The Curse of Lakeham Abbey

Author Sally Quilford is an awesome storyteller with the knack of keeping readers glued to the page long after they should have put down their book and started making the dinner. She’s a favourite author of mine. Reading Sally Quilford is one of my guilty pleasures, like drinking red wine and eating chocolate. Given the choice between an evening of television and an evening reading one of her books, and the book will win every time. Her new release, The Curse of Lakeham Abbey, looks bewitching and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Today, Sally is sharing her thoughts regarding the setting of her new novel. I’m honoured to welcome her to MBB. Take it away, Sally!

 

The Place’s Fault

And setting in The Curse of Lakeham Abbey

 

One of my favourite poems is The Place’s Fault by Philip Hobsbaum. It is about a child, possibly a refugee, who is teased mercilessly by children from the town to which he has moved. By the end of this tense poem, in which the victim even blames himself for looking ‘odd’, he understands that the tormenters are the product of the place in which they live.

The poem has always made me think about setting and how it can affect people. Anyone who has lived in social housing and tried to further their education will tell you that it’s very difficult when others feel threatened by your attempts to better yourself. As a legal advisor, I had a client – a recovering drug addict – who told me that he had stopped going to the drop-in centre because not only did pushers hang around outside, but he could not get away from the people who weren’t trying as hard to recover as he was. Places influence us, whether they’re big towns, medium sized estates or a couple of offices in the town centre that had been given over to drug rehabilitation.

Lakeham Abbey, which has now appeared in three of my novels, is one such place. In its first appearance, in The Dark Marshes, it was a fairly generic Gothic pile, with secret rooms and a ‘ghost’. My heroine, Hetty, had gone there as a young bride and it almost drove her mad. In its second outing in The Secret of Lakeham Abbey, the secret rooms had become Blytonesque, forbidden rooms and priest holes, perfect for a young sleuth, Percy Sullivan and his friend to explore in a ‘Golden Age’ type murder mystery. By the time I wrote The Curse of Lakeham Abbey, I was inspired by the domestic noir of modern day, and saw the Abbey as a prison, or gilded cage, full of affluent people who each wear a cloak of happiness. One by one those cloaks fall off, revealing an undertone of darkness that can only lead to murders. Percy has grown up and the scales have fallen from his eyes, making it harder for him to be the hero he would like to be, or to see the heroic in others.

One of the characters says the Abbey is cursed (hence the title), and I wanted to explore how much this setting affected every character, as it starts to leak secrets that people would rather keep quiet. The Abbey is a prison to them, because their secrets keep them there, for whatever reason. But is it really to blame for the things they do? Can we blame our setting for the mistakes we make or the dreams we fail to follow? I’ll let readers decide that and I hope they enjoy thinking about it as they read the novel.

***

 

The Curse of Lakeham Abbey – Blurb

Everyone knows that Lakeham Abbey is cursed. All the stories say so. Throughout the years, there have been mad women, murders, and a general feeling of misery that drives people away. When another murder takes place there, it only adds to the legends. 

Some seventy years after his first visit to Lakeham Abbey, Percy Sullivan returns. He has lost none of his truculence nor his thirst for justice. The Abbey has been turned into luxury apartments, of which down-on-his-luck Percy is one of the first new residents. 

When Julia Marsh is murdered and her husband, fading rock star, Jake, is imprisoned, Percy is determined to find the killer and free the grandson of his greatest friends. Tensions rise as secrets that threaten to destroy everyone are uncovered. In a place where no one is entirely innocent, how will he ever find the guilty?

***

 

The Curse of Lakeham Abbey is released on 15th August 2017 and is available to buy from Amazon.co.ukhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1973988623 (paperback) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_21?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492456&sr=1-21 (Kindle)

And Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford/dp/1973988623/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492330&sr=1-3&keywords=Sally+Quilford (paperback) https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501492421&sr=1-2 (Kindle)

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/Curse-Lakeham-Abbey-Sally-Quilford-ebook/dp/B0748MN67L/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502867137&sr=8-1&keywords=the+curse+of+lakeham+abbey+by+sally+quilford

DISCOVERING ME by Divyanjali Verma – A Young Indian Author

 

Ddivyanjali

Divyanjali Verma is a young writer from Lucknow in north India. She recently published her novel DISCOVERING ME. She is currently studying clinical psychology in Amity University in NOIDA, north India. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on her book, which by all accounts, is an absorbing read.

 

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

Inspiration… I am not too sure whether it could be labelled as such, but I did have motivation to write. This started off as an article for the school magazine, but was deemed to be too long to be published so i shelved it. Then one of my friends requested me to continue and well, i was not doing too good academically that year, so writing was a way to prove to myself that i wasn’t worthless. So in a way, the motivation was to keep myself from slipping into depression.

 

Why do you like writing?

I like to write because it acts as an outlet for thoughts that i cannot express out loud. Also, it is a great way to discover like-minded people. I started reading voraciously at the age of 10, moving on to writing was an easy transition. Devouring the words of L.M.Alcott, J.K.Rowling, Christopher Paolini, Dan Brown, and Agatha Christie, among a lot others, I began to wonder what my own words would turn out to be like on paper. Once I started, there was no end. Writing is an escape, solace, a relief from reality. Since I generally use a penname while posting write-ups on social media, it also helps me to hide as I write in metaphors about all that I feel and want.

 

How long did it take you to write this book? 

It took me a year to complete the book and another to finish editing it to my best ability. Examinations and joining college kept me from working on it as much as I wanted to and so it took me two years to be done with it.

 

What was the hardest part of your writing process?

Hardest part of the writing process for me was to pen down the conversations. I am not one to talk much out loud. I prefer written to vocal, and so coming up with the words that the characters said to each other was difficult. Aside from that, i was bleeding ink and it was quite easy. However, since I am in a better place currently, I’m having difficulty slipping into that mode again so in a way, the hardest part has been to start with the sequel.

 

What was the shortest?

What took the least amount of time were the parts with King Rusoe and Lady Charlise. I had the most fun writing them and had to tone down some of the scenes because my friends felt they would be too mcuh for a young audience (laughs). Considering the society I live in, it is completely okay for there to be violent scenes whereasmy morals might have been questioned if I had added some romantic parts in the manuscript. Therefore I let my imagination fly wherever it wanted when it came to those chapters and one cana very well say that they wrote themselves.

 

Intempus – Discovering Me

 

 

intempus2

“Sometimes all it takes to change everything you thought true is a single sentence by a single person.” And sometimes it takes three.
All Danielle Hayes ever wanted was a normal, boring life, full of monotonous repetitions, but three statements destroyed all chances of her wish ever coming true-
1) “Don’t call me ‘Daddy’, I’m not your father.”
2) “I am Daniel Hayes, your brother.”
3) “I’m a Lamia, dear, a witch. Dan’s one too, as are you!”
Read on as the saga commences and Danielle begins the journey to find her roots and discover who she really is while coming to terms with magic, family and above all, the feeling of home in the midst of increased revelations of mysteries which supposedly have no explanations.

 

Get this book here: Amazon India  (ebook/ book)  Amazon US   Amazon UK  Kobo

 

With Opened Eyes

Thought you’d fooled me, didn’t you?

Well, maybe for a while.

Your kind words helped a lot

When I needed a reason to smile.

But now, alas, I understand

You played a game with me

For you, I was a scapegoat

And now, at last, I’m free.

Thought you’d fooled me, didn’t you?

But you know, that couldn’t last.

Virtual charm is deceiving

I’m remembering the past.

Giving me tedious work to do

For a fraction of the rate,

I was your ‘cheap option’,

Well, that’s no more my fate.

Gone from my existence

I miss you not at all

Why needs a friend who turns on you

When on their help you call?

The laborer deserves his pay

So the good Book proclaims,

You think it fine to deny someone

Their legitimate fee? Oh, shame!

That bunch of silly stories

Of stately. Regency halls

Can carry on with the lunacy

Of enceinte ladies dancing in balls

Stiff upper lips proclaiming love

When never was it done

Not to humiliate themselves

They’ll pay right coin to get work done

Thought you’d fooled me, didn’t you?

Truth came out in the end

My owe will come back seven times

As karma is my friend.

 

Forever Mine by Joanne Dannon – New Release, Author Interview and Giveaway.

Author Joanne Dannon

Here at mariawriter, I love introducing new authors and their books. Today, I welcome author Joanne Dannon. She’s an Australian romance novelist who loves to carry her readers off to another world, away from the everyday pressures, to indulge in an emotionally rich read with a sigh-worthy happy ending.  Well, I wouldn’t say no to that! When she isn’t telling stories, she’s  a happily married mum (to two heroes-in-training!), who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website, chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.



Find her on the Web:

Facebook      Website      Instagram      Goodreads
 


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Sign up to author Joanne Dannon’s Reader Newsletter and get a FREE e-copy of her novel Bidding on Love! 

 

 
 

Author Interview

 
Do you Google yourself?
No (laughs).
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Hmmmm, this is a hard one. I could give up chocolate or I could work on my craft and knowledge to make me a better writer. I’ll stick with chocolate, it goes perfectly with coffee and green tea!
What are your favorite literary journals?
I love the monthly journals from Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia, because of all the interesting information they provide on authors and the industry.
 
What is your favorite childhood book?
Any of the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It depends. Usually between 1-2 months. However, I always spend around 2 weeks developing my characters, the goal/motivation/conflict and set-up, irrespective of the book’s length.

And now, the book:

Forever Mine by Joanne Dannon

Forever Mine by Joanne Dannon

It’s never a good idea to fall for your best friend’s brother… or so they say.

Hannah Greene is fed up. A romantic at heart, she’s had a major crush on her best friend’s brother for years but he’s never noticed her. To shape a life for herself away from Zac, she must move on.
Zac Warne, smooth-talking sales guy who takes responsibility to a whole new level, loves the thrill of the chase but is not interested in settling down, ever. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in love, it’s just not for him.
But circumstances have Hannah and Zac spending one weekend together and a night of fun leads to more than just emotional consequences for them.
Compelled to right wrongs and beholden to fix problems, Zac has to convince Hannah his about-turn about wanting a relationship with her is not just one of convenience. Can Hannah now trust this smooth-talking playboy who has a reputation for breaking hearts, including her own?
 
(Forever Mine is the 4th book in the Alex Jackson series and can be read as a standalone book)
 
Get this book here:  Amazon
 
 

Okay, readers, you know what you have to do :). You’ve checked out the book, Forever Mine by Joanne Dannon, read up on the author and now you’re going to follow her on social media and sign up for her newsletter, right? Maybe you’ll even consider buying the book.  But before you go, just think. Are there any burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask a romance author? Or do you have any questions about the book? Here’s your chance to get some your answers, straight from the author herself. Please leave your questions in the comments and the author will come and answer them as soon as she can.

 

Finding The Angel – New Indian Writing in English

Finding The Angel by Rubina Ramesh:  

Angels are special. That’s why I’m happy to bring to your attention the lovely new romance novel from Indian author and blogger, Rubina Ramesh. ‘Finding The Angel’ will bring you from the glorious palaces of princely Rajasthan to the modern day commercial hub of Mumbai and back again! This book means a lot to me, as I was privileged to edit it in the early stages of its origin and I’m ecstatic to see the beautiful cover and I’m just marvelling at how this book has evolved from a raw draft into a fully-fledged romance novel which will give you hours of enjoyment. It’s full of engaging characters and lip-biting situations. For lovers of escapist romantic fiction and lovers of India, this read is highly recommended. I’m privileged to call the author, Rubina Ramesh, a friend and I think the title of the book is more than perfect, because Rubina herself is something like an angel. Aryan and Shefali’s romance will keep you enthralled. So do look out for this one.

Finding The Angel by Rubina Ramesh – Book Description


All She wanted was love…

Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artefacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…


All He wanted was to trust…


Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…


All They need is to find The Angel


Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.


Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?


Grab your copy @



Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

You can stalk her @

            


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The Diamond Heist by Sai Daksh – New Indian Writing in English

Sai Daksh is a writer who has started early. Writing for kids and getting into their mindset certainly isn’t a problem for this talented young writer, so this book will certainly be a great choice for the younger readers in your life. It’s an exciting story with a great hook. Grab your copy today!





About the story……..

Life was all fun and play, with a few small adventures and mishaps, for Daksh, Arsh, Garv, Om, Swarit, Aditi and Simran until… 
They are recruited by the Indian Detective Agency! 
They are summoned to the headquarters and given an exciting mission – to recover a lost diamond! 
With all the plans and props in place, they set forth to hunt down the diamond. By chance, they stumble upon a conspiracy that is connected to the theft. Do they succeed in foiling the conspiracy? What happened to the lost diamond?


Grab your copy @



About the author
Sai Daksh Shetty, at the age of eleven, completed the book 7 Agents: The Diamond Heist. At the age of six, he had started writing short stories. At the age of eight, he used to draw comic strips and share it with his friends. Although this is his first book, he plans to write a whole series on the 7 Agents. Since early childhood, he has had a very creative mind and uses his imagination in all his activities. He is very interested in all forms of creative arts. He is very open-minded. The main characters of the book have been inspired by his real life friends. Om, Garv, Arsh and Swarit are his best friends and are in the book, while Aditi and Simran are fictional.     
                          
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The Princess of a Whorehouse by Mayank Sharma – New Indian Writing in English

Today, mariawriter joins the blog tour of Indian author Mayank Sharma’s new novel The Princess of a Whorehouse. This powerful novel has a beautiful cover, as well as a title which will surely raise more than a few eyebrows and hopefully lots of curiosity. Let’s take a closer look…..






You can find author Mayank Sharma @
     

                  

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Meet author Mayank Sharma

Mayank Sharma is a computer engineering graduate with a post-graduate degree in business management. He works with a leading technology multinational company in Delhi. He has authored a number of articles and whitepapers on software technology and processes. In April 2014, an article of his was featured in Better Software magazine, published in Florida, USA. Writing become a passion of his when he observed how it can trigger the forces of change. He is gradually transforming from a “left-brained” writer to a “right-brained” writer. Besides writing, he has enjoyed sketching, painting, and making sculptures since childhood.

India is the fifth-largest economy in the world with the Gross Domestic Product growth at 7.1 percent. Contrarily, India ranks 118 out of 157 countries in the happiness index. The fact directed Mayank’s attention towards social problems of various types. Having travelled across continents and associated with people of diverse beliefs and values, he has become more curious about the social riddles curtailing liberties across societies. He penned his debut novel, The Princess of a Whorehouse, when he came across some real life incidents which touched his soul.


I asked author Mayank Sharma to share what inspired him to write this story. Here is his reply…..

For several days, I pondered the question that my thirteen-year-old daughter asked me about liberty and freedom to make life choices. It was the Midsummer festival season in northern Finland, when my wife and kids accompanied me for a leisure trip during my routine business visit to my office in Jyväskylä.During the summer months, the sun remains visible for the entire night, especially around the areas near to Arctic Circle. It was an amazing natural phenomena for my kids to watch as they visited that place for the first time.

It is a tradition for Finnish people to enjoy bonfires and bathe in saunas during the Midsummer celebrations. In a white night, my daughter and I strolled around a gorgeous lake, where children, women, and couples enjoyed the festivity.On our way back after midnight, we saw a few young girls, who were chirpily riding bicycles on cycling tracks.It was about one o’ clock, when we slowly walked on the pedestrian lane as the sun began to rise soon after it, somewhat hid behind the horizon for a few minutes. My daughter looked at my face innocently and murmured that perhaps these girls were not afraid to wander alone without restraint as there was no darkness at night.She wondered if this was the reason why a country like Finland was ranked fifth in the happiness index, whilst India, the fifth largest economy, was 118th in the rank. Her observation caught me by surprise. For quite some time, I was baffled by cross-cultural riddles. I did not want my daughter to get a deceptive notion that girls should grow up as men’s shadows in our society. It took me a while to explain her the fact that it is not the darkness of night, but it is the darkness of mind that steals girls’ fundamental rights in our society back home.

One’s heart sinks on hearing the heinous incidents of crimes against women occurring across our nation, almost every day and every hour. The wrongdoing of blaming women when they become victims of grim circumstances exists primarily due to gender inequality.From the total population of more than one billion, the millions of naïve women and girls, like the protagonists in my story, are agonized due to a million-year-old social inequality that still persists in today’s capitalistic world.

In June 2016, I started penning down this novella, based on a coming-of-age genre, as soon as I boarded the Finnair flight on my way from Helsinki to New Delhi.




And now, the book!


Aparajita is a tenacious go-getter. Her name means unconquerable in Sanskrit, and she lives up to its meaning. 


Just like any other ambitious girl, she desires to fulfil her dreams and become an independent individual. Far and wide, the shadow of her melancholy past chases her passage. The fact that her widowed mother is a former sex worker irks the community. Nonetheless, she is not ashamed to reveal her mother’s past. 

Will she lose hope, or will she defy an enigma that is centuries-old? Will she ever conquer the hearts of a prestige-obsessed community? 

See the world through Aparajita’s prism in a tale stirred by some real 


Grab your copy @


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New Release: Throwing The Light by KA Servian

MBB welcomes the exciting new author KA Servian to the blog today. After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewellery labels, this author, who is otherwise known as Kathy, decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction. Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. She now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.

K A Servian on the web:
Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  
Join K A Servian’s Newsletterand get a free copy of: Missing the Obvious.


Keeping the pages turning……….

To create and maintain suspense and tension in a story, Try taking the complete plot outline, breaking it into pieces which hold the main plot points and then drip feeding those pieces to the reader. It’s vital to never give away too much too soon. Drop hints and throw in the odd red herring to keep them guessing, that’s what makes the reader keep turning pages.

I’ve done a lot of beta reading and I find that one of the most common mistakes rooky writers make is to ‘mind dump’. They don’t trust the reader’s ability to fill in the gaps for themselves. I used to do it too and forcing myself not to is an ongoing battle.

Try and think of your writing as a sketch. A skilled artist can render a beautiful image using only a few well-placed lines. They allow the viewer to fill in the gaps in the image with their mind. It’s the same with writing, use a light touch, only say what you need to and don’t weigh the story down with too much information. If the reader must wade through pages of backstory, character self-analysis and soap-boxing the suspense and tension will be lost. 


Throwing Light

Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother’s death and handle the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years. Grace’s investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results. 


Buy on:

Amazon Kindle


Amazon Paperback 

Amazon India

Amazon UK

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks – Upcoming Release: Cover Reveal for DIgital Anthology

For release on 21st April.
I was reading Annalisa Crawford’s blog a few days back, when I came across information about an interesting new digital anthology due for release on the 21st April. The book is in aid of Clusterbusters, an organisation dedicated to finding out all there is to know the horrible phenomenon of cluster headaches, which makes life miserable for those who happen to suffer from it.


Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

A digital anthology with a wide range of authors, Including Annlisa Crawford and many ohters, each with his or her own unique style. Each story is based on the title of a particular ‘nineties” song. I have to say that the colour of the cover is so beautiful that I am instantly attracted. But I’m sure the stories are great too.

I was originally meant to be involved in a simultaneous posting of cover reveals, but life really got in the way, so here I am, promoting this digital anthology with my blog post.  

To add this book to your Goodreads list, go here. And the eBook will be available on Amazon on or after the release date of 21st April.

Wishing this digital anthology every success!                               



New Release Spotlight: Indian Writing in English – Finding Juliet by Toffee

Finding Juliet by Toffee

Can a Geek Ever Find Love?

Arjun is an incredibly nice guy who believes in true love and is waiting for it with open arms. He falls in love, not once or twice, but thrice. And every single time, happiness – like the girls he fell for – comes very close to him before pushing him away. His only pillar of strength in all his moments of grief and dejection is his childhood friend Anjali. Dejected by the games played by girls and fate, he leaves Hyderabad for Bangalore and ends up meeting Krish, an irresistible flirt. 
Krish understands Arjun’s predicament, pacifies him with his words and enlightens him about the most complicated species ever created by God – Women. And then, Arjun’s life changes forever. Will Arjun find the one he has been waiting for, or will he end up becoming a flirt? Will he ever taste lasting happiness? Join Arjun as he tries to figure out women and discovers the meaning of love, lust and life… all in his journey of Finding Juliet.




Meet the Author

Toffee is a simple guy who loves the complications of life. He used to write code by the day and books by the night earlier. But currently, he is busy writing assignments and chasing deadlines in his Master’s in Business Analytics from the University of South Florida. Toffee loves narrating interesting stories with subtle insights. Through books, he wants to share beautiful stories, reach out to people and touch their hearts. Finding Juliet is his second book, written specially for India’s Generation-Y.

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