Hell of a Week…

It would be lovely if I could think of one thing at a time these days, but it’s not happening. I have been trying to publish shadows, Anita’s new book of poetry. Fate is conspiring against me, but I aim to release it next week.

And the more I struggle to think about writing, it opens the floodgates for a ton of ideas to jump into my head. I often wonder if I am on the wrong horse, so to speak.

Wrong house more like, as we have had major roadworks outside the house for two weeks. They have moved along the road today, but I can still hear their infernal noise. 

And now we have these temporary traffic lights right outside the front door!

So concentrating has been a mite difficult, to say the least.

Making sure we have enough medication for Anita is proving difficult too, as our doctor’s surgery is obviously being run by a bunch of idiots. That is probably a little unkind, as I’m sure they are doing their best. I keep sending them the updated lists from the hospital whenever the meds change, but they still don’t get them right.

Then today, the heart consultant telephoned to talk about the pacemaker/defibrillator and to reassure us that it will happen soon. This will be the last piece of the puzzle and will finally fix Anita’s wagon!

Petersfield Pond

This afternoon, the family took us out to our local lake, affectionally called the Pond. We love this place, but it seemed as though the whole of Petersfield had the same idea! There was no room on any of the benches and the lovely cafe had removed all their seating, so I had to forego my usual mug of hot chocolate. 

All things considered, it was wonderful to see the water and the wildlife and the walk was undoubtably good for us both…

#BlogBattle ~ Conceal

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#BlogBattle: Conceal

Blogbattle_CONCEAL
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

He heard the sound the minute he walked into the dining room to start work removing the ugly fireplace.

A faint scraping sound echoed around the room, but where was it coming from?

His mind returned to the job in hand, the removal of the totally unsuitable faux marble fireplace. He swung the large club hammer at the bolster chisel to separate the cheap surround from the wall. Seconds later, the scraping sound set his nerves on edge. He winced.

“Don’t be daft…you’re imagining it!”

But every blow he made was answered by the sound that seemed to be coming from the walls.

Once the fireplace lay on the floor in pieces, he started to carry the pieces out to his truck. Each time he returned; the noise greeted him. 

What began as curiosity and amusement, slowly turned to annoyance and he couldn’t decide what to do about it.

He had to be imagining it, for he had moved in six weeks ago and not heard anything before now.

Maybe he should just ignore it.

Instantly, as if it heard his thoughts, the slightly louder sounds seemed to argue with that idea.

He slowly walked around the room, pausing at each wall but annoyingly, he heard nothing.

Three of the walls were brick, but the one adjoining the kitchen was a partition wall, plasterboard on a timber frame. He remembered building it the week before, and if there was anything trapped, it would be in that one.

It was getting late, and he was hungry. Whatever was going on would have to wait until tomorrow. As he turned to leave, the noise began again, and the sense of urgency was palpable.

He reached into his toolbox for his utility knife and approached the partition wall. Carefully, as he couldn’t remember exactly where the power cables were, he cut a sizeable hole and using the torch on his phone, he stretched his head through to see what the wall might conceal.

He could hear something moving about. He tried to see what it was, but the hole was too high. 

Minutes later, after cutting a hole at ground level, a small, bedraggled cat crawled out, barely alive.

But how had it managed to get trapped in there?

©Jaye Marie 2020

#Tuesday Book Blog ~ The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar ~ #SuspenseActionThriller @JacqieBiggar

The Beast Within: A Gripping Psychological Thriller (Mended Souls- Book 2) Kindle Edition

When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.
Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.
And threatening his key witness.
As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?
Or will a killer become the winner?

From USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar, Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

The twists and turns in this story are amazing. Just when you think you know where the adventure is going, it switches to the unexpected. Definitely kept me entertained and on my toes!
Jacqui Nelson

THE BEAST WITHIN by Jacquie Biggar did not disappoint! These books are a great blend of contemporary romance with added suspense and the paranormal element of guardian angels that have ties to the main characters.
Avonna

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MQEVI55/

Our Review

I found the opening paragraph of The Beast Within painful to read, but it did set the tone for the rest of the book very well.

I love a good mystery thriller, and the premise for this book promised to tick all of my boxes. It has a strong emotional  and romantic element, warring guardian angels and an evil serial killer, all combining into one of the best suspense novels I have read in a while.

Add to all of that, an unrelenting pace, beautifully descriptive writing and multiple storylines, in short, a book that will not allow you to stop reading.

The Beast Within is the first of Jacquie Biggar’s books I have read, and it didn’t take me long to realise I would have benefitted from reading the first book in the Mended Souls trilogy. The story itself stands alone, I just felt the need to know the characters a little better.

I will be reading the first book in this trilogy while I await the conclusion to this amazing series…

Excerpt from The Beast Within

Mike sank into the chair his wife had recently vacated in the conference room at the police station. He stared at the door and pictured the cop holding Jules pressed up against its smooth surface while he locked lips with her like she was in need of CPR.

And she’d let him.

His head fell back, and he closed his eyes, desperately trying to erase the preceding minutes from existence. Moisture leaked down his cheeks and into his ears. The heart that he’d thought was frozen in time, cracked. Great fissures of agony and sorrow spilled into his chest, filling his soul with darkness and rage. Why was this happening to him? Why was he being tortured this way? Wasn’t it enough that he’d lost his family and then was given the task of teaching his enemy repentance? How was he supposed to stand by and watch the love of his life move on with another man? Maybe even raise his children?

No.

Mike erupted from his seat, and the chair flew against the wall before bouncing to the floor. He strode for the door, determined to bust the cop’s face and then grab his wife, throw her over his shoulder, and head for home where she belonged. Then the memory of what he was drew him up short. A freaking angel. It didn’t matter how much he ached to stake his claim, it wouldn’t do any good, would it? Unless they were going to re-enact that sappy chick flick Jules used to pick every other month for their date night, it wasn’t going to work. He was a ghost—and she wasn’t.

His stomach sank. That meant he was going to have to learn to accept other men entering her life, and maybe even staying.

She deserved happiness.

About the Author

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters. Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

#Throwback Thursday ~ Our Review for Silent Mayhem by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #SuspenseThriller

Silent Mayhem: The Mayhem Series: #3 Kindle Edition

Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.

When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.

While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.

Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?

Our Review

Another remarkable story in the Mayhem series and the main character, Mr Mayhem gets even better!

Infuriatingly enigmatic as always, I love the way he adores his crows, his wife, and even Shawnee Daniels in his own inimitable way.

I loved reading the fascinating history about the Navajo Indians and the importance of the eagle feathers.

They say that all good writing should leave you wanting answers, and Silent Mayhem, the third book in the series is chock full of questions as it gears up for the next instalment.

In the meantime, I have a few of my own…

How, exactly, can a cold-blooded killer be so kind, and believe that Shawnee had killed anyone?

How did he cure her mysterious illness and why did he want to keep her safe?

And who is this Navajo skinwalker?

I can thoroughly recommend Silent Mayhem, the pace might give you a coronary though, so you have been warned!

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Review for Tales from an Irish Garden by Sally Cronin #FantasyRomance @sgc58

Tales From the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.
As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians.

(Lerpersian, I have discovered, is another name for a Leprechaun.)

Our Review

Tales from an Irish Garden begins at Christmas time in the magical Spanish garden. Queen Filigree was looking forward to the festivities, but bad news arrived first.

The Queen and all her subjects could no longer stay in Spain and would have to leave their beautiful home and find another with the help of the Storyteller.

At the eleventh hour, another location was found in Ireland, where they will need to adapt to the new surroundings and very different weather.

How this was achieved was beautifully described in perfect detail in a series of magical stories. I loved all these stories, but will always remember one, The Kindness of Mice…

#Throwback Thursday ~ Review for Voyage of the Lanternfish by C S Boyack #Action&Adventure @coldhandboyack

Voyage of the Lanternfish Kindle Edition

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.
He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.
James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Our Review

The Voyage of the Lanternfish is altogether a far more complicated and serious work than the author’s previous stories. Kidnapping and talk of starting a war had me thinking I had picked up the wrong book.

The solid sense of humour, wonderful storyline and intriguing characters kept me turning the pages and I almost read it all in one sitting.

This story has everything.

Adventure, magic, romance and an incredible cast of some of the strangest creatures I have ever read about. I couldn’t decide which character I like the most, as they all bring something special to the story.

I have read most of C S Boyack’s books and enjoyed them all, but I will remember The Voyage of the Lanternfish for some time.

If you like magical fantasy with a strong sense of realism, this brilliant book is for you…

#Throwback Thursday ~ excerpt from Out of Time… #MysteryThriller

 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 Out of Time

 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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ABOUT US: For those new to our website and blog, we would like to thank you for visiting. Between us, we write in several different genres, so there should be something for everyone to enjoy. Anita cannot abide computers, so I (Jaye) do all the technical (oily rag) stuff! Our books tend to be varied, from horror to supernatural romance and coming of age, and mystery thrillers.  We try to keep our website interesting with guest posts, bloggers, poetry, and reviews for all the books we read. Our books are shown in the right-hand sidebar and clicking on the images should take you straight to Amazon. If you enjoyed your visit, we would love you to leave a comment… Hoping to see you again!

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Morse Code Mouse? #Keepitalive ~ #Whatdoyousee

What do you see # 39 – 20 July 2020

Image credit- Pixabay- S Hermann and F Richter

( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a tiny mouse sitting in a wicker basket. There are a couple of grocery lists and some dry pantry items in the background)

It was going to be another hot day and I was up early, trying to catch up on the editing I was desperately trying to finish.

I worked solidly for an hour and the heat was beginning to build. Instead of the early morning freshness, each breath of air was warm in my throat.

Sitting at my desk, pen in hand trying to pretend I was writing, I stared out the window, wondering how long this hot weather would last.

I hate being hot and sweaty all the time. They had promised a thunderstorm later, so that was something to look forward to.

From my window, I had a good view of the garden hedge and its half-clipped state taunted me. It had been abandoned when the hot weather struck. It looked ridiculous, with one side neatly clipped and the top and other side sprouting long shoots like a mad hairstyle. I itched to finish it, but not until the heat let up a bit.

That was when the tapping began.

It seemed to be coming from next door, something we used to hearing. They have a small boy who delights in banging anything he can find on the walls.

As we patiently waited for the noise to stop, I began to imagine someone in trouble, tapping out a message to summon help. This is an occupational hazard for writers, we use any opportunity to create scenarios.

The tapping sounded like Morse code, but with no recognisable pattern. We discussed different reasons why the person in trouble couldn’t shout and that was when we wondered if there was anyone at home next door. It was a school day, and both parents worked, so the mystery was getting deeper.

Anita decided to check and knocked on their front door. When no one appeared, she looked through the windows just in case there was someone lying on the floor.

By now, the tapping had reached a seriously annoying level and I wanted to scream to make it stop. It was louder in the kitchen, but every time we walked into the room, the tapping stopped. Almost as though the tapper could see us and was patiently waiting for us to leave.

As the time went on, the incessant tapping seemed to be increasing, becoming more urgent.

We went through all the possibilities, like could the fridge be making the noise. It did produce odd clicks now and then when defrosting, but nothing like what we were hearing now.

Was there something in the wall, trying to munch its way out?

We have bats in the roof but have never heard them. Anyway, the bathroom was between the kitchen and the roof, so it wasn’t likely.

The kitchen floor was solid concrete, so the tapping couldn’t be coming from there either.

It was almost lunchtime and the tapping had been constant all morning. Our nerves were frayed, and the rising temperature added to the desperation.

That was when Anita mentioned that the tapping sounded metallic and she remembered the mouse trap.

This was one of those humane traps, where the mice can go in to eat the cheese but cannot get back out again.  We bought this a long time ago when Merlin started bringing mice into the house. He never kills them you see, and we were for ever chasing them around the house to put them outside.

Now, normally, when one of his playmates has found the cheese, he lets us know so we can release it. For some reason, this time he hadn’t.

I slid the trap out from under the cupboard and peered inside. I couldn’t see a mouse, but the cheese had been nibbled. I took the trap out into the garden and lifted the lid. Instantly, a tiny but very determined field mouse appeared and leaped to freedom.

Problem solved and peace returned to the household.

Now, where is that thunderstorm?

AAA (2)

This post brought to mind when the first of these visitors began to arrive, and the terrible circumstances that ensued.

If you would like to read these posts, you can find them at the following links…

Tom and Jerry  Part One

Tom and Jerry  Part two

#Throwback Thursday ~ Out of the Shadows and Into my Book…

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This is how Silent PayBack began…

For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.

I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.

This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!

All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…

At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.

He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…

He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.

There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…

I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…

And the rest, as they say, is history…

©Jaye Marie 2020

Jaye’s Journal …

Jaye's Journal x12

Every now and then, we get a wake-up call, a wonderful moment when a magic light bulb illuminates an area in our brain. This usually heralds a brilliant idea, something groundbreaking or so incredibly sensible, you wonder why it took so long to surface.

Then there are the other kind. The ones accompanied by that awful stomach churning, as you realise how stupid you are or have been.

Today, I had one of these, and it has done absolutely nothing good to my self-confidence. I was rechecking the enormous pile of helpful notes (I use this term advisedly) when the realisation hit me between the eyes.

We make all these lists of things to do, things to remember or try. Then we get a sense of achievement when we actually cross something off. Today, it was brought home to me, just how stupid that is.

I had been watching a trailer someone had made using a company called Animoto. That name rang a bell, but the memory didn’t follow on. Had  I already checked them out? And if  I did, what did I find?

Those of you with fantastic memories will not need the advice I am about to share, but I suspect quite a few of you, like me, will find it useful.

When we read something that needs checking out, we should have a place to record our findings. Either a page in a notebook or an index card in our follow up box. Write a simple assessment, was it good/rubbish/too expensive/unsuitable…and if you logged on to the site, record the URL and your password.

I have no idea why this has never occurred to me before, as I seem to spend my life revisiting sites, only to realise I had been there before. It will be so helpful to be able to see at a glance all the info.

Just think of the time saved!