The CWA Anthology: Mystery Tour

Pretty much the first thing I did when I got my first book deal was to send off a copy of my contract to The CWA, along with my application to join. In 2014, I was shortlisted for the very first Margery Allingham short story competition (and that story has since gone on to be published in esteemed US journal Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine). So you can imagine how delighted I was to find out I’d be having a short story included in the latest CWA anthology! It’s called Mystery Tour, and it features stories that are linked in some way by travel. It includes stories by an incredible selection of crime, thriller and mystery writers . . . and me!

My story is called A Slight Change of Plan. It’s about two old friends who meet up to go hiking, and of course, it doesn’t end well. I wrote the first version of this story a few years ago, when my husband had gone away for the weekend to go hiking with his friend. I started thinking about all the things that could happen, and a dastardly plot started to unfurl in my mind. The two characters popped into my head straight away – a bolshy, vain pain in the arse, and his long-suffering slightly geeky old friend (not based on anyone I know!) But things are never what they seem, are they? When I saw the brief for this year’s anthology, I knew this was the right story. I rejigged it a bit until I was happy with it, and then sent it off. When I heard back from the editor Martin Edwards and the publisher Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) that it had made the cut, I was so excited! The books look absolutely gorgeous (paperback and limited edition hardback – plus ebook, of course) and all of the stories in there are top notch. Perfect for a Christmas gift for yourself, maybe – there might be some authors in there you haven’t read before . . .

. . . and in case you were wondering – my husband and his friend did make it back safely from that hike 🙂

You can buy the book HERE.

Oh, and I went in to sign a huge pile of hardback copies at Goldsboro Books last week (another author dream come true!)

My latest crime novel The Deaths of December comes out on 16th November.

You can pre-order it HERE.

CrimeThrillerGirl and Orenda Books – A Killer Combination

groupYou see this pic that has been madly doctored to leave the lady in the blue dress with bright yellow hair? Well that lady is Steph Broadribb, aka CrimeThrillerGirl – crime blogger extraordinaire… and now, soon to be published author.

I am so delighted that her first novel ‘Deep Down Dead’, set in the world of a US bounty hunter – which, may I add, is something that Steph has trained as herself – is to be published by the unstoppable Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books.

This news is brilliant for two reasons: Steph and Karen.

Orenda is a small publishing company, with huge talent. Karen handpicks the best, from stunning translations, to literary thrillers and everything in between. She’s already published some incredible stuff, and this year (and next year!) sees her doing more of the same… As for Steph, she’s been a huge champion of crime writers and crime writing for a very long time, via her brilliant blog: CrimeThrillerGirl. I’m sure that not everyone knew she was a talented writer in her own right, but now you do… So keep an eye on these two ladies, because they are doing BIG things.

Here’s the official bit…

Orenda Books signs Crime Thriller Girl’s Debut Thriller

Karen Sullivan, publisher of Orenda Books, is delighted to announce the acquisition of World rights for Steph Broadribb’s Deep Down Dead, a stunning action thriller set in the USA.

Karen says, ‘I’ve worked with Steph professionally through her high-profile blog, and was delighted when she sent me her debut novel for assessment. It took me no more than about twenty seconds to decide that this was absolutely perfect for the Orenda list. Not only is it a well-written, tense, action-packed thriller, but the characterisation is sublime and there is an extraordinary, highly charged love story at its heart. Set in the USA, the unforgettable key protagonist (and single mother) is a ‘bail runner’ (aka bounty hunter) and in a plot that twists, turns and then does it all over again, she faces a series of events that threaten her life, and that of her daughter. I was completely mesmerised by the eloquent prose, the emotional depths of the characters, the authenticity of the setting and the dialogue, and, of course, an extraordinary, riveting plot. In a nutshell, this has “bestseller” written all over it, and I could not be happier to welcome Steph to the team.’

Steph says, ‘I’m thrilled to be publishing my debut novel with Orenda Books and to be working with people as dynamic, inspiring and devoted to books and publishing as Karen and her team. It really is a dream come true.’

Deep Down Dead will be published by Orenda Books in early 2017. For further details, contact

Win a copy of NIGHTBLIND by Ragnar Jonasson

After the success of my recent goodreads giveaway of Black Wood, I now have a brand spanking new pre-release paperback copy of NIGHTBLIND to send out to one lucky reader… and… *drum roll* there will also be a MYSTERY CHRISTMAS GIFT 🙂

This is the second book in the Dark Iceland Series, written by Ragnar Jonasson and translated by Quentin Bates. I recently attended the fantastic launch at the Icelandic Embassy in London, and the lovely Karen from Orenda Books has provided this copy for me to give to you! The book went straight to number one on its release in Iceland, and the previous book in the series, SNOWBLIND, reached number one in the UK and has received rave reviews.

NIGHTBLIND is currently Goldsboro’s Book of the Month… and you can get one for free!

More info at Crime Fiction Lover and you can also check out loads of other great books published by Orenda Books HERE.

Entry is free and very simple – just click on the link below! All entries received by midnight (GMT) on SUNDAY 13TH DECEMBER will be eligible (note: if you have previously signed up to my mailing list, you will be automatically added to the draw. It won’t let you sign up twice, so if you’ve done this and forgotten, it will tell you! Also, I am happy to post worldwide, but you might not get it before Christmas if you’re not based in the UK. I will draw the winner using a fancy random number thingy and contact them via email on Monday 14th December for postal details.)

Good luck!

No Typical Day – by Paul E. Hardisty #TheAbruptPhysicsofDying

Peter James has described this sparkling debut from Paul E. Hardisty as “A stormer of a thriller – vividly written, utterly topical, totally gripping.” So what’s it about?

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead…

And now, as part of the fantastic blog tour arranged by my favourite new publisher, Orenda Books, here is an exclusive post from Paul, talking about life, and writing, and how there is no typical day

No Typical Day

I’ve been writing my whole life. When I was a kid I used to borrow my dad’s typewriter and peg out stories. The Adventures of Paul and Tim was my first story. I think I was five. As a teenager I filled notebooks with adolescent ramblings. There was a point in my early twenties when I realised that I wanted to be a writer. I’d just read A Moveable Feast, and decided that I, too, wanted to take part in the quest for the perfect sentence. Except that I quickly realised that I had nothing to write about. I hadn’t lived. So I decided to get out there and have something to write about.

Paul Hardisty

I started caring about things, and doing things I cared about. I studied, learned about the planet and how it worked. Built a career that would take me outside, to faraway places, helping people. And as I went, I wrote. The stacks of notebooks grew, page ends curing in the sun. Much of that space was filled with exhortations to myself never to let go of the dream. I met the woman I eventually realised was created, somehow – cosmic mystery – for me (whether I have come even close to fulfilling that same function for her, I continue to wonder). We travelled the world together as I built a business, had two sons together. I read. And read. I had to write for my work, too: reports, proposals, conference papers, eventually peer-reviewed journal papers, and then, years later, my first technical book. It was arcane, and highly specialised, but it was a book, with my name on the front and a cover and everything. I was getting there, the long way.

For me, there has never been a typical day. I’ve learned to write just about anywhere, on anything. Much of the foundation work I do is longhand, usually outside somewhere, on the side of a mountain path, sheltering under a tree as a squall comes through, scattered drops dappling the page of my notebook, on a train platform somewhere cold. I always keep a notebook and a pencil next to where I dream (I don’t so much sleep as dream). There is one sequence in The Abrupt Physics of Dying – just published by Orenda Books – that came almost straight and entire from a scrawled download of a dream in my tent down in Margaret River one night. Jolted from one reality to another by a roo thudding along in the bush close by. I flipped on my head torch and scribbled it down as fast as I could.   These things are like liquid, pouring between your fingers, hard to hold.

Through the years I have learned that my most creative and productive writing time is morning. I still work full-time, at a job I think is important for the world (environmental research). So whenever I can, I sequester a morning (eight ‘till noon), get up fresh from dreaming and go and sit outside somewhere (our back yard in Perth), put on my headphones, crank up the music, and write. These days, that’s one maybe two days a week. Not nearly enough. Writing hurts. But it hurts most when you can’t do it.

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Find out more about Paul here and follow the rest of the tour below 🙂