked at him, pouting. Then she giggled. “Let’s get stoned and then go on the Ghost Train,” she said, close his ear. Her warm breath and the way she licked his neck after she spoke made him even more anxious to get her to where they were going.

“Come on,” he said and pulled at her hand. They ran, Mia a little awkwardly in her high heels, over the dusty, bruised grass of the park towards the dip of the hill and the river beyond it.

“Where we going, Olly?” Mia asked as they left the lighter area of the park and walked into the darkness, relieved only here and there by dim streetlights.

“You’ll see. We used to go there when we were kids. It’s private – no one ever goes there.”

“Okay.” She sounded doubtful. Olly found the footpath somehow – it was much more overgrown that it used to be – and pushed aside tree branches and brambles.

“Down there?” said Mia. She actually sounded nervous now. “What is it?”

“S’alright,” said Olly, conscious of a little spike of uneasiness himself. “It’s a row of little houses. They’re empty now, been like that for years.” The two of them pushed through the last of the undergrowth and came out onto a little back road. There were no lights but the moon had emerged from behind a cloud and cast a silvery radiance over the tumbledown buildings before them.

“Are you sure this is safe?” Mia looked down at herself, strewn with leaves and bits of undergrowth, and tutted. “Look at my top. This had better be worth it.”

“It’s fine,” Olly said impatiently. The desire he’d felt at the fairground was ebbing away, down here in the darkness and silence, not to mention the faint unpleasant smell that hung in the air. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. But where else did they have to go? He thought resentfully of his older brother, who’d recently gained his driving license. Only another year to go before Olly could take his test. He couldn’t wait.

Mia was still hanging back, and Olly felt protective. He pulled her close to him and kissed her, and she responded enthusiastically. “Come on, it’ll be fine,” he said. “You want to, don’t you?”

“’Course.” Mia took his hand trustingly and he led her through a space in the front garden wall of the first house in the row of three, where a gate had once hung.

Olly chose the first house because it was the nearest. If he remembered rightly, the door looked closed but could be opened with a shove. Though the house on the end had no front door at all…perhaps they should go there? No, they wanted a bit of privacy. Definitely this one, Olly thought to himself, a decision that would prove to cost him years of therapy.

They stumbled up the garden path to the front door, black in the moonlight. Olly put a hand out to the peeling paint and gave it a shove. The door creaked open and he felt a quick moment of triumph before the smell hit them in the face.

“Ugh, ugh, that’s disgusting,” shrieked Mia. “I’m not going in there.”

“It’s okay, it’s going, it’s going.” A night breeze whipped up and carried the worst of the stench away. “Come on,” said Olly, desperately. He couldn’t have said himself why he was so hell bent on getting into the cottage now, though his family would have told him it was because he had a stubborn streak a mile wide running through him.

He almost dragged Mia into the darkness of the cottage. Once inside, the smell returned and Olly almost gagged. Mia made a small, choked noise behind him. The inside of the cottage was pitch black, so black that as Olly inched forward, fumbling for his phone in order to use its pale screen light as a torch; his feet collided with something hard and he tripped and fell.

His phone went flying and he put both hands out to break his fall. Both hands connected with something that, while ostensibly solid, broke open under the impact of his body. Olly felt his hands sink into something peculiarly liquid and the smell, which had already been terrible enough, intensified to something so repulsive it felt almost like a physical force.

Behind him, Mia held her phone aloft and it cast a pale, ghostly light over the room, showing Olly what he’d actually fallen into. Mia began to scream, but he hardly heard her because, by that time, he was screaming himself.

Pre-order Chimera on Amazon, to be published on 14th December 2014.

Now available for pre-order! Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5) is here…

Yes, it’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here! Chimera is now available for pre-order and is published on 14th December 2014. It’s currently available at a special promotional price until the day of release so if you want a cheap copy, go grab it!

Currently only available for pre-order on Kindle but it’ll be published to the other eBook retailers on 14th December. There will also be a print copy coming out very soon as well.

The blurb:

The West Country town of Abbeyford is celebrating its annual pagan festival, when the festivities are interrupted by the discovery of a very decomposed body. Soon, several other bodies are discovered but is it a question of foul play or are these deaths from natural causes?

It’s a puzzle that Detective Sergeant Kate Redman and the team could do without, caught up as they are in investigating an unusual series of robberies. Newly single again, Kate also has to cope with her upcoming Inspector exams and a startling announcement from her friend and colleague DI Mark Olbeck…

When a robbery goes horribly wrong, Kate begins to realise that the two cases might be linked. She must use all her experience and intelligence to solve a serious of truly baffling crimes which bring her up against an old adversary from her past…

Cover reveal for Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5)

chimera_CG_V2

I don’t know about other authors but my books start to feel ‘real’ to me once I get the cover from my very talented cover designer, Chris Howard of Blondesign (he designs all my covers). Chimera (A Kate Redman Mystery: Book 5) is currently being finished and is soon to be sent for editing and then out to my lovely team of beta-readers (if you fancy joining them,  just sign up to the mailing list and await instructions!).

Chimera should be available for pre-order from Amazon in the next month. It’s taking longer than I anticipated to finish, mostly because it’s the most complex plot I think I’ve ever attempted and there are a multitude of plot strands to weave together. I’ll get there in the end…

Look out for the opening chapter which I’ll post here as soon as pre-orders are available – as a little taster… :)

 

 

 

Number Thirteen, Manor Close is now available for download…


The final novella in the Asharton Manor Mysteries series, Number Thirteen,  Manor Close is now available for download from  Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd and Page Foundry and – when I pull my finger out and finally get it uploaded there – soon to be on Google Play as well.

This final book in the series is set in the present day and is a somewhat more spooky beast than its predecessors. The blurb:

**Please note – this is a novella-length piece of fiction (about 20 thousand words)**

It is 2014. Beatrice and Mike Dunhill are finally moving into a house of their own, Number Thirteen, Manor Close. Part of the brand new Asharton Estate, Number Thirteen is built on the remains of the original Asharton Manor which was destroyed in a fire in 1973. Still struggling a little from the recent death of her mother, Beatrice is happy to finally have a home of her own – until she begins to experience some strange happenings that, try as she might, she can’t explain away.

Her husband Mike seems unconvinced and only her next door neighbour Mia seems to understand Beatrice’s growing fear of her home. What is the mysterious shadow up on the landing? Why do things keep moving around in the house and who is whispering to her late at night?

Uncertain of her own judgement and fearful that she is slipping back into the mental ill health that plagued her before, Beatrice must confront what lies beneath the beautiful surface of the Asharton Estate. But can she do so without losing her mind – or her life?

I’ve had so much fun writing these that I don’t want to stop! So, I’ve decided to do a yearly ghost story/murder mystery for Halloween, and maybe even a Christmas novella as well, if I get the time.

Want to read new Celina Grace books before they’re even published?

You readers are a hungry lot, you know :) No sooner do I finish a Kate Redman Mystery than I have you clamouring for more (not that I’m complaining – in fact, I think it’s wonderful!). Anyway, if you fancy getting your mitts on my new books before they are officially published, then why not join my Advance Readers Team?

This is how it works:

A few weeks before my publication deadline, I’ll send the new book out to my Advance Readers in epub, mobi and PDF formats, to read and enjoy (hopefully!). I’ll welcome any comments, typos-spotted, that sort of thing but don’t feel that you have to get back to me – the main thing is that you’ll have the new book to enjoy. Any reader who does get back to me with a comment will be individually named and thanked on the Acknowledgements page when the book is published.

The only thing I’ll request of my Advanced Readers is that if they would be so kind as to leave me a review once the book has been officially published, I would be very grateful.

That’s it, essentially! Does that sound like something you’d be interested in? It’s totally free to join my Advanced Readers team and there’s absolutely no obligation to do anything unless you want to. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you fancy it, drop me an email and let me know and I’ll add you to the list with my grateful thanks :)

 

The Rhythm of Murder is now available for download…

Well, The Asharton Manor Mysteries series continues at a storming pace. Number 3 in the series, The Rhythm of Murder, is now available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd and Page Foundry.

The blurb:

**Please note, this is a novella-length piece of fiction – about 20 thousand words**

It is 1973. Eve and Janey, two young university students, are en route to a Bristol commune when they take an unexpected detour to the little village of Midford. Seduced by the roguish charms of a young man who picks them up in the village pub, they are astonished to find themselves at Asharton Manor, now the residence of the very wealthy, very famous, very degenerate Blue Turner, lead singer of rock band Dirty Rumours. The golden summer rolls on, full of sex, drugs and rock and roll, but Eve begins to sense that there may be a sinister side to all the hedonism.

And then one day, Janey disappears, seemingly run away… but as Eve begins to question what happened to her friend, she realises that she herself might be in terrible danger…

I’m pleased to say that it’s already charting in the Amazon genre charts for Historical Mysteries. Just waiting for the first review!

The final book in the series will be finished (first draft) tomorrow and available to buy towards the end of August, along with the boxed set of all four books. I’ve so enjoyed writing these – I kind of wish I’d planned for a longer series. But, never mind – the new Kate Redman (Book 5) is next on my list, ready for a September release to keep the fans happy :)

Having said that, I think I’ll be writing a special Halloween novella to add to The Asharton Manor Mysteries series so watch this space…

I’m such a neglectful blog owner!

Oh help, just realised that it has been simply eons since I’ve updated this poor little blog. Unfortunately it is always lowest on the list when it comes to things to do, writing new books being right at the top. Anyway, enough excuses. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

   

The first and second in The Asharton Manor Mystery series are now published and available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. I’m currently writing the fourth in the series while the third is being edited. On course for my release schedule which was one a month between May – August. Phew…

Kate Redman fans will be pleased to know that Chimera (Book 5) is well underway and due for an autumn release (sorry but I’m not giving any firm dates as I may as well add the coda n.b. I will wildly miss this deadline and have to give you several new ones :) best to keep it vague!)

I’m planning for one more Kate Redman and the boxed set of numbers 4-6 to be released by Christmas. Let’s see if I can keep up the pace!