Being Watched – Story Snippet

I am so delighted to finally see my YA mystery book on sale on Amazon as well as other bookshop sites such as Waterstones. It feels like an age ago that I wrote it and I am excited to see people start to buy it and let me know what they think.

Today I would like to share another extract from the story and hope that it grabs your interest. Drew and Siobhan are the main characters who stumble upon a weird, old country house which then leaves a lasting impression on their lives.

Check out this little snippet:

“Man, did you have to wake me? I mean it’s not even afternoon yet,” he said, opening the door and grimacing as the sun shone in his eyes. “Come in. I reckon I have something you might wana see.”

I followed him into his living room where he quickly shoved back the curtains and slapped a book down on the table. It was a tatty looking book with old fashioned binding and that kind of been in the attic for decades dusty look.

“What is that? Looks ancient.”

“It is pretty ancient. I found it in the loft when I was looking for a set of earphones,” he said, holding up the title.

I realised that it was in fact some kind of scrap book.

“Art – photos and drawings,” he said. “It was dad’s. Since dad don’t live here no more I don’t think he will mind us looking through it.”

“Has it got pictures of his old girlfriends or is it the drawings he used for his GCSEs?”

“Nah, it’s a bit of everything. Dad was trying to be arty though. Some of these pictures were really well planned. Like this one of a squirrel perched right on the edge of a branch, with a massive storm cloud behind it. I can see why he ended up as a designer.”

I flicked through some pages and saw random sketches of wildlife and houses. His dad had written jottings by the side of every picture and you could tell that he took a lot of pride in his photographs, which were well protected by a layer of plastic stuff surrounding each page. As I fingered through them, I noticed his fascination with animals and the delicate way he framed each piece. The sketches were in pencil but the light and shade was spectacular.

“I mean… this is great and everything. But I don’t get the feeling that is all you wanted to show me,” I muttered quietly.

“You’re right,” he went on. “Let me find the page I want you to see.”

He fingered the pages carefully and soon opened up a page of photographs. There were four of them and they all seemed to be different views of the same building. I gulped as I realised that I knew exactly what he was showing and as he drew it closer to me… Well it was clear that these were slightly unusual. These pictures were of that damn house and it looked more menacing than usual. His dad had managed to capture what appeared to be hundreds of black birds all sitting on the lawn, on top of the roof, flying around in circles and generally highlighting the fact that there was the outline of an old man stood in front of the house. Although the crows were distinct, the man was just a shadow, with no features apparent. He stood with one arm bent, and the other holding a a spade.

To many, it must have just looked like a man doing his garden, but to me it looked scary. It gave me a shudder and I looked over to Max who was patiently waiting for me to freak out. I didn’t. I sat. I stared. Then I asked him to make us a drink.

One thing was for sure, that house was going to haunt my dreams for the next few weeks. I took some pictures on my phone and Max told me that he was going to ring his dad to ask what made him take those pictures. I agreed that would be a good idea. When Max made the call it went straight to voicemail and we decided to leave it until another day. The only thing we were certain of after this was that that house had a way of filling us with questions. Our pact was to find the answers, and we knew that Siobhan needed to be a part of our detective work.

Thank you for reading my extract of ‘Being Watched’ which is on sale now.

 

 

 

Read, Watch, Listen (October)

It has been a short while since I last wrote one of these posts and so I now have plenty of things to talk about. As Autumn draws in, sitting by the TV or on a sofa, curled up with a good book sounds good. If not, maybe hooking up with a good podcast is your kind of thing.

Today I am happy to discuss a book, a TV show and a podcast that are all really satisfying. I hope that you will consider checking one of them out or recommending your own newly found gems in the comments below.

Reading – The Former Boy Wonder by Robert Graham

This book is really interesting as it is about a slightly washed out music journalist who has daddy issues. It starts off with his parents split and the infrequent visits of his light entertainment father and then jumps around in time a bit.

The author’s way with words is great and some of the nostalgia is very relatable. The main character, Peter, goes to Uni in Manchester and falls madly in love with Sanchia, who fades in and out of the story in an enigmatic way. A lot of the book is during his middle age, when Lucy is Peter’s wife. She was his university housemate and played second fiddle to Sanchia during those college years.

When an old friend invites him to a party at the house where he first met Sanchia, he isn’t sure whether to tell Lucy. Delving back into the friendship group of his early twenties presents emotional conversations and lovely recollections. The story is really reminiscent and warm.

I would say check this book out if you can as rarely has a modern story got such heart as well as stacks of throwback details. For me, the memories felt relatable and cosy, taking me back to my own Uni days in the 1990s.

Watching – Bloods Season 2, Part 2

I may have mentioned this before but I love this comedy which is available on Sky Or NOW TV. Starring Jane Horrocks (as Wendy) of Absolutely Fabulous fame, it is a laugh along show about paramedics and some of the funny circumstances they find themselves in. Lucy Punch (Motherland) is also onboard as a quirky boss who is secretly infatuated with one of the ambulance crew.

My friends and I agree that the comedy has got wittier and the writing sharper in this second series. Samson Kayo is Wendy’s crew mate and their relationship is funny and fractured at times. All of the characters have great comic timing and brilliant onscreen chemistry.

Listening – Dragoncast Podcast

I used to watch ThroneCast which was a discussion show that came on every week after each fresh episode of Game of Thrones. Jamie East used to give detailed explanations of some of the Westeros history and rivalries.

Now I have discovered his brilliant podcast and it is the perfect companion to each episode of House of the Dragon. With special guests and forensic unpicking of the key events, this podcast is very entertaining and helpful. Check out Dragoncast if you get the chance (available on Spotify, Apple etc).

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest recommendations. Please consider following my blog for similar articles about books, TV, podcasts and the environment. You can also read my summer choice in Read, Watch, Listen 4.

My Brand NEW Novel

I am so proud of this, my first full novel.

This week my first ever YA mystery novel comes out and I am so excited. Following on from the short novella, ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost,’ which tested out my writing skills, I am delighted to see this passion project finally come to fruition.

Since writing this book I have established my little blog and so am shamelessly promoting my story here. Why ever not? I hope that you will check out the sample and consider pre-ordering my novel. If it is not your cup of tea, then perhaps I could ask you to drop a cheeky blog comment instead.

Here goes: An Extract From ‘Being Watched’.

“We’re off to Uni mate,” he said, breaking the silent reflection.

“I know. I need to double check the results as I still can’t believe I got an A in English.”

“Wonder how everyone else did.” Max continued.

“We will have to keep our eye on their statuses. I do hope Siobhan got what she had to get in order to make it to UCL.”

“I’ve just seen Martha’s status and she didn’t quite get what she wanted but is happy with her second choice of Uni,” said Max as he scrolled through timelines and checked a multitude of social media sites.

“I have texted Siobhan but she hasn’t got round to replying yet. She might even still be in bed,” I said, knowing that we had both been up later last night and she was well known for liking a good lay in.

Max changed the subject. He had become quite fixated on one of the pictures on the wall. It hung just above the bar area and I had never noticed it before. Perhaps it just hadn’t caught my eye up until now. But it sure as hell had caught Max’s.

“That picture is creepy. I mean it just looks so dark. All the other ones are bright and colourful but that one is murky and weird. What do you think?”

I turned around and tried to focus on it, but it took a while as it seemed misty and sort of out of focus itself. I gasped as I realised that the dark building surrounded by fields and trees had that familiar shape. Those strange pointed bits on the roof meant that I immediately recognised it. I quickly found myself walking over to it for closer examination. It was odd that it seemed to bend and muddle as I approached it. It was definitely a large house in the country, but had I misread it? I took a much closer look at the driveway and was taken aback to see that two people were standing there, with their bikes strewn nearby.

“That picture is of me and Siobhan. It’s that same messed up house. It is an aerial photo of us when we went round to pick up Siob’s scarf. Come and have a look!”

Max sped over and confirmed that it did look like it could be us. We were small in the photo but the bikes looked like ours and I was clearly wearing my blue coat while Siobhan had her red jacket and she was definitely picking up the bright blue scarf at the exact moment that the photo was taken.

I saw the owner, Lilly, coming past and called out to her.

“Hey, how long have you had this picture?” I asked politely.

“Oh. This old thing. Someone donated it recently when they saw that we had a hook with no picture on. It filled a gap, that’s for sure,” she replied with her usual lovely manner.

“Do you know what it is a picture of?” Max asked.

“No idea. Just think it looks interesting and unique.”

“Kind of creepy though, don’t you reckon?” I continued.

“We like quirky. The girl who brought it in was lovely but a little peculiar. I just felt it added to the character of the place. Quite a few people have commented on how mysterious it is.”

I decided I might as well ask more about the girl.

“You didn’t know the girl? Did she have a tattoo on the back of her hand?”

“Not sure really. I just remember she had jet black hair flowing behind her back. I remember wishing my hair looked that good.”

“Thanks anyway,” Max said, tugging at me to stop interrogating the busy lady any longer.

“You’re welcome. And I trust your exams went well, given the feisty meal you just ate.”

“Yes! Brilliant!” I said as I returned to the table and finished off the potatoes, thinking carefully about the significance of what just happened. Max looked at me with frustration.

“What does all this mean? I mean this is getting out of control.”