Saturday, 2 March 2013

Sample a bestselling thriller

Since tomorrow is #samplesunday over on Twitter I thought it might be a good time to give you all a new sample of my darkly thrilling drama, Shattered, which continues to maintain a presence in the bestseller charts for its genre on both sides of The Atlantic.

Shattered has recently undergone a makeover, receiving a brand new cover and a slightly revamped blurb, and a short while ago it acquired its fiftieth review and its thirtieth 5*, an achievement I confess I never expected.
With that said, and with no further ado, here is the sample so you can all have a read of what has generated such interest.

After the DI finally left the room, Donna followed, waiting until they were down the corridor and couldn’t be heard in the room before she spoke. “Why did you tell Mr Denton that we had been to see Jessica Davis, and she had woken, sir?” she asked. “We went straight to his room.”
“I know. I wanted to see Mr Denton’s reaction to the notion that Jessica Davis may wake up and identify her attacker,” Yew told her. “Unfortunately his reaction didn’t tell me anything. He seemed genuinely relieved, but he could simply be a very good actor.”
“So you’re not sure if he’s guilty,” the Constable commented, keeping pace with the DI.
“Not yet, no. Both his answers, and the evidence gathered so far, are inconclusive. He has no provable alibi for the time of the attacks on Danielle Pale and Emma Water, which makes it possible that he could be responsible for those attacks, but not certain.
“The odds of him attacking Jessica Davis and Melanie Nelson are somewhat slimmer, since there is less than half an hour between the time his agent left and when he called his daughter. Nonetheless it could still be possible that he is responsible for those attacks.”
“That doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for him to have got to the Davis farm to attack Jessica Davis, grab Melanie Nelson, rape and murder her, and then get back home with his car clean of any evidence.”
“No, it doesn’t, but you are assuming he managed to accomplish all of that in the twenty five to thirty minutes when he can't prove his whereabouts. I don’t believe it necessary for him to have done it all in that time, which means it might be possible.
“All he really needed to do in the time he has no alibi for is to get to the farm, attack Jessica Davis, grab Melanie Nelson, and take them both to the old farm where they were found. With that done he could have returned home for the half hour phone call to his daughter.”
“So when would he have raped and murdered Melanie?” Donna wanted to know, keeping her voice low to avoid being overheard by those they passed.
“While you and your fellow officers were at the Davis farm,” Yew answered simply. “It is only a theory, and I could be entirely wrong, but based on the information in the file almost an hour passed from the time Lucy Davis called the police station to when Sergeant Underwood and the two officers he had brought along arrested Mr Denton. In that sixty minutes Mr Denton would have had more than enough time to return to the farm, do what he wanted to do, and get home. With time enough to clean up the car if he was careful about how he transported the two girls.”
“That’s clever.” The Constable congratulated him. “I never would have thought of that possibility, and I don’t think Sergeant Underwood did either.”
“Thank you, Constable, but it is no more than a theory, there is no evidence to prove Mr Denton is responsible for any of the attacks or murders. To get back to your question, which I diverted from a little, I didn’t just want to see Mr Denton’s reaction to what I said, I have an idea for catching the killer.

If this has interested you, you can buy the book at the following locations.
US Kindle
US Paperback
UK Kindle
UK Paperback
Barnes and Noble

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A tale of gods and men, destiny and murder.

Over the course of the past year and more I have experimented with a variety of different genres in my writing, exploring ideas that have come to me to see whether I can make them work.
So far I have written a dramatic thriller, a sci-fi adventure, an assortment of horror shorts, ranging from vampire stories to slasher style stories, and I have co-written a couple of erotica titles. The erotica titles have been by far the most successful, which is no surprise given the global phenomenon that is 50 Shades of Grey, and they are proving a nice source of sales and income.
My latest genre experiment is paranormal; Devil's Spawn, Devil's Pawn is a paranormal novel set in the modern era. I wrote the first draft of this novel a number of years ago, I forget how many, and have spent the  past several months working feverishly to rewrite it into something much more presentable than it was. Being out of work has provided with me with plenty of time to work and as a result I have, in the last few days, managed to finish the editing of this novel and organised the cover.

Devil's Spawn, Devil's Pawn

After more than six millennia at the mercy of his hated enemy, Jacarendu has come up with a means of not only escaping his prison but of restoring his powers so he can resume his rightful position as god.
His plan relies on a slave and the daughter she will bear for him, and the hope that his loyal followers can keep his daughter safe until she is old enough to free him.
Neloty, his hated enemy, is not about to allow him to be freed however, no matter how many people have to be killed to keep him a prisoner.

Enjoy a brief sample

“Lucia.” The voice sounded suddenly in the kitchen, startling her from her reverie.
She recognised the voice instantly, it belonged to Ettore, the high priest’s son, the man she hated most of all those in the castle, and her heart pounded in her chest as she spun to face him, hurriedly hiding the knife behind her back. Throughout the years he had been her biggest, and most persistent, tormentor; he had raped and beaten her repeatedly, stolen their child away before she could even hold it once, and he had killed her father when he tried to protect her.
“Come here,” the young man, who was only a few years older than her, commanded, and for once Lucia did not hesitate or try to resist the order.
Lucia stopped in front of Ettore, close enough to see the grey of his eyes and smell the fish that always stained his breath. He ate little meat, preferring fish, a preference that left him with rank breath that made her want to throw up whenever she was forced to be close to him. On that occasion though, she had a smile on her face, a smile that she saw confused Ettore; she hadn’t smiled at him since the day of her twelfth birthday.
Despite his uncertainty over the unexpected smile he grabbed her and pulled her close so he could kiss her. As his lips descended toward hers Lucia struck; pulling her head back away from him she brought her hand up and stabbed down with the knife she had concealed. The large blade slid into Ettore’s neck with little resistance and blood spurted high into the air, before falling to stain her shoulder and the floor behind her.
The first strike was a killing blow, severing the jugular, though Lucia didn’t know that and she wrenched the knife free so she could stab him again, and again. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she repeatedly stabbed the man she hated more than any other.
It wasn’t until Jacarendu’s voice came to her that she stopped. “Lucia, you must forget him, he is dead; you must come to me, now,” he told her, his voice low and soothing as he sought to break through her insanity. “You need not worry about those who have hurt you in the past,” he said, relieved when she pulled the knife from Ettore’s body and got to her feet once more. “I will punish them for you in good time; you must come to me now so I can be free. When I am free I will make them suffer as they cannot imagine in their worst nightmares.”
Lucia ignored the blood that dripped from the blade in her hand as she obeyed her master’s command and left the kitchen, making her way to the stairs that led down to the dungeon. She had never been there before, but Jacarendu had shown her the way in her dreams so she had no problem finding the ancient and rotted door.

You can buy the book at the following locations
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Sunday, 16 December 2012

My first ever review comes to my fledgling blog.

This was my first ever review, posted on Amazon almost two years ago; it's not great, and it shows, but I thought it might be a good idea to post it here. For me, reviewing is a constant process of learning how to express my thoughts, and how to do so constructively so as to highlight the good aspects of a novel, while remaining as fair and unbiased as possible.
With that said, here it is, my first review.

Marchez! -- A race for survival

When Rhodes Delaney challenged James Alderston Whitbury III to a grudge match she chose the most grueling of all tests -- the Iditarod: a lethal dogsled race across the perilous wastelands of barren Alaska. 

Through life-sapping storms, howling blizzards, and deadly sub-zero temperatures, the racers must struggle over treacherous mountain passes where the sun's rays never reach, cross frozen rivers risking the icy torrents below, and pass enraged bull moose, ravenous bears -- and the world's largest, hungriest wolf pack. 

In Iditarod, AndrĂ© Jute puts the reader's feet on the ice and on the runners for twelve hundred hazardous miles of the last great race across the last dangerous frontier as the exhausted bodies and hallucinating minds of the contestants battle towards the moment of truth -- when Man and Nature exact the ultimate reckoning from each other. 
Iditarod is at once a love story, a great adventure, and a brilliant word portrait of the world's most spectacular and least-known land.
First published in the UK by Grafton Books 1990, Iditarod is fully revised for this 20th anniversary 2010 edition by CoolMain Press. 
Now with a map of the race especially drawn to work with e-book tablets.

A race to 4*

Having been privileged to read an advance copy of the Kindle edition I can certainly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of adventure. The beginning is a little abrupt, and it isn't until the race starts that you really get to know the characters. Andre Jute makes you feel the race come alive as he focuses on first one character, and then the next, alone on the race with nothing but their thoughts and their memories of what has brought them to that place. The ending is not unexpected, but it is described in thrilling detail and you can't help but wonder what you would do if you were on of the racers.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A 4* Egyptian Advenure

Journey to the land of the Pharaohs in this lighthearted humorous tale,
where the search for lost treasure digs up more than a little danger.
In the year 1863, a time when the whole world was seeking Egypt's secrets, an ancient map, leading to the greatest treasure known to man, resurfaces. As luck would have it, Lord Alecsian Brighton wins the mottled old scrap of parchment in one of London's most notorious gaming hells, along with its ominous curse.
Despite the allure of treasure, Alec has no real interest in gallivanting across the Egyptian countryside in order to find it. He isn't even persuaded by his friend and cohort, Samuel's enthusiastic zeal. It's only his mother's escalating interest in his marital status that gives an extended vacation sudden appeal.
The mysteries unfold as tantalizing clues sweep us across two continents, from wild runaway carriage rides, to action packed chase scenes through the streets of Alexandria. When our lost lords are captured by Bedouin tribesmen, Samuel barters for their freedom. It seems like the perfect solution... marrying Alec off to the Plague of Egypt... and that is only the beginning!
This book explores the wonders of Egypt, where the mysteries hidden within the pyramids and temples which have tantalized us for two thousand years are finally revealed. Discover the answer to one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world, the origins of the Sphinx, as well as several hieroglyphic symbols which have remained either misidentified or unknown altogether... This book will not only amaze the world, but Egyptology will never be the same.
But that's not all... there is more!

This is a book I reviewed back in February, but now that I have started this blog, and have begun building up my profile of reviews I thought I should bring the review over here for everyone to see, so here it is.

A 4* Egyptian adventure.

What do you get when you combine Indiana Jones, The Mummy and Lethal Weapon, Treasure of Egypt, that's what.
After winning a map pointing to a mystery treasure at a card game Lords Alec and Samuel head off to Egypt in search of wealth and adventure. What they get is more than they bargained for; trouble appears from round every corner and behind every dune, forcing them to talk, bribe and fight their way across Egypt, never once stopping their stream of wisecracks.
On their journey they encounter numerous characters, none of whom is what they appear to be at first glance.
All in all the novel was very enjoyable and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, a preview for which is included at the end, but I would have liked to know more about some of the characters, especially their backgrounds and their connections to what was going on. Since there is a sequel perhaps I'll find out then, or perhaps in the prequel I've just heard might be getting written.
One thing I do know is this should be a film, come on Hollywood.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Today's review is for Deep into the Game, Episode 1 of the Gameland Series by S.W. Tanpepper, a new take on the zombie genre and a hell of a good read.

Deep into the Game is the first episode in the Gameland series, and after reading it I can't wait to see what happens in the rest.
I am a fan of the zombie genre, though I confess I more normally watch zombie films/tv, so I was more than happy to see this title pop up as a free offering and I immediately decided to give it a whirl and see if it hit the buttons. Boy did it!
This first episode introduces the reader to the characters, all different, but with one thing bringing them together, they love games, and Gameland is the biggest around, hacking into it would be one thing, but breaking into it would be something else altogether.
The first half of this episode is spent getting to know the characters as they work out a plan for what at first is just a purely mental exercise. That is not a bad thing though, it is a very good build up, neither too slow nor too rushed, and it is clear that not only has Mr Tanpepper given thought to the problems that would be encountered but how to overcome those obstacles as well, something that occasionally gets missed in such books.
After they make it to their destination the trouble begins, and that is when the book gets even better. The zombies remain a mystery for most of the book, and even when they are introduced you feel no closer to understanding them or the way they behave.
There are numerous mysteries hinted at throughout this first episode, and I look forward to reading the rest of the episodes, as well as the prequel, Golgotha, so I can find out all about the people, and the zombies, I have been introduced to.

Well done, Mr Tanpepper, a great read for anyone who likes a mix of zombies, adventure, and hi-tech scifi. A well-deserved 4* (I'd love to give it 4.5* but Amazon just won't let me)
As an added bonus, the novel remains free so go download it
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Chronicles of Jenson Quest, The Rise Of Va'kaar - 4*

Here it is, my next review, this one is for The Chronicles of Jenson Quest, The Rise of Va'kaar, by J. Bryden Lloyd, and I'm giving it 4*

Bryden is a fellow indie author and a friend, whom I met through a variety of Facebook groups I am involved in. He is a writer of scifi, aimed primarily at children. He has a worrying sense of humour, which is fortunately something I like, and is incredibly generous with his time and his advice.
Having said all that, it's time to review his book.

The Rise of Va'kaar is the first book in The Chronicles of Jenson Quest, a scifi series that already has 3 titles i know of, with more on the way.
Knowing that the book is geared toward children in their early teens I have reset my thinking to take that into account with this review.
Jenson is a teen who finds himself thrust into an intergalactic war, an everyday boy with no knowledge of aliens until one turns up on his doorstep telling him he has to protect Earth from yet another race. Whisked away from his home he finds himself among many other warriors, all of whom are charged with the task of protecting their worlds.
The beginning of the book is a little rushed in my opinion, no sooner do we meet Jenson than he is in space among strangers and aliens, being taught how to protect himself, fly alien craft, and fight the enemy, all of which he and the others learn very quickly.
The pace slows a little after the first quarter of the book, and that to me is for the best; it provides us with more time to get to know the various characters, those on both sides of the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so. There are many characters, and they are all, even the 'bad guys', interesting.
As things get closer to the end of the story so it all becomes more complicated, just the way I like things.

Overall I'm giving this novel 4*. Knowing that it was intended for an audience far younger than myself I can forgive the slightly hurried beginning, which was obviously intended to get readers into the story before they could become bored. The characters are interesting enough that I want to know more about them, and I intend reading the next book in the series just as soon as I have an opportunity.

If my review has interested you, you can find the book at the following locations
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A dream come true


Abu Simbel, a must see location.

The above picture, for those of you who are not familiar with the land of the Pharaohs, is Abu Simbel, one of the most amazing places in the world you can visit. I defy anyone, even someone who has no interest in history, to stand before this structure and not be amazed. 
I visited Abu Simbel in 2010 when took my first foreign holiday in about a 5 years. I spent a week drifting down the Nile, visiting a variety of temples and similar locations; one of the optional extra trips available during the two day stay at Aswan was a journey out to Abu Simbel. Having seen the place in films there was no question in my mind about visiting it, the only question was, how was I going to get there.
There were two ways for me to get to Abu Simbel, and both of them were fairly pricey. I could either take a seat on a small plane, seats were limited and expensive, or I could spend three hours on a coach ride through the desert. My wallet decided the matter for me and after getting up at 4 in the morning I arrived at one of the places I had always dreamed of visiting.
Was the journey worth it, hell yes, it was more than worth it. I'm not a fan of long coach journeys but I would have spent twice as long in one to see Abu Simbel and to hear about it. 
Entrance to the temple dedicated to Nefertari
Among the things I learned about Abu Simbel is that it is not just one temple, it is two, built side by side, one dedicated to Pharaoh Rameses II, the other to his most beloved wife, Nefertari. See above ^^

At the time of being built the temples were not in Egypt, they were built in Nubia, where Queen Nefertari came from, and were designed in such a way that twice a year, the sun shines through the entrance of the main temple and illuminates three of the four statues at the back of the temple.
That one of the statues remains in darkness all year round is not a mistake, or a miscalculation, it is in fact very deliberate. The fourth statue is of Ptah, God of the Underworld, and it is for that reason that the sun does not shine on him. 

One of the most amazing things I learned from the tour guide with us at the temples was that both temples have been moved. You wouldn't believe it to look at them but both temples have been re-situated from their original locations to preserve them. Like the island Temple of Philae, Abu Simbel was endangered by the building of the Aswan Dam and the creation of Lake Nasser and with the help of UNESCO and international donations of both money and assistance the temples were painstakingly broken down and then reconstructed a safe distance from the newly formed lake.
That's enough information I think, why not enjoy some pictures.

A close up of the entrance to the lesser temple