An excerpt from The Last Life…

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Kate Devereau wakes up in a hospital, unable to speak or move. Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge her dark and disturbing past, concealing a web of painful secrets.

Michael Barratt brought her to the hospital, insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her. And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too. He had been searching for Kate for years, ever since their doomed love affair, only to discover someone else had been hunting her too.

With the help of the DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her life back together, only to discover the nightmare is far from over.

Her first instinct is to run, but David Snow convinces her to stay and help him put an end to the nightmare. A nightmare that will get progressively worse before it gets better.

Haunted by his own demons, will the Snowman manage to catch the twisted killer?

Evil lurks in this story and people die, but amidst the tears and heartache, a lost love struggles to survive…

 

Excerpt from The Last Life

 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 crept 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 own 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?

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Amazon Link for The Ninth Life  myBook.to/TheNinthLife

Amazon Link for The Last Life  myBook.to/TheLastLife

 

 

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Best Day of All…

I’m not sure if this is something authors do, but I am so chuffed, I have to share this with everyone!

Emma Powell, from The Review2014.blogspot.com is reviewing my mystery thriller trilogy, and the first one has blown my mind!

Here we go…

 

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If you enjoy the crime mystery thriller genre, then this will most definitely  be a good read  for  you,  – even  if one of the opening viewpoints is from the Voice inside the head of the  protagonist!   Confused?  You won’t be …

The story is cleverly written in the sense the author has achieved something different.  Not easy to do these days but a joy to discover when you find it.  The whole book keeps the protagonist – hereafter called Kate   – centre stage whilst keeping the tension, the what-the-hell-happens-next  thread, going from beginning to end.

 There is the Voice inside Kate’s head that is her instinct, her sub-conscious speaking  to  her to the point where the reader begins to wonder if Kate has mental health issues.  Actually, it doesn’t take long  to realise we’ve all got that Voice rattling around in our  consciousness at some point or other and this leads onto the reader  being in Kate’s head; her emotions become your emotions, her fears are palpable. 

The antagonist, Jack, is Kate’s ex-husband  and pure evil.   He makes his  entry early (Chapter Two) and really gave me the creeps.  Not only does Kate have health issues (the story opens with her having a   heart attack),  but also has serial killer issues  with Jack – he’s hiding in the hospital Kate is taken to.  Nine lives indeed.  By the end of Chapter Two, you maybe asking yourself how the tension can last until the end, but it does.  Especially when the few  close people around her start  to be murdered …

The violence is minimal and ingeniously written.  There is some descriptive writing, obviously for the genre, but it is not over-gratuitous and brings out the empathy for Kate as well as those around her.  The following is from a scene where Jack had realised one of Kate’s neighbours had noticed him hanging around and he managed to get into the neighbour’s flat:

 “He closed his eyes and lifted her head away from the blue patterned lino.  Her hands were clutching desperately at his sleeves, fluttering like baby bird’s wings.  He thought of Kate and how much he missed her; the familiar mist seeped into his brain as he pounded the old woman’s head against the floor repeatedly until her eyes closed and she stopped breathing. He left her lying there and went back to his van.”

And there you have it.  The author keeps the mystery, the thrill right up there, weaving in and out of every word you read.  The characters that are vital to Kate’s story come to your attention so subtlety until suddenly, you wonder how they got there.  And how long they may last!

Whilst I felt the conclusion to The Ninth Life ended a tad too soon – I would have enjoyed a more drawn-out scene for the climax  – this does not deviate from the overall enjoyment of the book.   And besides, Kate’s story is a trilogy, thankfully. Book Two – The Last Life – picks  up and carries yet another tension-riddled read around Kate and her struggles.  Watch out for the review of  The Last  Life in the not-too-distant-future.

As soon as I’ve completed Book 3 of the Trilogy, The Broken Life, I’ll be posting about that too.

Look out for an Author Interview on the Blog with Jaye Marie shortly!

http://thereview2014.blogspot.com/2016/12/emma-reviews-ninth-life.html?spref=tw

 

I may not come down to earth until after Christmas!

 

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The Time of My Life…

 

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Why has no one ever mentioned how much fun writing a series can be?

I am having the time of my life, and I think my characters are too. I knew they were not ready to leave; they kept nagging at me to let them continue their journey.

And to be honest, there were more than a few things in The Ninth Life and The Last Life that were not completely resolved.

Now, most of them have the chance to put in their two pennyworths all over again, and meet a couple of new arrivals, and I think it is going extremely well. 60.000 words already, and for me, it was pretty effortless.

Finding the Happy Balance

You see, I found writing my first book quite hard, as I mistakenly thought it would be easy, only to discover it was really quite hard work. This surprised me, for in my youth I was always scribbling away, no trouble at all. What made the difference this time I think, is the amount of other things you have to do as well. It was beginning to get me down, all the worrying about whether I was keeping up, or even doing it right in the first place. (another post on all of this soon) but I have come to terms with a lot of things lately, and I’m a much happier bunny these days.

The Importance of Planning

I think having an established story line helped a lot, and this time I started with a fully-fledged storyboard, so it was relatively easy to plot where I wanted the story to continue. I even have an ending mapped out, but that I know, is in the lap of the Gods.

My mind has also started thinking about what might be next. How is that for determination?

I love writing mystery/crime thrillers, but not sure if the next one will be the same as it has presented itself to me a little differently. I will have to see what happens.

Onwards and Upwards

This is all being quite a revelation to me, coming to writing as I do at the ripe old age of 70. I always wanted to write, of course, and did a bit now and then, but somehow life kept getting in the way, forcing me to do so many other things instead. Some of these things were quite rewarding, but think where I could be now, if I had started sooner?

 

Now for a spot of promotion. The Wrong Life, book three of the series, is scheduled to be finished and published later this year. On the run up, I thought I would post more info as we go… so watch this space…

The Power of Books…2

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This week, I have found myself paying more attention to all the work my sister, Jaye Marie does, not just for her own work, but mine as well. We do share a website, but I don’t think I have fully appreciated how much work is involved with all this marketing and promotion.

She says it’s not really work, as she enjoys doing it so much, but I was still staggered to discover just what she does every single day, and still finds the time to write, garden and all the other jobs she gets around to.

Jaye Marie, my very own editor-in-chief, without her expert help, none of my five (soon to be six) books would ever have been published, for I couldn’t do what she manages to achieve, if my life depended upon it.

Here follows an excerpt from her first mystery/thriller, The Ninth Life…

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 and 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 imagining 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…

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There will be a Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon, from 19th May to 25th May, when The Ninth Life will be FREE for a week.
Your support would be amazing, and gratefully received!

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The Road to Hell…

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Round about now, quite a lot of those people who made New Year resolutions are feeling guilty, as most of their good intentions have fallen by the wayside.
I didn’t make any resolutions. Not much point really, for all the things I would love to change have evaded any control on my part for years. The absence of any good intentions has not meant that I started the year in any better mood though, quite the opposite really. My own personal black dog of depression is back and reluctant to leave me. If he were a real dog, I would enjoy his company, but as he isn’t, I don’t.
How can you be so enthusiastic one minute and under the table the next? My life is beginning to be choked with overwhelming chores, suffocating the creative in me. I am finding it harder and harder to make my brain understand what I am trying to do. Very confusing, but this will pass, they say, and I for one, cannot wait.

They say that once you have learned how to do something, your mind and body will never forget how. ‘Like riding a bike’. But have you ever attempted to ride a bicycle after several years have passed? You will remember the basics, of course but it will feel strange, and some of you will come unstuck and fall off.
This is why we should all practice our craft every day, and this includes writing. If we fail to do this, thinking it will all come back to us, it will not be the same. It cannot be the same for our minds and bodies don’t remember all the details. I know mine doesn’t.
The nuances of style and technique dull with lack of use and become blunt. Even tiny fragments of brilliance need to be polished frequently to maintain and improve its shine. So all I have to do now, is find a fragment and a duster!

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I finally found myself a lovely new camera, one that I can actually use. The first one I bought was a complete disaster. It was supposed to be idiot proof and it wasn’t. This was probably where the black dog made an entrance, as I felt frustratingly stupid.
Then I had a brainwave. (I do have them from time to time) Maybe the makers of my old faithful had a more updated version on the market. Lo and behold, they did! It is substantially better than my old one, with more features, yet with all the familiar controls.
Along with writing, photography is very important to me, and with this new camera, I hope to enjoy it more and more.
Maybe 2015 will be the year for more of these achievements. I sincerely hope so, for I am not getting any younger.

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Speaking of achievements, I have just uploaded The Ninth Life to Smashwords.com and for the month of January, the eBook is free.
If you have ever done this, you will know it is not easy. They have this thing called the meat grinder, which you have to get past, formatting wise. I have always fallen foul of this thing when I have uploaded Anita’s book there, and this is the first time I have managed it with no problems whatsoever. I must be improving. (Or something!)

It would be wonderful if some of you could read it, and maybe say a few words?

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/505748