28 January 2014

Tuesdays Tales ~ Mirror

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  
Today I'm starting new because I simply couldn't tweak my other story to include 'mirror'. (You can see the next scene from last week's story here)
This week is a short stand-alone story. It's very rough because I struggled to find a way to continue last week's story and when I couldn't failed to find an alternative, so this is all a bit rushed. Sorry.
She pulled out her compact and stared at her reflection in the little mirror. Today was the first day of her new life. The first day she’d stepped beyond the front door of her home since the accident.
She turned and gave her mother a hug and wondered which of them was the more terrified. Her mother because she wanted to protect her daughter or herself because…
Because one day she’d have to do it and today, it seemed was the day. She didn’t count the visits to the hospital or to the doctor’s surgery. The latter had been pretty grim because she knew most of the other patients in the waiting room, even understood their abhorrence when then looked in her direction.
She didn’t blame them, it had taken her several months to pluck up enough courage to read the newspaper headlines of the accident. At least that’s what everyone assumed to begin with.
“Driver on suicide drive down the mountain escapes death.” But she’d known the truth and remembered it the moment she regained consciousness weeks later. By which time, of course, so did everyone else, and the hunt for her Ex had begun.
How could you live with someone for ten years and not know how much they resented, hated you?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Apparently a sharp-eyed clerk at the bank had noticed his attempt to clean out her account and alerted the police. Perhaps she wasn’t the only stupid one in that marriage. But that had been two years ago, and today, for the first time, she was flying solo.
“Drive carefully.” Her mother’s voice followed her to the car, snagged her confidence for a moment, and then slid away. Not criticism, concern. Justified concern.
After all she’d fought the impulse to get down on her knees and check the break pipes and slid in behind the wheel.
With a sickly smile and clenched teeth she raised her hand in a facsimile of a wave, turned the key in the ignition and carefully backed the car out of the drive.
Sweat slicked her palms on the wheel, and her knuckles turned white in their death grip, but she kept a steady pace maintaining the speed limit when she wanted to crawl along at five miles an hour. The school wasn’t that far. Not really. Today it seemed like a million miles away.
“Wait in the car for Haley,” her mother suggested, but she’d shaken her head.  All or nothing.
Today it had to be all or nothing, because if she settled for nothing, the chances of leaving the house again vanished.
For the last month she’d accompanied her mother to the school every day. At first other mothers had turned away, then, day by day they’d nodded or waved. A couple had come up to the car and spoken to her, to them. Yes she’d seen the shock on their faces, but they’d stayed and talked. Now she had to take it the next step.
Like the other mothers she’d leave the car and wait at the gate.
Why did it seem like there were dozens more cars parked outside the school gates this afternoon? Her mother always managed to park close up, she’d have to walk a clear hundred yards or more to reach the gates…
Her gut clenched. Slowly she pulled in to the curb, switched off the ignition and refused to rest her head on the wheel. How come the car reminded her of an open freezer when the sun was high in the sky?  Taking a deep breath, she opened the car door and stepped out.
A deep buzzing in her ears blanked out the surrounding sounds. Her stomach threatened to toss its contents and several pairs of eyes glanced in her direction.
And to her astonishment they all lit up with a pleasure. Hands reached out, the buzzing in her ears faded, replaced by an excited babble of welcome, and several of the mothers came to meet her, their hand extended.
Their warmth reached into her heart, relaxed the tension that, moments ago threatened to immobilise her, and propelled her forward to join the rest of the women she used to talk with daily.
Yes, until now, the scarred image that reflected back at her in her mirror had kept her a prisoner in her own home.
But not any more.
Today was a new day. The first day in her life when she’d fought her demons, and won.
Thank you for reading this week's offering, 
there are lots more amazing reads at  

26 January 2014

Sunday Snippet

Happy first birthday to SnippetSunday :-)
The week's Sunday Snippet  is a continuation from last week's SS snippet, in my current WIP
Daily Mail

Her phone rang. Would this call reveal the first clue?
“We’ve traced the father to a hotel in New York,” Sommers, her senior detective on her team, informed her.
“He’s still in the States?” Was that disappointment or relief surging through her, Rebecca wondered. While she’d hate for any family member to be involved, his absence from the scene focussed the attention back on Lucy Farraday.
You'll find more snippets from https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday

21 January 2014

Karen King's Book Birthday Bash

Blurb for Perfect Summer
Growing up in a society so obsessed with perfection that the government gives people grants for plastic surgery, 15-year-old Morgan can't help being a bit envious of her best friend Summer. Summer is beautiful and rich, her father is a top plastic surgeon and her mother is a beauty consultant with a celebrity client list. Her life seems so effortlessly perfect. Whereas Morgan isn't so rich or beautiful and her little brother, Josh, has Down's syndrome - which, according to the Ministry and society in general, is a crime. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren't interested so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager, Jamie, whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it's too late?

The street was deserted. I guessed everyone was at work and school. It was so quiet and peaceful. So normal. So hard to believe that anything as awful as a kidnapping could be about to take place.
Maybe we are panicking, jumping to conclusions, I thought. After all, Mila vans were quite common.

“The van could belong to a plumber or electrician going about their business,” I suggested. I hoped it was.
“Could be. But I think it’s a bit too much of a coincidence for it to be parked in the same street that Emma lives on, don’t you?” Jamie asked.
I remembered how Josh was playing in the garden just before he was snatched. Emma could be doing the same thing, heartbreakingly unaware what fate was in store for her. We couldn’t take any chances.

“If this van does belong to the kidnapper, it means he’s on his way to get Emma right now. We’ve got to stop him. How about we split up? One of us goes to the front of the house and the other to the back?”

“I’ve a better idea. He’ll have to come back to the van so it might be best if I stay here and see if I can immobilize it while you go warn Emma’s parents? Then he won’t be able to get away.” 

“Good idea.” I started to run off, anxious to get to Emma’s house before the kidnapper struck.
I paused and glanced over my shoulder. “What?”

“If you do see the kidnapper, no heroics. Okay?”

“Okay. Nor you.”
I didn’t like leaving Jamie by the van alone. The kidnapper could be armed. Or there could be two of them. A gang even. There’s no way Jamie would be a match for a couple of men, but I had no choice. Emma’s life could be at stake.

I raced along the street, looking for number fourteen, the address we had for Emma. I was at number thirty‑four so I ran on.

As I passed a small pathway separating a block of houses, two people came running out--both dressed in dark leisure suits. I barely had time to notice that one was a man, the other a woman, before the man charged into me, knocking me to the ground.

“Ow!” I yelled as I hit the pavement, landing on my left shoulder. “What the heck…?”

Furious, I pulled myself up and rubbed my shoulder. It stung like mad, and I could already feel the throb of a bruise forming. I glared up at the man then sucked in my breath as I saw the young girl, flung face down over his shoulder. I noticed the heavy boot on her left leg then the metal splint supporting it. She was wearing a calliper. She must be Emma. And they were kidnapping her!
Karen kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us :-) ...
1 - How much of your background character information is included in your books?
Probably about half of it. I do quite detailed character profiles so that I really understand my character. I include things like their favourite foods, likes, dislikes, worst fears as well as details of their appearance, personality, family and friends. Of course, all that doesn’t go into the story but it helps me write about them better.
2 - How much do you allow your characters to control your story as it unravels?
As much as they want unless I feel that I’ve really gone off track and need to pull it back. Sometimes a character can take the story off in a tangent I hadn’t thought of and that can be exciting.
3 - How much of yourself finds its way into your books?
That’s a tough one. I’ve no idea to be honest. I guess there’s always a little of ourselves in the stories we right and sometimes my characters will go places I’ve been.
4 - What are your writing goals for 2014, 2015 and 2016?
Gosh, I haven’t planned that far ahead! I’m working on four books at the moment so I’d like to finish them. After that, well I’ve always got a head full of ideas. My main goal is to keep writing and to keep getting published.
5 - Perfect Summer is one year old - congratulations - what are you doing/going to do to celebrate this wonderful anniversary?
I’m having a Birthday Bash so will be appearing on several blogs like this one to talk about my book. Astraea authors are so supportive of each other.
 6 - Please tell us a little bit about what you are working on next.?
It’s a YA called Sapphire Blue. I’d describe it as an after-life adventure with a mix of romance and horror. I don’t want to give away the plot but I talk about it a bit on my blog
  Thanks for hosting me, Sherry. J

Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children's magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Perfect Summer is her first YA. It was runner up in the Red Telephone books YA Novel 2011 competition. Author Links:  Website:    Author Facebook page:   Goodreads: 
Twitter: @karen_king
You can also find Karen at the following blogs today:-
...and many other stops. Information will be added as it comes in.

Tuesday's Tales ~ Hill

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  
This week I'm sharing the opening of a new longer-than-short,-short-story.
I love getting your feedback and find it very helpful during revisions ;-) 
Jack and Jill went up the hill…
D. I. Rebecca Greyson tapped her pen on the photograph in her hand. What was she missing that an old, and long forgotten, nursery rhyme popped into her head?
Had young Jackson Farraday climbed up the hill?
If so why?
Why would a four year old, alone, climb up the steep slope to the popular beauty spot that overlooked the city?
“We’ve talked about going up there…” Lucy Farraday had told Rebecca the previous day, not long after she’d reported her son, Jackson, missing. “All of us, for a picnic in the summer. Jim and I,” she’d added in a soft voice, her drenched eyes turned vaguely dreamy, “used to go up there a lot.” A reminiscent smile tugged at her lips and pink tinged her cheeks. “It’s possible Jackson was conceived up there.”
Thank you for reading this week's offering, 
there are lots more amazing reads at  

19 January 2014

Sunday Snippet

The week's Sunday Snippet  is from another short story in my current WIP
Daily Mail
Almost every available officer and hundreds of civilian volunteers were searching for the boy. Who could she dispatch to visit the mother again?
So far the police had managed to withhold the information from the media that they’d found Jackson’s jacket beneath a scrub of brambles at the bottom of the hill. Had he been at the bottom of the hill, or had someone thrown his jacket there to deflect attention?
Questions, questions… When would someone come up with some concrete answers?
You'll find more snippets from https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday

16 January 2014

Author Spotlight ~ Jillian Chantal.

Author Bio:
Jillian Chantal is the nom de plume of a lawyer moonlighting as a writer of romantic fiction.   Most often she can be found either at her keyboard banging out words, working on a legal issue or just surfing the web and calling it research.  Her other guilty pleasure is her one-sided love affair with the actor Alan Rickman. She owns all his movies and would probably give away her cat for a chance to meet him. She’d keep her children, though. It would be a sacrifice, but she would be brave.

Jillian lives on the Florida Gulf Coast where she bemoans the humidity most of the year but she’s otherwise charming and engaging (at least in her own mind).

She has PRO status in the RWA and is an active member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America.

Blurb:Attorney Anna Kincaid doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s been a time of loss and sadness for her for too many years.
Matteo Sanchez, a criminal prosecutor, has been searching for the right woman for more years than he cares to recall.
In a local deli, Matteo, seated at the next table overhears a conversation Anna has with her friends that she wants a one night stand for Christmas. The next day, he introduces himself to her at the local bar association Christmas party. After an evening of passion, Anna discovers that Matteo knew about her wish before meeting her. Believing him to be a stalker and a cad, she throws him out of her house. Christmas may prove to be her enemy yet again.

Her phone on the top of the table also kept vibrating with messages from Gina about the stupid bar party that night. Gina had a date and so did Renee and they wanted her to come and be with them. She had no doubt that they would hunt her down if she didn’t agree to go. Damn them. It was so not what she wanted to do. She wanted these depositions to end so she could go home, put on a cozy robe and have cocoa.
It didn’t seem that was going to happen and sure enough, when the day was over and she stepped out of her office to head home, Renee and Gina were standing there.
“Come on. We’re getting ready at Renee’s.” Gina took Anna by the arm.
“I told you I didn’t want to go. What’s so hard to understand about that?”
“We understand. We’re just not letting you do it. You need to get over being Scrooge and get into the party spirit,” Gina said.
      “I don’t like Christmas.” Anna wanted to stomp her feet.
“Look, you like Halloween, right?” Renee asked.
“Yeah. I do. So what?”
Gina pulled Anna down the street. “So, let’s pretend it’s a Halloween party and someone has decorated their haunted house as a Christmas house. Can you do that?”
Anna laughed then. “You’re crazy.” She looked over her shoulder. “Both of you.”
“At least you’re laughing now. Come one. We got you a great dress to wear.” Renee jogged to catch up as they headed to the parking deck.
After changing at Renee’s house, Anna and her friends drove to the hotel where the bar association had its party every year. She shivered in the cold when they turned the car over to the valet.
Renee and Gina hurried Anna inside where they met their dates right inside the double doors. Anna glanced around at the number of Christmas trees scattered throughout the lobby. Way too much red and green for her. She giggled a bit at the dress her friends had made her put on. It was a black silk with an orange shawl-back collar. It was prim from the front with a high neckline but from the back, the orange shawl showed her muscled lateral muscles. It was pretty daring for her.
When she slipped the dress on, her friends reminded her of her wish for a one-night stand and their bet. Anna knew there would be no one at the bar party she’d care to run off with for the night but she wore the dress to humor them and to pretend it was a Halloween outfit. They really had tried hard to get her in the spirit of things— the spirit of a holiday that didn’t bother her, that is.

To Buy Links:
Secret Cravings Publishings      Amazon      Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble    iTunes

(Book provided by author for review:-)

Jillian Chantal’s story, All I Want For Christmas, may be short, but it’s packed with pace, pathos, passion, plus a quirky sense of humour. And, of course, some seriously hot characters.

In the first sentence Ms. Chantal reveals her heroine, Anna’s take on Christmas. She hates it, and expects to go on hating it for ever more. But strange things happen in the run-up to the holiday. And Anna, completely out of character, makes a comment in response to a half-hearted dare that shocks her and has her two best friends taking her up on it.
And in the next chapter we meet the author’s hero, Matteo Sanchez. Who knew that lawyers could look so good? And Ms. Chantal’s hero is quick witted, he needs to be as a prosecutor, under pressure from his Mama to bring a girl home for Christmas. Sitting at the table next to Anna and her friends he hears her throw-away comment, hopes she acts on it, and when she doesn’t, decides not to miss the opportunity.

Ms. Chantal create vibrant settings, believable backchat and ribbing between the friends, and had this reader enjoying the escalation of passion between Anna and Matteo. It is fast, furious, and creates a fabulous twist near the end of the story that had this reader laughing in amusement and appreciation.

This reader has had the pleasure of following Ms. Chantal’s writing and enjoys the smooth fluency of it, the way she creates a scene and just when you wonder what she’s up to, she takes you down a totally unexpected and fun path.

Her characters are totally believable, and in a short story it is not easy to present fully formed and deep characters, but Ms. Chantal’s characters are a delight. Her secondary players annoy and tease in equal measure and fulfil their role in moving the story forward with expertise. 

Yes, unquestionable, this is a Christmas story, but don’t let that put you off reading it at any time of the year.

At 49 pages this sensual romance is a one-sitting read that will keep you turning the pages until you discover just how Anna and Matteo clear a path through all their problems, and the hoops Ms. Chantal put them through.

Author Links:
Website     Blog        Amazon Author Page          Facebook

14 January 2014

Tuesday's Tales ~ Satin

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  
Once again, many thanks to all those who drop by each week. I also appreciate, and often act upon comments and suggestions left.

This week, I'm cheating and posting to fit the prompt rather than write something specific, which means... I've dipped into another story completely. In this scene  the hero's sister calls on him for help. But when Jake arrives both his sisters are missing and only Tiffany is there to meet him, with no explanations. So they are all disturbed when Sarah, one of the sisters, makes it home all battered and bruised. (Pete is Jake's friend and a P.I.)

When Pete reached out to move the sleeping woman Jake stepped forward and pulled him back before Tiffany slapped the man’s face. “Later Pete.” He sent a glance in Tiffany’s direction that had Pete backing out of the room. “I know Tiff intends to lift Sarah herself, but it’s for me to see to my sister. When we have her covered and in bed, you can look. I want photos. For evidence,” he added, in case Tiffany came after him this time.

“I wish to God Susan hadn’t done a runner. She should be here, she should have phoned me.” Jake held up one hand to silence Tiffany’s protest. “Yes she could if she’d bought one of those that are pre-loaded and can be thrown afterwards.”  He leaned across the bath, lifted the wash cloth and gently began cleaning the visible wounds on his sister’s body.

“We should call a doctor.” Tiffany stood beside him, a hand resting gently on his shoulder. The warmth of it seeped through his shirt to his skin and warmed his heart.

“It sounds crazy, I know, but until we know more, I’d rather tend her myself and then call a friend who has a practice not far away from here.”

“While I understand your sentiments, Jake, I also think you should contact the police. We may not know what’s behind this attack, but there’s a dangerous and evil man out there who’s not finished with you and could come after your sisters again.”

“Pete’s on it.” Keeping his tone flat, Jake bit down on his anger. He shouldn’t argue with Tiffany. She had the right of it, he knew, but something told him this was personal. No less dangerous for that, but Sarah’s attack might not be one of several. With a huff he threw the wash cloth into the water, grabbed the chain and yanked the plug. “I need towels,” he said. “Several of them. With those injuries we can’t rub her dry, and I can’t put her to bed and wet the sheets.”

He watched Tiffany leave the room. He knew, Susan kept the house linens and towels in the huge airing cupboard in her room, but did she have enough? This was not the time to notice the rounded curves of Tiffany’s bottom beneath her jeans... Or admire the gentle sway of her hips. The light floral scent she wore still lingered in the bathroom. But he did.

The sound of the final dregs of water running down the plughole brought his mind back to Sarah. Normally he’d simply reach in and lift her, but the combined obstruction of the side of the bath and the angle of lift would make it difficult given the extent of his sister’s injuries.

“Try this,” Tiffany offered him an enormous bath sheet. “I have no idea whether it will work or not, but what if we try slipping it beneath her and then between us we can lift it and her without adding to her pain?”

Sarah stirred, groaned then lay still once more.

“Come, Jake, before she wakes up and feels the pain again.”

Together they carried Sarah through to the bedroom. “Lay her on the floor.”

“What?” Jake nearly lost his grip on the end of the towel. “Why not straight onto the bed?”

“You said it yourself we need to dry her.” Tiffany pointed to a fan heater she’d collected at the same time as the towels. “Between that and these extra towels we can get the worst off and I’ve laid a couple more beneath the bottom sheet.” Satin sheets, Tiff noted. Something else she and Susan had in common. But right now They had to get Sarah settled on the sea of shiny black satin.

Thank you for reading this week's offering, 
there are lots more amazing reads at