Blog Tour: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson – Author Post


Ever since the birth of my daughter, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the father/daughter relationship in literature. Having my own girl is one of the main reasons why I included a strong father/daughter dynamic in my novel, The Wolves of Winter. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for stories surrounding fathers and daughters. Here’s a list of seven great novels with prevalent (not necessarily heart-warming) father/daughter relationships:

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

As a single father, Samuel Hawley has done his best to raise his daughter, Loo. But as his own violent past threatens to resurface, it’s more than his life on the line this time. Loo and Samuel are not characters I will soon forget. They’re tough, troubled, and their relationship is both strained and tender. A page-turning thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is a fascinating look at violence, crime, and the things we’d do to protect the ones we love.

My Absolute Darling

If you’re looking for a cozy father/daughter story, you can look away now. This father/daughter relationship is rife with abuse, neglect, and violence. But it’s completely riveting. The protagonist, a young girl named Turtle, is excellently drawn, and the story is as tense as they come. Beautifully written, this novel is at once hard to read and impossible to put down

Under a Pole Star

Normally, I’d refuse to say something like this, but, Under a Pole Star really is a beautiful love story. However, beneath the romance, this is a novel about a girl who idolizes her father. A girl who began exploring the polar region because her sense of adventure was handed down to her by her dad, who raised her on a whaling ship. This novel is filled with violence, gorgeous settings, a believable love story, and a daughter whose relationship with her father changed the trajectory of her life.

Good Morning Midnight

Two stories intertwine as an aging astronomer survives in an apocalyptic Arctic and an astronaut seeks a way home after airwaves have gone silent. The astronomer, Augustine, finds a young girl out in the tundra and takes her in. Haunted by the memories of his past, Augustine and the young girl form a strong father/daughter bond. Good Morning Midnight is a fascinating story both for its unique landscapes and its introspective look at love and loss.

News of the world

An aging Civil War veteran named Captain Kidd travels across northern Texas, reading the newspaper for paying audiences. On his travels, he encounters a young girl named Johanna, who was captured and raised by a tribe of Kiowa raiders. After agreeing to escort the girl back to her original family, Kidd and Johanna develop a close father/daughter relationship that complicates his decision to leave her with a family she doesn’t love, in a life she doesn’t want. A simple, yet excellently told novel with characters to root for and remember.

The Wolf Road

Here’s another father/daughter relationship you wouldn’t exactly want in your family. After apocalyptic events, Elka is found and raised in the wilderness by a hunter named Trapper. When Elka learns that Trapper is a cold-hearted murderer, she escapes, hoping to find her real parents—but Trapper is soon on her tail. With an adopted father/daughter relationship of the worst kind, this novel is enthralling. The Wolf Road asks questions about who we are and who we become when the ones we thought we loved turn out to be the villains.

All the Light we Cannot See

Finally, All the Light we Cannot See is the story of a young blind girl and a German boy whose lives are both drastically altered by the travesties of war. In this novel, the father/daughter relationship between the blind girl, Marie-Laure, and her father, Daniel, is something to be utterly savored. Daniel takes painstaking care of his daughter, building her a wooden model of their neighborhood in Paris so that she can learn to navigate the streets through touch. Among others, it is this wonderful relationship that drives the narrative forward, showing how the bonds of love are strengthened in times of great sorrow.

There is some great suggestions here form Tyrell Johnson. I myself have an amazing relationship with my father so I always love to read about father/daughter relationships because of it.

One of the things I loved in Tyrell’s The Wolves of Winter was the love Lynn had for her father, and vice versa.

You can check my review of The Wolves of Winter here.

Make sure you check out this awesome suggestions, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Happy Readings,

*FangirlSince1988 xxx

Blog Tour: The Truth About Lies by Tracy Darnton – Author Post


The Joy of Book Journals

“It’s got an orange cover and it’s by Richard Someone or maybe Roberta.” In the ten minutes it takes me to wander down to Mr’s B’s Emporium for a book I’ve just seen reviewed somewhere, I’ve often forgotten the title and author. And, like most people, I’d struggle to recall more than the general gist of a book a month after finishing it, or to quote an actual sentence. Our memories just don’t work in that way.

So I have a little book. A book journal. Not that exciting on the outside, but the inside is stuffed full of notes and cuttings and the occasional cartoon. I write brief notes on most of the books I read. I started when I was doing an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University as I had to cite them in essays. If an author used a technique I might want to explore like multiple narratives or a diary format, this was all duly noted ready to use for reference.

I’ve carried on with the journal because it helps with my own writing. What makes me love this character or find the dialogue convincing? Am I ever bored and skipping sections or is the author making me stay up late to keep on to the end? I’m reading as a writer looking at the craft of the author. And I don’t want to waste that process – so I need an aide-memoire.

I’ve never shown anyone before but here’s a sneaky peak inside my book journals and a flavour of the random notes I’ve made:

I loved Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon and copied out the dedication: “For you the dreamers. Overlooked at school. Never won prizes. You who will own tomorrow.” I was genuinely creeped out by Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte and for Lisa Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal I’ve underlined a cryptic “good on desire”. In Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart I admired the way the book resolved to give satisfaction but left threads for the next book.

The line which really tickled me in David Solomon’s My Brother is a Superhero was: “I don’t know what it was but something about the situation made people want to cook meat slowly in large pots.” That still makes me laugh. From Rachel Ward’s Numbers I’d picked out a well-done sex scene on page 135, which I seem to remember involved hay and a barn, and in David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey I wished I’d written the prose on pages 51 and 275.

These notes are all very personal to me and my experience of the books. As I flick through, I’m transported back into those stories and how I felt about them. And reviewing the notes gives a better chance of the information making it into long-term memory.

So I’d strongly recommend keeping a book journal if you want to be a writer. Make your own peculiar comments and build up a bespoke “How to write” handbook full of the bits which interest you. Plus, it’s a good reason if you needed one to buy more stationery.

Oh, and those clever bookseller types at Mr B’s who like a challenge found the book I was after. The orange book written by Richard/Roberta turned out to be Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. And the cover is blue.

Written by Tracy Darnton

Tracy author pic.jpgTracy Darnton’s The Truth About Lies will be published by Stripes on July 12th 2018. Now she’s written a thriller on memory, she hopes to be much better at remembering.

Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton


Blog Tour: The Dark Divide by D.K Stone – Author Post


The Tools of Writing Suspense

There are many ways to plot a book. For some authors, the process is like gardening: Plant the seeds of an idea, tend them, and see what grows. For others, it’s architecture: Create a structure and assemble the plot by following that plan. I’m probably a little of both, but when it came to writing my mystery / thriller The Dark Divide (Stonehouse, 2018), I found I needed far more of a plan than I’d expected.

Looking back, these are some key elements which kept my plot rolling.

  1. Start with the End in Mind: The Dark Divide is a small town mystery about an outsider, Rich Evans, who finds himself trapped there by circumstances. Accused of burning down the hotel he once managed, Rich’s very freedom is at stake. Add to that a deranged character who seems bent on destroying my main character, Louise, throw in a mystery that goes back three decades, and you have the plot of a whodunit! I knew where I wanted to end, so at the beginning of the writing process, I let my inner ‘gardener’ write what she wanted while I kept the ending in mind. That final scene of The Dark Divide, in fact, was one of the first scenes I wrote! A few unexpected events appeared as I wrote, but having this general idea kept them on topic.
  2. Lay Out a Plot Plan: In my den, I have a wall dedicated to whatever novel I’m currently working on. I write a one-sentence summary of each scene on a sticky note, color-coding by which character it focuses on. I then lay these scenes out in columns by chapter. These scenes can (and do!) move around while I’m writing, but being able to see them in motion – color by color – lets me get the bigger picture of whose story is being told.

With mysteries, it’s important to keep your readers guessing. Moving character-scenes lets you do that.

  1. Get an Outside Point-Of-View (or MANY): When the first draft of The Dark Divide was finished, I sent it off to beta-readers. Their insights allowed me to do my first round of edits (and they were massive!) With this done, my agent took a look, offering his ideas for polishing. (Round 2 was slightly easier.) Then the book headed off to a professional editor.

In my case, this was Dinah Forbes, one-time executive editor from McClelland & Stewart, who I had worked with on book 1: Edge of Wild. She took The Dark Divide plot to the next level. Her complex, scene-by-scene analysis broke the manuscript down like a mathematical formula, pointing out issues with pace and plotting, and suggesting ways of tightening the mystery. Her notes were both terrifying and satisfying to read. If someone with a background as strong as Ms. Forbes says your book is ready to sell, it is!

  1. Rewrite, Rewrite, and Rewrite Again: Every book benefits from revisions, but if you’re writing a mystery / thriller, edits are the difference between success and failure. (ie: See everything I said in the last paragraph.)
  2. Let Your Characters Have One Out-Of-Character Moment: The last hint came to me as I was deep in the throes of revisions, and that is the question of how you throw enough shade on everyone in your story to leave them open to being the potential villain. It’s incredibly easy, and works beautifully in the realm of building believable, flawed personas for all the characters in your book.

You let them have flaws.

And every once in a while, you (sparingly) allow them to do something ever-so-slightly ‘off’. Why? Because your readers are smart, and they’ll be watching for it. You want them to wonder, and there’s no better way to do that then leave everyone as a possible suspect.

In the end, the only way to know if your mystery actually worked is to let your readers have a go at it. When I sent it off to Dinah, my editor, for the last time, I wondered if she’d ‘catch’ the ending. She didn’t! And that, more than anything else, told me it really was done.

Written by D.K. Stone

WatertonPic-DanikaStoneDanika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide).

When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online.

She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Blog Tour: Prosecco and Promises by A.L.Michael

Prosecco and Promises Cover

Today I bring you a lovely Guest Post! Hurray!

This is part of the Blog Tour for Prosecco and Promises, a lovely Romance book by A. L. Michael. She was very kind to write a lovely post about inspiration, and how to acknowledge when inspiration finds you.

Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour for this brilliant book.

Now I’m going to go enjoy my Prosecco, and I leave you with A.L. Michael to entertain you.


*FangirlSince1988 xxx

When inspiration finds you

You know that famous saying about buses? It’s pretty similar with ideas, at least with me. I can go for months with perhaps a rough idea in the back of my mind that I know I’ll get to eventually, and the minute I start working seriously on a book, another idea pops up, not quite fully formed, and demands attention.

The fear is, at times like this, that if you don’t turn your head and look at this idea head on, you don’t acknowledge it and give it some time in the spotlight, it’ll fade away. It’ll be one of those whispers when you wake up, so sure you could never forget that dream. So I am tempted by these fickle ideas when they flaunt their wares and strut their stuff. I sit them down with a nice cup of tea and ask them to tell me their life story. The new idea thrives, so pleased to be the centre of attention. My old faithful, my midway manuscript sits there, wondering what the hell is going on, because hello, we were just getting to the good bit, but usually they’re patient. A little grumpy, perhaps, when I return to work and need to rev the engine on the book again, but they seem to understand. After all, they were once the tempting idea too.

The tempting new idea needs that love and attention straight away, in order to grow into something just tangible enough to survive in a couple of notebooks, the back of a scribbled notebook and the back of my mind. It’s like a delicate seed. We know seeds grow into flowers, that’s what they do. But an idea is a seed that’s started sprouting, and if you leave it without attention, without light or water, it’ll fade away and wither. Right at the beginning, the start of that idea, you need to listen.

This has happened a few times in the last few months. I worked hell for leather on a domestic noir that had been sitting in the back of my mind as an epic love story four years ago. When I was working on that, a magical realism story shook her hips and long hair and called me over. When I had finished that, another had appeared, desperate and panting like it had run a long way to find me. The final one popped up, sat beside me on my train journey every morning for a week, explored the different versions of itself, and told me I wasn’t ready yet, but that it would be back when I was. The root would survive, nestled warm in my head.

Ideas have never been my problem, and last summer, on my research trip to Ischia for Prosecco and Promises, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, where she says Ideas are like sentient beings, nudging at you for attention. When you don’t work with them, when you break the contract between you to bring them to life, they move on to someone else. Which is why when you see another book and think ‘wait, I had that idea!’ you were probably right. But that idea got tired of waiting around for you. It had to go get made. We don’t own ideas, they borrow us.

It’s a strange concept, but I quite like it. Because lots of ideas are the same, it’s often the voice that’s the difference. So many stories are similar, and writers get put off bothering, but they shouldn’t because only they can tell their story their way. The author becomes a translator from the ideas realm to the real world.

I think these ideas appear when I’m writing because I’m in a different state of mind. Writing is dreaming on paper. Or, on screen. Our brains are looking for the right phrase, imagining movements, visualising the colour of the sky or the feel of someone’s jumper. We’re in something, an almost sacred space where ideas can cross over, because we’re ready to accept them.

But when we’re not in that space, there are things we can do to encourage ideas and inspiration. I find being unendingly curious really helps. Well, curious is the kind word for it – nosey. I’m nosey. I listen to people talking on the bus, and I read non-stop articles and I ask myself questions, and whenever I find something interesting I ask ‘What if?’ and take it to it’s furthest logical extreme. I watch and read and listen to as much as I can, consuming it all to see what strikes up a spark. I assess why my favourite things are my favourite things – why did that make me laugh, why is that beautiful? What type of person would find this ugly? What would they say?

When I started my creative writing class at university, we were sent out with a notebook to find inspiration. Anywhere. Find things and write about them. Inspiration detectives. A lot of the time, the things I wrote were rubbish. But learning to look at the blades of grass and how they moved, or listening to the girl crying to her best friend in the coffee shop, or watching the movement of a teacher as he stopped to shake hands with a senior professor – being aware and open and nosey – this is where inspiration lurks.

It’s waiting for you – all you have to do is listen.

About the book

IMG_9452Title: Prosecco and Promises

Author: A. L. Michael

Previous Books: Cocktails and Dreams

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 12th February 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Synopsis: Meet Mia: an unforgettable heroine learning the meaning of life and love on a beautiful Italian island. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.
Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.
Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer?
If you love Prosecco and Promises, why not read more about Mia’s best friend Savvy in Cocktails and Dreams? Out now!

Get the Prosecco and Promises e-book here:
Amazon (UK)*(affiliated link)
Kobo (UK)
Google Books (UK)
Apple Books (UK)

About The Author

IMG_9451A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of 10 novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, started with Cocktails and Dreams, to be followed by Prosecco and Promises, and Martinis and Memories. She likes to write about difficult women. Well, they say to write what you know. Andi works as a Content Writer, as well as a therapeutic facilitator. She has a bunch of degrees in stuff to do with writing, and wrote her MSc dissertation on the power of creative writing in eating disorder recovery. She truly believes stories can change your life.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @AlMichael_
Facebook: A.L. Michael

Prosecco and Promises Blog Tour Week 2 (3)

Preorder Campaign: The Exact Opposite Of Okay By Laura Steven

Last year at YALC, I was lucky to get a proof of The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. A few weeks later I was flying for some work in Marbella and decided to take this little book proof with me to keep me company. The company didn’t last long, because as I soon as I started reading it I couldn’t put it down (Which apparently made my heat stroke worse).

Well it was all worth it, as this is an A-mazing book!To top it all off I’m now also part of The Exact Opposite of Okay street team #BitchesBiteBack 💜

So today, I’m here to let you know about the Preorder campaign, and let me tell you that you won’t regret it one bit!

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven it’s coming out on the 8th of March. It’s a laugh out loud book but also it’s about a woman claiming ownership of her sexuality, double standards, rejecting shame culture and a very feminist read!

Just follow the instructions below and voila! An extra super awesome chapter in your hands.

Bitches Bite Back,

FangirlSince1988 xxx

Want to win a bonus chapter from THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY?💖👊🏻✨

Fancy hearing the hilarious story of how aspiring comedian, impoverished orphan and slut extraordinaire Izzy O’Neill lost her virginity? 💀🙊

If you preorder The Exact Opposite Of Okay before 7 March 2018 – and email proof of purchase to – you’ll be sent a super exclusive BONUS SCENE on release day, exploring Izzy’s first time in painstaking detail 😈🔥

This scene won’t be available anywhere else, so the only way to find out how Izzy got the perfectly round bruise on her left buttcheek is by preordering The Exact Opposite Of Okay now 🎊✨

Preorder in the UK

Preorder internationally


Synopsis: Aspiring comedian Izzy O’Neill never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench emerge, the trolls set out to take her apart.

Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she must figure out who’s behind the vicious website – while keeping her sanity intact. Izzy is about to find out that the way the world treats girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.This is a book for anyone who’s ever calledthemselves a feminist … and anyone who hasn’t.

‘Funny, unapologetic and shameless in the bestpossible way, this is a YA heroine (and book) that you’ve never seen before’ – Louise O’Neill, award-winning author of Asking for It

‘This book will make you laugh out loud, nod inagreement, cringe with recognition, and stand up and cheer. I adored it’ – Katherine Webber, author of Wing Jones