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A Bowl of Cherries by F.E. Birch – Release Day Author Guest Post

Happy Release Day to A Bowl of Cherries by F.E. Birch, a writer I have known for a number of years.


I am excited to delve into these tales when they arrive but in the meantime she has agreed to share an insight into her writing process.

About the Book

There’s nothing cosy about these crimes.

Succulent rich stories of the dark and unknown that might terrify, horrify, or deliciously delight. Thirty-two previously published and prize winning tales that contain themes of death, destruction, abuse and emotion, each one a veritable stride into a unique and different world.
From the psychologically disturbed, the raging mad, the vulnerability of victims, and desperately needy, there’s not much that isn’t covered in the dark genre for those that like their stories to be troubling, distressing and quirky. NOT for the faint of heart, this comes with a triple X warning!


“A delightfully dark rollercoaster, dipping into a selection of slickly written shorts.” — Robert Scragg, author of All That is Buried


“A patchwork quilt of daring fever dreams, stitched together with effortless, bewitching prose. Highly recommended.” — Rob Parker, author of Far from the Tree


Order here for Kindle
Order here in paperback

About the Author


FE Birch is one writing pseudonym of a writer that first put pen to paper at the age of five but really took it seriously from 2004. She has had over 150 short stories published and/or placed in competitions, a ‘faction’ book published by Harper Collins and her first crime novel is currently out on submission. A Bowl of Cherries is a self-published collection of 32 shorts that will steal your breath and make sure you never look at cherries in the same way again.

Author Guest Post – Planning the perfect crime … short!

I’m not an expert on flash fiction, or short story writing, I only know what works for me. 

I like the short story form as they are quick reads, often intense, emotional, and leave you with a taste that lingers. When you live a busy life like I do, and I read slowly, it takes ages to read a novel and sometimes I just want a satisfying fast read. 

When I’m writing I often start with a prompt or series of prompts. It could be someone I’ve noticed, or something that’s happened that I store up for future use. An idea forms, and it could be a character, a feeling, a setting, or a plot. Something has to happen. I was always surprised when people talked of short stories that were thousands of words. To me they are mini novels, novellas, or short novels. A story can be told effectively in a paragraph, if it’s done right, or three hundred words, or three thousand. My longest short story is five thousand. I don’t know if I could keep the momentum of a short story for longer than that. 

I wasn’t sure if I could write a novel, but I have, and that is a totally different process. 

I think a story has a limit and as you start to write, the story flows and ends when it needs to. If I have to write to a word count, say two thousand words, I know I have space to add characters, add settings, scenes, sensory detail, that add to the story, but it mustn’t be seen as filler. If I only have 100 words then it has to clipped, tight, in and out, no messing about. 

It’s easier when I don’t have word count to work with because as I type the story ends itself then I can edit the rubbish and mould the rest. I like that. 

I sometimes write a couple of paragraphs that might be a set of ideas rather than stories and then I store them for future use to prolong, to make into something more. If I write a character I like, I can revisit them, give them more of a story, build up a ‘happening’ , take something very short and turn it into something darker, something more enticing, or sinister. Then others are just right as they are. 

It’s as individual to the writer as it is to the reader. I like to be provoked as both, so for me anything goes, and the rules are your own to make. I know I’m not to everyone’s taste. 

There aren’t too many avenues for the stories I like to write and read and there are no mainstream magazines to submit to that take stories like mine. Nothing I write would fit People’s Friend! 

Competitions and anthologies have been kind to me over the years and given me an outlet, but again, it’s difficult to find them on the shelves of bookshops, unless they are written by famous authors. 

Whilst I’m waiting for a publishing deal for my novel, I’ve pulled some of my best stories together for Bowl of Cherries. All different, all quick reads, all dark and twisty. All short.

Witness X by SE Moorhead – Blog Tour Book Review 

About the book
Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner. A dark and gripping crime novel set in a convincing near future – SE Moorhead is the future of crime writing.’ STEPHEN BAXTER

From one of the most original new voices in fiction comes a startling vision of a world where hero Kyra must fight the past to save our future. A genre-bending thriller for the Netflix generation, for fans of Altered Carbon, Dark and Mindhunter.

She’s the only one who can access the truth…

Fourteen years ago, the police caged a notorious serial killer who abducted and butchered two victims every February. He was safe behind bars. Wasn’t he?

But then another body is discovered, and soon enough, the race is on to catch the real killer. Neuropsychologist Kyra Sullivan fights to use a new technology that accesses the minds of the witnesses, working with the police to uncover the truth. Will Kyra discover the person behind the murders, and if so, at what cost? And how far will she go to ensure justice is served?

About the author

Born in Liverpool, S.E.Moorhead has told stories since childhood and  uses writing as bubblegum for her over-active brain – to keep it out of  trouble. Fascinated by meaning, motivation and mystery, she studied Theology at university.

Over the last twenty five years, apart  from teaching in secondary school, S.E.Moorhead has attained a black  belt in kickboxing, worked as a chaplain, established a Justice and  Peace youth group, and written articles for newspapers and magazines  about her work in education and religion.

She still lives in her beloved hometown with her husband Seán and two sons.

What I Thought 
Crime isn’t my natural genre but I was totally drawn in by the tag line Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner. 
Kyra is immediately a loveable heroine who you can see has her heart in the right place. She has developed a mind reading technology that can delve into people’s memories – but it’s not quite ready for public consumption for a number of reasons, and she’s definitely not behind the use of it by force. 
And suddenly the killer is back, along with some horrifying memories she doesn’t need a machine to bring back to life. Kyra has a very personal reason to want them caught, and works with the police to see justice done. 
The writing is great, pacy and thrilling. The characters are intriguing: as well as directly hearing from Kyra we get to delve into the mind of the killer and the victim they are on the clock to save. 
Relationships are a vital plot point and there are a whole host of complex ones explored. 
The book is set in 2035 so it still has relevant references as well as new technology to make it both present and futuristic. And I always enjoy when the ethics of technology is explored well, which it is here.
I found it interesting that the memory device didn’t really come into real play until half way through so we got some “old fashioned” detective work thrown in the mix too. 
With some clever misdirection and just enough of the reader being steps ahead of Kyra this was an on the edge of your seat thriller that I would highly recommend. 
This was published on the 6th February so it’s out now. If crime, psychological thriller, and/or sci-fi are your bag you won’t want to miss this. 
Thank you to @TrapezeBooks  for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. @semoorhead 

The Hidden Bones by Nicola Ford – Book Review

Recently I hosted a guest post from author Nicola Ford about the archeological inspiration for her debut novel “Digging Up Bone, Digging Up Secrets. I’ve now finished the book and you can read my review below.

Synopsis

Following the recent death of her husband, Clare Hills is listless and unsure of her place in the world. When her former university friend Dr David Barbrook asks her to help him sift through the effects of deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart, she sees this as a useful distraction from her grief. During her search, Clare stumbles across the unpublished journals detailing Gerald’s most glittering dig. Hidden from view for decades and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, she cannot believe her luck. Finding the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist’s dream. Determined to document Gerald’s career-defining find for the public, Clare and David delve into his meticulously kept records of the excavation.

But the dream suddenly becomes a nightmare as the pair unearth a disturbing discovery, putting them at the centre of a murder inquiry and in the path of a dangerous killer determined to bury the truth for ever.

Author

Nicola Ford is the pen-name for archeologist Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist for the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. You may have seen her on TV on Countryfile or Britain’s Secret Treasures.

Through her day-job and now her writing, she’s spent more time than most people thinking about the dead.

Website: nicolaford.com

Twitter: @nic_ford

What I Thought

For some reason crime books are one of the genres I am drawn to the least which is odd because I usually really enjoy them when I get stuck in and have watched no end of crime shows on TV in the past. This book was no different and it definitely hit the ‘need to find out who done it’ spot.

Although reminiscent of Bones this book deals with archeology rather than forensic anthropology in order to solve crimes although the osteo-archaeologist/ bone expert that appears is delightfully American. The police do take a bit of a back seat in this story because of how and where it begins, but I wonder if they might become more involved in future sequels.

This is a very British book, and it was refreshing to read about places I have heard of and even visited. There is a very country rural feel to the story with the English village busybodies out to help or hinder the investigation.

Like “Robert Galbraith’s” Cormoron Strike series and Bones the human interaction between the investigative team is as interesting as the case to be solved. There’s also some dramatic tension as Clare gets closer to solving the case. The killer is still out there and determined to keep their identity hidden.

I’d definitely recommend this to fans of the genre and odd bods who don’t always read it like me. I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series and getting to better know Clare, David, Jo and the gang on future cases.

I received an advanced review copy for the publisher for the purposes of taking part in the blog tour and for an honest review.

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