All about me!

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I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

I’m still working on my next book, “Ghosts on the Sand” and I have one last short story to write before it’s done. Each story is based on events in my past. “Guy at the Bar” is a tongue in cheek thriller based on a man who tried to hit on me back in the seventies while I was having a quiet drink in “The King Bill” which was a pub I frequented in Brompton-on-Swale, where I used to live. “Ghosts on the Sand” was written about five years ago and it is based on my tumultuous childhood. My dad (by blood) was a bully. Mean, lazy and extremely scary. He beat my mam regularly. I have no good memories of him. This story starts after we left him for good. It talks about a little girl who had premonitions. I do still have premonitions, very accurate ones.

There are also two very short stories in this book.They both just popped into my over active brain. “Camera” is total fiction and set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond, North Yorkshire. Its a short, fast paced thriller. My editor couldn’t stop reading it, which meant it was edited super fast. I think that’s a good thing. My final story “The Engineer” isn’t written yet, but it is set in Italy. Total fiction and a kind of black comedy.

Hoping to release this novel for public consumption before March. Can’t wait to hear what you all think.

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Shadows on the wall

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Sam teased Dirk, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was distracted, excited and even a little giddy. Sam enjoyed seeing his old friend look so happy, but he was afraid it would end badly. The old witch had obviously drugged him and made him believe things. Could she really still be alive?

Sam sat alone in front of the fire in his little two up two down home. The home he’d lived in for fifty years. He’d bought it just after he and Sadie were married, raised the twins there. He didn’t want to be young again, not without his wife, life was lonely without her. Cancer had taken her ten years ago and now the only thing that kept him going was her memory. His heart ached when he thought about her, he was ready to leave this world and join her on the other side. Maybe then they’d both be young again and live in eternal bliss.

Sam, Sammie, wake up

“What? Who said that?”

Sam shivered, the fire had died and was nothing but glowing embers. It was dark. He was disoriented, sure he’d heard his wife’s voice, she was the only person who ever called him Sammie.

“You’ve had too much to drink old man.” he said to himself as he climbed the stairs to his bedroom, “and that old fool filled your head with witchcraft.”

He got into bed and pulled the blankets tightly around him, he was cold, deathly cold. Shadows danced on the wall. Shadows that looked like long bony fingers. Fingers that wanted to reach out and probe him, delve into his parchment thin skin.

Take a life, give a life! 

“What, who said that?”

Sammie, Sammie…

Sam closed his eyes and thought of Sadie, he missed her.

Witch in the Wood

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Sam and Dirk sat at a table by the window in the White Swan, or the Mucky Duck as they lovingly called it. Sam looked a Dirk’s face, his blue piercing eyes were full of excitement. He’d seen that look before, but not for a long time.

“You really believe the old hag is a Witch?” Sam asked.

“Old Hag? There’s nothing old about her, and she’s not a hag, she’s a vision of beauty?”

“I haven’t seen her since we were kids, I’m surprised she’s still alive.”

Dirk sat back in his chair. “I was mushrooming a couple of days ago. I wandered into the woods, better mushrooms in there, best I’ve ever seen. Didn’t realize how far I’d gone. Thats when I saw here. She was out gathering herbs.”

“How do you know it was her?”

“I didn’t think at first, she was a mere slip of a girl, long black hair. I was quiet as a mouse, watching her. I could see the old witches cottage in the distance, smoke coming from the chimney. I thought it was the old hag’s granddaughter. Don’t know how she knew I was there, she didn’t even turn around, just spoke.”

Hi Dirk, I haven’t seen you in I long time. 

Sam started laughing, “I think you were picking magic mushrooms, how many did you eat?”

Dirk continued,  “I took a step closer to her and she turned around and looked at me. She was a vision. If only I was 20 years younger?”

“That would make you fifty, still too old.”

Derek seemed not to hear Sam mocking him, “She looked me in the eye and I felt young, alive. She smiled at me.”

Not scared of me anymore? You used to run when I looked at you. 

“She took a step closer and I could feel her breath on my face. It smelled of the forest. She stroked my cheek and my skin tingled.

Dirk turned his face, “Look Sam, look at my cheek.”

Sam’s vision wasn’t what it used to be, so he took his spectacles out of his top pocket to take a closer look. Sam’s cheek appeared to have a scar on it, only it wasn’t a scar, it was a strip of perfectly soft, clear unwrinkled skin.

“Do you see it Sam, do you see what she did?”

Green Eyed Monster

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Sometimes, like the devil, jealousy whispers persistently in your ear.
The green-eyed monster, you have to fight him!

Celine and Cassie were best friends, and had been since Kindergarten. They shared everything, including head lice because their heads, full of bouncy curls, were always together. They went to the same college, shared an apartment, shared a car, but things came undone when they both fell in love with the same man.

He was tall with a mop of thick black hair. His eyes were the deepest blue. He as French and from the moment he opened his mouth, they were both smitten.

“Lets just stay away from him,” Cassie said, “that way nothing can happen, he won’t date either of us and we can continue living our lives just as we always have. He probably doesn’t like us anyway, so we shouldn’t worry.”

She knew different though. She already had a second date with him, they’d already kissed. She told Pierre not to mention it to Celine, she didn’t want her to know. He agreed. As she saw more of him, Celine grew suspicious.

“Where have you been?” Celine asked on night when Cassie got in late.

“I’ve been working out.”

It made sense, she did smell a little, her hair was a mess and her make-up smudged. It started to happen a lot though. Cassie began to follow her. One night Cassie didn’t come home at all. She was gone the following day too. When she finally turned up late in the evening, her eyes shone and she was flushed.

“What have you been up to?” Celine said, her eyes narrowing.

“I’ve met a boy.” Cassie said, “I didn’t want to tell you, but I do now. I think I’m in love.”

“Why did you keep it a secret? Why didn’t you let me meet him?”

Cassie hung her head, “Because you know him. It’s Pierre.”

“You goddamn lying bitch, we agreed to stay away from him. You know I like him.”

Cassie walked across the room. Celine met her half way.

“I’ve been following you. I’ve seen what you’ve been doing. I watched you together you slut! He only wants you for sex.”

“Cassie held out her hand, a diamond sparkled from her engagement finger.”

“He loves me, look, we’re engaged.”

Celine looked odd, he right eye twitched. Her face contorted in anger. She trembled. The room seemed to go a shade darker. She grabbed Cassie by the throat with superhuman strength and pushed her backwards towards the wall, banging her had violently. Blood ran down the yellow paint.

“Celine stop, you’re hurting me.”

“Not nearly enough.” Cassie reached behind her and grabbed a meat cleaver. She’d placed it on the table earlier. Her first intention was to scare Cassie with it. Now she wanted to kill her.

Celine’s eyes looked green, scary and she smiled a deranged terrifying smile as she dragged Cassie towards open window and sank the knife into the top of her head. She didn’t look so happy now.

Below Pierre waited  for Cassie to call him. He knew she was going to tell Celine they were an item. The were engaged and Celine would be the first to know. She’d make a beautiful bridesmaid. Shame she was a closet lesbian. He’d been attracted to her first, until Cassie told him he was wasting his time, she preferred women.

He saw two shapes in the window of their 4th floor apartment. Getting out of the car, he locked the door. It was time to go up and celebrate.

He crossed the road and stood beneath the window, looking up, waiting for one of them to wave at him. Cassie’s face appeared, she opened her mouth to shout at him. He smiled!

Cassie was dead before she fell. The meat cleaver had taken off the top of her head. It was still lodged in her brain when she fell on top of Pierre, it hit him between the eyes. He died instantly.

Their blood mingled and surrounded them on the sidewalk.

Celine looked down at them before stabbing herself in the shoulder.

“Help, HELP!” she yelled from the open window, “I’ve been attacked. He killed my friend, won’t somebody call an ambulance. HELP!”

Camera!

She’d just gotten to the other side of the road when she heard him call.

“Hey, you left your camera in the car.”

“What? That’s not mine.”

“It must be yours. I haven’t picked anyone else up today.” He shoved it into her hand and walked away. The leather strap felt slick, slimy, but worst of all, it felt alive. Lucy shuddered and almost dropped it.

Camera is a bonus short story in my upcoming book “Ghosts on the Sand”. Watch out for it it’s COMING SOON!

Ghosts on the Sand

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Ghosts on the Sand  (Art by Kara Boulden)Strangers emerged from thin air, running toward the fire, shouting to one another in a language I didn’t understand. The watery inferno illuminated their fear-stricken faces. Shadowy figures floated slowly toward the shore, bobbing up and down grotesquely in the shallow water.

Trembling, I closed my eyes and prayed. Was this a nightmare?

Kara Boulden is an exceptional artist and she has agreed to produce a fabulous book cover for me. This is where we are so far. What do you think? I LOVE it.

Juggling work, home, chores and life with my next book release is tough, but I can do it.

Ghosts on the Sand (and other chilling tales) will be released late 2017 or early 2018. It will be a compilation of three or four short stories at the bargain price of $99 for the eBook.

I’m excited for you to read my next venture, and encourage feedback (good or bad), its how I become a better writer. As I head down the road to retirement I realize I’ll never truly retire, so writing will be my new and very pleasurable job.

Toodles, pop back soon!

Legacy of the Lake

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The pregnancy hadn’t been a good one. Juliet had been bedridden for most of it. The birth was a struggle too.  Afterwards she barely found strength to hold Sacha. The beautiful baby girl was named after Jake’s grandmother.

“Do you want me to go? I can leave you to get some sleep if you like.” Jake asked.

He worried as he looked at her exhausted pale face, and the dark rings under her eyes.

“No, stay. Dad will be here soon, stay until he leaves. Talk to him for me. I’m just so tired, but I want him here, I want him to see Sacha.” her voice trembled, “Wish mum was still here.”

Jake reached out and put his hand over Juliet’s. “She’s here, she’s watching you.”

“But I don’t feel her. How do I know?” She shivered. “It’s so cold in here.”

Jake took another blanket from the closet and tucked her in. There that should keep you warm. “I’ll be back in a second,”

He found a nurse “Whats wrong with her? Why is she so weak? It’s 24 hours since she had the baby, shouldn’t she start to feel better? I’m worried, I don’t want to lose her.”

“We’ll watch her, she’ll get better everything looks fine, but she’s exhausted. The trauma of losing her mother isn’t helping. Did the police ever figure out what happened? Was it suicide?”

Jake hung his head. “Can’t see she’d kill herself, but why would she get so close to the lake in her wheelchair? Tragic accident is what they’re saying.”

The shadows in Juliet’s room gathered unseen around the crib. Sacha slept, swaddled in blankets as a dozen eyes looked down at her. She’s perfect they whispered she’ll be ours soon. The keeper of the lake.

Juliet didn’t hear them, she was slipping away into a drug induced haven, blocking out a terror she didn’t yet know, just like her mother before her. The family legacy continued and Sacha was next in line.

 

Nice Day for a Wet Wedding!

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Juliet discovered she was pregnant a month before the wedding. It wasn’t a problem, unless morning sickness spoiled the big day. She was happy, and so was Jake. Pregnancy meant no wild hen party (or bachelorette party as her American friends called it), but that was OK, she could put it on hold until after the baby was born, something to look froward to.

Then the big day came. May 15th. She was awoken by someone tapping on her bedroom door.
“Is the bride ready for breakfast?”
“Come on in dad, I’m awake”
He dad carried a tray laden with goodies. Fruit, coffee, brioche, jam.
“You’re the best dad in the world!”
“I just want to spoil my little girl while I can. Why are you crying? Don’t cry. You still want to get married don’t you?”
“I’m crying because I’m happy!”
The quiet moment didn’t last long. The doorbell rang constantly after that as caterers, family, friends and neighbors showed up to help prepare for the big event. Juliet drank her coffee and nibbled some fruit, but was far too excited to eat more. She was marrying the man she loved. Life was good.

Stretching she slid out of bed and walked across to the window. The large marquee was set up out front and was bustling with activity. There were flowers, balloons, lights, tables, ribbons. Everything a girl could ask for and more. The sky was a perfect blue.
I’m so lucky, nothing could spoil this moment.

Juliet was wrong!

As she slipped into her beautiful white wedding dress thunder rumbled, and it wasn’t in the distance, it was right overhead. She shivered! Please don’t rain on my wedding day! By the time the bridesmaids had fixed her veil the first big drops of rain splattered on the ground.
“I hope the marquee is waterproof.” she joked, but she wasn’t laughing inside. Something bothered her. When she saw Jake waiting for her in the marquee, she stopped worrying. The sight of him filled her with happiness. His hair was cut shorter than normal and made him look like a school boy again. She remembered their first prom together and smiled and walked towards him.

As the ceremony began, the intensity of the rain increased. By the time they exchanged vows they had to shout to be heard.

The happy couple said I do, kissed and then turned to face their guests. They were finally man and wife!

Something caught Julia’s eye at by the entrance at the side. A woman stood dripping with water. She was dressed in black. A dark veil covered her face. Juliet stopped smiling when she saw her. Something was wrong, something tugged at her memory. Who is that? The woman lifted her veil revealing her face.

Juliet’s face.

Jake tried to hold onto his bride, but she fell to her knees.

Juliet fainted.

Where are you Juliet?

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Gasping for breath, Jake sat up. He was cold! Where am I?
Are you okay?”
Juliet looked at him, concern in her big brown eyes.
“I must have fallen asleep. I had a weird dream.”
He put his arms around his new fiancée and hugged her close, kissing the top of her head. She smelled good. The mists of his nightmare faded as she lifted her face and kissed him again.
“What did you dream?” she asked.
“I can’t really remember, I think I was drowning!”
“Well there isn’t much chance of that happening is there”? You were the champion of the swim team in high school. No drowning for you Jake”
He smiled at her and kissed her again, pulling her close, feeling the warmth of her body close to him.
“When shall we get married. I want to wake up next to you every morning for the rest of my life.”
“Next June,” Juliet replied, “everyone loves a June wedding.”
She stood up and walked down to the lake, dipping her toes into the cool clear water. Jake shivered, but he didn’t know why. Juliet turned and reached out to him, here
come sit by the water for a while, it feels good. They sat with their toes in the water, the sunset and fading light turning the lake’s surface red.
It looks like Hell!
“I’ve never told anyone this before, but I got a bad scare down here one night. I thought I saw a lady in the middle of the lake.” Juliet said as she gazed into the distance.
“What, you mean in a boat or something?”
“No, it was weird and scary she was just hovering there. Half of her body was under the water. She had long hair. I know it was just the light playing tricks with me, but it scared the crap out of me. I thought it was a ghost.”
“Did you ever see her again?” Jake could hardly get the words out of his mouth as his dream flooded his brain. The sun was gone and the remaining light played tricks with the shadows. He began to shiver. He took hold of Juliet’s hand. It was as cold as ice. When he looked at their reflection in the still water he froze.
He was alone!