#WednesdayWriter Nine Lives

This was my debut novel, one I made such a lot of mistakes with.

Feel free to comment, advise or critcise, as I am very interested in improving my craft.

It might never be perfect, but your very first book is always special, isn’t it?

To this end, I will be posting a chapter every Wednesday…

 

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Chapter One

Kate’s days were too long, the nights never ending. She didn’t belong in this life, this face, this body. It was all wrong.

She had wished for death many times, and it passed her by so often. It cheated her yet followed her everywhere. It whispered to her. Black thoughts plagued her dreams, monsters wearing the face of her mother, brother, husband. She wished such evil for them and it had returned to sit like a monkey on her back.

Kate heard the teasing voice in her head and chose to ignore it, wondering again if she was going insane. Why was it still pestering her after all these years, why couldn’t it leave her alone?

None of what it said ever made any sense, so she filed it away in her mind as some sort of deviance she must have been born with, like colour blindness.

Friday had been a busy day like any other and Kate was tired and ready for bed, ready to forget the day and switch her brain off, but the heartburn that plagued her all day seemed to have another agenda.

Pushing the unruly mop of curly hair away from her face, she studied the canvas in front of her, trying to decide if the painting was good enough; or if she was wasting her time trying to be creative when she felt like crap.  It had most of the elements her customer loved so they should like it. A stunning waterfall was the focal point of the picture with ethereal greens and blues in every shade imaginable captured in the white froth of the spraying water. The image seemed to shimmer and move the more you looked at it.

She knew the place well, it was in Cornwall and she had been there many times. It was a truly magical place, for you could climb up the rocks and get close to the falling water. Close enough to get soaked, she thought, smiling at the memory. She knew she would have to go there again, and soon.

There was something about water; it seemed to communicate directly with Kate’s soul. She loved nothing more than being near, or in it at every opportunity. A simple boat ride would be so much more special if she ended up soaked to the skin.  She didn’t tend to analyse it too much though, water had the power to make her feel good and paint extraordinary artwork. This transferred to anyone who loved her paintings, and that was all she cared about.

Deciding to call it a night, she took a last look at the canvas, reasonably pleased with what she had accomplished. The wet paint glistened like moonlight on the water, and she wished as always the effect would remain when the paint was dry.

In the beginning, she thought the voice just wanted to confuse her as it kept telling her what to do, or usually, what she shouldn’t do.

Why was it she instinctively never took any notice of its instructions, or the seemingly sincere appeals or sarcastic quips? She knew from experience to refuse to cooperate sometimes led to a disaster of one kind or another, but something other than the voice told her that to obey was more than her life was worth.

Either way, she seemed powerless to do anything other than follow her own instincts, even when she knew deep down she was wrong.

It was almost as though she was meant to fail, to suffer. To know and feel just how stupid she was, as though she was born with something missing. She often wondered if the voice was, in fact, the devil, because sometimes it would seem as though it was. All that medieval temptation and mysteriousness – it could well be, she thought, but what was its business with her?

A small part of her brain always sympathised with the Devil. He had been cast out too hadn’t he, fallen from grace and all that? They did seem to have a lot in common. It didn’t explain why this voice had been annoying her for most of her life. There was no reason she could see or imagine, or was it the only thing that listened whenever she prayed for help?

The voice didn’t seem evil or cruel to her. Sometimes there was something else just underneath the surface; something she could sense, but never strong enough to make her toe the line. She never obeyed the slightest suggestion, and despite the consequences, she didn’t intend to start now. She often wondered if her life would have been any different if she had, or would it have been worse?

What could it possibly do to her anyway? It was just an annoying voice in her head and couldn’t  hurt her, could it?

She finished her cigarette, stubbing it out in the overflowing ashtray and looked at the painting again. Oh well, she had done enough for one night. She wiped the paint from her fingers with a piece of rag that smelled strongly of linseed oil and made her way to the kitchen.

The indigestion was developing into razor blades in her stomach and she pulled a face. Why was it bothering her now? She used to suffer a lot in the past when she was worried or going through yet another crisis.

Lately, though, her life had evened out and that was just as well for she was getting too old to put up with any more trouble. She was moderately happy and free from problems; at least she thought she was. There was no annoying pig-headed husband to drive her nuts anymore, no pestering family turning up at inopportune moments. She was her own boss, doing something she loved. If she could just sell more of her work, it would be perfect.

Then she could move to a remote island, somewhere she would not see or hear other people with all their noise, but she was content for now.

That’s if she could just get this indigestion to sod off.

While she was making the last cup of coffee before bed, she took another antacid tablet, hoping to knock the heartburn into submission so she could get some sleep.

A wave of nausea and dizziness hit her and she clutched desperately at the worktop, wondering how long it would last this time. This wasn’t like before; she felt hot and seemed to be moving in treacle. She sat down on the nearest kitchen stool, hoping it would pass or just ease off as it had in the past, but if anything she was feeling worse by the minute. There was no pain, apart from the heartburn which was trying to burn a hole in her chest; and when she checked her pulse it was dancing all over the place, seeming to stop altogether for long moments as she frantically tried to hold herself together.

This can’t be happening now, she thought. Was she finally going to die or was this just another one of its games?  She didn’t care anymore, she just wanted to stop thinking and feeling. Just stop.

The voice was busy telling her that she needed help, but Kate didn’t want to listen.  Please just go away and leave me alone. She didn’t need any insidious remarks tonight.

As she sat there, trying to decide what to do, Dylan, her silver tabby walked into the kitchen and wrapped himself around her ankles.

‘Hello boy, where have you been?’ She hadn’t heard the cat flap so he must have been asleep on her bed. He nuzzled her hand and stared up at her as if he worried about her. She loved him dearly but other things were on her mind just then. ‘I am okay, go back to sleep.’

She was probably right, this was nothing new. She had been having these ‘turns’ for a while now and they always stopped before. As she sat there, she began to realise that this time something was wrong. She was sweating and sleepy, and a strange thing was happening to the indigestion. Instead of the annoying pain of heartburn, it was turning into a clamping grip of iron that threatened to get worse. It was time; it seemed, to call an ambulance…

 

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Release date for Cusp of Night by Mae Clair @MaeClair1 #Mystery & Suspense

Advance promotion from Mae Clair!

Cusp of Night, her new mystery & Suspense novel will be released on June 12th 2018

 

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Cusp of Night

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend. 

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

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Brainstorming Sisters!

 

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Have you ever noticed that when something stalls in one area of your life, it affects everything else?

This was what had been happening in our house for over a week, so my sister, Anita decided that we should have one of our brainstorming sessions this morning. Something we do now and then which usually benefits either my book or hers.

Only this time, it was me, the writer, that was being brainstormed because I was on the verge of a major meltdown over my current WIP.

Somehow, the conversation became all about how I write. The genre, the characters and the way I think about everything. She knew I had been having trouble and had some definite ideas about improving it.

Now, although I usually hate my work being criticised, I have to bow to her greater ability as a writer. She never struggles with plots or character problems, just gets on with it. Her characters don’t argue with her either, and I have always considered that a good sign! She can write more in one day than I can in a week.

So I allow her to say what’s on her mind, not that I have ever been able to stop her! But, all joking aside, she has been a great help to me over the years. The reason I can call myself a writer has a lot to do with the example she sets.

I think she is a natural writer. She doesn’t have to think about it or worry constantly about the plot. Whereas I do. I don’t find the writing process easy at all and this morning I may have discovered why.

I hadn’t really thought about my protagonist at all, thinking the antagonist, or serial killer was all important. That somehow everything would simply revolve around him, which I now realise is not the way to go about it.

I had been digging myself into a dark hole, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, so I needed to sort the problem out, and fast!

Brainstorming with Anita can be a dangerous venture, as neither of us accepts criticism well. But when you are wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place, you have to do something about it…

Sometime later, after harsh words, temper, tears and finally realisation, (all from me, BTW ) it was agreed that I hadn’t lost the magic, it was a temporary lapse, something that could be fixed. Finding another way of approaching the problem may be the way to go, and maybe a rewrite. Or another story all together…

 

If you don’t hear from me again, it means I have walked into the sea…

 

Our Review of Password (Nightforce Book 1) by Staci Troilo #Mystery Thriller

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Some passwords protect more than just secrets.

Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.

Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.

Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her co-worker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.


Our Review

Password is my first Staci Troilo book, so wasn’t sure what I would think of it.

I needn’t have worried.

There was brilliant scene-setting throughout, with interesting and vibrant characters, all wrapped up in a totally realistic and believable scenario.

Braelyn Edwards first struck me as an ordinary working girl, hardly someone who would need a bodyguard. But someone had attacked her, so she could be hiding a secret.  Danny Caruso has trouble believing she is innocent too, although she seems so ordinary. He is convinced she had to be mistaken for somebody else.

She mysteriously denies knowing of any reason for the attack, and this is when their incredibly fast-paced banter begins. The chemistry between them fizzles with electricity, and I ended up enamoured by the two of them to such an extent that I forgot all about the plot. I just wanted to watch and listen to the two of them together. I suspect we are seeing the birth of a relationship that will sell a lot of books!

The ending was unexpected, with a very clever twist I didn’t see coming.

Staci Troilo has created two masterful characters for this first book in the series, roll on the next one!

Excerpt from Password

Danny blew out the candles then wrapped a towel around his waist. He surveyed the room by the light coming in from the bedroom. Half the water had splashed out of the tub and pooled on the tile floor.

 “Seems we made a mess.”

“It’ll clean easily enough.” Braelyn yanked the towel off him and dropped it on the floor, then she used her foot to sop up some of the soapy puddles.

“And why is it I’m standing here naked but you still have your towel?”

“I have more to cover.”

 “That’s not a logical argument.”

 She shrugged. “Okay. I’d rather look at you than me.”

He grinned and reached for her towel. “But I’d rather look at you.”

Braelyn danced out of the way. “Sorry. Besides, if someone out there is going to play Peeping Tom, I’d prefer they peep you.”

He stooped down and gathered the discarded clothes. Both his and hers were wet from the water that had sloshed out of the tub, so he didn’t bother suggesting either of them dress. Things were more fun when they were naked, anyway.

“Speaking of, we need to get away from the windows and back to the closet.”

 “Race you!” She dashed out of the room. Danny smiled and gave chase. They spent the rest of the night on the air mattress in the closet, exploring each other’s bodies until they fell into restful sleep, their arms and legs entwined in a sensual embrace. He woke naked and warm with a smile on his face. First time that had happened in… longer than he could count. The smile part, anyway. His phone beeped, signaling a text, and he rolled away to retrieve it from the floor. He glanced at the message and swore under his breath.

Braelyn stirred when he pulled away. Sat when he cursed under his breath. “What’s going on?” Her hair was mussed, her eyes only half-opened. She yawned, stretched, and wrapped the sheet around her while she waited for his answer. She’d never looked better to him. All the more reason to enjoy the moment while it lasted, which would only be a few more seconds. When he told her what he’d just learned, the serene expression on her face would be gone.

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Password-Nightforce-Book-Staci-Troilo-ebook/dp/B0792NPVBZ

 

 

 

Update for Broken Life #MysteryThriller by Jaye Marie

Once upon a time, Jaye fell out of love with the cover and title for the third book in her #mysterythriller book Broken Life. And if you know her at all, you will know this happens a lot.

So, after much deliberation, we went from…

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We both love the new version, and hopefully, it will not need to be changed again!

CrossFire is now available on Amazon here, and the paperback is on its way!


Book Description:

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

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems. Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job.


Book Excerpt:

‘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 was 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…


Jaye is working on updating Book Two, The Last Life as we speak, so watch this space for another new cover!

 

Let it Go…by Anita Dawes #free copies

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Universal Book Link:   myBook.to/LetGo

As this will be our last promo of the year, let’s make it a good one?

The last one we ran in September for Broken Lives, Jaye’s murder mystery, had 128 copies taken, can we improve on that?

 

Book Description for Let it Go…

You read about families where everyone is happy and life is wonderful.

That wasn’t my family.

My mother coped patiently with a drunken, obsessive gambler of a husband and a daughter with an insatiable sexual appetite.  I loved my father, but he kept us one step away from the poor house.  Loving my sister was harder, basically because she hated me and constantly brought trouble to the door.

Me? I couldn’t wait to grow up and live my own life.

Then everything changed. Unbelievably, Dad won a guest house in a card game and suddenly we were off to a new life in Cornwall. A beautiful place, steeped in legend and mystery.  Would trouble leave us alone now, or was it merely biding its time?

Trailer:

Trailer:

You will probably wonder at my unlikely choice of video, but the words of the song really echo the essence of Anita’s book. At least, I think so. 

What do you think?

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