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Two free books to give away

I’m giving away two paperback copies of Throwing Light through Goodreads. If you’d like to enter, follow this link.

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And don’t forget that you’ll receive free e-book copies of my two short story prequels to Throwing Light: Missing the Obvious and Shame on Who?  if you sign up for my mailing list. Just click the big red box on the welcome page of this website.

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Throwing Light is published and I have a pressie for you

Good morning. My second novel, Throwing Light is now live on Amazon as an ebook. The paperback will be available in a couple of days.

front-cover-throwing-light-cover-option-4-copy Throwing Light is a mystery/thriller with romantic elements and according to my beta readers, it’s a real page-turner.

Here’s the blurb –

Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother’s death and handle the unexpected arrival of Tom, her ex-boyfriend, when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years.

Grace’s investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.

 

missing-the-obvious-copyTo celebrate the release of Throwing Light, I’m giving away free copies of the ebook Missing the Obvious which is a short prequel to Throwing Light. All you have to do is sign up to my newsletter. There’s a link on the front page of this website.

Three years before ‘Throwing Light’ begins, Tom and Grace find themselves thrust together at the wedding of their old friend, David. Grace is trying hard to ignore her inappropriate crush on her best friend’s big brother, but when he starts to flirt with her, she wonders if tonight will be her opportunity to finally act on her hidden feelings.

Happy new year

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Hi and happy new year. I hope some of you managed to take advantage of the fill your e-reader promotion and stocked up on lots of cheap and free books for 2017.

I took a wee break from writing (not completely) and sewed myself a new summer wardrobe over the break.

I was very pleased with the final marks from the first year of my Applied Writing Diploma with 90% plus for all my courses except one which was a very tricky editing paper so I’ll try not to beat myself up over it.

I’m hoping that my next novel will be ready to publish in February and I’m planning to do some promotion this time to try and push sales. It’s a big, scary market out there full of books and it’s very difficult to get noticed.

Anyway, here is a short story I wrote as part of my myths and legends course last year. It’s a re-working of a classic fairytale. Can you guess which one? (I’m sure the picture will give it away).

Incarnadine

Jack leant against the dumpster, his eyes following the woman as she stumbled into the service lane behind Rider’s.  Smoke billowed from between his lips. He flicked his cigarette butt and it flew in an arc, before landing with a hiss in an oily puddle.

She’d been in the bar all night in that tight red dress—eyelashes fluttering, crimson lips parted, her hand resting lightly on his arm.  She was a looker; jet black hair that tumbled down her back, her skin pale and so smooth. The tip of his tongue swept across his bottom lip.

The woman stumbled, her movements graceless and clumsy. She came to a sudden stop, the heel of her bright red stiletto caught on the rough ground. There was a loud crack, she seemed to hang, suspended in the air for a moment, and then she fell, hitting the ground hard. Jack chuckled to himself as a line of juicy swearwords escaped her lips.

He watched her squirm, her hands and knees sliding against the slimy pavers.  Eventually, he pushed himself off the dumpster and reached for his backpack.  His approach to her was a casual saunter.

“Looks like you could use some help.” His large hand grasped her smooth, pale arm.

Within a moment she was back up on her feet. She peered at him.

“I know you. You’re that guy,” she slurred as her red-lacquered finger-tip jabbed his chest. “You bought me a drink—before.”

Her eyes closed and her head lolled back. He gave her a shake. She lifted her heavily painted lids.

“Where are you going, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Home,” she mumbled.

“Where d’you live?”

“I’m not gonna tell you where I live. I’ll get a cab.”

“Come on then.”

She leaned against him as they walked towards the orange glow of the street lights, which cast a sickly pallor over the squalor that surrounded the bar. A taxi waited at the curbside, engine idling, lights on.  He yanked the door open. As she tumbled into the back seat, the driver looked over his shoulder and frowned.

“She’d better not yack in the back of my car.  It’s a fifty dollar cleaning fee for anyone who yacks.”  The driver thrust his hand out. “You pay me now, up-front.”

Jack sighed as he extracted a crumpled note from his wallet and shoved into the driver’s palm.

“Where am I taking her?” The driver examined the note and then stuffed it into his shirt pocket.

“Twenty-one Forest Street,” she muttered before face-planting against the seat.

When the red lights of the cab had disappeared around the corner, Jack strode back into the alley.  The chrome of his precious Ducati gleamed as he wheeled it out from behind the dumpster.

“Let’s go for a ride,” he muttered under his breath as he mounted the bike.

The engine rumbled. He pulled out into the street.

Thanks to the numerous short cuts, as familiar to him as the back of his own hand, he reached his destination in a couple of minutes.  He cut the engine and swung his leg free.  His heavy boot hit the asphalt with a thud that echoed against the houses. But no lights came on, no curtains twitched. Jack pushed the heavy bike down a small path that ran between the houses. He heaved it up onto its stand, before easily vaulting over a high wooden fence.  The catch on the kitchen window yielded effortlessly to the long narrow blade he extracted from his backpack.

The house was dim, lit only from the street.  His footfalls were light as he followed his nose up the narrow staircase to her room. Several dresses, all red, lay in disarray on the bed. Her perfume hung, heady and pungent in the air.  Jack smiled to himself, grabbed a couple of pillows and settled down onto the floor behind her bed.

Only minutes passed before the whine of the taxi’s loose fan belt and the slam of the front door reached his ears. His skin prickled when he heard her stumble on the stairs, cursing to herself.

The door flew open with a crash. Her staggering gait led her to the bed, where she fell.  Within moments, her back rose and fell with soft snores.  He pushed himself up, looming over her prostrate form. It had taken him years of practice to perfect his line. He liked to deliver it in a gruff, deep voice—it always put the shits up them when he did it that way.

“Hi, darlin’, d’you want it gentle? Or d’you want it rough? Cause if— ”

Before he could finish, she sprung cat-like off the bed.  Something hard came down on his temple and he saw stars as he fell back against the wardrobe with a crash.

“What the hell?” were the only words that passed his lips before he was flipped over onto his front, his face forced against the carpet. A knee pressed, heavy and sharp, between his shoulder blades. His arms flailed as he hollered. Lightning-fast, his wrists were pulled behind his back and he heard the metallic click of handcuffs.

“Now, Daarlin’. Do you want it gentle? Or do you want it rough?” Her voice was different now, clearer, the slur was gone.

He struggled. “You bitch! This was a set-up!”

She drove her knee deeper into his back, he winced, crying out. Then a second voice reached his ears—another woman.

“Okay, Officer Scarlett. That’s enough.  We don’t want him to make a claim of police brutality.”

The pressure on his back ceased.  He spit out carpet fluff as he peered up over his shoulder. Officer Scarlett stood astride him, her head tilted to one side, a revolver clutched in her hand.  Her makeup was smudged—black rings surrounded her eyes and a smear of crimson lipstick spread across her cheek.  She reminded him of the demented clown from that Stephen King movie.

The other woman stepped into view.  She was dressed in black. Her grey hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.  As she lowered herself onto the bed, she stared down at him.  Another person entered the room—the taxi driver.  Jack cursed, he should have been suspicious when the cab was right there waiting outside the bar. It was impossible to get a ride in that part of town after midnight.

The older woman addressed him. “We finally meet in person, Jack. It’s been a long time coming. I’d like to say that it’s a pleasure, but—” She paused as her hand moved her chest.  “I’m Inspector Savta.” She gestured towards the taxi driver. “And this is Officer Hunt. You’ve already met Officer Scarlett, of course.”

“You can’t do this!” Jack shouted. “It’s entrapment!”

He flinched, as the toe of Officer Scarlett’s stiletto contacted with his ribs. “Shut that big mouth of yours, Woolf.”

Inspector Savta cast a look at her colleague and then continued. “Jack Woolf, You are under arrest for breaking and entering and attempted rape. I am also required to advise you that you are a suspect in several other—”

Jack lowered his face onto the carpet; the old lady’s voice became white noise. He always knew that they would catch up with him eventually.  It was his own fault. He should have known better than to follow a girl in a red dress—the ones who wore red were always trouble.

 

Merry Xmas

Hiya,

I completed NaNoWriMo in November which for those who don’t know is the National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write 50,000 words in a month. I managed to do just over 56,000 by the 19th of November so I’m pretty happy with that—whether I ever use what I wrote is another matter…

My second novel, which had the working title ‘Closed’ (I mentioned it in my last blog), is now with my beta readers who are looking for any major issues before I send it for a final line edit to pick out all those pesky misplaced commas and other typos. The title is probably going to be ‘Seeking Grace’ as my developmental editor, Michelle didn’t love the original title and I trust her judgement.

Here’s the new proposed cover and blurb – again, any feedback would be appreciated:

seeking-grace-front-cover-copy

Grace is in the midst of a personal and professional crisis when Tom, the man who broke her heart two years earlier, turns up on her doorstep and attempts to re-kindle their relationship.

Just when Grace thinks that her life can’t become any more complex, a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns everything she believes about herself and her life on its head.

She begins a search for the truth and stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years.Grace’s investigations unearth long-held rivalries and open old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.

Also, here’s a very short flash fiction I wrote recently:

Hangman with Ari

“What’s your dog’s name? My grandpa’s got a dog, but I don’t see him cause we’re not allowed to go to my Grandpa’s house anymore…”

The boy hangs around our table.  He has tiny teeth and wide, ingenuous eyes.

“What are you doing? I know how to play hangman. I’ll get some paper.”

He’s a mosquito, buzzing, bothering. My husband engages him in conversation and is, as always, more patient than me.

I glance at the boy’s mother, willing her to call her child. Eyes on her phone,  she lights a cigarette and sits in her booth, ignoring him and us.

“Three letters,” he says. “It’s my name, guess my name.”

We reluctantly join the game.

“A.”

The boy giggles as he adds the A.

Our hangman builds stick by stick until we guess the next letter: i.

A _i

Two big dogs pass on the street, slobbering and straining at their leashes. The boy runs to them.

“Ari. Don’t run on the road.”  His mother looks up from her phone for the first time, then lights another cigarette and look back down.

He runs on the road and pats the dogs. I suppress the urge to caution him. Not my child, not my problem.

He returns to us, his crayon poised over the page again.

“r” I say, wanting the game to be over.

He completes the puzzle and starts a new game, chattering endlessly.

His mother stands up and walks away without a backwards glance. Ari drops the crayon and runs after her. She crosses the road. Ari pursues. A driver swerves and sounds his horn. She doesn’t look back.

We watch until they’re out of sight.

When you were at our table, I wanted to be rid of you, Ari. Now I can’t get you out of my head.

I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas and I’ll catch up with you in the new year. Kathy xxx