Yesterday: #Poetry

Another lovely poem from Anita, and we want to thank everyone for all your encouraging comments!

Please keep them coming!

 

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Jaye’s Journal (off the beaten track!)

In an effort to forget my health problems for a while, my journal today will concern itself with a much better topic!

 

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In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

 As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


 We hope everyone has a lovely weekend! The weather is behaving, so kick off your shoes and enjoy!  Back to work on Monday!!!

#Wednesday Writers: Serialisation of Nine Lives #Mystery Thriller

Despite the terrible pain in my back, I am trying to keep going. Doing what I love is really helping me cope and not get too depressed. Tests are on going, so might get some answers soon!

Hope you enjoy reading chapter eight of Nine Lives, and let me know what you think of it!

 

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Chapter Eight

The daylight was beginning to fade, although Jack hadn’t noticed. He wasn’t aware of anything, locked in his own private world of pain and anger. Not even the pain from his fingers as he chewed them unmercifully in his frustration.

Darkness was gathering in pools all around him as he sat at the kitchen table, Kate’s carton of cigarettes in front of him. He wasn’t seeing them anymore, her face occupied his mind again and no matter how he tried to distort her image with every ounce of hatred he possessed, he failed miserably as usual.

He had never understood the power she had over him, the way just looking at her made him feel unworthy. Kate was not beautiful in the classic sense, her nose was a little too big, her mouth lopsided, but a light seemed to glow inside her and the more you looked the more you were compelled to.

If he didn’t know any better, he would describe the aura that emanated from her as saint-like, for he could almost hear the soft chords of a church organ in her presence, he felt touched by something divine.

Anger sparked and flared again as he remembered the day she had vanished, throwing his love away and all he had given her. He reached out and grasped the box in front of him, gripping it so hard his fingers shook and began to bleed. She probably thought she had succeeded, even now.

He relaxed his grip and slowly stroked the packet, spreading a smear of blood and imagined her fingers touching the paper, fingers that should be touching him.

White-hot anger seared through his brain and he ripped the carton open, destroying the contents in a frenzied rage that seemed unending.

 

Sometime later, when the rage had abated, he stared at the rubbish in front of him. Of all the things to steal from her, he thought, why these? Because he knew she would miss them the most. She always seemed to need a cigarette much more than him and that had always infuriated him and driven him mad.

He ignored his own sarcasm, shaking his head as if to dislodge it, knowing as he did it was true. Had he been reduced to petty theft?

He had taken other things from her over the years; most went unnoticed to his constant annoyance. It would appear she went about in a dream most of the time, completely unaware of her surroundings.

The way she could remove herself from reality was what had attracted him in the beginning. He discovered quite early in their relationship she didn’t like the real world at all and wanted no part of it. Rejecting the pain and torment, the dirt and humiliation all living things had to endure and of which she had had her share. She had found a way to live, which reduced all the hostile friction to a minimum.

The fact he wasn’t included in her state of mind was what started to create his anger. Little by little, he resented her way of generating the calm she obviously needed more than him, until he found himself trying to destroy everything she held dear.

Most of his resentment was directed at Mr Perfect, his nickname for Michael Barratt, the so-called love of her life and father of her son David. She never mentioned it but he knew she still loved him and while that love existed, there was no room for him.

When Jack was trying desperately to find her all those years ago, he visited all the places he could think of, questioning anyone who might have a clue as to her whereabouts. He tried to talk to Mr Perfect’s father, John Barratt, something he didn’t enjoy for the man seemed hell-bent on keeping the fact he knew her a well-kept secret. It wasn’t until later when his temper had been satisfied he saw the old man’s stubbornness for what it was. He had loved her and was jealously guarding her memory from all comers.

Kate had run away from him too and the father seemed to blame his son with a barely concealed hatred that matched Jack’s own.

At least he wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore, he thought; remembering the way the old man’s eyes had gradually closed as he squeezed the life out of him. It was almost as though he welcomed death as the end of his suffering.

Did the suffering end when you died, he wondered? Or did you take it with you into the afterlife? He hoped it was the latter, for in a complicated way he enjoyed the pain. There were just so many ways you could enjoy it.

He would have killed Michael too if he knew where to find him, but the man proved to be more elusive than smoke and he had to content himself for the moment with the knowledge he was no longer in the picture. It wouldn’t remove him from her heart, and then, killing him probably wouldn’t either.

For some reason, all the hatred he felt for Michael Barratt transferred to the child, a pale and pathetically weak child. Constantly clinging to his mother and demanding her attention and the fact he seemed to cry at the slightest touch, drove Jack insane. Just looking at him monopolising Kate caused white-hot anger to flow through Jack’s body, an anger that had to be quenched.  Using the sedatives helped a lot but he still fantasied about smothering him with a pillow, but she always seemed to be in the way. He had to make do with vicious mental games and rough play, most of which frightened the child witless, forcing him to appear withdrawn and miserable. Eventually, the child stopped clinging to his mother, blaming her for not protecting him enough.

It was easy to plant cruel ideas in the child’s head and before too long he hated his mother; refusing to let her touch him, causing the kind of pain he found satisfying. He decided to postpone killing the child until his usefulness ran out.

Beginnings: #writephoto

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Beginnings

In the beginning was the word

Now we have paper we can bring new worlds into being

New characters no one has ever heard of.

We can give them life, take them on great journeys

You can read about them, take a journey with them

Feel their pain and joy.

Like or not the people you find there, they are there to stay.

Each day brings a new chance that someone

Will love the story you have written.

Good luck with that name, that thought,

That might, when written become a bestseller…

 

Thank you to Sue Vincent for the lovely #writephoto prompt!

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#WritePhoto ~ Remains #FlashFiction

#Writephoto  Remains:  The Gift

 

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It was early morning and James was trying to work, his pen hovering over the blank sheet of paper as he composed the verse in his mind. His mind wandered, unwilling to focus on the job at hand and he found himself thinking of his daughter instead. Still fragile, but growing stronger every day, Angela was constantly in his thoughts. The disease had struck suddenly, almost stealing her away, but fate had intervened and she returned to them, pale and weak, her skin almost translucent.

As if her return hadn’t been gift enough, she brought him things every day to put on his desk, a flower, an unusual leaf, and yesterday, a feather. It sat on the corner of his desk, catching his eye as he sought inspiration.

Quite a large feather, he thought, a flight feather, white with iridescent blue barbs, the central shaft strong enough for quite a large creature. He wanted to pick it up and examine it in detail. To turn it over to see what colour it was on the underside. Most feathers were a different colour underneath to camouflage the bird in flight, but for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to touch it. It lay there, gleaming in the morning light, the iridescence radiating outward like a halo.

As he gazed at the feather, he remembered the careful way Angela placed it there, reverently, as if giving him a holy thing. He did feel blessed, but it was by her presence, not just the gift, so why did the sight of it lying there fill him with awe?

Something about it had touched his heart, reminding him that life was full of wonder if you took the trouble to stop and look for it. Miracles did happen sometimes…

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Cusp of Night by Mae Clair is Released today! Our 5* Review.#ParanormalMystery @MaeClair1

The truth hides in dark places . . .

 

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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, triggers Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

Visit us at www.kensingtonbooks.com

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Forli, Emilia Romagna, Italy: narrow dark alley in the old town – ancient Italian street at night with lampposts and cobbled pavement

Book Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

Our Review of Cusp of Night

“Equal parts monster and fallen angel…”

I knew when I read the blurb for CUSP OF NIGHT that I had to read the first book in Mae Clair’s new series, and I wasn’t disappointed.

It is an unusual story, beautifully written, dripping with a chilling mystery that draws you into the dark world of spiritualism and myth. Mae Clair skilfully blends and intertwines the chapters, connecting the reader to the 1900’s and the present day and the mysteries of both.

I especially loved the way the mysteries from the past begin to resonate with the present circumstances, leading the hero, Maya Sinclair into the paranormal discovery of an evil that somehow can live forever.

Why would an evil entity visit the present, dragging tragedy and horror with it?

This is the mystery that Maya needs to solve, as disaster begins to strike the people around her. Would she be able to solve the mystery and discover the truth behind the legend?

The tension had me chewing my nails, and then the unexpected sadness had me reaching for a box of tissues, but I thoroughly enjoyed every word.

Already described as  “unique, addictive and creepy…” this new series promises to be a best seller and I can highly recommend Cusp of Night to anyone who loves a haunting and formidable story…


 

EXCERPT FROM CUSP OF NIGHT

She’d left her purse on the dresser, keys by her jewellery chest. A half dozen shoeboxes that had yet to find a place in the closet were stacked beside a white rocking chair. Made from distressed wood, the chair had come from Mrs.Bonnifer’s antique shop. Maya had bought it on the spot after hearing it dated from the 1880s. She’d placed it in the parlour initially, then moved it to the bedroom, where it fits perfectly in the corner by the fireplace. Almost as if it had been made for the spot.

The fireplace had long ago been converted to gas, but the charm of the elaborate Victorian mantel had been one of the deciding factors prompting her to sign the lease.

A soft creak broke the stillness, and the rocker pitched slowly back and forth. The runners bobbled up and down as if someone sat in the chair, controlling the movement. A finger of cold traced Maya’s spine. Secondcrept into second as the deliberate rocking continued, the floorboards creaking in unison with the lurch of the runners.

 Barely breathing, Maya stood. Ever since those few seconds in the Aether, she’d grown sensitive to ripples on the fringe of normal. She didn’t believe in ghosts or hauntings but couldn’t deny the existence of vibrations that breached barriers between life and death. She was living proof of a “between” world. Ivy was the only person she’d ever told what she’d experienced while EMTs fought to revive her.

Shock. Trauma, they’d said. You were lucky.

Be careful here. Mrs Bonnifer’s warning echoed in her head. This place has a history.

Maya stepped to the foot of the bed, her gaze glued to the rocker. Its movement stopped abruptly as if an unseen hand had clamped down on the back…

 

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Jaye’s Journal: 11th ~ 16th June

 

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MONDAY: The new week begins and I’m not having a great time of it. The pain in my back continued over the weekend and shows no sign of abating yet.  I will try to carry on blogging as usual, despite being in agony, as I intend to keep up our presence on the web and work on my WIP, for it will give my mind something else to concentrate on. I’ll update you on this theory later in the week!

TUESDAY: The muscle spasms seem to have stopped and I am glad about that, but the pain continues.  Anita offered to massage my back with the Ibuprofen Gel and found some of the muscles in my lower back knotted into hard lumps. I am deformed!

My mood has sunk to a new low even for me, as I feel so helpless. The high spot of my day is staggering to the loo after climbing the stairs on my hands and knees!

WEDNESDAY:  I received a telephone call from my GP. The results of my recent urine test show a nasty kidney infection, so maybe the pain in my back isn’t from juggling couches after all! Antibiotics are winging their way to me, so relief should be arriving soon after with a little bit of luck.

THURSDAY: Another depressing day. Pain is no better and the frustration of being unable to do even the simplest thing is taking its toll. Everywhere I look, there are jobs that need doing, jobs I just cannot do at the moment and I want to scream, as in my depressed state I imagine I might be incapacitated for the rest of my natural life.

FRIDAY: I awoke the next morning with a strange revelation. The pain seemed to have receded a little during the night. It might have been my imagination, but it did feel different. I realised that it hadn’t hurt so much during the night either. One hour later, I knew something had changed. The crushing pain had indeed lessened and walking to the kitchen didn’t have my body begging to sit down.

Against Anita’s better judgement, I decide to have a shower, as I desperately needed one. We have a strong handrail over the bath, so all should be well. The pain passed an opinion on my activities later on, but even then, it wasn’t as bad as it has been.

I hope that I have turned a corner and will be back to normal in no time, although I do know I will have to be patient! All of which is a pain (no pun intended) as I have discovered that my muse has gone into hiding. Apparently, she doesn’t do pain!


 

 

 

Preview and Early Review of Cusp of Night by Mae Clair #Mystery/Suspense #Supernatural Thriller @MaeClair1

 

 

Cusp of Night, Mae Clair’s stunning new book is released tomorrow, and we will be posting our review in the morning!

In the meantime, here is An Early Review of  Cusp of Night by Mae Clair

Thank you for having me as your guest today to share my newest release, Cusp of Night. A mystery/suspense novel with elements of urban legend and the supernatural, Cusp of Night uses dual timelines to tell two mysteries—one set in the past and one in the present. Naturally, both have to converge at the end, creating a tidy package. As an author, it involves writing two stories at once—something I found challenging to do, but also intriguing.

I’d like to share a snippet from a pre-release review today. After downloading a copy of Cusp of Night from NetGalley, Dianne, of the Tome Tender Book Blog had this to say:

Mae Clair takes us on a twisted journey through time and back in her latest mesmerizing read, CUSP OF NIGHT. The feel of the 1890’s comes to life, with its dark secrets, heinous betrayals and the jarring inner pain of a woman used for the very differences that forced her to grow up labeled a freak and a monster. What drives Maya to unearth the past with such obsessive fervor? Has Maya’s own past created a connection beyond the veil of death? One man is determined to help her, and together they will learn the nightmare called the Fiend is very much alive…was it ever dead?

Absolutely one of Mae Clair’s best paranormal mysteries to date! I could feel the change in eras, the emotions, I found my own monsters in so many of these characters and had to ask myself, who were the real victims? Deviously dark, this tale unfolds like a coiled snake ready to strike at any time and through it all, the webs that are woven grow into a barbed tapestry of suspense.

Too many riveting, entangled events to dismiss, you may find yourself dreaming of waking at 2:22 am a little cold and no longer alone…Fabulous reading intrigue from an author who knows her craft!

 

It’s so rewarding to find a review that makes all those late nights and long weekends juggling plot lines worthwhile. Many thanks to Dianne for posting her thoughts.

If Cusp of Night sounds like something that might interest you, perhaps you’d like to take a closer look at the blurb:

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BLURB

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 . . .

PURCHASE HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

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

 

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Anger…

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“When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on…” Thomas Jefferso

 

What do you think when you read this quote?

Do you think of anger or frustration?

Or something else?

What is the best way to handle anger?

Is it better to hide it inside you, and never show what you feel?

Or should you vent your spleen, regardless of terrifying the cat?

Some people scream into a pillow or punch the wall… I tried that once and nearly broke my hand.

 

I have been surrounded by angry people for most of my life, and this has surely been the primary cause of the length of my own personal rope.

Having more patience than most people, it must seem as though my rope has no end, but I can assure you that you wouldn’t want to be around me if I ever do reach the end of it.

I have seen first-hand what a bad temper can do to both people and situations, and it’s never good. More damage is done in temper than almost anything else on this planet.

 

Over the years, I have become very good at controlling my emotions. I can be positively seething inside, but no one would ever know. Sometimes it is more difficult and I get perilously close to blowing a fuse. This is when I usually go for a walk.

Even if it isn’t far enough, it usually allows me to rein in some of my errant rope.

 

‘Give someone enough rope, and let them hang themselves…’

 

What do you do when you can see the end of your rope approaching?

 

Warning Light?

 

 

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We have a mystery and a creepy one at that. We noticed it a while ago and try as we might, we cannot figure out what it is or what is causing it.

We are quite used to the spooky goings-on around us, as weird things have been happening to us for a very long time. Some of the things have been a bit scary, like the time all of the mirror tiles in the hall were removed during the night and stacked neatly against the wall. Or the times we smell pipe tobacco or perfume that vanishes as quickly as it comes.

Our cat constantly watches things, things we can’t see and follows them around the room with his eyes.  Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I see an old woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes in our kitchen and she seems very at home and interested in what I am doing. Our house is very old, built in 1887, so there are probably many echoes of the past in every brick!

Our lights flicker and switch off all the time, and we have had them checked, but it still happens, so when I caught sight of a strange red light among the bushes outside the front room window, I wasn’t unduly alarmed.

Curious, hell yes. It looked similar to those standby lights that all modern appliances seem to have these days.  I was sure it was outside, but it could only be seen from inside the room. Trouble was, we couldn’t find the source of the reflection, and why it was only visible from certain angles.

For ages, we thought it must have a simple explanation, but the harder we thought about it, the less sense it made. Forced to rethink, we wondered if it could be supernatural as nothing else made sense. The problem with this idea was why? And why was it there at all?

It looked for all the world as if something was sitting in the bushes outside our window. We hunted high and low, both inside and outside the window, but found nothing that could be causing it.

It had to be something reflecting on the glass, but our investigations revealed nothing. Maybe it could be a reflection from somewhere else, but where?

This has been going on for several months and we are no nearer finding the cause.

And before you say it, we know that reflections can be misleading, but it is driving us nuts!

Could it really be a demon visitor, one with only one red eye, spying on us through the window?

What do you think it could be?