Blog Tour – Random Acts of Unkindness: A guest post by author Jacqueline Ward

Random Acts Banner

I’m delighted to welcome author Jacqueline Ward to Little Bookness Lane today, as part of her Random Acts of Unkindness Tour.

You can discover more about the author and her new book at the end of this post, but in the meantime Jacqueline has kindly prepared a fascinating guest post on how she became a crime writer:

Random Acts - Guest Post

By Jacqueline Ward

With the success of my crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, several people have asked me lately how I arrived at crime writing.

Like most people, I started writing at school. Then I didn’t give up later on. Likewise, reading began at around five years old and I continued. So when I decided to write novels I thought I had a fairly good grounding. How difficult could it be? Not so easy, it turned out.

I began writing short stories for publication around 1995 and had some success with women’s magazines. So the natural next step was to write something longer. I’d been thinking about a story I heard about my great grandmother and I began to write that, with some autobiographical details thrown in. Bound to be a winner, wasn’t it? I sent it to the Romantic Novelists Association as an entry to one of their competitions. The main thrust of the feedback was that I had spelled ‘whether’ as ‘wether’ wrongly the whole way through the manuscript conjuring up the image of a castrated male sheep for the reviewer! Then I sent it to a couple of agents (with corrected spelling), and it was rejected.

Around that time I had been working with a group of young people at a youth project and I began to realise that there was more to storytelling than meets the eye, that rather than just being a source of entertainment, it’s how people construct and understand their life experiences. So I went to study it academically for many years and came out on a very different trajectory than I entered at – I was a narrative psychologist with a successful non-fiction book!

But I still wanted to write fiction. In fact, I couldn’t stop writing fiction. I read a lot of women’s fiction and decided I would write fiction for women. Seemed entirely reasonable. I didn’t plan to write formula fiction, rather stories about lives, wherever that took me. The first two novels exorcised my own life out of the stories, leaving my set to write a third story free from my emotional shackles. My third novel was the first one I had been completely pleased with and excited about. However, when I sent it out I soon realised that it was considered mixed genre.

In between writing the third novel and revising it, I wrote a speculative fiction story and briefly wondered if I was meant to veer off in this direction. Then I started another women’s fiction book that again had dark undertones.

By this time I had detected a pattern – these women’s fictions books were all set against a landscape of the peaks and troughs of lives and how people dealt with loss and various emotions. I’d learnt about Freytag’s pyramid by this time, and about comedy, quest and tragedy stories. I’d learnt about seed words and thematic questions. Sometime early last year I realised that I my thematic questions were about crime and mystery and I was trying to squash them into a women’s fiction shaped container.

I love my characters, so much that I dream about them. I was and still am committed to strong characters who, like real people, have their own nuances, flaws and ticks. So as well as the confusion over genre, I was trying write a character-led novel with an equally strong plot. This led to a slow pace – I was trying to do everything at once.

It wasn’t until my work attracted the attention of agents and I received their feedback that I realised I was a crime writer. I’d had some requests for full manuscripts from agents who represented crime and thriller authors, and I came to realise that this was what the darkness in my writing had been – underlying tones of dreadful things in women’s lives. I had also been writing strong women characters and some of the critique from beta readers mentioned that they were perhaps a little too quirky for women’s fiction. I told myself that they were quirky because of their horrendous life experiences, but never wrote about the horror. It was almost as if I had been resisting writing what I wanted to in an effort to get myself to a point where I wasn’t writing about surface issues.

Writing about crime and mystery has made me develop my writing in a way that I had never been able to before. My interest in characterisation extends to the characters surrounding the crime and affected by it, as well as the antagonist and protagonist, and this has given me an opportunity to use my psychological knowledge to understand the dynamics.

Having described my journey so far, it sound like I have a master plan, all plotted out somewhere. Yet when I start writing all of the above is in there somewhere, driving the core of the story as the characters provide a canvas for it. It’s still difficult, and a challenge. But the joy from the creative process makes it worthwhile. That, and imagining my novel published and read.

So crime writing is for me. It always was, right from the first novel when I took imaginary revenge on the man who left my great grandmother alone with a child. I just had to recognise it. Now it’s difficult for me to imagine writing anything else. Although who knows where this writing journey will take me next?

Random Acts - Book Summary

Publication date:  21st June 2016   

Format:  Ebook / Paperback

Genre:  Adult Crime / Thriller

How far would you go to find your child?Random acts of unkindness

DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.

Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers. Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?

Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.

Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.



Random Acts - Author Bio

Jacqueline Ward Author Photo

Jacqueline writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines.

Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016.

Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specialises in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.


Huge thanks to Jacqueline for taking the time to write this guest post. The tour continues tomorrow with Jaffa Reads Too and A Daydreamer’s Thoughts.

All the best,

Wendy sig

Random Acts of Unkindness Blog Banner



IT’S LITTLE BOOKNESS LANE’S 1ST BIRTHDAY! Here’s an invitation to enter a bookish giveaway:

Invite and RSVP

Hello, and a very warm welcome, folks!

Today you are invited to a virtual celebration, as it’s been one whole year since Little Bookness Lane was cobbled together and officially launched into the wild.

There may have been severe bouts of Wordpress wobbles, and my frequent attacks of gobbledygook are there for all to see, but it’s been an absolute blast – and that’s all down to YOU!

I simply can’t let the moment pass without shouting about the generosity of visitor, follower, liker, sharer, commenter, reader, fellow blogger – not forgetting all those perfect publishers, and awesome authors. Let’s face it, if you didn’t stop by it’d be just me, myself, and the tumbleweed. So cheers, everybody, your support is truly appreciated.

And now, to celebrate my blog’s 1st birthday, but more importantly to say thank you, I’ve conjured up a little bookish giveaway and I’d be delighted if you would like to take part!

One winner can choose to receive either:

A £25.00 Gift Voucher (via email)


 A book(s) up to the value of £25.00 from The Book Depository



All you have to do is “RSVP” to let me know that you’d like to enter the giveaway…

Just leave a comment below, or fire a quick email to littlebookness(at), and I’ll pop your name in the hat – simples!

Regarding the winner’s whereabouts, before entering the giveaway please check you’re either happy to purchase from, or that The Book Depository deliver to your country. Thank you!

Book Love


The random hand of fate (or rather the randomiser formula in Microsoft Excel) will select one name from the replies received by 8.00 p.m on Sunday, 6th March. I’ll contact the winner shortly afterwards to arrange their prize.

Here’s sending every best wish to you all  x

Wendy sig





NEW BOOK RELEASE! Dragonfish, by Vu Tran (#WhereIsSuzy challenge)

Hi, everyone!

No Exit Press are really, really excited about the release of Dragonfish, by Vu Tran TODAY!  To spread the word about this intriguing debut literary crime thriller, they are inviting bloggers to participate in a 10 minute writing prompt to offer their thoughts of #WhereIsSuzy ?

Dragonfish Back Story

DragonfishRobert, an Oakland cop, still can’t let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who is blackmailing Robert into finding her for him.

As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny’s sadistic son, ‘Junior’, and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, and his investigation uncovers the existence of an elusive packet of her secret letters to someone else she left behind long ago.

As Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy’s life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.

Dragonfish The Challenge

Using only the information of the synopsis above, (though Google’s help might be acceptable) write a blog post in 10 minutes as to where Suzy is. There is no right answer and no need to think about it for more than one minute, instead, No Exit Press are seeking to display the creative possibilities of where a story can go.

They would like to get as many people involved in this as they can in order to provide as many different ideas and outcomes as possible.

Please share on social media using the hashtag #WhereIsSuzy to encourage others to offer their own imagined answers.

Dragonfis My Thoughtsletters-566420_1920Suzy is haunted. She walked away from a child she held for just a short while when her own young life was falling apart in Saigon. But, she has since built a good life with Robert, a kind-hearted, American police officer, and can’t bring herself to rock the boat by telling him of her unsavoury past – and her secret drives a wedge between them.

Over the years Suzy has cherished the snippets of news about her daughter, who she believed was safe with an old friend in Vietnam. But recent letters hint at the worrying revelation that she has been dazzled by the bright lights of America, edging closer toward a life she cannot escape from – a life Suzy knows only too well from a past she’d left behind.

passport-881305_1920Drawing from life experience and old contacts, Suzy believes a notoriously dangerous smuggler called Sonny holds the key to her daughter’s whereabouts. Although Suzy will not abandon her child again, she never envisaged the depths she would have to sink to while trying to protect her.

Suzy has little choice but hatch an elaborate plan to get close to Sonny and even agrees to marry him to gain his trust. As soon as she discovers what happened to her daughter they will slip away forever, leaving him and his sordid Las Vegas business associates behind. But the hardest journey of all is yet to come as she will return to where it all began, in Vietnam.

After Sonny became wise to her plan she prays she’s not too late, and wonders if any of this would have happened had she placed her faith in Robert when they first met.

#WhereIsSuzy I’d like to think Suzy (and the daughter I invented for her) made it ‘home’ to Vietnam, perhaps joined by Robert later – providing he’s not being blackmailed for anything too awful, that is…

Phew! Well, that’s my random version of events.

The question is: Where do YOU think Suzy is? No Exit Press would LOVE to hear from you!

Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s just for fun. If you’d like to join in, don’t forget to use the Twitter Hashtag when publishing your blog post – #WhereIsSuzy

(HUGE thanks to NO EXIT PRESS for inviting me to participate in the launch of Dragonfish, and Matt at READER DAD Blog for pointing them this way!)

All the best,

Wendy sig



COVER REVEAL: Mean Sisters, By Lindsay Emory #MeanSisters

Hi, everybody! It’s cover reveal time for Lindsay Emory’s new book, and I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part!

Described as a cross between Mean Girls and Legally Blonde, MEAN SISTERS is published on 17th March 2016 by Maze (Harper Collins UK).

Helena Sheffield of Avon Books (Harper Collins) says:

This book is sassy, sharp, funny and has a killer edge to it.

Well, Helena hasn’t been wrong with her descriptions so far – sounds like one to watch out for!


Mean Sisters



A sassy, hilariously funny murder mystery where the closest bonds of friendship might just kill you…!

Margot Blythe is a twenty-something year old who can’t seem to let her college glory days go. After all, everyone deserves a family of ‘sisters’ like she had. When she’s invited to speak at her alma mater, her homecoming reception isn’t exactly what she expected. Tragedy strikes and Margot has to step up, especially when foul play is suspected.

She’s going to save her fifty frazzled ‘sisters’, keep the suspicious (but dangerously cute) police officer at bay and find out the truth – could a sister have committed such an unimaginable sin as murder?

Margot is going to learn the real bond of sisterhood and maybe, just maybe, discover where she truly belongs.


(It’s available to pre-order at the time of posting.)


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

As a Texan and recovering sorority girl, Lindsay Emory has strong opinions on college football, nachos, and wearing white after Labor Day. Lindsay started writing when her first grade teacher put her in a closet and told her to write stories, instead of teaching her math. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two daughters, watching movies with her husband, and reading as many books as possible. She is an active member of the Dallas Area Romance Authors chapter of RWA and a semi-active member of the PTA, which is a whole lot less fun.

TWITTER     |     FACEBOOK     |      WEBSITE

Thanks so much for stopping by, folks!

All the best,

Wendy sig

COVER REVEAL: #TheGirlWho Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches

It’s almost time for the next THRILLING instalment of #TheGirlWho, by the marvellous Marnie Richies – it would be criminal to miss it … (erm, sorry about that).

Marnie’s third book in the Georgina McKenzie series, The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, will be published on the 31st March 2016 in E-Book (that’s a Thursday, in case you’re interested, not that I’m counting the days or anything) and I’m OVER THE MOON to be able to share this TREMENDOUS, EYE-CATCHING COVER with you:

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows

Wanna to know more? Well, here’s the book summary for you – it sounds like a good ‘un to me! :

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Romani gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?


(My pre-order is IN, people. And I. Can’t. Waaaaait!)

Marnie RichesMarnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.

Marnie Riches is the author of the George McKenzie crime thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins.

In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn’t?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.

Winner of the Patricia Highsmith award for ‘Most Exotic Location’.



In the meantime, you can read my 5/5 reviews for the first two #TheGirlWho books by clicking the covers below:

The Girl Who Wouldnt Die by Marie Richies    31MayThe Girl Who Broke the Rules

Thanks so much for stopping by, folks!

Wendy sig




COVER REVEAL: The Teacher, by Katerina Diamond #DoYouDare?

The Teacher Cover Reveal

You think you know who to trust?

You think you know the difference between good and evil?

You’re wrong …

The Teacher

The Teacher is a debut crime novel from Katerina Diamond

It will upturn everything you thought you knew …



The Teacher Book Summary

Published by Avon (Harper Collins UK)    Publication date, March 2016


The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?

The Teacher Tag Line

This is a psychological crime thriller in a class of its own.

WARNING:  Most definitely *not* for the faint-hearted!


The Teacher Author Links



Well, all I can think after that is like, “whoa, that got my attention! How ’bout you …?!”

Thanks for taking five to stop by,

Wendy sig


PAPERBACK RELEASE DAY TODAY! Our Endless Numbered Days, by Claire Fuller

Our Endless Numbered Days - Feature image

Hi, everyone!

I hope you’ve had a truly wonderful Christmas.

I’m so glad you’ve taken a little break to stop by, as the lovely folks at Penguin contacted me earlier this month to ask if I would like to share my review of Our Endless Numbered Days to coincide with its paperback release date today. It goes without saying that I’m delighted to oblige! I read this book back in March 2015 and I still recall it’s haunting quality.

Well, after this post it’s bye for now. Here’s wishing each and everyone of you a happy and peaceful New Year – hope to see you in 2016!

All the best,

Wendy sig

Publisher: Fig Tree (Penguin)  |  Publication Date: Paperback 31st December 2015

Our Endless Numbered Days - My Review

“What’s a Hutte?” I asked. “A magical place in the forest,” my father said with a catch in his voice. “Our very own little cabin, with wooden walls, and wooden floors, and wooden shutters at the windows…”

Our Endless Numbered Days Paperback CopyLittle Peggy would have quite innocently followed in her father’s footsteps to the end of the world and back again. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined what that could come to mean…

Her keen survivalist father had allowed her to camp at the bottom of the garden of their house in London, live in a rickety tent and cook over an open fire. He’d even shown her how to live off the land.

With her famous Germanic pianist mother, Ute, away from home, she had left her husband in sole charge of their daughter, which meant that Peggy could enjoy this ‘outdoor’ life even more; not having to bathe, foraging for food and the mock drills in case of dire emergency.

At just ten years old she unwittingly exchanged the comforts of her home in London for a remote and uninviting wilderness, a place her father explained would be a haven for their family and that her mother would be joining them soon.

But their short stay in ‘die Hutte’ stretched into nine long years and differed greatly from the sanctuary her father had promised.

There was just the two of them, as her father cruelly told her that the rest of the world did not exist anymore and that they were the only survivors. Trusting him as she did, she believed every word he spoke, that is until she became mesmerised by a mysterious wild man called Rueben whose name had been etched in their cabin…

Leaving home as a child in 1976 and returning as a young woman in 1985, Peggy has to confront a whole new set of challenges. Even though the story moves backwards and forwards through both time periods it’s seamlessly blended.

This incredible portrayal of Peggy’s difficult journey into adulthood under ‘gut-kicking’ circumstances is written in the most incredible way. Even with its disturbing undercurrent, which started as a trickle being dripped into the chapters, it’s a book I would highly recommend. I just had to keep on reading until I discovered how she arrived home again, if she would be safe and what would happen to her.

It’s one of those books you will read that will hold your attention until the very last page, and will continue to linger in your mind long after you’ve closed its haunting cover.


(This review was written after reading my own hardback copy of this title in March 2015.)

Our Endless Numbered Days - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)


‘Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairytale, full of clues, questions and intrigue.’ – The Times

‘Extraordinary…From the opening sentence it is gripping’ – Sunday Times

1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.

Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.


Our Endless Numbered Days - Author Bio

(Courtesy of Author’s Website)

I’m a novelist and short fiction writer. For my first degree I studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art, specialising in wood and stone carving. I began writing fiction at the age of 40, after many years working as a co-director of a marketing agency. I have a Masters (distinction) in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Winchester.

My first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days is published in the UK by Fig Tree / Penguin, by House of Anansi in Canada, Tin House in the US, Editions Stock in France, Keter Books in Israel, and will be published in Italy, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Turkey in the coming months.

It won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction, and was nominated for the Edinburgh First Book Award.

My second novel, Swimming Lessons, will be published in the UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) also by Fig Tree / Penguin at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

I am represented by Jane Finigan from Lutyens & Rubinstein.

I live in Winchester with my husband and two children.



2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,500 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Humongous thanks and Meeerrrrry Christmas to you!


Greetings, everybody!

Crikey, that year went a bit quick, didn’t it?

That’s why it came as a surprise when Goodreads informed me that apparently I’d read over 100 books this year. If you’d asked me to guess I’d have said 60, tops. It’s not something I keep count of (how silly of me) and at first I thought I’d stumbled onto someone else’s profile! Well, here it is, ‘My Goodreads Year in Books – 2015’.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every Kindle, Paperback and Hardback copy for completely different reasons, which is why I couldn’t possibly dream of compiling my favourites in a post of their own. I think 5/5 rated reviews will give you a hint of which ones they are anyway!

I only started the blog in March and I’m massively grateful for each and every visitor who has taken the time to stroll down Little Bookness Lane, be they reader, blogger, author, or publisher. It’s been loads of fun and lovely to meet you all, so allow me to wish you a truly wonderful Christmas and all the very, very best for 2016.

There’ll be a post or two to come but for now,

be happy, be healthy, and most of all…

beware of low flying reindeer.

Beware Reindeers


Wendy sig



IT’S FREE! Colin Crampton’s Christmas Gift for Cozy Crime Fans

Murder at the Chronicle with decorations

Hi, everyone!

The author of Headline Murder, Peter Bartram, has asked me to share some wonderful news with you.

There’s an early Christmas present this year for crime fans who like to read cozy mysteries on their Kindle.

Murder at the Chronicle – with five Crampton of the Chronicle short stories – is FREE to download from 11th to 15th December 2015.

The stories include:

  • A seasonal special – The Mystery of the Phantom Santa – with a real Yuletide feel-good ending. Colin Crampton discovers more than he bargained for when he investigates a small boy’s claim to have seen Father Christmas from his bedroom window.
  • One of the series’ most popular characters, Colin’s girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith, makes an appearance in The Mystery of the Two Suitcases. Colin interrupts a romantic Valentine’s date with Shirley to unravel a puzzle with a surprising twist.
  • In The Mystery of the Precious Princess, Colin finds that it’s not only a dog’s life for the canines up at Hove Greyhound Racing stadium.
  • The Mystery of the Single Red Sock, takes Colin on a hunt for one of the most dangerous crooks he’s ever confronted.
  • And in The Mystery of the Clothes on the Beach, a local fisherman helps Colin land a surprising catch.

Murder at the Chronicle also contains two bonus chapters from Headline Murder, the first full-length Crampton of the Chronicle novel, also available as an e-book. Headline Murder is on special offer for Kindle readers – just £0.99p, saving £4.00 on the normal price – during December. (Read my 5 Star review here.)


Murder at the Chronicle

The author hopes you’ll enjoy this festive treat.

Thank you, Peter!