Tag Archives: book tour

Guest Post: Inspiration behind Porcelain

Guest post by Lee Cockburn, author of “Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents”.

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

Porcelain was the name I had actually chosen for my first book, but I don’t think it would have been right for the theme of Devil’s Demise.

Re Porcelain, I’ve never liked porcelain dolls, they give me the creeps and I think they frighten adults far less children.

I wouldn’t say I was inspired to write Porcelain, I was more drawn to the unspoken topic it portrays, the silent suffering of many, the great unsaid.

So many people I have encountered, some friends and others acquaintances, and just folk you meet, have been touched by this evil brush, that scars you deep inside, but very few ever share their dark secret, a fear of releasing a truth that can never be untold, and the irreversible affect on everybody involved, and disbelief that somebody they love could be capable of things like this.

It is a harrowing topic, and as a mother if bores fear deep inside me, but creates a ferocious protector of those little ones that depend on you, they are so precious, and should be treated as such, so innocent and vulnerable.

It took me two weeks to write the beginning of the abduction scene, wondering how I could write this with minimum affect on the child, because even though this topic is hideous, I’m still a mother, and don’t want to harm children, even in writing, I don’t want to harm anyone for that matter.

My theme for all of my books will be good versus evil, harrowing topics that happen in the darkest recesses of evil minds, it may be a difficult to read some of the graphic horror, but hopefully right will defeat wrong before the end.

Enjoy the read.

Lee Cockburn

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

And you may read my review of Lee’s new book Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents here.

Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

I have received a free e-copy of the book Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn to review.

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

Here is the book blurb.

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nick is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured, and traumatised, around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common -a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past —a chilling calling card.

Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down, but dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and Nicks soon discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Inspired by her vast professional experience as a police officer both on the beat and in specialist riot squads in Edinburgh, Porcelain is the second in Lee Cockburn’s DS Taylor Nick’s series.

This book Is very dark. It starts 22 years ago with very young twins Amy and Nathan being abused by their mother and her boyfriend. We then fast forward to the current day to see the police investigating a series of crimes where paedophiles are tortured. And we also follow the investigating officers’ personal lives, which includes explicit lesbian sex scenes. We meet both Amy and Nathan again, who are still troubled by their past.

By chance Amy and Nathan find each other after being separated when they were taken into care. Then a paedophile is murdered rather than tortured. Next a young boy is abducted – it is the son of DC Marcus Black. Can he be found in time? And who is targeting the paedophiles?

Each time a porcelain doll is left at the crime scene. I found this really spooky as I was always scared as a child by the two china dolls that had belonged to my mum and now lived on the bottom shelf of my toy cupboard. I deliberately wouldn’t put any of my toys in there to avoid looking at them.

I won’t say any more about the storyline. but I did sometimes get confused as to whether I was reading about Nathan or Amy.

Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A dark story which is definitely worth a read if you can handle the subject matter.

This book is recommended for adult readers only, due to its graphic content.


About Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

Follow Lee Cockburn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lee_leecockburn


Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

And you may see a guest post by Lee, detailing her Inspiration for the book on my blog here.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt to review.

The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

Here is the book blurb.

Tragedy and comedy in perfect proportion.

Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs.

Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.
The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day.

When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory – that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold – he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.

Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.

The book starts by introducing the four main characters – Kim, Clate, the principal and Flow. Kim and Flow who live on a council estate in Fulham are best friends, but none of the others have crossed paths yet. Middle-class 18yr old Clate has a violent step-father Hugo and is still at school. We never get to know the name of the principal, but she is a single mother, who is principal at one of the roughest colleges in London.

Clate is grounded but is allowed to go to cleaner Maureen’s 70th birthday. There she meets Kim and Maureen’s grandson Flow. Shortly afterwards when Clate with a split lip, coutesy of Hugo, bumps into Flow, he invites her to go out with them next Friday. However Flow had “forgotten” that it was his and Jackie’s engagement dinner, so asks Kim to go round and let Clate know.

Clate opens up about her home life to Kim and questions herself as to why she doesn’t leave. Kim tells her it is “The Frog Theory” – when you put a frog in boiling water, it jumps out and lives, but if you put it in cold water, then gently heat up, it stays in and dies. They talk for hours and then Clate asks Kim to kiss her, but he is too loyal to Flow.

Shortly afterwards Clate inherits a large sum of money from her biological father. She reverts from her nickname Clate back to her real name Clea and plucks up courage to leave home. Meanwhile Kim has realised that Flow is staying with girlfriend Jackie, so as he doesn’t have Clate’s number, he leaves a note in a beer bottle, hidden in the ivy outside Clate’s bedroom window, not realising she has already left.

Kim’s probation officer suggests he apply for college, and this is how we are introduced to the principal, when he signs up for a business planning course. He and Flow set up their own business.

There is lots more to come in the story, such as how does the principal feature and Flow bumping into Clea when she returns to England and asking her to join him and Kim for dinner. But I shall say no more.

The Frog Theory will be published on 14th February and is available for pre-order on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.
Excerpt from The PartyThe moment Kim sees Clea for the first time, known for the moment by her nickname, Clate.

Kim looked Clate up and down. She was medium height and dying of embarrassment. She had long, blondish hair, which was covering most of her face, and she was wearing a shapeless dress, which didn’t give any clue as to what her future might be like.
‘You look like Cousin Itt off The Munsters under all that hair,’ said Kim, as an ill-chosen icebreaker.
‘I think you’ll find that Cousin Itt featured in The Addams Family, actually,’ she replied tartly.
La di da! Thought Kim, Jackie and Flow simultaneously.
‘He was only kidding,’ said Flow, trying to save the day ‘Can I get you a drink?’
‘Sauvignon blanc, please,’ said Clate, without thinking much. It was the only white wine she had heard of.
‘Errrrr…’ said Flow, exchanging glances with Kim. ‘I’m not sure they’ll feature any of that at this bar! It’s a white wine, isn’t it?’
‘Actually, I’ll have whatever you’re drinking,’ she said, eager to get the attention away from herself as soon as possible.
‘A pint of lager?’
‘No… not that…’ She looked at Jackie’s drink. ‘What are you drinking?’ she asked shyly, in a glazed millisecond taking in Jackie’s dark good looks and beautifully fitted top and skirt combo, complementing her curly, compact figure. Her bra strap was showing and it was red. Clate had never owned red underwear.
‘Vodka and lemonade,’ said Jackie, still looking her up and down.
‘I’ll have one of those, then,’ she said, going red again as Flow beckoned for the barman.
They stood in embarrassed silence and Clate stared downwards at Jackie’s shapely legs, black strappy high sandals wrapped around neat feet sporting immaculately polished red toenails, Flow’s well-worn trainers that looked loved and comfortable below some sort of dark trousers.
‘So… What brings you here?’ said Jackie at last. Clate look up, flicking her hair out of her face.
Kim couldn’t work out whether she was beautiful or ugly; she had the kind of looks that needed a second opinion.


About the author

After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.

http://www.fionamordaunt.com/


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis

I have received a free copy of the recipe book Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis Rosembert to review.

Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis

This is what it says on the back cover.

Stir up an authentic taste of the Caribbean at home with Chef Denis Rosembert’s first ever cookbook. The St Lucia born restauranteur lovingly curates his favourite dishes — from delicious jerk chicken to spicy mutton curry and sweet golden apple cake — for you to recreate, bringing the unique flavours and exotic aromas of the island — renowned for its seafood and exquisite chocolates — vividly to life in your own kitchen.

At his much-loved restaurant Chez Denis in Norwich, England, Denis Rosembert blends the eclectic cuisines of Africa, Europe and Eastern India that combine to make St Lucian food so rich and so special. His colourful, infectious, easy-to-follow recipes are the ultimate celebration of island life, food and drink and entertaining and will soon have you inviting friends and family round to experience your own taste of the Caribbean.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I enjoy cooking, so I was very much looking forward to reading the recipes in this book and trying some out. I’ve never been to St Lucia, so I was very interested to find out the cooking style. I was certainly expecting to find seafood recipes and jerk chicken, but surprised at the lack of curried goat. Obviously it must be from a different part of the Caribbean. Interestingly there was a big section of soups which I shall definitely be dipping into. I had assumed that soups wouldn’t feature heavily in a hot climate.

Most of the ingredients can be sourced from your local supermarket, but you will need to find a specialised supplier for the more exotic like golden apples. I had wrongly assumed this just referred to the golden delicious variety of apple, but no it is a totally different fruit to the apple we know here.

I really enjoyed reading the introduction and finding out that Chef Denis started cooking at age 6, when his grandmother taught him to grill fish with green bananas on a coal pot. He still enjoys making and eating this dish today.

The book has a detailed section on sauces that are used in other recipes, but unfortunately doesn’t have an index. Also I would prefer it if every recipe had a picture.

Taste of the French Caribbean has just been published and is available on Amazon, currently priced at £25 in hardback and is also available in Kindle format. A lovely recipe book, which has certainly whet my appetite.


Mango and Coconut Flan

I have tried out the Mango and Coconut Flan recipe. This requires either golden apple or lemon curd, so I opted to use lemon, since I don’t know anywhere local to purchase golden apples. You may see how I made the lemon curd here. I found the recipe reasonably straight-forward to follow, although I would say it serves 10, rather than 4 as stated. A quarter of the flan would be an absolutely enormous portion. And I had to skip the step of placing on a cooling rack, as I barely managed to move it from baking tray to serving plate.

Mango and Coconut Flan

Click on the image below and then zoom to see a fullsize copy of this recipe as it appears in the book.

Mango and Coconut Flan

It was really delicious. A very tasty dessert.

Mango and Coconut Flan


About Chef Denis

Denis Rosembert was born on the island of St.Lucia where he started training to be a chef in 1973. After a couple of years he was invited to England to continue his training. Since then Denis has worked in various hotels and restaurants across Britain and America in the role of Commis, Sous and finally Head Chef. In 1989 he moved to Norwich, where after a brief stint working for the Sports Village, he finally realised his dream and opened his own restaurant Chez Denis.

Website – http://www.chezdenis.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Chezdenis1


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts to see what tasty recipes they have tried.

Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis

I’d love to hear what dishes you love from the Caribbean?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Gilding the Lily by Justine John

I have received a free e-copy of the book Gilding the Lily by Justine John to review.

Gilding The Lily by Justine John

Here is the book blurb.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

Amelia and husband Jack travel from London to New York to attend a surprise 75th birthday party for her father Roger, organised by his new partner Evelyn. There they meet Evelyn’s step-granddaughter Laura for the first time. Amelia finds it very difficult to get on with Evelyn, but makes friends with Laura, who visits them in London, the next year when over in the UK.

They return to the US for Thanksgiving, but at the airport waiting to go home, they receive a phone call from Miriam, Roger’s housekeeper saying that Roger had been taken into hospital the previous day. They postpone their flight, but Evelyn is not pleased to see them return.

Roger recovers but when he next visits the UK, they are shocked to see how unwell he looks. Ex-cop Jack starts to get suspicious as to why and begins to develop a theory, although there are some red herrings.  I’ll stop at this point to avoid spoilers.

The book switches chapters between narrative by Amelia, Jack and Evelyn, which I enjoyed the different perspective. And the chapters for Evelyn let the reader build up a picture of her history.

Gilding the Lily is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.


Here is an extract from chapter 18 of the book for you to read.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But a strange dread ran through my veins, as I lay there in the dark. Jack was finally sleeping soundly – the odd snore and mumble emanated from his side of the bed. We’d talked for hours. And now, each thought linked to another in a never-ending chain. “She has enough money of her own so I know she’s not after mine” was what my father told me when they first met. Ironically, it comforted us both. Staring into the blackness, I began to get carried away with Jack’s theory. If it were true then we had to stop it. It would be murder. No, that couldn’t happen, surely, not to us. I tried to mentally rein in my thoughts, as they began to hurry away with me, like a runaway train. Who were we to interfere so belligerently when we could be so wrong? And then again, if we did nothing, and then something terrible happened… that was simply unthinkable.

I turned over to put my arms around my husband. He was warm and his breathing was soft and slow. I tried to relax into his body, and allowed his raising ribs to rock me.

I woke at 6a.m. with a feverish energy. A strange vitality or stamina had suddenly appeared in me – a drive to endure, a surge of power, like a battery charger. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt my dad. Something had to be done. Today.


About Justine John

After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.

Website  – http://www.justinejohn.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JustineCJohn
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinejohnauthor/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15985439.Justine_John


I’m participating in the blog tour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

Gilding The Lily by Justine John

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Blogging For Smarties by Yvonne Wu

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blogging For Smarties by Yvonne Wu to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Blogging For Smarties by Yvonne Wu

Here is the book blurb.

The Internet is often the first place that people turn to for information about anything and anyone. Company addresses, information about a person, and reviews about a company are a click away. Potential visitors rely on the Internet to learn about specials, book releases, events, and information. Your website is your storefront and it enables you to reach a global market. Having a website that supplies this information is a necessary component of running a business.

As an author and speaker, the Internet becomes a business channel to network, advertise your products and services, and build a following on a global level. Learn how to create your first blog, effectively market your blog and create passive income opportunities in our new ebook, “Blogging for Smarties Blogging for Authors and Speakers,” which will walk you through the steps of building an extremely effective website.

In this guide, you will learn:

Blogging Basics for Beginners
How to Attract Readers
Popular Blogging Platforms
How to Setup WordPress
Discover How to Use WordPress
Useful Plugins for Authors and Speakers
Discover Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Website
Easy Tips on How to Make Money with Your Blog
Learn Effective Podcasting
How to Market Your Podcast
Important Links to Resources

I don’t usually read much non-fiction, but agreed to review this book when asked by the author. I did also warn Yvonne that I am neither an author nor a speaker. However I know that a number of my readers are authors, so I do hope that my review of this guide is particularly useful to you.

Yvonne did tell me this is also a blogging book for beginners. Although I do consider myself past the beginner stage, I was hoping I could pick up some useful tips.

It is a fairly short book at just over 100 pages. It begins by defining what is a blog and why we blog, then moving on to attracting visitors. This was interesting with regards to identifying your target audience, branding and the value of content. However I was reading it with my own blog in mind and although I am very pleased to have you lovely followers reading my posts, I created my blog with me as the number one audience in mind.

The next chapter was about WordPress and the advantages and disadvantages of being self-hosted or not. I’ve been pretty blinkered on this as I’m not planning to move to self-hosted, so it was eye-opening to find out what I am missing out on. Although as I say, I don’t plan to do anything about this. Continuing with WordPress, I read how to register a domain if I wished and how to use WordPress. Plugins are something again just available to self-hosted, apart from a basic set.

Then the book moved onto something that was very useful for me to learn about syndicating a blog. I plan to investigate that further. The next item was pingbacks and trackbacks but I have to say I still don’t understand the difference between them even after reading it. Google alerts is another new useful tip that I have discovered. This chapter also covered mailing lists.

The next chapter covered making money with your blog which is not something I am personally interested in, as my blog is purely my hobby. However it proved interesting reading about what rankings could be important and advertising.

Finally podcasting, if you want audio alongside your blog. Again something I haven’t considered but I can imagine this would be good for book extracts.

To summarise, even though this book is aimed at authors and speakers, yes I got some tips from it, so I can certainly see that it would appeal to the general blogging beginner. However it very noticeably focussed on WordPress. What about Blogger and other blogging platforms?

This book can be purchased via Amazon, currently priced at £3.66 in kindle format, but watch out for a price reduction between 23rd December to 1st January. This is the short version of the book. Alternatively there is a full version with videos.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Blogging For Smarties by Yvonne Wu - book tour

And the author is hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash. Open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas – Red Scarf by John Hickling

I have received an exclusive special Christmas short story Red Scarf written by John Hickling, to share with you. Earlier this year, I read Champagne & Lemonade, a collection of his short stories, which I enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this. And I have to say, it certainly lived up to expectation. So I hope you like it too.

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas

Red Scarf

The snow was thick and blissful on 23rd of December. The beautiful white streets of this normally dirty City were bursting with life, people of all ages and race shopped for xmas presents for their loved ones. Christmas trees, decorations and lights were strewn all over, making the streets look like a delightfully pretty xmas scene painting. Unfortunately, not everything was perfect, as beggar’s, the unfortunates were dotted around the City. Shivering, wrapped up in anything they could get their hands on, to try and keep warm.

A couple of streets away were a married couple, both in their late forties, they were wrapped up in thick long coats and wore matching red scarves. They battled their way through the deep snow with bags full of xmas presents. Turning into a dark alleyway back to their parked car, there were a couple of beggars tucked up in old sleeping bags.

“Spare any change? Please” Croaked an elderly scruffy looking man. The man in the red scarf rummaged through his pockets and passed the beggar a couple of quid.

“Bless ya” mumbled the beggar. The couple smiled and carried on their walk. Further on, from nowhere, two men jumped out on the couple knocking the woman to the snow covered ground. Her husband fought back but was overpowered, one of the attackers pulled out a knife, the red scarfed man looked death in the eye, when a scruffy boy, hit the attacker with a traffic cone. The other assailant pushed the boy to the ground and grabbing what they could they ran away. The red scarfed man gingerly got to his feet. The boy jumped up and fled.

“Wait” yelled the man, then rushed to his aid his semi-conscious Wife.

The couple, whose names were Alan and Mandy, were drinking coffee in the police station. Mandy still had a groggy head which was not helped by ‘I wish It could be Christmas every day’ blaring out the radio. Alan who suffers from OCD was getting very irritated by the scruffy, leaning to the left Xmas tree.

The investigating officer read over the statement. Two men, both dark hair, one with a scruffy beard, 35 to 45 in age, both in black clothing. A boy in jeans, black ripped jacket, blue peaked woolly hat, 16 to 17 in age. Some bottles of wine, a games console and perfumes were taken. It was established that the couple had never seen the boy before or noticed where he came from.

“Transport has arrived to take you both home Sir. We will be in touch with any information”

“Thank you officer, will you please promise to search for the boy? He shouldn’t be on the streets, not just at Christmas, but at all” said the weak smiling woman, squeezing Alans hand.

“We will madam. Please go home and get some rest. The couple bid farewell and merry Christmas and left.

At the couple’s home, Mandy was in tears clutching a photograph of her, her husband and their daughter who had been swept of a pier on a daytrip to the coast over a year ago. They were all wearing matching red scarves, gloves and hats, that were Christmas presents, she was 13 at the time. Her body was never recovered.

“I do hope the boy is alright Alan” murmured Mandy. Alan held her tight.

The snow was now swirling down, it was very dark and cold. The boy, who was below a brick archway under a bridge, had managed to get a fire going and was munching on a sandwich he had bought from his begging takings. He bedded down in his smelly sleeping bag.

In an old abandoned warehouse, the two robbers were sat around an old oil drum that housed a fire. The robber with the beard was rubbing his head.

“I tell ya, that boy, he could blow on us if the coppers find him, we must find him first” The other robber nodded has he looked through the stolen bags.

Christmas Eve and Alan had just got off the phone from the police who had informed him that so far they had neither found the robbers or the boy. It was 630pm. Alan and Mandy were concerned for the boy’s safety. Alan felt it was his duty to at least look for him, after all he had saved his life. Alan wrapped his red scarf around his neck, donned his thick coat, hat and gloves.

“I must at least try Mandy I just hope to god those two scumbags are not after him” His wife hugged him. But that is what was happening, the two robbers had been searching for the boy.

Later, Alan asked a beggar, who he had given a fiver and a sandwich, if he knew of a young boy of his description. The beggar had told him to try the bridge brick archways, there are a few young uns that go there.

The boy was really feeling the cold, he hadn’t eaten since the sandwich and shivering he desperately tried to light a fire, when he thought he heard a noise. He looked around but couldn’t see anything, so attempted to light his fire.

“Well, well” yelled the bearded robber who was stood a few metres in front of the boy, the boy started to run but the other robber jumped on him. Both robbers had clubs and dragged the boy into the archway, the robber without the beard was about to whack the boy when he himself groaned and fell to the floor. Alan had hit him over the head with a stick, the bearded robber grabbed the boy, facing Alan

“Let the boy go” Alan shouted. The bearded robber laughed then pulled out a gun, the boy kicked the robbers leg and Alan threw the stick at his face, the gun dropped.

“Run” roared Alan, grabbing the boy. The robber grabbed his gun and gave chase. Alan and the boy struggled up a snow covered banking. The boy slipped and banged his head. Alan dragged the dazed boy to the top but the robber was right behind and fired a shot in the air. Alan and the boy stood with hands raised. The robber grinned

“Who’s first” he pressed the trigger but it jammed. Alan lunged at him pushing him down the bank, he and the boy ran.

At the police station, which was full of the usual xmas drunks, the two robbers were in custody, Alan and the scared boy were in a room, Mandy was also there. The police had constantly tried to quiz the boy who was looking more frightened by the second.

“Stop it” Said Mandy passing the boy a sandwich, the boy whose face was so dirty and bruised tucked in.

“We would like to thank you for helping us yesterday. We only want to help you. What is your name honey?” smiled Mandy, her husband and the police nodded. The confused looking boy, shrugged and mumbled.

“I am not sure; I can’t remember” tears welled up his eyes.

“Are you hurt? You did get a bang on the head when we slid down the banking” Prompted Alan. The boy held his dirty face in his hands and shrugged.

The officer was just about to go into another volley full of questioning, when Mandy pulled them all aside.

“Look the boy is hurt, confused and very scared, you will only frighten him more with the constant questions. Let me and Alan take him home, give him a nice meal, a bath and a bed, then I am sure he will come around” Alan smiled as he and his wife held hands. The police whispered among themselves for a couple of minutes, before agreeing with Mandy. Everyone was happy, even Mandy smiled at ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ on the radio.

Back at the couple’s house Alan had hung up their coats, red scarfs and hats, while Mandy put on the kettle. The boy stood near the fire looking confused.

“Please don’t be scared, I will make you something nice to eat. First I will run the bath” smiled Mandy. The boy smiled back.

“Let me hang up your coat” Alan said, gesturing for the boy to take of his dirty ripped jacket. The boy looked around at all the decorations then back at Alan and Mandy, smiling he proceeded to take of his woolly peaked hat and coat. The couple stood opened mouthed at the scruffy, thin looking blonde haired girl, with a red scarf around her neck.


About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing July 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com or find John on Facebook or Twitter.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling


I’m participating in the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas blogival. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of festive reading tastes.

12 days of Clink Street Christmas blogtour

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Disclosure. This post contains an exclusive short story I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

After The Texans by Declan Milling

I have received a free e-copy of the book “After The Texans” by Declan Milling to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

After The Texans by Declan Millin

Here is the book blurb.

Having exposed the corrupt government in Papua New Guinea, the UN’s carbon market watchdog is riding high. But Emil Pfeffer, its head of market integrity, is in meltdown. The UN investigation has been shelved and his girlfriend, Johanna, has been kidnapped as insurance that his inquiries will go no further. 

Wracked by guilt and desperate to find her, Emil finds himself thrust into the high-stakes battle being waged for control of the world’s remaining fossil fuel resources. 

It’s economic war for hegemony over the future of global energy, being played out against a backdrop of Australian domestic politics, where coal mining and the Great Barrier Reef are locked in a fight to the death.

After The Texans is the second novel in the Carbon Black series.

I found this book very difficult to get into which I put down to it being book 2 in a series for which I haven’t read book 1, although I had been advised that it could be read as a stand-alone book. The first bit I actually enjoyed wasn’t until chapter 4 when Emil followed Lesley home as he was hoping she might help him locate her ex-husband, Rodger Beckwith, (shortly before the extract below). Lesley gives him an address but before he can visit, his boss sends him to Hong Kong to assist an Australian legal team. There by chance he spots another person he wanted to find, Geoffrey. Cue more following but Emil loses him in the crowd. Since there is an Interpol notice out on Geoffrey. Emil reports it to Tang at the Hong Kong police. Meanwhile Ms Cheng, one of the opposing legal team delivers him a mysterious package containing a disk. Emil is sickened by what he sees on the disk, but he does recognise Mr Law, the chairman presiding over the legal case he is involved with.

Cheng disappears and Tang questions Emil about it however he doesn’t reveal about the disk. He returns to his hotel where he finds his room has been ransacked. The police find Cheng dead and request Emil to remain in Hong Kong. Meanwhile Emil takes the bull by the horns and accuses Mr Law of child rape and then follows him. However he gets caught himself and dumped into a garbage truck and from there into the waste tip. Luckily someone spots and rescues him.

He goes back to the same apartment block again, but this time gets taken into police custody, where he has to hand the disk over this time. Tang takes him to see Zhong from Beijing, who does a deal with him to go to Australia to find out what he can about Beckwith, otherwise face imprisonment in Hong Kong for possession of the offensive material on the disk. I’ll leave you to read what happens next in Australia.

I think I need to go back and read book 1 as this story didn’t really flow for me, especially any meeting discussions which truth be told I found yawn worthy, although there were other parts that I enjoyed a lot. And it ends with the feeling that I also need to read book 3 to piece everything together.

So a mixed response from me, but if you like the sound of it, this book can be purchased via Amazon.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

Emil, the main character, has been sent to London by his boss to attend a conference in her place. He has a chance encounter with Lesley Beckwith who might be able to give him a lead to help him find his kidnapped girlfriend, Johanna. But they’ve both had a few drinks after the conference, and things start going in an unexpected direction.

She was looking Emil directly in the eye. Her own big, dreamy, brown eyes now slightly glassy.

“It was only by chance, I found out why he was away so much. He was screwing her. His assistant. Another bloody Swiss. Now I don’t even have the kids with me.”

Having followed Lesley Beckwith with the intent of getting her to talk about her husband, Emil found all he wanted to do now was get her off the topic.

“My girlfriend has disappeared, so I’m alone as well.” That didn’t come out the right way, he thought, having said it. “What I mean is, she took a flight from Papua New Guinea to Frankfurt, but without any explanation, got off at Singapore. Nobody’s heard from her since.”

“Maybe it was for someone else.”

“Yes, that’s a possibility, I suppose.” He paused, thinking. “But there’s nothing to suggest that …” his voice trailed off as he remembered, with a sudden uneasiness, what Robert had told him. She’d been on the same flight as Gerry Johnstone. And he’d been booked only as far as Singapore.

“People often do things you don’t expect they would. It’s the little signs, changes that you don’t notice, don’t pick up on. I didn’t notice, until it was way too late. Even then, it was only because he slipped up.”

“I think she might have been kidnapped … by the people who were financing your husband’s bank …”

He looked at her and, in his increasingly wine-befuddled mind, got the feeling that she was looking at him somehow differently.

“Why do you think my husband would leave me for another woman? Don’t you think I’m attractive, Emil?”

“I think you’re, er, quite beautiful, actually.”

Wrong answer! He knew, as soon as he’d said it.

“Do you think I’m sexy?”

“Well, er, yes, but…”

“Don’t you think men would want to fuck me?”

The word hit him like a punch, a king hit, knocking him off whatever remaining balance he had. She’d moved closer to him on the sofa. With a surprise, he felt her hand was on his knee.

“I think half the men in the firm would. But they’d just do it so they could boast to their friends. The rest of them are gay.”

“I, I …”

“Do you want to fuck me, Emil? Is that, really, why you followed me?”


About Declan Milling

Declan Milling has over thirty years experience as an environmental lawyer. Born in Australia,he holds degrees in science and law and a masters degree in environmental law. Currently based in the United Kingdom, Milling divides his time between London and Edinburgh. His first novel, Carbon Black, was released in 2014.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

After The Texans by Declan Milling

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Spotlight on Preceded By Chaos

I haven’t read this book but today I have a Spotlight on the graphic novel Preceded By Chaos, vol 0 written by the author M Wheeler to share with my followers.

Preceded By Chaos

Here is the book blurb.

…Preceded by Chaos is an illustrated short story. The protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency Medicine doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The initial instalment of the series, Volume 0, introduces the reader to Mitchell at a point in his life where he has begun to realize that many of his prior indulgences and deficits are no longer compatible with his current life of responsibility.


“…Preceded by Chaos, Vol. 0” is an illustrated short story. Why an illustrated short story? Well I would attribute that and, in many respects my writing style to my mother. She is neither an author nor an editor but she possibly embodies the single most influential impact on my writing style. You see, I love her immensely, but my mother is chaos personified. She is overtly anxious and her energy, similar to the symbol of chaos, extends in any direction at any time, with varying degrees, and without warning or notice. Like many children, I always had some element of misdirected resentment towards my mother for the less desirable personality traits that I inherited from her, until I understood how to own them and make them work for me. Two examples that stand out most to me are our short attention spans and our ability to find drama in the mundane and the mundane within the drama. In addition to these traits providing me with a perfect temperament for the fast pace and stress of Emergency Medicine they have also defined my writing style. For those scarce on time and attention, my stories are short and designed to keep you engaged for a quick flight, a lunch break or the short break that life offers while the kids are at karate. Like the varying energies of mom, my short stories fluctuate between text and illustration to use different modes of media to stimulate the reader and move the story along. It is our shared second trait, of finding the spectacle in the silent moments, which truly make the stories work, and I hope the reader agrees. Thanks for the style mom.

As for the story itself, the protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. This book is part of series, which has an established and finite arc. When we first meet Mitchell, in Vol. 0, he has lost much of himself during the pursuit of his calling. Through the plus books the series follows Mitchell on his journey to find his true self; while through the minus books we trace his steps backward in attempt to identify how and where exactly he lost his himself. Symbolic of the series, which details Mitchell’s soul searching journey, Volume 0 is an important place to start because it documents Mitchell’s hunt to find an old friend who Mitchell feels can help set right some of the wrongs of his past that have found their way into his present.

Although the series is about a young doctor it approaches some common societal ailments that afflict all of human kind. For me, growing up in a family that produced more criminal charges and teenaged pregnancies then college degrees, once amongst the previously unfamiliar fraternity of physicians, I never expected to find so many commonalities between the common and the hyper-intellectual. I found that issues that we as a society and deal with, either directly or indirectly, such as mental illness, drug abuse and physical abuse are not stigmas associated to a particular social status but are unfortunate attributes that burden all of mankind. In order to create this series, I’ve taken interesting, and in some cases disturbing, situations and people that I have seen during my career and I have placed them in environments that I am familiar with.

PBC is a fictional series not based on any one individual’s life but rather a collage of individual lives amalgamated into Mitchell and put on display for the reader to understand that we all suffer from the human condition.

Thank you for the opportunity to entertain you.  I truly enjoyed writing “…Preceded by Chaos.”

Please visit the website, at www.precededbychaos.com, for free multimedia content and to learn more about the series. Like us on Face Book, at Preceded By Chaos, and follow us on Twitter, at @precededbychaos.

M. Wheeler


About M Wheeler
M. Wheeler held an eclectic series of jobs – including working as a studio engineer and a teacher – before he entered medical school in his thirties. During his residency while living in New York City, he wrote his first two books which would eventually become the Preceded by Chaos series. Wheeler travels extensively for his job but currently lives in Miami.

http://precededbychaos.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/precededbychaos

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PrecededByChaos/

This book can be purchased via Amazon.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Preceded By Chaos by M Wheele

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Disclosure.  I have not received this product.  All opinions are my own.

The Learn by Tony Halker

I have received a free e-copy of the book “The Learn” by Tony Halker to review.

The Learn by Tony Halker

Here is the book blurb.

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.

A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging. Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.

At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by. A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

Although I do read historical books from time to time, the Celtic Bronze Age is an era I am not at all familiar with. There is a list of Celtic tribes at the beginning of the book along with characters and places which I found very helpful to refer to. The book is set in North Wales.

The book starts by introducing the boy Owayne and his mother Rigantona. Owayne finds a large red pearl amongst the seaweed on the beach which the Celts believe are tears of the Goddess, so Rigatona negotiates a price for the pearl with druid Merle to train Owayne for the Test and Learn, so that he may become a priest or druid.

I did find it hard to relate to the Celtic ways like taking several chapters to decide whether a round wooden frame was blasphemy against the Goddess or new knowledge to be added to the Learn.

We meet Gwen, Huw and Nial, three others like Owayne, sworn to the Learn. Owayne, Gwen and Nial team together on the Learn challenge to each make a charcoal pit.

At Beltane, a small race called Syth join in the festivities as honoured guests but one of the Iceni tribe kills a Syth girl. Her mother demands justice. A life for a life.

Owayne also learns from the Syth and has to help defend the Learn when the Iceni and Gargani attack.

Although this book is well-written, I have to say it didn’t hit the spot for me.

You may purchase this book on Amazon


Here’s an extract to give you a taster of the story.

Pages 153-154. Beltane (Calain Mai) is the festival that celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of summer, when cattle are put to higher ground and crops sown. Fires are lit, danced over, put out by the rite, then relit. Syth come in the dark to join the celebrations, jumping fires running in the shadows.

Looking carefully I see that some Syth, a high number, are not quite like us, are misshapen with joints out of place, breaks of bone that have remained distorted, some have burn marks from metal, even stumps of hand or foot where liquid metal has made hole or break, all have energy, all tumble, fight and compete, all endure, struggling to be in this celebration. Misshapen in form they can be fluid beautiful in movement and in their commitment of energy.

Noise is ramping, rising, confused, screeching shell blown air merging with voices, bangs and calls, there is constant fire jumping, more reckless, screams with pain burning embers, drunk and foolhardy try to take burning sticks and branches. Lines of jumpers men and women running at the fire from different places and angles, jostling to be next, risking meeting another over the fire, falling into its flames, all miss, blessed.


About Tony Halker

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

The Learn by Tony Halker

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

Family Fever
MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.