Blog Tour ~ Extract ~ MBA by Douglas Board

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Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? When workaholic business school hot shot Ben Stillman is fired, he has the chance to find out. Not a guy to sit still, Ben jumps head first into turning his former business school into a world-class madrassa of capitalism.
Ben has ten days to rescue the launch of its spectacular glass tower, and his own career – ten days during which he will have to confront terrorist plots, undercover police, the extravagant demands of the super-rich, and the only woman who can save him from this madness.
A satirical thriller, a love story, and a wry look at modern management ideology all rolled into one – MBA is a piercing yet hopeful enquiry into the mea


“MBA” by Douglas Board

Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? ‘MBA’ – the abbreviation for a master’s degree in business administration – is a farce set at an English business school run by globe-trotting American professor William C Gyro. When Ben, a high-flying graduate of the college, is suddenly fired for no reason, Gyro asks him to rescue the very imminent, star-studded opening of a spectacular all-glass tower.

As the opening approaches, Ben’s frustration at not understanding why he was fired increases, until the morning of the opening when he gets his answer. Alex Bakhtin, business fat-cat and Ben’s former boss, turns up at the college – he’s a guest for the big event. Alex has made a big thing about looking after his people and taking a ‘selfless’ approach to business. Tom leads a technical crew doing snagging on the tower.

After breakfast Ben headed off towards his office with a detour to walk past the tower, which was ringed by security hired by the college. Tom and his engineers were making final checks. Tom’s BMW and another white van were parked at the base of the tower. The photograph on the flyers had not exaggerated: Luscious’ waves of psychedelically-coloured hair resembled a missing Beatles album cover. She was in jeans and a busty long-sleeved polo neck while a security guard helped wheel her sound system into the lift. Tom waved and gave a thumb’s up sign. Not looking where he was going, Ben walked into someone who had been on his mind a lot in the past week.

‘Alex! I mean, Lord Bakhtin.’

‘My goodness, Ben.’ The visitor ran his eyes over Ben from the satin interior of a £5,000 hand-made suit. ‘I had heard you were here. How is it all going?’

‘Very well up to a point.’

‘What point is that?’

‘This point. The point of bumping into you.’

Alex’s expression shifted slightly. ‘But you are expecting me, I think. Certainly your security people had me on their list. They gave me a lovely pink lapel pin.’

Different coloured pins would admit to different areas; Ben had not yet picked up his. ‘You fired me, you scheming coward. And you lied. You told me I was the best thing since sliced bread but you were lining up Charlie Driesman behind my back.’

Alex assessed the situation silently.

For Ben, nearly two weeks of suppressed anger was erupting. ‘Come out with it, you bastard. What didn’t I do that you wanted, you selfless git?’

‘Be careful whom you accuse of lying, Ben. When I said you were the best, I wasn’t lying. Some days Charlie hasn’t got a clue and I could string him up; I never had a day like that with you.’

‘Commitment, then? I didn’t give you enough hours in the day? Eighteen hours a day, seven days a week, for how many years?’

‘Oh, commitment. You were committed, Ben. Though these days everybody is committed – everybody who matters. It’s a sine qua non, not a competitive advantage. We’re at a business school, aren’t we, so let’s put some of their expensively taught concepts to use.’

‘What then?’

‘You really don’t know, do you?’

‘I fucking don’t!’ The singer and the tower security guards looked over. A woman came out from the college building behind Ben and began to approach.

‘You’re not ruthless enough, Ben. I can only have one apprentice. You will probably be the best apprentice I ever have ‒ the best at being the apprentice. But I have an apprentice so that in ten years’ time there will be two or three senior people around the group, people whom I have trained and trust through and through, one of whom will have the potential to seize the business out of my hands and run it brilliantly after me. You would never be ruthless enough. So, onwards and upwards.’

You can purchase MBA from Amazon UK and US.

About the author 


Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.
Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.
As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

You can follow the author on his Website and Twitter.

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Guest Post ~ Blog Tour ~ Who’s That Girl by T S Hunter. #SohoNoir #WhosThatGirl #LGBTBooks #CosyMystery



It’s the summer of 1985 in London’s Soho, and Joe Stone is settling into his new life living in the heart of London’s developing gay scene.

When Danny Devraux—the compere they’ve hired to host their charity ball, The Frock Show—is found dead backstage, it falls to Joe and his friend and flatmate, Russell, to figure out what happened.

All they have to go on is a broken stiletto found near the scene, and the briefest glimpse of a mystery woman fleeing the club. But who was she? And why did she kill the most loved man in cabaret?

Past secrets, bent coppers, drag queens and old lovers all play their part in this noirish murder mystery.


Having read and Loved the first book in the series I’m delighted to welcome author T S Hunter back to booksaremycwtches with a guest post to celebrate the publication of Who’s That Girl. I can’t wait to review it later in the summer.

The Sounds of the Series

Music is always important to me when I write. I usually have something playing in the background to cover the noise of normal life going on around me. It creates a little bubble in which I can keep all the little strands of the story, characters and world together. Normally, my writing music is low key, non-invasive, moody—good to kill to. But for the Soho Noir series, everything had to be different. The soundtrack of my working day at the moment is bright, and electric and poppy, and nowhere near as distracting as I thought it might be.

Eighties music, for me, is a strange combination of songs that sound curiously upbeat, but when you listen to the lyrics, they are full of pain and tension, melancholy and hurt. It’s a fabulous juxtaposition, which means covers like the one Gary Jules did of Tears for Fears’s Mad World suddenly reveals a mournful song, poignant and heartbreaking. In the original, those lyrics were lost beneath the catchy electric beat, the big synth drone, the distinctive eighties electro-pop sound. It may only be in my head, but I hope that I am creating a similar juxtaposition of upbeat eighties nostalgia, coupled with the darker side to the world that the series explores.

I indulged myself with this series, too—the titles are all songs from my youth that bring with them, for me at least, memories of a brighter, more innocent time of discovery and youthful exuberance, though now that I reflect on both the songs, and that time, I realise the upbeat brightness has been layered on by my mind, to make the reality more palatable. So this soundtrack, and writing this series, has been a somewhat cathartic experience that I hadn’t realised I needed.

The playlist itself is over a hundred songs long—six hours and eighteen minutes of eighties pleasure, but I am not going to list them all out here. Instead, you get my top ten.

10 — Everybody Wants to Rule the World. ( ) That other side of the eighties comes through strongly here, the desire to rule, to win, the corruption, capitalism and control. Pure Wall Street but with a New Wave pop heart.

9 — Don’t You (Forget About Me). ( ) I was a big Simple Minds fan anyway, but this song playing defiantly over the final shots of The Breakfast Club as Judd Nelson strode across the football fields, my look for the next few years was cemented—I wanted to be that character so badly. I think I still do. “Keep your unit on!”

8 — Karma Chameleon. ( )Though Boy George can no longer really claim to be a man without convictions, this song is a classic. For me, Boy George is the epitome of eighties Soho. Friends of mine who lived and worked there at the time have regaled me with stories of nights and days spent hanging out with him—their stories are the backdrop to this series.

7 — Holding Out For a Hero. ( )Because, nothing says eighties like Bonnie Tyler. The big hair, that make-up, that voice. And there has to be a power ballad in the soundtrack somewhere, to get you through the slump when the plot holes start exposing themselves like that one mate at the wedding.

6 — Smalltown Boy. ( )The definitive gay song of the eighties. “The love that you need will never be found at home.” That’s the line, for me. In many ways, this should have been the title of the first book, since Joe (and Chris) were both small town boys who left home so that they could live the lives they wanted to. The video is a small movie in its own right.

5 — Killer Queen. ( ) Ah, Queen. The vocal harmonies in this are exquisite. Freddie Mercury said of the song that “It’s one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers.” The kind, he said, that you could expect to find Noel Coward singing. A departure from the big rock numbers they were famous for, but so incredibly intelligently written. This was the first title and story of the series to come to me. It’s a (suspender) belter.

4 — Crazy For You. ( )Despite her recent performance on the Eurovision stage, Madonna in the eighties was nothing short of spectacular. There is a personal drama in each of her songs, her emotions displayed clearly for all to hear, and yet, again, we get distracted by the cheerful beats and catchy chorus. “Swaying room as the music starts. Strangers making the most of the dark. Two by two their bodies become one.” If those lyrics didn’t cement Madonna’s place in every gay man’s heart, I don’t know what did.

3 — Careless Whisper. ( ) Who can get past the sentiment that “guilty feet have got no rhythm? For me, the line that I had above my computer the whole time I was writing the book, Careless Whisper, was “There’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.” Each of the books had a guiding principle, and I think this was the one for that book.

2 — Who’s That Girl? ( )The Eurythmics’ version, sorry Madge—you can’t have two in one series. Have you seen the video for this song? It’s amazing. Did you know that the guy Annie kisses at the end is actually herself in drag. I did not know that before I started the series. So if I’ve learned nothing else from my research, that will do.

1 — Tainted Love, ( )the start of the series and in many ways, the song that kicked it all off. This song is everything I mean about awful, powerful lyrics with a chirpy beat. It had to be the start of the series, and it had to be my number 1. It is the first song I play every morning when I’m writing, and boom! I’m in Soho in the eighties, and all my lovely weird, freaky friends are telling me their stories.

You can buy directly from the publisher at Red Dog Press and from Amazon

About the writer

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5


Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~Gemenica by Nicholas Lovelock


About Gemenicia 

The second part of Arthur and Jo’s strange adventures throughout the land of Discoucia, and a time when Archie the Water Goddess has made the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of her nemesis, Cordelia Paradise, the Fire Goddess.

However, things rarely go to plan and Arthur finds himself at war with Archie’s hidden agenda rather than the insane task that he has to help Archie complete.

Hidden around Discoucia in its sixteen major cities are sixteen gems that Archie must collect before a year is up. If she wins then Cordelia will disappear to another dimension and not return until she agrees to stop causing forest fires, volcanic eruptions and droughts.

Team Archie has Arthur and Jo, who both have the understanding that by collecting these gems a natural order can be brought back and maybe Jo’s father will get well again. Team Cordelia has Alicia May, who has a talent for becoming anyone and a deep malicious streak; and Iren, who has a fanatical hatred for Archie, which Archie herself doesn’t like to talk about.

Along the way they meet old friends and old enemies, as well as Archie having to perform miracles without the use of divine power. From the murky ruins of Tanalos to the haunted corridors of Ashin Dance Academy, the frozen caverns of Icester and the verdant streets of Proceur, the adventure will take them around Discoucia and beyond, unless Cordelia and Alicia May can stop them first…

I’m delighted to welcome author Nicholas Lovelock to booksaremycwtches today with a guest post  about his top ten places to write as part of the blog tour for his new novel Gemenica. 

Top Places to Write

My usual place to write has always been my bedroom, where I lay on my bed propped up by a mountain of pillows either composing chapters or coming up with illustrations. I started coming up with ways of keeping my mind concentrated and as such have discovered that working on something while putting on a movie I have seen lots of times before. Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii is the perfect visual medium due to having such a fast functioning mind, two things at once puts me at ease much more than a peaceful forest setting. My Religious Studies teacher once gave me a very valuable advice when he was teaching me to play the guitar, he told me to watch something that didn’t require much mental thought while working on my Led Zeppelin solo’s, he said sit in your room and watch something like The Simpsons. That teacher was right then and he’s right now. Also in my room I have all my notebooks that I can constantly refer back to, as well as a large box that inside are all my notes and ideas that have not come to anything. That particular box is labelled ‘Household Objects’ in honour of the lost Pink Floyd album, and one day I will need some of those ideas so I always know where they are.
I like to write in Coffee Shops, there is a place I can sit in the background and get on with something while putting on my iPod. I write in sequences, as such I have just completed what I call the Freddy Psychology Sequence, where the child protagonist of book three who is also the son of Arthur is having his troubles taken away by High Advisor Kate. It will fit somewhere but I am unable to write in one strict timeline until I start the full book for good, until then the sequence will merely remain a sequence.
Pubs make great places to write, as most of life’s interesting things happen in them as far as I’ve seen. I sit at the bar or in a corner and people usually ask me what I’m writing, as being sat at the bar and writing in a notebook is not really the norm. They ask and I give them a vague description of what I’m working on and if they’re truly interested I get into more detail which leads to me thinking of more ideas to go in the book. That is the priceless and often hard to pin down mistress that is inspiration.
I write at work a lot, that’s a place where I get a lot of my ideas and I usually have to write a small note that I can expand on later. There are times when I am stood for a while with no other stimulus, and that is what gives me the ideas I wouldn’t normally get anywhere else.
Finally, being an author is a very insular job so I go riding around the Oxfordshire countryside at times when I get hit with writer’s block, which to be honest doesn’t happen very often as usually I have too much to do. It’s out there on the old country lanes that I see something that will turn into an idea that I never had before, that idea will grow into a sequence and that sequence will fit into a book perfectly.

You can purchase Gemenicia from Amazon

The first book in this series is Discoucia. 

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Revolution, romance and technological wonders are all in a day’s work for the decorated hero of Alavonia, Sir Arthur Pageon.

An acclaimed explorer and inventor, Sir Arthur Pageon takes his unofficial role as defender of the realm of Avalonia very seriously. A fantastical world, Avalonia is home to the Discoucian Monarchy, as well as monstrous creatures and secretive academies for the highly gifted.

Upon returning from his most recent exploits aboard on his personal flying galleon The Nostradamus, Pageon is treated to a hero’s welcome and celebratory procession through the streets of Avalonia’s capital, Evermore. Little does Pageon know he’s being followed by a mysterious group known as the Purple Guard, whose devious leader is his estranged sister, Queen Lily Pageon of Harrha Island. Fiercely intelligent, Lily specialises in dastardly technological inventions with the aim of bringing down the Discoucian Monarchy so that she may reign as its dictator. However, the heir to the throne is one Princes Josephine Oladine, whose youth and royal position masks her role in the Discoucian Secret Service.

Joining forces, Princess Josephine and Sir Arthur’s adventures will take them across the whole of Avalonia — from the fog-bound shores of Karga, to the secret underground shanty town beneath the frozen prison of Icester, south to the verdant city of Proceur and from there to the affluent Starfall Academy — in their quest to foil Lily’s revolutionary plans.

You can purchase Discoucia from Amazon

About the author

Nicholas Lovelock

Nicholas Lovelock lives in a small village in Oxfordshire and has already published Discoucia, the first part of the Alavonia Series which spans multiple novels set to be released in the future. He enjoys riding around the countryside as well as illustrating his own works, as can be seen in his second novel Gemenicia. These Illustrations in stark black and white provide a glimpse into the world of Alavonia and how he sees it, as well as showcasing the different locations and characters that make up the Alavonia series universe.

He is a keen musician capable of playing the electric guitar as well as the acoustic and the piano, often trying to play like his musical heroes David Gilmour, Jimmy Page and Jeff Lynne. His coin collection has transformed from a hobby to a passion and obsession as he attempts to collect one of every issued coin in Great Britain. He is over halfway in that respect collecting such treasures as a 1675 Charles the Second Crown and an extremely rare Edward the Seventh Half Crown of 1905, and has begun metal detecting in an effort to tick some boxes in the Hammered Coinage section.

His love of Steampunk literature and cinema has been with him from a young age when he first saw the film ‘Wild Wild West’, sought out the original series and discovered a world of fantasy that he has painstakingly tried to pay homage to in his novels, to bring the wild west to an English setting and to create something that has never been done before.

History has always been a major passion of his as he makes many references in his literature, from characters whose personalities resemble those of eccentric historical characters or monarchs. The ability to change history through literature was one of the things that attracted him to become an author in the first place, to create similar timelines and put a unique spin on the mundane.

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Gloved Heart by Charlotte Brentwood #Extract #Romance #Historicalfiction


Can she ever trust again? Amy Miller is struggling to come to terms with her new life as a mother, while being a reluctant guest in a rigid gentry household. A victim of abuse, she is determined to never trust a man again. Henry Russell has loved Amy for as long as he can remember, but his family want nothing to do with her. A chance encounter with Amy rekindles a friendship which might save them both. The discovery of a secret which holds the key to Amy’s past will change them forever, and jeopardise any chance they have for happiness. Can Henry show Amy that true love will give her everything she could ever need?
Note, although this is a ‘sweet’ read, there is some subject matter that may offend sensitive readers, including mention of a rape and very mild violence and coarse language

A word from the author:

I hope readers enjoy the second book in the “Hearts of Amberley” series. GLOVED HEART can be read as a standalone but if you’ve read THE VAGABOND VICAR you’ll enjoy seeing your favourite characters again.

As a mother of a young baby, I was able to pour my heart into this story of a new mother, Amy Miller, adjusting to her life in less than ideal circumstances. She has sworn off men for good, but she comes to rely on the friendship of Henry Russell. She resists her growing feelings for him, building walls around her heart. Just as she begins to trust, the revelation of a secret will ruin everything.

This is also a book about strong women and the relationships between them. It’s really the women who drive the story and I loved exploring their unique bonds despite their different stations in life. The men provide the sparks and also the problems, just like in real life!


Amy was glad of the ride back to Briarwood. She was so weary she thought her legs might give way. Her emotions were close to the surface, threatening to brim over. Henry had touched on more than one nerve with his innocent line of questioning just now. He was right to wonder why a respectable couple such as the Fortescues, who she had hardly said a word to in her life, would stoop so low as to house an unwed mother when no one else wanted her. She had asked herself that question many times; it was reasonable for him to wonder too.
She wanted to believe his assertions that they wanted to make her more like them so she would belong. But she couldn’t bring herself to foster such a happy illusion; she was no more an innocent young girl who would see the best in people first. She knew most people were hiding something, and their actions were not always a good indicator of their motivations or intentions. In fact, sometimes they acted to deliberately deceive. She couldn’t believe the Fortescues would intentionally hurt her, as there was undeniably an altruistic motive for most of their actions. But their efforts to re-make her in the image of a lady were an affront to her very identity.
“Miss Miller?”
Amy turned to see Henry waiting for her on the cart. She laughed at him. “Come now, Henry, don’t address me as if you were my chauffeur. It’s only Amy, and it always has been.”
She stepped towards the box and he automatically offered his hand to help her up. She stared at it, dismayed.
It was perfectly natural for him to help her up into her seat, but despite her recent familiarity with him, she still could not stand to let their hands touch. She tried to fight the irrational terror which overtook her. Nothing bad would happen, it would be over in a matter of seconds and Henry was not going to abuse the situation, was he? But she could not bring herself to put her hands in his.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
He shook his head as if to dismiss her apology. “It’s nothing, just put your foot here, and hold on here, and you can pull yourself up.”
She nodded, did as he instructed, and managed to hoist herself up onto the seat.
Henry took up the reins. “Are you comfortable?”
She met his eyes and nodded again, startled by how close his face was to hers. “Thank you.” Her voice came out as a squeak and she immediately felt herself colouring. She focussed on the lane ahead as Henry brought the cart around and steered the mare down towards the road.
He sat as far as he could to the right of her while still maintaining control of the cart, but the seat was not very wide, so their thighs were still only inches apart. She could see his muscles flexing within his buckskin trousers. Suddenly she was unbearably warm.
Comfortable? Perhaps too comfortable.
She could not resist taking sly glances at him as they bounced along towards her home. The freckles across his nose had multiplied, giving him a boyish charm. His shock of fiery hair was tossed about in unruly waves like a turbulent sea. He caught him looking at her, and threw her a bashful smile, which she couldn’t help returning before forcing her eyes to her lap. She caught a whiff of his scent; he smelled of the grasses and earth and a rich, masculine aroma.
The motion of his hands guiding the reins caught her attention as they rounded a corner, and she took in his strong, toned forearms. He’d rolled his shirt up above his elbows, and even beneath all that fabric his upper arms bulged. His chest strained against his waistcoat. He was a robust working man, of course he would be… strapping. It was just that she’d never had such leisure to observe all this before. Or perhaps she had just never taken notice, never appreciated him in his masculinity. She’d been a slip of a girl when she’d last spent any length of time with him, without any notions of forming attachments. Now, she was all too aware of him, and the nearness of him. She began to feel a little light-headed, and her heart seemed to be pulsing through her entire body.
She hadn’t felt like this since… her breath quickened as a painful pang hit her heart. She’d rather not remember the last time.
“Amy? Are you all right?”
Henry was looking at her seriously as he guided the cart through the gates that led to Briarwood.
She tried to slow her breathing, but the rising panic could not be quelled.
The last time she had felt this way, it had nearly destroyed her. It had made her giddy, blind, defenceless. She’d been a gullible fool, and she had paid the price for her infatuation with her innocence.
Fear closed over her heart in a vice-like grip, and she clutched the sides of the seat with white knuckles. She could not explain to him, could not summon any words lest she begin to cry.
The cart came to a stop outside the house, and she leapt to the ground, nearly falling over.
“Amy!” Henry cried, dismounting in a flash and coming around to her side. “What on earth is the matter?”
She darted away from him, wishing she hadn’t let her fancies get the better of her, that she could go back to the simplicity of their recent friendship. Perhaps she still could if not tempted in such a way.
“Goodbye, Henry,” she called as she began walking away from him. “Thank you.”
Then she turned and took quick steps up to the front door, banging until she was granted admittance. Once inside, the house felt like a safe place for the first time. She was in no danger of being overcome by treacherous feelings here. She went to her room and closed the door, leaning back against it. She would have no reason to see Henry again, and it was just as well. She could not risk putting her heart in danger again.

You can purchase a copy of Gloved Heart from Amazon

About the author 


Charlotte developed serious crushes on a series of men from age fifteen: Darcy, Knightley, Wentworth and Brandon. A bookworm and scribbler for as long as she can remember, Charlotte always dreamed of sharing her stories with the world.  Earning a degree in communication studies, she was seduced by the emerging digital world and has since worked with the web and in marketing. She is a member of the Auckland chapter of RWNZ.  Now mother to an adorable human tornado, Charlotte is trying to find the time for reading, seaside walks, warbling at the piano and quaffing far too many hot chocolates.

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