The best and the worst with Shirley Wells and a giveaway

First, I must thank the lovely Ivy for inviting me. I love this blog and it’s always a thrill to be here! Thank you, Ivy.

Thank you for taking the time to visit..

Second, I’ll remind you to read on for the chance to win a book…

And now I want to tell you about the best and worst things about being an author. A couple of weeks ago, an aspiring novelist asked me about this. She followed up by saying somewhat wistfully, “I don’t suppose there is a bad part.”

Well, yes, there is. The worst part for me is having a deadline date scrawled in red ink in my diary and seeing it get ever closer. I’ve never yet been late turning a book in but I’ve spent many a sleepless night wondering how I’ll manage to get it written in time. The brilliant Douglas Adams, author of the wonderful The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, once said: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” That was Douglas Adams though. He sold millions of books and, therefore, his publishers could humour him. They had little choice. I have to meet my deadlines and it’s not easy with only the blank screen of a computer for company.

There are plenty of best parts, of course. There’s being able to bring a story to life, getting to know a new cast of characters, and seeing a wonderful, eye-catching cover put on the story. For me, though, the very best part is talking to readers. I’m a Brit and when I first started writing, my books were in print and most of my sales came from the UK. Sometimes, I’d talk at libraries or similar places and meet, on a good night if I didn’t clash with X-Factor, forty people. These days, I have a US as well as a UK publisher and my work is available digitally. If I want to talk to readers, I have my website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter – the options seem endless. When I take a break from writing, I can sit with a coffee and talk to readers and fellow writers. What’s more, I don’t even have to change out of my dog-walking clothes. I love it!

There’s no better feeling than seeing a letter from a reader who’s loved one of my books dropping into my Inbox. It makes all the panicking in front of that blank screen worthwhile.

So if you want to make a writer’s day, send them an email saying how much you’ve enjoyed their latest book! Believe me, they’ll love you for it.

I said there was a free book up for grabs, right? Well, there’s a choice. The winner can choose a digital copy of my latest Dylan Scott mystery, DYING ART, released November 12.

 

Portrait of a mystery

 

Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson’s Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he’s back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn’t so sure–and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue’s flat.

So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan’s search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue’s family didn’t know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths–secrets someone would kill to keep buried…

 

 

 

Or the winner can choose a print or digital copy of my 2013 EPIC’s eBook Award Finalist book, SILENT WITNESS, the third in my Dylan Scott series.

 

After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.

Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to pursue the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect–the victim’s second husband–has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.

The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did?

 

 

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me the best and/or worst parts of your daily routine. I’m a writer, you see, which means I’m really, really nosy.

Thanks again for having me, Ivy!

Anytime!

Shirley was born and raised in the Cotswolds, where her headmaster wrote on her school report–Shirley is content to dream her life away. Years later–as an adult living in Cyprus–it dawned on her that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that fellow dreamers, in the guise of fiction writers, had been getting away with it for centuries. She’s now settled in Lancashire, where the Pennines provide the inspiration and setting for her popular mystery novels. And she’s still content to dream her life away.

You can chat to Shirley on her website, her blog , on Facebook  or Twitter .

 

Two Firsts and a Giveaway with Shirley Wells

It’s always such a pleasure to drop by this blog so I must thank the lovely Ivy for the invite.

Today, I’m celebrating a first. Actually I’m celebrating two firsts. Dead Calm is the first novella I’ve written and the publication of Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume 2 sees me included in an anthology for the first time. Woot!

Dead Calm features my favourite private investigator Dylan Scott. I usually send Dylan to dreary Lancashire to catch the baddies but this novella sees him on a cruise. High above the Arctic Circle. In November. (I don’t think I’ll be on his  Christmas cards list!) This is from the back cover:

 

 

Murder on the Arctic Sea


Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.

Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun — a killer who may strike again…

 

 Manic Readers DEAD CALM review

 

 

 

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Dead Calm in included in an anthology with such fabulous authors. This is from the back cover:


 

In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you four gripping novellas by some of genre fiction’s hottest voices! Explore interstellar space, get caught up in a caper, dabble in the paranormal and solve a murder aboard a cruise ship in this collection of stories reflecting the variety of our books!
Edited by Deborah Nemeth, this anthology includes:

Dead Calm by Shirley Wells

Dance of Flames by Janni Nell

No Money Down by Julie Moffett

Pyro Canyon by Robert Appleton

 

 

 

 

I have to say that I found writing a novella a challenge. My books are around the 80-90,000 words mark and the novella needed to be between 20-35,000 words. (It finally came in at 34,000 words.) If writing it was a learning curve, however, I must say that I love reading novellas. Like a lot of people, my reading time is limited so I have to be very selective indeed. Picking up a novella, a quick read, is great for me because I can sample the worlds of mystery, suspense or romance in the time it would take me to read a long book. It also means I can sample new-to-me authors without handing over too much cash!

What about you? Do you read novellas? Do you prefer a long tome or do you like sampling new authors with a shorter read? I’m curious (some would say nosy) and I’d love to know.

To celebrate these exciting ‘firsts’, I’m giving away a digital copy of Carina Press Presents: Editor’s Choice Volume 2 to the first name I pull out of the hat and a digital copy of Dead Calm to the second name. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning, is leave a comment on this post. I’ll announce the winners on Friday June 15. Good luck!

Thanks for having me, Ivy!

Thank you for stopping by, Shirley.  Always a pleasure to see you!

DEAD CALM ON AMAZON

CARINA PRESS EDITOR’S CHOICE VOL.II

DEAD CALM AT CARINA PRESS

CARINA PRESS EDITOR’S CHOICE VOL.II

 

———-

Shirley was born and raised in the Cotswolds, where her headmaster wrote on her school report–Shirley is content to dream her life away. Years later–as an adult living in Cyprus–it dawned on her that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that fellow dreamers, in the guise of fiction writers, had been getting away with it for centuries. She’s now settled in Lancashire, where the Pennines provide the inspiration and setting for her popular mystery novels. And she’s still content to dream her life away.
You can chat to Shirley on her website, her blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

Shirley Wells on T-shirts and SILENT WITNESS giveaway

(Read on for a chance to win a digital copy of Silent Witness.)

 

Thank you to the lovely Ivy and everyone at Manic Readers for inviting me to talk about T-shirts. Sorry? What’s that? Ah, you were expecting me to talk about books. I will, I promise, but first I must mention T-shirts. I love them. I have a vast collection and I like to think their slogans tell the world who I am and how I’m feeling. I have one in gentle pink that carries a warning:

 

Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you.

 

I have another that tells it how it is:

I’m killing you off in my next novel.

 

As for this one, I think the cheerful tone appeals to me:

 

I’m writing you into my next novel. Your character will meet a violent, painful death. Have a nice day.

 

Another of my favourites which, sadly, is almost too old and tatty to wear carries this slogan:

 

I’m a writer. I may not make as much money as you, but I get to wear this to work.

 

Okay. So my clothing tells the world that a) I’m a writer, b) people get killed off in my books and c) writers don’t make much money. I have others that tell people how much I love dogs, chocolate and whisky. (I buy my T-shirts from CafePress.co.uk and, no, I’m not on commission. Sadly.)

 

If I could wear the Queen’s shoes for a day, or the Prime Minister’s tie, I’d pass a law making it compulsory for everyone to wear a T-shirt with a suitable slogan. Why? Well, sometimes you just can’t fathom a person and I think the odd clue would come in useful. What do you think?

I’ll give you an example. When I started to write Silent Witness, the third in my Dylan Scott Mystery series, all I had was a character. I could see Aleksander Kaminski clearly. He was a tall, dark man who had come to England with his parents when he was three years old. He was a resident at HMP Manchester, better known as Strangeways Prison, serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-wife.

 

So I had this character – and nothing else. Usually, my characters ‘speak’ to me. Aleksander Kaminski remained silent. I could see him and his prison cell clearly, but I had no idea if he was guilty or innocent. Days passed. Weeks passed. My editor asked how the story was coming along. I mumbled something like “Um, fine. You’ll have a synopsis soon” and reached for the bottle of wine.

 

It was a long, long time before Aleksander Kaminski’s story came to me. (Sorry, my lips are sealed.) Some people, even fictional people, are simply too hard to fathom and Kaminski was almost impossible. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if he’d been wearing a T-shirt that said:

 

Yes, I slit her throat and then smoked a joint.

 

or perhaps:

 

I’m innocent. Get me out of here.

 

This is from the back cover:

 

After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.

Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to pursue the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect–the victim’s second husband–has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.

The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did?

So back to T-shirts. Do you love them or loathe them? What do yours say about you?

 

For the chance to win an epub or pdf version of Silent Witness, just leave a comment on this post. A winner will be chosen on Monday 19th March. Good luck!

Read the Manic Readers reviews of Shirley’s  Dylan Scott series by clicking on the covers below.

                                                      

——-

 

Shirley was born and raised in the Cotswolds, where her headmaster wrote on her school report–Shirley is content to dream her life away. Years later–as an adult living in Cyprus–it dawned on her that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that fellow dreamers, in the guise of fiction writers, had been getting away with it for centuries. She’s now settled in Lancashire, where the Pennines provide the inspiration and setting for her popular mystery novels. And she’s still content to dream her life away.

You can chat to Shirley on her website, her blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Why do we love a good mystery? Shirley Wells

I love to write about murder and mystery and I eagerly await every blood-spilling episode of Dexter. Many years ago, I was hooked on Columbo and loved nothing more than seeing the shambling detective catch the perpetrator. I enjoy all types of mystery, from Ian Rankin’s Rebus series to the gentle tales of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

Mystery fiction seems more popular than ever and as an author I’m delighted about that, but why, exactly, do we thrive on the genre? After all, if we switch on the TV news, we can find more than enough horrors to occupy our minds. Real life is different though, isn’t it? We’re quite happy for a fictional family to be torn apart by a crazed killer but it has to stop there. Fiction can’t be allowed to spill into the real world.

I suppose it’s because a good mystery gives us so much more than real life. In fiction, we know that good will triumph over evil. No matter what heinous crimes are committed, our sleuth – whether a hard-nosed police detective or an elderly spinster busy with her knitting – will bring him to justice and restore order in our world. It makes us feel safe.

Also, while our sleuth is hard at work, we can sit back and enjoy the puzzle. While we root for him, we can mentally urge him to look in the cellar or double-check an alibi. We can pit our wits against him before he runs out of time.

In my latest mystery, DEAD SILENT, private investigator Dylan Scott is trying to unearth the truth behind a young woman’s disappearance. Curious? This is the back cover copy:

Ten months ago,  Samantha Hunt set off for work… and was never seen again.

Despite the statistics of cold cases, Dylan Scott wants to believe the young woman’s alive – and not just because her father, his client, is desperate to find his missing daughter before he dies of cancer. By all accounts Sam was a lovely girl, devoted to her younger stepsisters, well-liked at her work, in love with her boyfriend.

But as usual not everything is as it seems in sleepy Dawson’s Clough. Sam’s boyfriend has a violent past. She may have been having an affair with her boss. And Dylan can’t shake the feeling that her stepfather is hiding something. Meanwhile, someone is trying to scare Dylan off the case.

Who wanted to silence Sam, and why? The truth turns out to be worse than anyone expected…

What’s your take on this? What is it about a mystery that draws us in?

Multi-published author Shirley Wells was born in the Cotswolds and lived in Cyprus and Orkney before settling in Lancashire in the UK where the stunning Pennine Hills provide the inspiration for her popular mystery novels. She and her husband share their home with two dogs, two cats and any other strays who fancy a pampered life. Connect with Shirley via her website, Twitter or Facebook.

DEAD SILENT is available now:

Carina Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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