Monday 31 January 2022

Requiem For A Hard Man by S C Bradbury BLOG TOUR @TheConradPress #SCBradbury @RandomTTours #Giveaway #Win #Prize #Competition


Gutsy and compelling, ‘Requiem for a Hard Man’ follows one man’s fight for redemption through the crime-filled backstreets of 1970s Manchester. 

WW2 hero Jackie Dunne has PTSD – re-ignited by his son’s heroin addiction. 

Unfortunately, fellow war vet Bill Shaw is now one of Manchester’s top drug dealers. 

When Jackie dumps two kilos of heroin down the drain, Bill vows revenge. 

A deadly standoff erupts between the army mates. 

Unable to sort things out with brute power, Jackie breaks the cardinal rule… and talks to the authorities. 

Will Jackie recognize his need for absolution? 

Is that possible when he won’t even admit there was a crime?

Requiem For A Hard Man by S C Bradbury was published in April 2021 by The Conrad Press.
As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to offer one print copy as a giveaway. 

Entry is simple. Just fill out the competition widget in this blog post.  UK entries only please. 


One copy of Requiem For A Hard Man by S C Bradbury

Simon Bradbury is an award-winning actor, playwright and screenwriter. 

‘Requiem for a Hard Man’ is his first novel. 

Friday 28 January 2022

We Are Not In The World by Conor O'Callaghan BLOG TOUR #WeAreNotInTheWorld #ConorOCallaghan @DoubledayUK @PenguinUKBooks @tabithapelly #BookReview


Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man drives a haulage lorry from England to France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger - his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails.

With a week on the road together, father and daughter must restore themselves and each other, and repair a relationship that is at once fiercely loving and deeply scarred.

As they journey south, down the motorways, through the service stations, a devastating picture reveals itself: a story of grief, of shame, and of love in all its complex, dark and glorious manifestations.

We Are Not In The World by Conor O'Callaghan was published in paperback on 27 January 2022 by Penguin. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

We Are Not In The World is a slim volume, the paperback is just 272 pages long but it's story that needs to be savoured, no rushing here. The writing is sparse and taut, the characters are a joy to discover. It's a novel that challenges, due to the structure and the content, yet it left such a lasting impression upon this reader. 

It's a story of journeys. The lead characters; Paddy and Kitty set off from England to France in a borrowed lorry, their journey is not just one of miles covered, it encompasses their whole lifetime. We learn how Paddy is heartbroken after a long affair with a married woman, and how Kitty has been estranged from him for many years. As they travel the miles, with Kitty hidden away, the reader becomes an earnest listener too. Paddy explores his life, with many regrets, and some bitterness toward people who have featured in it. 

It's fair to say that this is a fragmented story, the structure is unusual, often not linear and sometimes challenging. However, the strength here is in the writing, the creation of beautiful prose and the quite stunning insight into the life of a man who is ordinary, whilst also being extraordinary. 

The author cleverly involves Irish folklore within the story, with Paddy relating the tales of Oisín and Tír na nÓg, the reader comes to realise that these tales reflect Paddy's own experiences and add such depth to the novel. 

With a overwhelming sense of dread throughout, we are not sure just what Paddy will reveal next, and yet there's also a feeling of warmth that builds between the characters, this is a challenging, complex read and does take some settling into. 

A novel of relationships, grief, sorrow and re-building and one that I have much admiration for. 

Conor O'Callaghan is originally from Dundalk, and now divides his time between Dublin and the North of England. 

His critically acclaimed first novel Nothing on Earth was published by Doubleday Ireland in 2016. 

Wish You Were Here by Alyson Sheldrake BLOG TOUR #WishYouWereHere @AlysonSheldrake @RandomTTours #TravelStories #TenThingsAboutMe

Favourite holidays and special travel memories are shared in this anthology featuring twenty award-winning and top travel memoir authors.

We all have that one holiday that stands out in our minds, that one break or vacation we will never forget. Whether it is a childhood ‘bucket and spade’ family holiday, the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream destination, your first trip abroad or the city where you first fell in love, the memories are still there today.

The authors in this anthology bring out their postcards and photo albums and invite you to join them as they reminisce about their travels.

Maybe they will inspire you to book your next holiday too. 

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here today. She tells us Ten Things About Me

Ten Things About Me - Alyson Sheldrake

How long have you lived in Portugal?

My husband, Dave, and I first holidayed here almost twenty years ago and fell in love with the Algarve. We bought a house here 15 years ago, then had an agonising five-year wait before we could move out here to live permanently. We made the move almost 11 years ago and love it here! We adore the landscape, beaches, 300 days of sunshine a year, the local people, and the relaxed way of life.

How do you find the Portuguese language?

Portuguese is notoriously difficult! After almost eleven years I think I can get by quite well, then I meet someone local and think ‘nope, I didn’t understand a word of that!’

I’ve had lessons, studied lots of online courses, but the best thing for me is always just getting out there and talking to local people. I’m fluent in ‘weather’ and ‘illness’ Portuguese!

I will always keep trying. The worst sound for me is the ão sound at the end of some words... the best advice I ever received was ‘stick a finger inside each nostril and then say the word’... it comes out perfectly!

What are your favourite/least favourite Portuguese foods?

I used to love pastel de nata tarts (sadly I can’t eat them anymore) accompanied by uma bica, a nice strong shot of espresso coffee. I love the local fish, freshly grilled and served with a nice salad and sweet potato chips.

I can’t recommend ordering comida da cozinha (meat of the kitchen) unless you have a strong stomach for things like eyeballs and intestines! I also detest coentro (coriander) which is widely used out here in cooking and is liberally sprinkled on top of lots of dishes.

What foods do you have to avoid and why?

Sadly, it is a very long list. I was diagnosed with RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis - in 2019. I’m managing it well with a strict ‘diet’ of simple food... but there are lots of lovely things like dairy, pasta, and local cakes that I cannot eat any more.

Diet helps a lot, along with CBD oil and acupuncture. I have resisted the drug route; I have a fabulous local doctor at our health centre that is a Functional Medicine doctor. I was so lucky to be assigned to her; she has really helped me. But it has meant a pretty drastic lifestyle change. (Ask anyone that knows me - they will tell you how much I LOVED chocolate!!!!!)

You have worked in both the police and education in the UK. Which job did you prefer?

I served for thirteen years in the police and loved it, but the ladder to climb for promotion is narrow... so I left and pursued my other love (and qualifications) in education. I surprised even myself though as I reached the role of Director of Education within five years, responsible for 130 schools.

That was such a stressful job, working really long hours and battling so many issues, both local and national. It was very scary handing my notice in (it was a very well-paid job and I had worked so hard to get there!) but the call of my paints and the Algarve was just too strong to ignore. Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. We had always joked we were ‘too young to retire’ and we both had plans. I had the burning ambition to do two things – paint and write – and Dave had held a camera in his hands since he was a young boy. Our new careers were forged, although neither of us had ever worked for ourselves before or had any idea what we were doing! 

Eleven years later, I consider myself an established artist, having sold almost 250 paintings, and completed well over 100 commissions for clients around the world. Dave is now a well-respected and busy photographer, always happiest getting his feet wet on a deserted beach with his camera and tripod at hand.

You have a dog called Kat. Can you tell us a bit more about how she came to be part of your family?

Kat was a rescue dog. We have a friend that runs a charity out here and she went on holiday to Spain and saw a little dog in the middle of nowhere in a terrible state. She was only 11 kg and covered in fleas and ticks and starving. I have some photos from when she found her; they are heart-breaking. She brought her back to Portugal with her. She knew we had been thinking of getting a dog and didn’t want a young puppy, so we met Kat and fell instantly for her. Kat was about five then. We’ve had her over seven years now and she is the sweetest dog you could hope to meet. She is a Spanish water dog; she has webbed feet but will walk around a puddle of water on the ground! And you can blame my husband for her daft name!

Do you write every day or just when the mood takes you?

I get up nice and early (about 5 a.m.) when everything is quiet and write for a solid hour or two every morning. Then I take Kat for her long morning walk beside the river in our village.

I love early mornings here, especially in the summer, as it gets so hot here in the afternoon... that’s the time for a siesta. My brain is usually chock full of ideas when I wake up, so getting it all down is the fun part. The only challenge is getting my fingers to type quickly enough!

They say that inside everyone there is a book/story waiting to be written/told. How would you advise someone to start their story?

I think you are right. We all have a story to tell. I think the best advice I can give is just to start writing! It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished (it won’t be!) but just tell your story.

Maybe think of someone in your mind that you can write it for... maybe a family member or friend. Imagine them sat in a comfy chair opposite you and you are just telling them your story. Or decide that you are writing a letter to someone about an experience you have had or a place you visited... just a letter! Then just keep writing letters or stories until suddenly (as I found!) you have written 80,000 words and have a book.

What genres of books do you enjoy reading?

I love reading about other people’s lives and their stories, memoirs, and travel and adventure stories. I also love a good romance and shh! don’t tell anyone, but I have always loved Danielle Steel! I tend to go through a phase of finding an author or genre I love and devouring loads of books. I also loved the Harry Potter books - I’m just a kid at heart, I think!

I have travelled to so many wonderful places around the world with all the travel memoirs I have read. I have a little corner in our garden where I can curl up and lose myself in a book. We have a lovely covered area to hide under away from the sun... with a fab corner sofa for me – with space for Kat to snuggle up beside me, of course.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

Following on from self-publishing my own three books on Amazon about moving here to live in the Algarve, in my Algarve Dream Series, I have been busy bringing together the stories from a fascinating range of other travel memoir authors. They have all shared their own travel adventures in my new Travel Stories Series.

The third book in the series, Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories, includes twenty unique and original stories of favourite holidays and destinations. Thanks to Covid, so many people are longing to travel abroad and explore the world, but are trapped at home, passport gathering dust. With my anthologies, you can curl up in your favourite armchair and safely travel the world.

Alyson Sheldrake was born in Birmingham in 1968. She has always loved art and painting, although
she found little time for such pleasures, working full time after graduation. 

She joined the Devon and Cornwall Police in 1992 and served for thirteen years, before leaving to work in the field of education. 

She became the Director of Education for the Church of England in Devon in 2008.

Once her husband Dave retired from the Police, their long-held dream of living in the sun could become a reality. Alyson handed in her notice, and with her dusty easel and set of acrylic paints packed and ready to move, they started their new adventure living in the beautiful Algarve in Portugal in 2011. 

Alyson Sheldrake is the author of the award-winning Algarve Blog, and she is also a feature writer for the Tomorrow Magazine in the Algarve.

She is now an accomplished and sought-after artist working alongside her husband, Dave, a professional photographer. She has published three books about their Algarve Adventures: Living the Dream – in the Algarve, Portugal; Living the Quieter Algarve Dream; and an anthology of expat stories entitled A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal.

Her next writing adventure took her into the world of anthologies, with her Travel Stories Series. The first book, Chasing the Dream – A new life abroad, was released in June 2021. This was followed in September 2021 by Itchy Feet – Tales of travel and adventure.

Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories, is the third book in the series.
When she is not painting or writing, you can find her walking their rescued Spanish water dog called Kat along the riverbank in Aljezur, Portugal.

Alyson’s comment:
“I’m sure that most of us have a favourite holiday memory, the one destination that stands out in our minds as special. The one that we hold on to the photographs for, maybe keeping them tucked away in a box along with a few special mementoes and postcards. The vacation that we recall with fondness when it is dark and dreary outside in the middle of winter. The one that makes us smile and long for summer days, carefree nights, and that heady feeling of excitement at arriving in a different country, ready to explore and experience a new culture and place.

The authors I have invited to join me here in this anthology all have distinctive holiday memories to share with you in the pages that follow. Whether it is a childhood ‘bucket and spade’ family adventure, a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ dream destination, their first trip abroad or the city where they first fell in love, their stories will delight you.

Travel with them around Europe, eating and drinking the local food and wine, or chase down the perfect slice of pizza in New Zealand.

Be humbled by the poverty in Africa, and find out what it was really like to hang out in the hippie caves of Crete in the 1970s. Visit temples in Thailand and a floating restaurant in Hong Kong.
Go snorkelling in the Galápagos, or ride on a banana boat to Trinidad. Fall in love in Paris and join us for a romantic wedding on a beach in Barbados.”

Alyson Sheldrake, Curator and Editor of Wish You Were Here – Holiday Memories.

You can discover more about the book, including links on where to purchase, and view a free Photo Album to accompany the book, via Alyson’s website:

The book is available on Amazon in Paperback, Hardback, Large Print Edition, and eBook version. It is also available through Kindle Unlimited.

Thursday 27 January 2022

Demon by Matt Wesolowski BLOG TOUR - @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks - Review by @eksorsist #SixStories


In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun...

Demon by Matt Wesolowski is volume six in the #SixStories series and was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 20 January 2022.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I'm delighted to share this review, written by Martin Cater, as part of the Blog Tour today 

Review by Martin Cater 

As a now long-term firm fan of the Six Stories series, and guest reviewer of the last four, I am back once again, on this the sixth in the series. As with all the Six Stories, Demon can be read as a standalone, though I highly recommend them all.

As ever, my only aim is to try to encourage and entice you, the reader, to pick up something that is fresh and unique.  The Six Stories series is written in a clever ‘podcast’ style delivery by the enigmatic host, Scott King. The premise in each series is to ‘rake over’ cold cases in the quest for answers and new information. Each story centres around six interviews with people connected with the case, presenting the listener/reader with their own account. The challenge then is to make up your own mind, on what are generally quite thought-provoking subjects.

With Demon, Matt Wesolowski brings to the fore possibly the most challenging case of the entire series. Just what brings two young boys to commit the ultimate horror of killing another child. For those who clearly remember the case of James Bulger in the early 90’s, it is difficult not to be taken back, and remember all the media stories that surrounded those unspeakable events.

This would not be a series of Six Stories without a healthy sprinkling of darkness, folklore, and general down-right creepiness. As those familiar with previous stories will attest, this is an area where Matt Welsolowski excels. Demon is no exception, and centres around the small Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite (think League of Gentlemen & Royston Vasey). A place where everyone knows everyone, with its share of ‘interesting’ residents. The village is backdropped by an area of foreboding moorland – Ussal Bank, which houses long since abandoned smelting kilns. Forbidden by parents, so naturally a draw to any inquisitive child. I’m sure most of us can remember somewhere similar from our childhood. The kilns are surrounded in myth, rituals and talk of the supernatural, they are also the scene of the awful crime.

Through the six accounts the reader is drawn into an intriguing set of circumstances, leaving you questioning if the terrible crime was just an evil act perpetrated by a ‘Demonic-Duo’ with no apparent reason or motive – or is there something entirely more sinister that has been infiltrating the village for years. ‘Something’ that drove these two boys to murder.

If you’re the sort of person that likes everything wrapped up in a nice, neat bow, then Matt Wesolowski does the opposite of that. Through Scott King, whose character has slowly grown throughout this series of books, and the people he interviews, you are challenged to look at things from a slightly more skewed angle. Sometimes things are not just ‘cut and dry’, and with Demon it feels that way, probably more than any of the previous cases.

Can we ever really know what drives seemingly ordinary people to carry out horrendous atrocities? Is it inherent?  Is it the result of a traumatic event? Is it a cry out for help? ……..or in some cases is there something out there, lurking, looking for the next vulnerable victim to do its bidding?

Demon is yet another captivating read in this excellent series of books, and the usual clever cross-over between crime fiction and horror, long may it last!?

Hopefully there will be a next time, but until then, this has been my fifth….

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. 

He is an English tutor for young people in care. 

Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. 

His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. 

Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. 

His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. 

A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit.

Twitter @ConcreteKraken

Wednesday 26 January 2022

The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C Richards BLOG TOUR #TheComfortOfMonsters #WillaCRichards @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours #BookReview


In the summer of 1991, teen Dee McBride vanished in the city of Milwaukee. It was the summer the Journal Sentinel dubbed ‘the deadliest . . . in the history of Milwaukee.’ Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous crimes dominated the headlines and the disappearance of one girl was easily overlooked. 

2019, nearly thirty years later, Dee's sister, Peg, is still haunted by her disappearance. Desperate to find out what happened to her, the family hire a psychic and Peg is plunged back into the past. But Peg’s hazy recollections are far from easy to interpret and digging deep into her memory raises terrifying questions. How much trust can we place in our own recollections?  How often are our memories altered by the very act of speaking them aloud?  And what does it mean to bear witness in a world where even our own stories about what happened are inherently suspect? 

A heartbreaking page-turner, Willa C. Richards’ debut novel is the story of a broken family looking for answers in the face of the unknown.

The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C Richards was published on 13 January 2022 by Point Blank. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

This is one of the most startlingly extraordinary debut novels that I've read for a long long time. It's the type of book that draws the reader in and totally consumes their waking hours. It's dark, sometimes complicated but beautifully structured. Filled with characters who appear so totally life like and set amongst a background of a Milwaukee that is struggling to come to terms with some heinous crimes. 

A dual-time narrative, narrated in the main by Peg McBride.  Peg's sister Dee disappeared almost thirty years ago and the opening paragraphs find her and her family engaging the help of a celebrity physic to try to find out just what happened to her. Peg has dedicated her life to trying to bring the man that she believes murdered Dee to justice. However, the police have always said that there's no body, so no case, and despite her meticulous research, that man remains at large. 

Dee's disappearance coincided with one of the worst serial killer cases of US history. Jeffrey Dahmer had killed so many young men. The majority of his victims were black and/or homosexual, and whilst the country was horrified by the discovery of these crimes, there was a lot of victim shaming. The victim's name have not been remembered, only the facts that they were desperate, led a different lifestyle, and maybe were not really that important. 

The story is quite dense at times, and it took me longer than usual to read this novel. This is not a criticism though, it is purely because the writing is so well crafted and the narrative so wonderfully done that I felt as though I needed to slow down, and savour the whole thing.

This is not just a story of murder and social justice though, it is a precise and sharp look at family behaviour and how one event can shape a life. Both Peg and Dee were damaged women, seeming to attract men who were violent toward them, yet accepting and almost defending those choices. They both had an element of self-harming behaviour; taking drugs, eating badly and generally having little self esteem. It would be really fascinating to know if Peg's life would have taken a different course if Dee had not disappeared all of those years ago. Would she be a success in her job? Would she have a happy relationship? The questions are endless. 

The author shows just how the authorities can and do treat victims of crime. How if you are not the 'norm'; white, middle/upper class, straight, law abiding and employed, you seem to be worth far less. Despite the fact that the victims in this case all being human, all having people who loved and cared for them; the serial killer has become the famous name, whilst they have been forgotten.
Dee's disappearance amongst the hysteria of the Dahmer case just made her disappear a little bit more. 

This author is such a talent. This is a stark, tense and often disturbing story but it is fabulous and I highly recommend it.

WILLA C. RICHARDS is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Truman Capote
Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review and she is the recipient of a PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Emerging Writers. 

The Comfort of Monsters is her debut novel.

Willa was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1990. Both her parents are archaeologists and professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has three sisters and a brother.

The Comfort of Monsters was inspired by a case her mother worked on as an historic archaeologist. In 2014 she was contacted by a family who, based on a tip-off they received from a psychic, believed their missing daughter was buried in an old cemetery on the Milwaukee County grounds. Willa’s mother helped organise the excavation over that summer, and Willa volunteered as a field tech along with a handful of others. No remains were ever found.

Willa C. Richards on the Jeffrey Dahmer case:

Instagram @willacatherr

My Half-Sister's Half-Sister by Samantha Henthorn BLOG TOUR @SamanthaHfinds @RandomTTours #Extract #BlogTour #MyHalfSistersHalfSister


Can you believe everything Pippa tells you?

Pippa has hidden a huge secret for the past seven years. Her half-sister’s half-sister visits and turns Pippa's life upside-down. Yet, Pippa’s enchantress mother and sister warn her to be careful because they are reminded of her last crisis.

Then things go from bad to worse when Pippa returns to work because a tyrannical receptionist runs the office. Her best friend doesn’t want to speak to her and It seems as though her boyfriend might leave her, meaning Pippa would be alone in the flat they share above her mother’s pub. When Sadie visits, Pippa starts to believe her mother, Jacquetta and sister, Heather are witches. If this is true, then why didn’t they help her?

Sadie becomes the supporter Pippa needs, freeing her from past insecurities and enabling Pippa to face up to the past. Yet Sadie’s attention is not selfless; she wants something in return from Pippa.

My Half-Sister's Half-Sister by Samantha Henthorn was published on 9 November 2021. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from My Half-Sister's Half-Sister by Samantha Henthorn

My feet feel sort of cold, and the hall smells like washing powder and old oranges. Mummy queues up at the bottle tombola, and that’s when I look down.

No... no... please... Why didn’t Mummy tell me? I’ve come out to the school fair wearing my bedroom slippers. I try and put one foot on top of the other but that only draws attention.

Stop it. I look across the room, and I notice that girl from swimming. Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?

I hate swim class... wet hair on a cold day and my see-through costume. I hate it, can’t do it, and the swim teacher is grumpy and tells us off. She reckons that we should know how to swim at our age; it’s ridiculous. I swallowed chlorine from up my nose when my head went under. I tried to stretch my arms and legs out, but the pool was just wet air. So, I grabbed the side and tried to walk along with the movement of the water. It’s like I’m there now; I just can’t do it.

This girl never seems bothered that she can’t swim. I think she is a year older than me and from a different school. Different, except we all get banded together. The different ones, the ones who can’t swim.

She’s chewing bubble gum (banned at our house, definitely banned during swim class), and I wish Mummy had one of her long skirts on to hide my feet.

‘Jacqui!’ the girl’s mum puts a cigarette out in her hand.

‘India,’ Mummy says. She does not look pleased; she has the same look on her face when I ask to use the bathroom at the shops.

‘Our two are at the same swim class, then?’ India wears an eye patch on her left eye, and the girl pops her bubble gum bubble in my face (at least she hasn’t noticed my feet).

The smell in the school hall changes and all the parents try not to notice. I’ve smelt this smell before, sort of like flowers and being naughty at the same time... It stinks, but it’s nice too. It belongs to a man with red-rimmed eyes and nearly a beard. ‘How’s Heather?’ the smell says. Mummy bristles her shoulders. Heather is my big sister, and she’s late coming home from university. The girl chews her gum.

‘I believe you can’t swim either,’ the girl’s mum says to me. I open my mouth to say something, but I get a tickle in my throat.

‘I think we both know they won’t drown,’ Mummy does a laugh that isn’t a laugh because what she said was not a joke. Then we walk away, which is terrible because Mummy has given up her place in the queue. I had my eye on a bottle of Ribena (banned at our house), and Mummy had her eye on a bottle of brandy. At least I got away without anyone noticing what I’m wearing on my feet.

The girl looks straight at me and pops another bubble right in my face. ‘Nice slippers,’ she says.

Samantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She used to be a nurse, now she
is a disabled author.

When she was a child, she read Roald Dahl, when she was a teenager she read Stephen King. Now she reads lots of things.

Samantha is 96% Mancunian, she has one dog, one gorgeous grown-up daughter, and one husband. When not reading or writing, she listens to heavy metal. Samantha would be thrilled to bits if someone read one of her books. Samantha's books are available as audiobooks (narrated by Lindsay McKinnon).

After a diagnosis of MS in 2005, Samantha eventually accepted early retirement in 2014. Looking for an occupation where she can work at her own pace, Samantha drew on her observation skills and imagination to start writing. Samantha often feels as though she is living in a sitcom and this is reflected in her style.

Samantha looks after her condition by attending physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, resting whenever possible, wearing sunglasses indoors, avoiding emotional vampires, and enjoying life as much as she physically can.

Join Samantha Henthorn's mailing list to catch up with all the gossip and freebies from Curmudgeon Avenue 

Twitter  @SamanthaHfinds

Tuesday 25 January 2022

The Wakening by JG Faherty BLOG TOUR @jgfaherty @flametreepress #Giveaway #TheWakening @RandomTTours #Win #Competition #Prize


Fifty years ago, Father Leo Bonaventura, a young exorcist, cast a demon out from a young boy in Central America. 

The demon, Asmodeus, vowed revenge. 

Now the demon has returned, in the same town where Bonaventura is a retired priest nearing the end of his life. 

In a series of not-so-coincidental events, the possession of a young girl brings together an unlikely group of people, all of whom are linked in their pasts in some way: 

A group of paranormal investigators, including twin psychics. Robert Lockhart, a defrocked priest with a dark secret that only the twins know. A father whose dead wife was a college girlfriend of Robert’s and once conjured an evil spirit with him through a Ouiji board. 

Now they must all join forces and help Father Bonaventura rid the town not only of Asmodeus, but also the plague of poltergeists that have followed the demon into our world.

The Wakening by J G Faherty is published by Flame Tree Press today; 25 January 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour, I am delighted to offer one copy of the book as a prize.
Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in the blog post. 


One copy of The Wakening by JG Faherty

JG Faherty is the author of 6 novels, 9 novellas, and more than 60 short stories. 

He has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award® and the ITW Thriller Award.

Twitter @jgfaherty