Jaye’s Journal ~ week 17

 

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For so many reasons this week has been a nightmare.

I received a letter from the hospital summoning me for another look at my cataracts. This has imposed a deadline on my editing, for after that date, I may not be able to see what I’m doing, depending on when or if they decide to do something this time.

Seriously though, I am getting really fed up with not being able to see properly. Everything is blurred, and print is so small.  And don’t get me started on the headaches!

Having a deadline is one hell of a way to buck my ideas up, that’s for sure.

Just when I was feeling positive about everything and things were moving  along swimmingly, BT decided to upgrade their email site, resulting in the most awful balls up. If this is what passes as ‘better’, I must be a monkey’s uncle!

Not only is it poorly arranged, but the layout sucks, AND it keeps going wrong! I mean, I don’t ask for much, just that things work the way they’re supposed to.

Moving on to what I’m supposed to be doing, the editing of PayBack. Right in the middle of thinking I was doing a brilliant job, I realised that somehow I was out of my depth. This turned into what the hell did I think I was doing, so everything crashed right there!

I am beginning to think my brain has finally decided to be old and past it after all. All without consulting me, I might add. I keep forgetting where I am in the process of editing, and what I’m supposed to be doing. I spread all these chapters on my desk, trying to make sure the plot was running smoothly. I found myself staring at them, with absolutely no clue. My head was empty, and I had never felt so lost in my life.

I don’t understand what is happening, for I usually breeze through editing. Hell, I was an editor long before I became a writer and love doing it. The chance to polish your story until it shines is a glorious part of writing, and here I was, unable to organise a piss up in a brewery.

Editing, as you know, is a series of systematically checking everything. You must be methodical and do things in the right order, something I seemed to have forgotten how to do.

For the first time in my writing career, I might need an independent edit…  Something I never thought I would ever say…

And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, I have eaten all the chocolate!

watermark xjj

 

 

Tallis Steelyard Book Tour… Something of the Night by Jim Webster @JimWebster6

Today, it is our turn to host the next instalment of Tallis Steelyards incredible story.

We hope everyone is enjoying it as much as we are!

 

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Something of the night?

I suppose I ought to just call her Lotti, if only because that was the name she ‘worked’ under and inadvertently ended up with. I’m trying to be tactful here because I always liked Lotti, but it has to be admitted that her occupation was perhaps not the one her mother would have hoped she’d have gone into. There again as Lotti never knew her mother, we cannot be sure of that.

Lotti was a foundling and was raised in one of the foundling hospitals. No need to mention which one. They were good with her, taught her to read and write and trained her to be a lady’s maid.

Hence at the age of fourteen she went out into the world set on a new career. But alas it did not go well. There are houses to which you would send a fourteen year old girl, and there are houses you wouldn’t. And frankly there are houses where you would only burn them down when you could

guarantee you’d got the entire family and all the staff trapped inside. I will say no more.

Lotti left that house and desperately tried to make a living. Eventually, after trying any number of things, most of which didn’t last long, with employers who were more or less sordid but none who were what you might call decent, she decided she would have to take charge of her destiny.

Feeling that fate seemed to demand that she provide what we might call ‘erotic services’, she’d make damned sure she was properly paid for them.

Her knowledge of the houses of the apparently respectable had given her an insight into a market which she felt she could fulfil. Thus she set out her stall as ‘the naughty maid.’

Men of a certain age would hire her and send her as a birthday present to a friend, ensuring that his wife and family were out. ‘Gentlemen’ would even hire her themselves. She demanded payment in advance, cash only, and it was tucked away in an account with her usurer before she would ever cross her client’s threshold. Some looked down on her for it, but as she pointed out, how many innocent maids were left alone because she was there to provide the service?

The reason I knew her was that the foundling hospital had somehow instilled in her a genuine love of poetry. In her late teens she had many of the poems of the masters off by heart and she would occasionally come to the barge bringing a bottle of wine, a ham, or the makings of a meal. She’d dine with Shena and I and we’d talk poetry and the art of versifying.

Who knows how long she would have lived this existence, but then she made an error. She would get the client’s address and the money and she’d just knock on the door and be shown inside. Except on this occasion the address was slightly wrong. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what the address was, but they’d got the numbers the wrong way round. So Lotti knocked on the door of the wrong house, if memory serves it was number fourteen rather than forty-one.

What made things more interesting was that in this house they’d just hired a new maid from an agency and were expecting her. When Lotti turned up wearing a perfectly respectable maid’s outfit (we shall not mention the somewhat ‘unusual’ underwear), they just assumed she was the new girl. As an aside I’ve often wondered what happened to the girl who was supposed to turn up, did she make the opposite mistake and arrive by accident in the house where they were expecting Lotti? Frankly I don’t know and I long ago decided not to find out.

So when Lotti arrived, she was welcomed by the housekeeper, which was unusual, introduced to other staff, which came as something of a surprise to her, and was then introduced to the Mistress herself. This had never happened before. Lotti inquired, cautiously, about the master of the house, but the Mistress informed her, somewhat sadly, that she was a widow. She welcomed Lotti to her household, hoped she’d be very happy, and the housekeeper then showed Lotti her room and instructed her in her duties.

That night, in her solitary bed in a small room she had to herself, Lotti lay there and pondered the situation. She had been trained to be a lady’s maid, so she could do the job. She pondered her previous employment but eventually decided that she would try this new life.

Over the next few weeks she got to know the others in the household and they got to know her. Both the Mistress and her housekeeper were impressed; Lotti threw herself into the job. Yes there were areas where she was rusty, but when a maid moves from one household to another, there is always a period of transition when she learns the new way of doing things.

On top of that Lotti is, in reality, a nice person with a captivating smile and a genuine willingness to help. Her past had made her wary, but it had not yet made her bitter. As they got to know her, they made use of her strengths. Her ability to be absolutely formally correct in the presence of gentlemen (originally a necessary part of the game she was paid for) meant that her employer let her pay off tradesmen.

Time passed, Lotti became an accepted part of the household, and one morning she woke to the realisation that she was happy.

It was about then that Julatine Sypent, a recognised artist, was invited into the house to paint the Mistress. Apparently her various offspring wanted a portrait of her, and so, under protest, she’d agreed. During the course of the process, which consisted of a number of sittings over a period of weeks, Lotti, as lady’s maid, was the one who fetched Julatine his cup of infusion, offered round the sweet biscuits and generally was on hand should her Mistress need her.

Julatine was utterly smitten with her. One afternoon when she was out of the room he begged Mistress to be allowed to paint Lotti as well. Mistress agreed, even though she was wise enough to realise she might be about to lose a good lady’s maid. So with one portrait done, Julatine started on the second. Now it has to be realised that Lotti wasn’t going to be an easy victim of a painter’s charm. But Julatine was lucky. He’d long realised that a painter has to entertain the person he is painting. The last thing you want is somebody sitting there listless and bored. So he quoted poetry as he painted. Once he realised she loved poetry, he brought in books of it, he ransacked the libraries of friends for books to lend her. Eventually, the painting finished, he leaned back and looked at it thoughtfully.

A little nervously Lotti asked, “Is it all right?”

“Yes, I think it’s about finished.”

“Can I look at it now?”

As she stood up to see it Julatine said sternly, “There’s just one thing that has to be done before it’s fit for viewing.”

A little concerned Lotti asked, “What’s that?”

“You have to agree to marry me.”

She always said she wasn’t likely to get a better offer.

 

And the hard sell!

So welcome back to Port Naain. This blog tour is to celebrate the genius of Tallis Steelyard, and to promote two novella length collections of his tales.

 

So meet Tallis Steelyard, the jobbing poet from the city of Port Naain. This great city is situated on the fringes of the Land of the Three Seas. Tallis makes his living as a poet, living with his wife, Shena, on a barge tied to a wharf in the Paraeba estuary. Tallis scrapes a meagre living giving poetry readings, acting as a master of ceremonies, and helping his patrons run their soirees.

These are his stories, the anecdotes of somebody who knows Port Naain and

its denizens like nobody else. With Tallis as a guide you’ll meet petty

criminals and criminals so wealthy they’ve become respectable. You’ll meet musicians, dark mages, condottieri and street children. All human life is here, and perhaps even a little more.

 

Firstly;-

Tallis Steelyard, Deep waters, and other stories.

 

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard.

Discover the damage done by the Bucolic poets, wonder at the commode of Falan Birling, and read the tales better not told. We have squid wrestling, ladywriters, and occasions when it probably wasn’t Tallis’s fault. He even asks the great question, who are the innocent anyway?

 

And then there is;-

Tallis Steelyard. Playing the game, and other stories.

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard.

Marvel at the delicate sensitivities of an assassin, wonder at the unexpected revolt of Callin Dorg. Beware of the dangers of fine dining, and of a Lady in red.

 

Tomorrow, the next episode is at https://rivrvlogr.wordpress.com…

See you there!

#Throwback Thursday ~ The Italian Thing by Patricia Salamone @Pattisalamone #memoir

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Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!

Our Review

I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit.

Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country.

However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat.

“Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life.

I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Two people who were out of their depth and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!

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Biography

Patricia Salamone was born in New York. Raised in the borough of Queens. She had five siblings including one brother that passed away in August of 2003.
The Italian Thing is her first published book although she has been writing since the age of 8 years old.
She married and has three children who are grown with families of their own now, and they have blessed her with grandchildren.
Patricia retired from AT&T in 2008 and was able to concentrate on her love for writing, hence “The Italian Thing.”
The Italian Thing is available on Amazon Kindle worldwide and also available in print (English only).

As Patricia puts it, “No awards yet, but there is always tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

Save

Our #Review for The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar ~ #SuspenseActionThriller @JacqieBiggar

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When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.
Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.
And threatening his key witness.
As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?
Or will a killer become the winner?

From USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar, Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

The twists and turns in this story are amazing. Just when you think you know where the adventure is going, it switches to the unexpected. Definitely kept me entertained and on my toes!
Jacqui Nelson

THE BEAST WITHIN by Jacquie Biggar did not disappoint! These books are a great blend of contemporary romance with added suspense and the paranormal element of guardian angels that have ties to the main characters.
Avonna

Our Review

I found the opening paragraph of The Beast Within painful to read, but it did set the tone for the rest of the book very well.

I love a good mystery thriller, and the premise for this book promised to tick all of my boxes. It has a strong emotional  and romantic element, warring guardian angels and an evil serial killer, all combining into one of the best suspense novels I have read in a while.

Add to all of that, an unrelenting pace, beautifully descriptive writing and multiple storylines, in short, a book that will not allow you to stop reading.

The Beast Within is the first of Jacquie Biggar’s books I have read, and it didn’t take me long to realise I would have benefitted from reading the first book in the Mended Souls trilogy. The story itself stands alone, I just felt the need to know the characters a little better.

I will be reading the first book in this trilogy while I await the conclusion to this amazing series…

 

Excerpt from The Beast Within

Mike sank into the chair his wife had recently vacated in the conference room at the police station. He stared at the door and pictured the cop holding Jules pressed up against its smooth surface while he locked lips with her like she was in need of CPR.

And she’d let him.

His head fell back, and he closed his eyes, desperately trying to erase the preceding minutes from existence. Moisture leaked down his cheeks and into his ears. The heart that he’d thought was frozen in time, cracked. Great fissures of agony and sorrow spilled into his chest, filling his soul with darkness and rage. Why was this happening to him? Why was he being tortured this way? Wasn’t it enough that he’d lost his family and then was given the task of teaching his enemy repentance? How was he supposed to stand by and watch the love of his life move on with another man? Maybe even raise his children?

No.

Mike erupted from his seat, and the chair flew against the wall before bouncing to the floor. He strode for the door, determined to bust the cop’s face and then grab his wife, throw her over his shoulder, and head for home where she belonged. Then the memory of what he was drew him up short. A freaking angel. It didn’t matter how much he ached to stake his claim, it wouldn’t do any good, would it? Unless they were going to re-enact that sappy chick flick Jules used to pick every other month for their date night, it wasn’t going to work. He was a ghost—and she wasn’t.

His stomach sank. That meant he was going to have to learn to accept other men entering her life, and maybe even staying.

She deserved happiness.

 

About the Author

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters. Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

 

#Throwback Thursday ~Cusp of Night by Mae Clair #ParanormalMystery @MaeClair1

The truth hides in dark places . . .

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Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, triggers Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

Visit us at www.kensingtonbooks.com

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Forli, Emilia Romagna, Italy: narrow dark alley in the old town – ancient Italian street at night with lampposts and cobbled pavement

Our Review of Cusp of Night

“Equal parts monster and fallen angel…”

I knew when I read the blurb for CUSP OF NIGHT that I had to read the first book in Mae Clair’s new series, and I wasn’t disappointed.

It is an unusual story, beautifully written, dripping with a chilling mystery that draws you into the dark world of spiritualism and myth. Mae Clair skilfully blends and intertwines the chapters, connecting the reader to the 1900’s and the present day and the mysteries of both.

I especially loved the way the mysteries from the past begin to resonate with the present circumstances, leading the hero, Maya Sinclair into the paranormal discovery of an evil that somehow can live forever.

Why would an evil entity visit the present, dragging tragedy and horror with it?

This is the mystery that Maya needs to solve, as disaster begins to strike the people around her. Would she be able to solve the mystery and discover the truth behind the legend?

The tension had me chewing my nails, and then the unexpected sadness had me reaching for a box of tissues, but I thoroughly enjoyed every word.

Already described as  “unique, addictive and creepy…” this new series promises to be a best seller and I can highly recommend Cusp of Night to anyone who loves a haunting and formidable story…


 

EXCERPT FROM CUSP OF NIGHT

She’d left her purse on the dresser, keys by her jewellery chest. A half dozen shoeboxes that had yet to find a place in the closet were stacked beside a white rocking chair. Made from distressed wood, the chair had come from Mrs.Bonnifer’s antique shop. Maya had bought it on the spot after hearing it dated from the 1880s. She’d placed it in the parlour initially, then moved it to the bedroom, where it fits perfectly in the corner by the fireplace. Almost as if it had been made for the spot.

The fireplace had long ago been converted to gas, but the charm of the elaborate Victorian mantel had been one of the deciding factors prompting her to sign the lease.

A soft creak broke the stillness, and the rocker pitched slowly back and forth. The runners bobbled up and down as if someone sat in the chair, controlling the movement. A finger of cold traced Maya’s spine. Secondcrept into second as the deliberate rocking continued, the floorboards creaking in unison with the lurch of the runners.

 Barely breathing, Maya stood. Ever since those few seconds in the Aether, she’d grown sensitive to ripples on the fringe of normal. She didn’t believe in ghosts or hauntings but couldn’t deny the existence of vibrations that breached barriers between life and death. She was living proof of a “between” world. Ivy was the only person she’d ever told what she’d experienced while EMTs fought to revive her.

Shock. Trauma, they’d said. You were lucky.

Be careful here. Mrs Bonnifer’s warning echoed in her head. This place has a history.

Maya stepped to the foot of the bed, her gaze glued to the rocker. Its movement stopped abruptly as if an unseen hand had clamped down on the back…

 

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Not So Simple?

Draft2Digital Link: https://books2read.com/u/3nYYQB     FREE this week!

Excerpt from Simple…

Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide.  It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.

Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it.  She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time.  I was trying to think of the worst she could do.

It was cool inside the cabin.  Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made.  She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench.  She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement.  I knew better than speak first.  I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up.  Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel.  ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind.  Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’

I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.

Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady,  if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’

‘Course not, Gran.’  My voice came out as a whisper. ‘Simple was hurt real bad.  I couldn’t just leave him . . .’

Amazon Review

Disturbing, but compelling and heartwarming

By Rivergirl

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.

 

 

Not So Simple?

Draft2Digital Link: https://books2read.com/u/3nYYQB     FREE this week!

Excerpt from Simple…

Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide.  It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.

Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it.  She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time.  I was trying to think of the worst she could do.

It was cool inside the cabin.  Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made.  She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench.  She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement.  I knew better than speak first.  I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up.  Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel.  ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind.  Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’

I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.

Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady,  if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’

‘Course not, Gran.’  My voice came out as a whisper. ‘Simple was hurt real bad.  I couldn’t just leave him . . .’

 

Amazon Review

 

Disturbing, but compelling and heartwarming

By Rivergirl

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 14

Jaye's Journal x12

 

 

My week began with a state of confusion.

Before you say it, my weeks are always in a state of some confusion, but this time it felt different. All the clocks in the house were wrong, and my brain couldn’t grasp why. It was only when I noticed that the clock on my PC was exactly one hour ahead, that the penny dropped and I realised that BST (British Summer Time) had begun…

Hoping the confusion had gone, I set to rewriting the end chapters of my WIP, PayBack. The previous ending had been annoying me, and again, I couldn’t put my finger on the reason. The only thing running through my mind was that it hadn’t ended the way I thought it would. Right now, I would give anything to have the brain I used to have. You know, the one capable of multitasking and thinking of more than one thing at a time. It also knew what was happening most of the time.

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So, back to PayBack. It has been an interesting story to write. The main character, David Mallory, has all kinds of problems. Problems most of us have not encountered before. Writing about him has had me evaluating my own life. I have had issues too, but nothing like his.  I knew it was important to give his complicated life the justice and outcome he deserved and I would rewrite until I was satisfied I had done that.

Outside of the writing den, two jobs were outstanding. The windows are so dirty we couldn’t see out of them, and the grass was becoming dangerously high. I say dangerous because if I don’t cut it while at a manageable level, the mower throws a wobbly and chucks great clods of compacted grass all over the place. This causes me to throw a bigger wobbly, and you can hear the swearing for miles around!

The weather prevented any window cleaning, something I didn’t complain about! But the grass looks lovely now, if only for five minutes!

I  also managed to acquire the bragging rights for successfully creating some 3D book cover images with DIY Book Design. These will look wonderful on the new promotional posters I am planning for all of our books. I am claiming these rights because learning anything new usually takes me a month of Sunday’s!  Either it was very easy, or I’m getting better!

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watermark xjj

 

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ Cleaved by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #SuspenseThriller

 

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Cleaved … such an old fashioned emotive word and one used to great effect in this thrilling crime story.

This crime thriller opens with a gripping prologue. A woman is trapped inside a steel drum, terrified for her life. You are instantly there with her, experiencing every gruesome and terrifying moment as she tries to escape.

Somewhere in the Lake Region of New England, a ruthless killer is on the prowl. He needs to kill Sage Quintano, the author wife of the Sheriff, Niko Quintano, but his reason is not clear.

Someone starts to follow Sage, tormenting her with a nursery rhyme and then her world starts to fall apart. I loved the way the chapters alternated sometimes, as the two women in the story, Sage and her husband’s female deputy, Frankie Campanelli take turns to build the tension and the story, and you couldn’t have two more different women than these.

I thought the plot and storyline were expertly handled, for despite all the confusing clues I couldn’t  tell the guilty from the innocent. The dialogue was handled well, with arguments strongly portrayed and believable. The tension builds gradually, almost painfully so. I read somewhere that the author actually experienced being inside a steel drum, for the sake of realism, I hope!

The interaction with the Quintano dogs, Colt and Ruger, was rather special too, the scene where Sage and the dogs comfort one another was really moving.

I would have preferred an English vocabulary, as some of the terms used were unfamiliar to me. And I’m not sure about the over-description of the maggots!

I will be reading Marred, the first book in this series, as I know I will enjoy that one too, and I can find out what happened to Sage’s sister…

Book Description

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that binds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintano’s whole–ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

Scarlet Ribbons for her Hair…

 

The Scarlet Ribbon has to be my all time favourite of all Anita’s books. Inspired by the song, I think she was truly inspired when she wrote it. (Don’t tell anyone, but there may be a sequel!)

Excerpt from The Scarlet Ribbon

It was all over at last. He would never hurt anyone ever again.  Annie’s mother had paid dearly, given away her own freedom. Murder was murder, no matter how necessary. But if it was up to me, I’d have given her a medal. I wondered when it had happened, and why we hadn’t heard anything. We must have fallen into a deep sleep, upstairs with Annie.

Alan carried Annie down the stairs, past her mother who was still leaning against the open front door. Her face was wiped clean of emotion, no tears as Annie was taken from her. She might as well have used the same knife on herself. She was dead inside, a lifeless husk with faded blue eyes. I couldn’t feel sorry for her though. It was too late for that.

I walked past her, following Annie, forgetting all about David until he called my name.

‘You can’t go with her, Mags. We’ve done our part, it’s over now.’

I kept on walking beside her, trying to touch her hand, her hair, whispering my goodbyes.

Alan sat Annie in the back seat of the car and we watched as it drove away. Half way down Stanley Road, Annie turned and looked through the rear window. Was she taking one last look at what had been her home, or was she saying goodbye to me?

I lowered my eyes, not wanting to see her disappear, that’s when I noticed the red ribbon lying in the road at my feet. For a moment I hardly dared touch it. What if it disintegrated or something? Slowly I plucked up the courage to pick it up, and holding it in my hand, I realised that it was the closest I had ever come to touching her, really touching her. Suddenly, tears were coursing down my face.

David put his arms around me, he didn’t speak and I was grateful for the silence. My tears became huge, gasping sobs as my heart emptied itself of all the pain, only to be replaced by another kind. As he led me away we heard sirens behind us. Not the kind we have today, but loud bells.

Somebody had called the police.

scarlet-ribbons-newI put Annie’s ribbon in my jeans pocket, wiped my face and said, ‘Where to now?’

‘You choose, Maggie.’

‘Home, let’s both go home. We’ve done what we came here for.’ I waited for a tremor, a sign. But nothing happened. We were still there.

‘This can’t be happening. You said I could go back if I helped. I have, now let me go!’

‘Who on earth are you talking to, Mags?’

‘The voice, the one that keeps me here. Haven’t you heard it?’

He shook his head.

‘Well, if it won’t let me out, I’ll find my own way back. I’m not staying here.’

I started walking double time. David had to run to catch up to me.

‘You don’t have to follow me. Find your own way out.’

‘There’s gratitude for you. Thanks a bunch, Mags.’ He emphasised the Mags. ‘All right, Miss Smarty-pants, how do you know which way is out? Or if there is more than one way out of here. We may be stuck with each other a while yet.’

I stopped walking and he bumped into me. Without turning around, I mumbled, ‘Sorry.’

‘Pardon?’ he said. ‘I didn’t catch that.’

I knew he had, but said it again anyway. Before I knew what was happening, he had turned me around and kissed me.

And I let it happen. It felt so good to have his arms around me, his lips soft and warm, so warm it was bringing parts of me alive that I had almost forgotten about.

As much as I wanted it, needed to be held and loved, I couldn’t let it happen. I loved Jack, but David felt so familiar as if those arms had held me before.

 

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