The Working Girls – My New Series

I am very excited to announce my new series of books called, The Working Girls. As the title suggests, it centres around the world of prostitution – there’s more information below about my inspiration for this series.

The first two books are already available for pre-order on Amazon. Although there are no cover images yet, my publishers have written a fabulous enticing blurb for each of them, which I’m detailing below together with links to the relevant Amazon pages if you want to pre-order.

 

The Mark

(The Working Girls Book 1)

 

The queen of urban crime is back with a shocking, brilliant new series – The Working Girls

 

A TRIP TO THE DARK SIDE. 
When respected journalist, Maddy, goes to interview prostitutes in a rundown Manchester pub, she doesn’t reckon on attracting the attention of their ruthless pimp, Gilly. He quickly decides to use Maddy for his own gains; he just needs to work out how.

A TOXIC AFFAIR. 
In the weeks that follow, Maddy is oblivious to Gilly’s growing obsession with her, particularly when she begins a romance with successful businessman, Aaron. Their passionate love affair starts to dominate her life, and she finds herself losing control and alienating the people around her.

A TARGET ON HER BACK. 
As Maddy’s safe and successful life starts to crumble around her, she must quickly work out who has it in for her, before it’s too late…

Heather Burnside is back with this breath-taking, heart-racing new series, perfect for all fans of Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole.
Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MVJV3Q4

 

Ruby

(The Working Girls Book 2)

 

PRE-ORDER THE PAGE-TURNING NEW INSTALLMENT OF THE WORKING GIRLS SERIES FROM THE QUEEN OF URBAN CRIME. 

 

THE STRONGER SEX. 
Ruby has always been strong. Growing up with a feeble mother and an absent father, she is forced to fight the battles of her younger siblings. And when a childhood experience leaves her traumatised, her distrust of men turns to hatred.

ON THE STREETS. 
With no safe place to call home, Ruby is desperate to fit in with the tough crowd. She spends her teenage years sleeping around and drinking in the park, and by the time she is sixteen, prostitution has become a way of life. But Ruby has ambitions, and she soon moves up the ladder to become the madam of her own brothel.

THE BROTHEL. 
But being in charge of a brothel has its down sides, Ruby faces her worst nightmare when an enemy from the past comes back into her life, and gang intimidation threatens to ruin everything. Can she find a way to beat her tormentors? And will she be strong enough to see it through?

Heather Burnside is back with this breath-taking, heart-racing series, perfect for all fans of Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole.

Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MVJ9FMB

 

The Idea for the Series

The idea for the series started when I watched a police detective series many years ago. In one particular episode the female detective was interviewing prostitutes in a seedy pub where she seemed completely out of place in her smart suit and with her refined middle-class accent. I remember thinking how gutsy she was to do that and that she might be leaving herself open to all sorts of danger. For example, what would happen if the prostitutes’ pimp followed her home and found out where she lived? This gave me the idea for the first book but I replaced the police detective with my journalist, Maddy. My imagination started working overtime until I came up with the full outline for a book.

I did a lot of research for book one, delving into the world of prostitution by reading books about the life of a prostitute and watching online videos. It struck me that there were various reasons why the girls had chosen the life of prostitution and some of them were quite sad. I thought to myself, each of these girls has their own story to tell, and I therefore decided to base each of the following books in the series on one girl in particular.

There are three books scheduled for publication with Aria Fiction: The Mark, Ruby and Crystal although Crystal isn’t yet available for pre-order. I have also penned an outline for a fourth book, Amber, so that may well follow on from the first three. Each of the books can be read as a standalone although there is some overlap with characters who sometimes appear in more than one book.

I hope you enjoy reading this series as much as I am enjoying writing it.

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Writers Bureau Ad Campaign

I’d like to share some very exciting news.

You may recall my previous blog post about the Writers Bureau and the role that they played in kick-starting my writing career. Well, subsequent to that blog post the Writers Bureau have been in touch and very kindly invited me to feature in their next advertising campaign. The Writers Bureau are the biggest independent writing school in the UK so this is an excellent opportunity and I’m absolutely thrilled.

There are two advertisements, a long one that includes an interview and a short one that includes a quote from me. It is twenty years since I began my studies with the Writers Bureau and the larger of the ads charts my achievements since then. You can check them out through the following links:

BigIssueLondonAdvert_07_01_19_WB (3)

GuardianReviewAdvert_05_01_19_WB

The bigger ad will appear in the Big Issue London on 7th January and Writing Magazine February issue which comes out on 4th January and the smaller ad will appear in the Guardian Review on 5th January.

Although I’m a bit early, this will probably be my last blog post of the year so I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Thank you for all your support over the past year and previous years.

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Keeping an Open Mind

Today I’d like to share my thoughts about two books I read recently. My favourite genres are usually thrillers and sagas. I also love a good tale of triumph over adversity, which is a theme that traverses across many genres. However, I try to keep an open mind and try something new once in a while, especially if it’s something that has been talked about a lot or that is performing very well in the Amazon sales charts.

I was going through one of those reading lulls recently when nothing I read really excited me. Although I had read a few books that I thought were quite good, none of them set me on fire and I was eager to discover something that gripped me. Then I found, not just one, but two books that made an impact on me. Neither of them was in my usual genres, which shows that it’s good to keep an open mind. Here are the two books and my thoughts about them:

Me before You by Jojo Moyes

I picked this one up at my local pub (more about that in a future blog post), and the reason why I chose it was because I knew that Jojo Moyes is a very popular author yet I hadn’t tried any of her books before. I was also familiar with the title and had a vague recollection of it being a movie.

Wow! This was one of those books where the appeal lies in the storytelling as much as in the story itself. Jojo Moyes is a brilliant author and I’ll certainly be reading more of her books in the future.

It tells the tale of a young woman, Lou, whose life lacks direction. Will, on the other hand, is a highflyer, ambitious and adventurous, until an accident changes his life completely and he becomes a quadriplegic.

When Lou loses her job at the Buttered Bun teashop, she comes to work as Will’s carer. Finding it difficult to adapt to life as a quadriplegic, Will is embittered and has given up on life. At first he is antagonistic and patronising towards Lou but she eventually wins him round. There is a lot more to the novel than that but I don’t want to give too much away.

I found this book deeply emotional, which really drew me in. The story was told with a sensitivity and perception that only the most skilled of authors could pull off. Jojo Moyes is truly a talented writer.

But the book wasn’t all pathos; there were touches of humour that helped to break up the bleaker moments. I especially liked the author’s witty comments regarding the love-hate relationship between Lou and her sister, and Will’s sense of mischief.

As I read the book I could actually visualise it being played out on screen and it left me wondering whether the movie is in sympathy with the book or whether the producers have altered parts of it. Having read a little about the film since, I note that it caused a backlash because of its insensitive approach. That’s a shame because I didn’t feel that the book was insensitive at all. I can honestly say that this book touched me more than anything I’ve read in ages, and I’ll definitely have to watch the movie version to see what I think.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

I was drawn to this book for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a bestseller, and secondly, it’s the ultimate tale of triumph over adversity.

Heather Morris gives the reader an insight into life inside Auschwitz and Birkenau as seen through the eyes of the prisoner of war camps’ tattooist. The book definitely made an impact on me as it transported me to that time and place and, although most people are familiar with the hardship suffered by prisoners of war, this book lays it all bare. The author actually interviewed the tattooist so the book is told from his point of view, revealing what life was like for him and the other prisoners.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is undoubtedly harrowing but I felt that it lacked the emotional depth of Me before You. Having read the two books in quick succession, it did make me wonder whether this was due to differences in writing styles or whether it was a conscious approach by Heather Morris. Perhaps the emotional depth had to be lacking, otherwise the whole novel would have been deeply disturbing and depressing.

Furthermore, the writer’s matter-of-fact approach may have been a reflection of how hardened the prisoners had become to the harsh regime. As it was based on the tattooist’s own story, it was necessary for the book to reflect his thoughts and feelings. In fact, in the Afterword written by the tattooist’s son, he describes how his mother reacted when, many years after their release, they lost their home. He was curious as to why she was singing and had a smile on her face, and she explained to him that after surviving the prisoner of war camps they could deal with most things.

Both of these books were the types of novels that left me pondering long after I had finished reading. That’s the sign of a really good book, I think, and I highly recommend them both.

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New Aria Contract

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a new three book contract with Aria at Head of Zeus. Again, it’s for a series of three books but I’ll probably extend the series to four books in the future. Although all of the books have a common background they will each tell a different story. Book one will introduce the characters and setting, and each subsequent book will focus on one of the characters’ own story.

I’m already making progress with the first book, which will be available next summer. In the meantime, Vendetta, book three in my Manchester trilogy is due to be published on 2nd October, and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon. If you haven’t yet bought your copy, here is the link: http://viewbook.at/VendettaMcr.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Ritherdon, Editorial Director at Aria. Sarah has worked closely with me virtually since I signed up with Aria for my previous contract. She is brilliantly supportive to work with and a great editor who is able to spot areas of my novels that can be improved and make useful suggestions. It was lovely to be able to put a face to the name.

During our meeting we discussed Aria’s plans for my writing career, as well as my ideas for future novels. Aria have some very exciting plans in terms of promoting my books and getting them into the hands of even more readers. In fact, as part of ongoing promotion, both Slur and Born Bad are currently on sale. Slur is available for 99p at the moment and Born bad at £1.87, giving readers a chance to try the first book in each of my trilogies at a bargain price. If you would like to take advantage of the sale price, here are the links:

Slur: http://getbook.at/Slur.

Born Bad: http://viewBook.at/BornBad.

I’m very excited to be working with Aria again, and will keep you updated regarding the publication of new books.

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Blood Ties Launch Day

Hurrah! It’s launch day for Blood Ties, the second book in my latest Manchester crime trilogy. I’m thrilled that it’s finally available through several digital retailers, and I thought I would share another excerpt with you to celebrate the launch.

This next excerpt takes place inside prison when Adele and her friend, Caroline, are witnessing the prison bully, Shazza, in action:

Anna’s head flew back and she took a step backwards. Then Shazza let go of Anna’s T-shirt and Anna passed her something out of her pocket. Anna’s movement was slow, her shoulders slumped, as though she had given up the item reluctantly.

‘What the hell d’you think she’s up to?’ Adele asked Caroline, lowering her voice so that Shazza couldn’t hear her.

‘She’ll be stealing cigs or something off her,’ Caroline whispered.

‘She can’t do that!’ said Adele, affronted.

‘Oh yes she can,’ said Caroline quietly. ‘She’s Shazza. She can do what the bloody hell she wants, and she gets away with it.’ Adele stared back at Caroline, the resentment written all over her face. ‘Don’t even think about it!’ Caroline advised.

‘What?’ asked Adele.

‘Saying anything to her about Anna,’ Caroline whispered. ‘You’d be a fool to mess with her. It’s best to leave it alone.’

Then Shazza left Anna and continued in their direction. Adele noticed that as she walked across the room the other inmates either kept their heads down or greeted her enthusiastically. It was obvious to Adele that they were trying to ingratiate themselves. Shazza had a confident strut. It was as though she was enjoying the attention.

As Shazza drew closer to Adele and Caroline, she stared directly at Adele. Despite Caroline’s advice not to look at her, Adele couldn’t resist taking a curious peek. Shazza’s features were rigid and unflinching, and as their eyes locked, Adele could feel her piercing glare through vivid turquoise, beady eyes. It seemed to cut right through her.

Then Shazza sauntered by, nodding and grinning at Caroline as she passed them. She didn’t say anything. But Adele knew in that moment that Shazza had made her an enemy and a cold shiver of fear ran through her.

***

I hope I’ve tempted you to go and grab a copy if you haven’t already done so. Here are the links for the various digital retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2C7MllX

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2HwmovN

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2sGi4qp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2omUg5x

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Blood Ties – Excerpt

As it’s only just over a week until the launch of Blood Ties, the second book in my latest trilogy, I thought I would tempt you with an excerpt. This particular passage occurs after Adele’s prison friend, Caroline, has just confided in Adele about her crime:

They remained there for several minutes, Adele now also in tears and shaking. She didn’t know what to say. What could she say? There were no words to explain why either she or Caroline had reacted so violently to their tormentors.

As she sat there silently, a rush of thoughts flashed through her mind. Everything made sense now. The way the other prisoners were wary of Caroline, even though she seemed such a caring person. And the way she and Caroline had been drawn to each other.

Eventually she spoke. ‘Did you seek me out?’ she asked.

Caroline looked up, her face red and blotchy and streaked with tears. ‘I know what you’re thinking,’ she said. ‘That perhaps I thought we would understand each other because of… our crimes. But no, not particularly. I mean, I knew what you were in for, and maybe I’d have judged you differently if it wasn’t for my own experiences. But I didn’t deliberately seek you out. I just liked you as a person.’

Adele nodded, unsure what to say next.

‘Well, it’s out in the open now,’ said Caroline, with a sardonic smile.

‘I won’t hold it against you,’ said Adele. ‘How could I?’

And as she spoke those words Adele realised just how much her world had changed. At one time she’d have run a mile from someone who had committed such a heinous crime, no matter what the circumstances were. But inside these walls she saw Caroline as a best friend.

Their crimes were similar. They shared the guilt. And Adele knew that no one would ever understand Caroline in the same way that she did.

***

I hope I’ve given you a taster of what’s to follow. If you want to pre-order your copy, here’s the link again for Blood Ties.

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Some Quotations I Like

Words can be very powerful. They unlock a whole wealth of meaning and are capable of eliciting strong emotions. Sometimes you read something in a book, which is so poignant that it stays with you. At other times there are sayings that are so widely used in everyday speech that we overlook where they originated from. This is often the case with Shakespeare.

I’ve put some of my favourite quotations below but I’m sure there are others that I’ve temporarily forgotten. I couldn’t resist adding a few from my own books. I think most writers have moments when they’ve written a line or two that they’re particularly proud of, so please excuse my self-indulgence in including a few quotes of my own.

 

“We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

 

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”

Shakespeare, King Lear

 

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

 

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”

Shakespeare, King Lear

 

“If music be the food of love play on.”

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

 

“If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.”

Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

 

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”

Shakespeare, As You Like It

 

“It was terribly beautiful to Tess today, for since her eyes last fell upon it she had learnt that the serpent hisses where the sweet birds sing.”

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

 

“Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals (in Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess.”

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

 

“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.”

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

 

“O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side!”

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

 

“Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies.”

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 

“My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!”

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

 

“Time and tide wait for no man.”

Geoffrey Chaucer

 

“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”

Geoffrey Chaucer

 

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Alexander Pope

 

My Favourite Quotes from my Own Books

“Signs of desperation were already painted on their grubby little faces.”

A Gangster’s Grip

 

“This was his sort of area; a place where the menacing and the vulnerable co-existed.”

Danger by Association

 

“… eager to escape the foul stench given off by her unwashed clothing and her tendency to leak urine; a result of years of child-bearing to children she rarely saw.”

Born Bad

 

Have you got any favourite quotations? If so, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to add them in the comments box below.

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