#GIVEAWAY – Audiobook of The Gift

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I am so incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve been shown during the launch of my second novel, The Gift, and absolutely delighted it has now been No.1 on Amazon in the UK for over 4 weeks and is in the Top 10 in Psychological Thrillers in the US, as well as debuting on the USA Today BestSellers List this week.

As a thank you I am giving away two audio versions of the book, narrated by the super talented Jasmine Blackborow (I’ll supply codes which can be redeemed on Audible). To enter either click this link to my Facebook post to nominate someone you would like to gift a copy of the audiobook to, or follow this link to my Twitter page and retweet to win a copy for yourself (you can enter both if you wish).

The competition is open to all and winners will be generated at random on Sunday 22nd January.

Thanks again.

Louise x

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You wrote a novel about WHAT??? (What on earth is Cellular Memory?)

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I first heard about cellular memory about fifteen years ago and was intrigued with the concept that the cells of the body could store memories, and if organs are transplanted, these memories could also be transplanted with them.

Although this isn’t scientifically proven, there are an increasing number of doctors and scientists supporting this theory and further research is being carried out.

Endlessly fascinated I’ve spent years researching this subject and reading up on real life cases where recipients have received donor organs, in particular hearts, and inherited some attributes of the donor whether it is a craving for the donor’s favourite food, or, in more extreme cases, speaking a different language after the surgery that the donor could speak, or suddenly being able to play an instrument the donor could play.

Could this really be happening? Is the heart just a pump or is it something more? It wasn’t that long ago the heart was thought to be the centre of all knowledge and wisdom. Is it more than we think?

I desperately wanted to write a novel around cellular memory but I was wary. It is a subject I felt that deserved sensitively handling. Where there is a transplant, there has to be a loss. A grieving family. A recipient who has perhaps been ill for a long period and the impact that has had on their family and friends. I considered all of these points four years ago when I wanted to start writing a novel and I decided I didn’t have the experience to approach a story that included organ donation with the sensitivity it deserved.

Instead I wrote The Sister, a psychological thriller based around a grieving girl and I found that despite the genre of the book I was able to write it with raw emotion and when readers read it and fed back how connected and empathetic they felt towards the characters, I decided to tentatively start to write Jenna’s story in The Gift.

Jenna is a 30-year-old woman who receives a new heart and begins to have disturbing thoughts and dreams. She becomes obsessed with her donor, Callie’s family, and she doesn’t believe Callie’s accident was as innocent as it was purported to be. Jenna is determined to uncover the truth behind Callie’s death, to bring her bewildered parents the closure they deserve, but as she begins to dig and discover the secrets surrounding Callie, she finds there is someone who wants to silence her, at any cost.

The Gift is fiction, and of course as an author I have taken artistic license with the subject of cellular memory and I’m sure readers will understand the need to do this but I hope I have handled the medical aspect and the loss with accuracy and respect.

My family and I have been on the donor transplant list for years. I know it’s not always something families discuss and I do hope The Gift can strike up conversations about donation and perhaps encourage someone who might not have previously thought about it to sign themselves up to the register. Signing up really could save lives.

What do you think about cellular memory? I’d love to know.

 

The kindle version of The Gift is currently part of an Amazon Flash Sale and you can buy it in the UK here for £0.99 or the US here for $1.24. It is also available as a paperback or audiobook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sky streaks purple, orange, red before settling on its usual self-conscious blue as if it could never be more than that. But we’re all more than we think. Than we feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your next book purchase count!

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Today is the publication date of Dark Minds, the charity anthology compiled by the fabulous Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books.

Firstly, the important stuff. All proceeds of  the sales of this book will be donated to Sophie’s Appeal and Hospice UK.

Sophie’s Appeal was founded in memory of Sophie Louise Barringer and supports the social, emotional and educational welfare of children, their families, nursing and support staff and provide a caring and supporting environment in both local hospitals and in the community. There are many ways the Trust provide support to parents, carers and schools who find themselves suddenly faced with the reality of cancer.

Hospice UK are the national charity for hospice care, supporting over 200 hospices in the UK. Their aim is to make sure that everyone with a life limiting or terminal condition rightly get the very best care, and hospices are critical to achieving this.

Two hugely worthwhile causes, so how can you help? Buy the book! It is packed full of short stories by some of the best crime writers around. I’m immensely proud to be included in this collection. My story, ‘The Shoes Maketh The Man’ is about Bill, a widower who lives alone since the passing of his wife, Maureen. Bill is anxious as he watches the news report of yet another attack on the elderly and when he hears disturbing noises coming from his friend Ethel’s flat above him he is faced with a choice. Should he investigate? Would you?

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You can read this, and other stories, including authors such as Lisa Hall, L.J. Ross and Steven Ross in the digital or paperback version of the book, or listen to it on audio if you’re brave enough.

Think you know Dark Minds? Think again…

Dark Minds is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

A day in the life of a thriller writer…Robert Bryndza

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Prior to writing crime Robert Bryndza wrote several romance novels but Robert is not a romance writer, nor is he a thriller writer. He is simply a BRILLIANT writer who I think could turn his hand to any genre.  The gripping openings and short chapters of his books ensure I keep reading long after I should have turned the lights out. The DCI Erika Foster series has been hugely popular and book three, Dark Water is now available to pre-order.

Every curious about other writers’ habits I invited Robert to take part in my blog series ‘A day in the life of…’ and give me some insight into how he spends his day as a full-time author writing thrillers – is it all murder and mayhem? I was surprised. 

 

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A day in the life of a thriller writer… Robert Bryndza

 

The alarm goes off at six thirty, but our two dogs Ricky and Lola always seem to anticipate it by ten minutes, so by 6.20am I’ll have various sqeaky toys shoved in my face, my ears nibbled, or more disgustingly, Lola will stick her tongue up my nose.

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I’d love to be able to roll out of bed and start writing, but dog walking comes first. Unless it’s raining, we take the dogs around the park opposite our flat and I really enjoy this, it gets ideas flowing and I love watching the seasons change, the sunlight on the river and meeting all the other half-asleep dog walkers.

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I’ve been writing full time for a few years now, and I’ve found I work best if I treat it like a full time job. I try to sit down and write by eight thirty in the morning, and I work through until twelve. The internet needs to be off and my phone has to be hidden or there is no hope of work being done!

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When I’m writing about murder and mayhem I always seem to crave a rest from it all by lunchtime, so we’ll eat in front the TV watching comedy. It can be an episode of Sex and The City, Only Fools and Horses, Entourage, Kath and Kim or Father Ted we have plenty of box sets we work through and as well as being hilarious, I think the writing is genius.

I find that I’m more productive after lunch, and afternoons are when I re-work what I’ve written in the morning. I can get really sucked into the story until I stop at three thirty. I try to write 2,000 words a day, more if things are flowing nicely.

I’ve said ‘we‘ quite a few times. My husband Ján also works from home, and we are lucky that we rarely get on each others nerves. My books are published here in Slovakia and Ján has tranaslated them all into Slovak. He is currently working on the translation of my romantic comedy Miss Wrong and Mr Right, which will be published in July. He also runs our house, my website, social media and manages the seven self-published books I have on Amazon.

I’m very lucky that he does all this, giving me plently of time to write.

I try not to write during the weekends, but I do like to use them for research. When I start a new book I buy a new notebook which becomes my bible, with ideas, research, character and place names. When I read my first draft through I will note down what happens in each chapter, any vital pieces of evidence, the names of murder victims, how they were killed, and any other important info.

As a book progresses, I become more obcessed with what I’m writing, and work will seep into weekends and evenings, and this is the time when I start waking in the night and worrying about motives, murder weapons, plot lines and pretty much everything else in between. This is when the notebook beings to fill up even more.

I realise that this all sounds idyllic and a slightly smug, so I will add that it‘s been a long journey to get here with years of rejection, and there were plenty of times when I nearly gave up!

There are days too where I procrastinate and waste time on the internet. Writing for me is never easy, I am often riddled with doubts and have to push myself to stick to deadlines.

It is, however, the best job in the world and I am thankful everyday that I now get to do it full time.

 

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Thanks so much Robert for taking the time to share. You can visit Robert’s website here, and his books from here (UK) or here (US).

 

Giveaway & Sample – Behind Closed Doors

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Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes, is one of those stories that had me gripped from the opening line, and by the end of the first chapter, I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it. It’s an easy read, but not an easy subject matter. Fifteen year old Scarlett Rainsford vanishes during a family holiday in Greece. Was she abducted or did she run away?

This is the second book featuring DCI Lou Smith and her team, but it stands alone well. Don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first. I hadn’t.

When Scarlett is found in a brothel we want to know what happened and this is explained with interspersed, often harrowing, scenes from the past.

This book left me reeling. It is very well written, darker than I’d usually read, and it stayed with me long after I had finished.

Read on for Chapter One and there’s a free copy up for grabs for the first person who re-tweets this post.

 

SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.

Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.

She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see. She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle – two different men – but she didn’t recognise them, nor could she understand what they were saying. She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort. Lots of ‘th’ sounds, rolled ‘r’s, words ending in ‘a’ and ‘eh’.

Fear came in cycles. The first endless panicky minutes had been very bad: trawling through vague memories of the past few days, trying to identify the mistake she’d made, because this had to be her fault – this can’t be real, I’m dreaming – then the shock realisation that this wasn’t a nightmare, it was really happening. The worst moment of all.

It had been so quick.

She had arrived a bit early at the place where they’d agreed to meet, and she’d been preparing to wait – he’d said he finished work at two – and a van had pulled up beside her. She hadn’t been worried. There were still people around, drunk tourists staggering back up the road towards their hotels. The side door of the van had slid open, and a man got out. He was talking to her, friendly, a smile that showed his teeth. His accent was so strong she couldn’t really tell what he was saying.

‘No, no,’ she’d said. ‘English. I don’t understand.’

But he’d kept yammering on, standing too close to her. She had begun to feel unnerved by it, and something had made her glance to the right, to the gate which led to the Aktira Studios, and in that split second when she’d seen someone she recognised, made eye contact, she had felt something like relief – and then the man had pushed her, a hard shove that sent her sprawling into the back of the van. He’d climbed in after her, slammed the door shut and the van started moving. The man had held her down, put his hand over her mouth, pressing her head into the metal floor so hard that she’d thought her skull was going to burst.

Seconds. The whole thing had taken seconds.

Now, hours since those terrifying first moments, she had reached a plateau brought on by the monotony of driving, the panic overridden by the pain in her arms and legs and the discomfort of being tied hand and foot and having to lie still on the floor of the van. They’d stopped once, very early on, before she’d had time to get over the shock or formulate any plan of escape; by that time the man in the back with her had already tied her up. He got out, leaving her alone, and the van door shut – and they were moving again.

The noise of the engine was unbearably loud; the van would bump and jolt as it went over potholes. Her head ached as a result, sometimes so badly it made her cry. The fear made her cry. Crying made her headache worse, and then it all became pointless, so she would stop for a while and try to sleep in snatches, because sleeping, at least, gave her a brief respite.

And she would dream of him, remember, and wake with tears on her cheeks, thinking, This wasn’t supposed to happen. Then the shock and the fear would kick in, and the whole cycle would begin again.