Tuesday Teaser… #Fiction #Excerpt #WIP

Excerpt from the WIP for Ghost of a Chance

The basement door was easy to overlook, it looked like a cupboard. It opened easily, revealing a dark hole leading down into the bowels of the earth. I looked for a light switch, my hand searching where my eyes could not but found nothing.

As we made our way down the stairs in the dark, I used the torchlight on my phone to see the way. I found the light switch at the bottom of the stairs.

The air in the basement smelled old and musty, with the faint odour of tobacco. We were in a large room, set out like an office with an old desk and overflowing bookcases. An even older leather armchair sat in the corner surrounded by a neat stack of cardboard boxes.

Laurie must have read my mind, saying exactly what I was thinking. ‘Phew, thank God there’s no freezer, nowhere to hide a body…’

My next thought I kept to myself, maybe the body had been cut up and was in all those boxes.

A loud noise made me jump and Laurie shriek, and that was when the light went out.

‘What was that? Snow, where are you?’

‘I’m here, Laurie. Stand still while I switch on my phone light. I don’t suppose you remember seeing any torches when we were here before?’

The limited light from my phone isolated us as we stood at the bottom of the stairs. I strained my eyes, trying to see the further corners of the room. It looked as it did moments ago, but it didn’t feel the same. Weird rustling sounds, creaking and what sounded like whispering came at me from all the corners of the room.

Laurie must have heard it too, for she turned away from me. ‘I’ll go look for a torch, shall I?’ And shot up the stairs like an athlete.

I wanted to follow her, but something kept my feet rooted to the floor.

The whispering came closer and seemed much louder. Something brushed against my face and the image of a bat flew across my mind. This was unlikely, as there didn’t seem to be any access to the outside, something bats had to have.

I shone the light around the room again and as it reached the leather armchair in the corner, the light flickered and went out but not before I thought I saw someone sitting there.

I barely had the time to consider this when something shoved me.

I felt hands on my lower back, strong enough to cause me to stumble.

Instantly, my arms thrashed around, expecting to contact whoever touched me, but found no one.

‘Laurie, is that you?’

The room was silent, the creaks and the whispering stopped as if waiting for someone or something to answer my question.

I tried to move, to make my way up the stairs but my feet refused to move.

I felt the hands on my back again, a growing chill spreading from the site of contact. ‘Who are you?’

When the voice began to speak, the whispering grew louder, creating a tornado of sound, circling around me.

‘You don’t want or need to know who I am, MR Snow. Get out of my house!’

When the shove came, it sent me flying across the room and I found myself in the leather armchair, pinned down by the hands that sent me there.

As I sat there, stunned and very disorientated, I tried to make sense of what had just happened. A flickering light appeared, bobbing up and down. Now what, I wondered. My rational mind not quite accepting any of this.

‘Snow, where are you? I found a torch, it’s a bit feeble but better than nothing.’ As she shone the light around the room, she found me sprawled in the armchair.

‘What are you doing? Don’t tell me you wanted to take it easy, what are you like?’

A small laugh escaped from my mouth as I thought about trying to explain what I thought had just happened.

I did my best to describe what happened to me in the basement. Laurie listened, but I wasn’t sure she believed everything I said. One thing we did agree on, we were trying to help a lonely and confused woman, not get involved with ghost hunting.

That’s what I think, but is it really? ( all opinions gratefully welcome!)

Jaye Marie

Sweet Water… #Poetry

Sweet Water

On knees of broken glass
I crawl towards the sea
My home, my family lie beneath the waves
The pain of having legs drives me on
I reach the sweet water, my life
Letting myself sink into darkness
The pain gone, my tail restored
I find my kingdom as I left it
Father, cross at my foolishness
Will the memory of pain
Stop me returning to the land?
He will try to call me back
I will feel a different kind of pain
The loss of his love
I am water, he is land
We cannot be...

©AnitaDawes2022

Technology is ganging up on me…

Image by Joachim Schnürle from Pixabay

Technology is ganging up on me…

It’s official, I hate computers. The laptop is one of those touch screen ones, and apparently, I have the wrong kind of finger. And it’s not just the one, I have tried them all. The slightest touch has things flying about all over the place, and then there are those times when I can stab at the screen like a maniac and absolutely nothing happens.

The demon that inhabited the main computer that has now gone to the PC heaven in the sky seems to have moved into the laptop, doing all kinds of things that are out of my control. If anything finally kills my dream of being reasonably successful, it will be a computer. My ageing brain seems no longer capable of the kind of mindless patience (or insane tolerance) that is needed to use them.

I am convinced they are here to drive us all insane, starting with me. And as for using it in the garden, which was the plan, no such luck!

I thought this would be such a brilliant idea, combining two of the things I love most in this world, writing, and gardening, but when I tried, the screen faded so badly, I couldn’t see a thing!

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse…

It has occurred to me that it is quite possible, or more than probable, that the weird things my PC has been doing of late, might mean something is dying inside that metal box. And if I am right, this could mean it will give up the ghost when most inconvenient. With this thought firmly lodged in my (by now worrying itself into a coma) brain, I toddled off to Amazon to see how much a replacement would cost. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I can get a refurbished laptop for literally peanuts.

Panic over, I could handle it, whenever ‘it’ decided to reveal itself.

Now if I could just get my head around all these new improvements that are taking place at the sites I use, there might be a danger of progress being made around here…

Once more with feeling…

For some reason, the muse has wandered off again. I haven’t added to the word count on WIP or written anything new for a while. I get these blank moments that I’m trying not to equate to old age. It crossed my mind that whatever is wrong with the PC might just be contagious, as I also get periods of quiet in my head, a bit like being becalmed at sea in a boat.

Not that I mind any of this weirdness, as it sure makes a change from depression…

Now for some really good news!


We are happy to announce our participation in Load Your Kindle for May! a brand new Book Funnel promotion for the month of May.

Loads of FREE books in General Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, and Sci-Fi & Fantasy, including my own mystery thriller, CrossFire…

https://books.bookfunnel.com/loadkindlemay/brqufj786x

There are a lot of interesting thrillers just waiting to be read, click on the link and fill up your kindles!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/loadkindlemay/brqufj786x







She Who Returns ~ Audrey Driscoll ~ #Travel Adventure Fiction ~ #Sequel ~#Review

Every decision has consequences, and logic gets you every time.

France Leighton is studying Egyptology at Miskatonic University, hoping to return to Egypt via a field school offered by that institution. But France has a talent for rash decisions, and things are complicated by the arrival of her twin half-brothers from England. Edward and Peter are contrasts—one a rational scientist, the other a dabbler in the occult—but they are equally capable of persuading France to help them with dubious schemes.

France does return to Egypt, if not quite the way she intended. She encounters old friends and new enemies, and challenges rooted in her previous adventures and her family’s complicated history. Accusations of antiquities theft drive France and her companions into hiding in the Theban Hills west of Luxor. An attack from the unknown turns an adventure into a desperate predicament. On the brink of yet another failure, France must make hard choices that may demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Our Review

I loved the Egyptian theme of this book, interesting right from the first sentence, the perfect sequel to She Who Comes Forth. Despite being slightly longer than I am used to, I enjoyed the story very much. This story was perfectly plotted, with no plot holes or thin parts, believable, and with a strong cinematic quality.

France Leighton makes an impressive leading lady, considering the unusual life she leads. Obsessed with Egypt and its mysteries but without the necessary knowledge, France manages to find work at an archaeological dig site, sorting stones. A menial job, but she loves every minute.

She Who Returns is an easy read yet complicated tale, full of mysterious goings-on and delightful magical touches. Once I figured out exactly what shabtis were, I thought this element was one of the best parts of this story. Intrigue made real and plausible.

I found the ending a little sad, but I have the feeling there might be more in the pipeline, as I would love to read more about France and her Egyptian forays.

Audrey Driscoll

Audrey Driscoll grew up reading books and became interested in making stories. As a child, she made her friends act out little dramas based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, her favourite at the time.

After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West turned Audrey into a writer.

The result was The Friendship of Mortals and three more novels, which became the Herbert West Series. Two other novels followed, as well as a collection of short stories.

When she isn’t juggling words, Audrey Driscoll negotiates with plants in her garden, which is located in Victoria, British Columbia.

I loved reading Audrey Driscoll’s She Who Returns! I have always been fascinated by all things Egyptian, and thoroughly enjoyed following France Leighton as she explored that fabulous country.

Turned out to be one of the best and most interesting history lessons!

Jaye Marie

The Wreck of the Lanternfish ~ #Review ~#Fiction ~ #HistoricalFantasy ~ @Virgilante

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

Our Review

I was looking forward to seeing all my favourite characters in this series’s third and final book. I wasn’t sure how this story would pan out, though, with a war raging and the Lanternfish in dry dock and out of commission.

We find our captain, James Cutler, cooling his heels with Bonnie, his wife. But is this where he needs or wants to be?

It isn’t long before James comes up with a plan to end the war, but first, he needs to find a way to repair the Lanternfish.

This story has many exciting battle scenes, keeping me on the edge of my chair! The author is to be applauded for such ingenious plotting throughout this trilogy.

James Cutler has been a wonderful character in this trilogy, covering several vocations, along with the rest of the amazing cast. All of which brought out the best of him and added to the exciting finale.

I am sorry to have reached the end of his journey, but this Captain has more than earned a rest.

Craig Boyack is well known for creating fabulous characters and intriguing storylines. The Wreck of the Lanternfish is one of the best…

C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

The Pompey Bookshop… #shortstory #Fiction

The Pompey Bookshop   

“I love the smell of this old place, don’t you, Fred?”

“Yer, it smells of death, all that paper and the old trees whispering. You found anything good to read yet?”

“Not so far. Quiet, here comes one now. I wonder what she’s looking for. Watch out, she’s coming your way, to the esoteric stuff. She’s looking for a little magic…”

“Let’s give her some then, drop a book on her.”

“I can’t do that, Fred. It might hurt her, besides, she’s troubled. Can’t you see the sadness in her eyes? Can’t you feel it?”

“Yer, yer. I thought we could have a bit of fun for a change.”

“Trouble with you Fred, you are a good ghost. You don’t hear too much about good spooks these days. Maybe we can help her out. One of these old trees might be of use. This one for instance, How to Find your Own Bliss.”

“Go ahead then Jim. Poke it out, your best at that, but don’t be too heavy-handed. Don’t want it dropping on her head, remember?”

Jim did his best and the book moved slowly, sticking out about two inches, but the woman didn’t notice it had moved.

“Damn…” Jim said.

“Now what?”

“If I push any harder, it’s going to fall…”

“Let me help, I’ll play with her hair to make her look up. You push.”

Alice touched the top of her head. Must be her nerves, she thought, it felt like fingers playing with her hair.

Jim pushed, and the book fell at her feet. Picking it up, Alice read the blurb on the back and decided to take it. She continued her search, her fingers brushing against the spines, the pages inside rippling at her touch.

“You can stop playing with her hair now, Fred. You’re messing with the pages. They’re getting all excited, thinking they might be read. They don’t know how lucky they are. Luck, maybe that’s what she needs. After all, that’s what this Bookshop is all about, helping people find what they need.”

“Good idea. No pushing this time. Look, she’s still stroking the spines. She’s coming up to the one with the green spine, that one will make her hand tingle…”

“Which one are you on about, Fred?”

“That one, Luck Made Easy. It’s a big book, so will need both of us.”

“Ready? Now…”

 Alice snatched her hand away from the book, her hand stinging.

“Now see what you’ve done. You’ve come on too strong…”

 “She might not be brave enough to touch it again. She must believe in stuff like this, or she wouldn’t be here. Make it glow, Fred!”

“It’s almost closing time; Mr Pompey will be looking to see if the shop’s empty before lights out.”

The book had moved out of line just a bit and was glowing. Alice found some courage and pulled it out. She almost ran to the till.

“You’re our last customer of the day, Miss. Have a good evening.”

Alice’s thank you was barely a whisper as she made her way to the door.

“Good job done there, Fred…”

“Let’s hope so, Jim. I reckon she‘ll find just what she needs between them old leaves. “

 “Night, Fred…”

“See you come morning. Jim.”

The Bookshop didn’t sleep. The leaves between all the book covers were too busy whispering their stories to each other all night…

©AnitaDawes2018

The Midnight Library~ Best book of 2021 ~ #Fiction ~ #Review

THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON
READERS’ MOST LOVED BOOK OF 2021
WINNER OF THE GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD FOR FICTION

‘BEAUTIFUL’ Jodi Picoult, ‘UPLIFTING’ i, ‘BRILLIANT’ Daily Mail, ‘AMAZING’ Joanna Cannon, ‘ABSORBING’ New York Times, ‘THOUGHT-PROVOKING’ Independent

Nora’s life has been going from bad to worse. Then at the stroke of midnight on her last day on earth she finds herself transported to a library. There she is given the chance to undo her regrets and try out each of the other lives she might have lived. Which raises the ultimate question: with infinite choices, what is the best way to live?

Our Review

This book really made me think of my own choices, raising so many questions. Like, what would happen if we could choose our lives. Given this opportunity, would we choose wisely?

This quickly led to a fantasy world in my head, where I imagined what my life would have been like if I had the power to change things.

In the Midnight Library, Nora is given the opportunity to try different lifetimes to find one she liked. As I read on, I could tell that none of them were perfect. There are always parts that we must live with, isn’t there?

Maybe there is no such thing as a perfect life, seeing that humans are not perfect anyway.

This story made me appreciate all the perfect things in my own life, and I read on, hoping Nora would find something worth living for.

The Midnight Library is a beautifully written story and definitely thought-provoking.

I will remember Nora and her mission for a long time…

The Grey Squirrel ~ #FFFC #Shortstory

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #162

The photograph is from Anita Creations at DeviantArt.com.

For the visually challenged writer, the photo is of a woman with a pensive expression on her face as she sits upon a large, mossy rock deep inside a forest.

She was starving and very cold.

Her feet hurt, bleeding in several places from stumbling on the sharp stones scattered about in the woods. She didn’t know why she ran to this place every time her life became too hard to bear.

There were no answers here; she knew that. No help either. Just the soul-shattering proof that she really was lost and far beyond help.

She had been here so many times, always ending up feeling far more alone than ever. She strained her ears, hoping to hear a bird song or the stealthy movements of a passing creature, but there was nothing.

Maybe today, there would be a breath of wind to move the branches above her head, letting her know the world was still out there.

But this place seemed as dead as her soul.

As she stared at a large oak, the fallen leaves around the base of the tree began to move. So, something did live here, or were they merely visiting, like she was?

A small grey squirrel appeared as she watched, his tiny hands clamped around an acorn. He suddenly stopped, his fluffy tail twitching. He wasn’t looking in her direction. Did he know she was watching him?

He slowly turned his head and stared at her. His dark, beady eyes seemed to twinkle, and she wondered what he thought of her. He slowly nodded his head as if he heard the question, possibly acknowledging another lonely soul?

This thought caused her to look away in shame, and when she looked back, the squirrel had gone. That was when she realised he wasn’t lonely. He had a purpose.

Something she needed to find…

Jaye

God V Lucifer… #Poetry

 

I wiped the night from my eyes

wondering about the conversation running in my mind

 

God was talking to Lucifer

 

‘I am coming to yours for that game of chess…’ he called to Lu

‘Mister G, you bring the beer, I’ll warm up the pizza oven…’

‘I’ll be right down. What shall we play for this time?

Do you need another tyrants head for your collection?’

‘That would depend on what you want if you win…’

‘I want them to find the truth about Atlantis

after you sank it. They have been looking long enough.’

‘Done, Mister G, one thing, dull down your ‘I know everything,

I have turned down the heat.’

‘I noticed, Lu. Good of you. No making up the rules as you go,

like the last time. That trick about the minotaur.’

‘You make it sound as if I have no rights about the losses you caused me…’

‘Like the islands I took the time and trouble to make

Not easy getting volcanoes to erupt.’

‘Before we start, you haven’t said what you want if you win, not that you will.’

‘Now, that’s fighting talk. I am thinking of creating a new myth.

They haven’t had one for quite some time.

You could spread the rumours for me, plant the seeds.

It might be a bit dark, right up your alley.’

‘Done,’ he said. ‘Next time, I’ll come to yours.

It will be good to visit home again for a while…’

 

©AnitaDawes2022

 

Dead of Winter ~ Journey 13 ~ The Harbour ~ #Review @teagangeneviene #Horror Fantasy

“Journey 13, The Harbor” is the penultimate installment of the epic fantasy series “Dead of Winter.” Action abounds as many threads are drawn together. Arawn has amassed overwhelming legions of the dead. Another unexpected but powerful foe comes into the battle. All of Emlyn’s companions and friends are in grave danger as they face insurmountable odds. Two goddesses could even the odds, but gods and goddesses are known to be unreliable. Will they help?
.
Meanwhile the goal of the Society of Deae Matres is to re-create the Binding to again trap Arawn and any other nightwalkers in the Realm of the Dead. Yet, what about Boabhan and Lucetius? Boabhan is at least half nightwalker. Lucetius, her son, was conceived when Arawn violated her while attempting to turn her. Will they be trapped in a new Binding along with their worst enemy? This is revealed in Journey 13.

Our Review

The penultimate instalment… the story of the Dead of Winter is nearly complete!

This is where the threads of this story get rather complicated and intense…

So many elements are gathering for the final showdown

The odds seem uneven, what with Arawn drawing the Legions of the Dead to his bidding. Surely, he must win with such an army at his disposal?

Away from the battle, Emlyn seems safe. But as she is an integral part of winning or losing, maybe she isn’t safe at all.

I worry that the Goddess Deae Matres will prove unreliable.

Is the Goddess trying to steal power from Emlyn and Lucetius for her own purpose? Emlyn seems worried too and that cannot be a good sign, although I do trust her to see the truth.

The new face in this journey is the small but mighty Goddess Coventina. She has arrived to exact revenge on Arawn but her alliance is not clear.

Could she do more harm than good?

An enchanting, yet frustrating episode, despite the upcoming battle.

Will they be able to make The Binding hold this time, and keep Arawn and the Nightwalkers in the Realm of the Dead?

Such a cliff-hanger at the end of this chapter, priming us for the final episode?