#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…

 

 

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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This is how Silent PayBack began…

For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…

And the rest, as they say, is history…

©Jaye Marie 2020

Progress Report! (Or how I learned to love my work again!)

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BABY STEPS!

 

I have been an editor/proof-reader for years and always considered myself reasonably good at my job. I never had any complaints, which is my benchmark for how good you really are. In fact, several Literary Agents complimented me on the quality of our submissions.

English was always my favourite subject and I read a lot of books, but never once considered being a writer. I was far too busy managing Anita’s books, back in the day when manuscripts had to be submitted to agents and publishers in a very particular fashion.

Over the years, we received stacks of very encouraging and favourable letters from both agents and publishers alike, almost leading to publication a couple of times but sadly, despite almost being good enough, Anita was never published.

This might have been why I didn’t think of being a writer, after all, I knew better than most, just how bloody hard it was. But eventually, my muse arrived. This was just after the Kindle phenomena took off. Suddenly, everyone could publish their books on Amazon, and it was supposed to be so easy, anyone could do it.

I have to say, in fairness to all the wonderful writers out there, I did find it very hard to write a full-length book. 70.000 words seemed an impossible target, and I doubted my capabilities every step of the way. That first book taught me so much about plot and dialogue, character arcs and subplots, even though it made my head spin. The day I finished Nine Lives, a sense of achievement crept over me as I realised I had become a writer!

That was in 2014, and I went on to write two more thrillers after that. Most of you will know the fun I have had finding the right covers for my books, but I didn’t worry about the content at all. After all, I checked them for spelling errors and I had my editor head on, so they had to be fine.

Or so I thought.

What happened to make me doubt myself?

I had written a memoir/novella about my fight with breast cancer and published it on Amazon. It received one review that commented on how short it was, and when I took a long hard look at it, I had to agree. Not only was it far too short, it could be a lot better. That was when I knew I would have to check my other books too.

I read Nine Lives again and was shocked at the state of it. Where was all the brilliant writing, the competent editor, the jaw-dropping prose? To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly, I wanted to crawl away and die. For nearly a week, I battled with unpublishing my books and throwing them away, for the thought of rewriting them seemed an impossible task.

Gradually, common sense prevailed. They were my babies, I was an editor, I could fix this.

One thought kept me going. If I can now recognise the faults in my writing, does that mean I have improved over the years? I am pretty sure I have, for I am looking at my work with a totally different mindset. Most of what I see is amateur, almost childish. There were so many repeated and wimpy words and adjectives by the bucket load. It probably would have been easier to start afresh, but I am nothing if not stubborn, so I have tried to improve all three books, or die trying! They might be the only thing I leave this world to remember me by!

 

Random words… #Poetry

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Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Random words

I woke up this morning

With an Italian word stuck in my head

The word ‘Clemente’

Meaning merciful.

This happens too often

So I decided to write about it

To see if it would help

Often the words are very strange

So I asked Jaye to look them up

On the computer

There are many times

When the word returns

In some programme we are watching

I wonder what the Universe is trying to tell me

Random words seem to pop into my head

Whenever they feel like it

With no rhyme or reason

That I can understand

If I were to write them down

String them all together

They wouldn’t make a decent sentence

There doesn’t seem to be a reason for it

Maybe I am just nuts

Alternatively, something is trying to fill

The Swiss cheese holes in my head

There must be a lot, for the words keep on coming…

©anitadawes 2020

The Hidden Message…

Can You find the Hidden Message?

 

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As I sit in front of my pc

Thunder and lightning

try to break through my window

A symphony to the anger of the world

A wake-up call, hello from the universe

Thunder cracking to the beat of my heart

All my thoughts spark, arcing

Whispered thoughts from a few of our followers,

This lifted the day, the dark mood that came over me

Vanished. I have time for lunch, have a cup of coffee

I could end up having a good day!

©anitadawes 2020

 

Did you spot the Hidden Message?

We will post the message on Wednesday!

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Life of a Writer… with advice from @AriMeghlen

 

The life of a writer is not what I thought it would be in the beginning.

Maybe years ago it was what I imagined, but in these digital times, it has changed so radically from that idyllic, if rather a romantic notion of what being a writer would be like.

These days, we all wear so many different hats, it’s a wonder we get around to writing anything.

What with the constant struggle to come up with interesting posts; reviewing all the books we read; trying to find new and effective promotional ideas.

Not to mention all the thinking, worrying, emails and planning, there are not enough hours in the day!

So when I read Ari Meghlen’s post on organising your life better, my interest was aroused! In this post, she recommends assigning different days for specific jobs and not deviating from this agenda. This could work, but not sure about using an alarm clock to keep me on track!

I have long attempted to devise a routine that would help me to get more done, but the harder I try, the more complicated and slower I seem to get.

I have always had a problem with rules and restrictions. Or rather, fate seems to, on my behalf. The minute I decide on a certain idea, a timetable or schedule, you can just bet something or someone will come along and wreck it!

I try to be more productive, especially with my writing, and one of the ways I have found that actually works is to try and write 1000 words every day. As I am up long before anyone else in my family, I can usually manage this with ease. So in one area at least, I have it covered!

Ari has some good ideas HERE on her post; does anyone else have anything to suggest that would improve the lives of us desperate to be better organised writers?

A Visitation…

 

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A Visitation

 

One of my characters has been in my head a lot lately, constantly nagging me about something. He has featured in three of my books, and I think anyone who has read my work will remember DI Snow. The detective who helped Kate Devereau in Nine Lives, saved her life in Out of Time, and failed miserably to forget her in CrossFire.

He turned up again in Silent PayBack, happily married and recovered from the serious life-threatening injuries he sustained in CrossFire.

I wondered what was on his mind.

I invited him to my office to find out.

‘You have exactly five minutes to say what is on your mind, David, as I am trying to work.’

He looked wonderful, but then he has always been one of my favourite people. Looking just like Tom Selleck from the Jesse Stone tv series, he sprawled in my writing chair, slowly moving it backwards and forwards, his eyes never leaving my face.

‘I want to know when you will be writing another story for me?’ The corners of his mouth lifted slightly, along with one eyebrow. ‘I have missed seeing you every day, Jaye.’

My insides were melting fast, and right then I would have agreed to anything.

‘There is the small matter of a decent plot…’

He shrugged, as if that was of no consequence.

‘Do you have any idea how hard it is to create a plausible detective story?’

He stood up, towering over me as I sat on the uncomfortable visitor’s chair. ‘You have managed it very well up to now, Jaye. Anyway, I do have an idea, or rather a desire. My marriage is over, mainly because I cannot forget Kate. I want to find her again. You do know where she is?’

I was speechless, which was just as well, for I was desperately trying to imagine what Kate might be doing now. The last time I saw her, she was going to find somewhere to paint herself better. Supposing I couldn’t find her?

There was also the not so small matter of the work I was supposed to be doing. Like Anita’s new poetry book, and the impending release of her new fiction book, Running Moon.

As if he could read my mind, David Snow sat back down in my chair.

‘I know how busy you are, Jaye. You probably have several projects on the go, but I’m hoping writing a new story could be one of them. I’m not leaving until we have an agreement.’

 

To be continued

©JayeMarie  2020

 

Has the New Year started well for you?

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I have never once thought that blogging could be detrimental to your health, but just lately, I have come to think that it could be.

Surely not, I hear you say, and I will admit it doesn’t seem likely, not on the surface, anyway.

I was nervous when I first started writing/blogging. Could I get to grips with the technology involved? Would I be any good at it? Would anyone ever talk to me?

I had a million questions, which are all very natural when you embark on a new adventure, and although at times it has been a frustrating and difficult journey, overall I have enjoyed every single minute of it.

So what on earth am I on about?

Just lately, a strange feeling has been creeping in, insidiously, like wisps of smoke. The internet is like a mirror, reflecting everything we bloggers do.  As a good proportion of bloggers are writers, you get to see what their lives and careers are like and it can be very reassuring if they are struggling just like you, facing the same problems and difficulties, but the more successful ones are an inspiration, showing you what you can accomplish if you work hard enough.

We have been blogging for nearly eight years now, and have met some amazing people.  Helpful, considerate people, generous with their advice and friendship. You gradually become part of their world, a world where anything is possible and you can afford the luxury of dreaming.

I can hear some of you tapping your fingernails, wondering where all of this is going, so I will try to explain.

Everyone says that with patience and hard work you can achieve your goals. But I have been patient and worked as hard as I can, but no nearer to anything even remotely like my goals.

And this was my epiphany… maybe my goals are wrong?

Something must be wrong with me, for on a bad day my enthusiasm wanes. All that wonderful optimism seems to leave the building.

I have been thinking about this year and it is clear that I must come up with some resolutions that work before the men in white coats come to take me away!

Not that this year can be the same as before for so many things are different now, starting with trying to get my head around it being 2020!

Then there was my number one symbol of the New Year, Big Ben. Seeing him up to his ears in scaffolding was a little upsetting on New Years Eve…

Big Ben has always been a very special symbol in my life. I grew up in London hearing the deep resonant sound of the bell. The imposing majesty of the building is one of my most enduring memories of my time there.

London has many such landmarks and I love them all, but that tall clock tower on the river Thames embankment is by far my favourite. By rights, my favourite should be the river itself, feeling as I do about water, but no. Very close though.

‘Big Ben’ is really just a nickname for the great bell itself, inside the famous clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. Built in 1858 and 96 metres high, it is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. But the bell itself is not the biggest. St Pauls Cathedral has a slightly bigger one, weighing in at 17 tonnes.

Scarily, the tower leans slightly to the North West, apparently caused by the tunnelling for the Jubilee Line Underground train.

I came across this picture of Big Ben a few weeks ago, and I was instantly transported me back to another New Year’s Eve so many years ago.

That particular year, my friends and I had decided to celebrate the coming of the New Year in style. We would attempt some kind of pub crawl, visiting as many bars and public houses that we could manage, in spite of the volume of people all doing the same thing; ending up at the embankment for the fireworks and Big Ben’s majestic chimes.

We had such fun that night even though I knew I would not contemplate doing it again, as the number of people all seriously intent on having as much fun as possible, created more madness and chaos than I ever thought possible and a lot of the time I was scared to death.

You see all the crowds on television, but could you imagine being there?

Of course, there could have been so much more trouble than there actually was. That many people, most of them hysterical with excitement and booze could have deteriorated into a riot. But it never seems to. No matter how squashed, drunk or freezing cold you happened to be, there is some kind of reverence going on, as if it would be a sin to ruin that night in any way.

Our journey around London that night was exciting, but I was glad when we found ourselves by the river just before midnight. We had left most of the throng behind and it was almost eerily quiet by the water. The fireworks were further up river and we seemed to have Big Ben all to ourselves.

It was very cold that night, but at least it wasn’t raining. I was one of the few people in our group that didn’t have a partner, something I knew I wanted to change in the New Year. I had no idea of the direction my life would be taking, no plans and not many dreams either, for I had already learned that dreaming was futile.

So that evening ended on quite a solemn note, and as the hands of the clock above us moved closer to the 12, the tears were not far away.

I had never been that close to Big Ben before and was not prepared for how loud the chimes would be. First came the melody and the vibrations seemed to travel up my legs until my whole body seemed to be humming. When the big bell started to chime the hour, the vibrations became longer and deeper and it felt as though my heart would break.

More than fifty years later, the sound of that bell has the same effect, instantly transforming me back to that lonely young woman who had already taught herself not to believe in dreams.

I obviously knew a thing or two back then, for my life has not been full of the stuff that dreams are made of, rather the opposite. But I am still here, not quite ready to give up. So is Big Ben, although undergoing major refurbishment along with the Houses of Parliament. Seeing all that scaffolding around the tower was worrying. If anything went wrong, we could lose Big Ben forever…

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

 

 

A Conversation…

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Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

A Conversation

 

I knew I had to say something.

I had been avoiding this conversation for a while now, but now was as good a time as any.

“Could you stop for a minute and listen to me?”

A silence descended in the room and I knew a pit of doom had just slid open somewhere. I decided to plough on and get it all off my chest.

“I need to know what your plans are. Do you actually have any, or are you planning on wandering through life until something interesting turns up?”

Nothing.

Had I picked the wrong moment after all, or was I being ignored?

While I waited for some kind of response, I started thinking of different ways to force the issue. Maybe it was time I stopped working, give up the constant battle to create something worthwhile on my own.

Retire?

That idea was certainly appealing.

The silence was making my headache, the feeling of knowing I was on my own in this was depressing to say the least. I could feel myself getting angry. Angry enough to say something I would probably regret later.

I searched my frustrated brain for something, anything that might provoke an answer. I wanted to hurt or threaten to hurt but been there before and it never worked.

I knew I wouldn’t be spoken to until it was deemed necessary.

I was on my own, as always.

If I received an answer now, it would mean nothing, and I wouldn’t care one way or another…

 

©JayeMarie 2020

 

It’s lonely out here in the inter-ether…Talk to me people!

 

My Head… #Poetry

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Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

My Head

I hear you whispering

Inside my head

As if you think I’m dead

Have I lost all sense of reality?

Did the bell toll for me

Am I taken to a new realm?

If I could turn up the sound of your voice

Would you tell me

I died while sleeping and

The bell did toll loud and clear for me…

©anitadawes 2020