Cover reveal for Find My Child by Wendy Dranfield

I’m delighted to be able to reveal the cover and description for my latest book!

This series from Bookouture follows Detective Madison Harper and PI Nate Monroe and I can now reveal book 1 is called Find My Child and is now available to pre-order worldwide from Amazon for just 99p/99¢!

Here’s the cover and blurb:

You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong.

When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.

The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?

One thing is certain, if Madison doesn’t find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…

If that tickles your fancy you can pre-order it by heading over to Amazon or clicking here! The official release date is 25th Jan 2021 and book 2 will follow soon after, in Feb 2021.

Let me know what you think and watch this space for the book 2 cover reveal next month!

Wendy x

NaNoWriMo – Can you really write a novel in a month?

It’s that time of year again when writers start thinking about whether or not to attempt the madness that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), or NaNo for short, and as I’ve participated quite a few times, I have some tips for you.

When I first heard of NaNo about 6 years ago, I laughed, shook my head and thought, ‘Yeah, right. As if you can write a novel in a month.’ I thought if someone finished a whole novel in one month then it would be utter rubbish and unedited. So, I avoided the idea completely…until I joined Twitter.

On Twitter, people take #NaNoWriMo seriously. That made me look into it in more detail and I discovered the point isn’t actually to write a whole novel in a month. It’s to write 50,000 words of a novel during November (the quietest time of the year, apparently, and therefore there should be less distractions). That works out at just 1,667 words per day. Just! So you’re not actually expected to start, finish and edit your novel in one month.

Once I signed up to the website (there are no fees involved), it felt like a challenge I wanted to try. So, on 31st October 2015, I sat down with a notepad and thought about what kind of book I wanted to write. All I had was a character and a location in mind. I didn’t plot or plan any more than that because I’m naturally what Nano-ers call a ‘pantser’, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants! But many people prefer to spend October plotting out their novels in advance so that when the time comes they can fly.

On 1st November, I sat at my computer, opened a blank Word document and started to write. It was easier than I had expected. What followed was 30 frenzied days of trying to fit in 1,667 words a day, around life and a day job. I learned that if you don’t write enough words one day, you can catch up another day. Or, if you’re really organised, you can write in excess of 1,667 words on the glorious days when the words are flowing and plentiful. There’s a great word count tracker on the NaNo website (www.nanowrimo.org) so you can log your progress. Plus, there’s a whole community of people willing to spur you along.

By 1st December I was a nervous wreck! I’d just managed 50k words and I had the shell of a first draft novel. But it wasn’t finished. I needed around another 40k words and many edits before I could consider it finished. I’m happy to report that I did finish it and then I edited it for months and sent it to two publishers. Somehow, both of them offered me a contract and the book has since been published (it’s called Who Cares if They Die and became book 1 of a 3-part series).

I believe NaNo got me into the habit of completing a first draft quickly and I’ve used it every year since.

This is what I’ve learned since participating:

The good:

  • It gets you into the habit of sitting down to write every single day. Something I’d never done before and I loved it – still do.
  • It kick starts a new novel and leaves no time for doubting yourself.
  • You’re less likely to edit as you go because there’s no time to! I love editing as I go but it slows me down completely. I once spent 6 months on the first 30k words of a book, editing it over and over. In the end I had to scrap it all and start again. That’s one of the hardest things to do as a writer but it made the novel much better.
  • The writing community on Twitter is amazing and the #NaNoWriMo hashtag is really encouraging during November. You really feel as though you’re writing with company for a change. It feels like we’re all in it together.

The not-so-good:

  • Writing every day gives me migraines. Staring at a PC all day was bad for my eyes. I should have had more regular breaks from my screen during my first attempt.
  • I exercised much less. My shoulders were aching and my hands turned into claws! Better time management on my part could have solved this and I’ve learned my lesson.
  • You need an understanding partner/family/roommate, because they will probably have to take over most of the housework during November. (Which is a bonus for us!)
  • You’ll want to put your novel to one side in December and not return to it for months! But that’s good, because when you pick it up again you’ll have a fresh perspective, which is invaluable for the editing phase.

So, what I’ve really learned is that while it is possible to write 50k in one month, it’s not really possible to write and edit a whole novel in one month (although I know some writers have mastered this). Also, writing every single day isn’t good for your body, but having a set routine of writing most days, whilst taking the weekend off, is best. NaNo can really get you motivated to start that new novel in a way that’s hard to beat.

If you’ve never tried it and always wondered about it, I highly recommend you give it a go. Even if you just kick start that new novel you’ve been thinking about but don’t make 50k words, it’s more than you’ve got now.

Good luck and see you on the hashtag #NaNoWriMo in November!

Wendy x

Update on my latest crime fiction series

With the harvest of my homegrown pumpkins ready for Halloween, it’s clear autumn is upon us. This is my favourite season as I enjoy dark nights and creepy movies, surrounded by fleeces, cats and pumpkins.

Spring and summer were busy for me because I’ve been hard at work on my latest crime series for Bookouture – which follows Detective Madison Harper and PI Nate Monroe.

I can’t say much about them yet but they certainly make an intriguing pairing and they don’t always get on. Madison and Nate start off as complete strangers in book 1, meeting at a vulnerable time in both their lives, and neither of them wants to trust the other but they have no choice as a child’s life is on the line. That’s pretty much all I can tell you for now, except maybe that – for those of you who loved Rocky from my Dean Matheson series – you’ll be pleased to know there’s a character in this series waiting for you to tell him he’s a good boy. 😉

Book 1 is completely finished – it has a cover and title, it’s been thoroughly edited and it will be released in January 2021. But you don’t have to wait until then to see the cover and blurb! The cover reveal will be held in late October, when it will also be available for pre-order. I’m absolutely in love with the cover, it’s the right mix of creepy and mysterious which perfectly epitomises what the book is about.

Book 2 is written and currently going through rigorous editing and that is due for release in February 2021, with a cover reveal/pre-order availability around late Nov/early Dec.

This book was written during lockdown and I’ve got to say it was the hardest book I’ve ever written. Although I’m at my writing desk every morning at 8am, some days the words just would not come because of what was happening in the world. It was difficult to concentrate and on top of the pandemic I had decided to leave my previous publisher and I hadn’t yet joined Bookouture, so I didn’t even know if book 1 would get published, never mind book 2. That has a big impact on motivation when trying to write a novel but perseverance paid off and writing it became my escape from the news. I knew who I wanted to publish the series (Bookouture) so I only sent it to them and, luckily, I was snapped up! They loved Madison and Nate so much they offered me a 2-book deal.

And books 3 and 4? Well, I’ll start writing book 3 very soon and I have an outline of book 4. It’s exciting to be starting a new story as I’ve spent the whole of this year working on the first 2 books so I’m ready to meet a new villain and see what this one is capable of! With a possible second lockdown looming, writing this will hopefully keep me occupied over winter. With the first lockdown we had amazing warm and sunny weather that tried to tease me away from my desk every day. This time it’ll be cold and dark so it should be easier to sit inside, as long as one of my three cats agrees to sleep on my lap and keep me warm. That’s Teddy-bear with the pumpkins by the way!

So thanks for your support so far and for asking after my new series. Keep your eyes peeled on here and Twitter/Facebook for book 1’s upcoming cover reveal. I just know you’ll love Madison and Nate as much as I do!

Until then, stay safe and warm.

Wendy x

Book giveaway!

Today I have announced a book giveaway on my Twitter and Facebook pages. If you would like the chance to win one of three signed paperback copies of book 1 in my Dean Matheson crime series (Who Cares if They Die) just head on over and follow the instructions. This is open to UK residents only, I’m afraid.

Depending on whether you visit Twitter or Facebook, all you need to do is like/follow my account, share the giveaway post and reply with your fave emoji. Winners picked at random next week.

Good luck!

Here’s the blurb and trailer for this book:

A series of suspicious suicides may be the work of a serial killer in this debut thriller novel featuring Officer Dean Matheson.
When the body of an unidentified woman is found hanging from a tree in the woods of Maple Valley, it looks like a clear case of suicide. But Officer Dean Matheson is unconvinced. Maybe he’s just looking for that big case that will help him make detective. Maybe he’s just trying to avoid his rocky marriage. Or maybe he’s really on to something. Because the closer Matheson looks at the facts of the case, the less they add up.

Then more apparent suicides start cropping up. The victims are all women living on the fringes of society—addicts and criminals nobody would miss. Does anyone really care if they die? Matheson is making it his business to care, and that’s about to make him a target . . .

Books 2 and 3 are out now in ebook and audiobook on all digital platforms. Here they are on Amazon:

Book 2 – Where the Snow Bleeds

Book 3 – Won’t You Save Me

cropped-twitter-header-all-3-books-v3.jpg

Book 2 trailer:

Spotlight on: Shadows On The Water by Jo Lambert

For the first time ever I’m delighted to spotlight a new book release on my blog for friend and fellow author – Jo Lambert.

Jo’s latest book Shadows on the Water – book one in her new Cornish Coastal Romance series – was released as an ebook on Amazon yesterday (paperback to follow soon), and the cover is amazing! If you’re heading off to Cornwall for your holiday this year, or if you’re having a staycation and want to pretend you’re in Cornwall, this book is perfect! I mean, just look at this cover:

Shadows on the Water Cover LARGE EBOOK

Blurb:

After the tragic death of her fiancé, Ava Warren is slowly rebuilding her life. She has a supportive family, great friends and a job she loves, managing holiday letting company Estuary Escapes in her home town of Kingswater. Another relationship is the last thing she wants or needs. Until one evening she meets Alex Penhaligon.

Alex’s father Sam owns Heron’s Gate Vineyard and Alex has recently returned from California, where he has been working for the past five years. A case of mistaken identity gets them off to a bad start. But discovering his error, Alex is anxious to make amends and soon persuades Ava that he’s not quite as arrogant as she thinks he is. As their friendship begins to turn into something much deeper, Ava wonders whether she can at last put the past behind her and make a new future with Alex.

But someone is watching. A man who not only thinks Ava should be his but also holds a long term grudge against Alex. And he’s determined to get his own way irrespective of the lengths he has to go to or who gets hurt in the process.

Set in Cornwall Shadows on the Water is a story of family ties, lost love and tangled loyalties.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? You can find this book on Amazon, here:

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Jo’s other books on Amazon

Author Bio:

writer jo lambert

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published 2017,

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint.

Her latest novel Shadows on the Water is due for publication on 26th July. It is the first in a three book series. She is currently busy working on the second which will be published next year. When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh and she often takes the odd photograph or two…

Social Media Links:

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog: http://jolambertwriter.blog

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185

Instagram: jolambertwriter185

Well that was fun. I might do some other new release blog posts soon!

Thanks for visiting.

Wendy x

 

Bargain alert!

Just taking a breather from writing my latest crime thriller to let you know that all three of my Dean Matheson books are currently on sale on Kobo and Amazon, meaning you can grab the whole series for just £3.97!

I’m not sure how long this offer lasts so be quick! Here are the universal Amazon links for full blurbs and reviews:

Book 1 viewbook.at/WhoCaresIfThey

Book 2 viewbook.at/WhereTheSnowBl

Book 3 viewbook.at/WontYouSaveMe

Enjoy!

cropped-twitter-header-all-3-books-v3.jpg

Exciting news!

I have some exciting news!

I am delighted to announce I have signed a two-book deal with the fabulous Bookouture (a sub-division of Hachette UK) for my new crime series featuring ex-detective Madison Harper and private investigator Nate Monroe.

The first book in the series will be released in January 2021 and sees Maddison and Nate join forces to help find a twelve-year-old girl who has vanished from a summer camp in the small town of Shadow Falls, California.

Book 1 is already written and going through the editing process, I’m halfway through writing book 2, and book 3 ideas are forming a not-so-orderly queue in my head! Keep an eye out on here and on my social media (Twitter & Facebook) for updates about publication date and cover reveal!

You can read the official press release from Bookouture here.

For my loyal Dean Matheson readers, I expect you’re wondering what all this means for Dean, Eva and Rocky? It’s clear I love those characters and I know I have some super fans of this series because you message me nearly every day asking where the next book is! All I can say is there won’t be a fourth book yet but never say never. For now, I will be concentrating on my new series.

Thanks for sticking with me in my new adventure. If you like Dean and Eva, I think you’re going to love Nate and Madison!

Wendy x

Sale – 99p/99¢

Won’t You Save Me (Book 3 in the Dean Matheson Series) is currently on sale for just 99p/99¢ on Amazon and Kobo!

Buy links below but here’s the blurb:

Detective Dean Matheson has returned to his hometown to begin his new job and put the traumatic events of his past behind him – but his fresh start won’t last long when the local area is hit by a series of strange disappearances and twisted killings …
A nameless girl badly beaten and dumped in front of the mysterious new church. A shocking murder scene discovered in the apartment over the diner. A child missing without a trace.
These are the crimes Dean Matheson is confronted with in his first week as detective. Are they isolated events, or is something altogether more disturbing happening in Maple Valley now that Dean’s back in town?

Available to purchase on all digital platforms including:

Amazon (universal URL)

Kobo

 

How to pass the time when self-isolating during coronavirus

I’ve worked from home as a full-time crime writer for a year now. It’s been amazing because I’ve only had one bug in that time (one cold, compared to about five colds and one flu per year before that) and a massive reduction in migraines. Plus, I’ve written three novels and various short stories and articles in that time, making it my most productive year yet, career-wise.

But there can be downsides to working from home. You’re socially isolated and it can negatively affect your mental health some days, especially if it’s new to you.

If you’ve been sent home from work to avoid the spread of coronavirus, or you’re choosing to self-isolate (hopefully, as a precaution and you’re not ill) and don’t know what to do with yourself, you might find at least one tip here that appeals to you. I don’t have children (well, 3 cats!) so I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is to entertain kids if your whole family is self-isolating, but I’m sure there are some great tips online specifically for children.

  • You’ll probably feel like having at least one or two sweatpants days where you just lounge on the sofa or stay in bed all day long, eating all the bad stuff from your cupboards and ignoring the hairbrush. Do it! How often do we get a chance to do this on a weekday? Never! It’s not wasting time, it’s downtime and everyone needs more of that. Give in to eating whatever you want and don’t feel guilty for taking an afternoon nap. Just don’t do this every day of your self-isolation as it will quickly turn bad. One day off is fine, but after that, get productive or your mental health will decline.
  • Why not plant some seeds? In my experience you’ll look forward to checking every morning whether they’ve grown yet. If you can’t get out to buy seeds, use something you already have – sweet peppers, apples, citrus, tomato, an old spud going moldy in the cupboard – just plant something and watch it grow! There are plenty of YouTube videos showing you how to plant anything, but I’ve found trial and error is best. I just put a seed in some compost, water it and put it in a sunny spot. That works 96% of the time. (Cactus seeds refuse to grow in my house!) Another benefit of planting seeds is that we might need home-grown produce if food becomes limited (worst case scenario), so get a head-start now.
  • If you have a garden or balcony, make sure you get outside regularly. The benefits of listening to the birds, watching bees buzz around the flowers and feeling the sun on your face is immediately uplifting. Plan to fill those gaps in your borders by listing what you want to buy when you’re able to get out and about again. Tidy up the pots that have been thrown around the garden in the recent storms. It will help you feel productive which, in my experience, keeps spirits lifted.
  • If you’re well enough, go for a walk every day, even if it’s just around the block. Obviously be careful if you do have coronavirus, you don’t want to accidentally spread it to any at-risk people, but getting outside really breaks up the day, even if just for fifteen minutes. It’s good for your body too as too much sitting will very quickly ruin your overall fitness. Take it from someone who knows!
  • Speaking of exercise; don’t forget YouTube has thousands of free workout videos including aerobics, yoga, indoor walking etc. Try searching for whatever you’re interested in and I guarantee there’s a video for it!
  • Use social media to chat with people who share your interests. There are bound to be lots of other people in the same situation and looking to pass the time, and social media can make you laugh (well some sites are better than others; Twitter is my fave.). You might even end up making new friends (but stay safe online – see my previous blog post!).
  • TV is important because it feels like you’re with people. Watching drama-filled reality shows can fill the void if you’re missing office gossip. I recommend any of the Real Housewives franchises for their drama and gossip and the “OMG, did they really just do that?” moments!
  • Use the time you’re indoors to catch up on the hobbies you’ve been neglecting for years. Dust off your Warhammer 40k miniatures/knitting needles/drum set and lose time!
  • Read those books that have been piled next to your bedside table for years! Many people will want to read uplifting stories right about now but I’m the opposite, I’ve always loved crime, horror and non-fiction so if that’s what helps me escape the news, then that’s what I’ll read. E-readers will certainly be useful during this pandemic!
  • Those DIY jobs you’ve been avoiding? Start small and build up to getting them done. Or just have a spring clean and get rid of all the clutter you’ve been meaning to give away or sell! This is probably a really good time to list stuff on auction sites and make some money. Assuming the post offices stay open of course.
  • If you’re meant to be actually working from home during this time, don’t put it off. Find somewhere comfortable to work from in your house (not your bedroom as this will ruin your sleep routine eventually) and make sure you go there during your normal work hours. Okay, maybe knock off at least an hour either side because let’s face it, these are unprecedented times and we’re not going to work as hard as we would if we were actually at work! Keep your workday routine if you can because you’ll find it easier to mentally switch off when you do stop working. Move to a different room for downtime. That’s why working from the living room or bedroom isn’t always a great idea; it might be comfortable but you’ll start associating it with work. I work from a spare room we’ve converted into a home office, but that’s because my homeworking is long-term.
  • Don’t spend all your downtime watching the news. Sure, get updates once or twice a day because coronavirus is obviously a fast-moving story (and bug) but it’s depressing and actually quite scary for a lot of people, and when you’re stuck at home you need to focus on staying busy and positive as much as you can.
  • Stay in contact with anyone in your family or friend-circle, or neighbours, who live(s) alone. They will be the people who are most scared because they’ll be worrying about contracting the virus and having no way of getting their normal medicine and groceries. Not everyone uses online shopping and even that might be hit eventually. Call/message them regularly or, with elderly neighbours, try to pop by and chat through the closed front-door a few times a week, if they’re open to that. Remember, a lot of people who suffer with long-term chronic illnesses are isolated all the time and they’ll have better tips than me on how to cope.

Ultimately, anything that passes the time will help you get through self-isolation and you have to keep both your mind and your body active because mental health is absolutely linked to physical health. Oh, and having pets like Joey (pictured above) helps!

If you have any other tips, leave a comment!

Wendy. x

It’s Publication Day!

It’s Publication day for book 3 in my Dean Matheson crime series: Won’t You Save Me.

This is my fourth publication day and does it get any less exciting as the books go on? Well, a little, if I’m honest. It’s hard enough to get family/friends to care about your first publication day, never mind your fourth, so there’s no fuss or celebrations this time.

This is where social media comes in. My Twitter and FB friends will make a fuss, RT my posts and make me feel special. It’s so lovely and encouraging to hear from readers of the first two books in the Dean Matheson series, who are eagerly awaiting this release. I still can’t believe anyone out there even reads my books, let alone enjoys them!

So, Won’t You Save Me sees Dean back home in Maple Valley, which was really fun to write as we get to see all the old characters from Who Cares if They Die. I missed Frankie (from Frankie’s Diner) so much and he provides some much-needed comic relief in what is otherwise quite a dark book. It tackles child sexual exploitation as well as how people wear masks to hide their true motivations. I know from experience that we sometimes have to place our trust in those we are meant to turn to for help but they can be the ones who let us down the most. There’s also a shocking revelation in this book that will change things forever and now I have to write book 4 to see how that turns out! Oh, plus, as well as Rocky the wannabe police dog, this book contains cats. What can I say, I’m an animal lover and I have 3 cats so they sometimes end up in my books!

I have to give a special thanks to Zoé from Zooloo’s Book Diary who is helping me celebrate publication week on her blog, and to all the bloggers who have shared her posts. Thanks also to Jo Lambert (fellow author) for sharing my publication day links. Jo’s current book can be found here and it’s the first in a new series, with books 2 and 3 on the way soon. At the time of writing this it’s on offer for just 99p but not for much longer so grab yourself a bargain!

And of course I have to thank my publishing team at Ruby Fiction for the opportunity of sharing my characters with the world. My books are a little (okay, a LOT!) darker than what they usually publish so taking me on was a bit of a risk! Hopefully I don’t have them shaking their heads in despair at my creepy plots and messed-up criminals!

Thank you to everyone who’s ever bought/borrowed/read one of my books. Whether you loved them or hated them, at least you gave me a try. It sounds like I’m retiring but I’m not! There is still plenty more to come from me and if you’re interested in my latest release, see below for the blurb and buy links. I really hope you enjoy it. Now I’m going to have a sneaky glass of wine to celebrate publication day with the cats…

Won’t You Save Me is now available on all digital platforms and the audiobook will follow shortly.

Blurb:

Detective Dean Matheson has returned to his hometown to begin his new job and put the traumatic events of his past behind him – but his fresh start won’t last long when the local area is hit by a series of strange disappearances and twisted killings …
A nameless girl badly beaten and dumped in front of the mysterious new church. A shocking murder scene discovered in the apartment over the diner. A child missing without a trace.
These are the crimes Dean Matheson is confronted with in his first week as detective. Are they isolated events, or is something altogether more disturbing happening in Maple Valley now that Dean’s back in town?

Buy links:

Amazon

Kobo

Apple books

GooglePlay

Nook

Book 1 – Who Cares if They Die

Book 2 – Where the Snow Bleeds

cropped-twitter-header-all-3-books-v3.jpg