Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday Freebie

Everyone hates Mondays, right? The weekend's over and it's time to go back to work or school. My favourite feeling is sitting down and being absorbed in a book. All your problems are left behind and you worry only about the people you're reading about. This Monday - a particularly soggy one at that (for me at least) - I'm giving you the first chapter of Daisy one hundred percent free. I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter One

“I’m not saying this because I’m fed up of rescuing you from the side of the road, because you know I’d do anything to help you out, but don’t you think it’s time you bought yourself a new car?”
Daisy sat with her hands intertwined in the grass at the side of the A30, the Toyota, which had been like a best friend to her for the past nine years, had let her down once again.
“The car is fine. I’m sure she just needs a bit of TLC.”
Tara proffered her hand and yanked Daisy up off the grass verge. “I think it’s going to take a bit more than TLC to get her up and working again. This is the third time she’s conked out in the past two weeks.”
“It’ll be fine,” Daisy wiped the grass from her jeans. “And anyway, it’s not like I can afford a new one.”
“What you mean by that is you’re not willing to spend money on a new one.”
Tara, you know I’m saving.”
“Yes, yes, I know, you’re saving up to start up your own business. You’ve told me many times before. But when are you actually planning on starting this business?”
“It’s not something you can just jump into. You need money and a lot of other things.”
Tara sighed. “You’ve been saving money ever since you started working for Graham like…ten years ago. When we first met you said you’d only be working there a year because you were saving up to start your own art business.”
“Well, I think I must have misjudged it a bit, because I’m still not quite ready.”
“More like you’re too chicken to take the risk, ‘cause you’re afraid of failing.”
It was times like this when Daisy hated her best friend’s ability to see right through her. She’d hit the nail straight on the head.
“We are in a recession at the moment. Many new businesses are struggling to survive. I’m waiting until the market flattens out a bit. Then I’ll give it a go.”
“No, you won’t. You’ll find another excuse and before you know it you’ll be married, with children, and your dream of being an artist will be just that, a dream.”
“You don’t have to go worrying about that. I’m not going to get married nor have children. I have plenty of time to start my business.”
“We’ll see about that.” Before Daisy had a chance to reply, Tara said, “Come on, let’s hook her up.”

They drove home in silence. It wasn’t until they were back in front of Daisy’s cottage that she remembered she’d never made it to the supermarket in Cullompton.
“I’d invite you in for dinner, but I think the only edible thing I’ve got in my cupboards is beans on toast.” Daisy unhooked her car from the back of Tara’s four-by-four, glad that Tara had ignored her whinging about how such a large car was bad for the environment and had bought it anyway.
“We could go out for dinner. They’ve got an offer on steak at that restaurant on the corner. Two for one.”
Daisy grabbed a scarf from a peg by the front door and they walked to the pub-come-restaurant around the corner. 
The bell above the door jingled as Tara opened it.
“Not more customers. This offer on steak was certainly a good idea Bill, but we don’t have half the amount of space needed to cater for such a large number of people.”
“No space for us then?” Tara winked at the guy behind the bar.
“No sweat heart, not a table free. However, if you go sit out back with a glass of bubbly we’ll be sure to call you in as soon as possible.”
“One glass of red and –”
“A gin and tonic.” Daisy delved into her handbag and produced a ten pound note from the side pocket where she kept her emergency change.
Outside Tara took a large sip from her glass of wine and sat down on a swinging seat, relieved that it wasn’t raining, even if it was a bit chilly.
“So how long do you think we’ll be waiting for?” Daisy asked.
There was more seating outside than there was inside and everything except for one table was full.
“Hour or so,” Tara took another sip from her glass. “Hum, would you look at that.”
Daisy followed Tara’s gaze to the man who had just walked outside through the patio doors. His jeans had a hole in the left knee, and his shirt sleeves were scruffy around the cuffs. He reached up and slid his red tinted glasses onto the top of his head, revealing deep blue eyes.
Tara was practically drooling beside her. 
“Ah, a male,” Daisy said, uncertain what all the fuss was about. It seemed like the eyes from almost every female and a few males sitting outside had been drawn to the man in the doorway, like a paper clip to a magnet.
“He’s absolutely gorgeous,” Tara exclaimed. She watched the door in search of his partner, but he seemed to be alone. “Gotta get me his phone number by the end of the night.”
Daisy frowned.
“Wow, he just looked at me,” Tara dug Daisy in the ribs, making her flinch.
“He’s not looking at you,” Daisy hissed. “He’s looking for somewhere to sit.”
“Room for a small one?”
The voice distracted them from their whispered argument and they both looked up at the same time in amazement.
“I’m Ricardo,” he said, sitting down on the swing between them.
“How exotic,” Tara gushed.
“Not really. My parents just like foreign names. I’m English born and bred.”
Daisy sat in silence as Tara and Ricardo discussed each of his siblings’ names, what they meant and where they came from. His back was permanently turned on her, his body blocking her view of Tara. Daisy felt alone.
Half an hour and two spritzers later Daisy sat on the swinging seat and welcomed the slightly dazed state caused by the alcohol, which made listening to Tara’s attempts at flirting with Ricardo slightly more bearable.
“Want a nut?” Tara proffered the bowl, which was now half empty.
Daisy giggled. “I don’t think the nuts are doing much in regards to soaking up all this alcohol.”
“It’s the weekend. Who cares? We’ve always got tomorrow to recover.”
Before she met Tara, Daisy had spent the majority of her life stone cold sober. It was something to do with her mother not having enough money to buy alcohol and Ben, her stepfather, not allowing alcohol of any sort into the house. Even though she’d left home at sixteen she’d never been much of a drinker.
Daisy popped a nut into her mouth, but before she had chance to take another one the bowl was swept out of her grasp and thrust in Ricardo’s direction.
“I’m all nutted out,” Ricardo announced, sending Tara into fits of giggles although Daisy didn’t see why.
“Table for four for Mr Jones,” a man who Daisy assumed must be Bill called out. “Do you guys want some music out here?”
Music blared from speakers on the side of the building and the grass lawn turned into a dance floor. Daisy groaned and wondered how much longer they’d be kept waiting, and whether beans on toast at home would be a more preferable option.
“Come on sweet cheeks, let’s dance.”
Tara followed Ricardo onto the makeshift dance floor and Daisy was alone. Every now and then she’d capture a glance of Tara’s pale pink, butterfly print t-shirt as Ricardo twirled her around the lawn.
After a while despite the loud music Daisy’s eye lids began to droop.

“Hey, wake up, it’s our turn now,” Tara shook Daisy out of her slumber. Ricardo was still attached to her arm.
“You know, I think I’ll just go home,” Daisy said. The chilly, autumn air had raised goose bumps on her arms, beneath her thick, woollen sweater, and she didn’t feel very hungry. All she wanted to do was curl up in her nice warm bed and fall asleep.
“What about the offer? Two for one.”
“There are two of you.” In her sleep induced state Daisy missed the desperate looks Tara was throwing her way and without knowing it she walked out of the restaurant having set Tara and Ricardo up on their first and last date. 

If you enjoyed this, you can buy the rest of the book HERE.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Review: "Breaking Free" by James Grey

1.      Fucked by the football team
This book is wrong, really really wrong. Not only is it completely, 100% unbelievable, but the things that take place in this story border on rape. At first I liked it. The description of the setting and how the girl got to be there was well written. Short sentences created a pace which suited the story. However, the erotic bits are not only disgusting but there are tons of errors. The way the main character is referred to as “little girl” is repelling in these circumstances. I DO NOT recommend this.

1/5 Stars

2.      Hot wet touches
This story was okay. Again, very unbelievable, but not as bad as the first one. The description and the writing was good, it’s just a shame there was no plot and it was so unbelievable.

2/5 Stars

3.      His Prize
The author clearly lives in his own little world. I have nothing more to say about this story.

1/5 Stars

4.      One Summer Afternoon
After the other three stories, I wasn’t expecting anything good from this one. There is an error on the first page – it obviously hasn’t been very well proofread – and more errors throughout the rest of the story.

1/5 Stars

I did not like this book at all. If I hadn’t been reading it to review, I would have given up on it. This will put me off reading this genre of book for a long time. Very unbelievable and lots of errors. It feels as though you are reading a very sick minded person’s fantasies.

1/5 Stars

Review: "Keep Me" by Isabel Morin

Another cracker from Isabel Morin.

I’ve liked all of this author’s books. Short stories that have everything you could possibly ask for. Dialogue. Plot. Amazing characters. Setting…

If you haven’t read this or any of Isabel’s other books, you’re missing out.

5/5 Stars

Review: "Food Run" by Cindy Santos

This short story took me less than half an hour to read. I think the price is a bit steep for a 28 page story. However, it was well written and flows well. Cindy Santos had obviously put a lot of thought, time and research into this story.

The plot is simple, but I think it works. Being eighteen and British, I found it incredibly hard to relate to any of the story – I think people who can relate to the story will enjoy it a lot more than I did.

The story is told from a mum’s point of view. There is very little dialogue but the author let’s us into the character’s head – very effective.

I’m giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because, with the right reader, I think it could be a very enjoyable short story.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Poisoned Blue - Out Now!

Poisoned Blue

Available from the following retailers:

Jamie Stanley moves to the middle of the British countryside to take over the role of Detective Inspector. Excited and nervous for her first day at work, she walks into the station to be greeted by less than eager colleagues. Will the murder of a local business woman bring the team closer together?

You can add POISONED BLUE to your to-read list on Goodreads

Free Extract Below

Text copyright © 2014 Katie L Thompson
All Rights Reserved

All characters are fictitious and bear no resemblance to actual persons, alive or dead.

© 2014 Cover design and tree image by Katie L Thompson
‘Blood on White Wall’ image courtesy of: mack2happy/


She flinched the minute she heard the song erupting from her mobile, on the coffee table beside her. Although she was expecting the call the noise still made her nervous.
“Greg,” she answered.
It was no hidden fact that they didn’t get on.
“Let’s get this over with quickly. On your doorstep in fifteen minutes.”
He’d hung up before she had a chance to reply.
She dreaded his phone calls, they made her feel guilty. She knew what she was doing was wrong, but it had been so long that she didn’t know a way out of it anymore. There was no way out.
Sara hovered around the house, moving things from one place to another – convincing herself that she was tidying up although the house was already in tip-top condition – anything to keep herself busy.
Although the ringing had stopped, the song still remained in her ears. The ringtone dedicated to Greg was different from everyone else. She’d changed it so that without looking at the caller ID, she’d know who it was. Not that he was saved in her phone as ‘Greg’. She’d hidden his number under the name ‘Rubbish Chinese Takeaway’.
Sara shivered. Greg always called when he was fifteen minutes away. They were the longest fifteen minutes of her life.
She checked she had money in her purse although she’d already checked at least five times that day. A wad of twenty pound notes, fresh out of the cash machine the day before, filled the back section. Even without looking inside, she knew the money was there from the bulge it created. She was prepared, or as prepared as she ever could be.
The doorbell rang. Sara took in a large breath, letting it out as she reached the front door. The metal of the door handle was cold against her sweaty palm. Her heart beat quickened. She took in one more breath and let it go.

Chapter One

Jamie pulled her straight copper hair into a high ponytail. Looking at her reflection in a window pane, she tugged the hair band out again. She shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair to neaten it up.
“That’s not right,” Jamie said, taking the hair band back off her wrist. She was about to attempt another ponytail but had a sudden change of mind and shoved the band into her bag. Next she tried sweeping her hair all onto one side but that didn’t work either.
“Just stop it,” she said to her reflection. She shook her head so that her hair fell back into its natural position. “It’ll be fine.”
Today was Jamie’s first day at her new job. She’d flown to England, leaving her family back in Canada, to take over the role of Detective Inspector at a small police station in the middle of the British countryside.
“Open the door,” she instructed herself. She obeyed. “Good, good. Oh … hello.”
Two men stared at her from the far side of the room. Neither of them spoke as they took in her appearance.
She brushed her hands on her thighs, feeling self-conscious – maybe it wasn’t her best idea to wear bright purple skinny jeans when she was trying to blend into the background. Fed up with the scrutiny, she folded her arms across her chest.
“Can we help you?” the older man asked. He had shaggy brown hair and sat with his glasses perched on top of his head.
“I’m Detective Inspector Jamie Stanley,” she said, sounding as though she was unsure of what she was saying. She offered her hand to the man who stared at it as if he’d never seen someone’s hand before.
“Detective Sergeant Daniel Brookes,” he said eventually, taking her hand. “And he’s PC Carlton Green,” he added as an afterthought.
Until that point Jamie had been focusing all of her attention on Danny. Now she turned to face Carl.
“We were expecting a dude,” Carl said. Carl also had brown hair. It was darker than Danny’s and it was cropped close to his head – much smarter.
“Oh, alright.” Jamie was lost for words, what was she supposed to say to that? ‘Sorry I’m not a ‘dude’, I’m a female?’
“Give her a chance, Carl,” Danny said. He took his glasses off his head and ran his fingers through his hair – it definitely needed cutting.
Before any of them could say anything else the phone rang, and Danny stretched to answer it.
“Alright miss, please calm down … Uh … Yes, ok … I see … We’ll be right there.”
Danny hung up the phone and grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair. “There’s been a murder on the street next to the new housing estate.” He spoke as they headed for the car.
Jamie felt excitement shoot through her. This was her first case as Detective Inspector at her new job. For the first time that day, she felt confident.
Carl climbed into the driver’s seat and climbed over the handbrake.
“What are you doing?” Jamie asked, hesitating as Danny hurried her into the car.
“The only way to fit into the space is to park right up against the wall,” Danny explained.
“Is this the only place you can park?” Jamie’s eyebrows knitted together.
“Yes, unless you want a half mile trek to the station.” Danny climbed into the driver’s seat, ending the conversation.
Jamie sat in the back, staring at the rear of Danny’s seat. What had she let herself in for? A place so small they couldn’t allow the police station to have a decent car parking space, let alone a whole car park.
“What do we know so far?” Carl asked as the car lurched forward.
“Not a lot. Just that a cleaner let herself into her client’s house and found her employer lying dead on the floor.”
Carl nodded and scribbled in his notebook.
“Apparently the husband’s been on a business trip all weekend, so she could have been there for a couple of days, since the cleaner only works on weekdays.”
“So, I’m assuming the cleaner has her own key.” Carl turned to his notebook again. “Does anyone have a pencil sharpener or a spare pencil?”
Danny rolled his eyes.
“Here,” Jamie produced a pencil from the little pocket at the front of her shirt.

Danny pulled the car up in front of a two story, white brick house. The street of almost identical houses had been the most expensive place to live in the area until they’d built the new estate behind it. Although the houses were near enough identical, this one stood out from the others – and not in a good way. The front garden looked as though it had been used as a rubbish heap, and in the spaces around the rubbish the grass was at least a foot high. All of the other houses had neatly mown gardens with flower beds bordering their perimeters – most of the occupants hired a full time professional gardener.
A lady dressed in white was standing beside the front door, she walked towards them as they got out of the car. She had greying hair and must have been in her late fifties/early sixties. Jamie assumed that this was the lady Danny had spoken to on the phone.
“I got here at half past eight. I knew something wasn’t right because the car was in the drive, and she’s usually at work by the time I get here.”
“And, what were you doing at the house?” Danny asked.
“I work here. I clean on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while the Longacres are at work. The wife used to do the cleaning, but she recently got promoted and so doesn’t have as much spare time as she used to, that’s why they hired me.”
“And what’s the wife’s name?”
“Sara Longacre.” Her feet were constantly moving while she spoke, and her eyes flickered between them and the house.
“Is that her full name?”
“I don’t know.” She bit her lip.
“How old is she?”
“I don’t know. Oh, I’m really not any help at all, am I?” Her bottom lip quivered.
“Carl, take a full statement from Miss … um.”
“Dewater, but call me Marion.”
“Of course, Marion. Jamie, stay with me.”
“And, see if you can get a number for the husband, we need to inform him as soon as possible,” Jamie added before following Danny.
Marion’s pale skin was almost the same colour as the clothes she was wearing.
“She’s behind the door,” she called after them as they went into the house. She turned to face Carl. “As I said the husband’s been away all weekend, so I don’t know how long she’s been lying there. I barely know the couple. I’ve only been working for them for a couple of months. The husband’s started spending more time away from home on business and with the wife’s promotion they needed someone to help out around the house. From what I could see they seemed like a happy couple, been married about a year.”
Carl jotted some bits down in his notebook, although she really wasn’t telling them anything that they didn’t already know.
“I’ve never seen a dead body before.” She looked as though she was about to cry.
“Not many people have. It must have been a shock.” Carl tried to put on a soothing voice, but it was hard. He never knew how to react in front of emotional people. He was more interested in finding out information that could help them solve the case. Danny was better at dealing with people – living people anyway.

Jamie looked at the body that was lying face up on the floor. The lady’s lips were white and swollen, tinged with blue. All signs pointed towards poisoning. “So the murderer must have known she’d be alone all weekend and let themselves into the house, that or she let them in. Then, when she had her back turned, they slipped something into her drink.” Jamie looked uncertain.
“And, I’m assuming this is the glass they put it in.” Danny pulled a pair of gloves over his hands and plopped an empty glass into a plastic zip-up bag.
“So let’s see what we’ve got.”
“A lady, home alone all weekend, most likely to have been poisoned. We know that the husband has been away on a business trip all weekend, the backdoor is bolted from the inside, so there doesn’t seem to be any way into the house other than the front door, which means that either the murderer had a key, or Sara let them in.” He handed the bag to Jamie.
Jamie flipped the glass in the bag over in her hands. There was a small amount of orange fluid in the bottom of it – most likely orange squash. She said nothing.
Danny walked over to the coffee table and, using a different pair of gloves, picked up a mobile and dropped it into another zip-up bag.
“Is that her phone?” Jamie stopped what she was doing to look at Danny.
“I’m assuming so.”
“Check it and see.”
“Can’t that wait till we get back to the station?”
“No. Check it now.”
Danny sighed. This new woman was going to be a lot of work. He missed DI Bode and his laid back nature.
“The background’s of a man at the beach. The same man that’s in all of the photographs in this room. I assume it’s the husband, so I assume this must be Sara’s phone.”
“I don’t like how many times you used the word assume in those sentences. This is a murder investigation, we can’t assume anything.”
Danny rolled his eyes at the wall.
“Continue photographing the scene,” Jamie instructed. She turned her back on Danny to assess the rest of the room. Before he’d picked up the mobile she’d noticed that it had been placed exactly square to the edge of the table. Now she looked around it seemed that most things were in the same kind of order. All the books on the bookshelf had been brought forward so that they were in a line, about a centimetre away from the front of the shelf. Did the people in this family have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or was there another reason?
“What are you looking at?” Danny had the camera strap around his neck.
“These books. Why are they all in a straight line?”
“Because the people who live here like everything to be neat and tidy. Look at the cushions on the sofa.”
Jamie looked at the sofa. There were four cushions spread equal distances apart, each of them had been plumped up and placed diagonally, so they looked like diamonds. “It doesn’t look like anyone lives here.”
Danny turned his attention back to the camera. “What does it matter anyway?”
She shrugged. It probably didn’t mean anything, but it bothered her. “I’m going to go outside, see if Carl’s got any more information.”
“I’ll just finish up in here, then I’ll join you.” Danny started taking more shots of the body, some of his previous shots weren’t as clear as he wanted them to be.
Outside Carl leaned against a wall listening to the lady repeat herself time and time again. “Is there anything else we should know?”
“Not that I can think of. As I said, I didn’t really know them. I just come here to clean three times a week. Everything seemed fine when I left on Friday.”
“Well, if you think of anything else give me a call.” Carl handed her a card.
He was relieved to see Jamie. Hopefully they would be leaving soon.
Danny came outside a few minutes after Jamie. “There’s been a burglary at the McDougal’s. The guys from the morgue will be here to take the body away in a few minutes, but we better go.” He turned to Marion. “We’ll let you know as soon as we know anything. Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Interview: Crystal Kaswell

Lloyd Joseph Moss Photography
What have you had published?
I've had a few articles published online under various pen names, but this is my first book.

What genre(s) of book do you write?
Contemporary romance. I like to think of it as “literary contemporary romance.” It's about the character as much as it's about the relationship. The characters always come first for me.

What inspired you to write your first book?
There's this TV show I adore that I won't name. It's a crime/detective story and the male lead is this cold, calculating, logical guy. The show introduces this amazing female character. She's impulsive and reckless, but she's incredibly competent. If she were on 24, she'd be Jack Bauer. But, for no reason at all, the show just throws away this character by having her fall in love with the protagonist and literally surrender her agency. She's willing to do whatever he tells her.
     And this bothered me to no end.
     But I got to thinking—is there anything that would get a person to give up her agency? There must be some reason why a woman would let her boyfriend control her? And I had the idea—what if she was recovering from an eating disorder? A big part of recovery is giving up control. What if she believed she couldn't function unless something—whether it was her eating disorder or her boyfriend-- was controlling her?
     And, well, I adore love triangles and I knew her main romance wouldn't be with her controlling boyfriend. She needed an exciting new man to tempt her.

How long did it take you to write “Rouse Me”?
I spent a few months toying with the idea and writing a rough outline. Once I started actually putting words on the page, I took about eight or nine months to write “Rouse Me.”

What is the working title of your next book(s)?
“Stir Me” and “Fill Me,” the second and third books in the “Rouse Me” trilogy. “Fill Me” sounds like a porno, so I might change the title.

     I'm deep in the trenches with “Stir Me.” It's been very interesting writing a sequel. I have the chance to get into all sorts of relationship problems that seem very real. I hate when I read a romance and the two characters are not only together at the end but on the path to marriage. Relationships are more complicated than that.

When and why did you begin writing?
I've been writing since I was a kid. At first, it was an escape. I liked imaging this much more interesting world. I wrote the first half a novel when I was 15. It was a totally meandering self-fulfilment kind of thing. Now that I think about it, there are a few shades of “Rouse Me” in it. The main character had a twisted relationship with her best friend/f*ck buddy. It's nothing compared to Ryan and Alyssa, but it is a spiritual predecessor.
     I went to film school and focused only on writing screenplays for a while. I love screenplays, but they are very external. I long for the first-person, so I can really get into my character's head.

Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I'm self-publishing this book. I'm open to working with a publisher, but I also like controlling every aspect of my book. Having a terrible cover forced upon me is my worst nightmare!

What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
It's all so hard! Writing is hard work. The most difficult thing is probably getting stuck. I HATE the blank page with a fiery passion. I hate not knowing what comes next, and I hate plodding through things I don't think are working. I like the later stages of revision, when everything comes together and I finally have a sense of the book as a whole.
     The second worst thing is that everyone tries to tell me that writing is fun.

What do you do in your spare time?
I watch way too much TV. I drink a lot of tea. Seriously, I'm always making tea or going out for tea. I like to exercise. It helps clear my mind. Yoga, biking, roller blading, and hiking are my favorites, but a lot of the time I do weights in front of the TV. I have a TV addiction. I'm pretty into board games. And, of course, I love to read!

Who is your favourite author?
If I had to pick, Douglass Coupland. I don't love all his books, but I adore the ones I do love, and I really admire his ambition.

What’s your favourite genre to read?
Young Adult. So much YA is in first person present tense. I know, that sounds like a silly reason, but I don't like third person. It's so impersonal. And I really don't like past tense. It's such a bummer. Everything already happened.
     I also like romance, of course, but I have a hard time finding romances that really grab me. There are SO MANY romances now a days. It's hard to find one that stands out.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write a lot. Read a lot. Revise a lot. The two biggest challenges to writing great stuff are finding the time and the mental energy. You have to be willing to tear your work apart. You have to go into every draft willing to destroy every single word you wrote. Hopefully, you only have to destroy half the words.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There's a lot of responsibility that comes with writing romance. You want to make sure you aren't encouraging irresponsible behaviors like unsafe sex. I know, it's awkward to have characters talk about birth control, but awkward is okay. Relationships are awkward! Plus, if you're creative, you can find a way to make it fun and sexy.
     Rouse Me comes out on August 4 in the Kindle and Nook stores. You can read more about it at my site,

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cover Reveal - Poisoned Blue

Title: Poisoned Blue
Author: Katie L Thompson
Series: Jamie Stanley Crime Scene Investigation Series
Number in the series: One
Genre: Murder Mystery
Release Date: Autumn 2014