Congratulations to Astrid Arditi!

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Congratulations to Astrid Arditi on the launch today of her debut novel – A Cunning Plan – a romance with mystery and excitement by the bucketful! Here’s she shares an excerpt and the blurb with us and you can find all the links to the book below! It looks like a great read!

EXCERPT

The reality of the situation was slowly creeping up on me. A stranger was inside my car. I inched toward the door handle, knowing my best solution would be to escape. My only knowledge of martial arts came from watching The Karate Kid. I harbored a strong suspicion it wouldn’t help much. I would probably hurt myself if I tried to pull off a crane move. Shoving all movie references away from my overwrought brain, I wondered what was wrong with me?

A burning sensation in my lungs reminded me to breathe. I gulped as much air as I could, getting ready to scream for help. All the while, I kept my eyes trained on him, trying to conjure a reassuring expression that wouldn’t set him off. Would I make it out of the door if he lunged toward me? Doubtful. Although he lounged back in the seat casually, I could feel the tension in his lean body, a panther ready to pounce on his prey.

I focused on his face, hoping to decipher his intentions. Besides his brown eyes that had lost their humor, the intruder had light chestnut hair clipped short, a nose that must have been straight once, and a square jaw sporting a five o’clock shadow.

At last, my hand connected with the metal handle and I tensed, ready to spring the hell out of here. Let him have the car, I just wanted out.

His hand shot in my direction, but he stopped it right before it touched my arm.

BLURB

Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate. But she’s not the only one. Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying them too, but not for the same reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.

Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and scariest of all, the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.

Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane… until it turned lethal.

allard_eng_0012.jpgAUTHOR BIO

Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.

After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.

She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.

A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

IBooks https://itunes.apple.com/fr/book/a-cunning-plan/id1102554468?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cunning-plan-astrid-arditi/1123657004?ean=2940152965568

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-cunning-plan-5

CONTACT INFO

I blog at www.astridarditi.com

Facebook Astrid Arditi author https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor

Twitter @astrid_arditi https://twitter.com/astrid_arditi

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Highdown Hall!

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The 25th April – what a day! It’s not just MY birthday, it’s the day when Crooked Cat Publishing launched Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall onto an unsuspecting world! Yep, 2 years ago today, Highdown Hall was made available on Amazon to buy in both ebook and paperback format. Getting off to a good start, it climbed all the way into the top 2,000 books on Amazon and stayed there for the best part of a year, nestled beside the likes of Stephen King, James Herbert and Peter James -a dream come true! In 2015, it got to No,70 overall in the US Amazon Kindle charts and roughly the same in the UK Amazon Kindle charts and No.1 in several genre charts across the globe. It’s also acquired a prequel (Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story), Book Two (Rise to Me) and the soon-t0-be-published (May 27th) Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street. I envisage there’ll be six books in the series in total, but you never know, I might squeak in one or two more…

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Centred round a team of psychics and the cases they investigate, it’s been a pleasure working with Ruby, Cash, Theo, Ness, Corinna and Jed, the ghost dog (everybody’s favourite). I’ve based a lot of cases around real life events (those I’ve been involved with and those that have been told to me) and have included, where I can, the work of famous Occultists such as Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Alexandra David Neel (amongst others). A lot of research has gone into the books and I’ve surprised myself with all the things I’ve learnt – the mystical world is indeed a fascinating world!

I’ve had a ton of fantastic reviews – over 300 between the UK and US and most of them have been 5 and 4 star. There have, of course, been the odd 1 or 2 stars but hey, that’s par for the course – and some of them have made me smile, i.e. the one who said ‘she seems to make it up as she goes along’ – I love that, partly because it’s true! But it’s also been called the ‘best ghost story ever’ and many times ‘unputdownable’. To anyone who’s ever taken the time to review a huge thank you – it means (and helps) such a lot!

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If you haven’t read Highdown Hall yet, let me know in the comments below. I’ve got a few e-copies to GIVE AWAY. If you’ve got a Kindle, I can send it to your email address so you can send it to your Kindle. If you fancy it, you can also sign up to my occasional newsletter, where I’ll keep you informed of any new releases, competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/beoHLv

Thank you again for all your support and congratulations again to Highdown Hall, who’d have known we’d have shared a birthday too!

The Haunting of Highdown Hall

UK http://tinyurl.com/lak4ub2

US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78

Aus http://tinyurl.com/pc73ggz

Canada http://tinyurl.com/owg9b5w

Contact Links

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: https://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

 

 

 

Something for the Weekend with Claire Stibbe

Claire B&W

Hello and welcome to the blog this dark and dreary Friday! Claire Stibbe’s is here to brighten up our day though, telling us all about her authorly self and her forthcoming book, The 9th Hour. Take it away, Claire…

Originally from England, Claire lived in Hong Kong for three years before eventually finding a second home in New Mexico, USA. Her genres include Historical Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Mystery and Suspense.

She has written two historical fiction novels, Chasing Pharaohs and The Fowler’s Snare, both set in ancient Egypt during the 18th Dynasty. She has just completed a psychological thriller, The 9th Hour, the first in the Detective Temeke series set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and published by Crooked Cat Publishers.

9th HourAfter completing The 9th Hour, finding a publisher was the hardest part. It required many hours of searching for good publishers with a good reputation and ones with open submissions. I was fortunate to have been accepted by Crooked Cat, a publisher based in Scotland. Many of their authors have been shortlisted for prestigious awards, amazing writers who have simply soured up the charts and currently enjoy bestseller status. I would say this is indeed a cattery of quality.

For me, the best part of writing is the process. Researching ideas for the first novel in the Detective Temeke series has been so much fun, especially driving around Albuquerque through all the areas Temeke and his partner, Malin would go. This book takes place in Cimarron State Park where a nine-year-old African American girl has been abducted. Temeke, a detective working for violent crimes against children is called out one early December morning to take over a case nobody wants. Why? Because former lead Detective Jack Reynolds was found dead under the bridge on Exit 230 to San Mateo. He had a gunshot wound to his head. With a new partner, a new case and a new set of wheels, Temeke takes to the roads in search of a man who keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number nine.

With so many state parks here in New Mexico, the hiking trails are numerous and great places to learn about the history of the southwest. Big blue skies, palisade cliffs and all kinds of fauna only add to each scene. With the help of detectives in the local police department, this has been crucial in piecing together a serial killer’s steps. Winter’s coming . . .

The weather has been particularly stormy recently, slate-grey skies, a sheet of rain one minute and the growl of thunder the next, which has provided the right mood to give me inspiration. I’m loving the characters and the way they lead each chapter to who knows where. And yes, I do normally have a structure, only this time it all went out of the window.

It’s all David Temeke’s fault. His dry wit often goes for the jugular, rubbing the department up the wrong way. Unit Commander Hackett is clearly suspicious of Temeke, an African/British ex-pat, and has reluctantly assigned him a new east coast transfer, Malin Santiago. It’s a high profile case where her Hispanic/Norwegian roots are a valuable asset to the team. Can’t say why. You’ll just have to read the book. Only, Temeke believes that Santiago lacks the necessary experience for such a case which is adding a considerable strain to their professional relationship. Not to mention her physical attraction to him which is about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.

9th breakfastSo this afternoon as I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, I was this close to writing Santiago a great scene that would change Temeke’s view of her; maybe give him something to chew over. But being despicable me, I decided to leave it as it is. Unrequited love in the Northwest Area Command is much too much fun to watch. And Malin isn’t all smiles and teeth. There’s a certain metal in her psyche that gets stronger with every book. She might have started out as a pit-dweller, but she’s sure making up for it now.

Winter’s coming . . .

All this and more in The 9th Hour, released November 17, 2015 by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Claire once ran a newspaper for two local business in Albuquerque and has also written short stories for Breakwater Harbor Books, a publisher of anthologies. The collection won Best Anthology of 2014 in the Independent Book Awards hosted by eFestival of Words. She is currently working on the second and third books in the Detective Temeke series in which she explores how even in the darkness of criminal depravity the light of faith is never entirely extinguished.

To find out more about Claire’s books, visit her website at http://www.cmtstibbe.com.

For updates on new books, book signings and regular blog features, why not sign up for her occasional newsletter here

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClaireStibbe

Blog: https://clairestibbe.wordpress.com/

Google: https://plus.google.com/+CMTStibbe/posts    

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMTStibbe

Claire is also a member of the New Mexico Book Co-op and the Southwest Writers Association.

 

 

The Ghostly Jessamine…

frontJessamine  was released by Crooked Cat Publishing on the 9th December 2014 – but what’s it all about? In short, it’s a story of love, loss and location, but it’s also about how we are haunted by the ghosts of our past. Yep, Jessamine is supernatural but subtly so.

First up, let’s talk about location – it’s set in the misty, mysterious highlands of Scotland, in a fictional village called Glenelk, on the west coast of Scotland, overlooking the Isle of Skye. A bleak but beautiful place, it suits the story’s brooding tone perfectly.

Jessamine teaserNext is love – the force that drives our lives. But we’re not just talking romantic love here, we’re talking about the love that exists between friends and family, that spawns loyalty and the need to protect, about ties that bind through generations. But what happens when that which we love the most is lost? How do we cope with the grief that ensues?

The tagline for Jessamine is:

One village, four people and the ghosts of generations.

Jessamine Teaser 2All four characters – Jessamin, Fionnlagh Maccaillin, Maggie and Stan – are haunted in one way or another. Having come together from opposite ends of the country, what is the mystery that unites them? Can they help each to move on and, if not let the past go, at least find some way of living with it?

An emotional rollercoaster, I’m very proud of Jessamine. Yes, it’s dark and ghostly, but it’s very human too. As for tissues? I recommend you get yourself a box on stand-by!

To whet your appetite, here’s a short excerpt:

His anguish concerned her. “Stan…”

“Och, don’t mind me. I’m getting maudlin is all.”

“Stan, how could you think I’d mind? Of course I don’t.”

Furtively, she studied his face. He seemed so tired of late. The cough he’d developed was wearing him down. Into the lines of his face, his entire life seemed etched – a good life at times she knew but also painful, like any long life. No one sailed through the years unscathed. She felt bad she’d mentioned Flo’s death, Mally’s leaving again; there was no need to wallow in sadness and she said as much.

“You’re right, dear. Concentrate on happy times. Why not? We can’t go back. We can’t change things.”

If only we could.

“And when the sun is shining, it’s an easy thing to do. But, and I expect you know this as well as I do, it’s the dead of night you have to watch out for, when the wind is howling, when the rain pelts relentlessly against your bedroom window, when sleep refuses to indulge you. That’s when the bad memories rear up, when they demand their fair share of attention too.” He shuddered. “The dead of night, it’s an accurate description.”

Jessamin turned to face the old man fully. “Stan, you’re worrying me.”

“No, dear, there’s no need to worry.”

“Despite what I said about concentrating on the good stuff, you can tell me anything, you know that don’t you? Whatever it is… I’m here for you. I’m on your side.”

There were tears in his eyes. Quickly, Jessamin reached out a hand to comfort him. He took it, his grip surprisingly firm – desperation lending him strength perhaps. Her breath caught in her throat. What was he going to say? What had upset him so much?

When at last he spoke, his words chilled her.

“The dead of night, Jess, I wish they’d leave me alone.”

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Jessamine is currently on sale for 99p from Amazon – now’s a great time to download it, saving it perhaps for those long winter nights – we all know they’re on the way – when you’re sat by the fire, a wee nip of something by your side. Here’s the links:

Putting the ‘normal’ into the Paranormal

Psychic Surveys

Horror is my favourite genre – it always has been, always will be, but it can become tiresome. The reason? Horror is often dealt with by authors and filmmakers gratuitously – therefore, the gorier, the more outrageous, the more ‘in your face’ the material, the better. Well, yeah, every now and then, one of those is fun but I thought it was time for something a little more down-to-earth. And before you scream ‘but surely that defeats the object’ – I don’t think it does.

imagesFor me, the best ghost stories are the ones that deal with the spiritual world more subtly. The Haunting with Claire Bloom is a great example – all through the film the suspense is built but you don’t actually see anything frightening – it’s all left to the imagination, and mine ran riot after that one! The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, not the film but the book, was also very subtle, building suspense beautifully right up until the end. The Others with Nicole Kidman springs to mind too, which relied on a good story rather than effects.

Haunting of Highdown Hall Cover MEDIUM WEBInspired by these I wanted to write a paranormal that largely dispenses with theatrics and relies on characterisation, plot and mystery instead. Ruby Davis, who owns Psychic Surveys, a high street consultancy specialising in domestic spiritual clearance, is young, modern and accessible. She doesn’t go round in tie-dye clothes or smelling of incense, she wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. It’s only her job that’s out of the ordinary – to make contact with grounded spirits in your home (ghosts to the layman!) and encourage them towards the light – or ‘home’ as she and her team call it. Her team, too, are down-to-earth, there is the young and vibrant Corinna (a sensitive rather than a psychic) and more mature ladies, Theo and Ness, the latter who also works as a psychic for Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove Council. Throw in IT Consultant, Cash Wilks and an attachment in the shape of ghost dog, Jed, and you’ve got the dream team. Keenly aware of how people feel towards ‘psychics’ – sceptical at best, frightened at worst, they deal with ‘assignments’ in a no-nonsense and practical way – charging a sliding scale of fees depending on the client and the problem.

Their reputation is spreading, largely via word-of-mouth, and cases come flooding in. The team may want to play it cool, sometimes, however, the ghosts don’t…

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Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall available on Amazon this week for the special discounted price of 99p/99c.

The Haunting of Highdown Hall

UK http://tinyurl.com/lak4ub2

US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78

 

“Good morning, Psychic Surveys, how can I help?”

Haunting of Highdown Hall Cover MEDIUM WEBWho You Gonna Call? Psychic Surveys – the Inspiration.
You hear it so many times; the great horror movies of our time – Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror and Texas Chainsaw Massacre for example – are inspired by true events. So many times, in fact, you begin to take it with a pinch of salt, doubt it even. After all, these are ‘horrors’, hyped up for an audience who love nothing more than to be scared witless. But since becoming a paranormal writer myself, I give that claim more credence. Hyped up they may be but truth is always stranger than fiction.

a950ef28f5965f1463ffe2356bca771eThe Haunting of Highdown Hall has its roots firmly in truth. Not only with regard to the main case where movie star, Cynthia Hart, still resides within her hallowed four walls, despite having died in 1958, but in all the ‘mini’ cases scattered around it. Cynthia’s story is based on a tale I heard years ago. I can’t say who the movie star is but she was one of the cinematic greats. Some years after her death, her house was inherited by a friend of a friend, only for him to discover she was still very much ‘in’ it. As for her bedroom, still kept as a shrine to her – he couldn’t even enter it. It was as though invisible hands were pushing him out and he got the sensation of a voice ‘screaming’ at him. He called in a team of psychics and they dealt with it (or should I say ‘her’) and he lived there happily for many years afterwards. Hearing this story, I couldn’t help but wonder: what was holding her there, fear, despair or something darker, much darker? Transfer that story to fiction and that’s what the Psychic Surveys team have to find out.

The ‘mini’ cases too are drawn from real life, for example, the little boy that ‘haunts’ his bedroom, taking an active dislike to the new child that has moved in there and the tormented young man in Paul Ashworth’s flat that is hell bent on driving him out. Both were based on psychic cleansings I took part in (I rung the bells in dark corners to break down negative energy!). Although the owners were terrified, when you find out the history of the spirit, when you can ‘communicate’ with them, you realise that tormented is exactly what they are and often just need some understanding, validation even and gentle encouragement to ‘move on’. Happily, both cleansings were successful and the owners reported no more paranormal activity occurring afterwards.

Aside from the cases, the ‘business’ of Psychic Surveys is rooted in truth. Imagine if you didn’t have to hunt around for this service, if domestic spiritual clearance was widely available – we’re talking high street presence here, alongside estate agents, solicitors and travel agents. An idea considered in reality, we decided the business was better off in fiction – the aim of it to put the normal in paranormal, to remove the taboo. Young psychic, Ruby Davis, heads up the team and, suffice to say, business is booming!

The Haunting of Highdown Hall is available on Amazon and all good bookshops. It’s sequel, Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me is also available. Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street due early 2016. 

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US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78