It’s a pleasure to introduce Phill Featherstone to the blog.  Phill is the author of ‘Paradise Girl’, published in both ebook and paperbook format in January 2017.


Thanks, Karen, for this opportunity to contribute a guest post to your excellent blog. I’ll start with a little about me.

I was born and brought up in West Yorkshire but when I was 18 I left the area and went to college in the south. I became a teacher and taught English, mainly to 6th formers. Along the way I’ve also been a taxi driver, an ice cream seller (I was Mr Whippy!), worked in retail and founded and run a small publishing company. I returned to the north ten years ago, and since then have spent a lot of my time writing. ’Paradise Girl’ is my third novel although it’s the first to be published. I’ve just completed another, ‘The God Jar’, which I hope will be out at the end of this year or early next.

I’m lucky that my home is surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Brontë country, and I look out from my writing desk onto moors which might have been traversed by Heathcliff, or by Catherine Earnshaw on her way to Thrushcross Grange. The stunning beauty of the landscape and its savage bleakness can’t fail to affect an artist or writer.


The idea for ‘Paradise Girl’ came to me one day in the summer of 2013. There was a power cut, and it turned out to be a long one. I worked on my laptop until the battery gave out, then I took a cold drink outside and sat on the terrace overlooking the valley. The day was hot and still, and I was slipping into a doze when I became aware that I could neither see nor hear any signs of life. There were no vehicles moving on the opposite hillside, no tractors in the fields, no sounds from the valley below. It was as if no-one else existed. I began to muse on this. Where might the people have gone, and why? Could they have been evacuated to escape some threat? Had they been beamed up by aliens? Wiped out by a plague? And just supposing I were to be left entirely alone, up on this hilltop farm on my own, what would I do to keep going? Could I survive? The idea for Paradise Girl was born.

The character of Kerryl Shaw was already in my head. She and her twin brother, Lander, were in a story about organ harvesting I’d been plotting. It wasn’t going well and I’d already decided to put it aside, but Kerryl seemed an ideal heroine for this new situation. I chose her rather than her brother, because I felt that a female view could be more perceptive. A bright, observant 17 year-old with her life before her, she would have plenty to say and plenty to reflect on in the dystopia she faced.

I felt that the book I was planning should have the immediacy of a first person narrator, but I also wanted readers to be intrigued by the question of Kerryl’s survival: does she manage to get through the apocalypse or not? If she were to be the storyteller that question would be answered from the start and some of the opportunity for suspense would be lost. I thought about this for a long time and then I had an idea; Kerryl would indeed be the narrator, but she would tell the story through her diary. As a bookish girl, in love with English, it’s natural she would write one. It would be a private conversation in which she would express her ideas, impressions, thoughts and innermost feelings, as well as chronicling the advance of the plague. The existence of the diary wouldn’t imply that Kerryl herself was still alive. She might be or she might not.

However, a problem remained: why would she continue with a diary once she realised that no one would be left to read it? Why go on with such a thing if she was pessimistic about her own survival? The answer was for her to imagine a reader, a good looking hunk of a boy called Adam. Adam appeared and Kerryl began to write for him, and as she did he became increasingly real to her. Much of the book deals with Kerryl’s mental state as Adam assumes flesh and her loneliness and isolation affect her.

The landscape in which these events take place is important, and I wanted the book to build towards a dramatic climax on the moors. Not far from my house is a rock formation called ‘The Bride Stones’. For many reasons, not the least being the evocative name, this seemed the ideal place for Kerryl and Adam to at last meet.


One final issue remained, and it was probably the most crucial of them all. You can see from my photo that I’m no longer in the first flush of youth! Could I, a male with my teenage years long behind me, write as if I were a teenage girl? I thought I could. At college I’d done a lot of drama and at one time considered a career on the stage, so I think I have an actor’s ability to put on a role. Also I taught teenagers for many years and I like them (on the whole!), and I’ve read a lot of YA fiction. Finally, I think that even in my mature years I’ve never properly grown up.

It’s not for me to say whether I managed to pull it off and capture the voice of a 17 year-old girl, but reviews suggest that for the most part I have. I hope readers will judge for themselves, and let me have their thoughts. I can be contacted through my website – – where for a limited period you can also order a copy of ‘Paradise Girl’ at a reduced price, carriage free.



A highly infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. Seventeen-year-old Kerryl Shaw and her family live on a remote farm and think they will be safe, but the plague advances. Despite deaths around them, the Shaws survive. However, this changes when a stranger arrives, and it soon becomes apparent he has brought the infection to their door. One by one the family succumbs, leaving Kerryl alone.

Kerryl is sure it’s only a matter of time before she, too, dies. She decides to record what she thinks will be her final days in a diary. She realises that it will never be read, so she imagines a reader and calls him Adam. As loneliness and isolation affect the balance of her mind, Adam ceases to be an imaginary character and becomes real to her.

Communications break down and services fail. Unexplained events build fear and menace: Kerryl hears her name called in the night; she’s attacked by stray animals; she’s molested when she visits the town; she sees a stranger outside her house, who vanishes when she tries to make contact; objects appear and disappear. The climax comes when she finds a text message on her phone. Who is texting her? How? She thinks it can only be Adam, because by now there is no one else left. Another text invites her to a rendezvous at the Bride Stones, a beauty spot popular with lovers, and she leaves for what she is sure will be a meeting with Adam…


About the author:

I was born and brought up in West Yorkshire, England, and trained as a teacher. I managed to survive teaching in London, Hampshire and Leicestershire and then spent five years as an education adviser. I live with my wife, Sally, in a farmhouse on the pennines in Brontë country.  In 1997 Sally and I started a publishing company specialising in books for adults to use with young children. Sally’s the EY expert – I did the business management. We must have done something right, because in 2007 we won the IPG Education Publisher of the Year award. In 2008 we sold the business to Bloomsbury Publishing. They continue to publish books of ideas for people working with young children that Sally and I write, although I now concentrate on fiction. My first novel is ‘Paradise Girl’ (actually it’s the 3rd I’ve written, although the first to be published). Despite the title, it’s neither chick-lit nor erotica, but tells the story of a 17 year-old girl who finds herself alone when everyone else has died from an incurable virus. It came out in paperback and eBook here and in the USA in January 2017.  I’m now working on another novel, called ‘The God Jar’. You can find out about this and my other writing and get free downloads of my short stories at


Author Links:  Website   |   Facebook   |    Twitter   |  Amazon UK   |  Goodreads


Published by Avon

ebook: 4 May 2017  |  paperback: 1 June 2017

464 pages   |  Genre: psychological thriller


One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky.
But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

Obsession is a dark, twisting thriller about how quickly our lives can fall apart when we act on our desires.

Perfect for fans of B A Paris and Paula Hawkins.


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Jenni

by Amanda Robson

1.    When she was a child she kept a pet rat called Raticulus in her bedroom. He was black and white. Every day when she came home from school she would let him out of his cage to play with him and stroke him. When he died she held a funeral service for him and buried him behind the gooseberry bush in the garden. When Raticulus had been buried with due respect, she went to the local pet shop and chose another rat companion, a pale brown creature this time who she named Raticulus the Second. Raticulous the Second misbehaved far more than his predecessor and frequently escaped from her bedroom. One morning her mother found him curled up asleep in her lingerie drawer. One evening her father found him asleep on his pillow. They thought he was mischievous because he was lonely so they bought another rat, and she had babies. Raticulous the Second and his family seemed to take over the house.

2.    In the sixth form Jenni went vegan for a while but developed vitamin B12 deficiency. She became exhausted, so tired she could hardly walk, heart racing, legs dragging. Her symptoms gradually became worse over a number of months until all she wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep. Her mum took her to the doctor who insisted she had a blood test. When the results came back she was encouraged to start eating milk and cheese or take vitamin B12 supplements. She opted to do both, and is now just vegetarian. Pity. For Jenni knows that if whole world turned vegan it would be better for sustainability, and sustainability is a major issue.

3.    She recently self-published a volume of religious poetry, entitled ‘For the love of Jesus.’ It contains poems of mixed styles, some Haiku, some sonnets written in iambic pentameter, some just not very rhythmic expressions of her thoughts and ideas. The cover is a photograph of a sunset. She has posted a video of herself on “YouTube” reading a few of her favorites. She has had over one hundred views. Rob has told her he things her video is delicious.

4.    Jenni really likes Caitlin Moran. Why? Because she is such a witty feminist. Her idea that women shouldn’t read books written by men until they are old enough to handle it, is brilliant. Well done, Caitlin Moran.

5.    Jenni takes the world situation very seriously. To keep herself informed she listens to the Today programme for as long as she can (every morning except Sunday.) She takes The Week and The Spectator, and reads every edition from cover to cover. Her dream job would be a preacher, invited to give Thought for the Day on Radio 4. A radio vicar. Broadcasting her religious beliefs to the biggest audience possible.


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At the time of this post, Obsession can be downloaded from Amazon UK for 99p


My Review:

As soon as I saw the blurb for this and took part in the cover reveal recently, I wanted to read this. A psychological thriller – yes please – definitely my kind of book and now after reading, I have to say it is quite different to many that I’ve encountered recently.

When Carly asks her GP husband Rob one question whilst on a family holiday, it sets off a chain of events that nobody could forsee. The lesson here is don’t ask a question that you don’t want to know the answer to! Each chapter is told by one of the four characters and whilst this sometimes repeats some of the narrative, hearing their version of events in their own voice does give another perspective and a makes it a more personal and, at times, voyeuristic read.

I can’t remember when I last read a book where I disliked the characters so much but then I feel that was the author’s intention. This is not a sugar coated story but more of a delve into the darker side of the human psyche. Carly, I detested from the outset. She had a nice life, children (who she didn’t seem to care for very much) and a loving husband but she still wasn’t happy, picking a fight whenever she could – my nickname for her was Carly the Cow. However, as I read on, I began to realise that none of the others were any great shakes either and actually I couldn’t really get behind any of them. Perhaps Rob, Carly’s husband, was the only one that I felt any remote sympathy for in the beginning but then he began to grate with his religious outpourings and double standards. I am not an atheist but I’m not particularly religious either and religion does feature heavily with a couple of the characters. Surprisingly so really, considering some of their thoughts and behaviour.

This is very much a slow burner of a story and focuses more on the characters than actions, however, the slow build up did add to the intensity of the story – you just knew that something bad was going to happen but you couldn’t look away. The short chapters made it a very addictive read; I may not have cared much for the characters but I was still desperate to know what happened to them.

There are several themes covered in this story including mental illness, depression and addiction.  Don’t be mistaken however that this will be a depressing read – these darker elements add to the gritty realism and the realisation that in fact the scenarios our characters face could happen in other families. The author has woven these strands very well into a dark and gripping plot with the power to shock. One thing I should mention is that there is quite a lot of sexual content in the story, so much so that when I first started reading, I thought it was heading towards being an erotic thriller – this didn’t bother me at all but if that isn’t your thing, just be warned.

Obsession is the author’s debut novel. The storytelling is accomplished and powerful and I’m looking forward to reading more by Amanda Robson.

My thanks to Avon for the paperback copy to review and for including me on the blog tour.


About the author:

After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital where she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning – and this book makes terrifying use of poison throughout…
Amanda attended the Faber novel writing course and writes full-time. Obsession is her debut novel.


Author Links:     Twitter   |  Facebook  | Amazon UK  | Goodreads


I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Behind the Lie by Amanda James and published by HQ Digital on 21 April 2017 in ebook. I do love a thriller and as soon as I saw the cover and book blurb for this one, I just had to pre-order it.  It’s now waiting on my Kindle and keeps calling to me…….!

For my turn on the tour, Amanda has kindly taken the time to answer some questions but first here is a little about the book.


Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?
Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the blog Amanda, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

Thank you, Karen. It is a huge pleasure to be here. Okay, well I write in various genres, but mainly suspense nowadays. My first was suspense, then I switched to time travel with a big dollop of romance. The big dollop was due to my then publisher who liked lots of romance. I always have some kind of relationship in my stories, but they aren’t normally the major thrust. When I get an idea for a story I go with it where possible. Genres are like pigeon holes and I don’t like being boxed in, but that’s the way things are done, unfortunately. Having said that, I have no problem switching from time travel to suspense etc as there is always some suspense/adventure in all my stories.

So what else can I tell you about me…Oh, I was a teacher for fifteen years before that and have done quite a few jobs over the years too. I live in Cornwall with my husband and wider family. Not in the same house. No, that would be a bit crowded…

What it is about the Cornish landscape that inspires you to use it as a setting for your books?

Cornwall is the best place in the world to live bar none. Its wonders are beyond description really, though I do try to put them into words in my books. There are the tiny villages cradled in the arms of green valleys, the raging ocean and seas crashing against the rugged coastline, the mouth watering pasties and scones tempting you from every baker’s and walks along the windswept beaches that lift your soul and anchor the heart.

Without giving away any spoilers, can you please tell us a little about your latest book, Behind the Lie? Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

I can give you a taster – A young woman loses one of her twins near to the end of her pregnancy, but is this terrible tragedy really down to ‘just one of those things’, or is there something more sinister behind her son’s death?

I have no idea where the inspiration came from. Often ideas just come to me, mostly when I‘m out walking on the beach. The day I had the idea for this book I was on the beach, which I now know as Holly’s beach, my main character. I looked up at a gorgeous house overlooking the ocean and imagined who lived in it and what their story was. The bare bones of Holly’s story appeared and I filled in the gaps over the next week or so. Perhaps it sounds a bit dramatic, but my characters often lead me. They call the shots and I normally oblige. I do sometimes kill them off if they get on my nerves though…

How did you plan/research your books? Do you plot in detail or just see where the story takes you?

Overall, I let the story take me. I do however have some key bullet points which act as a rough guide. Often I make a list of characters and sketch out how old they are, what they look like and what their relationship is to each other. If I didn’t, I would soon be lost!

What is the best writing advice that you have received? And what advice would you give to anyone trying to get their novel published? Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?

The advice – never give up. I know it’s what everyone says, but it is very true. If you let rejection and criticism get to you, then you’ll never get a publishing deal. It hurts when you keep getting slapped down, but you must rise above it and come back stronger. I wish I had held out for that elusive ‘top’ agent in the beginning. You know, the one that gets you a huge publishing deal with film rights and your face in all the magazines? But those deals are very far and few between….I am quite happy with my progress so far and always striving for the next step. And it isn’t for the fame and fortune, though fortune would be nice, because I could do good with it. It’s so I could get a wider readership. The best thing of all is when people tell you that they enjoyed your work. It never gets old 🙂

Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or dislike) the most – i.e. researching, writing, editing?

Sometimes research can be a bit tedious, depends what it is. But overall I enjoy all aspects of writing. Editing is a pain in the bum sometimes, especially when you disagree with the editor about something! In the end it is normally worked out though. A good editor can make all the difference.

We’ve been Facebook friends for a while but how do you feel about social media, do you find it helpful or a distraction?

Yes we have 🙂 I think it is a bit of a double edged sword. When it works well it’s brilliant – but I’m afraid it also works well for prevaricating too…

Do you have any favourite books or authors which may have inspired you? What type of book do you enjoy reading for pleasure, and what are you reading now?

Dean Koontz is my main inspiration I think, though I love lots of books and writers. He took the time to encourage me many years ago when I wrote to him about my writing. He answered two of my letters in his own handwriting. This man has sold over 400 million books – he’s a legend. I have an eclectic taste and right now am not reading, as I am too busy with blog posts 🙂

When you’re not working or writing, what do you do to relax?

I like reading, gardening, walking on the coast paths and playing on the beach with my family.

What’s next for your writing career? Are you working on a book at the moment?

I’d like to get a paperback out of Behind the Lie, as I have been used to them so far. And I am working on another suspense set in Cornwall.

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today, Karen. It was great fun!

Thanks so much Amanda, I’m very much looking forward to reading Behind the Lie and for anyone who would like to download here’s the Amazon UK link.


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About the author:

Author bio – Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has five novels currently published. Her time travelling debut – A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 and has met with great success.  Amanda lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the beautiful coastline near her home. Three of her novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and Behind the Lie – April 2017 pub – HQUK ( HarperCollins)

Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.


Author links:  Website   |    Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |    Goodreads




Published by Bookouture

ebook: 19 April 2017

320 pages


Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera?

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

A dark, compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Louise Jensen.


The accidental discovery of a videotape forms the basis of this story and, as befitting the title, there are plenty of lies and so much deceit in this debut thriller by Jess Ryder.

Meredith Banks hasn’t seen her mother Rebecca for many years, having been bought up by her father. Her father makes it clear that he doesn’t want to discuss her mother but after watching the video which specifically refers to two people, Cara Travers being one of them, Meredith is both shocked and intrigued and wants to find out more, especially if it will give any clues as to what happened to her mother. She shows the video to her ex-partner Eliot, a policeman, who then finds himself involved in a cold case investigation reviewing a 30 year old murder. Against advice, Meredith herself starts digging for information however the old saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ could come back to haunt her as revelations slowly come to light as to what really happened over 30 years earlier.

The story is told by three voices – Meredith, Jay and Cara (in a mixture of first and third person), flipping between 1984 and the present time. Although the historic part of the novel is essential to the plot as it slowly reveals the lead up to Cara’s death, I did think that this had a slower pace and have to admit that I found the present day investigations more intriguing than Cara’s story. As a peripheral character, I didn’t find Cara that interesting and I found myself wanting to hurry back to Meredith’s narrative; I was more interested in finding out what had happened to Rebecca and how she fitted into the story.

This was an enjoyable thriller, which I read fairly quickly as it is one of those addictive books that you want to keep going back to.  There were twists that I didn’t anticipate leading to a fast paced and dramatic conclusion. I thought that I had guessed part of the ‘whodunit’ early on but I wasn’t completely right and the conclusion, when it came, made me realise that I should have been paying more attention – that’ll teach me! Jess Ryder writes very well with both the plot and the characters being strong enough to move the story along for me. With its underlying theme of obsession and hatred clearly coming through the pages, this is definitely one to be considered for your reading pile.  At the time of writing this post, Lie to Me can be downloaded from Amazon UK for just 99p

My thanks to Kim Nash for including me on the blog tour and to the publisher for the Netgalley ARC.



About the author:

Jess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer. After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime. Writing, that is. So she’s very excited about the publication of her debut thriller Lie to Me. Her other big love is making pots.

Author website   |   Twitter   |   Amazon UK   |   |   Goodreads




Self published

Available in ebook and paper format – 31 January 2017

240 pages


My thanks to Emma Mitchell for including me in the blog tour and for K L Loveley for providing the guest post.  At the end of the post, there is a Rafflecopter entry box with details of how to enter to win a goodie bag.  Sorry but the giveaway is open to UK entrants only.


Publication Day

by K L Loveley


So, your book has been published!

Woo hoo!!

What do you do the night before?

On the eve of the publication date of my debut novel ‘Alice’, I was working the late clinic in the GP Surgery where I am a Practice Nurse. It had been a very long day, so upon arriving home, I spent a cosy, relaxing evening with my husband. I also kept checking in with my Marketing Manager, who was hard at work promoting me across social media. During the evening, I received lots of well wishes from family and friends.

The morning?

As I was due back at work again, I woke at 7 a.m. and quietly contemplated the significant day, whilst drinking a cup of English breakfast tea and gazing out at the winter’s morning through my kitchen window.

My daughter rang me, and wished me well. I quickly checked my social media accounts and read some of the well wishes that I had received.

Who were you with?

In the morning, I was alone as my retired husband had yet to stir from his deep slumber. However, upon arriving at work, I was surrounded by lots of my enthusiastic and supportive work colleagues in the GP surgery, all of whom congratulated me.

Where did you go?

I was at work all day again, and had a quiet evening at home celebrating with my husband. We ate a delicious home cooked meal, and enjoyed a glass of champagne to raise our glasses to the launch of my new career. During the evening, many of my friends and family rang and congratulated me. It felt wonderful, to have the support of my family and friends.

My Marketing Manager organised an official ‘Book Launch Celebration’ for the 25th February.

What did you spend the day doing?

During the day, I was working as a Practice Nurse, so was hard at work looking after my patients. I was conducting consultations and running chronic disease management clinics.

Is publication day one the same as publication day two? And so on?

This was my debut novel, and thus my first experience of having a publication day. I look forward to experiencing it again in the future when I release my next novel.

Do you have any rituals?

I do not follow any specific rituals, I see myself as quite a spontaneous person and never have anything set in stone.


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Alice is near breaking point. Floods have left her beautiful dream home a damaged mess, her step children’s lack of respect is giving her migraines and, worst of all, her husband is giving her no support to lean on. Her life is slowly spiralling out of control.
When Alice’s daughter, Anne Marie, repeatedly falls victim to aggressive vandals, Alice finally can take no more. She decides to take control of the mess that has become her life, and finally frees herself from the chaos that has been bringing her down.
Freedom, however, isn’t as sweet as Alice first thought it might be. She finds herself yearning for something she can’t quite put her finger on. In her quest to find it, Alice finds herself turning to drink…



K.L Loveley is a contemporary fiction author from Nottinghamshire, who writes gritty, realistic novels which tackle medical and social issues.
The author has enjoyed a successful 47-year nursing career with the NHS, during which she acquired vast skills. She has transferred her medical knowledge, and incorporated her excellent human observation skills into writing interesting stories about people affected by social and medical issues.
Her debut novel, ‘Alice’ tackles alcoholism head-on, and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiralling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.


Author website    |   Twitter    |   Facebook   |   Goodreads    |   Amazon UK   |   Amazon US




Click on the link to enter the giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky person will win the following #GoodieBag!!
• Signed copy of Alice
• ‘Mindfulness for the frazzled’ by Ruby Wax
• Mindfulness coloring book
• Staedtler Colouring Pencils, (Johanna Basford Edition)
• Pukka Relax tea
• K.L Loveley mindfulness mug