Not With a Bang, but a Whimper… #MysteryFiction

Today is the day we chose to launch Annie’s Song, Anita’s latest powerfully moving story of Annie Steele and her family . It is now available on Amazon but somehow the launch just didn’t happen!

When we decided to do this, the virus was only a rumour, we were both well and confident about so many things.

How things can change in just a few months…

So, if you hear a mangled squeak in the blogosphere today, I’m afraid this is the long-awaited birth process of Annie’s Song.

We did, however, arrange a book tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours, which kicks off on 4th July, so we haven’t completely thrown the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. We will be linking with Silver Dagger during the tour and would really appreciate it if our readers could join in?

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/annies-song-tour-sign-ups

Book Description

Family or Freedom, which would you choose?

Life in the backwoods of Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect, until Annie discovers a nasty family secret.
Something her family have been doing for years.
She knows she cannot live like this but her protests fall on deaf ears.
Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse. forcing her to try and escape…

Annie’s song echoes through the mountains,
her sorrow falls with every drop of rain.
Pieces of her heart lie scattered throughout the forest.

Will her footsteps lead her to the freedom she seeks?

We would really be grateful for any help…

Strange Timing #Poetry

Strange Timing!

Walking home from the library
A man rushing in the opposite direction
bumped into me, almost knocking me off my feet.
If I hadn’t stood with my mouth open
Wanting to let loose a few blue words
I would have stepped off the kerb
Instead of the young man just ahead of me
Now lying in the road in front of a black cab.
I should have been the one lying there
I couldn’t help feeling that death
would be waiting around every corner
to collect the soul he had missed.
Was it strange timing,
or an angel that had bumped my shoulder?

©anitadawes 2020


Heartbreaking News!

Strange timing indeed, when I chose this poem by Anita for todays post, for late yesterday afternoon, we had to rush Anita to the emergency department as she was desperately ill.

She had been unwell all week but had really gone hill on Sunday. She was in a lot of pain, having trouble breathing and felt clammy, although her temperature was normal. I used my machine to test her blood pressure and that’s when the alarm bells started to ring in earnest. It was so high that we knew we had to persuade her to go to the hospital.

Not an easy job, as she hates anything to do with doctors and always refuses to go, even when we beg! Calmly and without letting the panic show too much, we finally managed to drive her to our nearest hospital. They took one look and led her straight through, past the triage and the waiting area.

Because of Covid 19, we were not allowed to enter the hospital, which was upsetting for all of us, and had to sit in the car park while they did their initial checks.

Two hours later, a nurse, complete with mask and gloves came over to us and delivered the worst news. Anita had fluid in her lungs and was having a serious heart attack. She was being given pain relief and oxygen, and a series of tests were being done. We were told to go home, as she would be staying overnight while they tried to stabilise the situation.

An angiogram was mentioned, something I knew all about, for I had one when I had my own heart attack. This usually indicates the need for a stent, a tiny device to keep the offending artery open, and mine is still doing its job, some six years later.

Driving home without her was terrible, but we know she is in the best possible place.

Today, we wait to hear good news and the house feels so empty…

#TuesdayBookBlog: CrossFire by Jaye Marie #CrimeThriller #Fiction

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DI David Snow has another killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits. 

Betrayal and lies come to the surface as Snow struggles to find the truth, but is he looking in all the wrong places?

Can he outwit the killer, or will the truth cost him his life?

 

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she were dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Secrets… #DarkFamilyMystery

SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Secrets, a haunting family drama, about deeply buried guilt and all the secrets and suspicions that invade and control our lives.

Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than just mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate further.

Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem. It was almost as though something was wrong and he was trying to fix it.
Her husband Jack, was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?

Amazon Review:

I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!

I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long.

Excerpt of Secrets…

Deep in thought, Maggie started to play with her breakfast and it was Jack’s turn to watch fondly as she doodled with the egg yolk, spreading strange and bizarre patterns across the plate. The early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window bathing the breakfast scene in a cosy glow. She looked like a child sitting there in a pretty cotton housecoat, pale honey-coloured hair falling around her shoulders like a halo. She had something on her mind, he was sure. Knowing he didn’t really have the time and hoping she’d say it was nothing, he said, ‘What’s up, love, did you have another bad night with Danny?’

She slowly looked up at him from the mess on her plate, and he could tell by the way her usually bright blue eyes had darkened to the colour of the sea that he wasn’t about to hear anything like what he wanted to hear.
Looking back down at her plate, she said, ‘I’m very worried about him, Jack. These terrible nightmares are getting him down; and now this thing about an imaginary friend, I don’t like it, something’s wrong.’
Jumping straight in, hoping to get it over with quickly so he could get out of the house, he said, ‘You know what the doctor told us, he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It will only make things worse if we try and make Danny let go before he’s ready.’

‘Yes, I know what he said,’ an edge creeping into her voice, ‘but he’s not God. You don’t have to take everything he says as gospel. I don’t happen to think this thing with Toby is the same as a comfy blanket or a favourite teddy a child drags around with him. Can’t you see how he’s changed?
‘… he’s destructive, rude and downright messy. Don’t you think dragging half the garden into the kitchen last week was going a bit too far? You saw his face when I tried to tell him off, he wasn’t the least bit sorry. Judging from the skid marks all over the place it was plain to see he’d had a whale of a time, and what did he say when I asked him why he’d done it? … because Toby wanted him to.

‘… Jack, can’t you see we have to make him understand this Toby is only in his mind and he’s too old to play these pretend games?’
He took a deep breath, painfully aware the time was getting on. ‘Maggie, he’s only seven. You’re making too much of it. The doctor said to give him time and not to bully him into giving up Toby. It might make his nightmares worse.’
She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, he reminded her again that she had agreed the gentle approach was best.
‘Plus, you haven’t given that idea of yours idea a chance. Having Cathy take Danny to school with Michael may work. He’ll soon see that having a real friend is lots more fun. Have you asked him again about joining the cubs?’
She snorted. ‘I did, and his answer was the same as before. Toby doesn’t want him to.’
‘Give him time, Maggie, he’ll come around.’

Maggie seemed to have run out of wind for the time being, so he took his empty plate over to the sink and left it on the draining board. Straightening his tie as he turned to her again, he said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk this morning. I have four books waiting a final decision and what with the deadline and our new budget, I think I’ll have to reject two of them, you know how I hate sending out rejection letters. It doesn’t make for a nice day, especially when a book is worth publishing. If you’re that worried about Danny, we’ll talk about it tonight.’
Maggie frowned and gave him the kind of look that said, sure we will. Jack had seen it many times and responded in a way she had grown used to over the years. He pulled her into his arms, squeezed her gently, saying, ‘I promise we’ll talk about it later.’
Then he kissed her goodbye, grabbed his briefcase and left.

 

 

 

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Two Weeks Ago…

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Two Weeks Ago…

 

 

Looking back, it seems such a long time ago that my temperature began to rise alarmingly, and I thought the worst. I never once thought it could have anything to do with cystitis that had been plaguing me for years.

I mean, some things you simply must learn to live with, like your mother in law or the resident ghost.

This time, however, it was serious.

Cystitis had progressed from a simple bladder problem to a full-blown kidney infection, possibly both kidneys.

My doctor was in lockdown, so my family telephoned the helpline 111 for help. I was given a week’s course of a strong antibiotic and told to drink as much water as possible.

It was a nightmare of a week.

A week when death seemed preferable to the agony I was going through. I was semi-conscious most of the time and unwilling to eat. The pills were seriously upsetting my stomach and made my body hurt even more, which I did not think was possible.

After what felt like a lifetime of pain, my temperature finally slid slowly back down to normal, but I didn’t feel normal at all. That would happen gradually and I’m not quite there yet!

I have lost 7 lbs somewhere, but don’t feel any different.

As I am writing this, my body still hurts and my head refuses to function properly. I keep trying to think of all the projects I had planned before this happened and wonder how my muse is feeling. I hope it feels better than I do, for we have much work to catch up on, seeing as how I have been reminded of how valuable our time is…

And I have just wasted enough of it already…

©Jaye Marie 2020

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Our Review for Eventide by Mae Clair ~ #SuspenseThriller @MaeClair1

 

Eventide (A Hode's Hill Novel Book 3) Kindle Edition

 

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her.

She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil.

An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

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Eventide, the last story in Mae Clair’s terrifying trilogy reminded me of a Victorian melodrama, all dark and very mysterious.

The dual timeline ramped up the tension and stretched my nerves so thin, I thought they would break. But I loved the way the past seemed to mirror the present and that they combined at the end in one breathtaking chapter…

Perfectly written and calculated to give anyone nightmares, these books should probably come with a health warning for all those of a nervous disposition!

I loved the part when Madison tackled the weeds in the flowerbeds of her new house, something I love to do to relax my mind. Mae Clair described it all so well too, but the peace wasn’t to last. The tension returns as Madison feels she is being watched, and things begin to happen…

The ghosts start coming out of the woodwork and in no time at all this story becomes icy with terrifying chills coming in quick succession.

Eventide is one of the best ghost stories I have ever read!

#TuesdayBookBlog ~ This Haunted World Book Three: Highgate: A Truly Haunting Supernatural Thriller by Shani Struthers @shani_struthers

“A triumph in modern Gothic fiction – hard hitting, dark and powerful.”

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From the author of the bestselling Psychic Surveys series, comes a brand-new series of STANDALONE novels, set in and around the WORLD’S MOST HAUNTED PLACES and BLENDING FACT WITH FICTION. In Book Three discover Highgate, perhaps the most famous cemetery in the world, renowned for its Victorian Gothic splendour, famous residents, its vampire and, of course, ghosts… NB: With sometimes harrowing scenes, this is her darkest novel yet and not for the faint-hearted!

Lucy Klein, 42, is not only obsessed with Highgate, she works there too, organising tours for those with an interest in some of the finest Victorian funerary architecture in existence. Single, and on the shy side, she is nonetheless content with her life, or so she thinks. When she meets the enigmatic Zak Harborne, she realises what she’s been missing and quickly falls in love. He’s everything she’s ever wanted…isn’t he? 

1972, and Emma Matthews, a 19-year-old history student, also feels as though she’s on the outside. After visiting a derelict Highgate with a group of friends, she starts to feel a connection, a sense of meaning to her life, in amongst the tombstones, the crosses and the angels. Returning to Highgate over and over, she discovers both a paradise and a garden decidedly more savage.

Grace Derby is just 11 when she encounters the gentleman, tall and with a tall hat, a long black coat and a cape about his shoulders. It is the 1850s and street urchins such as her are not accustomed to kindness from those belonging to the upper echelons. Proffering money for food, for her and her family, he asks nothing in return. Curious about the man with the kind blue eyes, she follows him one day… all the way to Highgate.

For some, it seems, all roads lead to Highgate… 

 

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The three women in this story are all connected to Highgate Cemetery. Their ghosts probably haunting it still.

Three very different women, on the surface at least.

But underneath it all, I felt something that they all shared.

Something disquieting.

Quite poetic really, that there should be a triple timeline for the last heartbreakingly real, last book in the trilogy.

This story is deliciously dark, spanning nearly two hundred years and centres around Highgate Cemetery.

A fascinating Gothic burial place.

The closing scenes broke my heart, but in a good way and was the perfect ending. As was the poem by Christina Rossetti, someone who worked so hard for all those unfortunate souls who had passed away, leaving no record of their passing.

I have visited Highgate Cemetery and clearly felt the presence of the dead when I walked its lonely pathways, and as I read each haunting chapter of this stunning story, I remembered the chill of the place, even on a sunny day…

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Born and bred in Brighton, Shani Struthers is the author of fifteen supernatural thrillers (so far), some set in various locations in England, others in more far-flung destinations such as Venice and America. Having been brought up with an understanding of the Occult and alternative views on religion, she threads this knowledge throughout her books, often drawing on real-life experiences of her own, from people she has known and from well-known Occult figures too. Please Note: her books tend to revolve more around PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR than pure horror, which in her opinion, is far more terrifying. You won’t find gore, vampires, werewolves, zombies or any such like in her fiction. Her Psychic Surveys series has proved very popular, becoming global Amazon genre bestsellers. Her new series – This Haunted World – is a set of standalone books set in and around the world’s most haunted places and again, weave fact with fiction. They too have topped the Amazon genre charts, along with the more romantic Jessamine and Comraich.

 

#Keepitalive #Whatdoyousee #Poetry

What do you see # 24. 6 April 2020

 

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Image credit: Pexels 

( For visually challenged readers, the image shown a neon sign lit in lime green color. In the background, you can see city lights. The sign read, ” you are here” )

 

Her Prince

Vampire dreams,

eating away my rainbow colours

Darkness bites the side of my neck

You are here.

Words I hear whispered from the shadows

A land I thought of only in films

Old castle, evil built in bricks and mortar

You are here now, 

your life to be lived in shadows

You are where you belong

Standing beside your prince of darkness…

©anitadawes 2020

#TheSundayWhirl ~ Wordle 448 #Poetry

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Solemn days

I woke today knowing

there would be no hug for Mother’s Day

I hope the smile on my face

would be a reminder of times gone by

Having kept my distance, I walked home

and put myself in lockdown

Hands clean, I restrict my movements

To shopping for food

Count down the days

Until I can hug my wonderful mother

I call her that evening

To blow kisses down the line…

©anitadawes 2020

#Jaye’s Journal… Enjoying a happy moment!

 

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I have been escaping to the garden more and more lately. The weather has been slowly improving, so I should be able to start working on that very long list of jobs that need to be done.

The need to escape, even to the garden, has been gradually building as the news of this evil virus gets worse.

Everyone is getting edgy, wondering how bad it might get. I have always been an optimist, but I can feel it straining to assert itself.

The shops are empty, and the worry swings between getting sick or starving to death. Some choice, eh?

But… (changing the subject, as I’d rather not dwell on things I can’t do much about)

My bonsai are waking up and this never fails to cheer me up, although this year it seems to be just a little subdued.

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My Acer says hello…

I have been busy making sure I have everything I need for the repotting marathon, and the wood for the new shelving should be delivered soon.

The rain-sodden grass has been trying to dry out and although I didn’t feel like cutting it, I thought I had better get to it. Just as well I did, for it poured with rain the following day.

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The rest of the garden is waking up too and did my heart good to see my favourites have survived for another year.

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My favourite Camelia

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Not sure what this is called, but I love it!

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Forsythia, everyone’s favourite

Back indoors I try to come to terms with the virus situation. I can forget everything when I’m in the garden, but it waits for me the minute I come back in.

So many things are likely to change and to be honest, I’m terrified. The situation gets worse every day, yet no one seems to know how bad it will get.

Every time I wash my hands, I think about the people who have already died and pray there won’t be many more.

That a miracle will arrive and save us all…

 

©Jaye Marie 2020