Dark Light Thrilling Conclusion To Terror Trilogy From James Murphy

Author James Murphy has released the final part to his crime thriller trilogy, Dark Light, on Excalibur Press.

Previous books in the series, The Rise of Terror and The Terror Within, earned praise from fans and reviewers alike.

Dark Light concludes the series with the Farset Investigations team forced to set aside previous differences to solve murders in Northern Ireland and save an abducted child in the US from the evil cult, The Enlightenment and prevent a killing spree in the name of their greatest nemesis, Terror.

“I’ve been thrilled by how well received the first two books have been and am delighted that so many people are eagerly anticipating this release,” said James. “I know that the shock factor of my endings have become a trademark of my writing.

“I hope that they will be happy with the conclusion but they should be warned that the shock value will be present in the last page as always.”

Dark Light is the conclusion of James’ Terror trilogy, he believes it works as a standalone novel.

“I have been very careful to construct each of the books in a format similar to that of a standalone,” he explained. “The result, each book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone, with each whetting the reader’s appetite to read the others.”

As James was completing Dark Light during the Covid-19 crisis, he admits it did affect the final product.

“Although the themes of identity and change run through all three books, the inspiration has evolved each time,” he said. “This time around, the inspiration reflects the moving on from a period of trauma and developing a new life. Partially written during lockdown, it was inevitable that adjusting to a new normal was going to be a feature. It was never a conscious one though.”

Publisher, Tina Calder of Excalibur Press said: “Since James joined Excalibur Press four years ago he has grown as an author. His books are a series of gripping tales linked together by a core plot line.

“We are absolutely delighted to be publishing the third book in the Terror Trilogy – Dark Light this month.

“Fans of the crime fiction genre will not be disappointed by not just this book but the entire series.

“Gripping, suspenseful and intense – Dark Light is definitely a standout book for me this year.”

Dark Light, published by Excalibur Press is available for pre-order at excaliburpress.co.uk

Belfast City Blues Festival Coming Back With A Bang In 2021

Bigger, better and set to be burgeoning with the best of music is the promise of Belfast City Blues Festival as the 2021 dates are confirmed.

The iconic festival will return to have the streets, pubs and clubs alive with the blues from Friday, June 25 to Sunday June 27.

Festival Director, Seamus O’Neill, pledged to bring a “bit of light in people’s lives” after the lockdown killed off live music from mid-March.

“It’s been so tough this year, but I think the prospect of live music is what we need,” he said.

“We are planning to make our 13th festival the best yet, bringing the best local, national and international talent to Belfast.”

The 2020 festival took place online, with people checking in from across the world, and while the festival has contingency plans should restrictions remain in place Seamus and the festival team are ready to return Belfast City Blues Festival come back in style.

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes during these very uncertain and trying times to create the best and biggest festival for our great city, its citizens and many friends around the world in 2021,” he said “Our mission is to bring back that smile once again that we see on people’s faces at our many gigs, and the connections and friendships that result and, of course, great music.”

And, his message to the musicians is “We haven’t forgotten you! We’re ready to welcome you back on stage to once again celebrate Belfast hosting one of the biggest blues festivals in the land.

“Our mission is to say, Belfast, we are back. Three days of great music with great people in a great city.”

You can play your part in making sure the festival continues to thrive.

“We created the 2020 online festival with no funding from sponsors or funders and so far we’re in the same position for 2021 as Belfast gets back on its feet.”

The festival is appealing for donations to keep the music alive. 

You can register for the festival to be kept up to date with developments and artist announcements or make a donation at https://bit.ly/3oH8NY8.

NI Scrubs Draws To A Close After Making 106,000 Items For Care Staff

NI Scrubs team (from left) Clara Maybin, Angeline Murphy, Chloe Dugan and Clare Caulfield. Pic: Kasia Rogowiec | Polka dot Photo

The mammoth effort of pulling together thousands of people to sew scrubs, scrub hats and gowns for hospitals, hospices, care homes and other caring professionals has drawn to a close with 106,000 items delivered to key workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The brainchild of Clara Maybin at the start of the first lockdown, when nursing and care staff were facing shortages, it grew from an appeal to become an army of 9,000 sewers, including Great British Sewing Bee contestant, Angeline Murphy.

In addition a total of £75,000 was raised to purchase the material to make the items.

Now hospitals have said they have sufficient stocks but Clara believes NI Scrubs has started something great.

“The sheer sense of community we have created will last for a long time,” she said. “We have built a real sewing community in Northern Ireland where people have made friends and ask for sewing advice every day. It is a truly invaluable group to a lot of people, in so many ways.”

Angeline also believes the legacy will live on: “It was a great campaign that helped more than just the front line staff. It helped thousands of stitchers rediscover their skills, meet new friends and give back to society.”

It all started when Clara began collecting unused scrubs from dentists that were closing in lockdown.

“When I said I was doing that people started to say they could sew,” she explained.

“Overnight we had far too many people for the WhatsApp group and I had to set up a Facebook group

“The next day we had 80, the next week we had 800 and now we have nearly 9000.”

It was a challenge that consumed every waking hour for Clara.

“When I sit and think about it, it is madness,” she said. When I think of how tough it was it is very overwhelming.  Every day got harder and harder, as more messages came through it was very hard to manage. And getting fabric to people up and down the country was so hard during the lockdown.”

Angeline became involved initially to join the scrub sewing army, but then realised her TV appearance meant she could do more.

“I initially got involved to start sewing but realised that to make an impact I would be better suited to helping raise awareness of it from my profile on Sewing Bee and social media so I was able to get my followers on my pages to help,” she explained. 

And, while NI Scrubs is winding down Angeline wants to continue supporting the sewing community.

“I feel I have a duty to keep the stitchers together and use their skills for the greater good,” she said “I have formed another group NI Big Community Sew in line with the UK wide campaign to make face coverings for the vulnerable in society.”

As for Clara she said she now plans to rest, and can reflect on the wider benefits of NI Scrubs.

“The sheer sense of community we have created will last for a long time,” she said. “Not only have we helped front line staff, I have had several messages from those helping saying we have helped their mental health through lockdown, which is amazing.”

Angeline believes that it has also made a difference beyond the scrubs.

“Together we have made a big difference and all though seen as a dying art sewing is making a comeback,” she explained. “It also proved that when people work together great things can be achieved.”