Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest post. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20, 2018

13 Things Content Marketers Should Know About Email Marketing

13 Things Content Marketers Should Know About Email Marketing
by Campaign Monitor

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Demo Video

Guest Post (originally published here)


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Dead in the Dark" by Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark
(Cooper & Fry Mystery Book 17)
by Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark (Cooper & Fry Mystery Book 17) by Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark is the seventeenth book in the Cooper & Fry Mystery series by Stephen Booth.

Dead in the Dark is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

How do you prove a murder without a body?
Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower's remains, and the case against him collapsed.
But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper – because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.
Cooper can't call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place – impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

Chapter One
No one wants to die in the dark. To lie alone in the blackness, feeling the chill of death creep slowly over you. Shut away from the light as the fear numbs your limbs and chokes the breath in your throat. The long, long sinking into the cold depths. And then to sense that slipping away. The final slipping away into nothing.
Do you feel that stab of pain as it shoots through your chest? Try to make your breathing more shallow. You have several broken ribs, a fractured arm, perhaps a punctured lung. You can hardly know, in the dark. But you can feel the internal bleeding, the seeping blood as it squeezes your internal organs, bloats your stomach and intestines. You know your injuries are fatal.
That fear of the dark is overwhelming. Because this is true darkness, an eternal night in which your eyes have become useless. Your heart thumps uselessly as you strain to see where you’re lying. You can sense space around you, a slight movement of icy air, a shifting of heavy masses, a solid weight way above your head. A sharp, stabbing pain is in your back from something hard you’re lying on. This isn’t a grave. But it is your tomb.
Does your fear of the dark make any sense? When you’re dead, you go into endless blackness. Yet you’ve always hoped you would get one last glimpse of the light, always prayed that you wouldn’t die alone.
Well, that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing for you to see here. Not a glimmer of light, not a flicker of hope. Only the darkness.
A creak and a rattling makes you freeze. Is someone here? Or some thing? But no . . . you breathe out and release the pain. The noise has quite a different meaning. It’s something huge shifting overhead. It signals the end, the approach of your death. You’re about to be crushed completely.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt. Please note the US and UK editions have different covers.]

Praise for the Book
“I love reading about these characters. I love the world in which Ben moves and I really enjoy the cases with which he is confronted. I always look forward to the next installment of this wonderful series.” ~ For Winter Nights
“An elegant reflection of what's happening in the country at large.” ~ The Book Bag
“This is an enjoyable, very readable yet understated crime novel by an accomplished author.” ~ Crime Fiction Lover
“The Peak District setting is as striking as ever ... the ever-present threat of violence will get under your skin.” ~ Real Crime
“Clever, beautifully written and superbly plotted, this is an entertaining page-turner with a compelling twist in the tail.” ~ Lancashire Evening Post*

Guest Post by the Author
Writing a Series
It seems hard to believe now - even for me! But twenty years ago, when I set out to write the first Cooper & Fry novel, Black Dog, I didn’t know I was writing a series.
At the time, I’d written some previous, unpublished novels which were standalones, and I had no particular reason to think that Black Dog would be any different, as I didn’t have a publishing contract for it.
Yet something different did happen. During the course of the writing, the central characters, my two young Derbyshire police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, leaped off the page and became completely alive for me. I was discovering who they were as I wrote about them and was finding them more and more interesting. By the time I got to the end of that first story, I knew there was a lot more I wanted to say about those two characters than I could possibly get into just the one book. 
This was lucky because all the publishers who were interested in Black Dog assumed it was the start of a series - and they wanted to know what the second book would be about! I already had ideas for number 2, Dancing with the Virgins, and that was what sealed my first two-book contract with HarperCollins.
Since then, I’ve never known how many books there were going to be in the Cooper & Fry series. I’ve never been in the position of someone like J. K. Rowling, who had all seven Harry Potter books planned out in advance. After those first two stories, publishers have kept asking me to write ‘two more books’, or sometimes ‘three more books’. Each time I’ve said ‘yes’ and signed the contract - without actually knowing what anything of those books would be about, except that they’d feature Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and would be set in their ‘patch’, the beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.
So what kept me saying ‘yes’ without a plan? The characters, of course. As long I’ve felt that Ben and Diane were moving forward and developing, I’ve known that I could keep writing about them. Events are always happening in their lives, and they’ve aged over the course of 17 books (though quite slowly). It’s definitely the characters who have driven the overall story arc, without the author actually knowing where the series was heading.
This can create problems for me, as you might imagine. If I refer to an incident from Ben Cooper’s past, for example, I might find that I’ve contradicted something I wrote six or ten books ago. I’m lucky that I’ve had great editors who know the series and will spot my mistakes. And, if they don’t, readers will soon point them out!
It particularly applies to small details. Diane Fry got a new car in one book, changing to an Audi from the Fiat she’d been driving up to then. In the next book, I forgot that she had a new car, and she was back driving the Fiat. That was wrong in the early editions - but not once readers had begun writing to me to let me know my error!
But generally, it’s these small details which catch me out. The characters and their lives are so real to me still that they seem to know what they’re doing better than I do. Ben and Diane have become like old friends, who have existed in my head for twenty years now. I try to give them as much freedom as I can to get on with their lives.
So, I don’t try too hard to keep track - it would feel as though I was controlling them. Ben Cooper and Diane Fry have an independent existence, and they’ll decide where their storyline goes!

About the Author
Stephen Booth
A former newspaper journalist, British author Stephen Booth is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who have appeared in 17 crime novels, all set in and around England's Peak District.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth (read my previous blog post).


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

"The Love Detective" by Angela Dyson

The Love Detective
(A Clarry Pennhaligan Mystery Book 1)
by Angela Dyson

The Love Detective (A Clarry Pennhaligan Mystery Book 1) by Angela Dyson

The Love Detective by Angela Dyson is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The first in a hilarious new series featuring a regular girl set down a path strewn with misadventures and murder to her destiny as ‘The Love Detective’.
Clarry is 26, attractive, funny - and on the road to nowhere. Living a makeshift existence as a waitress, she knows life should be led with some sort of plan, but unfortunately planning is something she needs to get around to. Enter her best friend Laura with a seemingly simple request: check out Simon, estate agent and new boyfriend, to make sure he really is interested in Laura and not the solicitor help she can provide. Clarry is no detective, unless you count tracking down where her next tip is coming from. Still, what harm could a little amateur sleuthing do?
With the aid of Flan, a glamorous septuagenarian, Flan’s lover, and a cast of colorful characters from the restaurant she works at, Clarry plunges into the investigation with a few pitfalls, pratfalls and a dodgy moment where she’s mistaken as a pole dancer (and not in a good way). It isn’t until 1) she discovers that Simon’s a two-timing creep, and 2) in a sinister turn, she uncovers an evil criminal enterprise, that she realizes amateur sleuthing is not for the faint of heart!
Cynical and yet romantic, Clarry is an unlikely heroine that readers will both identify and fall in love with. Her misadventures and comical outlook mesh brilliantly with a thrilling story that will appeal to readers of romance, crime and chick lit. Set to be the first in an entertaining new series, you don’t need to follow the clues to know The Love Detective is one book you don’t want to miss out on!

Book Video
Angela Dyson reads from The Love Detective.

Allowing a couple of cars to get in front of me, I eased out into the traffic behind him. Now I’ve seen it in films and on TV of course, but actually following another car without drawing attention to oneself is no easy thing. There’s a lot of weaving in and out. The driver of a silver Toyota whose passenger side door I narrowly missed colliding with, probably thought that I was driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or mental impairment. This last may be close to the truth.
Simon was an aggressive driver. Sweating under my cap, I concentrated on keeping the BMW in sight and wondered what on earth I was doing. What was I expecting to discover? Fighting down a growing sense of the ridiculous, I followed him along the Broadway, past South Wimbledon Tube and out on to Merton High Street. Where was he going? Probably off to the gym or just home. A sudden thought occurred to me and I nearly veered off the road as the extent of my own stupidity hit me. I hadn’t thought to ask Laura for something as basic as Simon’s address. I groaned aloud (I seemed to have done that a lot today) and mentally beat myself up. I just knew I’d be crap at this. And I was surprised at how disappointed I was with myself. OK, so I could turn around, go home, phone Laura and tell her that it was no good, she’d just have to abandon the whole insane idea …, or … I could for once, finish what I’d started.
Now is probably the time to admit to a whopping character flaw: I have a history of giving up. Yes, I know it’s a sign of immaturity and I’m not in the least proud of it. The thing is, I’m always madly keen at the start of things; a new job, new relationship, classes in this or that, but when the first flash of enthusiasm has waned and determination, self-discipline and … well, courage, are needed to go on, then I have nearly always taken the easy way out and quit. Not good. So, it’s taken me a while to face up to the fact that I am not exactly the queen of the follow through. Somewhere inside me I have a suspicion that this is the real reason Grandma P. left me the house. She knew I needed its security. I felt a prickling of shame and then looked anxiously ahead for Simon. There was the BMW, five or six cars ahead now. Keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel, I followed him as he indicated right and pulled out on to Tooting High Street. Without conscious thought my mind, it would seem, had made the decision without me.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Pacy, funny and exciting. Cynical yet romantic at heart, Clarry is a girl that you can't help but like - and root for ...” ~ Independent Reviewer
“… if you like the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich stop reading this review and just buy this book! This novel, which looks to happily be the first in a series, is the tale of how Clarry gets involved in being a private investigator. […] This book is fun, fast, and still has feelings and growth of the character. I would definitely recommend it!” ~ Jennifer Solak
“this book was a great mystery read that found the balance between keeping the reader guessing, while still giving enough clues that they felt they might have an idea of what was to come. This book is filled with action and danger as well as humor and fun (if you enjoy Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton’s books this story will be right up your alley).” ~ Nicole
“This book had the right amount of humour and mystery and quite honestly I couldn’t put it down. […] Im so looking forward to the next book in the series.” ~ Oriana Blyth
The Love Detective by Angela Dyson is a very good thriller deceptively hidden behind the cozy cover.” ~ Sandra

Guest Post by the Author
How My Life Experiences Affect My Writing (and Vice Versa):
The summer I lost myself and gained 10lbs
It doesn’t do to live too much in your head. I’ve learnt this the hard way. My clothes no longer fit me, and my cheekbones have all but disappeared. I think I’d better start at the beginning. So, here goes:
I’m not a big fan of reality. It’s just too, well, real. It’s constantly challenging (I know that’s supposed to be good for you but, honestly, when do we ever really enjoy what’s good for us? Kale being a case in point) and it can be scary. And irritating.
For example, over the years I’ve discovered that the scripts I write in my head for whoever is the current man in my life, are so much better than the real exchanges. For a start, he actually talks, instead of all that grunting men so often hide behind. And when I say talk, I mean … about his feelings. And yes, of course, there’s been some wonderful romantic moments, including two proposals of marriage, but I can’t help feeling that if I’d written the scenes then the colours would have been brighter, the dialogue way more poignant, and that I would definitely have chosen a more appealing location than in the car whilst driving him to the station one early morning when I hadn’t even had time to wash my hair. Still. I’m not complaining. It’s always nice to be asked.
So, when feeling particularly disappointed after a lack-lustre affair with a guy who it turned out had no intention of ever leaving the comfort of his parents’ home, I decided to put real men on the back-burner and create irresistibly complicated fictional ones. With their own apartments. There would be tension and there would be drama (I had a deep longing for drama), there would be obstacles to overcome and sacrifices to be made, but there would also be moonlight and ardent declarations and highly flattering outfits.
Oh, and there would be sex, of course.
Glorious Hollywood-Style Sex.
And for two months, fuelled by chilled white wine on a drip and a constant supply of chocolate biscuits, I wrote story after story. Every spare moment was devoted to creating a heightened version of reality, shaping my own life experiences into a dreamscape.
At last, drained, and beginning to develop headaches from all that sugar, I stepped away from the laptop. And away from the chilled white wine. And away from the biscuits.
I was ready to re-join the Real World. But I was in for a shock when I took a close look in the mirror. I can’t have, I thought. Then I stepped on the scales and did a double-take. How could I have become so lost in my writing that I hadn’t noticed I’d put on nearly a stone? Perhaps, I decided, when fiction and reality collide, something just has to give?
And in, this case, it was my waistline. Well, it was definitely time to get out of my head and back into my jeans.

About the Author
Angela Dyson
Angela Dyson ditched her London life and downsized her home to move to the sticks in Surrey, to follow her dream to become a professional author. She loves to write but to pay the bills (Angela soon discovered that utility companies, bank managers and landlords aren’t known for their generosity and understanding natures,) she had to squeeze the writing in with working for a living. Some of the jobs to which she only gave half her attention have included working for a recording studio and a record label, running a building maintenance company where pretty much the only upside was getting to boss a lot of men about all day, doing a bit of plus size modeling (strictly clothes on) and, for one memorable summer, making a living reading palms on a Greek Island.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"Finding Your Path: A Happy Start to School" by Amba Brown

Finding Your Path:
A Happy Start to School
by Amba Brown

Finding Your Path:A Happy Start to School by Amba Brown

Australian author and psychologist Amba Brown stops by today to share an excerpt from A Happy Start to School, the latest addition to her Finding Your Path series. You can also read my review. 

As a special bonus for our readers, buy the book and apply coupon code BOOKSDIRECT18 at the checkout to receive 15% off! Also available: A Guide to Life & Happiness After School and A Guide to Starting High School with a Smile.

Finding Your Path series by Amba Brown

A fun and original way to socially, emotionally and practically prepare children around the world for starting school. Playful and engaging, this beautifully designed resource is for every child starting to wonder about starting school and needing that little bit of support, encouragement or insight into school life.

Book Video

Hi, I'm Fyp,
So glad you stopped by!
I'm sooooo excited,
And I'm sure you know why.
We're going to school,
Yes - me and you.
But there's more than just us,
All our friends are coming too!

Praise for the Book
“Brilliant ... Such amazing insights for children written in a way that's sure to connect!” ~ Kate Hall, Australian Early Childcare Director
“Very cute little book for little kids starting school. Something different to what's already out there.” ~ Judy

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
The cute rhyming text introduces us to Fyp (short for “Finding Your Path”), a boy who is about to start school. He shares his reassuring message with his young readers that starting school is nothing to worry about. He shows them how to prepare for their first day, what they’ll need to take with them, what they’ll learn, the games they’ll play, how the day is structured, and even how to interact with teachers and other children.
The author has a degree in psychology, and it sure shows. She imbues this book with constant reassurances and positive messages to give young children the confidence they need to try something new.
Full of bright and colourful illustrations throughout, this book is sure to appeal to your little ones. What a great start to their school life!

About the Author
Amba Brown
Amba's an Australian Positive Psychology author, who holds a degree majoring in psychology & sociology, with a Psychological Science Honours specialising in Positive Psychology.
She has also delivered her message on the TEDx Stage.
Amba is also a member of The International Positive Psychology Association and is passionate about alleviating the anxieties of youth. Her goal is to share these tools as far and wide as possible.