Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Witching Hour: Sinister Legends Anthology + #Giveaway

Witching Hour: Sinister Legends Anthology
Self published on the 23rd October 2018.

Add Witching Hour to your Goodreads

Bloody Mary...

Bloody Mary...

Bloody...maybe we shouldn’t test that just yet.

Urban legends, fact or fiction, at the end of the day they’re all stories. We know not to spin around the room in the dark whispering her name. We've heard about the man with the hook and the terror that stalks the babysitter while she's home alone.

But there are other tales told around the fire at night. The man finding the steps into hell and sanity flickering away. Mind control experiments by governments, big and small. The woman married to the man of peculiar tastes. There are the haunted hospitals, sleep trials in Russia and more.

Slenderman and Bigfoot are nowhere within these stories; these are only the unusual and dark ones, slanted into truth.

In every legend, there is a seed of truth. Welcome to the Witching Hour.


Jenniefer Andersson:
Alyssa Brocker:
Trinity Hanrahan:
Angie Brocker:
Lenore Cheairs:
J.M. Butler:
Sienna Haslam:
Wendy Cheairs:
Alana Delacroix:
Kristin Jacques:
Morgan & Charlotte:
W.M. Dawson:
Maggie Jane Schuler:

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prizes are:
2x $25 Amazon gift cards
Signed copy of Witching Hour: Sinister Legends paperback
Direct to Kindle e-copy of the already published Witching Hour: Vices and Virtures anthology

Open Internationally until the 8th November.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Etsy Find!
by Avante Hermetico in
Barcelona, Spain

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Books by multiple authors / Horror fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
Published in English language translation by Don Bartlett by Hogarth Press in April 2018

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

He’s the best cop they’ve got. 

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.

He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past. 

He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach. 

But a man like him won’t get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.

Unless he kills for it.

Jo Nesbo's retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth is one of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I think I have only previously read Tracy Chevalier's New Boy, an Othello retelling, which I enjoyed so I was keen to try Macbeth. I hadn't been particularly enamoured of my first Jo Nesbo crime novel, Nemesis, but in the same way as I prefered Henning Mankell's historical fiction to his Wallander books, I hoped giving Nesbo another try with a different type of novel might endear me more to his writing. Unfortunately this didn't happen. I did quite like Nesbo's portrayal of the bankrupt, drug-addled and corrupt town, but felt this was let down by flat characterisation and lazy stereotyping such as Chinese women having 'inscrutable' eyes. If I hadn't already had a good knowledge of the characters I think I would have struggled to remember who was who in the supporting cast, and there's a missed opportunity with the trans character, Strega.

Nesbo transposes the narrative from kings to a police headquarters while keeping the main plot points so this Macbeth is very much a crime novel. There is political manoeuvring as well as frequent violent murders, a drug lord and a biker gang. For me the biggest problem was that I was never convinced of Macbeth's motivation. A couple of sentences spoken by way of an apparent prophecy and he's suddenly behaving as a very different person from the one that we are repeatedly told he is. It's all rather strange and with an even less credible ending than Shakespeare's. This Macbeth hasn't put me off trying more of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, but I can't see myself reading Nesbo again.

Etsy Find!
by The Mac Bath in
Ohio, USA

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Monday, 29 October 2018

Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan

Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan
Published by Blue Water Publishing in May 2018.

Check for Painting Blue Water in these bookstores:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Painting Blue Water to your Goodreads

Katherine Ross, a struggling artist-turned-successful-businesswoman, has a life many would envy. At only thirty-one years old, Katherine runs one of the top luxury real-estate firms in Manhattan, and she lives in a fabulous loft with her dreamy husband. That is, of course, until her marriage comes to a screeching halt, forcing Katherine to face the truths she’s been burying deep within her heart. She hasn’t been happy for a long time. And her life, while glamorous, is not the life she ever wanted.

Fighting through the fog of her confusion and pain, Katherine makes the daring, or possibly insane, choice to start over somewhere new. She leaves her business, her friends, and the city behind, while she ventures alone to the mountains in hopes of rediscovering her artistic roots in a place surrounded by beauty, peace, and quiet.
But life in Bluewater isn’t as simple as it may seem, and when her art career suddenly begins to take off in this unlikely setting, Katherine finds herself torn between two worlds. Does she pursue her lifelong dream and become the world-famous artist she always wanted to be? Or does she open her heart to the possibility of new dreams and a life she never imagined?

Meet the author

Painting Blue Water is the debut novel for Leigh Fossan. A creative soul at heart, Leigh grew up with a paintbrush in her hand, and went on to study the arts in Florence, Italy. While abroad, Leigh was one of the few recipients of the Coluccio Salutati Award for Creative Writing. Today, Leigh is a professional artist and her paintings are collected around the world. She lives in Colorado with her artist husband, and their young daughter, who wants to be a scientist.

​You can see Leigh's paintings at

Author links: 
WebsiteTwitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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Books by Leigh Fossan / Women's fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 28 October 2018

La Perle by John Steinbeck

La Perle by John Steinbeck
First published in English as The Pearl by Viking Press in America in 1947. French language translation by Renee Vavasseur and Marcel Duhamel published by Gallimard in 1950.

My 1940s read for my 2018-19 Decade Challenge. Also a Classics Club Challenge read and a Book In French.

How I got this book:
Swapped for at the Chef Boutonne little library

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the town they tell the story of the great pearl - how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. And because the story has been told so often, it has taken root in every man's mind.

I didn't realise until I actually came to read The Pearl that Steinbeck's novella is a retelling of a Mexican folk tale he himself had heard told whilst in Mexico. The central tale itself is therefore a relatively simple story, however it is also one with which I believe everybody could relate and I loved the way in which Steinbeck creates the world surrounding Kino and Juana. Their characters are completely believable throughout and I particularly liked the idea of the gathering neighbours all rushing to peer over their hedges at every opportunity.

The Pearl isn't a happy story and is essentially a moral tale illustrating the old maxim of 'be careful what you wish for'. However Steinbeck increases the scope to encompass the racism and derogatory treatment experienced by the native people at the hands of rich white immigrants. Kino and Juana's prayers seem to be answered when Kino surfaces grasping the biggest pearl ever seen. Now they can pay the white doctor, he surely will treat their baby son? I loved how graphically Steinbeck illustrates the lifestyle differences between the two communities, each actually dependent on the other yet almost totally separate. His prose is almost poetry or song in its repetition and the idea of Song is important in guiding Kino's actions.

I read this novella in French having spotted a copy at our local Little Library. It was one of the slimmest books there and I knew from having previously read Steinbeck that his writing style is generally quite clear and direct. This proved the case in translation too so La Perle was a perfect choice from a language-learning point of view. Despite needing to look up several words on each page I was still utterly gripped by the adventure. Plus I have now learned lots of new useful words such as etouffer (to stifle) and paletuvier (mangrove). Whether I will remember them next time I see them remains to be seen!

Etsy Find!
by Novel Adornment in
Pennsylvania, USA

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Saturday, 27 October 2018

In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa

In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa
First published in Portuguese as Nas Tuas Maos in Portugal by Dom Quixote in 1997. English language translation by Andrea Rosenberg published by AmazonCrossing on the 16th October 2018.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Swimming and WorldReads: Portugal

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An internationally acclaimed, award-winning novel spanning three generations of women united in their struggle for independence and fulfillment against oppression.

Told from three different perspectives, this sweeping saga begins in 1935 Portugal, in the grip of Salazar’s authoritarian regime, where upper-class Jenny enters into an uncommon marriage with the beguiling António. Keeping up appearances, they host salons for the political and cultural elite. In private, Jenny, António, and his lover, Pedro, share a guarded triangle, build a profound relationship, and together raise a daughter born under the auspices of rebellion.

Thirty years later, their daughter, Camila, a photojournalist who has captured the revolutionary fervor and tragic loss of her family—and country—reminisces about a long-lost love in Southeast Africa. This memory shapes the future of her daughter, Natália, a successful architect, who begins an impassioned quest of her own. As she navigates Portugal’s complex past, Natália will discover herself in the two women whose mysteries and intimate intrigues have come to define her.

Through revealing journals, snapshots of a turbulent era, and private letters, the lives of three generations of women unfold, embracing all that has separated them and all that binds them—their strength, their secrets, and their search for love through the currents of change.

In Your Hands is the history of a Portuguese family through the second half of the twentieth century narrated in turn by three generations of women: Jenny, her adopted daughter Camila, and Camila's daughter Natalia. Through their words we see how Portuguese society an attitudes change from wartime to Salazar's dictatorship to consumerist freedom. It's an ambitious work yet I didn't feel overwhelmed with History because the relationships between the family members and their friends are always centre stage.

By far my favourite section was the first third where Jenny speaks to us of her unusual domestic life with her husband, Antonio, and his long-term male partner, Pedro. The trio hosts evening salons for creative and artistic friends and I got a strong sense of their vivacious life which, despite setbacks obviously, seemed to be generally happy and satisfying. I could imagine the Lisbon of this period quite well especially after having read Estoril and I liked pragmatic Jenny as a person. Camila was more difficult for me to empathise with as she is quite a closed character. Her narrative centres more on the 1970s which is an era I didn't know much about in Portugal so I was interested to learn more. Glimpses of the war in Mozambique and its independence from Portugal are tantalising and I felt I wanted to read more about Camila's time in Africa. Natalia speaks from the 1990s and this final section is a series of letters ostensibly written to Jenny. Natalia uses dense language which often left me quite baffled and unsure as to what Pedrosa was trying to impart through this character. I didn't get such as strong sense of the woman as I did with Jenny and Camila either.

So unfortunately I found my interest in In Your Hands trailing away the longer I read. Had the novel started with Natalia in fact this probably would have been a DNF for me. However I so enjoyed Jenny's narration that I kept hoping that liveliness would reassert itself so I kept on reading. (Spoiler: it doesn't!) In Your Hands isn't an especially long book, but it did drag considerably by the end which was a shame. I am sure other readers will feel differently about each of the women so I'd be interested to hear different perspectives, however I felt that more from Jenny and then closure at the end of Camila's third would have been preferable.

Etsy Find!
by Shop Underground Attic in
New York, USA

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Books by Ines Pedrosa / Historical fiction / Books from Portugal

Friday, 26 October 2018

Love Punked by Nia Lucas + Excerpt

Love Punked by Nia Lucas
Self published in July 2018.

Check for Love Punked in these bookstores:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Love Punked to your Goodreads

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother's floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that's not so much 'less well trodden', more 'perilous descent down sheer cliffs'.
Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.
Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn't balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.
Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.


The sensible part of me should really take stock, make plans, get home. The part of me that seeks out shitstorms like a pig looking for truffles merely shrugs and allows myself to get drawn into the writhing mass of bodies as the beat takes me. I dance. I forget that I am in way over my head as far as life is concerned and I throw myself into this sea of sweaty teenage humanity and it is bloody delicious.

I don’t care that I am on my own, years messing about with Lees has taught me that giving a stuff about looking a tit only limits the fun that you have in any given situation. Mind you, it helps that every person in my immediate vicinity looks like they dropped a pill or seven so their awareness of my solo, friendless status is significantly dulled.

The beat takes me to a dreamy sort of place where for several hours, my body moves of its own volition and my heart soars with each crescendo and accompanying drop. This is amazing.

Eyes closed, hands raised in adulation and hips doing things that I was unaware they had been instructed to engage in, I am belatedly aware of a pair of hands gently placed on my waist.

“You got some fuckin’ balls girl, y’know”, the voice rumbling in my ear is deep, soothing even in this noise and I immediately get goosebumps over my scalp.

Sloe eyed from the dance sub-space I have entered, I turn, feeling alien lips brush against my temple with the movement.

Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

It’s him. The lad that Ryan bought the drugs off, the incredible looking, brooding mate, he’s here and he’s talking to me.

I try to arrange my features into less of a stunned-mullet stare but again, I fear I just manage to look constipated. His dark brown eyes are holding my gaze, I can smell CK One and fabric conditioner and I watch as he slowly licks his lips before he bends towards my ear again,

“You’re a feisty one, eh ginger? You beat up blokes often?”, I feel his cheek move where it’s touching the skin on my face, it feels like he’s smiling.

I turn and look up at him, his full lips quirked up in a smirk and I feel my own lips twitch.

My voice wobbly with nerves, I shout over the music, “Only dickheads who deserve it”.

He stands back, slowly folding his arms over his chest as he nods nonchalantly but I note that his gaze rakes up and down my body briefly. He’s even taller up close and he’s wearing a Stussy Sweatshirt under a black bomber jacket. He’s got a single diamond stud in his left ear, a scar that bisects his right eyebrow and I’m belatedly aware that being near him makes my palms sweaty.

I feel that anxiety start to rise in my chest again and I blurt out, “D’you know where Ryan went?”

He smirks again and nods over towards the other side of the space, making me turn swiftly. I spot Ryan and his sniggering mates a short distance away. Ryan’s looking at me with poorly-concealed rage while his mates all dance in a manner which suggests the E’s have properly kicked in.

I mutter under my breath, “Oh shit, definitely no lift for me. Oh!”, as I turn back to him, I’m astonished to find that he’s stepped even closer to me, to the extent that we are now chest to chest.

Too flummoxed to know what to do, I look at him gormlessly as he bends his head and whispers,

“You wanna piss that cocky dickhead off even more?”, his smirk is entirely feral.

With a cartoon gulp, I attempt a shaky shrug. Honestly, I think it just looks like some form of spasm but as he leans closer, as his breath starts to puff against my face, I panic.

“I DON’T KNOW YOUR NAME”, my alarm gives my words a volume which scares even me. He jolts and looks briefly baffled before his lips twitch in a small smile.

“I’m Jamel, what’s your name then eh, Ginger Feist?”, he smiles as his head lowers again, warm puffs brushing my skin.

I whisper a wobbly, “Erin, my name’s Erin”

I feel his lips touch my cheek, one hand in my thick curls, the other snaking around my waist as he chuckles against my skin,

“Nah, you’re Ginger Feist, sweetness”, and that’s the last thing he says before his lips press against mine and the world explodes in shards of the brightest glitter.

Meet the author

I am a UK based author of Contemporary women's fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90's and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Author links: 
BlogTwitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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Books by Nia Lucas / Women's fiction / Books from England

Thursday, 25 October 2018

I Know You Like a Murder by Amy L. Sauder + #Giveaway

I Know You Like a Murder by Amy L. Sauder
Self published on the 23rd October 2018.

Check for I Know You Like A Murder at these bookstores

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add I Know You Like A Murder to your Goodreads

A narrator always gets to know the reader before spilling their deepest secret.

I am a murderer.

She was just a silly nothing of a girl until I made her rise to fame. A pennything.

So, reader: sit down, cozy up. I’d offer a cup of tea, but you may worry it’s poisoned, and you may be correct.

But I can’t just tell you how she died. That’s too easy. Too quick. Buckle up: you’re in for a villainous monologue.

Spotify playlist

Meet the Author 

Amy L. Sauder is a writer, educator, and creative. She has been called quirky meta mystery and walking fairytale. In her not-so-spare time, Amy coaches other writers and sells artistic fashion finds. While she has a degree in English, that has yet to land her amidst a murderous plot. Hopefully that doesn't change.

Author links:
Website ~ Facebook ~ TwitterGoodreads ~ Pinterest

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

One Winner will win a signed copy of I Know You Like A Murder.
Open Internationally until the 1st November.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Books by Amy L Sauder / Crime fiction / Books from America

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Zone 23 by C J Hopkins + Excerpt

Zone 23 by C J Hopkins
Published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine and Cormorant in May 2017.

Literary Flits Spotlight Giveaway Winner

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Zone 23 to your Goodreads

ZONE 23 ... a darkly comic dystopian satire about being human, all-too-human, featuring two of the most endearing Anti-Social anti-heroes that ever rebelled against the forces of Normality. Set in the post-catastrophic future, in a peaceful, prosperous, corporate-controlled society where all dissent and non-conformity has been pathologized, and the human race is being genetically corrected in order to establish everlasting peace on Earth, Zone 23 is a hilarious, heartbreaking affirmation of the anarchic human spirit, and a defiant departure from the norms of both the genre sci-fi and literary novel.

Meet The Author

C.J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays have been produced internationally, playing theatres and festivals such as Riverside Studios, 59E59 Theaters, Belvoir St. Theatre, Traverse Theatre, and the Du Maurier World Stage Festival, among others. His writing awards include: the 2002 First of the Fringe Firsts in Edinburgh, Scotsman Fringe Firsts in 2002 and 2005, and the 2004 Best of the Adelaide Fringe award. His debut novel, ZONE 23, was published in 2017 by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. His political satire and commentary appears in CounterPunch, ColdType, The Unz Review, and other political journals, and on the Consent Factory blog

Connect with CJ
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter


an excerpt from Chapter 24

Kyle Bentley-Briggs was feeling unwell. He was feeling less than overwhelmingly positive, significantly less than overwhelmingly positive. He was feeling this way about the past, and the present, and the future, and, well, pretty much everything. He'd been feeling this way for about three weeks. Kyle was having breakfast with Cramer on the 110th floor ("the top of the spire") of the Morloch-Malikov Broadcasting Tower, in the retro-trendy Overlook Café, which looked like a giant Christmas-tree ornament and was not quite imperceptibly revolving, widdershins (i.e. right to left), which for some reason felt incredibly weird. Cramer, who was sitting across from Kyle (so facing in the forwardly-traveling direction), and who was dipping into his bowl of Soygurt and assorted genetically-modified berries, was well on his way to completely forgetting those incessant and arguably unnecessary queries, and the constant Fleeps and Tweaks and emails, and calls, and other forms of media, people whose names he had already forgotten had routinely employed to interrupt him (while he was responding to some other idiot's query) and ask him when it really was. Such queries were no longer his responsibility. They were someone else's responsibility ... someone down on the 26th floor.

Cramer, immediately pursuant to his meeting with Kyle at Rosie's back in early March, where he'd promised Kyle he would contact the guy who knew the guy in Domestic Security and attempt to back-channel the Valentina problem, had fleeped a taxi and high tailed it back to District 12 Northeast Regional Headquarters. He'd taken the express to the 70th floor, submitted to a battery of Security procedures, clipped his pre-prepared Visitor's Pass to the breast pocket of his Paul Pratt suit, marched right up to Big Bob Schirkenbeck, and right there, right in the middle of the floor, with everyone peripherally looking at him around the sides and over the tops of their identically personalized workstation cubicles, informed him, Schirkenbeck, that he, Cramer, had a situation that needed his attention. Now this was a seriously ballsy move on Cramer's part, which Schirkenbeck noted, the situation being somewhat sensitive, involving as it did a personal friend, and technically part of his extended family, or in any event his cousin's wife, who Cramer felt he should probably mention he'd slept with once or twice at college, back when they were all in their twenties and no one was technically married to anyone. What Cramer needed to carefully convey, in a natural, unpremeditated way, was how his fervid and complete devotion to the vigilant 24/7 maintenance of Domestic and Interterritorial Security had overcome his natural reticence (being a human being and all) to report the extremely suspicious behavior, and disappearance without explanation, of his cousin's wife, who as it just so happened (and he looked straight into Schirkenbeck's eyes here) was the daughter of Catherine Rosenthal Briggs, who (as Schirkenbeck knew) was the illegitimate daughter of the mystery Terrorist Stanislav Barnicoat, whose story of course was the stuff of legend in Interterritorial Security circles. Schirkenbeck bought it hook, line and sinker, or at least he admired Cramer's acting skills, and his initiative, and his ruthless sense of priorities, and he elevated Cramer from the 26th floor to the 70th floor, where he clearly belonged.

Kyle was seated across from Cramer, so revolving backwards (i.e. right to left) at a pace that was slow, incredibly slow, but not quite slow enough to be imperceptible, which Kyle was finding increasingly unsettling, in both an emotional and physical way. His tie was hanging down into his bowl of gluten-free antioxidant oatmeal, which he hadn't touched and which was hardening into a disgusting, gray cement-like substance. He was staring across the table at Cramer, who was checking in on his All-in-One for the sixteenth time since the pretty young hostess had sat them at this rather prestigious table, after complimenting Cramer several times on the cut of his new designer suit.

"Sorry, buddy, just one second," Cramer mumbled, thumbing the screen.

Their table was one of several such exclusive Executive Dining tables positioned on the narrow spiraling tiers that ringed the upper reaches of the dome so that diners with Executive Dining cards could simultaneously gaze out over the endless sprawl of the megalopolis as the sun rose over the eastern horizon like a dazzling thermonuclear deathstar and look down on the other less-prestigious diners on the floors below. It was nestled right up to the curve of one of the massive ThermaSoak window panels, so that Kyle was forced to lean to his right, and to hunch down over his juice and gruel, whereas Cramer was leaning slightly to his left, keying the screen of his Viewer with one hand and dipping into his Soygurt with the other. All along the tier they were on other presumably Executive diners at other tables in designer suits were similarly slightly leaning and hunching and keying their Viewers as they drank their smoothies through plastic straws with bendable necks and ate their bowls of Soygurt and fruit, or oatmeal, or other gluten-free cereals. Suspended on a set of invisible wires from the stationary apex of the vertical axis of this giant revolving sphere they were supposed to be sitting there eating their breakfasts in, an orbicular array of video screens floated in space at different levels (i.e. the levels of the upper tiers), so that they seemed to be not quite imperceptibly revolving clockwise, so against the almost imperceptible counterclockwise revolution of the table itself ... all of which (i.e. this nearly constant diametrically circular movement, which also included the antipodal rushing back and forth along the tiers of the servers as well as the pretty hostess) was making Kyle increasingly sick. Many of these seemingly revolving screens (which of course, in reality, were not revolving, it was just a matter of Kyle's perspective) were running special Real-Time footage of various members of the mainstream media reporting from the lawn of some Cartwright estate, and they were intercutting other footage of people placing candles and flowers and pictures of Jimbo and hand-written prayers at the gates of his various other estates, and in the elevator bays of corporate offices, and in the entrances of Finkles retail locations. Other screens were running OUTBREAK!, a special edition of KILL CHAIN LIVE! wherein KILL CHAIN! players throughout the U.T. competed live on a regional level, pitting their skill-sets against each other to take down dangerous Terrorist targets (who were threatening to maliciously breach their quarantine) for the chance to advance to the global finals and win an assortment of valuable prizes. Susan Schnupftuch-Boermann Goereszky was jabbering frantically into the camera, and going live to nose-cone footage, and interactive maps, and hologram gizzies, and to handheld or possibly helmet-mounted right-in-the-thick-of-it action shots, and bringing in Dr. Roger P. Greenway to incomprehensibly holler nonsense whenever an operator took out a target. The obviously delirious Anti-Socials, whose end-stage Anti-Social disease had driven them to senseless Terrorist acts, and had filled their brains with rage and hatred, and whose suffering one could not imagine, were darting in and out of burning buildings, which were taking fire from Security forces, and were mounting pathetic and futile attacks on armored vehicles with stones and bottles, some of which they were filling with gas, or some other type of flammable substance, and igniting and lobbing into the ranks of Security Specialists marching toward them like a herd of identical faceless robots. Other Specialists (i.e. snipers or "Marksmen," and the gunners in the bays of Security choppers), were taking aim at the needlessly suffering Terrorists fleeing the advancing infantry, leading them slightly to account for the desperate zigzag patterns they were running away in, and finally mercifully cutting them down as quickly and as painlessly as humanly possible. Against the backdrop of all this chaos, and carnage, and agonized shrieking and so on, regional KILL CHAIN! quarter-finalists were laser-guiding precision missiles down out of the cloudless sky and into the open bedroom windows of high-ranking Terrorist leaders' apartments, and down into their basement bunkers, and through the walls of what looked like either torture chambers or nightclubs, or both, and down through the roofs of random buildings and various other high-value targets.

None of which of course was actually happening.

OUTBREAK!, like the rest of the KILL CHAIN franchise, was just an elaborate video game, a phenomenally expensive, interactive, "multi-player simulation," which aside from being just insanely popular and generating mondo revenue streams (there was spin-off Content, sporting apparel, little action figures for the kids, and so on), helped to relieve the chronic anxiety stemming from the constantly imminent threat of a sudden and devastating Terrorist attack with a nuclear device, or bio-agent, that the Normals were forced to perpetually live with. Basically, it let people blow off steam. Variant-Positives, despite the fact that most of them were medicated up the wazoo, and meditated two to three hours a day, and walked the Path(s) to Prosperity, and so on, were still just Homo sapiens sapiens, who sometimes needed to blow off steam. KILL CHAIN! allowed them to blow off this steam in a healthy compassion-associated fashion, as the virtual end-stage Terrorist targets whose bodies were being ripped to pieces, or vaporized into a pinkish mist, were beyond any sort of palliative care, so really this was the best thing for them.

Kyle was feeling increasingly unwell. Physically unwell. As in nauseated. As in he was going to uncontrollably vomit, in a sudden and shockingly projectile manner, either across the table at Cramer, who was smiling down into the screen of his Viewer, or off the tier and onto the heads of the non-Executive diners below. He turned away from the KILL CHAIN! horror and gazed out at the twinkling sea of lights stretching off into the horizon. He was moving backwards, north to west. He picked out the beacon of a tower in the distance and gave it his undivided attention.

"Sorry, man, what were we talking about?"

Cramer had finished whatever he was doing. He beamed across the table at Kyle like an infomercial appliance salesman.


"Oh. Yeah." He switched to his deeply concerned expression. "So ... how you doing with all that?"

"Not so good."

"But better, right?"

"Actually no."

"You're taking your meds, though."

Kyle nodded dutifully.

"What'd they give you?"

"Tribenzoline-something. I've got them at home."

Cramer had a piece of berry in his teeth.

"And you're walking your Path."

"Yeah. It's just …"

"Because that's the main thing."

"I know. I am. I …"

"Letting it go. "

"Right. I just …"

"What happened to your tie?"

"It's just a spot."

"Tonic water."

"No, it fell in my bowl."

"No. Tonic water will get it out."

The planet earth was rushing up into a screen in Kyle's peripheral vision.


"Something wrong with your oatmeal?"

"No. It's fine. My stomach's just funny."

"Send it back."

He scanned the tier, spied the server and eyeballed her over.

"No. It's fine. It's just a little ... it's just a little motion sickness."


"I'm just not feeling that well."

The server was standing there smiling at them.

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Everything's fine."

"Is there something wrong with your oatmeal, sir?"

The server's name was Hyancinth Wong. It said so on the display she was wearing. Her lips were bright red shapeless blobs and you could see all her bones beneath her skin.

"No. I just …"

"I can warm it up for you."

She was also wearing latex gloves.

"Thanks, but …"

"Let her warm it up for you."

As were all the other servers.

"Fine. Sure."

"I'll just warm this up then."

A woman was sobbing on a screen behind her.

"Thanks. Great."

"Was there anything else?"

"Not just now."

Kyle retched, just slightly. He reached for his glass of mineral water. Cramer quickly checked his Viewer.

"Anyway, great to see you, buddy."

"Yeah, I …"

"I meant to call you sooner, but then ... well, you know how it is. This whole promotion thing happened so fast."


"Long time coming. Shame it had to happen this way. Weird how things work out sometimes."


"The Will of the One and all that. Anyway, I thought we should probably talk. Process what happened. You know what I mean."

"Thanks for your Fleeps."

"Hey, don't even mention it. What can I say? I'm just so sorry."

"You don't have to keep apologizing."

"I know. I didn't mean it like that."


"I just meant ... I know you're hurting. But we did everything we could for her, right? You know this disease. It's like they say …"

Hyancinth was back with Kyle's warmed-up oatmeal.

"Here we go, nice and warm now."

Kyle grimaced and nodded.

"Was there anything else?"

A message tone beeped on Cramer's Viewer.

Kyle hadn't seen or spoken to Cramer since they'd met at Rosie's on 04 March. He'd rushed back home to Pewter Palisades, checked in quickly with Susan Foster to tell her everything was under control and that his cousin Greg, who worked at Hadley, had been advised, and was handling everything, and collapsed onto the living room couch, feeling drained but generally hopeful. A few days later he'd received a Fleep, SORRY ... WE MAY HAVE A PROBLEM. Two days later he'd received another one, REALLY SORRY. DEFINITE PROBLEM HERE. Two days later, INCREDIBLY SORRY. VAL DETAINED & DESIGNATED, followed by an animated sad-face emoticon.

The day after that he'd received a Tweak from someone by the name of Joralamon Gomm who apparently worked in the Records Department of the Family and Loved Ones Services Division of the Hadley Corporation of Menomonie, Wisconsin's District 12 Northeast Regional Headquarters, informing him that he was now divorced. Two hours later he received an invoice from the Family and Loved Ones Services Division for GD 984.50 for "processing fees and related services". Other communications followed. Most of which were also invoices, mostly for various Healthcare services and sundry legal and administrative fees. There was one for GD 16,000, the deductible for "emergency medical services," and another for GD 4,000.20, for "mobile emergency transport services." There were two in the GD 5,000 range for various "aggregated medical services," and one for GD 9,060.00 for "aggregated miscellaneous products of a non-exclusively medical nature related to in-patient care and comfort (including, but not limited to, disposable backless hospital gowns, non-slip footwear, moisturizing tissues, adhesive and non-adhesive dressings, nylon and/or dynaflex tubing, polyglycolide suture, etc)." There were charges for various records amendments, title transfers, releases, waivers, affidavits, statements, and so on. Finally, on or about the morning of Differently Mentally-Abled Persons Day, he'd received official confirmation of Valentina's designation as a Class 3 Anti-Social Person and her transfer to undisclosed Quarantine Zone. Also attached to this official email was a florally-embroidered digital greeting card extending the personal heartfelt condolences of the Board of Directors, Executive Management, Legal Department and Administrative Staff of the Hadley Corporation of Menomonie, Wisconsin on the loss of Kyle's unborn Clarion daughter, and praying that the One would take Kyle's hand and swiftly guide him down his hopefully short-term Path of Unimaginable Grief.

Throughout all this he had repeatedly called and fleeped and tweaked and texted and emailed his cousin Greg, to no avail. His Tweaks and Fleeps all went unanswered. His calls got routed straight to voicemail. Doctor Graell had prescribed a veritable pharmacy to help him through his grief, which he'd warned Kyle not to let himself wallow in, lest it mutate into clinical depression. The pills didn't seem to be doing very much, other than making him nauseated, so he was also taking all these antiemetics, which made him drowsy, so he was also taking several extra doses of Methylphenidril, and Benzehexophaline, and other stimulants, and drinking like three pots of coffee a day. He was quite a mess. His work was suffering. The Dean of Info-Entertainment Content had called him in to extend his condolences and suggest he take a few weeks off (or however many unpaid weeks he had to) to work through his unimaginable grief, which the Dean could only try to imagine, and then come back refreshed and ready to work, and resembling his normal, cooperative self. He assured the Dean he'd be OK and doubled up on his Methylphenidril (which he was already taking way too much of, and walking around the BVCC campus audibly grinding his teeth and smiling). He went back home and sat in the empty sunflower kitchen on Marigold Lane, where he muffled his agonized guttural shrieks, and his stomach-cramping convulsive weeping, with a dish-towel that smelled like Valentina, and that went with the color of the kitchen perfectly, and he prayed like a child alone in the dark for some magical power to turn back time.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by C J Hopkins / Science fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Divide And Rule by Rachel McLean

Divide And Rule by Rachel McLean
Published by Catawampus Press today, the 23rd October 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Divide And Rule to your Goodreads

Jennifer Sinclair’s fight to save her political career, her family and her freedom has failed. Traumatised by prison violence, she agrees to transfer to the mysterious British Values Centre.

Rita Gurumurthy has betrayed her country and failed the children in her care. Unlike Jennifer, she has no choice, but finds herself in the centre against her will.

Both women are expected to conform, to prove their loyalty to the state and to betray everything they hold dear. One attempts to comply, while the other rebels. Will either succeed in regaining her freedom?

Divide and Rule is 1984 for the 21st century - a chilling thriller examining the ruthless measures the state will take to ensure obedience, and the impact on two women.

Meet the author

I'm Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I'm told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories - well, I'm sorry but I can't help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They're inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

Author links: 
Book ClubTwitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rachel McLean / Thrillers / Books from England

Monday, 22 October 2018

Reprobation by Catherine Fearns + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Reprobation by Catherine Fearns
Published by Crooked Cat Books on the 16th October 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Add Reprobation to your Goodreads

Are you one of the elect?

Dr. Helen Hope is a lecturer in eschatology – the study of death, judgement, and the destiny of humankind. She is also a Calvinist nun, her life devoted to atoning for a secret crime.

When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, she forms an unlikely alliance with suspect Mikko Kristensen, lead guitarist in death metal band Total Depravity. Together, they go on the trail of a rogue geneticist who they believe holds the key – not just to the murder, but to something much darker.

Also on the trail is cynical Scouse detective Darren Swift. In his first murder case, he must confront his own lack of faith as a series of horrific crimes drag the city of two cathedrals to the gates of hell.

Science meets religious belief in this gripping murder mystery.


This extract is the beginning of the book. It introduces the first body and hopefully sets the scene and the tone for the rest of Reprobation.

Across grey waters, where the river Mersey meets the Irish Sea, wind turbines puncture the dawn horizon like spinning crucifixes. Further out still, tiny lights can be discerned, framing the ghostly shape of an exploratory oil rig which guards this watery Golgotha. Here on the beach the smooth sandscape is perforated too, by the evenly-spaced bronze figures of Antony Gormley’s art installation, Another Place. So many faceless men, some half submerged, gazing out to sea and waiting calmly, expectantly in this liminal space. To the south is the port of Liverpool, where piles of coloured containers and bright blue gantry cranes pierce the landscape, yearning for a prosperity long lost. And to the north, as the beach recedes into sand dunes and forest and piles of war-rubble, here too is a crucifix.
A cross, fashioned from two pieces of builders’ timber, has been erected in the sand, supported by sandbags. The cross is man-sized, with a hand nailed to each end of the horizontal plane. The naked body in between the hands does not hang forlorn and Christ-like, but is tied rigid and undignified to the vertical plank. Its skin is papery and grey, in the early stages of decomposition. The neck is fastened with ropes at the intersection of the cross in an eternal throttle, causing the man’s face to be tilted up towards the words painted neatly on the wood above his head: ‘Hath not the potter power over the clay?’
At his feet the tide has left a pile of razor clams and bladderwrack, an offering to the dead. But no crown of thorns for this martyr; instead, across his forehead, a deep carving in which the blood has long dried, leaving the clear dark outline of an image: an inverted axe with a double blade. And no jeering crowds for this condemned man; only scatterings of oyster-catchers and sandpipers that beachcomb for treasures, while gulls and starlings soar vulture-like against the wind. Soon the first dog-walkers and joggers of the day will find their morning pilgrimage tainted forever.

Meet the author

Catherine Fearns is a writer from Liverpool, UK. Her first novel, a crime thriller called ‘Reprobation’, will be published by Crooked Cat Books in October 2018. As a music journalist Catherine is a regular contributor to Pure Grain Audio, and she has also published numerous pieces of short fiction and non-fiction.Catherine has a degree from Oxford University and a Masters from the London School of Economics. She began her career as a financial analyst, but after having four children she retrained as a breastfeeding counsellor. Having lived in several countries, she recently moved to Switzerland, where she discovered her love of writing and is a member of the Geneva Writers’ Group. She plays the piano very well but prefers to play the guitar very badly. Oh, and she likes metal music. A lot.

Author links: 
Twitter ~ Facebook

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Open internationally until the 31st October 2018.

Win a gift pack which would include signed book, tote bag, t-shirt, magnet, guitar picks, temporary tattoos and postcards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel's Random Resources reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data. Rachel's Random Resources is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Catherine Fearns / Crime fiction / Books from England