Book Birthday: Fat Chance by A B Morgan

Fat Chance by A B Morgan, out today on Kindle at a criminally low 99p

I’m smiling because it’s publication day!

I have an irrepressible sense of humour and therefore, despite the thought provoking subject matter of the books I write, there is always something to make the reader grin and on occasion to laugh aloud. Suspense is all very well but readers need a break from the tension now and again.

So, as the country heads for uncertainty and Teresa May’s Brexit plan seems destined for the recycle bin of parliamentary history, grab a copy of Fat Chance (Kindle or paperback via Amazon) and snuggle up. Inside the shiny cover you will meet Ella Fitzwilliam, she’s about to get herself into a proper pickle.

What is the book about? here’s the blurb:

A missing barrister, a severed thumb and fat chance of finding out the truth.

Ella Fitzwilliam’s world is about to spiral out of control. She’s not cut out to be a private investigator. With little or no aptitude for the job, she’s been sent undercover to expose the hidden lives of two men who meet nearly every week at Buxham’s – a private members’ club where portions are large and secrets are held in strictest confidence. 

One of those men is Harry Drysdale, a defence barrister, and the other is Marcus Carver, an eminent surgeon with a tarnished past and much to lose. Ella knows he has unhealthy appetites, she’s sure he’s feeding his perverted habits and putting his female patients at risk but she has to prove it. 

When Harry Drysdale goes missing, Konrad Neale TV journalist tries to reveal the truth behind the lies, but some of the secrets start to reveal themselves… and they are big.

Thanks to all at Junction Publishing, #JunctionPublish for bringing the story to life. Happy Book Birthday.

Fictional Character begs for his life.

 ‘My name is Barney Ribble, my given name is Kevin but no one ever calls me that. I exist only inside the imagination of Alison Morgan and on the pages of two books, so far. I’m not the main character, but I still matter and if you don’t open those books then I fade away into the distant memory of everyone who once read about me.

Not only do I cease to live, but my mates, and my sense of humour all lie hidden, waiting for you to breathe life into us again. Fair enough I swear a bit, but apart from that there’s nothing to dislike. Now my old mucka Konrad Neale, he’s a different case in point. The flash git has got himself into a spot of bother a time or two and no mistake. Check out The Camera Lies, you’ll see what I mean. Bloody hell. Psychopath central. What she wasn’t capable of isn’t worth mentioning!

Then get your nose into a copy of Stench. When I try to help young Rory Norton because everyone thinks he’s killed the woman they found under his floorboards,  I ask for Konrad’s help but no … he manages to make matters worse.

Next? You’ll have to wait until January. Of course I know what happens in Fat Chance, but I’m not telling you. I’ll remind you nearer the time, how about that?

The Importance of the Blurb

  Once the cover catches the potential reader’s eye they check the blurb on the back cover of the book. I do. And in the first sentence or two I have to be hooked or I’m off to check out another book.

Tricky. Tricky for the reader looking for that next escape into a story, tricky for the author and publisher trying to promote their book.

The word “blurb” seems quite modern but apparently it derives from back in the early 1900’s. An American writer by the name of Gelet Burgess wrote a comic book to be given away at a book festival. On the cover he featured a Miss Belinda Blurb as a spoof, mocking the type of cover design popular with publishers of serious novels at the time.  A marketing ploy, the name Blurb caught the attention of the press who asked what it meant. Burgess apparently said it described ‘self praise and making a noise like a publisher’.

Belinda Blurb, queen of promotion.

Without the blurb how do we know, at a glance, what a book is about?

What constitutes a good blurb? It’s more than a brief description. The opening must be precise and captivating. Who and what is this story about? Sounds simple until you have to write one. Try creating an opening blurb line for ‘Robinson Crusoe’.  Robinson Crusoe a headstrong young man In the year … or Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk …. or … Robinson Crusoe survived the shipwreck only to find himself on a deserted island…

We want to hear more, but then there’s the question of how much more ? What is the hook? Will he find a way off the island? How will he endure the loneliness? 

A good blurb entices the reader further by ensuring this is the book they are looking for. A story of adventure, of human determination and ingenuity.

The final shove towards the till or that BUY button is to compare your book to one that already sells millions. If you enjoyed Treasure Island then this book is for you. Or words to that effect, without being patronising, or sounding like a second hand car dealer. This is difficult.

Get it right and it can increase book sales. I’m no expert, but I suggest checking out people who are if you are an author and especially if you self-publish.

The blurb, not just a load of blah blah blah.

Confessions of a Writer: part 1

I shouted at the radio in my car yesterday. Depeche Mode were playing and I was singing along as I drove to the nearest supermarket, forced into a shopping trip because of severely depleted supplies.

‘Words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm …’

I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics of this particular song before and I was cross at the insinuation. ‘What crap,’ I said to the windscreen. Then I took the time to listen to the full chorus and, all at once, felt a sense of deep shame at having misunderstood. Taken out of context, the words I had focussed on sent a negative message, but listen to the full lyrics of Enjoy the Silence and it is a beautiful song about the power of touch.

When I reached the supermarket the song was firmly stuck in my head as I wheeled the trolley through to the checkout. I was humming away as I packed the bags, only stopping to laugh aloud as I read another set of words which I immediately took out of context because of the way they were written.

A piece of cardboard had been attached to the security posts at the exit. It had been handwritten in bold, black, marker-pen with the words-

BASKETS ARE NOT ALLOWED OUTSIDE

My strange writing brain engaged gear and,  as I finished reading, was already wondering at the inequality between being a basket and being a trolley. Trolleys had it good. They could go outside. Obviously a couple of baskets had decided to make a run for it and the basket police had taken remedial action without waiting for head office approval.

I sang as I walked back to my car, ‘Words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm.’ Especially if you happen to be a basket in a supermarket.

What lesson did I learn?     For writers and readers alike, context is important.

A busy few weeks …

  Performance event at Waterstones Tottenham Court rd.

 Radio Interview with the fabulous Nana Akua for The Health Show.

Signing a new contract!

Meeting old friend and world record holder for rowing the Pacific ….yes, read his book: Rowing the Pacific -7,000 miles from Japan to San Francisco. Mick Dawson.

 Author Panel in Harpenden with three other Bloodhound authors.

Staying local with a reading or two in the pub!

Sometimes other people’s words are better …

The Camera Lies by A B Morgan
TOP 1000 Amazon REVIEWER on 5 February 2018

Well, let me tell you, this is not for the faint hearted! Or the squeamish. Or the prudish!

This is a gritty read; full of action, energy and unpleasant characters. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting but I was quickly caught up in the plot which moved at a great pace, full of tension, complications and shocking revelations.

Morgan writes vividly and the action bounces off the pages. The reader is caught up in a complex tale with some graphic and erotic scenes which, although completely necessary to the plot and the characters, are still quite shocking at times! Morgan’s writing is fluent, full of pace and with a plot line that intricately links the two characters in a way that has the reader constantly guessing as the events unravel in front of their eyes.

I really liked the concept of a TV presenter interviewing someone convicted of a crime as it is a bit of a change from finding yourself in a police interview room listening to a suspect confess, or not, to a crime. It also gives Morgan an opportunity to play around with the interaction between the characters as the dialogue, and behaviour, between them is not restricted by the conventions of a police interrogation – and this is a novel that doesn’t like to be restricted by convention or expectation! I liked the dynamic between the two men and the question of motivation and trust which is more blurred than when the protagonist is a detective. I liked that I thought I knew what kind of story I was going to be reading, but within a few chapters my suspicions and expectations were challenged and the story took a rather more dark and sinister route.

I think what really impressed me was Morgan’s ability to write from a male point of view and to have created these characters who are so authentic and believable. They are both flawed and not always gaining much empathy from the reader but they are always fascinating. I was impressed how well Morgan portrayed Konrad. He’s an ambitious creation but Morgan has crafted him well and he’s a memorable protagonist.

There is quite a wide range of characters who appear throughout the story but they all feel three dimensional and most importantly, they all feel appropriately threatening and unreliable.

Ultimately though, I think the best thing about this novel was it’s fierce energy, pace, drama and complexity. It’s the kind of book you realise you’re reading with your mouth half open because you are constantly in a state of tension, suspense, shock and disbelief. Morgan’s skill is in her execution of a surprisingly intricate plot that winds in and out of itself in a way that the reader could never second guess.

I was totally impressed with this stand alone thriller. It was very different from any other crime book I’ve read recently and knowing what I do now about the behaviour and personalities of the main characters, I might have been a little wary but actually, it’s a total page turner. It will leave you quite breathless.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Morgan might write next!

What have the reviews said so far?

Since the official launch of #DivinePoison, the social media sites have been buzzing with reviews, tweets, retweets and likes. I’ve held my breath checking Goodreads and Amazon to see whether the book has done it’s job, to entertain. All very exciting and nerve wracking for a new author like myself. A year ago I would have struggled to understand the value of a retweet let alone how to manage posting on Twitter, Facebook and others. Now I have no choice and am finally getting the hang of the tools that form an essential part of marketing a book on line. Not bad for an old bird.

What fascinated me, as the reviews rolled in, were the variations. Some focussed on pace, others on plot, or theme, style, characterisation, or a combination. There were unexpected interpretations, valid points about red herrings that hadn’t even been intended as such, and a thoughtfulness within each review whilst not shying away from opinion.

Hats off to the bloggers, reviewers and readers! An enormous thank you to you all (as well as to family, friends, fellow authors and Bloodhound Books of course)

 

Divine Poison is Available on Amazon

Here are links to a few of those reviews from the three day Blog Blitz:

:My Eclectic Reads

  :I Loved Reading This

:Rae Reads 

 

 

Christmas can be murder …

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It’s Christmas. Your house is invaded by relatives and friends who gorge themselves on your yuletide hospitality. Some of them are a delight, but let’s face it after the first hour you want a return to peace and quiet and free use of your own bathroom. Drinks and nibbles are rapidly followed by the trauma of opening presents and putting your acting skills to good use. ‘That’s lovely, just what I never knew I wanted.’ The fake smile on your face begins to ache.

Christmas dinner is a feast for the gluttonous, sport for the mother-in-law’s thoughtless tongue, and an ordeal for the cook. You hope in vain that no one suggests party games too late in the day when Uncle Bernard has drunk enough to become obnoxious, and you pray no one will linger late into the evening begging for another slice of gammon and cold turkey.

Grandpa is snoring and farting. The older siblings are cheating at monopoly and threatening to sue each other. Granny is trying to teach the small children a game they are neither interested in nor understand. Young Toby is bashing his Power Ranger into her shin in protest, while his sister smears Silly Slime into your carpet. Teenagers are sulking and you, the hosts, stand at the sink washing up, again.

Do unfestive thoughts begin to creep in? ‘I could happily throttle the old bag’. The sort of intrusive wish you wouldn’t want others to know about? If, heaven forbid, you have house guests staying over (what possessed you to agree to that?!) these flights of fancy may become tempting.

Make certain you research wisely if you are plotting against an unwelcome, offensive relative …

or alternatively indulge yourself by reading some #crime fiction!

Allow your imagination to do the killing.

Agatha Christie is hard to beat for bumping off unwanted guests but I suggest you spread your search wider, get inventive.

Warning #Divine Poison doesn’t contain nuts: it’s not a story about murdering Christmas guests either, but it is a deadly distraction, a way of escape and a source of inspiration for would-be poisoners. Pick up a few ideas for next year’s Christmas dinner. (available on Amazon).

Merry Christmas. Ali Morgan x

A Fascination with the Darker Side of Mental Illness Treatment.

This is a well-known story that has been doing the Facebook rounds for some time now, but nevertheless it remains astounding.

What happened when there was a further ‘undercover’ experiment in the 1970’s led by Psychologist Dr  David Rosenhan?

 

Here are some intriguing true stories:

Bedlam: The Real Horror Story Asylum

Do we explore these stories for the same reason we enjoy reading crime thriller fiction or watching scary films? If that’s your sort of book then try: A Justifiable Madness

Imagine what might happen if Nellie Bly or David Rosenhan repeated their experiment today? Those of us who have worked within Mental Health Services have an unusual perspective and personal insight into what it’s like to need support and treatment for mental illness and sometimes fiction is a powerful tool in raising awareness.

Whose turn is it to shake up mental health services?

www.time-to-change.org.uk

www.rethink.org

www.mind.org.uk

www.sane.org.uk

and there are many more ….