Gracie is on a new assignment in her first standalone Amazing Gracie Mystery. Come and see why readers love Gracie. She’s amazing! @carol_kilgore #mystery #cosy #sleuth #books #fiction

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Amazing book spotlights! Continue reading

OMG! If you like tense #police #thrillers, this is a #book you need to read this season! – Fatal Infraction by @KevinGChapman #crime #suspense #booklover #reading #thrillerbooks #bookworm

. If you’re a fan of football or well-written crime drama, check it out. The Kindle edition is on sale as a pre-order for $2.99, available July 15th. The book, and all the books in the series, are also available in paperback, hardcover, and as audiobooks. Continue reading

Meet thriller writer Jennifer Chase with:

One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness
Who Will Survive?

Northern California’s elite Police K9 Units arrive at an abandoned warehouse after a high-speed chase and apprehend two killers after they have fled a grisly murder scene.  This barely scratches the surface of a bloody trail from a prolific serial killer that leads to unlocking the insidious secrets of one family’s history, while tearing a police department apart.

Jack Davis, a top K9 cop with an unprecedented integrity, finds himself falling for a beautiful murder suspect and struggling with departmental codes. 

Megan O’Connell, suffering from agoraphobia, is the prime murder suspect in her sister’s brutal murder. Darrell Brooks, a psychopath who loves to kill, is on a quest to drive Megan insane for profit. 

Everyone is a suspect.  Everyone has a secret.  Someone else must die to keep the truth buried forever.  Silent Partner is a suspense ride along that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.

Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author and Criminologist
Jennifer Chase holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology.  In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is also a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.  She has authored three thriller novels with her newest thriller release, Silent Partner.  In addition, she currently assists clients in publishing, ghostwriting, book reviews, blogs, articles, screenwriting, copywriting, editing, and research.  For more information:

Interview with Jennifer Chase:

Your first books, Compulsion and Dead Game where Emily Stone takes it on herself to track down paedophiles and killers, has received fantastic reviews. Will there be any more from Emily Stone?
Thank you.  I’m thrilled that so many people have enjoyed these books because I love writing them.  Yes, I’m currently working on the third book in the Emily Stone series, Dark Mind.  It’s scheduled to be released in the fall of this year. 

Is she carrying out your secret fantasy (something you’d like to do)?
In some ways yes, I began developing this character after I had a personal experience with a person who stalked and harassed me (death threats) for more than two years.  To make matters worse, he lived next door until I was forced to move.  Everything worked out in the end, but I began to put together a profile for a character I wanted to write.  I wanted a heroine who would track killers and pedophiles anonymously and help the cops behind the scene.  It’s true what they say, good things can come out of a bad situation. 

Do you work with the police/forensics when researching your novels?
I’m lucky to know some great people in many different areas of law enforcement.  It helps me to iron out details or to just run by part of a storyline.  I’ve learned a lot from these extremely interesting people who are the “real” CSI and homicide detectives. 

Compulsion (Emily Stone Series #1)Was Compulsion your first fiction book, or have you many unpublished novels tucked away somewhere?
Compulsion was the first book that I took seriously.  It was originally going to be a screenplay, but as I began developing the storyline it turned out to be a novel.  It literally took on a life of its own.  I’ve written ten screenplays and I have a dozen storylines tucked away for possible future novels.  The more stories you write, the more ideas flood your imagination.  These ideas sometimes turn into parts of other stories or into a feature length story.

Is there anything you’ve done differently since writing Compulsion?
Since Compulsion was originally outlined to be a screenplay, I wrote the novel in present tense.  I know that it makes some people cringe at the thought of a novel written in present tense.  It’s one of those “writer no nos”, but I took a chance.  I personally felt that it kept the reader in the loop with the action and heightened the suspense.  I wanted readers to be right there in the action.  However, all my other novels are written in the “traditional” third person narrative.  After weighing all the options, I decided to conform.     

Dead Game: An Emily Stone NovelDo Compulsion and Dead Games stand alone as individual stories?
Absolutely.  That was an important aspect I wanted to make sure was executed in the series – each novel is a stand-alone book.  If anyone picked up any of the novels in the series, they weren’t lost or felt that something was missing if they didn’t read the books in order. 

Your curiosity about crime and the links between that and the offender’s mind drove you to return to school and gain a Master’s. Congratulations on that, but what was it like to return to the classroom as a “mature” student?
I enjoy learning new things.  It was difficult at first to become a student again and to train yourself to think in those terms.  I was so engrossed in the subject matter and writing research papers, I settled into the student mode quickly. 

What came first your interest of criminology or writing?
Reading and writing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Writing has always been incorporated into my life in some form or another.  Criminology has turned into part of my writing journey that helps to compliment my novels.  I feel that writing and criminology are partners in crime, so to speak.   

I like your epithet for Silent partner: One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness Who Will Survive? Why “Silent” Partner? Will it give the ending away if you tell us what made you come up with that title?
The main character Deputy Jack Davis is a K9 cop and he refers to his four-legged partner as “silent”.  Even though, dogs do bark and are clearly visible to everyone.  I liked the idea that dogs know so much more than we think, but they just can’t tell us.  We just have to figure things out for ourselves.  This is especially true for working K9 teams.   

How To Write A ScreenplayYou also write screenplays, and have a non-fiction book out called, very aptly, How To Write A Screenplay. Have you written a screenplay and seen it played out on stage?
Yes, I’ve written and completed ten screenplays and have taught beginning screenwriting online for more than two years.  I also give workshops for aspiring screenwriters.  My last screenplay was close to being optioned and sat in idle for a while between two production companies.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure to see any of my screenplays made into a movie.

Has your publisher JEC Press published all of your books?
Compulsion and Dead Game were published through Outskirts Press, Inc.  Silent Partner was published through my own company JEC Press:  I decided to publish myself for a variety of reasons.  I have control over my work, accounting, pricing, and sales.  One main reason is that I can keep paperback pricing down for the consumer and I have access to recycled paper.  All of my novels are available in ebook formats (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc.), which has been the most popular type of format in recent months.   

Why not a traditional press?
I chose to go the independent route with my work, but that could change down the road.  I’m always open to new or different ways of publishing.  I found that many publishers didn’t even bother to send a form letter of rejection.  It’s the frustration of waiting months, even years to hear anything.  I decided that I had a story to tell and I wanted it to be available.  I’m not saying that mainstream publishing is not a way to go, it just didn’t work for me.  I’ve met many authors who have published through mainstream publishers and then have decided to self-publish to become an indie author.  I think you have to figure out what works best for you, what type of book you want to publish, what are your realistic book goals, and look at all the publishing possibilities.  We live in a technological age and the proven high sales of ebooks seem to be the way of the future.  The publishing industry is changing fast and allowing more people to publish ebooks.

You makes you want to write?
I love to tell stories that incorporate mystery or suspense to keep the reader guessing.  Once I began writing, I found that everything inspires me from people, places, and interesting things.  You don’t have to look far to find something inspiring to write about.  I create some of my best story ideas from being out with people doing my errands.

Was there a character you struggled with?
The process of creating characters for my storylines has been the most fun.  However, I find that I do struggle with the “bad guys” because I want to make them believable and not one-dimensional.  It’s especially difficult to get into the mind of a serial killer and it can be quite tiring at times.  I work out all my characters, even the small ones, with an in-depth profile.  That’s where my academic background assists me in my fiction writing.  I begin to see a person appear on paper and soon after I know everything that makes them tick.  

How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I find that I have a tendency to procrastinate, so I’ve found I treat my writing schedule like an appointment.  It’s difficult to juggle daily life and blocks of writing time.  That’s what makes life interesting!  I make sure that I write every day during the week and leave weekends (Saturday only) to finish up goals from the week. 

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part of being a writer is being able to do what you absolutely love.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  The writing possibilities are endless to creating stories and characters.  Each new book you write is a new challenge from the last one.  To me, that is exciting.  The worst part is there are too many stories and not enough time to write all of them.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I used to be a night owl and write in the middle of the night because it’s quiet and it helps to inspire some of my thrilling scenes.  I found that I wasn’t getting enough sleep during the day, so I changed my writing schedule to a regular workday.  I find that the mornings are more productive because my mind is charged and ready to go as fast as I can type.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I outline my books.  I begin with notes I jot down in a notebook, which is a brief overview.  Then I switch to the computer to organize my ideas and work out the extensive outline that becomes my choppy first draft.  When I have some minor ideas to incorporate, I use large sticky notes.  I end up with quite a few and then I can put in order and insert where applicable.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration is drawn from everything around me, books, news, experiences, people I meet, research, and creative ideas that seem to come to me on a regular basis.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
This has been the most difficult for me, but I’ve been able to fine tune my goals and productivity.  I give myself a daily writing goal of ten (double spaced pages).  Sometimes I don’t reach that goal (sometimes I write more), but I’ve learned not to not fixate on what I didn’t accomplish and concentrate on the pages I did write.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m currently in the middle of writing the third Emily Stone Novel: Dark Mind.  I take Emily Stone to Kauai where she’s pushed into a serial killer case.  It’s a fun and challenging project because of the remote areas of the island.  You never know what Emily Stone is going to get herself into or who she’ll meet.

Is she eternally youthful or will she grow older?
Emily Stone ages, slowly of course.  Although, it would be nice for her to stay the same age, I feel aging should be a part of a character’s life.  I like for characters to seem real, learn from their experiences (or not), and have something new to offer the storylines.  I think it helps readers to become more involved with a series and relate to characters as they age, deal with everyday problems, and prepare for the next set of obstacles in the next story.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
When I was submitting to publishing houses, I tried not to get discouraged, but no one likes to be rejected.  I developed an attitude that I was going to get rejected before I sent the letter and that seemed to help.  Also, there have been many famous authors who were rejected, so you have to keep everything in perspective.  It’s a healthier way to approach the writing and publishing field.  I also reminded myself that there’s many ways to accomplish a goal.

Do you have a critique partner?
I don’t have one critique partner, but I do have readers and others who give me feedback.  It’s very important to have your work critiqued before publishing, I realize that now more than ever.  I love what readers come up with when they read a new book.  They can see things that I never thought about.  It’s a very productive endeavour for a writer.  

You won an award for Dead Game, you must have been thrilled! Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, I’m very excited about receiving an award.  My novel Dead Game won the bronze award in the fiction/thriller category at Readers Favorite in 2010.
Can you sum yourself and your novels up in a few short sentences?
My Emily Stone Series (Compulsion, Dead Game) revolves around a vigilante detective who hunts down serial killers and pedophiles using forensic and CSI techniques anonymously, and then emails the local police departments with the results.  Silent Partner throws a K9 cop and his four-legged partner into a police conspiracy, dicey love entanglement, and on the hunt for a serial killer.   

Anything else you’d like to known in this interview?
First, I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview.  It’s been fun!  Also, I want to thank everyone who has supported me and read my books.  It makes it that much more exciting for me to continue writing.  I look forward to hearing comments and questions about any of my books.  Please feel free to visit me:


Said the Spider – a story of crime and suspense.

Earle Van Gilder
Sophisticated crime syndicate parasites invade the normally solid foundation of Midwestern banking and generations of established manufacturing. Executives and management usually in control suddenly find they are masterfully manipulated into a web of irreconcilable personal and financial seduction.

From the traumatic discovery at the river’s edge to the eventual confrontational conclusion Said The Spider seduces greedy, gullible and unsuspecting prey into a deadly and graphic whirlwind of corporate disaster leading to murder, suicide and revenge.

The early exploits of the juvenile crime spree by a youthful mastermind who cleverly manipulates his prey leads the reader to the ruthless genius manipulating the city. This drama of cause and effect with no escape from the temptations of lust, greed, and ignorance has been cleverly baited.

The corporate investigative agency and police sources enter almost too late to stop this whirlpool of turbulence as the bank Vice President’s realize their own failure and the investors and corporation officers panic and retreat from the coming Armageddon.

As murder, suicide and monumental financial losses are exposed, the crime syndicate learns of an investigation which might interrupt their lucrative operation. Crime bosses will stop at nothing to successfully complete their artistic looting of a major bank and manufacturing complex.

Time is running out. Investigators are pulling pieces of the puzzle together. Corrupt and greedy bank executives are running for their lives. The syndicate is charging ahead in their goal of complete domination and eventual departure culminating in a surprise and conclusive end to fraud and murder.

They say you should write what you know, and Earle Van Gilder does just that with his thriller, Said the Spider. With more than 40 years Earle (Doc) Van Gilder was involved in the investigation of white-collar crime. The last 20 years he ran his own Investigative Corporation partnering with major firms, local and state government agencies and law enforcement to solve a wide range of criminal activities from internal theft and white collar crime to insurance fraud, criminal investigations and undercover operations.

Earle is also a certified Kyokushinkai Karate Branch Chief and martial arts instructor and well versed in the handling of weaponry. These experiences combined with his Marine Corp and equestrian experiences have resulted in a number of short stories which in turn led to his first novel, Said The Spider. He recently completed a second novel, Gumshoe Diary, The Month of May.
Click below for the interview:

Tell us more about Said the Spider.
 The main character is myself, and the book can be reviewed on It’s fiction but based on actual experience concerning industrial espionage, white collar crime, and the characters on both sides of that equation.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
I’ve completed two more in this series that continue on from Said The Spider, Gumshoe Diary-The Month of May, and Point of Connection. I’ve also written numerous short stories and children’s stories.

How did you find the publisher/agent? What was the journey like? Ever feel like giving up?
I chose Outskirts Press through research and frustration with locating an agent or other source. It has been an interesting experience, frustrating at times also, but one that I’m happy to have taken.

How do your juggle a writing schedule with real-life work, or are you a full time writer?
I retired in 1998 from my work as President of the company I founded, Corporate Information LTD, an investigative agency that specialized in white collar and undercover investigations. My freedom to write is much improved and my writing continues as the pace of my life allows it.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The writing is the easy part. The worst part is my anticipation and frustration with this part of the process. I am impatient!

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer? -It all starts in my mind and then translates totally to the keyboard.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration is my wife.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
None, I set no goal and frequently have no idea where the story is going. Sometimes I even surprise myself. I do tend to totally lose track of time.

Are you a published or a self-published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Said the Spider is published through Outskirts Press and the cover art was a cooperative effort by both myself and Outskirts Press.

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I have completed (both unpublished) Gumshoe Diary-The Month of May, and Point of Connection. They are related to the original book (Said The Spider) with many of the same characters, but new adventures.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
They can’t be taken personally. Most agents or publishers I’ve corresponded with reject without bothering to read (if at all) anything more than a few lines. I know this because they have not been furnished more than that limited request. At this time in my life I have no need for a resume and write for my own pleasure.

What’s your advice about getting an agent?
Not having agent, my advice would be useless. I can only say that if that’s your goal then proceed with it and be persistent.

Do you have a critique partner?
My wife reads and re-reads my work as do 2 or 3 close friends who are kind enough to assist in grammar, punctuation and story content. I’ve chosen those critique sources I trust who will be honest, candid and precise in their evaluation of my work.


Joyce Yarrow – author of the Jo Epstein mystery series

Joyce Yarrow
Mystery/suspense writer of the Jo Epstein series
Private investigator and performance poet, Jo Epstein, untangles a web of money-laundering, kidnapping and murder that extends from New York City to a hurricane-torn island in the Caribbean. Ann Romeo of MurerInk describes this first book in the Jo Epstein series as follows: “Chock full of terrific NY details, wonderful characters and clever turns of phrase, Joyce Yarrow’s ASK THE DEAD is a masterful debut and a must for fans of Sue Grafton and the Big Apple.”

The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.
Joyce Yarrow brings back Jo Epstein, New York City private investigator and performance poet, in the sequel to Ask the Dead. Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.
The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.

Joyce Yarrow was born in the SE Bronx, escaped to Manhattan as a teenager and now lives in Seattle with her husband and son. Along the way to becoming a full-time author, Joyce has worked as a screenwriter, singer-songwriter, multimedia performance artist and most recently, a member of the world music vocal ensemble, Abráce.
Joyce is a Pushcart nominee, whose stories and poems have been widely published. Her first book, Ask the Dead (Martin Brown 2005) was selected by The Poisoned Penas as a Recommended First Novel and hailed as “Bronx noir”. Her latest book, The Last Matryoshka, takes place in Brooklyn and Moscow and will be published by Five Star Mysteries in Nov 2010.

Ms. Yarrow considers the setting of her books to be characters in their own right and teaches workshops on “The Place of Place in Mystery Writing.”
Click below for the interview:

What age group is you book geared towards?
Adults. which genre would you say your book falls?

Tell us a little about your book?
THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is the second book in the Jo Epstein series, following ASK THE DEAD. Jo is a performance poet who works as a private investigator out of Scandal’s lounge in New York City.

Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
Some of my favorite scenes from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA are told from the antagonist’s point of view. Here is a sample:

New York City, The Present

Feydor surveyed his work. The body was positioned en situ, exactly as it had fallen. He pressed the button for the sixth floor, and the aging elevator jolted, then climbed slowly upward, passing four floors before coming to a stop. Holding the door open with one hand, he reached back with the other to push the button for the second floor and then stepped out. He checked his shoes for blood before climbing the wide stairs leading to the roof. Behind him he could hear the cables creak, as the elevator descended with its unholy burden. Outside, the air smelled of smog mixed with rain. He leaned back on the heavy metal door that had swung shut behind him. Taking his first deep breath since his work began, he peeled off the rubber gloves, freeing his hands to unbutton the blood-spattered shirt and exchange it for the one he‘d brought from home. Then, fearful that some insomniac might spot his profile against the skyline, he ran in a low crouch toward the edge of the roof.

At last his design was in motion and it was a thing of beauty, not at all like what they had done. He had been merciful and quick. He was far above their level. There was no getting around the fact that he‘d sacrificed a life, but he had chosen carefully, not at random like Raskolnikov or out of sadism like Stalin. Some might even say the victim had chosen him.

He found the ladder and climbed over the parapet wall, stepping as lightly and silently as he could on the metal rungs as he descended backward, his heart rate increasing as he passed each window overlooking the fire escape, his eyes averted from any light shining within.

Excerpt from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA, © 2010 Joyce Yarrow your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
The core idea for THE LAST MATRYOSHKA came to me while visiting my mother in Brooklyn. I listened to her neighbors chattering in Russian in the elevator and admired the Russian fashionistas shopping in high heels on Kings Highway. The mystery writer in me got to wondering: what if a Russian émigré’s past in Russia caught up with him and created havoc in his new life. I started with that premise and never looked back.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
In this fast-paced, suspenseful novel, performance poet and private investigator Jo Epstein uses her New York street smarts to outmaneuver a master Russian criminal on his own turf.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I would have to say Jo Epstein. Her character combines the insight and sensitivity of the poet with the tough smarts of a tenacious private investigator at the top of her form.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
For me it is always the character who comes first, because it is from knowing each character’s core needs and reactions to conflict that the plot evolves.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
ASK THE DEAD is published by Martin Brown and Ampichellis Ebooks and is available on Amazon as both a trade paperback and an ebook at It is also available for the Nook on Barnes & Noble at

THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is published by Five Star/Cengage and is available in hardcover at

Twitter: @joyceyarrow

Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill

Finding a publisher – ‘working hard at being lucky’
Nick Quantrill

Since the publication of ‘Broken Dreams’ in March, one of the recurring question I’m asked by readers and writers is, “how did you get a publishing deal?” The short answer is I sent the standard synopsis and first three chapters off and crossed my fingers. From there, Caffeine Nights Publishing asked for the rest of the manuscript and the rest, as they say, is history.

What I try and tell people is that there’s more to the story. The saying, “the harder I try, the luckier I get” has more than the ring of truth about it to me. I started writing seriously in 2006 and produced a string of short-stories, some of which I remain quite proud of, some I’d quite happily never see again, but for better or worse, I created a website and a MySpace page and published the stories. I wasn’t the only one doing this and it brought me into contact with countless readers, writers and independent publishers, several of whom I’m proud to say I now call friends. Networking in an informal atmosphere gave me the opportunity to take a look at the different publishers out there and figure out which ones might be a potential good fit with the vision I had of my work. Writing about a Private Investigator in my home city of Hull, a decaying and isolated fishing port on the East coast, never felt like it was going to be an easy sell, so it seemed obvious that I would have to put the groundwork in to increase my chances of success.

Caffeine Nights Publishing is the brainchild of Darren Laws and I first came across him on MySpace and started to follow his blog, which outlines his approach to the ever-changing world of publishing. Our low-key relationship on the Internet allowed us to keep an eye on each other’s progress and demonstrate that we were both serious about what we were doing and it was this base which underpinned my submission of ‘Broken Dreams’. I was fortunate enough to be offered the chance I needed, but it’s imperative that you’re active. There’s a huge network of readers, writers and publishers a press of the button away. The challenge is to engage with them, enjoy the successes and learn from the mistakes. That way you’ll be working hard at being lucky.

Find me :
‘Broken Dreams’ is available from all good bookshop and online retailers – £7.99.
ISBN – 9780955407024

‘Broken Dreams’ by Nick Quantrill Geraghty, Private Investigator, is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull. Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times. When Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry. As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends. With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.
About Nick Quantrill

Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, East Yorkshire. Never realising he could be a writer, Nick spent most of his twenties shouting and bawling his way around Sunday League football pitches before studying for a degree in Social Policy. Approaching now or never time, Nick started writing crime stories set in and around his home city. The result is ‘Broken Dreams,’ his debut novel which focuses on Hull’s past and future through the lens of the city’s lost fishing industry. ‘Broken Dreams’ is published by Caffeine Nights.

Taste the action!

The Carston Series by Bill Kirton

The Darkness a change, I stayed with them while they ate. Obsessive, see? About all of it. I suppose I was making myself see the reality of what I was doing. The noises they made, the ridiculous scene, the smell – it was all down to me. I was as chained down there as they were. I had to feed them, empty their bucket. My planning was good, the timing, the effort, it had all worked, against all the odds. And I was stuck with it. Nobody knew they were there. I’d done it. Except for Bailey, of course, but I’d deal with him in time.
‘What’s going on then?’ said Waring.
I just looked at him.
‘What’s the idea? Going to top us, are you?’
Silly bugger. He didn’t realize what terrible timing it was. They all wanted to know, of course, but they were afraid to ask. It was a question I’d asked myself, too. But not for a while up till then. Suddenly faced with it like that, especially that evening, after the fiasco with Gayla, I felt I ought to make up my mind. Up till then, I’d been more or less toying with alternatives. The problem was, I didn’t know the answer. So what I said … well, it came as a surprise to me as well as them.
I was never going to kill them. That wasn’t the idea. Just teach them a lesson. But, with all of them there, and me thinking back on what they’d done, and, worst of all, feeling that there was little difference between them and me, I started to think that maybe death was the only logical outcome. I didn’t know what was right any more. It was all so bloody awful. So many victims, so much contempt for other people, and there was I, in amongst it, adding to it. There was no way out. They all had to go. Including me. And, of course, Bailey.
About the Author

Bill Kirton was a university lecturer in French before taking early retirement to become a full-time writer. He’s produced material in many different media – radio plays for the BBC, stage plays, revue songs and sketches for the Edinburgh Fringe, crime novels and short stories, two non-fiction books aimed at helping students with writing and other skills and, to make a living, he writes DVDs. Brochures and other commercial and training stuff for companies and organisations all over the place. He’s been visiting artist and guest director at the Theater Department of the University of Rhode Island on four separate occasions, TV presenter, voice-over artist and Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at three Scottish universities.

His four published novels are set in the north east of Scotland. Material Evidence, Rough Justice, and The Darkness all feature DCI Jack Carston. The Figurehead is a historical novel set in Aberdeen in 1840. The Carston series has been published in the UK and the USA.
The Figurehead

Return to an age where sail was being challenged by steam, new continents were opening, and the world was full of opportunities for people to be as good—or as evil—as they chose. When the body of a local shipwright is found on the beach in 1840 Aberdeen, Scotland, neither the customers and suppliers he cheated—nor the women he seduced—are surprised. 

But the mystery intrigues wood-carver John Grant, who determines to seek out the murderer. His work and his investigations bring him into contact with a rich merchant, William Anderson—and his daughter Elizabeth. Commissioned to create a figurehead that combines the features of two women, John eventually uncovers a shocking tale of blackmail and death as, simultaneously, he struggles to resist the pangs of unexpected love.
Material Evidence – A Cairnbugh Mystery body of Stephanie Burnham is discovered by her husband. She’d been brutally assaulted then murdered. For Detective Chief Inspector Jack Carston, newly arrived in the town of Cairnburgh, near Aberdeen, Scotland, the case is a conundrum. All the evidence points to the husband – the marriage was a sham – but somehow the pieces of the jigsaw don’t fit together. Who was Stephanie Burnham? A high-flying businesswoman or a middle-aged drunken depressive? Was she sexy or frigid, intelligent or stupid, callous or loving? It seems to depend on who Carston asks. He knows that, to solve the mystery of her shocking death, he must first unravel the enigma of her personality.

Bill Kirton has put together a fine debut with intense plotting, strong characters, and just the right touch of acid in the dialogue (particularly the female dialogue). Fine Rendellian touches and a structure and depth that is rare in a first book make this a cracking page-turner. The denouement, when it comes, will shake you.

Rough Justice – A Cairnburgh Mystery
Floyd Donnelly has spent four of his twenty-six years in prison for robbery with violence. He’s foul-tempered, amoral and anti-social and yet everyone is surprised when his body’s found outside Cairnburgh’s only nightclub.

Detective Chief Inspector Jack Carston thinks he knows who’s behind the murder: self-made man David Burchill. The problem is that the street-wise Burchill has a cast-iron alibi for that night. And he always manages to keep one step ahead of Carston’s investigations. It just needs him to make one mistake, though…

There is a brutal rape in Rough Justice by Bill Kirton. It isn’t there to titillate, but to carry the story forward and ultimately bring about the climax to a thoughtful and thought-provoking book. The detective leading the hunt for the killer of a young thug from a local squat is also after a local self-made man he believes to be behind various rackets and who is protected by fellow masons in the senior ranks of the police force. The book involves some very human, intelligent Scottish coppers and ought to bring Bill Kirton the attention he deserves.

Email and blog for Bill Kirton
I put a few questions to Bill Kirton:
What inspired you to write?
I’ve always written. In fact, in a clear-out a few years back, I came across stuff I’d written as a kid. The strange thing was that it was a play about a crime. I say strange because I became a crime writer by accident so it was bizarre to see I was writing about that when I was probably around 9 or 10. It was, needless to say, complete rubbish. I know some kids’ things are brilliant and I did some work with primary school classes recently and their stories were amazing, but my juvenilia had nothing to recommend it at all.
How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
I have about a dozen plays – stage and radio – and two crime novels. Another one – a black comedy/satire – is being considered by a publisher at the moment, too.
How did you find the publisher?
Way back, when I turned from plays to novels, it was much easier to get agents. I sent the original version of The Darkness to the late Maggie Noach. She liked it, tried to flog it and Piatkus told her they weren’t planning to publish any stand-alone thrillers but they liked it and asked if I wrote police procedurals. I hadn’t thought of doing that but, with interest from a publisher, you obviously try to oblige. So I wrote Material Evidence and they published that, then Rough Justice. Then my editor left and I was out of favour. Maggie also died tragically young and, by then, agents and publishers had become more difficult to impress. But Bloody Books, in the USA, were starting a series called Bloody Brits (the best of British crime, according to them). Val McDermid was the commissioning editor and she accepted the two for publication there. The Darkness, which I’d rewritten several times by then and made part of the series, was published by YouWriteOn in that initiative they had in 2008 to publish a number of books for free.

I sent The Figurehead to several publishers and it was taken up by Virtual Tales in Canada.

A short answer, though, to your question is that I think it’s getting impossibly hard to interest mainstream publishers and agents but, to counteract that, there are lots of small, Indie publishers around who are willing to take risks. I think writers have to accept that they’ll get plenty of rejection slips but that that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of their writing.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I don’t have to. I took early retirement 20 years ago and I spend most of my time writing (when I’m not wasting it on Facebook). The juggling used to be between commercial writing and my own stuff, which I obviously much preferred doing. But I’ve found that commercial work has dried up significantly over the past 12 months so I’ve been able to concentrate on short stories and novels. The trouble is that, as with the vast majority of writers, it doesn’t earn much money, but I love doing it.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part is that we get so absorbed in our fictions and the craft of producing them that time flies by. When I’m into a work, I’m unaware of myself, my surroundings, anything much. You hear golfers and others talking about being in a cocoon of concentration – well it’s like that every day. It’s as if there’s this private world which, paradoxically, has nothing to do with you but to which you’re given free access to wander around, watch and listen to characters and record it all.
I suppose the worst part is the one that’s becoming more and more necessary – the need to spend as much time marketing and promoting as we do writing. I love meeting readers, doing signings, talks, workshops and the rest, but the whole business of having to do the attendant administration, be a salesman, etc. is a nuisance. But, of course, necessary.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I’m beginning to suspect that my answers all sound a bit forced or precious but I’m telling the truth. When I’m going well, any time is good and, in fact, I’m completely unaware of time. I’m always desperate to get back to the story and find out what happens next. I like getting away, doing some gardening, walking in the hills, and I used to sail but the boat was too far away so I had to sell it. But most of my life is spent writing. And I love it.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
All computer nowadays. Strange really because I used to use a pen and write on one half of the page to leave room for changes, additions, etc. But I could never write on a typewriter. I don’t know if it was the noise of the keys or what, but I tried and just couldn’t. But since we’ve had computers, that’s all I ever use. I actually find writing with a pen hard nowadays.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
All sorts of things. There are writers I love but it would never occur to me to try to copy their style or techniques. But ideas are triggered by words, images, sounds, individuals, strangers, angers, joy – almost anything.

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
No. I don’t really understand how that works for people. At first, the words may come slowly and you may throw most of them away. But once a work is ongoing, it has its own momentum. It’s not to do with the pace of the story either, it’s the pace of the writing. At the end of a writing day, I don’t think ‘How many words?’ but I do think ‘has the story moved on?’ It usually has, sometimes significantly, and that feeling of the organic process of a novel or story growing is the real satisfaction. It may turn out to be 70,000 or 120,000 words – it’s as big as it needs to be. The characters take you along and you just have to keep up with them. They know when it’s time to stop.

Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I’m both. For Material Evidence, Rough Justice and The Figurehead, the publishers commissioned artists to produce covers, all of which I liked. But for The Darkness, I did my own cover – minimalist and basically an attempt to reflect the real darkness in the book but suggest a possibility of light, even if it was fading. Pretentious? Maybe.

What are you working on now that you can talk about? year I was commissioned by Pearson to write a book for students in their Brilliant series. It’s called Brilliant Study Skills and I finished it last October. It’s on sale now and they’ve commissioned me to write two more in the same series – Brilliant Essays and Assignments and Brilliant Dissertations and Project Reports. When I’ve finished them, I have a book of sci-fi/fantasy stories which a publisher has accepted. They want me to add more and make various changes to make them fit more thematically. I can see their thinking and know it’ll make for a better book, so that’ll be the next project. After that, there’s the final Carston to write, then a follow-up to The Figurehead.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
They’re a fact of life. When I used to send radio plays to the BBC, the earliest ones were rejected but always with something positive in the replies – good characters, realistic dialogue, funny, little remarks like that. And it was encouraging so it made you try again. Nowadays, that happens very little and sometimes you wonder if they’ve read the stuff at all. But it’s a competitive market place and, when I send new stuff out, I try to make myself anticipate rejection. So when they show interest instead, it feels like a bonus.

Do you have an agent? If not tell us a little about your reasons for “going it alone”.
I’ve had two agents in my time and I think the good ones are excellent at pointing you in the direction they feel your writing should go. But, once again, the market is tending to dictate everything now, so there’s a tendency to try to ride the wave of current fads. The only reason I’d like an agent now is that I’d like someone else to take charge of the whole business of contacting the media, organizing signings, etc. They also know the markets better than I do. I’d always recommend getting an agent but I’d warn anyone trying to to be prepared for yet more rejection slips.

Do you have a critique partner?
No. My wife sometimes reads my things, especially when I’m writing from the point of view of a woman, and she invariably makes useful suggestions. On the whole, though, I go with my own instincts. I do read other people’s work and comment but it’s a time-consuming business and I try to be selective with it.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
This crops up at talks and workshops and I always stress three things:

1. Trust your own voice. Some writers think they have to use ‘special’ words or some sort of elevated language. Maybe it works but, more often than not, it’s inhibiting. I often wonder whether education does more harm than good to writers in that it blunts their directness, the raw quality of their experiences. I don’t mean you should be ungrammatical or not bother about spelling and punctuation – you should, they’re part of being professional, but don’t be afraid to use the vernacular. Celebrate your uniqueness.

2. Read aloud when you edit. You’d be surprised at how many things you pick up which you don’t notice on screen – repetitions, clumsy sentences, mistakes, all sorts of things. Read it so that it feels good in your mouth and sounds right in your ears.

3. Cut, cut, cut. All writing is better for being cut. My editor told me to lose 70 pages from Material Evidence. She was right, and it was much better as a result.

Material Evidence – ‘a cracking page-turner. The denouement, when it comes, will shake you.’

 Rough Justice – ‘The book involves some very human, intelligent Scottish coppers and ought to bring Bill Kirton the attention he deserves.’

The Darkness – ‘A guaranteed page turner, dark in every sense but crackling with suspense and energy.’ ‘A wonderful, thrilling, dark, compassionate book.’