My Virtual Life

Today’s Blog for the BlogBlitz is a little different.  I am not writing a review, instead, the author has written a Guest Blog.


Blog Post My Virtual Life

My Writing Life


The beauty and the torment of being a writer means that no two days are the same. Some days the words trip over themselves to be heard and other days, well, let’s just say some days are actually like work!

My Virtual Life is my third novel and by this stage, I think, I can safely say that I recognise the bad days as fleeting. They come and go but when they descend I can feel the horror of believing I will never be able to form an interesting sentence again. It’s so easy to doubt your abilities if you think beyond the page. For me, the key is to stay in the story. Try not to think about the bigger picture, the publisher waiting on the finished manuscript, your friends asking when’s the next one out or your other half wondering what it is you actually do all day.

The truth is, some days you hit the keyboard hard, sparks fly and you feel the buzz of the story taking on a life of its own. Other days require head work, time when you simply allow scenes and dialogue to play out in your head.

On the days when nothing works, read. It’s the best cure I know of lacking in inspiration and motivation. If I read a great book I am instantly fired up. Some writers I know feel a little intimidated by books they love. They fear the ‘not being good enough’ but maybe it’s my age, I am at the stage where I know I can only do what I do and as long as I make it the best I can, I’m satisfied. Sort of


Here’s my advice on how to get started and keep going.


  • Read all the time. Read across genre and be aware of what works and what doesn’t, or in other words, read like a writer.


  • Take time away from your work in progress to think about it. Try to see the overall story arc and think of how it is working.


  • Train yourself to write on the go. I swear by this. I use my iPhone and email myself whole sections of writing or just notes. It is great for when inspiration strikes and if you have children you’ll find as they grow older there’s a lot of waiting around time either at school pick up or after school clubs. Don’t shout at me and say you’ve no time. I’ve been there. I know there are periods when real life gets in the way. Reassure yourself that dealing with all the messy stuff of life, is all great source material. If you really want to write, you’ll find a way to carve that time out.


  • Inspiration is everywhere. Listen to conversations on buses and coffee shops. Note the cadence and rhythms of speech. Squirrel away interesting snippets and funny expressions.


  • Keep a folder of unusual or interesting news features to trawl through when you are running dry on ideas.


  • Be prepared for rejection. It is part of the job. Virtually no one gets it right first time so rewriting and editing is essential.


  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. Go to writer events, book launches, writing workshops and writing groups. You pick up so much information by talking about the writing process and the business of publishing to others who have experience. Writers are largely a friendly bunch and we only too keen to talk about our experiences.



Finally, keep going. If you love writing, it’s not an option to stop. The voices in your heard will keep on annoying you until you give them a story.



About Sharon Dempsey:

My Virtual Life is Sharon Dempsey’s second contemporary women’s fiction novel. Sharon is a Belfast-based writer of three fiction titles with four non-fiction health books published. Her crime debut Little Bird was released in July 2017 with Bloodhound Books. A Posy of Promises is the first in a trilogy and published by Bombshell Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times. She regularly reviews books for BBC Radio Ulster. Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

Sharon’s Social Media Links:

Twitter: @svjdempz


Murder Undeniable

I’m really enjoying being involved with Bloodhound Books and their blog blitzes.

Today’s blitz is on Anita Waller’s book, Murder Undeniable, the first in a new series.


Katerina (Kat) Rowe is a Deacon at the village church and Leon, her husband, owns a string of pharmacies throughout the county.

Following a night of celebration, they are on the way to one of Leon’s pharmacies when they discover a dead body and a very badly injured woman in the alleyway behind the pharmacy.

Kat discovers, the woman is still breathing and feels compelled to help her. So follows a gripping tale of murder – five at the last count; attempted murder – three; business rivalry; arson and a growing bond between Kat and the woman Bethan, known to her family as Mouse.

The Police don’t appear to be getting far and so with the help of Mouse’s feisty grandmother, Doris, the women decide to find out for themselves who killed Anthony Jackson (Bethan’s client on the night of the murder). The outcome of the investigations is unexpected but it does make sense.


As usual, Anita Waller fills her story with several characters, all being part of the main story but interconnected in different ways. Kat’s belief in God, Mouse and Doris’ belief in technology and Leon’s belief in his being above the law, all make this a good read and one I recommend.



Note – I was given a copy of this book by the publishers Bloodhound Books. I thoroughly enjoyed it and choose to post a review.


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A Stolen Woman


Laney Donaghuehas has just been released after serving a six-month prison sentence. When she receives a call telling her that her disabled sister, Kimmy,  has been abused and is missing from the care home, she immediately goes to find her and take her out of that place. But where to take her? And where is Wendy, Kimmy’s beloved caregiver? And why is Kimmy holding a note saying “Find Me”?

Meanwhile, Elizabeth McClaine is attending a birthday reception in her honour. But when a call comes advising her that a client of her charitable foundation has been beaten and found cowering in a closet, she leaves the party to find out what has happened.

Laney leaves her sister with an aunt and sets out to find Wendy.  Elizabeth also starts a trail beginning at the care centre, in an attempt to find not only Wendy but also what is going on in and around the home.

There are murders, and twists and turns along the way until the questions are eventually answered.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it as a page-turner, edge-of-the-seat read. Although it is the third in the Elizabeth McClaine series, it can be read as a stand-alone. However, I suggest you get hold of the other two books to read as well

Note – Thanks to Catherine Lea for providing me with a copy of this book..

A Patient Fury

Have you discovered Sarah Ward and DC Connie Childs?

Connie Childs is returning to work after six months sick leave. She receives a call from her boss, DI Francis Sadler to attend a fire and homicide scene with him.

The case looks to be straight forward, but somehow the easy answer to which everyone is agreed upon, doesn’t sit well with Connie. True to form she goes off looking for another answer and in doing so, incurs the wrath of Sadler and his boss, DCI Llewellyn.

The victims’ family has already been involved in a police incident when the mother suddenly disappeared some thirty plus years before. One day she went to her shop and then disappeared, never to be found again. This time, the father has remarried and it is he and his second wife and child who are dead.

The book is fast paced, with many characters, all well described and seeming to fit into their respective places.

This is a book with many twists and turns and a totally unexpected final twist. I really enjoyed this book, that I reserved from the local library. 

I strongly recommend this series if you are looking for thrills, clever characters and an author who knows her craft.


This is book No 2 in the Cal Rogan series.  Did you read my review of Junkie?

Well, having solved the murder of his best friend, Kevin, Cal/Rocky Rogan is once again part of the Vancouver Police Department, but on 3-month probation with his supervising officer being Nick Stammo, a detective with whom he has never got on. 

They are called to a scene where the body of a child is found, brutally murdered and with signs on his face and body that make both long term homicide detectives cringe.

The child is autistic and is known to have been uttering the word “Oboe” but what does it mean?  They talk to his best friend, another autistic child who utters the same word. but telling them it is a secret.

Rogan and Stammo find themselves involved in a world of religious cult and they fear that the death is part of a ritual.

Along the way, Stammo is severely injured and condemned to living his life in a wheelchair. Working together, they form a bond and uncover a clever way of laundering money and a tie to a person high up in the police hierarchy.

And through it all, Rogan is fighting “The Beast” as he calls his heroin addiction.  Can he overcome his need and keep his promises to his ex-wife and daughter?

Added to this is the bad feeling emanating from his colleagues at his reinstatement. Can he deal with this and find the answers to this mystery?

My response to that question is, buy the book. In fact, buy both the books – Junkie and Oboe. You won’t be disappointed.

Note – I received copies of the books from the author. I enjoyed them both and choose to write the reviews.

The Water Tower Club

Thanks to NetGalley another author new to me – B K Mayo

Ten years ago Darryl Coombs left the town of Grotin vowing never to return. And he doesn’t, that is until he receives a call from his mother telling him his young sister is in jail charged with attempted murder.

Against everything he believes, he returns to see what if anything, he can do for his sister. He finds that nothing much has changed in the intervening years –  the town and its inhabitants have just grown older.

His sister, Libby will not talk to him about why she stabbed a prominent member of the community and it is up to him to try to piece the story together, bumbling and stumbling from one place to the next, 

What transpires is a horrendous tale of abuse and cover-up; immoral exchanges for promises made and a resultant murder.

This is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat feeling for this bumbling protagonist who alone, succeeds in finding out the truth behind his sister’s apparent attempt at murder.

Flagstaff Station

I have been involved for some time as an Advance Reader for new Ellsworth books. Unfortunately, this time I missed the cut off for downloading the book and so I had to buy a copy. And I’m glad I did.

The story opens with an FBI chase through the streets of Phoenix that ends with a raging firefight and the death and/or injury of several FBI agents. In the firefight, Special Agent Donnie Francisco kills two of the mobsters whom he had seen shooting two of his colleagues in cold blood., but unfortunately one of them was an important member of the mob, and the mob wants revenge.

The family lodges a lawsuit against Francisco who employs lawyer, Thaddeus Murfee to defend him. This begins a series of events that affect the two men both together and separately, ending with Francisco being blinded in one eye and Murfee being run over and suffering multiple injuries.

We also meet again Christine Murfee, Thaddeus’ wife who is also a lawyer,  and Turquoise Murfee their daughter an LAPD Detective. We meet Nathan a young man whose mother is a prostitute and who asks Thaddeus for help, two rogue FBI agents, and a sheriff’s deputy who takes the law into his own hands believing he is protecting his wife and young children.

So be ready for a fast ride and for a kaleidoscope of characters and locations. This is certainly Ellsworth at his best. Another new series and I look forward to reading more about Thaddeus in the books to come. 


I don’t know how I got this book or when, but it was in my Kindle waiting to be read. It is a new book by Colleen Connally, another author new to me.

We meet Darren Kennedy an ADA struggling to get over the death seven years ago of his lovely wife, Sara: Boston Detective Sergeant John Brophy, brother in law to Darren: A nurse working in the transplant unit at the hospital, Cameron Quinn, and her brother Zach, and her father, all of whom are still greatly affected by a tragic event some years ago. 

We follow Darren and Cameron in their new relationship and then meet the two men with whom Cameron shares an apartment.

There are murders aplenty in this book, quite descriptive content of physical and psychological torture, and enough twists and turns to keep the hardest to please reader amongst us, glued to his/her seat.

There are many characters, all well defined and most are quite likeable. But the final twist certainly comes from left field. In all my sorting out what was happening, the final unveiling of the killer and his accomplice were totally unexpected.

I suggest you get hold of a copy of this book. It is really well worth reading and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end.

Die Cold

I’m really loving being involved with Bloodhound Books and their Blog Blitzes. Today’s Blitz is a new book from Graham Smith. It’s No 4 in the Jake Boulder series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone.




Jake Boulder, in an attempt to put space between those he loves and himself, takes a job as a bartender in an elite mountaintop ski resort. Only the very rich and powerful can afford to spend time there.

All is changed at the resort when a gang of ruthless terrorists invades and takes all the guests and staff hostage.  The gang is led by a particularly cold-blooded, heartless woman. She quickly shows everyone who is in charge, by a number of callous attacks on the hostages.

Boulder wants to fight back against the invaders but what can he do unarmed against a gang of efficient, well-armed men?

I was enthralled at the way the story unfolded. Step aside Jack Reacher – Jake Boulder has arrived.

I recommend this book and urge you to get a copy.  It ‘s a great read; hard to put down. I had to read it in one sitting to find out what he would do next and how the story ended.


About Graham Smith:

Graham Smith Author PicGraham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been the manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and four novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Social Media Links:


Twitter @GrahamSmith1972



Perfect Bones

Another Blog Blitz. This is for a new book by A J Waines.

A.J. Waines - Perfect Bones_cover


Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby has her bag packed ready to go on a long-anticipated vacation with her sister. But the night before they leave for Greece, Sam gets a call from the Metropolitan Police. A gruesome murder has been committed and the only witness has been rendered mute by what he saw.. Samantha has a week to get him to tell them what he saw. The police have determined that after that time his memories will of be of little use to them.

Samantha works with the witness, art student Aiden Blake, winning his confidence and helping him with the PTSD he is suffering.

But then another murder occurs; the body of another woman is found in almost the same place, on the footpath alongside Aiden’s narrow boat. Could he be involved in the murders?

With time running out and little real help from the Met,  Sam tries to track down the killer while helping her patient. There are plenty of suspects but the final unveiling of the murderer was a complete surprise to me.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a true physiological thriller, well plotted and set in an area that’s either well known to the author or one on which she has spent much time researching. The many characters are believable, particularly Sam and Aiden and the interaction between the two is masterfully scripted.

Once again, thanks to Bloodhound Books for providing a copy of the book for me to read and review.


Perfect Bones Blog Tour banner

About the Author:




AJ Waines is a number one bestselling author, topping the entire UK and Australian Kindle Charts in two consecutive years, with Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, the author has sold nearly half a million copies of her books, with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and Canada (audiobooks)

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband. Find her books here and visit her website and blog, or join her on TwitterFacebook or on her Newsletter.


Social Media Links:

All Books:  





Twitter:         @AJWaines