Jump Back to Jazz Age Romance with the Book Blitz Tour for Midnight Flit (The Carstairs Affairs #2) by Elin Gregory (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 73,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: Manifold Press
 
The Carstairs Affairs Series
 
Book 1 – Eleventh Hour – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb


Miles Siward and Briers Allerdale return for another thrilling Jazz Age adventure .

“Silk stockings on expenses.”

Miles’s aristocratic mother has information of importance to the British Government and he must escort her home from Bucharest immediately, but their plans go violently awry and Miles and Lady Siward find themselves on a train to Belgrade – where Miles’s lover is posted. Since their pursuers are looking for a man and a woman, might two women slip past them unnoticed?

“Is anyone on this train who they say they are?”

Briers doesn’t know whether to kiss Miles or punch him but is delighted to accompany him and his mother on their journey. All he has to do is keep an eye open for their enemies – but who exactly are they; the enormous Russian, the sinister priest, the handsome jazz pianist, or maybe the winsome young movie star? And his mother-in-law might just be the most terrifying of all!

All aboard for the ride of a lifetime, with a cast of characters you’ll never forget!


Excerpt


Secret Intelligence service operative, Miles Siward, is preparing for a mission with the assistance of his gentleman’s gentleman, Pritchard.

“Do you miss working for Father?” Miles asked after a moment. “I feel bad that I’ve never asked before, but I was so grateful when you agreed to come back with me and run my little establishment that I suppose it never occurred to me to ask.”

Pritchard paused, his hands full of snowy linen. “Lord bless you, sir, no. Ronald and I were heartily sick of exchanging letters by then, and maybe seeing each other once a year – your father’s commitments allowing. To be offered the chance to come here, with private accommodation provided, was a Godsend. My only worry was that a relationship started in the trenches and continued on paper might not weather more frequent contact.”

Ronald – professional stage manager, natty dresser, a full head taller than Pritchard – was perhaps a little shrill, but one had to be shrill to be heard in theatrical circles. From what little Miles had seen of Pritchard and Ron together, though, they seemed blissfully happy and he wished them well and envied them with all his heart.

“I’m glad,” he said. “Going from valet to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Bucharest to the man-of-all-work of a clerk seems such a come down.”

“We both know that you are far more than a clerk, sir,” Pritchard grinned. “And speaking of more, Bucharest is not that far from Belgrade. While you are there, will there be any chance of meeting with the master?”

Miles snorted. “You mustn’t call Briers that, it only encourages him. He’ll turn up in plus fours and a monocle next, you wait and see!”

“It’s meant affectionately, sir.” Pritchard gave him a serene smile and tucked a rolled black tie and a pair of silk socks in beside the shirt.

“I know, and he loves it.” Miles paused in smiling contemplation of Briers Allerdale – tall where Miles was short, dark where he was fair, a hard-bitten field agent where Miles spent a lot of time at his desk − and thanked his lucky stars that opposites attract. “But sadly I am only going for one night, solely to retrieve Ma and bring her home safely in time for her appointment. A side trip is completely out of the question.

“I understand, sir.” From the sympathetic glint in Pritchard’s eye, Miles knew that he did understand, very well.

 
About Elin
 

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.

Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.

Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.

www.elingregory.com
www.facebook.com/elin.gregory
@ElinGregory
www.elingregory.wordpress.com

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Elin Gregory on Heroes and Helpers and her release ‘The Bones of Our Fathers’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Elin Gregory here talking about writing, characters and her latest story,The Bones of Our Fathers, one of our highly recommended novels.  Welcome, Elin.

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Heroes and Helpers by Elin Gregory

We all love a hero, don’t we? I know I enjoy writing mine, but I have to admit that most of my heroes would flounder and fall without the support of their secondary characters. Because I’ve often written stories where the heroes are in small enclosed communities – a workshop, on a ship – most of them have been ‘stag dos’ where all the available characters are men, but when writing stories set in a modern town with a normal spread of population it would seem a bit odd for the heroes to only bother with the other men in the area. In the Bones of Our Fathers I have very much enjoyed adding a mixed bunch of men and women who can help the heroes along, or hinder them if that’s what they are like.

Small towns thrive on gossip and so Mal, used to the anonymity of city living, is constantly startled by how much people know about him. I don’t find that unusual at all. I was brought up in a village even smaller than the fictional Pemberland and knew very well that if I stepped out of line my parents would have been told about it before I could get home to tell my side of the story. That sounds terribly oppressive but it had its advantages too. Any child who needed help could count on getting it. Any elderly person who was ill and didn’t open their curtains in the morning would get a visit from a neighbour as soon as it was noticed. In rural areas there’s a very blurred line between nosiness and neighbourly concern.

So Mal has a support network whether he likes it or not. There are the men, young and old, of the Friday Night irregulars – an unofficial gay club – and his employees, mumsy Sharon and outspoken pool-shark Betty. There’s Lil, his landlady and Veronica “Call me Ronnie, dahling”, a venerable groupie rumoured to have boinked all of the Stones – or was it The Who? She doesn’t know, if you can remember the Sixties you weren’t there! Newspaper reporters, ambulance men, building site labourers, all have an opinion on Mal’s doings and don’t hesitate to share it, but if there’s trouble they’ll join forces. Cities may be exciting places to live but I think I prefer the smaller more friendly environs of a little town.

Which do you prefer – city lights or rural quiet?

 
Length: 80,000 words approx
 
Publisher: Manifold Press
 
Cover Design: Michelle Peart
 
Blurb
 

Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.


Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?


Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.


 

 

Author Bio

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.


Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.


Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.

Author Contacts:

www.elingregory.com
www.facebook.com/elin.gregory
@ElinGregory
www.elingregory.wordpress.com

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A MelanieM Review: The Bones Of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.

The Bones Of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory is the type of book I sigh and cuddle up with.  From the moment I settle into the quaint Welsh village of Pemberland and its surrounding towns of Escley, Brynglas and King’s Norton, I know I’m in for a treat.  I love Elin Gregory and having a main character who’s a museum curator is a subject she’s uniquely qualified to write about (read her author’s bio).   The descriptions of the Pemberland Centre for Heritage and Culture, formerly the Town Museum and its staff are vivid, sometimes hilarious,and feel created with an eye of someone familiar with similar settings and associates, albeit with fondness and sometimes exasperation.  The last with the ladies of the Library with whom Mal and his staff now have to share a building.  The bickering, the relationship dynamics that unfold between the town’s inhabitants and Mal, someone newly arrived in Pemberland and new to small village society maneuverings is both charming, believable, and cosy reading.

Its Rob Escley and their mutual attraction that helps to launch Mal further into becoming part of his newly adopted town and further his passion for his new little museum. Rob makes a remarkable discovery upon land that’s being prepared for development and that find propels Mal and Rob to new togetherness and a fight to save it for the village and prosperity.

However, nothing is ever simple.  This is a terrific story where trust is a big issue for Mal, misunderstandings and miscommunication loom large, mostly because Mal just doesn’t understand what it means to live and be part of village life as he’s been so solitary for most of his.  To switch from one mental and emotional state to one of almost constant connectedness is a transition we watch Mal make throughout the story.  Sometimes funny, sometimes it filled with mistakes and angst (a rainy bike race through town is one of my favorite scenes here), Mal has to choose which life he’s going to live in the end.  That choice will include Rob.

Ah Rob Escley.  A bundle of vulnerability, sex appeal and smarts.  Plus loyalty of course.  He was so easy to fall for.  But then this entire story from Betty , Zoe, Harvey, the regulars at the tavern called the Friday Nighters, even Morris,  a certain gigantic dog, The Bones of Our Fathers overflows with characters to love.  I mean I swear I’m going to hound this author until we get a story for a certain PC Brian Ferriner. I need to know his back history and want him to find a love too.  How I really hated for this story to end and for me to have to leave this town and people behind.

I highly recommend The Bones of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory.  The romance is gentle, believable and happy.  This village and townspeople have a staying power and an ability to creep into your heart as a place you’ll want to return to.  I hope the author decides this is a universe she will visit often in future stories as well.

Cover art by Michelle Peart is wonderful with a mug that shows up in the storyline.

Buy Links: Manifold Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 231 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Manifold Press
ISBN139781908312549
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://manifoldpress.co.uk

Release Blitz & Review Tour: While You See A Chance by Alexa Milne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Manifold | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Publisher: Manifold Press


Length: 58,000 words


Blurb

As children growing up in South Wales, Sion, Phil and Helen were known as the Three Musketeers, always together and never apart – but time moves on. Sion left to lecture in history at Yale. Phil married Helen because it seemed the obvious thing to do, and they settled down to life in Manchester.


Now all three are approaching sixty. After the death of his partner, and wanting to solve a family mystery, Sion returns to his childhood home to start again. When Helen announces she wants a divorce, Phil also returns home, to a new teaching job, and to renovate the ruin of a house he and Sion once dreamed of living in.


Neither man knows the other is back. Neither man knows how the other feels. With so much unsaid, and so many years apart, can Sion and Phil finally face the truth and take a chance on finding happiness together?


Excerpt

“D’you want help with packing your shopping, sir?” the girl on the till asked in a sing-song voice typical of the area.

“No, thanks, I haven’t got much.” He pulled off a few plastic bags, a difference from the usual brown paper of American supermarkets. In a hurry, he didn’t pay much attention to the people around until a voice, that came from so long ago, distracted him. He lifted his head.

“You have to pay five pence each for those, sir. New rules.”

Sion turned his attention back to the girl. “That’s fine. Don’t worry.”

“You could get a bag for life, sir.”

“Whatever’s easiest.”

He glanced over to the other till in the direction of the voice where a large man stood stuffing his purchases into a bag. He stood well over six feet, with broad shoulders, which Sion supposed tapered down to narrower hips. A heavy suede coat covered the man’s rear, making it hard to tell. His luxuriant salt and pepper locks reflected the many shades that older ginger-haired men often had when mixed with grey. Strands curled over the fur collar of his coat. Something familiar about the man made Sion’s senses tingle.

The assistant at the other till spoke to the customer. “That’ll be eighteen seventy-four please, Mr Price, and I’ll see you at parents’ evening tonight. I hope Jamie’s been behaving himself this term.”

Sion’s breath hitched, and the girl on his till gave him a puzzled look as he turned away. The noise he’d made must have been more audible than he’d intended. Now he was absolutely certain of the man’s identity, even if he hadn’t seen his face. He leaned on the counter and took a deep breath, hoping to slow his racing pulse.

“Are you all right, sir?” the girl asked. “I guess with that accent you’re not from around here. On holiday, is it? It’s a lovely part of Wales, even at this time of year. Lots to do.”

“Yes, sorry, and no, I’ve just moved here,” he said, raising his head to meet her concerned gaze, but keeping his face down. “How much do I owe?”

The girl told him and he handed over the money in a hurry, not wanting to lose sight of the other man. Sion followed his childhood friend until he stopped behind a Land Rover near the entrance. Shaking slightly, Sion moved nearer.

“Phil?” he asked quietly, not wanting to make the man jump.

“What the – ?” Phil stared at him then rubbed his eyes as if he couldn’t quite believe them.

The shock on his friend’s face made Sion step back for a moment. He took in the figure in front of him. Phil had turned into a huge bear of a man, complete with beard. He’d always had the height, but now he had the breadth as well. Sion imagined his size might intimidate the small children in his charge. Now, Phil simply stared, his eyes wide with shock, then took a step backwards as if he’d seen a ghost.

“It’s me, Phil,” Sion said. He supposed he’d also changed over the last thirty years. His hair, now grey, was cut short at the sides but longer on top. He’d put on a few pounds since his teens, but remained lean and wiry, although more through luck and genetics, than diet and exercise.

“Bloody hell.” Phil continued staring, then put out his hand. Sion took it, and they stood shaking and saying nothing for an awkward moment. “My God, Sion, hmm, I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting … What on earth are you doing here? Are you here for Christmas?”

“I’ve just bought a house locally. I’m back to stay. I guess I’m the last person you expected to find out shopping. Mind you, I could say the same for you. I thought you lived up north.”

“I’ve been back four years. I’m head at a local primary school. When Helen and I got divorced, I decided to come home to Wales. So, why on earth are you here of all places?”

Sion had to collect his thoughts and process that information. Phil and Helen had split up? Come on, get your act together. “I decided to move back after … It doesn’t matter for now, it’s a long story. Look, why don’t you and I have dinner tonight and catch up? There must be a decent local restaurant – unless you’re busy, of course. Sorry, that was presumptuous of me.”

Phil lifted the bag into his car then slammed the boot closed. “No … I mean yes. I’m sorry, I can’t do tonight. I’ve got to get going. I slipped out at lunchtime to get a few bits and pieces for parents’ evening.”

Sion heard the shake in his old friend’s voice, but resisted the temptation to reach out and touch him again. “It’s okay,” Sion said, reaching into his pocket for his wallet. He took out a change-of-address card. “I live here now. Call me any time.”

Sion waited while Phil parked the trolley in the bay to the front of the building and returned to his car.

“I will, but I’m not sure when. It’s a busy time of year, leading up to the holidays.” Phil glanced at his watch. “I’ve got to go.”

Sion moved closer and this time touched the other man’s arm. “It’s so good to see you again.”

Phil continued to stare at the ground, obviously unable to look him in the eye. “You too, but I must get off. I’ll call as soon as I can.” Phil jumped into his car without looking back.

Sion watched the Land Rover pull out of the car park before returning to his SUV. Sitting in the driver’s seat, he reached for his wallet again. Tucked away inside, he found the photo he’d carried with him for over thirty years, taken the day before he went off on his own to Oxford University. Everyone had called them the Three Musketeers, himself, Phil and Helen, always together, sharing everything except their deepest darkest secrets. Sion had loved Phil with a passion, but had never told him. Phil and Helen had gone off together to Manchester University, and had married not long after they’d graduated. Not wanting to stay, Sion had emigrated to America to lecture in history at Yale.

Leaning back in his seat, he thought back to the conversation he’d had with Helen the day before he’d left for Oxford. He’d often wondered if she ever told Phil about his confession that, being gay, he could never feel that way about her. Sion hoped she hadn’t. He’d been surprised to hear of their engagement, but hoped she’d come to love Phil. For the truth and tragedy of Sion’s life was that he’d only ever been in love with one person, and he’d just watched him drive away.

Author Bio


Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions. Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing. She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

 

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A Stella Review: The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

the-true-love-solutionJules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.

I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like  of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

I have to say Jules was my favorite, he has passion and a lot of love and care to spread around. How he loves his dad and his sister was deep and unconditional and this feeling flew easily to me thorught all the story. And he’s a greedy reader of romance, especially by his favorite author. And just this passion will lead him to be fraud, meet the cute Leonard and the same author in person. 

Although I quite enjoyed the characters and the writing a lot, I’m not a fan of love triangle and that’s the reason why I’m not giving The ‘True Love’ Solution a higher rating. Even if the interest between Jules and Ewan never actually evolved and Jules and Leonard weren’t together yet, it still felt to me like he was betraying Leonard and the potential HEA I was waiting for.

The cover art by Natalia Bratslavsky is well done, I have to say I like all the covers by Manifold Press, plus I love flowers.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

Word Count: 45,000

Publication Date Feb 01, 2016 by Manifold Press
ISBN 9781908312372

Edition Language English

A Caryn Review: The Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-eleventh-hour-by-elin-gregoryThis book has it all! Action, adventure, romance, spies, car chases, explosives, intrigue, cross-dressing…

Wait. What? Cross-dressing?

Yes indeedy. London, 1928. Ten years after the end of the Great War. An anarchist threat against the British Government foiled by a cross dressing linguistic specialist.

I loved it all. I was immediately drawn into this fast paced adventure where field agent Briers Allerdale teams up with linguistic agent Miles Siward to track down and neutralize the vicious terrorist Andrija. Briers has been stationed in the Balkans for years, and is one of the only men who’s ever seen Andrija’s face, and those of his comrades. He gathered intelligence that Andrija was on his way to London with his henchmen, but no one knows what Andrija has planned, or what his target is. They only know that Andrija’s girlfriend and co-conspirator has taken up a position as a nanny next door to a diplomat with the Foreign Office. With nothing else to go on, the home office decides to station Briers and Miles to do surveillance of Josephine and try to discover the rest of the plot. The catch? They must pose as a married couple in the rooming house across the street.

Although Miles hasn’t been an active field agent, he is a very talented actor, and the home office has used him to impersonate women in the past, though only for very minor and short missions. This mission will require him to be much more convincing on a longer term, as he needs to fool not only the people in the rooming house, but Andrija’s girlfriend as well. While Miles might be unassuming, his alter ego Millie is brash, brave, and intelligent, and more than up to the task. Briers is impressed first with Millie, but over time he recognizes that Miles is braver than he thought, equally clever, and worthy of respect. Affection grows between the two men, but their focus remains on the mission, on bringing down Andreja and saving England.

The book is, therefore, primarily an adventure. The romance is secondary, but I still enjoyed watching as Miles and Brier went from wary colleagues to casual lovers to a true couple. The descriptions of being gay at this time in England were very interesting, especially how men of the lavender persuasion went about finding other like minded men. Miles’ female impersonations, though necessary for national security, opened him up to ridicule and derision, and I loved how the author described his inner conflict of enjoying becoming his alter ego while concurrently being ashamed of enjoying it. Briers had a great deal of sensitivity about it as well, recognizing that Millie is actually an essential part of Miles.

Historical fiction buffs will love this, with the realistic trivia of daily life in interwar London. Action aficionados will love the car chase (high speed was less than 40 mph then!) and the sewer reconnaissance. Readers like me who enjoy character development will appreciate how two quite different men came to know and love each other. Highly recommended!

The cover art is different, murky.  Not sure what to think of it exactly.

Sales Links

Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Manifold Press
ISBN139781908312402
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://manifoldpress.co.uk