#CoverReveal: Needle Song by Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #NeedleSongBook #FahrenheitPress #FREEShortStory

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to a rather special cover reveal.

Back in 2017 Fahrenheit Press, the utterly awesome independent crime fiction publisher launched a competition for new and established writers from around the world. They wanted to create a short story anthology and asked for submissions.

They were inundated with entries and a panel of six intelligent and highly esteemed crime fiction fanatics (I wasn’t on the panel but it sounds like I should have been!) whittled the anonymous entries down to 15. The result? NOIRVILLE, Fahrenheit Press’ very own crime anthology, was born! You may wonder why I’m telling you this but stick with it…

The winner of the competition and the writer whose story was awarded first place by the judges was Russell Day. In second place was….well, Russell Day. Yup, you read that right. Russell Day entered two stories in the competition and placed first and second. (And for the sake of clarification, yes, Russell did enter two stories into the competition!)

Obviously, Fahrenheit Press HAD to sign Russell Day and today’s cover reveal is for NEEDLE SONG, the first novel from this exciting debut author. But only one of Russell’s stories made it into NOIRVILLE. How do you fancy reading the other one? You do? Then read on…

FREE RUSSELL DAY SHORT STORY IN EXCHANGE FOR A TWEET:
To receive a copy of Russell Day’s award-winning story, make sure you’re following @damppebbles (so you can receive the DM with the download links) and then tweet the following (copy and paste):

NEEDLE SONG by Russell Day (@rfdaze) published by @fahrenheitpress in eBook on Monday 30th April! #NeedleSongBook | @damppebbles
https://fahrenheit-press.myshopify.com/products/russell-day-needle-song-ebook-kindle-version

No retweets, it has to be a shiny new tweet otherwise it won’t count! Any problems then please contact me on Twitter (@damppebbles).

And now for the cover reveal. Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite…

Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.

I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here’s the cover…

needle song.jpg

I love that cover (those arms and tattoos belong to the author himself!) and I cannot wait for the blog tour which will be coming your way soon.

If you would like to get your mitts on a copy of Needle Song then you won’t have long to wait. Needle Song will be published in eBook on Monday 30th April 2018 with the paperback to follow a week later.  If you fancy being quick off the mark and pre-ordering, then click HERE.

about the author3

Russell Day (1).jpg

Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s always been a miserable bastard.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#CaseClosed: #March2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello, my bookish beauties. As today is the last day of March I have my monthly ‘goings-on’ post to share with you. It’s #CaseClosed time! And I’ll be honest here, I have no idea where March has gone. I ‘somehow’ missed that after March 29th (my dad’s birthday, an obviously easy to remember date!) and after March 30th, comes…wait for it, March 31st! And that’s it, March 2018 is officially done. How the heck did that happen?

Before I go any further, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate Easter a very happy, chocolate filled one. And if you don’t celebrate Easter then I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far, full of the things you love (books I hope, lots and lots of books).

I’m glad to say that March at damppebbles HQ has been significantly busier than February. Thank crunchie!

I took part in five blog tours:

Only three were review posts:
Blue Night by Simone Buchholz | Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell | No Comment by Graham Smith |

And two were extract posts:
The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley |

I managed a few publication day or ‘near as dangit’ reviews:
Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley | The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste | The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett | Hangman by Daniel Cole |

My First Monday Crime review for March was the eerie The Intrusions by Stav Sherez. Well worth a look if you’re a crime thriller fan.

I hosted a couple of other posts which weren’t strictly blog tours but coincided with either the initial publication of a book or the release in a new format:
Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (guest post: Why Adam is a Vet) | Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (extract) |

I also had a small-(ish) NetGalley meltdown, lol! You can read that post by clicking HERE. I hope, by posting my burgeoning NetGalley shelf, that I’ve made a number of my fellow book bloggers feel a little better about theirs. The outright winner of the poll was the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series written by Robert Bryndza, ‘Dark Water’, so look out for a review coming to the blog soon. I’m absolutely thrilled with what you lot chose (thank you!), I adore Erika and can’t wait to read ‘Dark Water’.

Then there was the fantastic news that I’m going to be organising blog tours for the incredible indie crime fiction publisher, Fahrenheit Press! What a match made in crime fiction heaven, huh? If you’re a book blogger and would like to be kept informed then please click this link and enter your details. I have some of the most amazing books to organise tours for so you really don’t want to miss out!

(Gosh, March WAS a busy month!). Finally, I shared the stunning cover of the latest Louise Jensen psychological thriller, The Date. So excited to read this one. Louise Jensen’s ‘The Surrogate’ was one of my books of 2017!

And breathe….

Which only leaves one thing left to do. My book of the month for March 2018!

cropped-hand-master-botm

I’ve had a couple of stonking five star reads this month. However, there was no question which book I was going to choose as my book of the month…

giphy (2)

giphy (3)

It’s Hangman by Daniel Cole, the second book in the Ragdoll series. I enjoyed the first book in the series but this latest instalment blew me away. I loved it. It felt like a crime/horror crossover which I am absolutely loving at the moment. Highly entertaining from start to finish!

hangman cover

“I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.”

So, that was March. I can’t wait to see what April has in store for us – lots of lovely new book releases I hope and maybe, just maybe, a hint of sunshine (PLEASE!). I’m joining the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland on Monday 2nd April so make sure you pop back for that. It’s a corker of a read.

Have a wonderful ‘springy’ month everyone.

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Sealskin by Su Bristow (@SuBristow) @OrendaBooks #Sealskin

Sealskin cover.jpg“What happens when magic collides with reality? Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Exeter Novel Prize-winner Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. And it is, quite simply, unforgettable.”

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off the Sealskin blog tour today alongside the lovely Steph over at Stephs Book Blog.  Sealskin was the winner of the Exeter Novel Prize in 2013 and is the work of author and Consultant Medical Herbalist, Su Bristow.  What an amazing achievement!  Sealskin will be published in paperback by the wonderful Orenda Books on 15th February 2017 so make sure you pre-order your copy NOW!

Today I have a fascinating guest post from author, Su Bristow.  Seeing as it’s day one of the blog tour, Su and I thought it best to start at the very beginning with a few words explaining the Selkie legend, which the book is based upon.  So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Su…

The Foundations of Sealskin
Su Bristow

First of  all, here is the version of the story that was the starting point for Sealskin:

THE LEGEND

Once, there was a fisherman who spent many nights fishing alone. One night at full moon, he witnessed a marvel: nine seals came ashore, put off their skins and became beautiful young women, dancing on the beach. The fisherman hid himself, and as he watched, he began to fall in love with one of them. Secretly, he hid her sealskin, so that when the others returned to the sea, she was left behind.

The fisherman took her home to be his wife, and he hid the skin at the bottom of a chest. They lived together for some years, and she bore him children. She seemed to be happy, but from time to time she would look out to sea and weep.

One day while he was out at sea, one of the children found the skin and showed it to his mother. When the fisherman returned at the end of the day, she was gone, and he never saw her again.

Stories about Selkies, or seals who can turn into people, are found along the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, and across the sea in Iceland and Scandinavia too. In fact, the word ‘selkie’ is just the Orcadian word for ‘seal’, but it’s come to be used particularly for these shape-shifting beings. And the stories vary from place to place, although they generally don’t end happily. It seems that selkie men and women are irresistible to the humans who encounter them, and they always fall in love. Male selkies are very willing to ‘mate’ with humans, but they won’t stay long, and always go back to the sea. Females, on the other hand, have to be tricked into it by hiding their sealskins; given the chance, they too will return to their natural element.

It’s interesting that whereas most mythological creatures are dangerous to us humans, selkies are usually gentle. Perhaps I strayed a little from tradition when I gave Mairhi some magic of her own; although she never uses it to attack anybody, she can certainly defend herself if need be. But the stories don’t go into much detail about how the marriage between the fisherman and the selkie woman actually worked, and that was what interested me. You wouldn’t expect any relationship to be possible after such a horrible start! So I added a few twists, which I won’t go into now because I don’t want to spoil the story for people who haven’t read it yet, except to say that almost immediately, Donald knows that what he did was wrong. And really, the whole story is about how he tries to make amends, and how that changes him and everyone else around him.

Going back to the legend, on a more general level it’s about how humans want to ‘own’ the wildness of nature. All over the world, people tell stories about interactions with animals and birds. Whether they really believe it on the practical level or not, they certainly portray animals as having minds and feelings of their own. Is it just us projecting ourselves onto the natural world, or is there a deeper truth there? The more we learn about animals, the more like us they turn out to be.

Maybe the selkies tell stories about us, too.

***

An absolutely enchanting post, thank you Su.  And congratulations on the wonderful praise you have received so far.  I’ve seen many bloggers say that Sealskin is one of their books of 2017.  What a fantastic way to start the year.

Sealskin Blog tour AMENDED .jpg

Early Praise for Sealskin…

Sealskin is an accomplished and intelligent novel, a fine piece of craftsmanship and a pleasure to read’ Allan Massie

‘Bristow has taken a known myth, and created an enthralling, human love story.  A profound achievement, and a stunning debut’ Richard Bean

‘An extraordinary book: original, vivid, tender and atmospheric. Su Bristow’s writing is fluid and flawless, and this is a story so deeply immersive that you emerge at the end, gasping for air’ Iona Grey

‘I love books in which magic takes on a gritty reality, and Sealskin is just such a book. Dark and brooding and half-familiar, the tale steals over you till you’re half-in, half-out of a dream’ Jane Johnson

‘An evocative story, told with skill and beauty, that held me spellbound until the very last page’ Amanda Jennings

‘On the face of it, Sealskin is a gentle tale, a lovely reworking of the selkie legend many of us have known and loved since childhood. Do not be fooled, dear reader; beneath this simple re-imagining lies a story as deep as the ocean the selkie comes from. I was captivated from the first page to the poignant last one, by the sympathetically drawn characters and a mesmerising sense of place. In between are moments of tragedy, moments of grace and redemption; the whole wrapped in Su Bristow’s charismatic writing. This is a story that catches on the edge of your heart, leaving tiny scars; reminders of a journey into a beloved legend, the human lives caught up in it and the consequences of the choices they make. It is, quite simply, exceptional’ Carole Lovekin

‘In this achingly beautiful retelling of the classic Scottish folk tale, Su Bristow brings psychological depth and great warmth to the characters, making the ending all the more heart-breaking. It’s a story about the tensions of life in a tiny fishing community, about bullying and violence as well as the healing magic of nature. It’s written smoothly and skilfully with not a word too many or a word too few. I absolutely loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough’ Gill Paul

‘A beautiful and bewitching read that haunted my thoughts for days. The sense of the sea, of this small community, of guilt is palpable. This is one of those books you place reverentially on your bookcase and envy those who are yet to dive in’ Michael J. Malone

Sealskin is the most exquisite tale of love, forgiveness and magic. Inspired by the legends of the selkies, this gorgeous novel is a dark fairy tale, an ode to traditional storytelling, a tribute to the stories we loved hearing as children. But be warned – this is no happy-ever-after tale. The language is just glorious, poetic and rich but precise. And her characters – oh, they will remain in your heart long after you’ve closed the last page. Mairhi – especially since she never really “speaks” – is a beautiful mystery, but one who haunted me when I was between chapters. If this is her first, then I can’t wait to read whatever Su Bristow bestows upon the literary world next’ Louise Beech

‘Ms Bristow’s skill in weaving a centuries-old tale into a current-day fiction novel and binding the two together is simply superbly done. Sealskin is boldly written, brilliantly told and a tale of legendary proportions’ JM Hewitt

Sealskin is a magical and moral tale woven with a deft hand’ Sara MacDonald

‘With its beautiful language and magical storytelling, Sealskin is a clear winner for me’ Sophie Duffy

Sealskin is exquisitely written with haunting prose and evocative descriptions of the Scottish landscape. It’s filled with beauty, surprises and subtle twists and turns. There’s a mesmerising love story at its heart.  I really didn’t want the story to end, and felt bereft when it did, surrounded by boxes of tissues. I’m sure I’ll be reading this book several times to feel that magic again and again. It’s no surprise that Su Bristow is an Exeter Novel Prize winner. Her writing is beautiful and this book is stunning. Sealskin is destined to go far’ Off-the-Shelf Books

Sealskin really is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read … a flowing tale of love, friendship, acceptance and coming of age for the varying characters.  Set against the ruggedly beautiful Scottish backdrop, the vivid descriptions draw us in, detail oozing from the pages and giving the reader a chance to feel the coastal winds whipping at their faces, taste the salt in the air, feel the uneven terrain underfoot as they clamber through the heather and over rocks. There’s a magic in these pages … poetic and hauntingly beautiful’ The Quiet Knitter

‘A compelling and beautifully written book. At one level Sealskin is a delightful re-working of the selkie myth. But it is also a great deal more than that … The fishing village is a close knit community wary of incomers, the suspicion with which they greet Maihri is typical of how they behave. Strangers, especially ones who are a little out of the ordinary, are not made entirely welcome. It is a story of how relationships develop and grow. Sealskin is a quite delightful and extraordinarily well-written book. Highly recommended’ Trip Fiction

‘A sensuous and beautifully written retelling of the Selkie legend which captivated me’ Margaret James, Creative Writing Matters

’I knew this was special, right from the first paragraph. A beautiful book written with a deceptive simplicity. But Su Bristow does not shy away from asking some very big questions. How can a man atone for violence? Will he ever be forgiven? Will he ever forgive himself? Utterly spellbinding’ Cathie Hartigan

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

Su Photo.jpegSu Bristow is a consultant medical herbalist by day. She’s the author of two books on herbal medicine: The Herbal Medicine Chest and The Herb Handbook; and two on relationship skills: The Courage to Love and Falling in Love, Staying in Love, co-written with psychotherapist, Malcolm Stern. Her published fiction includes ‘Troll Steps’ (in the anthology, Barcelona to Bihar), and ‘Changes’ which came second in the 2010 CreativeWritingMatters flash fiction competition. Her forthcoming novel, Sealskin, is set in the Hebrides, and it’s a reworking of the Scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. It won the Exeter Novel Prize 2013. Her writing has been described as ‘magical realism; Angela Carter meets Eowyn Ivey’.

Author Links: Blog | Twitter |