Blog Tour – S5 Uncovered: Guest post ‘The Inspiration’ by author James Durose- Rayner

S5 Uncovered Cover

Today, Little Bookness Lane is ‘host to a guest post’ kindly provided by author James Durose-Rayner, as part of the blog tour for his new book, S5 Uncovered.

S5 Uncovered was published on 19th July 2016 and is available to purchase here. You can also discover more about the man himself and his book at the end of this post:

S5 - Guest Post

By James Durose-Rayner

The Inspiration

I have or had great friends – when I say great friends, I really mean it – and if you are a writer, I find it is always best to write what you know.


  1. A high-ranking policeman in South Yorkshire Police who was working within the city of Sheffield. He had also been under investigation by the IPCC as he’d had a man die in custody. Am I still in contact with him? No. He is currently ‘on the run’ with another mans wife. That bit isn’t in the book.
  2. His life was nothing short of a train wreck. He and his out-of-control wife (she was psychotic and possessed on-the-edge characteristics) drank heavily and he he’d had to leave Sheffield due a series of circumstances outside of the police force – his wife being caught on CCTV throwing a brick through the patio window was one of the reasons.
  3. A career criminal (1) in Sheffield.
  4. I initially got to know him in 2002 – and rather strangely through my accountant. I was owed £48,000 from various parties – the biggest amount being £9,000, and by going through the corporate judicial system I knew that I would never get it back. I therefore sent him to get it back. Draw your own conclusion how that worked out. A shite debt collector but a great story – but it’s definitely not in the book.
  5. A career criminal (2) is the younger brother of career criminal (1) and had just been remanded in HMP Doncaster and was awaiting sentencing on a charge of malicious wounding to cause GBH – section 18.
  6. For the record he was badly advised, went on the run, didn’t do his groundwork, had a rubbish defence and got 8 and ½ years. Did he deserve it? Read the book and draw your own conclusions.
  7. A career criminal (3) originated from Sheffield and was a Special Forces soldier serving in Afghanistan and The Middle East who when on leave – moonlighted within Sheffield’s criminal underworld.
  8. Is he still around? He served time in prison and now owns a protection company and female escort service in south London. Possibly one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
  9. A local authority housing officer whose married life, again was nothing short of a train wreck. He’s had three relationships since and is still no further on in life.
  10. I’ve used one of his many characters in every one of my books and if I wrote his biography – no-one would believe it. An extremely complex individual.
  11. He was and still is something of a sexual deviant and control freak, who liked nothing better than feeling like he was losing control – when in fact all the time it was him who was in control. His wife had a strange family – the mother, grandmother and uncle were all diagnosed with schizophrenia. An idiot? Yes. A criminal? Not really. Is he still married? Definitely not.
  12. The Tattooist. A gay, loud-mouthed extrovert from the Pitsmoor area of the city who was a major link with several fractions of north Sheffield’s underworld – especially the rival gangs in the city’s so-called ‘Postcode Wars’.
  13. Contrary to public belief – most of the serious criminals – especially those who deal in violence don’t really drink, therefore they need some form of ‘meeting place’. His studios were exactly that. A criminal? Minor. Is he still around? He is – but in another part of the city.
  14. An Asian businessman who ran an insurance agents and money laundering operation and who was well-connected to the Asian element of Sheffield’s underworld – mainly drugs.
  15. A career criminal? Minor.
  16. The owner of a dog meat factory with a dysfunctional family who was extremely well-connected to Sheffield and who has sadly recently died. Was he a criminal? Again, not really.
  17. A car dealer that currently resides in the north of Sheffield.
  18. An extremely well-connected, womanising, fast-talking, wheeler-dealing motor mouth with a through-the-roof IQ. A criminal? Very much so.
  19. There is one missing as he isn’t a friend.

S5 - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Authoright PR)

S5 Uncovered CoverBased around a series of true events.

The BBC’s current affairs programme ‘Panorama’ undertook a sixty minute documentary / exposé surrounding an elite government task force that went undercover in Sheffield over a period of twelve months.

Their remit was to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to fill up the police federations coffers using illegally gained intelligence, on one hand overlooking – and in some cases encouraging – major criminal activity such as murder, kidnap and torture; whilst on the other, surreptitiously acquiring pre-bargained guilty pleas from defendants then reneging on deals, which culminated in some of the heaviest sentences ever handed out in the UK. But the programme was never aired.


S5 - Author Profile

James Durose-Rayner has over twenty years’ experience in journalism. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild and the editor of NATM, the UK’s leading specialist civil engineering journal. His writing has been featured in over 210 magazines and his debut indie-novel, S63: Made in Thurnscoe, published in 2001, received positive reviews. In 2015, I Am Sam (Clink Street Publishing) and itv Seven (New Generation Publishing) followed to more affirmative acclaim. Durose-Rayner currently divides his time between the UK and Cyprus.


Thanks for stopping by. You can also visit the other blogs on the tour by following the schedule below.

All the best,

Wendy sigJames Durose-Rayner_Banner SMALL

Blog Tour: Unreliable narrators – A guest post by ‘Under the Harrow’ author Flynn Berry

Under the Harrow blog tour Twitter graphic

I’m delighted to welcome author Flynn Berry to Little Bookness Lane today as part of her Under the Harrow blog tour where she’ll be sharing her pick of some of the best unreliable narrators with us.

You can discover more about the author and her book in just a little while, but right now Flynn has kindly prepared this fascinating guest post…

Under the Harrow GUEST POST

Unreliable Narrators

by Flynn Berry

My novel, Under the Harrow, is about a woman, Nora, investigating her sister’s murder. As the police inquiry unravels, Nora becomes obsessive and reckless. Some of my favorite books have unreliable narrators, who are duplicitous, volatile, and thrilling.

Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley isn’t exactly an unreliable narrator. He’s quite direct. By the time Tom invites Dickie for a boat ride, we know exactly what he plans to do. “In each motor-boat, Tom noticed, was a round weight of cement attached to a line, for anchoring the boat.” He wants Dickie Greenleaf’s life, and, as with all great unreliable narrators, it’s easy to believe he somehow deserves it more: “Tom had an ecstatic moment when he thought of all the pleasures that lay before him now with Dickie’s money, other beds, tables, seas, ships, suitcases, shirts, years of freedom, years of pleasure.”

The way Tom sheds his old identity is bizarrely, perversely inspiring. He changes his voice, his expression, his posture, his handwriting. And, wonderfully, he excises all the parts of himself he dislikes, like his dullness and shyness. Reading it made me marvel at how much people can transform themselves, out of a longing to be someone different, or out of rage. It seemed somehow miraculous. “It was Paris,” says Tom. “Wonderful to sit in a famous café, and to think of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow being Dickie Greenleaf!”

Under the Harrow Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Publication date:  14th June 2016   

Format:  Ebook

Under The Harrow by Flynn Berry - Kindle CoverWhen Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.



Under the Harrow Author Profile

Flynn Berry Author Photograph

Flynn Berry is a graduate of the Michener Centre and has been awarded a Yaddo residency. She graduated from Brown University. Under the Harrow is her first novel.

She is represented by Emily Forland at Brandt & Hochman. The editor of Under the Harrow is Lindsey Schwoeri at Penguin.



Huge thanks to Flynn Berry for taking the time to write this guest post and also to Rebecca Gray for organising the tour, which stops with Victoria Goldman at Off-The-Shelf Books tomorrow!

Wendy sig



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



GUEST POST: ‘The Temptations Got it Write’, by Author Elaine Spires

Hello! Today, I’m so happy to welcome Elaine Spires to Little Bookness Lane.

This lovely lady has not only written ALL of the books below, she has kindly prepared an excellent guest post for us.  Take it away, Elaine – and thank you! :



By Elaine Spires

Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest-blog with you today.

As a writer who sometimes acts (I originally wanted to be an actress who sometimes wrote but Fate had other plans), I’ve come to realise that there is one tool which serves and links both actors and writers alike and that is IMAGINATION. Actors put themselves into the shoes of their characters by imagining how they would react to the situation in which the playwright has placed them, which leads to a believable performance and if, after all, a performance isn’t believable then the actor might as well give up. I’m sure you, like me, will have watched actors whose imagination is so well tuned and highly developed that you have been totally convinced by their performance, while others have left you sitting there thinking ‘I don’t believe that!’. I am highly critical when watching TV, so much so that I often start to lose the thread of the plot because I’m allowing myself to be distracted by unconvincing acting.

And so it is with writers. Without our imaginations we would have no characters, no setting, no plot, no subplot, in short – no story! But I think that there is even more to it than that, at least I have found it so. I am very fortunate in that I spend part of my year in Antigua, in the West Indies. Two of my novels, Singles’ Holiday and Sweet Lady are set there. I fell in love with the place on my first visit in 2003 and I just haven’t been able to stay away. I have a cute little house – Avocado Cottage – and sitting on the veranda, enjoying the cool breeze and my lovely garden is very conducive to the creative process. Perhaps because there are fewer distractions, or perhaps, simply because I am surrounded by nature as the cottage is in a semi-rural setting and I am visited by little lizards and humming-birds and herds of goats and cows and the occasional horses going up the lane, but I find my output is far greater here than when I am in Essex.

But last year my imagination really came into play when I was in Antigua throughout July writing the third book in my Singles’ Trilogy, Single All The Way. You see, as you might guess from the title, it’s set at Christmas time, but it’s not a tropical Christmas, rather one set in the snowy English countryside in the town of Tolleshunt D’Arcy in Essex. It seemed strange to an extent writing about heavy snowfalls and describing winter walks in boots and scarves and gloves and hats, and huge, heavily-adorned Christmas trees while I was enjoying 30ºC under a cloudless blue sky and more than 80% humidity.

I’ve recently been back in Antigua working on my latest book, The Banjo, which is set in a sometimes gloomy 1950s England with its post-war austerity, pea-souper fogs and repression of women. So once again, it was my imagination that had to work overtime, bringing to life the families involved in the story, who are making-do, feeling the cold, living through hardship, fighting against social injustices, while I was sitting in the heat and sunshine making it all up.

That, though, is what writing is all about. Unless the writer can be successfully transported to another place and time, then how on earth will they take their readers there? The answer is…………by using their imagination. As Willy Wonka said: Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Or in the words of the title of one of my favourite Temptations’ songs – It’s Just My Imagination Running Away With Me.

Elain Spires Author Links

Elaine is a novelist, playwright and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine spends her time between her homes in Essex and Five Islands, Antigua (W.I.).

If you’d like to know more about Elaine, here’s all the contact details you need:

Website   |   Amazon UK   |   Facebook   |   Twitter

 ~ Here’s a taster of the titles written by Elaine Spires ~

The covers are all linked to Amazon UK, in case you’d like to discover more…

813xjohe-vL__SL1500_What’s Eating Me – Eileen Holloway is an obese mother of two, whose husband went out to see a man about a car one night and never came back, struggling to keep all the plates spinning. But Eileen becomes a celebrity the day her mother puts her forward for Barbara’s Beautiful Bodies, a reality TV show which follows the journey of the seriously overweight as they are put on a rigid diet and exercise routine to change their lives for better and for ever. What’s Eating Me looks at what happens to her once her journey to reach her target weight is over.

Sweet LadySweet Lady – the story with a couple of huge twists, where nothing is as it seems! East London artist Eleanor West is holidaying in Antigua with her daughter Victoria before her latest summer exhibition. When beach-bum Tyrone walks into their lives, nothing will ever be the same again.



The Singles’ Trilogy:-

Singles HolidaySingles’ Holiday – Antigua, the Caribbean at its most luscious; cloudless, cobalt skies, silver sand, turquoise sea, and a group of total strangers, with just one thing in common: they’re single. Some have come just to have a good holiday; some for something more. Some will become lifelong friends; others just won’t get on. But it is, perhaps, their tour manager Eve who has the biggest shocks of all as she takes care of her group through sunny days, boozy, balmy nights and a tropical storm as we get to know each group member, while they, in turn, get to know each other.

singles and spiceSingles and Spice – A singles’ holiday to India’s Golden Triangle – Taj Mahal, the pink city of Jaipur, tiger-spotting in Ranthambore, the noisy, crowded streets of Delhi – all go to make up a trip that is hot, humid and spicy. Eve Mitchell, Travel Together’s tour manager extraordinaire has a couple of familiar faces in her little group of travellers and others that she hasn’t met before; sexy man-eating pensioners, a compulsive over-eater, a constant whiner and a man with a personal problem. And there’s a big surprise awaiting someone -and Eve! – one morning at dawn. By the end of the tour, which sees our group travelling by plane, coach, rickshaw, train and elephant, she will know rather more about some of their innermost secrets than she’d like.

single all the waySingle All The Way – Travel Together Tour Manager Eve Mitchell is planning a quiet Christmas at home to rest and relax before an extra-special New Year. But she soon, very unexpectedly, finds herself in the depths of the Essex countryside looking after a singles’ group which contains some old, familiar faces and some pleasant – and not so pleasant – new ones. With its country walks, quizzes, disco and black-tie ball, the Christmas and Twixmas Break passes quickly, but just as they think it’s all over the plot takes a twist and we learn some dark secrets…

Short Story Collections:-

holiday readsHoliday Reads – Short stories for your sun-lounger – or wherever! Seven women, each with a different holiday problem. Meet, Olivia, who wishes she wasn’t on a tennis holiday; Estelle, alone on a cruise; Fiona who’s flying too close for comfort; Shelley, who shouldn’t have got involved with a foreigner; Alison who finds our her husband’s off on a cruise – but not with her!; Eloise who’s having a rotten time in Ibiza and Karla who’s desperate for her family holiday in Corfu to go well.


holiday reads 2Holiday Reads 2 – More quirky short-stories with a holiday theme for reading on the plane, on the beach or by the pool, your back garden on a sunny afternoon or curled up on the sofa if it’s raining.



Two Novellas:-

The Christmas QueenThe Christmas Queen – in which we meet up with Eileen Holloway again. Her whole life through, Christmas for Eileen has always started with loads of work and preparation and ended in bitter disappointment, and involved huge amounts of energy and emotion along the way. But this year, although she knows it will be emotional, she’s determined things will be very different. This year she’s going to be a Christmas Queen…


Weak at the KneesWeak At The Knees – Estelle is out and about making her Valentine’s Day deliveries. What she discovers as she presents four very different women with an armful of flowers is a real eye-opener …




AAAAND COMING SOON…THE BANJO – A trilogy set in Dagenham from 1950s – present day.


Thank you for taking five to read Elaine’s guest post today. I loved it, I hope you did too!  Also, huge thanks to Dawn Crooks for organising the #ElaineSpires tour.

All the best  x

Wendy sig

*** Please be sure to join tomorrow for the next stop! ***