Benor awoke with the dawn. He crawled out from under the hedge and looked about him. There was a stream nearby and enough dry wood for a fire. He’d walked late into the night, initially because it was fine, the going was good and he was enjoying being out of the city. Then when he realised how late it must be, he just kept going to find somewhere to sleep. He got the fire going and arranged a can on it to boil water. Then he washed himself in the stream. When the water was hot he transferred it to his mug and put some more back on the fire to boil. He took a mirror out of his bag and propped it on a branch, then with a razor and his mug full of water he started to shave. Whilst he realised he wasn’t going to cut a fine…
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St Nectan’s Glen, Cornwall
Some of you will probably know that I am inordinately fond of Cornwall, and have explored quite a few of its special places.
The minute you cross the Tamar Bridge, the air seems different and the magic starts to stir.
We always make our way to Tintagel first, as we are Merlin and Arthur fanatics and this is our most important stop.
On our many trips to the West Country, we have discovered so many wonderful places, from magical forests to beautiful waterfalls. The stunning Atlantic coast with its rugged cliffs and caves, some of which involving a death defying climb that will literally turn your hair white.
We have visited most of the sites that are reported to be connected to Merlin and Arthur, including the pool where the sword Excalibur is supposed to lie. We have almost been blown off the cliffs when the weather turned bad, and have lost count of the times we have been soaked to the skin. But the weather, with all the glorious sunsets and scenery, including the sudden downpours, are all part of Cornwall’s magic.
And if you ever visit, you must remember to look up at the night sky. Nowhere else in the UK will you see night skies like the ones in Cornwall. The heavens seem so low; you can almost reach out and touch the millions of stars right above your head.
My personal favourite is St. Nectan’s Glen. Not easy to find, or get to, as it is only accessible on foot. This sacred site is where the river Trevillet has carved its way through the Devonian slate, and created a magnificent 60-foot waterfall. This water then punched a hole through the original kieve (basin) and cascades into a beautiful valley.
You walk through ancient woodland to get there, and it is quite a route march to reach the small hut or hermitage at the top where the monk St. Nectan built the sanctuary in 500AD. The frustrating part of this particular journey is the fact that you don’t see the falls until the very last minute. You gradually hear the murmur of the water as you get closer, but the landscape seems to keep it safe and secret until the very last minute, and is even more stunning because of this.
This place is sublimely spiritual, like nowhere else I have ever been and always has a profound effect on me. From the trees with all the multi-coloured wish ribbons, to the freezing spray of the white water, fighting its way through deep chasms in the rocks, this place inspires me to be better than I am…
There I was beavering away on book three when I discovered that a well-known author might be about to publish a novel with the same central concept as mine. I had logged onto the early reviews and a reader had mentioned the words, ‘a mother with a secret.’ Oh, Christ, I thought, and so began my two-day long endurance until the book came out.
I bought it and read in a frenzy that ripped the pages and wrecked the spine. Huh – take that, stupid book! Reader, it was all I could do not to stamp on the thing, because what stared up at me was virtually the same book as mine. It even had an almost identical opening scene.
It felt as if there was a brick in my stomach. I was 50,000 words into my first draft, for goodness sake. It was possibly one of the worst first…
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I come from an enormous family. We can barely count first cousins, let alone more distant relations. But after I got married, I was stunned to sit down to dinner with everyone my father-in-law was related to. His entire family fit around one dining room table.
My family has a million stories. His family’s stories stopped with the two brothers who managed to make it to Canada and the US. And with the ones who didn’t. But now they have an amazing new story, one that unites everyone who has ever been or had a parent.
I can’t imagine what parents are going through at our borders as they seek refugee status only to have their children taken away. It is the unimaginable.
But last week I heard an incredible story of parents and sacrifice and a lifetime of searching.
The story starts in 1941, when a couple faced the…
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Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.
Thicker Than Water is the third book of the trilogy and was published in 2015. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of contemporary drama and suspense with romance (and animals)
Emma Grayson has come on in leaps and bounds since we were first introduced to her in A Single Step, book 1 of the Grayson Trilogy, as a damaged woman who suffered significant personal losses, the death of her child and the resulting breakdown of her marriage. From the beginning tantalising questions have been dropped into the narrative. For instance, who anonymously delivered the advert for the position at Melton Manor estate to Emma? As turned out, it was the perfect job…
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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!
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.
[Image credit: Pixabay]
Instant gratification doesn’t happen instantly…
A rich American visited Paris’ most famous milliner and asked for a custom designed hat. He took a roll of beautiful ribbon, twisting and pinning it around her head until she had the most stunning hat she’d ever seen. “I love it!” she gasped. “How much?”
“Twelve-hundred euros,” he replied.
“Twelve-hundred euros? But… it’s just a roll of ribbon.”
“Oh, no Madam.” He reached for the hat, unwound the ribbon, rolled it up, and handed it to her. “The ribbon is free.”
I was thinking of this story when I visited my favorite local potter, Simon Thorborn, at his studio, Arran Ceramics.
Me: Could I have two pots for kitchen utensils?
Simon: [Ten minutes—not counting several decades of expertise—later as pots are sitting on his counter ready for glazing and firing]: How’s this?
Potter Simon Thorborn at Arran Ceramics.
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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!