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

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

A Lucky Penny… the wizards’ will is strong today… #Poetry

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

The Wizards will is strong today
A lucky penny he threw my way
In my pocket, I let it sit.
The next day I found a job
Life is looking up I thought
People say I am a fool to heed his words
A vagrant, that sits alone
on the bench all day.
Yet in his eyes, I see much more
His ragged clothes turn most away
I see a suit of golden hue
His footsteps light when he walks 
His age disguised by a trick of sight.
So much they miss with noses turned
What fate, what future stands without?
First condemning with sight and sound.
Let those walk by who see him not
I keep my penny out of sight
My life I see in his hands.
A light to pin my hopes upon...

©AnitaDawes2022

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

Whatdoyousee ~ #Keepitalive ~ #Poetry

What do you see # 126 – March 21st, 2022

Image credit; John Noonan @ Unsplash

For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a black colored full face mask held in both hands of a person, not shown in the frame.

Hidden

I found him weeping
His face an un-ironed sheet
His eyes as pale as
Early morning sunlight
His voice soft as
A summer breeze
I heard him whisper, choose
Follow the pied piper
Or pay the ferryman
Is it better to take the coin?
From the mouth then condemned
To wear the mask
To hide from those
That fear what they see…

©AnitaDawes2022

#Throwback Thursday~ A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs #Review #Thriller @KathyReichs

Number One New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her nineteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and the reason the dead man had her phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.
 
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.
 
To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
 
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes …

 

Our Review

Temperance Brennan is back, but not in the pink if you know what I mean.

In this story, she has all kinds of problems, most she doesn’t have a dog’s chance of overcoming.

But you just know she will find the way.

This is the first story by Kathy Reichs I have read, but I have long been a fan of the popular tv series based on these books. It has been a real eye-opener to meet the real character.

She may not be the person I thought I knew, but she is someone I recognise. The same attention to detail and overwhelming need to know the truth.

It took me a while to accustom myself to this totally different Bones compared to the one I have been watching for years, but my first impression was favourable. The Bones in this book is a sensible, technically minded, deep thinking woman, one with a shocking sense of humour and the ability to swear like a trooper. Definitely, my kind of role model!

In A Conspiracy of Bones, Temperance is exhausted and confused, trying to come to terms with losing her job and her recent life-threatening brain trauma. She becomes involved in a nasty and mysterious crime through anonymous images and messages sent to her phone.

Written in the first person, I could feel the alienation with her circumstances, and be inside her head to know how her brain works. Frustrated with being incapacitated and unemployed, she desperately wants to discredit the one person who conspired to steal her job. Trying to solve a case long-distance tries her weakened capabilities to their limit, but fascinating to watch.

I loved the scene where she finally managed to fall asleep while looking at a tiny statue of Ganesh. I wondered if she was praying for him to solve some of her problems…

Biography

Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones, Bones Are Forever, Bones of the Lost, Bones Never Lie, Speaking in Bones and the Temperance Brennan short story collection, The Bone Collection. In addition, Kathy co-authors the Virals young adult series with her son, Brendan Reichs. The best-selling titles are: Virals, Seizure, Code, Exposure, and Terminal along with two Virals e-novellas, Shift and Swipe. These books follow the adventures of Temperance Brennan’s great niece, Tory Brennan. Dr. Reichs is also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Dr. Reichs is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte, NC and Montreal, Québec.

 

Sanity Reclaimed… #Poetry

Image by Luca Finardi from Pixabay
I used to think 
living on my own was fine
then the shadows moved in
followed by voices, 
they want me out
they say the house is theirs
time to turn the tables
I threw flour in the air
The shadows vanished
The voices remained
They whisper 
in the peeling wallpaper
Through the cracks in the floorboards
I strip the wallpaper, 
filled the cracks
The house is quiet
I reclaim my sanity.

©AnitaDawes2022

Don’t Listen… #Poetry

My new elderly neighbour
over the fence one afternoon
Asks, can I sing you a song?
My husband, standing in our patio doorway
Mouth open, a giant O
Silently screaming no, flapping his hands
Too late, I had already given my permission
How was I to know she came 
from a long line of ancient sirens?
My husband clapped his hands over his ears
My mind floated slowly into a dark space
I could see nothing
Her sound, amplified into unspeakable beauty
My husband dragged me indoors
before she could end her song
I was ill for three days
Late afternoon, I still hear her sound
My mind sways towards something unknown
that I wish I could catch
She has never asked again
Now there is a sale notice on her house…

©AnitaDawes2022

The Sunday Whirl ~ Wordle 539 ~ #Poetry

For me rain brings new smells
The vibration in the air changes
Brushed with new opportunities
There is no hesitation
As I lace my nails with gold varnish
Ready to cut through a new day
The body upstairs lies bleeding
Two shots in the head
Miss Moneypenny insisted 
that the leak be plugged
The facts must remain top secret
Job done; my day had started well…

© AnitaDawes 2022