Just 5 days to publication, so just 5 days at 99p!
UK Link: amzn.to/2p4xxzg and US Link: amzn.to/2LXHgjO
I have also been busy creating a book trailer!
This weeks inspiration comes from Lord of the Rings and this image…
Dark, dank wet cave is no place to call home
Yet for one small creature it has become so
His passion having driven him underground
After taking the life of a friend for a ring of gold
His world turned upside down
Over time his skin grew pale, translucent
His body shrank, his eyes bulged
Strange maladies, a madness ruled his world
His inly thought, his ring of gold. His love
Ever vigilant of losing what he stole, his madness grew
The fearful day came when his ring could not be found
What heart was left, broke anew, his mind split further in two
He spoke as if a twin stood close
“They pesky hobbits have it, we will find it soon, my precious.”
The hunt was long, fraught with danger
A glint of gold ever in his mind, he found the culprit
His shock was great, for he could see the pesky hobbit
Meant to destroy the ring of gold
He is here to take back as his own and watched as the Hobbit’s hand
stretched over the evil flame from whence it came.
The creature’s pain, too much to bear
He ran as sound escaped his lips
Heavy with pain enough to split the world apart
The ring flew in the air, one tiny pale hand snatched in time
To hold again his love now joined in flame
He was no more
The hobbits eyes filled with tears, for once this forlorn creature
Lived in Shire’s green and pleasant land
Before obsession stole his soul away…
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?
This week the weather has been the least of our worries.
We were all too busy worrying about the imminent arrival of our new baby.
Tension had built to breaking point and all of our stress levels were on overload.
We knew the date he/she was expected to arrive, but it was beginning to look as though baby had other ideas. It became impossible to concentrate on anything else.
Somehow, the days passed but no work was being done. Nothing creative anyway. We busied ourselves with chores we could do with our eyes shut, trying so hard not to give voice to our concerns.
The day baby chose to arrive seemed surreal. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, but finally, she was here. Perfectly beautiful and content to sleep through the constant stream of family members, all eager to see her.
The release of tension left me drained, and instead of picking up my WIP to resume editing, I wanted to run and shout, go somewhere or do something to replenish my mojo. It was a sunny day, the wind was chilly, but I didn’t care. I needed to be near the sea, as nothing else has ever soothed my soul like the ocean.
For once I didn’t get an argument and we piled into the car and took off. Half an hour later, I stood on the shingle. The tide was in and a strong wind was creating dramatic waves that crashed on to the beach. My eyes filled with tears at the sight and sound of it, and I relaxed for the first time in days.
I had my camera with me and tried to capture the majesty of the moment. The wind had turned icy, and by the time I had finished, my hands were almost blue with the cold. But my mojo felt as if it had been born again.
Altogether, a very special day if you ask me…
I walk under a black and white moon
in fresh snowfall, soft and sparkling
as if made from fallen stars.
Shadows slide across the ground
Beneath snow-laden trees, lies Folcor
A beautiful white dragon, made from luck.
He sleeps, waiting for the first breath of spring.
Before he wakes, whisper your wish in his ear
he will carry it back to the beginning of time
opening new doorways
Letting new luck enter the universe.
The life you wished for circled back in time
to greet you under the snow-laden trees
where Folcor lies sleeping…
This is what I saw when I looked at Sue’s image…
For those of you who won’t know who Folcor is, I include the trailer from Never Ending Story…
The other day, I thought I would pop into town to pick up some fresh veg. I didn’t expect or want to be too long, but fate had other ideas.
As I got closer to Waitrose, loud music began to filter through my preoccupied brain. This music seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
I turned the corner from the High street and this huge figure came into view. And when I say huge, I am not exaggerating. At first, I thought it was the Michelin man. That chubby little man who advertises car tyres, only much bigger than I had ever seen him.
Then I saw something else. A large white American car with the Ghostbusters symbol emblazoned on the side. This was where the music was coming from.
Quite a crowd had gathered and most were moving in time to the music. But what was it doing in my town?
The huge figure was the marshmallow man from the film and stood as tall as most of the shops in the high street. Strung between his outstretched arms was a banner advertising the opportunity to hire both the figure and the car. At least I think that’s what it said.
So, a quick trip to the shops turned into much more than a walk down memory lane. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Jaye all about it. And of course, we had to return to take some pictures!
The other evening, for the want of anything more dramatically interesting, we were about to watch a comedy film on tv, Raising Arizona with Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter, about a couple who steal a baby, when Anita asked me what it was about.
I said it sounded as if it would be very similar to Simple. one of her books.
She looked puzzled, so I rattled off the plot of the book. When I had finished, her jaw was hanging open. ‘How on earth do you remember all of that? I wrote it so many years ago and don’t remember it that well.’
As Anita’s editor, it was no surprise to me that it was still in my head. I had read, edited and formatted that book extensively, as I have with all of her books and can practically recite them all verbatim.
Raising Arizona was meant to be a comedy, but was disapointing. I thought I could watch anything that starred Nicholas Cage, but I was wrong and it got me thinking. By comparison, Anita’s book Simple couldn’t be more different if it tried. Dramatic, sad and full of the nastiness that human beings inflict on one another, especially a mentally challenged man/child like Simple. Not quite as violent and brutal as its forerunner, Bad Moon, but if it was a film, I would wear out the tape in no time!
Excerpt from Simple
I had been walking for so long my legs were slowing down, beginning to stiffen. It would be light in a few hours and still no sign of Simple. I saw the ridge up ahead in silhouette against the night sky and made myself walk a bit further.
Looking down from the top of the ridge, I could see a few lights twinkling on the outskirts of town and the faint gleam of the river that ran down the mountain. I sat and rested my legs, enjoying the cool night air on my damp skin. Then I heard a sound, something was moving about in the darkness behind me. I hid behind a rock, hoping whatever it was wasn’t bigger than me, wishing I had brought Jack’s rifle along.
My heart didn’t slow down, even when I saw it was Simple coming out from wherever he had been hiding. He was carrying something wrapped in a blanket, holding it close to his chest, tight, like he was afraid he would drop it. I stepped out from behind the rock and startled him. At the sight of me, he froze, only his eyes moving frantically from side to side.
‘Leanne shouldn’t be here, Gran be m-mad.’
‘Not as mad as she’s gonna be with you. Where you been?’
He didn’t answer me and sat down on a fallen tree. It was my turn to be startled when the blanket he held moved all by itself. Knowing him as I did, I expected a wounded animal, but I was wrong. He unwrapped the blanket and held up a baby, not a year old. Its white skin gleamed luminous in the pale moonlight and I could see it was a little boy. I didn’t know what to think. Simple had been gone for weeks and I had missed him so much. What on earth did he think he was doing?
I sat staring at the baby, its tiny head swallowed up in his huge hand, so filthy against the clean skin. He couldn’t have had him for long.
Finally, I found my tongue. ‘Where did you get the baby, Simple?’
He looked at me, his big dark eyes swimming with tears, and said, ‘For Lizzie, s-stop her crying’.’
‘Where did you get it? Tell me, we have to take it back!’
‘No, for Lizzie. A b-boy like Simple. Stronger than Lizzie’s.’
This was going to take the rest of the night. I had to make him see, to understand we had to take it back before half the town came looking for it.
‘Everyone’s been looking for you, Simple. I missed you.’
‘M-me too, m-missed Leanne. Then I come back, bring baby for Lizzie.’
I tried to tell him Lizzie couldn’t have this baby, that he had taken it from its Ma and was a bad thing he had done. ‘We must take him back before the sheriff comes looking. Before Jimmy finds us.’
He kept trying to say they had plenty of babies in town. ‘Lizzie’s die. Lizzie can’t make a g-good baby.’ He wrapped the blanket around the baby, holding him so tight I feared he might crush the life out of him. I suddenly realised that the baby hadn’t made a sound, so I looked closer to see if he was still alive. Seeming to sense my presence, his eyes flicked open, a gleaming deep blue in the pale moonlight.
I asked Simple if he remembered where he took the baby from.
‘Town,’ he said. ‘Like b-baby long time.’ He looked funny as if he was trying to remember something. I couldn’t understand what he meant.
‘Like you, long t-time . . . Ma wanted b-baby . . . Simple g-got . . .’
I still didn’t understand, but I couldn’t think about Simple’s words, I needed to get this baby back where it belonged, and quick. I would ask Gran later what Simple was on about. I told him I knew the baby came from town.
‘Do you remember which house, please say you can? Show me where the baby belongs, Simple? Jimmy’s out looking’ for you, you know what will happen if he finds us with this baby.’
Simple looked shocked, as only he could. Eyes wide, mouth open, head shaking, words failing him. The thought of Jimmy touching the baby did the trick though, rather than see the baby hurt, he said, ‘We take it b-back.’
I followed him to the edge of the woods, close to town. Dawn was starting to break in the east, a gradual reminder that daylight would soon give us away. Creeping behind a row of whitewashed houses, Simple stopped beside an open window. I held my breath as I watched him climb in and put the baby back from where he had taken it.
Simple is the follow-up book to Bad Moon, Anita’s first book and is another story about the backwoods people of West Virginia. At the time of writing, some 25 years ago, it seemed as though Anita was channelling actual people, the stories so disturbingly real. Neither Simple or Bad Moon are pleasant stories by any means, being full of raw, powerful emotions and unbelievable cruelty.
They were written long before the world of Indie publishing, so we approached traditional publishers with the help of a well-known literary agent. They all said the same thing, that they were impressed with the strong powerful writing, and that they were well written, but they wouldn’t fit with all the other books on their list. I can appreciate this now, as finding the right category has been hard. If only those publishers had the courage of their convictions and made room for us!
Simple is a nickname his cruel family have given him, due to him being mentally challenged and cursed with a terrible stutter. His real name is Ethan, and although a giant of a man, he has the heart and mind of a child. He spends his time in the woods, tending to wounded wild birds and animals.
His grandmother and brothers beat him for everything he forgets to do, and many things he shouldn’t have done. When his half-sister Leanne cannot bear to watch any more cruelty, they make a plan to escape. But when they try to run, they bring the wrath of their vicious family down on their heads, and the results are terrifying…
“Like a beautiful man who farts as he leaves the room, Dexter changed the world for the better, but left a noxious stink behind…”
Dexter: The TV series. 2006-2013
I discovered this series as I was checking out the box sets on my TV. Eight series, each containing 12 episodes, enough to keep me happy throughout the long winter months.
Boy, was I in for a treat!
It turned out that what I had discovered was a lethal formula of black comedy and revenge-killing procedural. From its debut in 2006, Showtime’s adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels expertly marshalled its own absurdities to deliver a confident, darkly funny show like nothing around at the time.
It was television’s first serial killer procedural: a monster of the week format where Dexter assessed, tracked and killed whichever rapist, spree killer or assassin was in his sights. Rooting for the villain was nothing new, of course, but this took fanboying the bad boy to the next level.
Working as a blood-spatter analyst for Miami-Dade police offered Dexter the Intel and expertise to carry out his campaign. He was the psychopath you could introduce to your parents.
With every episode pored over in forensic detail, it only took the first episode to make me a devoted fan. As a budding crime/thriller writer, this series was like my own personal podcast, viewed from the comfort of my armchair. Every week, there would be something interesting to learn, some nuance or idea that could be utilised in a story of my own.
Dexter Morgan, bless him, played by Michael C Hall taught me so much about the perfect villain. One you could actually like and almost approve of.
And I did!
I am currently in love with this advert for Lloyds Bank. My eyes fill up every time I watch it. The spirit of freedom is such a wonderful thing to see, so I wanted to share it with you today…
This week we are posting the first chapter of The Last Life, the second book in my mystery thriller trilogy. This trilogy might be the sum total of my own contribution to the writing world, (although I am hoping not!) and I am somewhat proud of my achievement.
Detective Inspector David Snow looked down at the unconscious woman on the hospital bed in front of him, remembering the state of her when she had arrived, a few hours ago. They had done a good job of cleaning her up. She lay still, like a religious statue in a church, her pale skin the colour of finest marble. The gentle rise and fall of her breasts the only indication life still clung to her body.
So different to the wrinkled, dirt-ingrained body he had looked at earlier, of an old tramp found dead in the hospital car park, bundled into a moth-eaten army coat and wedged under a car. What was originally thought to be a simple case of neglect, had taken on a more sinister tone when they discovered the tramps head had been cut off and shoved down the back of the old boy’s trousers.
Snow wondered what an old tramp could possibly have done to warrant such treatment, being well known around the hospital and described as a harmless old soul. The tenuous link to the woman in front of him indicated she might not be safe and would need his protection.
They knew very little about her, and he wondered again what kind of woman she was. Now the dirt had been removed, she looked healthy and well cared for, which ruled out homelessness. A reasonably attractive, middle-aged woman, bordering on the ordinary, apart from her curly hair which would appear to have a life of its own, as even now it seemed to creep across the pillow like the roots of a willow.
Alone with the unconscious woman, Snow had an excellent opportunity to study her without feeling self-conscious about doing it. In all the years since his wife’s death, he missed looking intimately at a woman. He usually tried to do it surreptitiously to avoid the risk of being branded a pervert, or worse. He liked to imagine what kind of person they were if they were kind or cruel, bossy or timid, but for once, there were no clues on this woman’s face. A slight determination in the set of her jaw gave him pause for thought.
According to Michael Barratt, the man who brought her here, her name was Kate Devereau, an artist, none of which gave him any clues as to her character. In the beginning, Snow had instinctively thought she might be the murderer in this case, due to the amount of blood found in the cottage. Michael Barratt had found her unconscious in this cottage on the outskirts of Guildford. He said he knew her, but had no idea why she had found it necessary to be there. As an estate agent, he had been arranging to have the cottage ready for Miss Devereau to rent.
It was all a little mysterious, compounded by the fact Michael Barratt looked as if he had been barbecued. His clothes were burned black in places, apart from his jacket, which was clean and several sizes too small and obviously didn’t belong to him. The back of his head and hands were raw and blistered, suggesting there were probably more extensive burns to his body.
The estate agent had offered no explanation for his condition, but stubbornly kept asking after Kate, which might possibly indicate an emotional involvement. He had no answer for what had happened to her, except to say her health had not been good for a while. If it hadn’t been for all the blood, it would have seemed innocent enough.
So why didn’t Snow believe him?
Given the state of him, Michael Barratt was in no position to convince David Snow of anything. Naturally suspicious of everyone involved in any of his cases, Snow couldn’t help but suspect Michael Barratt. The man was obviously hiding something, for despite his obvious devotion to the unconscious woman, something didn’t feel right. He must know more than he said.
There had to be more to this case than these two people. The macabre and similar death of Miss Devereau’s brother Danny had opened this case several weeks ago, a clear indication someone they all knew had an axe to grind. Someone cruel and malicious, hell bent on exacting some kind of revenge?
Snow walked over to the window, more for a change of scenery than to escape from the body of Kate Devereau. It was getting dark outside, and the lights in the car park were coming on, one by one. With visiting time approaching, more cars were arriving and he prayed nothing else would happen tonight. He was tired, but not looking forward to his retirement next year. His life seemed empty now, what would it be like then? He didn’t want to retire, he liked his job. It gave him a reason to get up every morning.
He found the idea that this woman may never regain consciousness unsettling, as he wanted this case solved and put away as soon as possible. The doctors could find no medical reason for the coma, or so they said. They had found sedatives in her system, but they should have worn off by now. Her heart was fine and no sign of a stroke. Either she didn’t want to wake up, or she was faking.
Maybe if he pinched or touched her, took her by surprise, would she open her eyes? For whatever reason, and he couldn’t think of one, he couldn’t do it. He could hardly blame her for faking. Why weren’t there more people in her life?
He remembered one of his earlier cases, involving one Gillian Anderton. How she had completely fooled them into believing her story. If it hadn’t been for his sergeant, Jim Harris, she would still be free. Snow tended to suspect women a lot more these days, just in case.
An agent, Samantha Cameron, managed all of Miss Devereau’s art, but was probably only a business contact. Judging by the barbecued boyfriend, someone thought well of her, but how did she feel about him? So many questions which would never be answered if she didn’t wake up.
He looked back to the bed, hoping to see her open her eyes, but nothing had changed, she hadn’t moved at all.
What kind of woman are you, Kate Devereau?
The Ninth Life can be found on Amazon: myBook.to/TheLastLife
There are also free copies on #Instafreebie: bit.ly/2i930ah
And of course, I would love to hear your thoughts?