Spotlight: Spell Caster

Spell Caster cover

Title: Spell Caster
Author: Leah Hamrick
Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Today on the blog I have a spotlight post for Spell Caster, a collection of three short stories by author Leah Hamrick!

Three paranormal short stories. One sweet, one dark, one fun. Which one will be your favorite?

Love Caster: There is nothing greater than pure, sweet love, and that’s something Anna Bowden knows all about. While trying to get the courage to kiss her boyfriend Killian, she has to deal with her overbearing dad, who will stop at nothing to tear them apart.

In the Darkness: After Anna Bowden witnesses someone—or something—lurking in her backyard, it starts a chain of frightening events that leads to a gruesome discovery.

First Holiday: Featuring the characters from Frost On My Pillow—be prepared for a sweet, fun, wild ride. While Ethan gives Lyla—who has never celebrated Christmas before— the task of finding out the true meaning of the holiday, he surreptitiously tries to tell her how he really feels, but before that can occur, a lot of decorating and snowball fights have to happen!

The book is available to buy now on Amazon here!

About the author

Leah Hamrick lives in Michigan with her partner in crime husband Jon, daughter Khloey, and plethora or reptiles. She’s the author of many short stories and a novel (more she has yet graced the world with, meaning they’re not published… Yet!) She enjoys heavy metal music when she isn’t writing, she loves hiking, going to the beach, and reading anything that’s paranormal romance, which is the genre she writes in, (mostly!) You can check out her stuff on Amazon… Just type her name and walah, a bunch of new stories you can fall in love with!


Fatal Music [Blog Tour]: Why the South of France?

Fatal Music - Peter Morfoot

Title: Fatal Music
Author: Peter Morfoot
Publisher: Titan Books

I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for Fatal Music, the second novel in the Captain Darac series. Today on SnazzyBooks, author (and Yorkshireman) Peter Morfoot reveals why he decided to set the series in the South of France…

But first, here’s a quick synopsis of the book:

Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle arrives at a crime scene to find a woman’s mutilated corpse. Initially routine, the case deepens and darkens into a complex enquiry that threatens to close in on Darac himself. But allegiances past and present must be set aside to unravel a tale of greed, deception and treachery that spans the social spectrum. It is among the winding streets of his own neighbourhood in Nice’s old town, the Babazouk, that Darac faces his severest test yet.

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Peter Morfoot: “Why the South of France?”

Fatal Music - Peter MorfootFollowing Impure Blood (April 2016), Fatal Music is the second novel published by Titan Books in my series featuring Captain Paul Darac of Nice’s Serious Crimes Squad, the Brigade Criminelle. A lover of most genres of crime fiction, including the Nordic-Noir story worlds created by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and Titan’s own Chris Ould, my own inclination was to head south. Why?

As for so many others, my first encounter with the French Riviera was a summer holiday – our first foray abroad as a family. I remember the flight over as if it were yesterday. We took off into a thick blanket of cloud over Gatwick and it wasn’t until we were coming into land that it finally cleared. Of course, being greyed out for two hours served only to heighten the power of the reveal as we touched down. There was a world beyond that porthole, after all. And as if by magic, it was now in glorious Technicolor. We couldn’t wait to experience it first hand.

When it came, that initial taste of abroad didn’t disappoint. As we filed down the open steps on to the tarmac, we were quite simply overwhelmed by the heat, the scents and above all, by the intensity of the southern light, the inspiration of generations of artists as diverse as Scott Fitgerald, Monet, and Henri Matisse. The South of France? It was pretty much love at first sight. As in all love affairs, we’ve gone on to have our ups and downs but all these years years later, it’s a love that’s still strong.

But when I set about devising what eventually became the Darac series, the Riviera was not my first choice as setting. Yes, I was a practising, if not uncritical Francophile, and over the years I’d got to know Nice well, certainly well enough for it to function as a character in its own right in the stories, places closer to home were ahead of it on points. My native West Yorkshire for one.

Although I was attracted to the idea of setting a crime series abroad, the prospect of researching into legal, penal and policing systems that are very different from those in the U.K. was a daunting one.

Nevertheless, I added Nice to the shortlist of possible settings. To ensure I made a rational final decision, I resolved to turn a blind eye to the Côte d’Azur’s more obvious charms. It would have been too easy, I thought, to have been seduced by such things as the region’s 300 days of sunshine a year; by the beauty of the mountains and that eponymous azure coastline. And then there’s the quality of the food and the wine. And did I mention the wine? Yes, it would have been all too easy to have been seduced by those things. And of course, I was.

But as a crime writer, I needed more than light and beauty. I needed darkness and despair. Were there serpents slithering around in this urban paradise? Oh yes, long before the appalling events of Bastille Day 2016, they were there, alright. And so Nice, as exotically beautiful as any Mediterranean resort but with its fair share of big city problems and crime, began to stake more and more of a claim.

In the end, it was thinking further about my detective-to- be that decided the issue of the setting for me. But how I came up with my central character, the jazz-playing homicide detective Paul Darac, will have to wait until next time.

Intrigued? Buy Fatal Music on Amazon or take a look at the book on Goodreads. Follow Peter on Twitter here.




Viki Patis [Guest Blog: My Writing Space]


Title: Weltanschauung
Author: Vikki Patis

Vikki Patis is a writer and blogger at The Bandwagon, where she reviews books, interviews authors, and gives her opinions on a wide variety of topics, from feminism to fibromyalgia. She’s recently published a collection of short stories, Weltanschauung, and I’m excited to welcome her to the blog today to talk about her writing space!

[My Writing Space]

vikki-patis-author-photo“Writing can be tough. Many of us don’t have the luxury of being able to write full-time – we have day jobs, families, commitments, insistent cats – and so it can be difficult to just sit down and write. But you don’t just need a physical space; you also need mental space. You need to be able to shut everything out, all the distractions, the worries, and focus on your writing. As a graduate, and a blogger, I’m used to working to deadlines, and squeezing time to write around other commitments. But I’ve found that writing fiction doesn’t always work that way. You have to be in the right zone; it can’t be forced.

When I’m writing, I usually sit on the sofa, with a fresh cup of tea and my feet up. I sit at a desk all day at work, and like to be comfortable at home. Friday evenings are usually my most productive time; I don’t have to worry about being too tired, since I can (usually!) sleep in on Saturdays. Dealing with a chronic illness can make things even harder, and there was a time when I barely wrote at all. But writing is one of my few outlets, and I cherish being able to do it.

I get some of my best ideas while going through my day – in the car on the way to work, wandering around the supermarket, even in dreams! The idea for Bane, the final short story, came from a dream, after reading Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I dreamt that the world was on fire, and I’d been contacted by the government to be a Reviewer, which meant travelling around and reviewing the safety of various structures, meeting weird creatures along the way. It was creepy, and didn’t make a lot of sense, but the seed was planted.

Music is one thing I use to get me into the zone. My partner had given me the initial idea for Zombie, the first short story in Weltanschauung, but I just couldn’t find the way to write it. After a few frustrated attempts, I’d decided to step away for a while, when “Zombie” by The Cranberries came on the radio on my commute home. It was perfect. I got home, found the song on Amazon, and the story just flowed.

As Leigh Bardugo once told me, nothing is wasted. Everything is fodder. In Bane, the main character, Rachel, works for a medical supplies company, before hell breaks loose. All the conversations I’ve had with disgruntled or demanding customers informed some of the scenes I wrote in Bane. I try to view every interaction as a lesson, as something that may end up in a story. This outlook particularly helped when I worked crappy waitressing and cleaning jobs a few years ago!

Although I do need peace, quiet, and endless cups of tea, I don’t have a set ritual when it comes to writing. Usually, an idea hits, and I rip my laptop open, and just start writing. That’s not to say that what I write is any good, but it’s a start.”

Weltanschauung is available on Kindle and in paperback now. From 16th – 18th December 2016, Weltanschauung will be available for only 99p!

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For more information, join the Facebook event here.

Follow Vikki on Twitter: @VikkiPatis

A Guide On How To Be Funny [guest post]

Heat on the Street - Julian Wilkes

Today I have a guest post from author of Heat on the Street, Julian Wilkes! He’s giving us some great tips on ‘how to be funny’ – or not! It’s definitely worth a read! 🙂

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Being funny isn’t easy. People laugh at you and sometimes with, the problem being, as human beings, we don’t always know which is which? Do you have any ideas? Maybe consulting a behavioural psychologist, or just simply laughing with, irrespective of whether they are laughing at you. ‘Ha haaaaa, you’re so funny!!’ I suppose if you take a look in the mirror, they may have a point. It just depends upon which digit they are using (and if the mirror’s being honest, a true reflection eh)……Mothers usually tell their children it’s rude to do that, so motion the notion with your eyes. Of course I’m talking about pointing, how rude are you…Please provide a small amount of etiquette and decorum. Thanks for that, you’re learning integrity comes in all shapes and sizes, but we’re not talking the female anatomy here or phallic symbols all around the World.

When I came into this World, or should I just say, was pushed out through a tight canal in the maternity ward back in 1974, I cried, oooh how I cried. Literally blood, sweat and tears were followed by smiles, happiness, laughter and joy, a big cause for celebration, thankyou Mum and Dad. Roll on several years. I had a fascination with metal, when I knocked my tooth back into my gum after falling off the garden climbing frame….OUCH, that hurt, a mouth reminiscent of a Monster Munch crisp or an enamel challenged O.A.P. not exactly a pretty sight. Over a decade later, the fate would materialise again in Austria on a watersports holiday, but not on a climbing frame. A drunken slovenly request for a kiss, being received with extra purchase. A school friend objected to the request by throwing a stinging right hook to my mouth. I suppose a fist kiss was better than nothing, resulting in me having a cracked tooth. The jewel in the crown, a sovereign ring on her finger. That wasn’t the only disaster….Flying over my bicycle handlebars, running into a brick wall and fracturing my knee, falling off my skateboard and landing headfirst with a bump, a prominent lump in the middle of my forehead, soothed by my nanas finest butter. I walked into a door, what else was I capable of? A successful life as a gymnast or acrobat? I’m not too sure I would be suited to a figure hugging leotard, maybe just hotpants! Playing football was as close as I would get to that experience, the shorts were high and tight in the 70’s and 80’s. Oops, slightly being economical with the truth, my sisters wardroble proved a fruitful cross dressing allure, lipstick on, guy liner and ruby red blusher. Where is that mirror again? Who is the fairest of them all. Maybe a little afro haired boy with dimples and a cheeky smile. Now that’s what I call funny.

Some people try so hard, for others it becomes natural, for others they stand up on stage. ‘Does anybody have a gag?’

‘Bondage isn’t my thing mister, but I am a masochist.’

‘I don’t wanna kiss you sir.’

‘Who mentioned anything about kissing?’

‘You said you Masseur kissed.’

‘I’ll show you later behind closed doors.’

‘There’ll be no need for that, I like things out in the open.’

Funny is something contagious, an infectious smile, a human or animal act or just a special non descript something that engages and brings people together. Maybe even ‘canned laughter’. Take a tin, open it up and let the infectious throat vibrations work wonders, that’s it, a spoon feeding of warm nutritious paletable goodness! In a nutshell, the most important ingredient is not trying to be funny as this can be a recipe for disaster.


Jammin’ Boy is an exotic, vibrant, magnetic and carefree Language Teacher at Oatmill High School. Not a day goes by without elephant sized belly full of laughter, astonishment, excitement and adventure. A truly remarkable, exhilarating and white knuckle roller coaster ride from beginning to end, well worth the entrance fee!

Buy from Amazon in paperback and kindle format here.

Find out more about Julian Wilkes here.

Rarity from the Hollow - Robert Eggleton

Robert Eggleton [author spotlight]

Today on the blog I’m excited to have an spotlight post on Robert Eggleton, author of Rarity from the Hollow. It’s described as ‘a children’s story – for adults’ and ‘not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended’ – how can that fail to intrigue you?!

[About Rarity from the Hollow]

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

Rarity from the Hollow

Rarity from the Hollow - Robert Eggleton

[Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”]

Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn has just returned home from the android’s spaceship. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:

…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.
“WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.
Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.
“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.
Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.
I hope Mommy runs for it.
Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn’t complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.
If it’s okay with him, I’ll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that’d be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She’d be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.
Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.
“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.
I’ve never called him Dwayne before.
“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”
“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”
“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”
Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.
“Not that grandma — the other one — your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”
Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.
“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they’re gone.”
“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”
Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
He’s starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?
Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.
“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now — with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”
Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he’s thinking too hard.
“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”
He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.
Damn. I can’t think of a new name.
“Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…” Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)
“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”
“Oh shit,” Dwayne said.
I knew this day would come — ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….
“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”
“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain’t about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it — period.”
“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.
“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.
Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.
Things will be forever different.
Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, “Yuck.”
Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)
Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn’s head.
The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.
“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.
“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)

Awesome Indies Approve

[About Robert]

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.  Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

The final edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released on November 3, 2016; view more details here:

Buy the updated e-book edition from Amazon here:


Find out more about Robert Eggleton here:

Have you read Rarity from the Hollow? If so, what did you think?

On Track For Murder by Stephen Childs

Stephen Childs [author spotlight]

BlogivalI am so pleased to today have author Stephen Childs on the blog, sharing the inspiration behind his new novel, On Track For Murder. It’s set in the 19th century and follows 18 year old Abigail as she tries to track down her father’s killer. With lots of mystery and adventure, it sounds like a great read!

It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.

On Track For Murder

Author Stephen ChildsOn Track for Murder is my debut murder mystery novel. Set in 1889 in Western Australia, the main character is eighteen year old Abigail Sergeant, freshly arrived from England with her younger brother in tow, dreaming of a better life.

My plan to author a full length fiction work was born of my own sea change. My wife and I had made the decision to leave behind our corporate executive life and head for warmer climes in search of much needed quality time for ourselves and our family. Perth, in Western Australia, became our new home. And I was instantly inspired.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing. It’s like a seed, the promise of magnificent blooms secured within. Yet without motivation and action, inspiration remains dormant; the seed stays dry in its packet. My love of storytelling had remained dormant since I was a child. Now, with time available to spend with my family, that love was to be revived.

How did it happen? We had taken a trip to a local railway museum. As we wandered around my son began regaling me with tales of exploding boilers and runaway trains. His mind was awash with fabulous stories. It took me back to my own childhood, when I would bombard my parents with equally bizarre fabrications. On that trip I spent considerable time – more than my son felt reasonable – staring at old black and white photographs: early train crews forging routes to remote outback towns, defying the harshness of the environment in their resolve to expand the colony. My interest had been piqued.

With time now my friend I set about searching the West Australian records. I was entranced. Most people know of the establishment of Sydney as a British penal colony. Yet few know of the growth of Perth and Albany as essentially commercial enterprises designed to secure the region for the British Empire. I couldn’t ignore this fascination. I was moved to action.

On Track For Murder by Stephen ChildsOddly, it was a diversion from Australian history that brought about the idea for a young female lead character. I was perusing old transport records when I stumbled upon a compelling historical account. Unrelated to Australian history it was the story of Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, inventor of the Patent Motorwagen, the first successful automobile. Bertha had been inspired by their invention and had embarked, without her husband’s knowledge, on a mammoth 65 mile journey across Germany, taking two of her children with her. During the journey she managed to effect necessary repairs to the vehicle and arrived unscathed at her destination, hailed as a heroine. This story inspired the creation of Abigail Sergeant: a woman for whom the impending journey appears impossible, yet driven by her self-belief she manages to overcome and succeed.
I was inspired and motivated. I had my location, time period and main character. Now what to do with them?

I have always been fascinated by the way we humans communicate. As part of my work in the business world I am called upon to create and edit documents that form the basis for decision making. These need to be formed with minimal ambiguity to avoid any possible misinterpretation.

It was essentially rebellion against this premise that drove my decision to pursue the mystery genre. I love the idea of presenting readers with evidence that can be interpreted many different ways, then tempting them with side issues and red herrings. I find this freedom to explore ambiguity and misdirection incredibly refreshing. A complete turn around from my conclusive work in the business world.

Thus I had my character inspired by Bertha Benz, my time period and location inspired by the amazing Western Australian landscape, and a genre inspired by a desire to break free from the confines of business writing.

I was inspired and I had the time to sit at my computer and write. Abigail Sergeant was created and On Track for Murder saw the light of day.

I love writing. I love seeing the story unfold as I type. So I continue to write. Abigail’s next adventure is well underway. I’ve also commenced work on an audiobook version, which will be perfect for those rush hour traffic jams.

I hope you enjoy reading On Track for Murder and the subsequent tales to follow.”

On Track For Murder is out to buy now from Amazon. View it on Goodreads here: On Track For Murder

TIm Connor Hits Trouble

Frank Lankaster [author spotlight]

BlogivalI am so pleased to today have author Frank Lankaster on the blog, sharing some fun facts about himself and his new novel, Tim Connor Hits Trouble.

It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.

TIm Connor Hits Trouble10 Things author Frank Lankaster wants you to know about him

As a young boy I was a bit of a ‘goodie goodie’ – I soon lost that!

At eleven years old I was sent off to a seminary – a Catholic boarding school aimed at training priests. It wasn’t much fun and I got out quickly and in time worked out my own way of life.

The best year in my life was in Vermont, USA.

I went there on a work exchange for a year in the mid-nineteen eighties. Vermont is so beautiful and the people so friendly and open, I had the time of my life. The only bad moment was when I crashed when ice-skating on Vermonts biggest lake, Champlain, and nearly decapitated myself. Ive never been skating again!

The toughest year of my life was starting out teaching in East London.

Full of youthful idealism I set out to educate the East End! I lasted a year but did go back for a while later.

I’ve written about what I know.

They say write about what you know and as I’ve spent most of my working life to date in higher education it’s not surprising that I’ve written a ‘campus novel’. It’s not an ‘ivory tower’ novel but written for our times when going to university is less a privilege and more of a routine, ordinary experience for many young people and even hard-worked academics.

I love travelling.

My last big trip was to Cuba – it was called ‘The Revolutionary Trail’. The group followed the march to power of the legendary Che Guevara but on our way it was all music, good food and rugged, varied terrain. I’m so glad that Presidents Obama and Castro are bringing the two countries closer together. My next place to visit will probably be along the North African coast or maybe Croatia.

If I can only play one game in my afterlife it will be tennis.

This is surprising as my dad and his brother were professional footballers and I might have been one myself. But I like the individualism of tennis whether it goes well or badly, it’s down to you.

Light on a dark horse.

I’ve often been considered ‘a bit of a dark horse’ and to be honest ‘Frank Lankaster’ is a writing name to give me a ‘clean slate’ and a bit of anonymity. I’ve always secretly wanted to write fiction. A novel may be less factual than academic work but it can get closer to personal truth. It can also be funnier and Tim Connor Hits Trouble is certainly full of humour.

I believe the ‘rise and rise’ of women will continue.

Maybe creating an age of women in which personal values, including caring about and for others, as well as career satisfaction will matter more than status and earning more and more money. Women are probably the best hope for humanising a still tough and brutal world.

To me younger people from the ‘noughties’ onwards seem more relaxed about what previous post-war younger generations had to battle for.

It’s good to see many young people tolerant and at ease with cultural and sexual diversity despite financial and career access issues. Some of the strongest and most interesting characters in Tim Connor Hits Trouble are women, especially Erica, his bi-sexual and sexually imaginative partner. The novel as a whole is quite physical and that’s certainly true of Tim and Erica.

I’m funny but serious.

But then life is like that. So is my novel – ‘laugh out loud’ but find some serious drama and themes about higher education and personal relationships as well.

Tim Connor Hits Trouble

Tim Connor Hits Trouble by Frank Lankaster (published by Clink Street Publishing RRP £9.99, RRP £4.99 ebook) is available to buy online from 25th March 2015 from retailers including and to order from all good bookstores.

Declan Milling [author spotlight]

BlogivalI am so pleased to today have author Declan Milling on the blog, sharing his inspiration behind his new novel, Carbon Black, a fast-moving story of corruption and murder; definitely one to add to the TBR list!

It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.

Carbon Black by Declan Milling

So, over to Declan:

“There are two principal sources to which the inspiration behind Carbon Black can be attributed: firstly, the country of Papua New Guinea; and secondly, the issue of climate change and the role of the carbon market as a way of addressing it. Where they intersect provides the fertile ground for the story.

Papua New Guinea offers an extraordinary mix of elements as a background setting. The natural resources and biodiversity are amazing – ever heard of a poisonous bird? At least two types have been identified there! But it’s not just the variety and numbers of exotic bird and animal species: insects, spiders (including the huge bird-eating spiders), fish, coral and other species abound. Then there’s the timber, fishing and mineral resources.

But while these aspects of Papua New Guinea provide an important platform for the story, it’s not all just about the resources, the fauna and flora. The people, their customs, traditions and superstitions all add to the mix. Headhunters, sorcery and witchcraft are still prevalent.

Combine this with corrupt government officials, foreign criminals and conmen – operators on the lookout for deals – law and order problems – and throw in a health epidemic in the form of AIDS, for good measure, and the brew gets even headier. And stories abound. Cannibalism and the rituals of eating body parts of important persons.

Random acts of criminality by raskols (pidgin English for bad men), felling trees on remote roads to stop vehicles, rob and sometimes kill their occupants. The continuing adherence to cargo cult. The colourful expatriates who also contribute to this picture, as the reader of Carbon Black will discover: long term residents who have seen too much tropical sun and maybe just a little bit too much booze.

Secondly, climate change is a fact for all of us and has been the subject of fiction over the years through the cli-fi genre. These have been mainly disaster novels: Carbon Black seeks to break that mould and give climate change a different airing. The carbon market and its role in addressing climate change is a contentious subject of debate and in Carbon Black it sets the scene – the battleground between proponents and anti-market protesters.

The story draws on the international bureaucrats, governments and the resource developers for its protagonists. Areas of conflict between these parties abound: they’re all interested in climate change for one reason or another – either as climate change deniers and sceptics, or as scientists, or as professionals trying to make the carbon market work as a way of addressing the problem.

The intersection of these two sources of inspiration provides the foundation for the storyline and situation for Carbon Black. From the conference and trade fair at the start of the novel, to the climactic visit to the project sites at the end, these two elements are interwoven throughout Carbon Black.”

Carbon Black

Carbon Black is available to buy now in paperback and kindle; visit Declan’s website and don’t forget to leave a review when you’ve finished the book! 🙂

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FIX: Sex, Lies and Banking

Lily Temperley [Author Spotlight]

BlogivalI am so pleased to today have author Lily Temperley (that’s her pen name) on the blog, sharing her writing inspiration behind her novel, FIX: Sex, Lies and Banking – an exciting, fast-moving novel about the banking industry and those who work within it (and what it takes to work in this kind of world!)

It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here!

Please read on to hear what she has to say 🙂

Author Lily Temperley“My motivation for telling this story was to put the lessons that life had taught me into prose so that it may be helpful to others. It demonstrates that we lie to each other and ourselves with sometimes devastating consequences.

Based on my own real-life experiences Fix: Sex, Lies and Banking delves headlong into the high-octane world of international banking to reveal the warped personalities, the selfish passions and the thirst for success at any cost that help make London the banking centre of the world. Given the personal nature of the plot, and as a fully fledged member of this highflying business community for over a decade, I decided to write under the pen name, Lily Temperley, and the book is inspired by what I have witnessed and experienced, both in and out of the boardroom and on numerous first-class business trips. Through the eyes of my protaganist I reveal how greed can pervert our sense of right and wrong, how people and relationships can be used solely for gain and how those with power can easily be corrupted.

I wanted to provide female readers with escapism but through a lens of actual events so they could relate to the romance, sex and love while also seeing how much impact sex and money has on some relationships. That living the high life may look good outwardly but that what really matters in an intimate relationship beyond physical attraction is truth and love. That giving yourself over to lust and infatuation is a chemical fixation and quite different to a loving relationship built on attraction but also friendship and love. I wanted readers to identify with the self-esteem highs and lows to make them laugh, rage, have a view-point and ultimately relate it to their own circumstances.

I chose the word Fix as the title for three reasons, one it can be interrupted as a means of satisfying an addiction, two it is a position from which it is difficult to escape, and thirdly it means to repair or mend. This story can be read through all three meanings. Sex, Lies and Banking as the sub-title gives a snapshot of what the book is about.

FIX: Sex, Lies and BankingFix is the ultimate high-fliers diary, set in London, against the backdrop of banking. It details the ins and outs of lust, infatuation, and sexual fantasy quite literally. It shows how greed can pervert a sense of right and wrong, how people and relationships can be used for solely for gain and how people with power can be corrupted by it.

Alexandra Fisher is in love. The all-consuming, can’t eat, can’t sleep, lose-yourself- completely kind of love. A turbulent upbringing, the tragic loss of her father and a limited romantic history leaves her wearing her vulnerability like an autumn coat in the winter, with little protection from the vicious elements. A condition that the dashing and enigmatic Patrick Harrington is happy to exploit.

An intense relationship develops between the cautious Ms Fisher, and Harrington, the calculating tactician. Patrick pushes Alex far out of her comfort zone, pulling her into his world of deception, depravity and excess. Correspondingly, Patrick finds himself off-kilter as Alex teaches him that love doesn’t have to fit the fairytale mould that most women have tried to force him into. As they spend more time together, at increasing risk to both their jobs, they learn that all is not as it seems. People close to you can hurt you the most.

Patrick has received an envelope full of damning photographs along with a threat. It’s not blackmail. The sender hasn’t asked for money. They simply wish to ruin him and the life he has worked so hard to build. Patrick is unable to determine who it is that wants to destroy him. Surely, it can’t be Alex, the only woman with the exception of his beloved mother, that he has let get close to him. The question remains, can their relationship survive?”

FIX: Sex, Lies and Banking by Lily Temperley (published by Clink Street Publishing, RRP £7.99 paperback, RRP £2.99 ebook) is available online from retailers including and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

For more information please visit

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