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It would make like easier. I tend to fit it in to the rest of my life. If the lawn needs cutting, then it has to take priority. Always travel with a laptop is my motto. I must have written thousands and thousands of words sitting in coffee shops. I guess a procrastinator. I sometimes think of myself as one of those guys in a fair who spins lots of plates at once.

The problem is that I have a tendency to let half of them crash to the ground! Thanks, Peter for answering my Killer Questions. White Lie, Deadly Lies. When Doug Mullen rescues a mother and daughter from a multiple car-crash on the M40 near Oxford, a video taken by an onlooker briefly turns him into a reluctant hero. But public exposure via the Internet brings its own problems. There is no accounting for who will see you and what that may lead on to.

Mullen is a private detective, house-sitter and reluctant dog-sitter. He is also a bit of a soft touch when he encounters damsels in distress. While trying to support the damaged Natalie Swan and her rebellious daughter Ellie, he finds himself a man in demand. A missing refugee, threatening letters and an unexpected death are just the beginning. As Mullen tries to meet the needs of all those asking for his help, he - and his westiepoodle Rex - swiftly finds himself sucked into a web of deceit and murder.

There are lies to be uncovered and the truth to be found, but sometimes it is hard to know which is better. You can get White Lies, Deadly Lies here. Just two weeks after arriving home from Peru, we've been off on our travels again, this time to China. With so much world to see, and so little time, it's unlikely that we'll come back, so we wanted to see and experience as much of the country as we could. Wendy Wu has a great reputation as a China specialist, and several of our friends have enjoyed their tours.

Because the tour includes several domestic flights, with a checked luggage allowance of just 20kg, we had to pack a little lighter for a much longer tour and work out when we could get some washing done with a fighting chance of getting it dry. There were various options for getting to Beijing for the start of the tour, but we went for Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong.

Door to door, including airport time etc, it took us almost 24 hours to finally get into our room at the Jiangxi Grand Hotel, where we were to spend three nights. On our first night, we met our Tour Manager, 'Alex' all the guides had adopted western names , and the rest of our 25 strong group a bigger group than we have been used to on organised tours.

Beijing has not always been the Chinese capital, but was so for the more recent dynasties and certainly for the People's Republic. It's a great place to start, but like many big cities in the Far East, it's always teeming with people: locals, western tourists, and Chinese tourists too. We also visited a jade museum, saw a show about Kung Fu, and another featuring amazing Chinese acrobats; and got to sample Peking duck!

Xian was the original Chinese capital, and is home to some of the country's most ancient sites. I loved our two full days there. We arrived after dark, and just the look of the city by night had me falling in love with it. The following night, we did a night bus ride, and I adored it. If you think London and New York by night are something, you haven't seen Xian all lit up! It's really dressed up for nightlife, and there is live music everywhere, as well as people dancing in open spaces.

The happy buzz I got was something I've only ever felt once before, in New Orleans. The daytime sightseeing was pretty good too. We visited the site where the Terracotta Warriors are still being excavated. Seeing the bits and pieces experts have to reassemble, learning how many remain buried because no one has yet worked out how to stop the original colours being destroyed by light and air, and, of course, seeing many reconstructed warriors, is astonishing.

We also got to visit the official factory where replicas can be had - and yes, I now have my own small terracotta archer. We also got to see a lacquerwork exhibition, walk the ancient city walls, visit the old and peaceful Little Wild Goose Pagoda, try our hand at Chinese calligraphy, and wander among the food stalls, silk and fabric shops etc in the vibrant Muslim Quarter. Throw in a traditional 'dumpling banquet' with a 'Tang Dynasty' dance show, and you have a city I will never forget. Yangtze River Cruise. Already a week into our odyssey, and we rose early to fly to Wuhan, from where we drove to Maoping Docks to board the rather splendid Victoria Jenna cruise ship for a four night cruise on the Yangtze, the world's third longest river.

We seized the chance to upgrade to a bigger room and dining in the top floor restaurant, where dinner is a la carte and you can avoid scrumming for your food with most of the 2, passengers. It made a relaxing experience a little more special, and Maitre de' Karen and waitresses Milly and Judy really looked after us.

There were excursions included in the tour and some optional ones as well. We visited the 'Tribe of the Three Gorges', including a 'wedding show' in which one of our group caught a bouquet and found himself in traditional attire and 'marrying' a local girl. When the bus departed, the cad abandoned his wife and child apparently conceived and born in minutes to return to the ship.

We also had a fascinating visit to the Three Gorges Dam, which supplies more hydroelectric power than any other in the world although a lot of people were displaced to make way for it and its km reservoir. It's an impressive feat of engineering that commenced in , completed in , and also provides flood control, navigation and irrigation. In the evenings, the hard working staff provided a variety of entertainment. We finally disembarked at Chonqing. Before commencing a long road trip to our next destination, Chengdu, we visited a local market packed with local families.

There was a real carnival atmosphere going on, and all sorts of food and craft ware on sale. When we hit the road, it quickly became apparent that it isn't just in the UK that holiday traffic makes for a slow moving journey, although it might have been worse. Here we visited the fabulous Stone Forest, with its thousands of rock formations, spread over about 80 hectares. The rock shapes are formed from volcanic ash, fossils and sand and often rise out of water pools. More than halfway through our Tour now, and we drove for over five hours to the very pretty city of Dali, home to the Bai ethnic minority, also known as the 'White People' because of their fondness for painting their houses while.

We visited the Three Pagodas, presented in a perfect triangle and dating back to the 9th Century' the Xizhou village with a fascinating local market, an embroidery school, and a tie dye shop both with shopping opportunities and the Yen Family house, occupied by the same family for six centuries.

We took a short cruise on beautiful Erhai Lake. But for me, the bustling heart of the city, with its shops, bars and restaurants, was the vibrant star of the show. Another early start, and another long drive, back to Kunming for our flight to the panoramic city of Guilin, where we passed the night before taking a relaxing cruise on the Li River, enjoying the rural scenery with buffao, local fishermen, and a staggering number of mountain peaks, many of which can be imagined into human and animal shapes.

The cruise took us to the small city of Yangshou, and our first evening included an open air theatre to see the Impression Liu Sammie Show, directed by Zhang Yimou, creator of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. It was simply the most spectacular thing I have ever seen, entirely performed by local people, with singing, dancing, incredible lighting, and a lake that seems to appear from nowhere. Zhang is such a master of misdirection that he can rivet the audience attention on action in one place whilst dozens of performers steal up on you in another - on one occasion, all with flaming torches!

We spent the following day exploring the area: meeting one of the local cormorant fishermen, who train the birds to catch fish for them; visiting an old and impoverished village that exists cheek by jowl with the modern apartments that are replacing it; and rambling through the countryside. From Yangshou, we drove the short distance back to panoramic Guilin, where we first visited the Red Flute Caves with their multi-coloured stalactites and stalagmites, before taking a tour of the South China Pearl Museum, where we learned all about southern China's pearling industry and how to tell a real pearl from a fake, enjoyed a fashion show with pearl jewellery being modelled, before being turned loose on the outlet shop, with pearls for a wide range of tastes and budgets.

From Guilin we flew to Hangzhou, a long standing trade port at the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, where we first cruised on the beautiful West Lake before visiting the Temple of Inspired Seclusion. We could have spent hours there. During our time in Hangzhou, we also visited the former residence of Hu Xueyan, the first Mandarin billionaire of the 19th Century, and strolled around the gardens in Xihutiandi.

There was also a visit to a tea plantation, where we learned about tea ceremonies and how the tea is packed. A three hour drive took us to Suzhou, situated on the lower Yangtze, close to Shanghai. Our hotel was the slightly eccentrically designed Pan Pacific, where you had to go up and down in different elevators to reach different parts of the ground floor, but which accessed amazing gardens and a section of the city wall. At night, the garden is lit up, and there are open spaces where local people dance. Somehow, 23 nights had slid by since our arrival and we were making two hour bus journey to Shanghai, our final destination.

Much as I'd enjoyed every moment, this was the destination I'd most been looking forward to, and, oh boy, I wasn't disappointed. In 28 years, the one time 'Paris of the East' has transformed from industrial city into a major financial centre and one of Asia's most influential cities. As you gaze across the Huangpu River to a site where there was nothing in , and now an awesome, almost futuristic skyline of modern skyscrapers stands, with the historical Bund architecture behind you, the pace of development is astounding.

We saw another 'matchmakers' corner' in the People's Park this time the lonely hearts ads had been attached by parents to umbrellas , visited the fascinating Shanghai Museum where we could have easily spent days , and stood in the People's Square. We visited the iconic Yu Gardens, with goldfish ponds and jade rocks.

There was a visit to the silk museum, where we saw how silk-filled duvets are made and where fabulous silk fabrics are on sale. But the real highlight was a night cruise on the river, when the whole city was lit up in dazzling and extravagant style. If I'd thought Xian by night was wonderful, this topped it! Should you go to China? You need to go with an open mind. And it's not a western democracy; I was left suspecting we hadn't seen too much of the real poverty. But things are getting done, and I will watch developments with interest.

I don't know if, or when, prosperity will filter down to the lower levels of society; and it's impossible not to think about the cost of some of the things we enjoyed, and whether the money had been best spent. But these are minor things, compared to the opportunity to see and experience so much that fills you with wonder and joy.

Don't choose a tour that just does Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, and maybe the Yangtze, either. It was a long, often exhausting tour, but worth it to get a more rounded view of the country. Our tour leader, Alex below, real name Li Jing was outstanding - probably the best we've ever had. I'll never forget her kindness, patience, friendship and professionalism. Nothing was too much trouble for her, and her sense of humour ensured that 25 travelers bounced happily through a tour that covered some 7, kilometres. Alex's Family rocks! Tips for travelers.

English is not widely spoken — not even in international hotels — so make sure you can contact your guide if you have a problem. Most meals were either buffet or served to table, with seemingly endless dishes being delivered to a huge lazy susan. Forget the Chinese food we have at home, tailored to western palates. You won't like every dish, and some are very spicy, while others are bland. I tried pretty well everything's, although I must confess to disappointment that the Chinese don't really get dessert! On this tour, all meals were included, possibly to ensure that the kitchens were hygienic, and indeed, none of the 25 appeared to have significant tummy trouble, if at all.

There were always western options for breakfast, although these could be limited, especially in the more rural areas. Lunch and dinner offered precious little variety, and did become monotonous over 25 days. Never pass up the opportunity to use a clean, western WC — because you may have a long wait for the next one. En suites in hotels are fine, but public loos are variable. It can be especially vexing for women to find that only rather disgusting squat toilets are on offer.

The Chinese like rock hard matresses, but hotels will provide extra duvets to put under the bottom sheet. We also took self inflating camping matresses. Internet access is limited. Social media, anything Google including Gmail and some western news sites are blocked. But Hotmail works, so set up an account before you go and let key people have the address. For some reason, you can also access The Guardian. You might have issues with what may seem like Chinese bad manners to us. They tend to push and shove their way from a to b, some not most hawk and spit in the street, they talk loudly, and are likely to talk throughout a show.

Try not to get hot under the collar and just go with the flow. Chinese people are fascinated by Westerners. Some might want to practice their English. Be prepared to haggle. There are bargains to be had in China, but you can often get them even cheaper by bargaining.

On our list of holiday destinations for some time has been Peru. I've always been fascinated by the ancient American civilisations in particular; and, apart from a few days in Ecuador, we've seen nothing of South America. Seeing Machu Picchu and having a good look around Peru at the same time seemed just what we wanted. The direct flight from Gatwick to Lima takes 12 hours.

I loved it. Anyhow, we arrived at our hotel in Lima at around 10pm local time, feeling more like 4am they're six hours behind us and lost no time getting to bed after meeting the rest of our strong group. Fortunately, this tour doesn't have too many horribly early starts, so we kicked off our morning city tour at a civilised hour. The 'City of Kings' was built in the style of aristocratic Spain, and features wide avenues and spacious squares, with ornate architecture abounding. We visited a market in the Miraflores district, with a chance to sample some local fruit and see a lot more produce besides.

A short walk away lies the Plaza Mayor, in the heart of the old city, whose notable buildings include the Government Palace and the impressive cathedral. We also got to visit the magnificent colonial mansion, the Casa Solar de Aliaga, which has been occupied by 16 generations of the same family since We even met the current owner! The house is superbly preserved, with fine furnishings and ornate antiques. The tour concluded with a visit to Cordano's, one of the city's oldest bars, where we sampled Peru's famous pisco sour cocktail - which I can highly recommend.

For our evening, we had reserved a table at the amazing Central restaurant. We chose the 16 course 'Elevation' tasting menu, cleverly arranged around representations of rising altitudes, with matching wines. As you might expect with so many small dishes including piranha! And we didn't always have a clue what we were eating, even when it was explained. But it was a unique, unforgettable dining experience and terrific fun. The next morning, we flew south to the city of Arequipa, at the foot of the El Misti volcano, and the following day we enjoyed a full-day tour of this lovely city, with its colonial architecture, elegant squares and buildings composed of white volcanic stone.

She is not always on display, so I suppose we were lucky to be able to see this sad, macabre exhibit. The next two days mainly consisted of traveling to Lake Titicaca via the stunning Colca Canyon and an early morning visit to Condor's Cross, an observation point allowing us to watch the magnificent Andean birds soaring against the canyon's imposing backdrop.

Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca itself is spectacular, a bigger body of water than many rivers, and our next day saw us take to the water to visit the floating reed islands, inhabited by the indigenous Uros people. We learned how they use the dense totora reed to build homes, boats, even new islands when the existing ones are past their best, and also saw their fine hand weaving and were encouraged to try on some of the garments they make.

It was great fun! Andean Explorer. The following day - day eight for those keeping count - saw one of the real highlights of the trip, as we boarded the gorgeous Belmond Andean Explorer, South America's only luxury sleeper train. It's run by the same people as the Orient Express and, as we enjoyed our well-appointed small cabin, cocktails in the Piano Bar complete with grand piano , meals in the elegant car, and views from the observation car, there was a definite sense of Poirot about it all.

Meanwhile, we were climbing to over 4, metres above sea level and noticing the altitude in all sorts of ways, not all of them comfortable, but nothing too horrible. The train remained stationary overnight before continuing early in the morning. After breakfast, we disembarked to continue by road to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It's a beautiful location surrounded by snow-capped mountains. En route, we visited a textile centre for a demonstration of weaving and dyeing techniques. The next day featured a morning visit to the Ollantaytambo Inca fortress, superbly preserved and, in its day, a strategic, military, religious and agricultural centre.

We also took in some Inca ruins and a salt mine, as well as sampling the local corn beer. Machu Picchu. And so we embarked the next day on our second rail journey on the Perurail train to Machu Picchu. Not as grand as the Andean Explorer, it's still a nice train, and the countryside is stunning. Machu Picchu itself is one of the new Seven Wonders of the world, an amazing Inca citadel set between two mountain peaks - Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu - at an altitude of 2, metres.

It was rediscovered by the American explorer Hyram Bingham in and includes more than buildings with baths, temples, altars and houses. It's worth mentioning here that the Incas built terracing for various purposes, including agriculture; built walls of perfectly interlocking, often huge, stones, often transported considerable distances; created structures that perfectly lined up with the sun's rays on solstices; yet had no written language, which means that the purposes of many of their structures is the subject of speculation.

In general, you don't go to Peru for the cuisine; but here, we'd opted for the hotel upgrade, staying at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, right next door to the citadel, where we enjoyed a fine dinner. Next day, we were up early for a second, sunrise visit to the ruins and a walk to the now closed and unsafe-looking Inca Bridge. The afternoon saw us back on the train and headed to Poroy for the final leg of the tour - a stay in Cuzco.

Our city tour took in the colonial church in the San Blas District, and the magnificent cathedral. We enjoyed an excursion to more Inca ruins, a night out with music and a display of traditional dancing, and, in our free time, visits to the Inca and Pre-Columbian Art museums. Homeward Bound. Our journey home took 24 hours: a flight from Cuzco to Lima, an eyewatering five hours at Lima airport and a twelve hour flight back to Gatwick, still over two hours from home by the time we collected our baggage and passed through immigration and customs.

I wrote most of this post on the Lima-Gatwick flight, because I can never sleep on aircraft. Would I recommend Peru? You bet! So many sights, tastes and experiences that were new to me, and so much to learn about the old civilisations. At the time of year we went, it was warm to very hot during the days but could get chilly at night.

Not for those who like their holiday to be a rest, but oh my! My horizons have been well and truly broadened. Festival Time! It was the sixth festival to be held in Ivinghoe, Bucks since Avril Davies, I, and a few other enthusiasts founded it in It runs primarily to raise funds for the local community library and is entirely run and staffed by volunteers. The village school hosts us, and caretaker Mike is fabulous in helping us set up and take down. A lot of the hard work is in putting together an attractive programme and getting sponsorship.

Chairing the New Voices Panel with Mary Lynn Bracht, Vicky Newham and Lydia Syson Sponsorship included not only money, but also beautiful canvas goodie bags, plus brand new books, magazines and bottles of beer to go in them. The day went without a hitch, with lots of lovely feedback that made it all worthwhile. Theakstons Crime Festival. I barely had time to catch my breath than I was catching the train to start my journey to Harrogate for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

As last year, the place was absolutely rammed with crime writers and readers, enjoying a drink and waiting to hear twelve crime writers, including me, do a short reading from their work. All the readers sat round tables on the small stage in front window, awaiting our turn, which was decided by members of the audience picking names out of a had. I read from The Scars Beneath the Soul , and received some lovely feedback. But I also enjoyed hearing from my fellow crimeys, all of whom were great. Huge thanks to Victoria Vic Watson for arranging a fabulous event and for inviting me.

Reading at Noir at the Bar, Harrogate I spent the rest of the weekend taking in a few panels and live interviews and hanging out with friends I only normally see at festivals like this. A great moment was finally getting to meet long standing online friend and fellow crime writer, Linda Huber, in real life.

Linda is a Scot living in Switzerland, and was in Yorkshire for a family event. I was so delighted she managed to make a flying visit to Harrogate. At a festival devoted to crime, it would be criminal to miss it. Putting our backs into it at Betty's Pick of the festival events for me was a live conversation between crime writing legend Val McDermid and equally legendary forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black. All was not lost though — I discovered you can often score a late ticket from the box office tent about ten minutes before the start.

I was lucky enough to get one, and even luckier, when I made my way to the hall, to be shown to one of the remaining vacant seats — in the front row! Sue was thoroughly engaging, sensitive, and often funny, on the grim business of death. Her work includes climbing into mass graves where she begins the task of identifying victims of war crimes and piecing together how they died and what happened to them before death.

Afterwards I bought her book — All That Remains — and took it for signing. I thanked her for her help with my research — and she remembered. I was still grinning hours later. One more highlight deserves a mention. All too soon, my two festivals in a week were over and I was headed for home and back to work.

Writing can be a lonely business. Killer Questions Caroline England. Born a Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border, working in the city centre as a divorce lawyer. In addition to her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses , Caroline has had dark twisty short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies.

Caroline draws on her legal career to write about secrets, betrayal and lies, hidden crime and 'what goes on behind closed doors'. It turned out I was writing crime fiction. Very much at the psychological suspense or domestic noir end of the spectrum, but crime nonetheless! Some people I read about in the newspaper or briefly meet pique my interest, so characters similar to them wander in reasonably formed, but even they are manipulated several times to make them multilayered like a Russian doll.

Or an onion. Despite their lavish house and apparently gilded veneers, they are ordinary, damaged human beings inside. When my youngest is at school I can write all day, but life has just got in the way over the past few months! Thanks, Caroline for answering my Killer Questions.

Do you really know your friends? As the shock hits their friendship group, they soon realise that none of them are being as honest with themselves — or with each other — as they think.

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And there are secrets lurking that could destroy everything. Killer Questions Linda Huber. Linda is an ex-physiotherapist who grew up in Glasgow but has lived over half her life in Switzerland, where she now works as a language teacher and writes novels. The inspiration for her books comes from everyday life - a family member's struggle with dementia, the discovery that a child in her extended family drowned in the s, and more. Death Wish is Linda's seventh suspense novel, and tells the story of one family facing illness and death, while the people next door have a secret Her latest project is a series of feel-good novellas, written under her pen name Melinda Huber.

But she soon gave up trying to stop me. I progressed to Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. My books are about families, especially mother-child relationships, with police action very much in the background. I start planning with an idea — this happens and then that and that — and the characters grow naturally out of that. Often the original plot idea changes along the way, because of the people the characters develop into. In psych. Lower Banford in my book is around where Ilkley is in real life, for instance. Sex is always off the page, though I often have a touch of possible romance within the story.

Violence is never graphic, but it sometimes need to happen to further the story. Different people see the same thing in different ways, and this is fascinating to write into a book. I was continually thinking — what would she understand about this? How would she react? Can a child know this? I start knowing the beginning and the ending the ending can change along the way… Then I plan two or three chapters in more detail, and start writing. I love chaos — you should see my desk. I find routine stifling, but of course we need some kind of order in the daily chaos or the wrong things would be happening at the wrong times.

Nothing like a last-minute panic for getting something done! And maybe a couple more books on the shelf. Thanks, Linda, for answering my Killer Questions. The Paradise Trees. He had found exactly the right spot in the woods. A little clearing, green and dim, encircled by tall trees. He would bring his lovely Helen here… This time, it was going to be perfect. When Alicia Bryson returns to her childhood home in a tiny Yorkshire village, she finds her estranged father frail and unab le to care for himself.

Her daughter Jenny is delighted at the prospect of a whole summer playing in the woods at the bottom of the garden, but as soon as Alicia sets foot in Lower Banford, strange and disturbing memories begin to plague her. Unknown to her, she has a stalker. Someone is watching, waiting, making plans of his own. To him, Alicia and Jenny are his beautiful Helens… and they should be in Paradise.

One of the best things about being a writer is going to literary festivals. And my festival season this year has got off to a brilliant start! Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo's Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake. Find it on the blog. So, rather than interview Rebecca about the book, I thought it would be interesting to interview Ray — and who better to ask the questions than Claire King, Chief Reporter for the Aylesbury Echo in my own Archer and Baines books?

Could you kick us off by telling us a bit about yourself and your career before your life changed so dramatically? I have two children, whom I love very much, though they live with their mother as the job took me out of the house so much more than our marriage could manage. I love the job and I love the people I work with. CK: We both want to avoid spoilers for the book, but the blurb tells us you suffer from something known as face blindness.

So how did it come about? RP: The medical name for face blindness is prosopagnosia and there are two types, one you are born with and the other kind, is caused by a brain injury, either a stroke or head injury. My prosopagnosia was caused when I suffered a head injury in a car pursuit I was involved in at work. We were hot on the heels of a killer who had been murdering young women. The conditions were bad and his driving was reckless.

I woke up injured and unable to recognise anyone. CK: And what exactly is face blindness? I still see them. I see they have a nose, eyes, a mouth etc. Imagine looking at a bunch of photographs of people you know, but they are upside down and their hair is removed. You can still see their features, but it becomes so much more difficult to say who they are. CK: When exactly did you or the doctors realise something was badly wrong?

RP: When my children came into the hospital to visit me. This obviously upset them. I hated that. Hurting them that way has been one of the hardest things. CK: It must have been terrifying. What was your first reaction? I let the doctors do all the tests they needed to do, but it took some time. Can you imagine that? And I gather you hid it from your colleagues. Without giving away any spoilers, how on earth did you manage to pull that off?

RP: One of the nurses in the hospital, Elizabeth, she was great, she told me about identifiers. You learn to identify people by other means. The way they walk or talk. Their hairstyle, or body shape. At work people generally sit at the same desks. I worked my way around it and managed it quite well.

CK: Did you tell anyone at all? RP: Helen my ex-wife. She had to be told so she could help me with the children. CK: And did that help? RP: It did. It helped having someone that knew, someone I could talk to and turn to. And then you have this new trauma where being able to identify someone is, to put it mildly, pretty critical.

What happened? There was a murder. I happened to be there. RP: It was one of the worst times of my life. I had let so many people down. Colleagues who relied on me and trusted me. I was gutted. But, I was also determined to try and do something about it. CK: But presumably he could have been sitting next to you on a bus, and you would have been none the wiser.

So what did you do about the case? I started my own line of inquiry. Separate to the incident room. I needed to resolve the screw up I had made. But what does the future hold for Ray Patrick? I have to live with this and get better at using identifiers. CK: One last question. RP: From what Rebecca has told me, this is a standalone story of what happened to me.

Though she says there is the potential for one more. I believe it all depends on what readers think.

Nowadays I mainly rate movies…

CK: Ray, thanks for taking the time to talk about what must be a difficult subject for you. Good luck for the future. RP: Thanks for having me! Returning to work following an accident, Detective Inspector Ray Patrick refuses to disclose he now lives with face blindness - an inability to recognise faces. As Ray deceives his team he is pulled into a police operation that targets an international trade in human organs. And when he attempts to bring the organisation down, Ray is witness to a savage murder.

The pressure mounts as Ray attempts to keep his secret and solve the case alone. With only his ex-wife as a confidant, he feels progressively isolated. Can he escape with his career and his life intact? Killer Questions 9: Lesley Cookman. Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many Woolworth's exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys.

Since she's been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she's written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Lesley's pantomimes are published by Jasper Publishing. So it was natural that I should attempt to follow in their footsteps.


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I prefer traditional mystery, myself. Definitely a character! Off the page in both cases. I occasionally allow the reader to see the result of violence — the body — and my Libby is sometimes attacked, but nothing to frighten the horses. I write what I like to read. I do try, but things always go off the rails. So I fly into the mist with each one…. Oh, procrastinator. World class. Still alive….

Thanks, Lesley, for answering my Killer Questions. Rebecca is a ex-police detective and lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and two cockapoos - Alfie and Lola - who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and, if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake. Her website is here. As a series writer myself, I especially wanted to chat to Rebecca about the business of writing a series of novels around a regular cast of characters.

Rebecca, first of all, congratulations on the publication of your Fighting Monsters. Thanks Dave, firstly I want to say how much I appreciate you having me on your blog today. It feels a little surreal to be releasing book three, when I still know how excited I was to release the very first book in the series, Shallow Waters. So, in answer to your question, yes, there very much indeed is a whole other world inside of my head. These characters live and breathe inside of me. They live with me all the time. The series is set in your home town of Nottingham.

The setting is perfectly aligned to the real Nottingham.

Forthcoming historical novels for 12222

There are even real pubs and restaurants within the pages. If, however, I had cause to write about a school, that might be something I would consider creating a fictional version of. Especially if there is a crime being committed within that location. With the pubs and restaurants, there is nothing happening in those other than good food and good company! The smaller, it may not be quite where I say it is. I know that some authors deliberately set out to write a series and then create a cast of characters.

For others its almost an accident — they bring a detective into a story and then want to see more of them. How did it happen for you? I did deliberately set out to write a series. There were snippets layered into the first one that were only indications of what is to come further in the series. I think there is a lot of room for story when you are writing a series. You have the plot of each individual book, but you also have overarching stories that thread through the series as a whole.

Each of your books has at least one specific case that is self-contained, but do you have a long-term story arc mapped out for Hannah? Several books in advance. Tell us a bit more about DI Hannah Robbins — what are her best and worst points? She not the most emotionally well-balanced woman. She throws herself into her work and can be a bit standoffish because of this.

She puts too much focus on what she is dealing with at work. However, she has a very good friend in analyst, Evie Small, who likes to attempt to keep her in emotional check. On the other hand, she is dedicated. If something bad has happened to you, or is happening to you, then you want her on your side. You already know the world and you know the characters. In fact, you more than know the characters, with each new book, they have grown and evolved with you.

They are a part of you. You can feel the world as you set to work. And the most challenging? But, though it is as I said above, there is the issue that you want your characters to continue to change and evolve as you progress with the series, which means you need to keep thinking of new stories, that not only engage a reader, but that impact on the characters and in a way that is in keeping with their world. So, with a standalone or the first in a series, the world is your oyster, you can create what you want, with a series, you are now tied to the characters and their reactions, their wants, needs and desires.

They really are the ones dictating the books. Are you going to be concentrating on Hannah and her world for the foreseeable future, or do you have plans for titles outside the series? I have already written another book, outside of the Hannah series. It can either be taken as a standalone or a series. I also have plans for another standalone that I want to write fairly soon, as well as the ideas for the next two Hannah books at least.

I wish I could write faster because I do love this storytelling business. Do you think the series will draw to a natural conclusion? I think it will draw to a natural conclusion on its own at some point. I would hate for it to go stale and would rather bring it to an end before readers start to get fed up of it. I would miss them though. Just thinking about not writing them, as I type this, feels weird. Not having them in my head with me…. If you can do so without any spoilers, what can readers look forward to in Fighting Monsters?

I have a blurb for you to answer that question! In his possession; the name of a protected witness from his trial. For DI Hannah Robbins, it's a race against time to find Talbot's killer, and locate the bystander before it's too late. But as Hannah delves deeper into the past, she begins to question the integrity of the whole operation. Again, thanks for having me, Dave. I really enjoyed answering these questions. You can get Fighting Monsters here. Killer Questions 8: Robert F Barker.

Born in Liverpool, England, Robert F Barker served thirty years as a police officer and detective, much of it working in and around some of the Northwest's grittiest towns and cities. He likes to write stories that are dark and edgy, but still reflect the real world, which as he discovered, is often far stranger than anyone can dream up. As a Senior Investigating Officer and Firearms Incident Commander, he experienced the pressure that comes when dealing with major crimes, as well as what it means to have to make life-and-death decisions in the heat of live operations.

He splits his writing-time between his family home in Cheshire, and the beautiful island of Cyprus, where he finds inspiration for a series of Cyprus-based thrillers which he intends will compliment his UK novels. Bob, why did you choose crime as your genre? As a former police officer and CID detective, it would be easy to say it was the most obvious and natural choice.

That said, when I first began writing in a serious way, I was not too sure just what my chosen genre would be, or even what I wanted to write about. My police background means I was lucky enough to meet a huge number of characters, good and bad, during my service. Many of them could quite easily fit within the pages of a crime novel, but I can honestly say I am yet to use a character in my novels that is wholly based on any one person. Location is always important in a novel — but especially so, I think, in the crime genre, where atmosphere so often plays an important part in the story.

However, I might then describe the aftermath to a violent death in some detail, as by then it is a crime scene and therefore a key element of the story. As regards sex, as anyone who has read Last Gasp will know, a key character in the story is a dominatrix, and facets of her interests and lifestyle are relevant to the plot. For me, sticking rigidly to the single-person point of view is too restrictive, while going the other way, using a multi-person point of view, risks leaving the reader unsure who to root for. I will then write the first, maybe half, of the novel, letting the story take me where it will and introducing characters and sub-plots as and where they naturally occur.

Around halfway, I will usually start to do some, limited, planning, usually just enough that the story can begin to steer itself back towards the ending I have had in mind to that point. At that stage I may do some more detailed planning to make sure all the plot points will be adequately resolved, and all the loose ends tied up. That is when the post-it notes and white board in my office come in handy!

Even while writing the last few chapters you can suddenly find your preconceptions ambushed by a humdinger of an idea you simply MUST include usually a killer twist so you have to then go back and make sure it fits in with all that has gone before — which can be the tricky bit. More the latter, I think. Disciplinarian - whenI have the time to focus on the writing.

We are lucky enough to have a place in Cyprus where we manage to get away four or five times a year to help boost our Vitamin D levels, he says! Though I have been writing for several years now, my decision to go all out as an indie author means I feel like I am just setting out on this exciting journey.

From that point of view, five years seems a long way away and in that time all my plans may change. Who knows? Thanks, Bob, for answering my Killer Questions. They include those who walk Whitehall's corridors of power, as well as others in high office — maybe even the upper echelons of the Police Service itself.

When members of that network start dying, Carver suspects that someone is out to make sure that their involvement at least, remains hidden -and will stop at nothing to do so. Needing information fast but right now chained to a desk, his only recourse is the one person whom he vowed to never have contact with again — the extraordinary and dangerously-seductive dominatrix, Megan Crane. Killer Questions 7: Amanda Robson.

T his has set her in good stead for writing her debut novel, Obsession. Obsession, is a gripping Greek tragedy for modern times, and her new book, Guilt , is available for pre-order. My novels are psychological thrillers. Nowadays I tend to start with the idea for a story and then make the characters up. Interesting question. I show it, because I write in first person so it seems as if it needs to be there. I have to do a lot of plotting and planning or else it all goes pear shaped.

It must be wonderful to have such a carefully structured mind that you can write with imagination and structure without a plan. I envy writers like that. I have heard Joanna Trollop at a festival say that she starts knowing just how she wants the novel to end. How brilliant is that?

I work hard in an organised way with a regular morning start time and lunch break, trying to pretend I am in a normal job. My whole family are. We pull each other along with our compulsive work ethic. Thanks, Amanda, for answering my Killer Questions. The number 1 bestseller is back! Your sister. Her secret. The betrayal. There is no bond greater than blood. When the body of a woman is found stabbed to death, the blame falls to her twin sister. But who killed who? And which one is now the woman behind bars? Zara and Miranda have always supported each other.

But then Zara meets Seb, and everything changes. Or are deeper resentments simmering beneath the surface that the sisters must face up to? The question is, who? You can buy your copy of Guilt here. Killer Questions 6: Susi Holliday. I recently spent a great evening at the London launch of her new book, The Deaths of December. Susi is the author of Black Wood , Willow Walk and The Damselfly , a trilogy set in a slightly creepy Scottish village based on her own home town. She works as a pharmaceutical statistician and lives in west London. I was a big horror fan when I was younger, so I think the dark psychological aspects of criminals was something that always interested me.

I enjoy the mystery solving aspect of crime and trying to resolve things for the victims. I actually considered joining the police at one point, but I became a scientist instead. Well when I started writing my first novel, Black Wood , it was very much in the psychological horror camp, with a bit of crime from the past. With the first three books, there is a recurrent character, my policeman — Davie Gray. In Willow Walk , Marie was developed along with the storyline. In The Damselfly , Polly was fully formed as she had already been very briefly mentioned in the first book and I always knew she would come back to try and redeem herself.

My fictional town of Banktoun is crucial to the stories. It has often been cited as being like a character in itself. There are sex scenes in the Banktoun books, but in The Deaths of December there is only a thwarted one. I like a good sex scene, if done right. I keep the violence to a minimum, although there is one scene in my latest which was fast and dark and horrible and I wrote it while feeling anger and I think that shows. It was necessary to the plot, so I kept it, but in general I prefer to keep the violence to a minimum.

I always write multiple viewpoints. I like to tell the story from many different angles, to keep the suspense and the pace and to make it interesting to write. A fair bit of plotting and planning. I start with an idea and email it to myself, then I keep adding to it until I have the story formed. I then try to do a formal chapter by chapter outline, but usually I write a few chapters first, maybe up to a quarter of the first draft, then I sit back and replot the rest in detail.

I have tried to wing it but I have always found myself stalled at 20k. I might go back to some of these abandoned works and resurrect them one day. I write in short bursts, mainly — often in a notebook on the train or tube. I like the idea of a routine but I never manage to stick to it. I work well to a deadline. Too much time on my hands and I will squander it badly. Thanks, Susi, for answering my Killer Questions. It looks like a regular advent calendar. Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors The police hope it's a prank.

Because if it isn't, a murderer has just surfaced - someone who's been killing for twenty years. But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station? As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them Grab your copy here. Gain weight, even when you have a fast metabolism Do you tend to be more on the skinny side than you would like? The Mind Shaman. By: Luca Bosurgi. The mind Shaman follows the compelling journey of Liam, a wealthy young man battling and resolving anxiety, fears and depression, and through his eyes explores the Bosurgi Syndrome, a state of unresolved codependence after puberty.

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    Welcome to my complete guide to Game Day Parties. Many recipes are easy to prepare and also many can be made in advance which will free up your time on the day of the big game.

    Detective Fiction and the Ghost Story

    Natural Medicine. Superfoods are whole-foods. Whole-foods are foods which are unprocessed or are only minimally processed in a manner that none or very little of the nutrition has been altered or destroyed. Superfoods are not always exotic fruits and vegetables. Apples have been shown to be powerful weapons against cancers cardiovascular disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes but other fruits and veggies and have some amazing health benefits as well. By: Dana George. Bitter Friday. Life is harsh for five young friends in the Allegheny Mountains. By: Julia Ariss.

    Fanny Bower leads a quiet existence — keeping to the sidelines, avoiding high jinks, and living in her head. By: Jon McDonald. This lively and tantalizing short story collection allows you to roam a variety of landscapes filled with flashes of humor and intelligence that will amuse and move you deeply. Are you a Christian who is tired of yo-yo dieting? Do you find that there is too much month left over after the end of the money? The Resilient Writer. By: Marquita Herald.

    This may be the most exciting time in history for writers, with more opportunities than ever before to take charge of your destiny. Of course the challenges are equally impressive, which often leaves new authors in search of answers, direction and a bit of encouragement. The Resilient Writer represents 2 years work gathering hundreds of inspiring and motivational observations on the writing life and the business of being an author. How to Be Happier and Healthier. How to Be Happier and Healthier: 7 Keys to a Better Life is a book about how simple it really is to change your life for the better in a short amount of time, using a few proven methods for increasing health and happiness.

    By: Doc Orman, M. In this latest book by Doc Orman, M. Get fresh new ideas that can benefit you now and for the rest of your days.

    Health, Fitness & Dieting

    Darline Flowers is the pretty young executive of a Philadelphia food company. The city has been terrorized by a rapist who has just murdered his first victim. Darline seems about to begin a romantic relationship with a young man whom she is attracted to. She is also in the midst of the acquisition of a competitor company. These events come together to form one of J. You must read this thrilling story to experience its exciting and unexpected climax. By: P. Sky Stone was born into wealth but chooses to follow in the footsteps of her father, legendary FBI profiler Monk Stone.

    Rebekka Franck 2. Christmas Healing. By: Morris Fenris, Jasmine Bowen. Your body needs foods for important nutrients as well as energy. However, many foods are superior to others. Some foods are not particularly healthy, and consuming them can increase your risk of certain diseases. In comparison, some foods are good for you because they give you the energy you need and many nutrients.

    At the top of the list are superfoods, that are full of nutrients and all-natural substances which have been proven by research studies to improve your health. Are you weighed down by stress In your life? Are you looking for rest that you know God can give you — but it still seems to allude you? Is the stress in your health, finances, family, or job defeating your joy? Adventures, love and happiness in India, Sri Lanka and Australia. By: Fred Schaefer.

    Touchstones

    Travelling with Maria is an entertaining book, a page turner, full of amazing events like running away from wild elephants, meeting a goddess in a Hindu temple, searching for gold, lunchtime striptease shows in Australia and a lot more. Book Two of The Legend Riders. By: Kevin Outlaw.

    Nimbus has taken his first steps to becoming a Wing Warrior; but his problems are only just beginning. The Awakening. By: Angella Graff. By: Heather Bowhay. For college-bound Lexi Adams, premonitions rule her life, until one suddenly depicts her own death.

    According to Jessica, everyone is born with an inner energy called Essence. Only Amethysts, can control Essence and heal people. Ultimately, Lexi must decide if life, not death, equals salvation. Slayer of the Osgarth. By: Clark Graham. Jason dreams every night that he is transported to a dark and foreboding land where evil prevails and good struggles. It is a land of swords and sorcery, with castles and roaming monsters. Each night the dream is just of continuation of the last.

    Jason can keep it to himself until he gets hurt in the dream world and wakes up bleeding! His teachers worry that he is being abused by the parents, the parents think he is sleep walking and getting hurt and his school counselor is just trying to get to. By: Caesar Lincoln. By: Gay Wayman. Laughter, tears, philosophy and out right silliness. Common threads in our shared humanity. Homecoming King. Diary Entry 1. By: Luke Mallory. She Pulls Off the Interstate. By: Eugene Ahn. On an evening like any other, a mysterious woman moves into room Four-One-Three of an apartment building in a new city with the firm determination to start a fresh life here.

    By: Jerry Graham. But Lord takes a look at several popular Christian beliefs and examines them in the light of other scripture verses that appear to present a different view and encourages the reader to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence presented. By: Dan Eitreim. Creating and manipulating light is what photography is all about! There is no need to pay for expensive lighting equipment when a reflector will do the job!

    By: Lisa M. Horror in Pinstripes… A recruiting event at an amusement park turns deadly when the attractions develop minds — and purposes — of their own. All Things Bleak and Beautiful. By: Laura Jane Leigh. A Basement. By: David Podlipny. A collection of 33 short stories and 22 poems. Containment Zone. By: R. October 12, That was the day Death ceased her collection of souls. Nothing Save the Bones Inside Her. By: Clayton Lindemuth. But Angus wants more. As each decision leads her closer to destruction, Emeline must choose between following the faith that got her into trouble… Or the moxie, resolve, and evil within that promise to get her out.

    By: Larry Aiello. Have you ever wanted to learn Italian? Teens Baby. By: Katherine Hole. For fans of paranormal romance comes a dark love story with a gritty, urban twist. By: Laura Masciarelli. A thrilling adventure about Ty, a high school senior and shy son of a dashing archeologist and the exotic Ashi, a brown-eyed beauty and spiritual adept from Bhutan as they unravel the mystery of the Treasure of the Knights Templar. Indulge in any of these all-time favorite delicious treats. Cookies and cookie bars have become popular and make the perfect snack.

    And also make wonderful gifts for the holidays. Cookies range from plain and simple to exotic. A few of our favorites. Coffee Cakes and Pound Cakes. In this book you will find a collection of our favorite Coffee and Pound cakes, from simple spices nuts and fresh fruits or as different as Rose-Geranium Pound Cake. By: Conda V Douglas. Just in time for Christmas! Chocolate molasses cake, banana bread, sugar cookies, pumpkin pie and more delightful desserts await you in The Mall Fairies Sweet Tooth Cookbook! By: Prasenjeet Kumar.

    What this book focuses on is what Indians eat every day in their homes. The Sweet Dreams Cookbook. Chocolate and Confections. The Sweet Dreams Cookbook is a collection of irresistible candy recipes you can make at home; have fun with your kids enjoy making treats from chocolate candy bars, chewy taffy and sweet truffles to sweet holiday candy gifts from your kitchen. Avoid harmful chemicals used to preserve commercial candy and confections.

    By: Sarah Holmlund. This is the third book in the rhyming monster book series about the Monsterlingz family and their family members. Learn how the monsters celebrate Christmas. In this book the monster kids have to find the lost star that their dad always puts in the top of their Christmas tree. The book is written in a humorous style with colorful, entertaining images.

    Suitable for children years old. The Hunt for the Well Hidden Treasure. Classmates Will, Mikey, Susan, and Evelyn join in the hunt. Facing long odds, the 7th graders embark on an adventure of a lifetime. The mystery deepens as they desperately hunt for clues, decipher landmarks, and match wits with their ruthless competitors. The story gives kids the option to discover the benefits of keeping their room organized and tidy. It also shows how building friendship and trust are creating the ground for a better world. The book is suitable for kids age and includes words and 33 pages. Samuel Visits the Farm: Winter Wonderland.

    By: Sarah M. By: Art Keller. Full of authentic detail from an author who has served as a field officer in the Directorate of Operations of the CIA, Hollow Strength serves up a compelling picture of the Iran of tomorrow, and the perils of real world espionage operations. The Shoulders of Giants. A Jake Abraham Mystery. By: Jim Cliff. A missing girl. The Taste of Fear. By: Jeremy Bates. American movie star Scarlett Cox and her husband, hotel tycoon Salvador Brazza, head to Africa to get away and resuscitate their ailing marriage. Battling terrorists, deadly wildlife and cannibalistic rebels, Scarlett an.

    Last Orders. By: Tony Black. When he receives a mysterious letter on expensively embossed paper, reluctant investigator Gus Dury decides to take the case, if for no other reason than he needs the cash. The Sniper. By: Mark Chisnell. An empty clearing in the Vietnamese jungle in By: AB Stonebridge.

    A case of petty theft turns into a convoluted plot to smuggle heroin into the US. PulpWork Christmas Special By: Julie Aydlott. What happens when we die? Will we ever see our loved ones again? Are they really OK? True Stories of Messages From Beyond tells 14 different stories of messages from loved ones who have passed on. Each story was written by an ordinary person who was touched, changed and comforted by their own unique extraordinary encounters with those they love on the other side.

    You w. By: Shane Scollins. Every year in America, thousands of women disappear never to be seen again, and one man has dedicated his life to finding them… Humble Walker has an amazing gift rooted deep in an ancient Navajo legend. By: Tim Mettey. The Midwest lies in complete ruins after a catastrophic disaster kills tens of thousands and leaves hundreds of thousands injured. He soon tumbles into. By: Sven Michael Davison. By: Andreas Christensen. When mankind faces extinction, how can anyone survive?

    The Truth Beyond the Sky. By: Andrew M.