Although I used to dream about writing when I was younger, life came along and made sure I forgot to remember this, always finding new ways to keep my mind from straying.
Even when my sister, Anita started to write and needed help with transcribing and editing her own stories, my own dreams stayed dormant, while life continued to throw some major curve balls.
I learned to love working on Anita’s stories, mainly to keep from drowning under such a lot of misery and frustration. Her characters and stories somehow gave me hope that everything would one day be better.
I needed a lot of patience at that time, and editing is an exceptionally good way of teaching this!
I’m not sure where the first idea came from, but I began to think about writing a story about a woman called Kate Devereau. Someone remarkably like me, as it happens.
I refused to admit it would be a memoir or in any way autobiographical. She just happened to have similar life experiences, that’s all.
After all, they do tell us to write what we know, and I knew Kate very well.
Looking back, I think Nine Lives had to be written so I could move on to a better life. One with more hope in it than I ever thought possible.
Although I have moved on since then, Kate has followed me and has remained a haunting heroine in my first three detective stories, Nine Lives,Out of Time, and CrossFire. My favourite detective, DI David Snow fell in love with her and she haunts him too.
But will Kate Devereau and David Snow ever have a happy ending?
Death has been stalking Kate all her life, convincing her that she has nine lives, like a cat. With nothing to live for, no family to speak of, just a brother she hates, she waits for death to take her away when her lives run out. People around her are dying at the hands of a serial killer, so has Kate run out of lives? Will she find a reason to live before it is too late?
“If you like the thriller genre that keeps up the momentum then Nine Lives would be a good read for you. The pace never falters, building up the plot and characters with timely intervention. The author cleverly keeps the story centred around the main character, with the other players coming into the story and yet there are no plot holes or false timings.” Amazon Reviewer
“The story is very mysterious and suspenseful, and I was left wondering if Kate would escape the murderer. The mysterious voice plays a big part in the story and the ending does a wonderful job of explaining the voice and it’s purpose in Kate’s life.” Amazon Reviewer
After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?
Getting to know the Glass family and all their many secrets made fascinating reading. The more I discovered about their lives convinced me that the author had chosen the perfect title for this first book in the series.
The unrelenting tension begins on the first page and builds, chapter by chapter into a complicated web of mysteries that eventually shatter, almost destroying the family.
The saddest part of this story was that this family seemed like normal happy people until the father dies in an accident. Then, like peeling an onion, each of their secret problems is revealed, setting the scene for some major showdowns.
I applaud this author for such an interesting, beautifully plotted, and well-written story, leaving me wondering if we shall hear more about the Glass family in the next of the series…
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 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?
Excerpt from Annie’s Song
Pa and Nathan left in the truck and it was another hour before they brought Josh’s body home. I know it don’t seem right to say it, but I wasn’t feeling sad that he was dead. Just worried as to how he got that way. Josh was no fool. He knew how to bring a tree down without killing himself.
Watching the truck coming towards us seemed to take forever, like Pa was going deliberately slow. We waited for Pa to get out of the truck and I could see from his dirt streaked face it weren’t good. Nathan’s face looked worse.
Ma tried to stop me running to the truck but couldn’t hold me. I climbed on the back and didn’t see Nathan getting out. Suddenly he was there beside me. I remember kneeling and touching the blue check shirt that covered Josh’s face. I remember the touch of Nathan’s hand on mine and the gentle way he said, ‘Don’t look, Annie please. Just let Pa bury him.’
I had to see for myself, had to know if it was the tree falling on him that killed him. My eyes were wet, but the tears wouldn’t fall. I pulled the shirt back and a scream tore at my throat, trying to find a way out. No sound came as I looked at what was left of his face, dark gaping holes looking back at me. Gone were his blue grey eyes, the very thing I liked most about him had been gouged away.
His face was scratched and torn and bloody. Dried blood matted his hair and dead leaves stuck to him. Nathan tried to take me away, saying I’d seen enough. I felt myself being lifted slowly from my knees, and as Nathan carried me away, and that’s when my brain registered what it had seen. The torn flesh on his face hadn’t been caused by the fall. The skin standing away from the bone and the dried blood made it hard to read, that’s why my mind didn’t see it right off. They’d cut Pa’s name down one side of his face, as if taking his eyes weren’t enough. The scream that wouldn’t come before finally broke and shut down my brain like an axe blow.
Pa climbed on the truck and covered Josh before Ma could see him. Lifting the body, he carried him to the barn like a baby. We buried him under the big old tree at the back of the barn. We all stood there not saying a word and I closed my eyes. I could still see him and was sorry I hated him most of the time. Ma’s eyes were red from crying, I heard her whisper, ‘Goodbye, Josh,’ before she turned and went back to the cabin.
Nathan followed her, but Pa stood a while longer before leaving me there to say my own farewell. There weren’t much to say and no one to tell of his going. I smoothed the ground where he lay and wrote his name in the freshly turned earth, knowing there’d be no marker and the grass would soon grow again and cover him like a blanket…
This book tour is a bit of an experiment. Seemed like a great idea at the time, but I really don’t know what I’m doing, but everything is so well organised, it is happening all by itself, for which I am grateful! As you know, life has been a little crazy stressful of late!
All the indications are pointing towards a much better week for all of us, a little more freedom in the world and less problems for us to deal with, so feeling extremely optimistic.
Last week I really found myself rolling with the punches so often I lost track of everything. The truckload of family troubles had gathered momentum and what with worrying about Anita’s health, a large part of me wanted to just crawl into a dark cupboard and stay there.
The weekend was a game changer for most of our troubles. Fate obviously decided to play fair for once and with a bit of wangling, most of the bigger problems have faded away like a bad smell.
No news from the hospital yet about the MRI, but Anita seems to get a little stronger each day. She is really fed up with all the restrictions (and me being on her case!) I must be really careful not to overdo the nagging as she is a bit like a dodgy stick of dynamite! I mean, how do you stop someone worrying, when they were obviously born to worry?
The book tour for Anita’s new book, Annie’s Song began on Saturday. We will be posting all the websites involved every day to allow people to comment. This is the first time we have enlisted the help of Silver Dagger Tours, which has turned out to be more than lucky, for one way or another we didn’t get to do much promoting of Annie’s Song.
Best laid plans, eh?
With the dust barely settling, my mind is already wondering what to do next. I had some serious thoughts about the current WIP and might shelve it to make way for something different. Maybe something that has nothing to do with detectives?
We have been a bit lax with the newsletters this year, so must do better there too…
And finally, has anyone anything to say about STORY ORIGIN?
Sounds a bit like Book Funnel, but is it something we should be looking at?
Hoping this is a much better week for all our readers too!
A father’s secret… a mother’s lie… a family mystery. An unexpected phone call – and Nina’s life takes a disturbing twist. Who is John Moore? And how does he know her name? Nina travels south to see the house she inherited, but sinister letters arrive and she finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. With her identity called into question, Nina uncovers a shocking crime. But what, exactly, happened in the attic room, all those years ago? The answer could lie close to home.
A fast-moving, chilling suspense novel by the author of The Cold Cold Sea, The Paradise Trees , Chosen Child, and others.
The Attic Room is the first book I have read by Linda Huber, although most of her books are on my reading list as I love psychological thrillers, and this is one of the best!
Just weeks after her mother dies, Nina is told of another death, only this man is a stranger. A stranger who had left her his house, a large depressing building that might reveal a clue as to who he was, and why he knew her.
This was where the tension began to grow into a strangle hold, as the mysterious secrets begin to unfold. The atmosphere of the house, leaking it’s evil memories of the past came through strongly and chilled me to the bone.
Beautifully written and superbly plotted, I thoroughly enjoyed The Attic Room…
The Attic Room is mostly told from the point of view of Nina who is struggling with having just lost her mother, Claire, and who lives with her daughter Naomi on the beautiful Isle of Arran. She gets a telephone call which turns her world upside down and has to head off to Bedford to try and uncover what appears to be a family secret, the truth of which has died along with her mother.
Nina knows nothing of any extended family she may have and is keen to find out more but when she does she is in for an unpleasant discovery. It is a surprise that Claire never told her the truth however unpalatable but I can understand how that can happen. You always think one day I shall tell them then something can happen which snatches that chance away from you. I liked the chapters told from Claire’s point of view which filled in some of the gaps for the readers, if not for Nina.
I enjoyed the settings in this book. I love the thought of Arran, and while I intend on making it there one day I already know the second setting, Bedford, very well. Not as idyllic perhaps but I liked picturing the locations and knew just where the house that Nina inherits is located.
Annie’s Song is still on presale on Amazon https://mybook.to/AnniesSong until 1st July and Silver Dagger Tours are running a Book Tour and giveaway for a month, starting on 4th July.
We had planned a big promotion for this book, but this was before our world began to crumble… I will do what I can, of course, but if you would be so kind as to share the Silver Dagger linkaround a bit, it would help a lot!
If you click on the Silver Dagger link, you could even be a host and take part in the giveaway!
Today is the Summer Solstice, which means we are mid way through the year already.
When did this happen?
We have all been so busy worrying about so many things, that the year is half gone, and in a hurry to finish, if you ask me.
There is also a brand new moon tonight, so maybe the rest of 2020 will start well and produce some good results.
And speaking of good results, we thought we would celebrate the Solstice with some positive news. We have started the process of publishing Anita’s book, Annie’s Song.
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 and her struggle to change everything only makes 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 love some help with the book launch for Annie’s Song, now on Presale on Amazon until Ist July…
This is probably not the best time to publish a book, but we are constantly being told to concentrate on our writing, at least until the world has stopped cringing. Annie’s Song is ready, so why not launch it now, then we can both move on to the next story…
We will supply all the usual material, so if you can help in any way, please let us know by email: email@example.com or in the comments at the end of this post.
A charming ne’er-do-well returns to his haunted Irish hometown to uncover the truth about his mother in this “supernaturally skilled debut” (Vanity Fair) and turns the town–and his life–upside down.
Having been abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, Mahony assumed all his life that his mother wanted nothing to do with him. That is, until one night in 1976 while drinking a pint at a Dublin pub, he receives an anonymous note implying that she may have been forced to give him up. Determined to find out what really happened, Mahony embarks on a pilgrimage back to his hometown, the rural village of Mulderrig. Neither he nor Mulderrig can possibly prepare for what’s in store…
From the moment he arrives, Mahony’s presence completely changes the village. Women fall all over themselves. The real and the fantastic are blurred. Chatty ghosts rise from their graves with secrets to tell, and local preacher Father Quinn will do anything to get rid of the slippery young man who is threatening the moral purity of his parish.
A spectacular new addition to the grand Irish storytelling tradition, Himself “is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy…wickedly funny” (Daily Express).
From the first word of the powerfully written prologue, I couldn’t stop reading Himself.
I fell completely under the spell of this mysterious story, all about the living and the dead and the search for truth in a quaint Irish village.
The star of Himself is Mahony, a young Irishman searching for the truth about his birth, assisted by the colourful characters and ghosts in Mulderrig, a place with more secrets and mysteries than most.
I loved the way the people in this story speak, such wonderful vocabulary and fascinating insight into the minds of Irish people. What at first seems light-hearted banter, soon changes into dark, menacing humour and a terrifying journey as Mahony uncovers the truth he seeks…
A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.
Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.
Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress but is enthralled by the splendour and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art. Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?
This isn’t the first book by Anne Montgomery I have been lucky enough to read, so I already knew I would enjoy Wild Horses on the Salt.
The Scent of Rain on Amazon about a young girl’s life in a fundamentalist community literally had me gripped by the throat, so I was expecting a gentler read this time!
Brilliant opening chapter, full of questions that I had to know the answers to… Becca has run away from a horrible situation, turning to a family friend in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. She was safe, but not happy. She didn’t belong there, had nothing to do and no plans for her future, if that was even possible. The author’s brilliant world building soon had me relaxing and enjoying the desert, the wilderness with so many horses. This was the kind of story I knew I wouldn’t want to end. I loved the delightful chapters voiced by the horses, and although I was enjoying this beautifully written story, I knew trouble was brewing, simply biding its time. When it finally arrived, I wondered if Becca would manage to find a way to be free, once and for all…
I recommend Wild Horses on the Salt to readers of great fiction!
You can find more information about Anne Montgomery and her novels at the following sites:
Becca curled into a ball beneath the soft cotton sheets and the horse-adorned bedspread. She didn’t want to move, but then her stomach growled. How long had it been since she’d eaten? She stretched, and her assorted injuries made her wince. She crawled from beneath the bedding, holding her side, surprised to see that she had fallen asleep in her clothes. Becca eyed the small garment bag that rested unopened on a chair in the corner. She needed to brush her teeth. She eased herself slowly off the bed. The bruises on her hip and shoulder were still fresh and achy. Becca didn’t glance in the mirror as she crossed the room. She’d had a black eye before. Understood the rainbow transformation that would render the area purple, green, then a sickly yellow-brown before the wound would finally disappear from her skin, but not from her soul. Becca ran her fingers through her hair, then opened the door.
“Hello, Becca.” Gabriella Strand was tall with streaks of gray in her dark hair that was cut short and looped behind her ears. She wore teardrop-shaped turquoise earrings set in silver, a black sweatshirt that boasted a herd of galloping horses, black jeans, and a pair of worn black cowboy boots. If the woman standing before her was surprised by her appearance, she didn’t show it. Becca turned her bruised eye away. “Ms. Strand.” Gabriella laughed. “Oh, honey, no one has called me Ms. Strand in a very long time. It’s Gaby. Didn’t your aunt tell you?”
“Yes. I’m sorry. She did…Gaby.”
“No need to be sorry. Now, let’s get you something to eat.”
Later, Becca stared at the empty plate before her. She’d devoured the ham, egg, and cheese scramble, four pieces of thick smoked bacon, a stack of fluffy pancakes smothered in real maple syrup, and a large pot of hot black tea. Gaby sat and wrapped her large hands around a mug of strong coffee. The older woman gazed at Becca with dark eyes, her face etched with fine lines that indicated a lifetime spent outdoors in the Arizona sun. Becca didn’t know what to say to this woman who she knew only through stories told by her Aunt Ruthie. The two women had been college roommates, both history majors at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, a continent had come between them, with Ruthie moving back to New Jersey and Gaby remaining in her home state. But the two women never lost contact, had often visited over the years. When it became clear that Becca needed to leave, her aunt had insisted she would be safe with Gaby.
“You don’t have to say anything.” Gaby smiled. “I left some towels in your room. You can shower or take a bath, if you’d like. Then, rest. We’ll talk later.” All Becca could do was nod.