#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Secrets… #DarkFamilyMystery

SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Secrets, a haunting family drama, about deeply buried guilt and all the secrets and suspicions that invade and control our lives.

Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than just mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate further.

Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem. It was almost as though something was wrong and he was trying to fix it.
Her husband Jack, was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?

Amazon Review:

I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!

I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long.

Excerpt of Secrets…

Deep in thought, Maggie started to play with her breakfast and it was Jack’s turn to watch fondly as she doodled with the egg yolk, spreading strange and bizarre patterns across the plate. The early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window bathing the breakfast scene in a cosy glow. She looked like a child sitting there in a pretty cotton housecoat, pale honey-coloured hair falling around her shoulders like a halo. She had something on her mind, he was sure. Knowing he didn’t really have the time and hoping she’d say it was nothing, he said, ‘What’s up, love, did you have another bad night with Danny?’

She slowly looked up at him from the mess on her plate, and he could tell by the way her usually bright blue eyes had darkened to the colour of the sea that he wasn’t about to hear anything like what he wanted to hear.
Looking back down at her plate, she said, ‘I’m very worried about him, Jack. These terrible nightmares are getting him down; and now this thing about an imaginary friend, I don’t like it, something’s wrong.’
Jumping straight in, hoping to get it over with quickly so he could get out of the house, he said, ‘You know what the doctor told us, he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It will only make things worse if we try and make Danny let go before he’s ready.’

‘Yes, I know what he said,’ an edge creeping into her voice, ‘but he’s not God. You don’t have to take everything he says as gospel. I don’t happen to think this thing with Toby is the same as a comfy blanket or a favourite teddy a child drags around with him. Can’t you see how he’s changed?
‘… he’s destructive, rude and downright messy. Don’t you think dragging half the garden into the kitchen last week was going a bit too far? You saw his face when I tried to tell him off, he wasn’t the least bit sorry. Judging from the skid marks all over the place it was plain to see he’d had a whale of a time, and what did he say when I asked him why he’d done it? … because Toby wanted him to.

‘… Jack, can’t you see we have to make him understand this Toby is only in his mind and he’s too old to play these pretend games?’
He took a deep breath, painfully aware the time was getting on. ‘Maggie, he’s only seven. You’re making too much of it. The doctor said to give him time and not to bully him into giving up Toby. It might make his nightmares worse.’
She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, he reminded her again that she had agreed the gentle approach was best.
‘Plus, you haven’t given that idea of yours idea a chance. Having Cathy take Danny to school with Michael may work. He’ll soon see that having a real friend is lots more fun. Have you asked him again about joining the cubs?’
She snorted. ‘I did, and his answer was the same as before. Toby doesn’t want him to.’
‘Give him time, Maggie, he’ll come around.’

Maggie seemed to have run out of wind for the time being, so he took his empty plate over to the sink and left it on the draining board. Straightening his tie as he turned to her again, he said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk this morning. I have four books waiting a final decision and what with the deadline and our new budget, I think I’ll have to reject two of them, you know how I hate sending out rejection letters. It doesn’t make for a nice day, especially when a book is worth publishing. If you’re that worried about Danny, we’ll talk about it tonight.’
Maggie frowned and gave him the kind of look that said, sure we will. Jack had seen it many times and responded in a way she had grown used to over the years. He pulled her into his arms, squeezed her gently, saying, ‘I promise we’ll talk about it later.’
Then he kissed her goodbye, grabbed his briefcase and left.

 

 

 

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How I returned to work, and possibly ruined everything!

 

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How I returned to work, and possibly ruined everything!

 

I read an interesting post the other day, written by Staci Troilo, where she describes her struggle to get back on the old blogging workhouse after being out of circulation due to trying to finish five novels.

I too am struggling, but not because I have been as productive as Staci. I am fighting to regain the strength I’m sure I had before being cruelly struck down by illness.

I have been wondering where my muse was while I was AWOL and if there was a snowball’s chance in hell of working with him again.

My muse, like Staci’s, is also male but not as attractive. You must read her post, just to see if you turn green with envy like I did!

 

When I first started writing detective novels, I didn’t get to choose my muse but despite appearances, I am more than happy with the one who turned up. I call him Granddad (but not to his face!) He looks remarkably like Mark Twain with his snow-white hair and enormous moustache and he has guided me very well with his old-style wisdom. I could do with him now, for I have another story in my head for my favourite detective David Snow.

I haven’t run it past him yet, but the plot is almost complete. I need to get him on board, as he usually has strong feelings about my ideas and doesn’t always agree with me.

 

So I was completely floored to find the wrong man waiting for me in my office the following morning. It was my detective, David Snow, the tall, attractive man who always reminded me of Tom Selleck in his prime.

As I entered the room, he stood up and approached me.

‘I have been worried about you, Jaye. Are you properly recovered or just putting in a brave face?’

‘I’m fine, David, only tired. How did you know I was ill?’

‘I had the feeling you needed to speak to me, but you weren’t in your office all week, so I knew something was wrong.’

My legs felt weak, either because I still wasn’t running on full strength yet or the effect of having David in my office again. I have never quite relaxed in his company as the man is formidable and quite sexy.

He sat back down, and I almost fell into mine, cursing his scrutiny.

‘You’re not strong enough yet, maybe I should come back another time…’

‘No, I’m fine… And I have an important question for you. How would you feel about being in another of my stories, David?’

His face relaxed and the hint of a smile appeared.

The idea of starring in another novel appealed to his ego but I hadn’t mentioned the awkward part yet. I wondered how he would react when I did.

‘I’m always ready to star in another of your masterpieces, Jaye. You know that…’

Oh well, I thought. Here goes nothing.

‘Not as straightforward as all that this time, David. I am placing this one after book two, Out of Time. And before the current book three, CrossFire and all that happened in that one.’

I paused to see the effect of my words. He raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

‘I have wanted to address your problem with Kate for a while now and this new story will cover that, among other things. What do you think about it?’

The eyebrow was still raised, and I couldn’t tell if it was a good sign or not. ‘I’m not planning on it being a romantic story though…’

He stood up and walked to the door. ‘I will have to get back to you about that, Jaye…’

 

Had I just blown the chance to write the story that had been driving me nuts for weeks?

 

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

Two Weeks Ago…

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Two Weeks Ago…

 

 

Looking back, it seems such a long time ago that my temperature began to rise alarmingly, and I thought the worst. I never once thought it could have anything to do with cystitis that had been plaguing me for years.

I mean, some things you simply must learn to live with, like your mother in law or the resident ghost.

This time, however, it was serious.

Cystitis had progressed from a simple bladder problem to a full-blown kidney infection, possibly both kidneys.

My doctor was in lockdown, so my family telephoned the helpline 111 for help. I was given a week’s course of a strong antibiotic and told to drink as much water as possible.

It was a nightmare of a week.

A week when death seemed preferable to the agony I was going through. I was semi-conscious most of the time and unwilling to eat. The pills were seriously upsetting my stomach and made my body hurt even more, which I did not think was possible.

After what felt like a lifetime of pain, my temperature finally slid slowly back down to normal, but I didn’t feel normal at all. That would happen gradually and I’m not quite there yet!

I have lost 7 lbs somewhere, but don’t feel any different.

As I am writing this, my body still hurts and my head refuses to function properly. I keep trying to think of all the projects I had planned before this happened and wonder how my muse is feeling. I hope it feels better than I do, for we have much work to catch up on, seeing as how I have been reminded of how valuable our time is…

And I have just wasted enough of it already…

©Jaye Marie 2020

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More Important than Silence!

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Image by Pixabay.com

There will be no #Silent Sunday post this week, as I was reading Jill Dennison’s lovely post about Hugging and decided we needed these more…

Here is an excerpt…

“Today is for hugging friends! Hugging has been around for millennia and is practiced by almost all cultures as a way to connect with others without using language. Hugs have traditionally been given in may scenarios: as a greeting or goodbye, for sympathy or congratulations, and for gratitude, support, and affection. The word “hug” seems to have come from “hugga,” an Old Norse word meaning “to comfort.” “Hug” was first used around 1610, to describe a wrestling hold. It began being used for its current meaning in the 1650s.

Hugs may release a hormone called oxytocin into the bloodstream. This hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, and the stress hormone cortisol. It also reduces anxiety, improves mood and memory, and increase bonding and closeness. Those who hug often tend to have increased empathy for others. In order for hugs to be beneficial, those participating must trust each other and both want to hug. Otherwise, the opposite effect happens and cortisol levels rise, causing stress.

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Image by Pixabay.com

I love a good hug and feeling sorely deprived of late. So this post is for everybody who feels the same.  Consider yourselves well and truly hugged today!

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

What Passes for Progress around Here…

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Image from Pixabay.com

 

I am supposed to be writing a blog post, but my attention is halfway down my garden to the assembled bird feeders I have hanging from a tree and the many feathered visitors busy feasting there.

All through the winter months, the local birds have been keeping me busy, filling the feeders with fat balls and a seed mixture on a regular basis.

I do this every year, but this year has been remarkedly different. So many visitors flocking to my garden, and I love to watch them. Probably too much, to the detriment of any writing. I have also tried to film them in action, but either my hands shake too much or the camera needs upgrading, so the images on here are only a representation of the joy in my garden.

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I am reminded of that saying, “build it and they will come…” And this in turn, reminds me of the constant struggle to create the best platform to help our writing careers.

Not that I am comparing our followers to the flock of sparrows, blackbirds and bluetits that I see every day, just the amount of activity just supplying their favourite food has triggered.

All this activity is running alongside my personal battle with blogging/writing and everything this entails. For some reason, I am having trouble with just about everything I try to do these days and my brain is exhausted with coping with the constant buffering, missing chunks of text and images and the general refusal of technology to comply with even the simplest of commands. It feels like a conspiracy.

Several times I have almost reached the point where I want to take a hammer to my PC, just to escape what feels like the Plagues of Egypt.

So, what does all of this say about my ambition to make our mark?

Nothing good, I’m afraid.

By the time I have fought my way through the chaos, I am drained of nearly all of my determination and inspiration.

But every day, I switch the beast on, quietly confident that this will be the day when the elephant in the room smiles at me…

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Image from Pixabay.com

Meanwhile… The birds are busy enjoying themselves…

 

©JayeMarie 2020

 

Cruise Control…

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Image by AnnaD15n3y from Pixabay

Do you, like me, have an uneasy feeling about 2020?

After nearly three weeks of struggling to get going and constantly meeting all kinds of resistance, I am on the verge of deciding to swap the big dream for a series of smaller ones.

I already knew this year would be full of changes, most of which won’t be pleasant. In order to cope with these changes, I must regroup somehow and simplify my writing/blogging and life in general in order to cope with the chaos. Cruise control if you will, so I can somehow manage to survive.

You can’t keep on fighting if you’re getting nowhere, especially in times of stress, so it’s time to find the path of least resistance which in my case, means reverting to baby steps.

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I had wondered how long it would take for the old demon to infect my new PC, but it’s back! Endless buffering, broken links, missing images, you name it and it ruins my blogging day. The worst part of it all, is I’m not altogether sure what the problem is.

Apart from ruining my mood, I can soon lose concentration when things refuse to work properly. I mean, what is the point of it all?

I thought that by admitting to myself that I wasn’t coping, this would resolve the problem, but this wasn’t good enough apparently.

The baby elephant in the room is insisting I do something!

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There are some problems you can track down and find a reason for and hopefully fix, so I have been busy double checking everything.

I discovered I needed to verify my Microsoft account. This surprised me, for surely, I did all this when I first uploaded the new pc, just a few months ago?

You need a mobile phone to obtain the code, but I don’t have one, so enlisted help from the family. Job done, and pc seems to be working better, so hopefully peace will reign for a while!

As for the situations I can do nothing about, I have decided to alter my attitude towards them and adopt more positivity.

No point arguing or getting upset. Changes will have their way and we will live to see the dust begin to settle again…

 

©JayeMarie 2020

#Jaye’s Journal… Week 34

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This week has been the worst yet.

I am still struggling with the WIP and although the last read through went well, trying to come up with a decent (and rivetting ) blurb/book description has been hitting a wall.

One day in the week, I think it was Wednesday, I found myself actually hating the whole thing and walked out of my office. I spent the rest of the day watching repeats on tv, hated the guilt and feelings of failure that were trying to consume me. Luckily, I woke up the next morning in a much more productive and positive mood, and the project is back on track.

My eyes are presenting a problem that I wasn’t expecting, however and this might be affecting my patience. Which is normally legendary, but has been falling down on the job. My eyesight is improving in leaps and bounds, but having to wear my old reading glasses has become something of a nightmare.

It became so bad, that I was forced to steal a pair of Anita’s reading glasses just to see to read something. Her eyes are nowhere near as bad as mine, which shows how much mine has improved. I have to wait several weeks before I can get new ones and I’m rapidly reaching new levels of annoyance.

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Desperately trying to find something more positive (and pleasant) to think about, I found myself watching some water colour trailers on YouTube. This is something I used to do, until writing grabbed me by the throat! I day dream about actually doing some of these crafts this winter, and the idea is doing wonders for my poor tired brain. My WIP has pushed it to the limit this year…

Time to Step Back…

I took myself to one side and had a serious talk with myself, and after much soul searching, I realised the current state of my head was caused by cramming too many things inside it, most of them completely unreasonable and beyond my control. It was time to take a long hard look at my workload and come to some sort of understanding. It was at this point that I remembered the serenity prayer . . .

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There are more verses to this prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) but the first verse should be indelibly written on the inside of my skull. I am usually the most patient person on the planet, but due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances, I must have decided to forget those details.

Everyone has been so supportive, and all their messages to me and my predicament were the same. I must take a step back and soon, in order to regroup and concentrate on the do-able, as opposed to the impossible.

Even though patience is my strong point, I know I have been slowly falling under the spell of doing far too much and expecting miracles. I always expect to stumble upon a magical doorway where everything miraculously works or happens yesterday, and when this fails to happen, I get depressed. Against my better judgement of course, but what can you do when you want need to succeed?

Therefore, I am going to stop shoving so many irons in the fire. Common-sense is telling me this is not the way to do anything.

I am going to concentrate on doing one thing at a time and see it through to the end, before moving on.

I am also going to rearrange my schedule to include some ‘me’ time, for life is getting shorter by the minute, and as they say, we will always regret what we didn’t do. There will be another post soon, where I tell you about my plans. Plans that have nothing to do with writing, the internet or our ambitions. Well, maybe not directly, anyway…