Hooked.

So, I have been absent without leave for a while now and I apologise, well, sort of. The truth is that although I have missed writing and chatting to other writers on Facebook, I’ve been enjoying myself with a new hobby that appears to have robbed me of my spring and summer. Alas, I don’t think I’m cut out to face a harsh winter on a riverbank freezing my implants off.

In my 35 years of life I never guessed for a minute that I would be explaining to an audience that I’ve become a fisherwoman, a lady that fishes, or any words to that effect. Nonetheless, here I am telling you just that.

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It all started out when a friendship with Nick grew into much more and has continued to grow over the past eleven months or so. My son had been begging to go fishing for a long time and saw his opportunity to do so when Nick and I became an item. They have been many times together and love each others company. I even tried to get my daughter involved by buying her a pink rod, alas, she didn’t bite.

 

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I went along one day with my computer and wrote whilst he fished in a match, but I could barely concentrate because I was so focussed on watching his float bob up and down (this is not a euphemism ;).

I watched him fish in matches a few times, but I wasn’t allowed to join in for obvious reasons. It is amazing what a competitive sport it can be and the varied range of baits that can be used. Who’d have ever thought that Carp have a taste for spice? The equipment is also mind-boggling and if I’m honest I don’t have much of a clue of what’s what, and I have a feeling that it will take years to learn the ropes, or hooks and lines as the case may be ;). I digress. Anyway, I knew I wanted to have a go.

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I wish I could remember the first day I ever went fishing was in terms of what month it was. What I will never forget is the feeling of having something on the end of my line, the thrill of not knowing what’s there and reeling it in with an air of mystery hanging thickly in the air until finally catching a magnificent sight of the scaled beauty that chose your bait as a snack. This feeling hasn’t diminished since the day I started and for the people who have known me for a long time are baffled by how much I love it. The first fish I caught was on a rod, which I still haven’t quite got the hang of and I still have a lot to learn. So, I moved onto the pole and things have improved immensely since then. The size and weight of my fish are growing which each dangle of my maggot. The tug of the fish trying to escape (which many sadly have) is exhilarating, and of course the subsequent smug grin flashed in response to the arching rod or a huge length of elastic protruding from the end of my pole (again, not a euphemism.) In fact, on the last couple of trips I’ve caught the biggest fish and put a few of the men to shame. Ssshhh, but that’s the best part, I couldn’t have been more delighted on the last trip where I even had a bit of a crowd proclaiming ,“She’s caught a whale!” coupled with a half envious and half proud comment from Nick, “I can’t take her anywhere.” Of course, it’s the woman’s touch. I am yet to beat the hell out of Nick in overall weight, but I figure the gap in experience has to close at some point?

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Alas, winter is coming hard and fast and I admitted wholeheartedly whilst watching Wet Nets last night and seeing the presenter perched on a snowy river bank whilst excitedly describing a recent catch, that I couldn’t face the harshness of winter for hours upon end. To be honest, even heavy showers have me running for cover. No, nope Siree, I hereby proclaim to be a fair weather fisherwoman and that annoys Nick no end.

That brings me to my next point. I have started a new title tentatively named, Done Fishin’. I’ve managed to get a few thousand words down and I’m hoping to finish at least the first draft by spring. It’s a romance with a woman who you’d never expect in a million years to be proudly displaying her catch whilst wearing pearls and lipstick, oh and not forgetting the aromatic scent of Eau De Toilette Carp .

Reflections

We’re all here welcoming a new year, and I as much as anyone waves a fond hello to 2017.

2016 was a strange year for me, I said goodbye to a job with East Midlands Ambulance Service that treated its staff so badly that it’s criminal. I can only hope that things have improved since I left, especially in the way of staff support. Last Christmas I was left on the line for three hours per time in a row (a total of six hours) with suicidal callers. This, I’m happy to say, was addressed with new measures put in place and some training on how to help this specific kind of caller. Though, I do hasten to add that I am yet to receive an apology, and I know that if I expect one than I’m going to be waiting a long time. Just to add insult to injury they docked three-hundred odd pounds from my wages as I left. Cheers to you too! I’m glad to have leapt from the sinking ship, no matter how much I loved that job.

Anyway, on 31st March I started a new job with my own giant office and a great supportive boss. Of course the job is stressful, but having support in place seems to keep the hell to a minimum!

Life bobbed along as it always has until August when all hell seemed to break lose. August 2016 seemed as though it was the armageddon of my life. My marriage hit an irretrievable breakdown and I lost half a book with a co-author.

Those were the highs and lows from my personal life that made my life as an author suffer beyond what I honestly thought it would. I lost half a book and could have opted to turn it into a whole again, but honestly, right now, I never want to look at it again. I still have my printed, edited version, which I am keeping in order to burn on one fine day. I think that day will come when I have finally produced something in which I’m proud of that signifies that I didn’t need a co-author (Sssshhh! don’t tell anyone, but I knew I didn’t anyway ;).)

On the positive note of authoring; I released Kissing Katie in January 2016. I also finally, after a long hard slog, managed to gain full membership into the Romance Novelists association. I attended their conference in July and every moment was fun filled and inspiring, even flashing my ass at my flat mates after rather a lot of wine :). Sorry about that!

I submitted Kissing Katie into the RONA’s when I got home from Lancaster. I laughed and laughed at the thought of getting shortlisted and subsequently used up all my annual leave in complete assurance that it will never happen and I won’t have to attend the award ceremony in March.

That leads me on to announcing my next project (a positive), A Winterbury College Novel: Zephira. I attended the best of all the talks at the RNA conference and I can honestly say I don’t know why I chose it other than fate. Catherine Fox is amazing, she completely turned my head to the idea of blogging a novel. So, here I am, probably pissing into cyber space, but none the less doing the aforementioned (blogging a novel, hopefully not pissing into cyberspace, that is.)

I’ve always wanted to write a witchy YA, in a breathtaking location, and chock filled with mystery, angst, and wonder. I hope that’s what I’m doing with Winterbury College and I hope it gets a little readership. If nothing else it certainly sets the deadline I need and the kick up the ass as well. Anyway, if you want to help me not to piss into cyberspace please go ahead and follow the blog here, chapter one is already up and you also have the chance to name a character :). I can’t talk about Winterbury College without mentioning the exemplary artist behind the coat of arms design, Victoria Skye. If you need anything custom made from a painting to a book cover then you need to check her FB page out here, that will also give the link to her Etsy page.

This year has taught me that I can take ownership of my failings, even though others seem to fail in that area. More than anything, this difficult year has proven to me who my friends are. I sincerely thank my writing friends for their undying encouragement to put fingers to keys; MK Meredith and Jenni Keer. Also, to the friend I’ve had for so many years, Caroline, who has listened to me complaining and bitching so much. Most of all, even though he has  utterly destroyed my ‘writers pain’ the friend that turned into my partner, Nick, you’ve helped more than you could ever know.

Happy New Year to all my wonderful followers! I personally wish you all an amazing 2017! 🙂

***Review*** A Slice of Sin

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Blurb

Who doesn’t love a little tasty erotica? Lick your lips and prepare yourself for a sensory feast!

The first in a series, A Slice of Sin is an anthology of savory stories guaranteed to make your mouth water and leave you needing a little privacy… or an audience.

Women drive these stories, taking the lead in sex, pushing the boundaries of their experience, and always enjoying themselves. From stories of casual sex to stories of the intimacy and enduring passion of established couples, these are stories that will whet your appetite and satisfy your cravings (and maybe leave you with some new ones…).

Act out a dirty little fantasy in Chase Morgan’s “The Stand In,” satisfy your late-night sweet tooth in Alegra Verde’s “The Bakery Boy,” or enjoy a night of romantic generosity in Autmn Tooley’s “Tonight Is For You.” Or step back to a time of long boats and Vikings in Michael Bracken’s “Saga of the Sailmaker’s Widow.”

From the romantic to the kinky, the suggestive to the explicit, this collection is sure to satisfy and keep you coming back for more and more.

This year’s contributors include:
Michael Bracken
Morrigan Cox
Paul Henry
Rachael Knight
Lynn Lake
Parker Lee
Aiden McKenna
Chase Morgan
Leah Mueller
Sophia Soror
Autmn Tooley
Alegra Verde
Cherry Wild

Review

I really needed something like this to get my reading groove back on. Which you’ll be glad to know I have! It’s just taken me longer than I expected to get on with writing this review meaning I’m halfway through a new read :).

This saucy anthology has something sliced between the pages for every reader imaginable. Some stories leave a lot to the hot under the collar readers imagination whilst others leave literally nothing, and I mean nothing for them to wonder.

As with every anthology out there, not every story provides sustenance for every reader. I reached the end of one or two works thinking, bloody hell, is that it? Whilst others truly fulfilled my appetite. I throughly enjoyed the vast majority of the work, even the tamer stories.

I devoured this gorgeous little book whole, though as I mentioned, some stories I knew wouldn’t be for me, so I skipped. I firmly believe that one readers trash would be another readers treasure in this case, making it a versatile and eclectic collection.

I award A Slice Of Sin:

Four glasses of fruity champagne and a banana (use your imagination 😉 )

That’s 4.5 stars to everyone else!

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Buy Links

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***EXCERPT*** Bright’s Passion by E.B. Black

This juicy new release came out today! It looks delicious! 🙂 ❤

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Blurb:

Bright wishes he wasn’t the god of the suns.

Every day is the same: he makes the suns rise and then they set. He looks down at humanity’s corruption. He watches wars, people starving, and thieves stealing.

He can’t help. Every time he tries, the humans take something from him. They’ve destroyed his family and he has no doubt that they’d like to destroy him, too.

Adonya is a raven-haired witch with powers that make her as close to a goddess as a human can be. He’s wondered what it was like to be with a woman, but all the goddesses are dead.

He can feel it when he touches her—she’s as dangerous as all the rest of the humans. Can the power of love join their races together? Or will one of them wind up dead in the end?

Excerpt:

            Bright bent his head down to whisper in her ear. “I want you to picture the power inside you.”

Adonya stiffened and her breathing quickened.

“Calm down,” Bright said. “Let go of your fear. Look into your heart and believe you are a good person.”

“I don’t know if I am.” Her voice sounded tortured.

“Of course you are,” Bright said. “That’s why you’re always caring for your mother and the villagers. You’ve had this power inside you the whole time. It hasn’t changed your kindness.”

Her shoulders eased down.

“I want you to see that fire that burns inside,” he continued. “You are those flames. That heat is part of your soul.”

Adonya shivered. “It can’t be.”

“The fire isn’t deadly. It’s there to protect you.”

“Then why has it hurt me so many times? Why has it attacked the people I love? It wants to kill; I can’t let it.” Adonya shook violently. “What’s happening to me? Please, make it stop.” Her eyes burst open as she fell to her knees.

“You’re resisting it. As long as you treat it like an enemy, it will treat you the same.”

She clutched her head, rocking back and forth. “I want it to go away.”

“You have to gain control over yourself. When you give in to the fear, you make it worse.”

She lowered her hands until they were clenched into fists on the ground.

Adonya’s fingertips burst into flames. At first she didn’t feel it. It spread up her hand with no reaction, until it reached her wrists. She looked down in shock at them, until the grass beneath her lit on fire. Suddenly, she felt the heat. She jumped up and screamed.

Bright tackled her to the ground. He pinned her arms as she kicked and thrashed. The fire didn’t hurt him. He was immune to heat. But he could see by the way her forehead wrinkled that it was painful for her.

His face was an inch from hers. “You must accept what is happening to you or it will consume you.”

She continued to shout and ignore his directions. He’d have to do something drastic or she might kill herself.

So he did the first thing that came to his mind…he leaned down and kissed her. He grabbed her by the hair as he mashed his lips against hers. There would be no gentle caresses of his mouth to start with: he had to be rough and hard to snap her out of it. Even if she hated it, at least it would distract her. He expected to be slapped, but to his surprise, her mouth responded to his. Their lips fought as their bodies tangled together. Tongues explored and tasted. Smoke surrounded them as her flames extinguished themselves, but the heat between them continued to turn up. They rolled around and gasped with pleasure.

Bright needed to stop. But she tasted like heaven, which was something he hadn’t even believed in until this day.

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author:

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E.B. Black is the annoying author who lives in the head of a nerdy housewife named Elizabeth. Elizabeth tries to live out her days by walking her dog, spending time with her husband, doing housework, and watching television, but E.B. Black makes her drop everything to type out weird fantasy stories. Elizabeth is asking anyone who read this to please send help.

Connect:

Web-site: http://www.ebblack.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/writerblack

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ebblackauthor

Blog: http://deathauthor.blogspot.com/

***REVIEW*** Conversations Among Ruins by Matthew Peters.

I’m finally catching up on reviews, and thank goodness I’ve got my book bug back. I’m back to that lovely point where there’s no way I’d even attempt sleep without first reading. That’s why I’ve opened back up to receiving review requests and they’re already coming in thick and fast.

I’m going back to a book I finished in November last year. I managed to type out a quick Amazon review and that was about all I had time to do. To be frank and fair to the book my review Amazon review didn’t really do the title justice, so I figured I’d give it a overhaul for here.

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Blurb:

Conversations Among Ruins is a portrait of a descent into madness, and the potential of finding salvation there. While in detox, Daniel Stavros, a young professor, meets and falls in love with the cryptic Mimi Dexter. But Mimi has secrets … and, strangely, a tattoo identical to the pendant Daniel’s mother gave him right before she died. Drawn together by broken pasts, they pursue a twisted, tempestuous romance. When it ends, a deteriorating Stavros seeks refuge at a mountain cabin where a series of surreal experiences bring him face to face with something he’s avoided all his life: himself. Miles away, Mimi’s actions run oddly parallel to Daniel’s. Will either be redeemed, or will both careen toward self-destruction?

Review:

Conversations Among Ruins is primarily about Daniel Stavros, an alcoholic professor who meets and falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Mimi Dexter whilst in rehab.

The entire thing is heartbreaking. You want to shake Stavros and tell him to get a grip of himself, it’s like watching a person ebb away. However, on the other hand, you can feel his pain so strongly from the page that you wish to soothe him and tell him everything is going to be all right. It’s such a tumultuous relationship between him and the reader that it makes for a difficult read in the emotional sense.

Mimi is also struggling with her own personal demons, and making an attempt to come to terms with them. I think that Stavros is so invested in their relationship and puts a lot of pressure on her to ‘save’ him. The problem is that he has to save himself.

The writing is nothing but stellar. Peters is smooth, his style is easy to read and yet the prose is lyrically clever. His scene setting is utter perfection, he leaves little to the imagination without droning on. He transports you to each place with the ease of a true pro.

That’s not to say that it’s all doom and gloom though. This writer has a knack for making you laugh in the most harrowing of situations. I laughed out loud several times and received a few dodgy looks from those in my presence at the time.

This book knocked me so out of my comfort zone that I struggled with how I wanted to react to it when I finished. This is clearly a novel about an alcoholics journey, but it’s so much more than that. Just as I started to get a little more comfortable, the whole thing turned on its head in a way you’d NEVER see coming. Peter’s knocked it out of the ballpark and excelled in such a way that I can only compare Conversations Among Ruins with something penned by Tarantino. It’s not that it comes out of nowhere either, the author leads you in on a path that ends up at Weirdsville, but once you arrive it all feels somehow, well…right.

If you’re looking for a book to truly connect with and churn up some emotion then this is undoubtedly the read for you.

It’s without deliberation that I award Conversation Among Ruins an easy five creepy houses, it’s up to you to find out why ;):

Buy Links:

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1phAi7v

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1oASGcG

Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1t6Q31L

All Things That Matter Press Paperback: http://bit.ly/1rBiB1e

Audiobook: http://amzn.to/1seo95d

About the author:

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Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual-diagnosed. Conversations Among Ruins is his first novel. His second novel, The Brothers’ Keepers, is available on Amazon.com. *The term “dual diagnosed” refers to someone who suffers from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.

Connect:

Website/Blog: www.matthewpetersbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com.MatthewPeters65

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/matthew.peters.79656

***REVIEW***Malibu Secrets by MK Meredith

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Blurb:

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesn’t want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.

Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addi’s home is perfect for the shoot, but she’s far too tempting. He’s never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling there’s something she’s hiding…

Review:

Well, MK Meredith has done it again! See my review of the tasty Malibu Betrayals here. That was book one in the Malibu Sights series of saucy standalone novels that first whet my appetite for Meredith’s smooth as glass writing.

For book two she delivered her readers Malibu Secrets. Any fan of MK, or indeed of contemporary romance, will not be disappointed! This is the story of Addi Decker, the younger sister of Samantha Dekker who was the heroine in Malibu Betrayals.

Addi is suffering with what I’d call youngest sibling disorder. By that I mean she still feels as though her family view her as a child. Addi possesses nothing if not a steely determination to rid her family of that viewpoint. However, she’s hit a wall and everything is about to come crashing down on her. Addi quit her job in pursuit of her dream to become a full time published author. So far no-one is biting at her manuscript. Her great-aunt left her a beautiful house, and if she doesn’t come up with a solution soon she could lose it. Addi is a beautifully written character that’s easy to identify with if you’re a woman that’s got something about you.

Then comes the answer to her problem. The chance to rent her home out for a Hollywood movie. Hollywood has always left a bad taste in her mouth after her sisters experiences. She’s turned it down before, but now it’s looking like the last chance to save the home she dearly loves.

Then comes ex-model, Roque Gallagher who’s pouring his time and money into making a film. He has his own agenda to fulfil. He wants to prove he’s more than just a pretty face and his family name. I shit you not, this guy is HOT HOT HOT! He’s undoubtedly your next book boyfriend waiting to happen.

Addi makes a deal with Roque and allows him to rent her house. She needs more money though, so she pockets the cash for the hotel and lives out the film time uncomfortably in the house. That means going against the contract that she’s signed, not only that but she’s keeping an epic secret from Roque who she’s come to fall in love with. Let me tell you, Roque has an excellent reason as to why he hates secrets…

As always Meredith’s writing style triumphs above all else. I can’t imagine reading anything she’s written and not letting it take me into every scene. She’s the smoothest writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Her sex scenes are second to none and leave me hot under the collar even in the frigid cold of a British winter.

I can’t recommend Meredith to enough people. So, I’ll just end with saying that she is da’ bomb of romance authors, and you’ve sorely missed out if you don’t pick up her book today.

I award Malibu Secrets 5 easy film reels:

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Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

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Connect with MK:

Website

Sign up for MK’s newsletter, The Heat Sheet

Facebook Page

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***REVIEW*** Wanted Dead by Kaley Craig

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Blurb:

Banished and left homeless by her mentally unstable mother, and devastated upon learning Will has married someone else, Maggie enters into a coerced marriage with the nefarious but charming Edmond Jackson. But as 1971 draws to a close, his suspicion that she still loves Will Marshall leads to an act of violent, unforgivable rage, and the threat of death should she betray him.

Unable to leave, but determined to find a safe haven before her child is born, Maggie soon finds herself entangled in circumstances beyond her imagining, where even the voice of God cannot be heard.

Set in the 1970’s South, Maggie’s story is smart, sexy, spiritual, sorrowful, violent, and absurdly funny. Rich in period detail, with unforgettable characters, bizarre happenings, and suspenseful situations, this chapter of Maggie’s story is about the strength we find in love, and the power of promises kept.

Jackson Sugar: WANTED DEAD is Book Two in the Jackson Sugar Series.

Review:

You can read my review on the first book in the Jackson Sugar series here. I totally adored Kaley Craig’s, Crazy Red. I was brimming with excitement to read the second offering, Wanted Dead.

Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. This book has more going on than Taylor Swift’s love life. The problem is that I can’t say too much without spoiling in for you, but I’ll do my best.

The start of this book depicts the newly wed, pregnant Maggie. Edmond always made my skin crawl from the first book. He’s a very shifty character and when he’s in a scene he forces the hair on the back of your neck to stand on end. He smacks of an abuser even when he’s being kind. I’d love to slap his face and drag Maggie the hell outta there. Craig has penned his character with perfection, and I stand in awe of her ability to make each of her characters feel so real that you could almost smell, touch, and taste them.

Not only is Craig a master at creating vivid characters, she’s a weaver of complex plot shifts and epic storytelling. The problem being that she didn’t just break my heart at several points during Maggie’s harrowing journey; she squeezed, tugged, pulled, bashed and smashed it to smithereens.

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In the first book I watched Maggie move from an abusive relationship with her mother, Sybil, to a just as bad one with Edmond. Her hopes and dreams are dashed at every turn of the book. There are happy, sweet times to be cherished within these pages, but Maggie just can’t seem to catch a break. The ending almost nearly damn killed me, and if I resided closer to Kaley Craig it would have caused my jail sentence for assault. I’ve discussed the likelihood of another Sugar Jackson book and she’s not sure if she’s going to go ahead. Well, I bloody well demand that you make Maggie happy! NOW!

I cannot write a review on this book without mentioning the illustrations, too. If you’re going to purchase it, then I strongly suggest you head for the paperback version. I believe they are still in the e-book but they’re extraordinary enough to make you want to smooth your fingers over them on an actual page. They compliment the story wholly and force strong emotions from you in regard to what’s happening in line with the scene. I applaud the artist, Victoria Skye Cleveland for her outstanding work.

Let me warn you, this book is long. Whilst I’m not a particularly slow at reading, I’m not mega fast either. It took me ages to read. Far be it from a lacking plot line. Plot is something this book has plenty of, but I’ll admit I’m not really into awfully long stories. I really think there would have been benefit in splitting the story into two. However, if you’re a lover of a lengthier novel than most, with thrills, spills (tears), and chills you need this book in your life.

The length was the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Therefore I award Wanted Dead 4.5 cookoo clocks.

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(I couldn’t find half a cookoo clock!)

Buy links:

You guys are in luck as both of these books are currently on sale! (Yippee)

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I’ve linked to Kaley’s Amazon author page so that you can see both books:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author:

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Kaley Craig (Author) is a writer and photographer. Kaley has more than a decade of experience working within the criminal justice system, first as a peace officer, then as a criminal investigator for the defense. With degrees in Criminal Justice and Education, she has taught in both public and private schools as well as in prisons. Kaley is also a licensed social worker. Having lived in various locales across the U.S., she currently calls Atlanta home.

Victoria Skye Cleveland (Illustrator) is an actor, artist, and web designer.

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The Jackson Sugar novels, set in the 1960’s – 1970’s, tell the story of Maggie Jackson from her turbulent Georgia childhood through her life working in the criminal justice system.
Book One: Crazy Red (July 2014)
Book Two: Wanted Dead (Sept 2015)

FB author page

Art by Victoria Skye