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Hannah Fielding’s FAN-tastic Fiesta

Hannah Fielding’s ‘Andalucian Nights Trilogy’ has recently been released as a single edition.  To celebrate, Hannah is holding a FAN-tastic fiesta this month and you have the chance to win a beautiful Spanish fan or a book.  First off though here is some information about ‘The Andalucian Nights Trilogy’.

 

Book Blurb

The award-winning epic Andalucían Nights Trilogy sweeps the reader from the wild landscapes of Spain in the 1950s, through a history of dangerous liaisons and revenge dramas, to a modern world of undercover missions and buried secrets. Romantic, exotic and deeply compelling, and featuring a memorable cast of characters, including a passionate young gypsy, a troubled young writer and an estranged family, The Andalucían Nights Trilogy is a romantic treat waiting to be discovered.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Andalucian-Nights-Trilogy-Award-winning-Romantic-ebook/dp/B06XKZ2XKC/

 

Competition

Six very lucky people have the chance to win a prize in this competition.  They are:-

1 x paperback copy of ‘Indiscretion’
1 x paperback copy of ‘Masquerade’
1 x paperback copy of ‘Legacy’
3 x a Spanish fan

To enter click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway

Entry is open to all and the competition closes on the 15th August 2017.

 

About Hannah Fielding

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.

Hannah is a multi-award-winning novelist, and to date she has published five novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; The Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’, set in Italy; and the Andalucian Nights Trilogy – Indiscretion, Masquerade and Legacy – her fieriest novels yet, set in sunny, sultry Spain.

You can find Hannah online at:-

Website: www.hannahfielding.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/fieldinghannah

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hannah-Fielding-Author-Page-340558735991910/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding

Blog Blitz – ‘A Cornish Christmas’ by Lily Graham

book-cover

This is the cover of Lily Graham’s new book, ‘A Cornish Christmas’ which is out today, published by Bookouture.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  I have a little taster for all of you but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic …

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea – a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever.  When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember.

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come.

 

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

The Writing Desk

 

Even now it seemed to wait.

Part of me, a small irrational part, needed it to stay exactly where it was, atop the faded Persian rug, bowing beneath the visceral pulse of her letters and the remembered whisper from the scratch of her pen. The rosewood chair, with its slim turned-out legs, suspended forevermore in hopeful expectation of her return. Like me, I wondered if it couldn’t help but wish that somehow she still could.

I hadn’t had the strength to clear it, nor the will. Neither had Dad and so it remained standing sentry, as it had throughout the years with Mum at the wheel, the heart, the hub of the living room.

If I closed my eyes, I could still hear her hum along to Tchaikovsky – her pre-Christmas music – as she wrapped up presents with strings, ribbons and clear cellophane, into which she’d scatter stardust and moonbeams, or at least so it seemed to my young eyes. Each gift, a gift within a gift.

One of my earliest memories is of me sitting before the fire, rolling a length of thick red yarn for Fat Arnold, our squashed-face Persian, who languished by the warmth, his fur pearly white in the glow. His one eye open while his paw twitched, as if to say he’d play, if only he could find the will. In the soft light Mum sat and laughed, the firelight casting lowlights in her long blonde hair. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, away from the memory of her smile.

Dad wanted me to have it: her old writing desk. I couldn’t bear to think of the living room without it, but he insisted. He’d looked at me, above his round horn-rimmed glasses, perpetual tufts of coarse grey hair poking out mad-hatter style on either side of his head, and said with his faraway philosopher’s smile, ‘Ivy, it would have made her happy, knowing that you had it. . .’ And I knew I’d lost.

Still it had taken me two weeks to get up the nerve. Two weeks and Stuart’s gentle yet insistent prodding. He’d offered to help, to at least clear it for me, and bring it through to our new home so that I wouldn’t have to face it. Wouldn’t have to reopen a scar that was trying its best to heal. He’d meant well. I knew that he would’ve treated her things reverently; he would’ve stacked all her letters, tied them up with string, his long fingers slowly rolling up the lengths of old ribbon and carefully putting them away into a someday box that I could open when I was ready. It was his way, his sweet, considerate Stuart way. But I knew I had to be the one who did it. Like a bittersweet rite of passage, some sad things only you can do yourself. So I gathered up my will, along with the box at my feet and began.

It was both harder and easier than I expected. Seeing her things as she left them should have made the lump in my throat unbearable, it should have been intolerable, but it wasn’t somehow.

I began with the drawer, emptying it of its collection of creamy, loose-leafed paper; fine ribbons; and assorted string, working my way to the heart of the Victorian desk, with its warren of pigeon holes, packed with old letters, patterned envelopes, stamps, watercolour brushes, and tubes of half-finished paint.

But it was the half-finished tasks that made the breath catch in my throat. A hand-painted Christmas card, with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying over the chimney tops, poor Rudolph eternally in wait for his little watercolour nose. Mum had always made her own, more magical and whimsical than any you could buy. My fingers shook as I held the card in my hand, my throat tight. Seeing this, it’s little wonder I became a children’s book illustrator. I put it on top of the pile, so that later I could paint in Santa’s missing guiding light.

It was only when I made to close the desk that I saw it: a paper triangle peeking out from the metal hinge. It was tightly wedged but, after some wiggling, I pried it loose, only – in a way – to wish I hadn’t.

It was a beautiful, vintage French postcard, like the ones we’d bought when we holidayed there, when I was fifteen and fell in love with everything en français. It had a faded sepia print of the Jardin des Tuileries on the cover, and in elegant Century print it read ‘[Century font writing] Carte Postale’ on the back.

It was blank. Except for two words, two wretchedly perfect little words that caused the tears that had threatened all morning to finally erupt.

Darling Ivy

It was addressed to me. I didn’t know which was worse: the unexpected blow of being called ‘Darling Ivy’ one last time, finding out she’d had this last unexpected gift waiting for me all along, or that she’d never finish it. I suppose it was a combination of all three.

Three velvet-tipped daggers that impaled my heart.

I placed it in the box together with the unfinished Christmas card and sobbed, as I hadn’t allowed myself to for years.

Five years ago, when she passed, I believed that I’d never stop. A friend had told me that ‘time heals all wounds’ and it had taken every ounce of strength not to give her a wound that time would never heal, even though I knew she’d meant well. Time, I knew, couldn’t heal this type of wound. Death is not something you get over. It’s the rip that exposes life in a before and after chasm and all you can do is try to exist as best you can in the after. Time could only really offer a moment when the urge to scream would become a little less.

Another friend of mine, who’d lost his leg and his father in the same day, explained it better. He’d said that it was a loss that every day you manage and some days are better than others. That seemed fair. He’d said that death for him was like the loss of the limb, as even on those good days you were living in the shadow of what you had lost. It wasn’t something you recovered from completely, no matter how many people, yourself included, pretended otherwise. Somehow that helped, and I’d gotten used to living with it, which I suppose was what he meant.

The desk wasn’t heavy. Such a substantial part of my childhood, it felt like it should weigh more than it did, but it didn’t and I managed it easily alone. I picked it up and crossed the living room, through the blue-carpeted passage, pausing only to shift it slightly as I exited the back door towards my car, a mint green Mini Cooper.

Setting the desk down on the cobbled path, I opened up my boot, releasing the back seats so they folded over before setting the desk on top, with a little bit of careful manoeuvring. It felt strange to see it there, smaller than I remembered. I shut the boot and went back inside for the chair and the box where I’d placed all her things; there was never any question of leaving it behind. On my way back, I locked up Dad’s house, a small smile unfurling as I noticed the little wreath he’d placed on the door, like a green shoot through the snow after the longest winter. It hadn’t been Christmas here for many years.

Back to my car, I squeezed the chair in next to the desk and placed the box on the passenger seat before I climbed in and started the engine. As the car warmed, I looked at my reflection in the side mirror and laughed, a sad groaning laugh.

My eyeliner had made tracks all down my face, leaving a thick trail into my ears, and black blobs on either side of my lobes so that I looked like I’d participated in some African ritual, or had survived the mosh pit at some death metal goth fest. With my long dark blonde curls, coral knitted cap and blue eyes, it made me look a little zombiefied.

I wiped my face and ears and grinned despite myself. ‘God, Mum, thanks for that!’ I put the car in gear and backed out of the winding drive, towards the coastal road.

Cornwall.

It was hard to believe I was back, after all these years.

London had been exciting, tiring, and trying. And grey, so very grey. Down here, it seemed, was where they keep the light; my senses felt as if they’d been turned up.

For a while, London had been good though, especially after Mum. For what it lacked in hued lustre, it made up for by being alive with people, ideas, and the hustling bustle. It was a different kind of pace. A constant rush. Yet, lately I’d craved the stillness and the quiet. So when The Fudge Files, a children’s fiction series that I co-wrote and illustrated with my best friend Catherine Talty, about a talking English bulldog from Cornwall who solves crimes, became a bestseller, we were finally able to escape to the country.

In his own way, Stuart had wanted the move more than I did; he was one of those strange creatures who’d actually grown up in London, and said that this meant it was high time that he tried something else.

In typical Stuart fashion, he had these rather grand ideas about becoming a self-sustaining farmer – something akin to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – and setting up a smallholding similar to Hugh’s River Cottage. The simple fact of it being Cornwall, not Dorset, was considered inconsequential. Which perhaps it was. I had to smile. Our River Cottage was called Sea Cottage (very original that), yet was every bit as exquisite as its namesake, with a rambling half acre of countryside, alongside rugged cliffs that overlooked the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the gorgeous village of Cloudsea with its mile-long meandering ribbon of whitewashed cottages with window frames and doors in every shade of blue imaginable, perched amid the wild, untamed landscape, seemingly amongst the clouds, tumbling down to the sea. It was the place I always dreamt about when someone asked me where I would choose to live if I could magically supplant myself with a snap of my fingers or be granted a single genie’s wish. Cloudsea. And now. . . now we lived here. It was still hard to believe.

So far our ‘livestock’ consisted of four laying hens, two grey cats named Pepper and Pots, and an English bulldog named Muppet – the living, slobbering and singular inspiration behind Detective Sergeant Fudge (Terrier Division) of The Fudge Files, as created by Catherine, Muppet’s official godmother.

Despite Stuart’s noble intentions, he was finding it difficult to come to terms with the idea of keeping animals as anything besides pets. Personally, I was a little grateful for that. We assuaged our consciences though by ensuring that we supported local organic farms, where we were sure that all the animals were humanely treated.

But what we lacked in livestock, Stuart made up for in vegetation. His potager was his pride and joy and even now, in the heart of winter, he kept a polytunnel greenhouse that kept us in fresh vegetables throughout the year. Or at least that was the plan; we’d only been here since late summer. I couldn’t imagine his excitement come spring.

For me Cornwall was both a fresh start and a homecoming. For the first time ever I had my own art studio up in the attic, with dove grey walls, white wooden floors, and a wall full of shelves brimming with all my art supplies; from fine watercolour paper to piles of brushes and paint in every texture and medium that my art-shop-loving heart could afford. The studio, dominated by the mammoth table, with its slim Queen Anne legs, alongside the twin windows, made it a haven, with its view of the rugged countryside and sea. One where I planned to finish writing and illustrating my first solo children’s book.

Now, with our new home and the news that we’d been waiting seven years to hear, it would all be a new start for us.

I was finally, finally pregnant.

Seven rounds of in vitro fertilisation, which had included 2,553 days, 152 pointless fights, five serious, two mortgages, countless stolen tears in the dead of the night in the downstairs bathroom in our old London flat, my fist wedged in my mouth to stem the sound, and infinite days spent wavering between hope and despair, wondering if we should just give up and stop trying. That day, thankfully, hadn’t come.

And now I was twelve weeks pregnant. I still couldn’t believe it. We hadn’t told Dad yet; I didn’t want to get his hopes up, or tempt fate; we’d played that black card before.

Our hopes. . . well, they’d already soared above the stars.

It was why I so desperately wished Mum were here now. It would have made all of this more bearable. She had a way of making sense of the insensible, of offering hope at the darkest times, when all I wanted to do was run away. I missed how we used to sit up late at night by the fire in the living room, a pot of tea on the floor, while Fat Arnold dozed at our feet and she soothed my troubled fears and worries – the most patient of listeners, the staunchest of friends. Now, with so many failed pregnancies, including two miscarriages, the memory of which was like shrapnel embedded in our hearts, so that our lives had been laced with an expectant tinge of despair, primed for the nightmare to unfold, never daring to hope for the alternative; we were encouraged to hope. It was different, everyone said so, and I needed to trust that this time it would finally happen, that we’d finally have a baby, like the doctors seemed to think we would. Stuart had been wonderful, as had Catherine, but I needed Mum really, and her unshakeable, unbreakable faith.

There are a few times in a woman’s life when she needs her mother. For me, my wedding was one and I was lucky to have her there, if luck was what it was, because it seemed to be sheer and utter determination on her part. It had been so important to her to be there, even though all her doctors had told us to say our goodbyes. I will never know what it cost her to hold on the way she did, but she did and she stayed a further two years after that. In the end, it was perhaps the cruellest part, because when she did go, I’d convinced myself that somehow she’d be able to stay.

But this, this was different. I needed her now, more than ever. As I drove, the unstoppable flow of tears pooling in the hollow of my throat, I wished that we could have banked those two years, those two precious years that she had fought so hard and hung on for, so that she could be here with me now when I needed her the most.

 

About Lily Graham

author-picture

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

 

I really hope you enjoyed reading the extract.  If you did then you might want to buy yourselves a copy.  Here are the links for Amazon:-

UK: http://amzn.to/2atWI7G

US: http://amzn.to/2azduwO

 

Links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/LilyRoseGrahamAuthor

Twitter – www.twitter.com/Lilywritesbooks

Website – https://lilygraham.net/

 

 

Blog Blitz – ‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ by Tilly Tennant

book-cover

Congratulations to Tilly Tennant whose book, ‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ is out today.  With it’s lovely cover you are bound to start feeling that little bit Christmassy.  To celebrate, Bookouture thought it would be great if there was a blog blitz and I’m really happy to be a part of it.  I asked Tilly some questions.  I hope you enjoy my interview with her.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ please?

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery takes us back to the village of Honeybourne to catch up with the characters of The Little Village Bakery. It’s Christmas, so Honeybourne is sparkling with newly fallen snow and buzzing with anticipation for the festivities. But as usual, the holiday season is not plain sailing for everyone. This book centres around Dylan’s friend, Spencer, and a new arrival at the bakery, Darcie, who is Millie’s cousin. Everyone is keeping secrets and everyone seems to be having some battle or another – whether it is against forbidden love or warring parents, and peace and goodwill to all men seems a long way off!

 

When did you start working on this book?

I started it in February of this year, suffering from post-Christmas blues and wishing we could have it back!

 

Where did you get the idea for this novel from?

Really it was just a natural progression of where we had left the story at the end of The Little Village Bakery. People wanted to know what had happened to certain characters and I was only too happy to find out along with them!

 

What’s it like writing a Christmas book at a different time of the year?

Because this one was written only just after Christmas it didn’t seem too weird. But last year I was writing a Christmas book in July and that was very weird. It’s hard to get in the zone when it’s thirty degrees outside your window and everyone is eating ice-cream!

 

What do you hope readers get from your book?

If they get a few hours of a new world to escape to and a nice feeling at the end, I will be happy I’ve done my job well.

 

Do you have a village bakery near you?

One or two fantastic ones, although they’re more city bakeries as I don’t live in a village. They do make good cakes, though.

 

Have you ever wanted to start your own bakery business?

God no, I’d be hopeless! Much easier to write about a business than run one!

 

What’s your favourite cake?

Cake. Basically I love nearly all cake!

 

When will your next book be out?

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery is out today. I’m currently working on a new series set in Rome and the first one of that is due out in the spring of next year.

 

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to write their first novel?

Stop worrying about whether it will be good or bad and just write it! So many people tell me they would love to write a book but the fear of it being rubbish stops them.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love getting out and about with my teenage daughters. I do like baking but I’m not very good at it. I like going for walks and seeing new places. If I could afford to be on holiday every week I would!

 

Finally, what will you be doing this Christmas?

Collapsing after the mental year 2016 has been! In all seriousness, it will probably just be a quiet family Christmas, but sometimes they are the nicest ones, aren’t they? I’ll be enjoying the break and getting fired up for 2017.

 

About Tilly Tennant

author-picture

From a young age, Tilly Tennant was convinced that she was destined for the stage.  Once she realised she wasn’t actually very good at anything that would put her on the stage, she started to write stories instead. There were lots of terrible ones, like The Pet Rescue Gang (aged eight), which definitely should not see the light of day ever again. Thankfully, her debut novel, Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was not one of those, and since it hit the Amazon best seller lists she hasn’t looked back. Born in Dorset, she currently lives in Staffordshire with her husband, two daughters, three guitars, four ukuleles, two violins and a kazoo.

 

Links

‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ is available to buy from:-

UK: http://amzn.to/29glVkf

US: http://amzn.to/295yTw0

Tilly Tennant’s Website – www.tillytennant.com

 

Virginia King’s Mythical Clue Giveaway

The First Lie - Book Cover

Virginia King is running a Mythical Clue Giveaway.  Read on to find out more.

 

The First Lie

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over in Hawaii. But her refuge begins to unravel and soon she’s running from something else entirely. A voice in a dream says: Someone is trying to kill you. Not that Selkie’s psychic, no way. But the threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a ghostly stalker. Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the clues become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running.

But is she running from her past? Or her future?

 

Mythical Clue Giveaway!

Like to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie?

Just read to the end of the extract and answer the question that follows, by clicking on the link to Rafflecopter.

Winner drawn at the end of November. Good Luck!

 

Prologue

February 1979

It happens on a beach.

A little girl is splashing in the shallows. Falling over, getting up again. Squealing. A woman in a sundress watches from under a hat, while a woman in a swimsuit plays with the toddler.

Suddenly a big wave comes from nowhere and pulls the child away from the shore. It tumbles her over and over and she waves her little arms and legs at the sky.

The woman in the swimsuit laughs. “You’re a mermaid.”

But the other woman is screaming. “What are you doing? She’s drowning.”

“It’s just a wave. It’s saying hello.”

The woman in the sundress rushes into the water and pulls the child back from the grasp of the sea. “Look at her, she’s crying. She’s coughing up sand.”

“That’s what happens at the beach.”

“She could have drowned.”

“The gods called her Selkie because she’s a mermaid.”

“You and your stupid fairytales. She isn’t safe with you. She isn’t safe.”

 

Chapter 1

I’m falling off a cliff towards the rocks and the sea, when these words ring in my ears.

Someone is trying to kill you.

They reverberate like a call to prayer. Clear. Insistent. Almost musical.

The meaning rattles me to consciousness and I sit up with a start. But as I wait in the semi-dark for the words to repeat themselves, there’s only an aching silence. As if they never happened. Except their shape has left a shadow on the wall of my mind and my body has started to tremble.

I reach for my bathrobe and wrap myself against the sudden chill, wishing I wasn’t alone. It’s a familiar feeling. All by myself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Without a life raft.

Unless Wanda crept back after midnight, but across the room her bed lies untouched. No telltale lump under the covers. And no whirring of her blender from the kitchen. She’s stayed out all night again. It usually makes her the perfect flatmate.

Of course I’ve had bad dreams before. Often the same one. I’m trapped underwater, tangled in something so my arms don’t work, and wake up to find it’s only the sheets. But never anything like this.

Because it wasn’t just a dream. It was a message. Seeping into my brain. Someone. Is. Trying. To. Kill. You. As graphic as stumbling across a gravestone in a churchyard inscribed with my name and today’s date.

For the first time I notice the quality of the silence. Complete. The bedside clock isn’t ticking. The water pipes aren’t clunking. Even the whispering sea is absent. I pull the robe a little closer and focus on the steady movement of my chest. I’m not dead yet.

And the message makes no sense. Who would want to kill me? After only three months I’m still a stranger here, and there aren’t many murders in this part of the world. It’s why people come to Hawaii. To play it sunny and safe. And anyway, I’m not the kind of woman to inspire that kind of violence. Although my ex would disagree. Andrew still can’t believe I’ve swapped opposite corners of the ring for opposite sides of the globe.

Where did the message come from? The remnants of the dream? But it sounded like . . . a disembodied voice. With that thought an invisible presence seems to fill the space.

Something . . . spoke to me.

My eyes scan the walls and dozens of eyes stare back. Wanda’s artworks, fashioned from dead fish. In garish colours with painted lips. They might ooze an excess of character but they don’t speak. Although with Wanda’s gift for hocus-pocus it wouldn’t surprise me.

Any other possible culprits? A naked shop dummy sits on a chair at the end of Wanda’s bed, her plastic legs akimbo. Doris. For the first few weeks I kept jumping out of my skin every time I caught sight of her. Wanda has dressed her in a Hula skirt and peppered her torso with nails, like a woman in a Dali painting. She drapes her with anything from net bags to headbands to leis. Today Doris is wearing a straw hat even though she doesn’t have a head. No head, no voice, right?

The room is a tribute to Wanda’s eye for other people’s trash, and my few belongings barely make an impression on the menagerie. A large Buddha head with four faces forever contemplating his split personality. Two fairies shadow-dancing on an art-deco tray. A parrot made from nuts and bolts poised on his own perch. In childhood these creatures might have spoken to me, but my stepmother, Stella, banished imaginary friends long ago.

On the ledge above my bed my Shona sculpture is just a head and shoulders. I brought her with me when I took off from Sydney with two business suits and not much else. A chunk of black and silver rock from Zimbabwe, her profile is as enigmatic as ever. And as silent. But she’s no whisperer. If Shona had a warning for me she’d come right out with it.

The presence is still here. A kind of touchless stroking against my bare skin. Seductive but unnerving. It’s making me as rigid as Doris but my eyes keep darting back to the slash of early-morning light spilling through the bathroom doorway. Is it coming from there?

When I was a child I used to feel things like this, invisible things. Stella made me stand in the bathroom until they were gone. I’m still a bit afraid of bathrooms, their cold unwelcoming surfaces gleaming my wild-eyed stare back at me. So it’s all I can do to get off the bed and tiptoe towards the doorway.

There are no doors to hide an intruder. And no shower curtain over the bath. When I start hyperventilating about Janet Leigh in Psycho, I tell myself to get a grip. No-one would bother breaking in here. The address might be Waikiki, but that’s where the glamour ends.

The sun through the window bathes me in light and I scan the empty bathroom with relief. Only my imagination playing tricks. But that’s when I see it. In the mirror at the end of the bath.

A face.

It’s a woman, just her face, but I’m sure she’s naked and reclining in the tub. She’s looking straight at me as if she’s been waiting, her eyes so piercing they latch onto mine and won’t release me, even when I try to pull away. For a long breathless moment our gazes are locked together and I’m lost in the depths of an emotion I can’t name. Then she lets go and the recoil spins me towards a window full of light. Now I’m blinking at the bath. Empty. Still empty. And when I spin back to the mirror she’s gone.

It takes me a few seconds to come to my senses because it feels like I’ve been doused by some unbearable sorrow. Then I’m back in my body, splashing my face at the basin, stumbling back to the bedroom and flopping on the bed.

The bedside clock begins to tick, its rhythmic beat counting the seconds like a metronome. The hands are showing six. They haven’t moved since the message woke me – surely at least five minutes ago. And the sun doesn’t rise this early, not in February. Does that mean the last five minutes didn’t happen?

It doesn’t matter how early it is, I’m phoning Wanda. She’s the one who put that stupid mirror there. After a dream, she insisted that the bath needed to see the sky.

“How can it see?” I asked as she propped the mirror with great ceremony against the wall at the end of the bath. “Bathtubs . . . don’t have eyes.”

“We’re talking spiritual eyes. Put yourself in her place, staring at a blank wall all day. Soul-destroying. Like being paralysed. But if we put this mirror opposite the window, see? The sky’s reflected and she’s reconnecting.”

“Reconnecting with what?”

“Her wild nature.”

There’s a lot of that kind of talk around here. Wanda thinks everything’s got a spirit, every rock and insect, even our old ball-and-claw bath.

“Let’s ask her for hotter showers,” I said. Just one of the reasons this flat is cheap.

“Out of her control. She’s the vessel, that’s why she’s female. She receives. Contains. Transforms. The mirror’s special too. It reflects female energy.”

Its silver frame is curved like a woman. Narrow at the waist, wide at the bust and hips.

“But we’ll notice a difference in other ways,” Wanda said. “After a bath, we’ll be radiant.”

It all seemed like a bit of fun. I’ve been waiting for Wanda to give the bath a name and paint its toenails red. But now because of that mirror I’ve looked into the eyes of . . . a woman who wasn’t there.

Confusion drives me outside onto the walkway where dawn is breaking and the air is fresh. As my fingers fumble with the phone, it feels good to inhale. If Wanda’s in bed with her new man it can’t be helped.

No answer. I leave an agitated message and start pacing.

I’ve got to get dressed and go to the office but that means going back inside. I close my eyes and try to calm my breathing but the woman’s face appears. This time it’s just the memory, her gaze caught in freeze-frame, and one of Stella’s phrases gallops up the long tunnel from childhood: “It’ll cause you trouble, your imagination. Just like your mother. If you can’t touch it, it’s a figment, and figments can carry you away.” My stepmother has a way of creeping up on me, just like she did when I was a child. I might have left her on the other side of the world but she’s still living inside my head.

My phone rings. “Sorry I couldn’t pick up, Selkie. Up to my armpits in mullet.” Wanda’s at the docks judging by the hubbub. “Hang on.”

Now she’s talking to someone and a man is laughing. One of her fishermen, no doubt.

They give them to her – dead fish – because she’s an art student. (Her long legs and short shorts have nothing to do with it.) She presses the corpses into squares of soft resin, adding shells to make borders. When the moulds harden she paints them and sells them at the markets as Art.

“OK. They’re in the cooler getting acquainted. Something must be up if you’re calling this early.”

“It’s that mirror.” My voice is croaky. “The one at the end of the bath.”

“You didn’t break it, did you?” Pause. “Oh my God, you saw something.”

“A face. I saw a face. A woman . . . who wasn’t there.”

Spoken out loud it sounds delusional but Wanda is taking it seriously. “OK, keep breathing. Let’s eliminate the temporal. It wasn’t . . . your own face.”

“I do know what I look like, Wanda. Even in the mornings. And I wasn’t peering into the mirror. I was standing in the doorway, looking at it from the side.”

“So it could have been at the window. That’s the angle. Sometimes kids climb up trying to get a look at one of us under the shower.”

It’s the first I’ve heard of it, but it wasn’t a kid. “It was definitely a woman. And she wasn’t at the window, she was in the bath. Until she wasn’t.”

“OK.” She thinks for a moment. “What do you want me to do, call in an exorcist?”

“Hell, no. Just move the bloody thing.” Into a dumpster on the other side of the island.

“You can move it. Turn the mirror to the wall and it loses its power.”

“No way. And I’m stuck outside in my bathrobe. How am I going to get to work?”

“If she disappeared she’s gone for now. It’s safe to take a shower.”

“I’m not going near that bath.”

“OK. Go into the bedroom and throw on some clothes. You can do that. And meet me in an hour. At your office.”

Holding my breath, I open the front door and rush inside, but the air feels clear as if the presence is long gone. I toss off my bathrobe and pull on my red suit and heels. Hair and makeup would mean looking in another mirror so I throw a few things into my tote bag and slam the front door. Not quite my usual transformation to corporate warrior.

 

Question:

Why does Selkie leave her flat without doing her hair and makeup?

For a chance to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie, answer the above question and enter the raffle here.

 

Can’t wait for the prizes?

If you’re hooked and want to buy The First Lie now for the special price of US $2.99, then if you win a copy I’ll gift you the next book in the series The Second Path instead 🙂 (Read an extract)  Also follow Selkie Moon on Facebook for monthly giveaways & paranormal humour.

Buy the book:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery/dp/0992487021/

 

‘Letting in Light’ Book Birthday

Letting In Light Cover

Today it is the first birthday of Emma Davies’ book, ‘Letting in Light’, so what better way to celebrate than a guest post from Emma.

 

Happy Birthday Letting in Light

So my book baby is one year old, and like all babies there have been moments to ooh and aah over, moments to make you cry and milestones reached too. She was born, she’s crawled, found her voice, stood on her own two feet and now is taking bold steps forward; it’s been quite a year.

It all started one quiet evening when I pressed submit and uploaded my book to Amazon, without a fanfare, without publicity, without reviews and in fact without even telling anyone for a few days. It was in the months after this that I began to learn how to be an author, and that writing a book was just the start of a most wonderful journey.

Like a lot of people I’ve been writing for years, since I was in my teens in fact, and Letting in Light has been there in my mind for a long time. I knew the plot, and the characters so well they were like old friends. I often joked that they would get fed up of waiting for me to tell their story that they’d run off to a proper writer who had got their act together, but they turned out to be patient bunch and wait they did. So now I’d published a book and sent it out there, but I really had no idea whether people would like it, and really I thought I had realised my dream just in getting the book published. I had no real expectations for it, and was quite unprepared for what happened next.

Because what happened was that I realised that I was no longer content to have just got this book off my chest, I wanted more, and more, and more; I hadn’t realised what a passion I had for writing until I started to let it out!

Since then I’ve been on the biggest learning curve of my life, met some truly lovely people, and discovered how wonderfully supportive the bookish community are, from readers and writers, to bloggers and complete strangers, all united by our love of the written word. In January I was lucky enough to get a place on the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers’ Scheme and for some reason this seemed to be catalyst for positive change, and coupled with some amazing reviews I began to feel that I had really turned a corner in getting Letting in Light visible and getting people to buy it. Now I’m thrilled at the successively higher rankings in the charts it’s achieving and the continued positivity surrounding it.

Someone once said to me, what’s it all about then, this book of yours, windows or something? and I replied, in a way yes, because it’s not just windows that let in light. One of the main characters is a stained glass artist and for him, his work, his art, is a life transforming passion. Of course I can’t say too much more for fear of spoilers but this passage has always been one of my favourites because it’s about being in profound awe of something so beautiful it takes your breath away:

A waft of air gushes against the back of my legs, and dust motes rise up in front of me in the brilliant light as the shrouds fall away from the window. I can feel the sun on the back of my head as a flow of colour washes over me. It races out across the room, across the people standing before me, over the whitewashed walls, instantly decorating them, magical in their transformation. I look up, and even to the rafters I can see its colours, rose and copper and gold.

And that’s when it hits me, the stillness in the room, not just a lack of sound, but a space where just for a second there is nothing else but a profound awe. For just as I am gazing out into the room, everyone else is gazing back, looking not as I am at the light flowing outward, but at the point at which it flows inward. I hardly dare to turn around.

A voice beside me sounds out across the space. ‘Oh my word!’ Three simple words of honest astonishment.

Thoughts are finding voices now and a swirl of noise is born. A single clap rings out, followed by another, then another, until the whole building is thundering with their sound.

You see essentially this is what Letting in Light is all about. It’s about finding yourself, about finding that one thing that makes you glad to feel alive, finding a passion that burns within you and realising your dreams. It’s about following that dream because life’s too short not too, and it’s about learning how to let a little light into your life.

If I have learnt anything this year it’s that I no longer have to look for my passion, my dream, my light. I have found it. I am a writer.

 

‘Letting in Light’ is available to buy from Amazon and is currently only 99p.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-Light-Emma-Davies-ebook/dp/B00KZYVMVM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430335047&sr=8-1&keywords=Letting+in+Light

Book Promotion – ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ by Julia Roberts

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‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’  is the first book in The Liberty Sands Trilogy.  It was published yesterday as an eBook.

From Monday 25th May until Sunday 7th June a blog tour will be taking place to celebrate Julia Roberts debut novel.  Read on to find out more about the book.  There is also a very interesting author bio and some useful links.

 

Book Blurb

Holly Wilson has landed a dream job but there is one proviso… she must keep it secret, and that means telling lies. Holly hates telling lies.

Her latest assignment has brought her to the paradise island of Mauritius where she meets a British couple, Robert and Rosemary, who share a tragic secret of their own.

The moment they introduce Holly to handsome writer, Philippe, she begins to fall in love, something she hasn’t allowed herself to do for twenty years.

But Philippe has not been completely honest either and when Holly stumbles across the truth, she feels totally betrayed.

 

About Julia Roberts

Author Picture

Julia Roberts was born in Nottingham in 1956 and shortly afterwards, in 1957, contracted the deadly disease Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as Polio. After a five month stay quarantined in hospital she was discharged on Christmas Eve with her left leg in a calliper. Thanks to extensive physiotherapy, swimming lessons, and persistent parents, who wanted their daughter to be able to walk through her life unaided, Julia was out of her calliper by the age of 3.

It was at primary school that Julia’s creative and performance abilities began to shine through. Having started ballet classes at the age of three, again to help with strengthening her left leg, she was unable to attend for two years due to the death of her grandma and her mother’s ill health. Julia recommenced dancing lessons across multiple styles at the age of 9, and also began elocution lessons. She was very successful in the Nottingham Speech and Drama festivals and also in a variety of dancing competitions. At the age of ten she wrote her first play which was performed by fellow classmates at Jesse Gray School, and buoyed by that success she entered a short story writing competition, with her creation The Foundling, and was awarded second place.

Despite the challenges of a weak leg, Julia had decided that she wanted to become a professional dancer. Summer Seasons, pantomimes, a Caribbean cruise, and a stint at a theatre in Barcelona followed before Julia hung up her dancing shoes and moved into television. Initially she hit the screen as a TV extra before gaining small acting roles in TV shows such as Citizen Smith and many television commercials.  In addition to her on screen parts, Julia also secured a recording contract in the early 1980s with a band called Jools and The Fools.

As the 1980s fitness boom gripped the nation, Julia began teaching fitness classes to supplement her income before becoming one of the original hostesses on the game show The Price is Right in 1983. After 2 series of the show, Julia had a production of her own…her son, Daniel. He was followed 13 months later by her daughter, Sophie, which led her to take a short career break.

During this time, Julia decided to try her hand at television presenting, landing herself the role of chat show host for her local channel in Croydon. One of the shows she presented weekly was entitled Palace Chatback and this led her to become an avid Crystal Palace supporter. She also produced and presented features about her team for Sky Sports.

In 1993, she auditioned to become a presenter for a shopping channel called QVC and, having been offered the job, was one of the first faces to launch the channel on 1st October the same year. Julia has worked there ever since whilst continuing presenting roles for Sky Sports and several corporate productions.

Author Picture 2

Having battled against Polio as a young child, Julia had a new health challenge to face as, in April 2012, she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. CML as it more commonly known is a rare type of blood cancer which affects only 600 people per year in the UK. Julia responded well to the early stages of her treatment but in November 2012, her BCR/ABL results showed an increase in the levels of the disease. It was a frightening time for Julia as she feared she may have developed a mutation of CML called T3151 which is resistant to any currently available drug therapy. Fortunately, an increased dosage of her treatment drug, Imatinib, brought these elevated levels of the disease down and they have continued to reduce. It was in April 2015 that Julia received the news that there is now no recordable level of the disease in her body, although she has to remain on medication for at least two more years.

Throughout her battle with CML she has continued working full-time at QVC, attempting to keep normality in her life. She signed a publishing deal with Preface Publishing for her book One Hundred Lengths of the Pool and that was a sell-out success on QVC. As a result of the publicity surrounding her book she was approached by the British Polio Fellowship and asked to become an ambassador for the charity which she readily agreed to. In conjunction with QVC, British Polio and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Julia organised a charity swimming gala where she set herself the challenge of swimming one hundred lengths of the pool while other participants took part in fun races and games. A percentage of the profits from her first book went to polio charities and a similar percentage of her latest book will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

 

Links

Julia QVC Blog: http://blogs.qvcuk.com/presenter/juliaroberts/

Link to Julia’s Previous Book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hundred-Lengths-Pool-Julia-Roberts-ebook/dp/B00CQ1FYGQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1430733132&sr=1-1&keywords=julia+roberts+qvc

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JuliaRobertsQVC

Book Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1DTyMv4

YouTube Promotion Video: https://youtu.be/S2GDvgkBEvY

 

Mystical Mystery Bundle – 21st to 30th April 2015

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Mystical Mystery Series Book Bundle

Three Award-winning Authors – Book Giveaway and Sale

Discover a touch of the mystical and an innovative take on mystery from an international trio of authors.  Australian Virginia King, American Amber Foxx and British Marion Eaton – all B.R.A.G. Medallion winners – have teamed up for a giveaway and over a week of discounts from April 21 – 30.

 

Win a Paperback of Each Book

Enter the drawing below to win a paperback copy of the first book in each author’s series.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eb0a35092/

Buy each e-book during the sale for only US $1.99 (adjusted for other currencies)

 

The First Lie – Virginia King

Selkie Moon Mystery Series, Book One

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run.  In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over again in Hawaii.  But her refuge begins to unravel and she’s running from something else entirely.  A voice in a dream says that someone is trying to kill her.  Not that she’s psychic, no way. But the messages and threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious stalker.  Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the events become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running.  But is she running from her past?  Or her future?

Website: http://www.selkiemoon.com/

Buy the ebook for US $1.99:

http://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

http//www.amazon.co.uk/First-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-Series-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

 

The Calling – Amber Foxx 

The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions – access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again.

The Mae Martin Series

No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

Website & buy the ebook for US $1.99:

https://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com/buy-books-retail-links/
 

 

When the Clocks Stopped – Marion Eaton

The Mysterious Marsh Series, Book One

When lawyer Hazel Dawkins decides to write some wills while she waits for the birth of her first child, she unwittingly triggers dramatic consequences. Mysteriously, she encounters Annie, a woman whose tempestuous life took place more than two centuries earlier when Romney Marsh was a violent place, dominated by smugglers.  Soon that past collides with the present, and Hazel finds herself pitted against an evil that has stalked the marsh for centuries.  As her destiny intertwines with Annie’s in the shifting time-scape, Hazel confronts a terrifying challenge that parallels history – and could even change it. If she survives.

Website: http://www.marioneaton.com/

Buy the ebook for US $1.99: amzn.to/17THZ83

 

The raffle is open to all countries.  It starts from April 21 – April 26, with the extra days after the winner is announced to give readers the chance to buy the ebooks at a discount.

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