Sunday 30 May 2021

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to P. A. Crenshaw


I'm delighted to be handing over to author P. A. Crenshaw today and I'd like to start by wishing her a very happy publication day! Her debut novel, After Thought, is available from today and P. A. is here to tell you all about it as well as what inspired her to write it.


Let's start with an introduction to the lovely lady herself.

Photo courtesy of P. A. Crenshaw

P. A. Crenshaw was born and raised in a small town in New Mexico and now resides in South Carolina. An engineering manager by day, fiction writer by night, she is the proud mother of two amazing young adults and two mischievous kitties who enjoy walking on the keyboard while she is writing (the kitties, not the kids). When not writing, she can be found spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, traveling, doing yoga, meditating, thinking positive thoughts, and expressing gratitude for life’s blessings. She is currently working on her next novel, AFTER DEATH, the irresistible sequel to AFTER THOUGHT.


What if ordinary people could do extraordinary things by thought alone? What if falling in love could get you killed?

Welcome to P. A. Crenshaw’s brand-new AFTER THOUGHT series, which unveils a secretive world of magic, danger, heartbreak, and romance, where the power of human thought can produce the ultimate good—and the ultimate evil. Captivating and action-packed, AFTER THOUGHT treads an addictive, sexy, and unexpected line between magical realism and urban fantasy.

Finally in New York with a career on the rise, rock star wannabe Adam Lancaster could have never foreseen that a mundane trip to the mailbox would change his life. The simple act of delivering a misdelivered package sets Adam on a path from which he can never return.

Smitten by his lovely, mysterious neighbor, Madeline Smith, Adam resolves to get to know her better. But the more time he spends with Maddie, the more mysterious she becomes. Strange, dangerous events occur. Her behavior is erratic. Too many coincidences defy explanation. And just when he thinks that they are making a real breakthrough in their relationship, she walks away “for his own good.”

Adam needs to know exactly who he fell in love with and why she broke his heart. When he confronts her to find the answers, will the truth set him free or destroy him?

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                                   What inspired me to write my book…

Being an avid reader of a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction genres, I've naturally always had an interest in writing and dabbled in it over the years. I got the idea for my first magical realism/urban fantasy novel, After Thought, several years ago after I read some nonfiction books about people using positive thinking to make the things they desire happen—or  manifest—in their lives. I thought about how amazing it would be if ordinary people could take that concept to a whole new level and instantly manifest their desires with thoughts alone—like magic. Thus, the concept for the After Thought series was born.

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I occassionally dip into fantasy books and I think this sounds like a great read worthy of being on anyone's TBR.

You can find out more about P. A., her book and connect with her using the links below:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

I'd like to thank P. A. for taking the time to stop by today and I wish her lots of success with her book.  🍾πŸ₯‚

Saturday 15 May 2021

Blog Tour - Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls - Mary Wood



After reading The Jam Factory Girls earlier this year I couldn't wait to dive into book two to catch up with Elsie, Dot and Millie. 

The girls have grown closer together, the jam factory is doing well and Millie is looking forward to her upcoming wedding to Len. However, not everything is as rosy as it would appear, as someone close to the girls hasn't got their best interests at heart and is slyly planning to take everything away from them. Will they realise before it's too late?

I love the social history which is always present in Mary's books. It's fascinating to see how times and attitudes have changed over the years. One thing that has changed, and not for the better in my opinion, is the sense of community that was around back then. Neighbours always looking out for each other and helping out as and when they could despite the fact that a lot of people had very little themselves, whereas in today's society it's not uncommon for people to have little or no interaction with their neighbours. It's this community feel that brings a lovely warmth to this book, knowing that whatever struggles Elsie, Millie and Dot face there will be someone who will try and help them out of it.

This author really knows how to stir emotions with her writing and there was one character in particular who really got my back up and just reading their name made me angry. I was crossing my fingers that their plans would fall flat and they would get their comeuppance as I felt like they were messing with my friends!

Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls is another superb book from this immensely talented author and if you're a fan of family saga's and historical fiction you need to add this to your reading list.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour with these fabulous blogs:

With kind thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things and author Mary Wood for my review copy.

Sunday 9 May 2021

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Leigh Russell


I'm delighted to welcome Leigh Russell to The Hippo today. Leigh is well known for her crime novels but her latest novel, Rachel's Story, sees this successful author head off into the world of dystopian fiction.

Before I hand over to Leigh to talk about her inspiration for the book, let me introduce you all to the lovely lady herself.


Photo courtesy of Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell has written twenty-four novels, and her Geraldine Steel crime series has sold over a million copies. In addition to her crime series featuring detective Geraldine Steel, Leigh has written two trilogies and two stand alone psychological thrillers. Rachel’s Story is her first dystopian novel. Leigh chairs the judging panel for the Crime Writers Association’s prestigious Debut Dagger Award, and is a Consultant Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund.

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                                   THE INSPIRATION FOR RACHEL’S STORY

It’s always difficult to say for sure why some books are written. From all the ideas that swirl around in our minds, what makes one narrative stand out and come to life?

Writing my Geraldine Steel crime series, I made a deliberate decision to ignore coronavirus. For me, as for so many of us, fiction offers an escape from the real world, and I didn’t even want to think about the pandemic while writing, let alone consider how it was affecting our lives. So my detective continues with her murder investigations in a kind of parallel world free of coronavirus. 

But covid must have been in my mind, even when I had dismissed it from my conscious thoughts. Perhaps it was crazy of me to think I could completely ignore it. At a time when the government was addressing us in daily broadcasts as though we were at war, thousands were dying every day, we missed seeing our families and friends, and a vaccine was merely a distant hope, covid was unavoidably present in all our thoughts. On reflection, it’s hardly surprising that my imagination wandered to a dystopian future where a toxic virus threatens not just people, but all life on earth.

Once the idea occurred to me, somehow it took hold, as some narratives do. It could be a scene or an idea for a plot that inspires us, or a character demanding to be heard. As writers we don’t go looking for stories. They find us. So the idea of a virus threatening all life on earth, led me to the character of Rachel and her world.

Rachel’s Story explores a society that develops in the wake of a pandemic that threatened to destroy all life on earth. It is written in the first person, which hopefully helps readers enter an unfamiliar world of a dystopian future, where nothing is quite the same as it is in our own lives. The prologue takes the reader into Rachel’s childhood home in a world where food is scarce, the government has absolute power, and strict laws are mercilessly enforced. The government use fear and deprivation to maintain absolute power over the people who are faced with a stark choice, to obey or die. When her mother is killed, Rachel is initiated into The Programme where selected young girls are medicated to make them fertile. Fearing for her future, she manages to escape. But freedom comes at a price, as she learns when she joins a community of outcasts struggling to survive in the desert beyond the city walls.

As well as offering what I hope is a gripping narrative, Rachel’s Story looks at the role of women in society, the dangers of handing over too much control to the government, love and betrayal, and addiction.  As crime novels explore the place of individuals in society, so dystopian fiction considers the place of mankind in the world. One deals with the death of individuals, the other with the survival of mankind. In their different ways, both are explorations of our mortality.



In a world where food is scarce, the government rules and ordinary people only exist to serve, can there ever be happiness? As a child, living in a post-apocalyptic world, Rachel is initiated into The Programme where selected young girls are medicated to make them fertile. Fearing for her future, Rachel escapes. But freedom comes at a price, as she learns when she joins the outcasts struggling to survive beyond the city walls.


Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us Leigh. It's really interesting to hear how stories evolve in author's minds. I have been known to venture into the world of dystopian fiction and after reading this I think I'll be adding Rachel's Story to my TBR.

You can find out more about Leigh, her books and connect with her using the links below:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

I'd like to say a big thank you to Leigh for taking over today and writing such a great post. I wish you lots of success with the new book and I hope it brings you a whole new bunch of fans.