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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New YA Book – Extract

As September begins, I am excited to finally introduce my first YA novel, which is published at the end of this month. I wrote this story two years ago and have waited patiently for its arrival, hoping that the narrative will grab your interest and intrigue you enough to consider checking it out.

This segment is a few chapters in and after the two main characters, Drew and Siobhan, have come across a mysterious old country house. The two of them have had a feeling of ‘being watched’ ever since that peculiar night. Some weird blackbirds, which dwell in large numbers close to that disheveled house, have also been haunting their lives.

Coming soon – my YA book, available in Kindle and Paperback.

Extract

Sunday came and I went down to the Hub to meet Siobhan for lunch. She was already settled in and listening to music on her iPod when I sauntered in and plonked myself opposite her in one of the quaint wooden booths.

“Shall I order the usual?” she asked as she yanked one earphone out of her ear.

“Yes, two roasts please,” I said noticing the waiter looming over us.

“Great! I need a feast today.”

I smiled at Siobhan and then decided to breach the subject and get it out of the way before our dinner came.

“So why have you not mentioned going into that garden again? Bonita was fuming about that.”

I could see that I had caught her by surprise. She thought for a moment and then began.

“I was going to tell you. But then I decided it was better to keep it to myself.”

“Right,” I said, “but we always tell each other everything.”

She turned red a little and looked away.

“This was different. I didn’t know anyone had seen me and I just wanted to try and forget about it,” she gulped, in much the same way as I usually would gulp.

“You know it’s no good keeping these things bottled up,” I said.

“Well I tried to ring you. You were working for your mum that night. I had just been totally freaked out by that dead bird and my mind was whirling. I found myself cleaning my bike and going for a ride. Before I knew it I was slowing down and staring at that bloody house. Something told me I needed to check it out again. I heard some noises, like feint bird noises.”

“You rang me to go with you?” I said awkwardly.

“Yes. But by this time I was already outside. I just had a strange feeling and decided to take the track by the side of the property. I thought I might get a different picture.”

“You wanted to take pictures?”

“No. You know what I mean. I wanted to see it from a different perspective. And when I got half way down the track I could hear the cawing of birds getting louder. Through the fence I spotted a little shed and just in front of it there must have been about a hundred black birds all making strange noises and pecking away at something littered across the grass.”

I could see that she was uncomfortable discussing this and she lowered her voice as the waiter was walking over.

 

He presented us with some piled high plates of chicken, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, green beans, parsnips and carrots. It was really smelling good and momentarily distracted us from the story but soon he was gone and we were back to chatting about it, almost under a cover of mystery, like two detectives quietly sharing information about a big operation.

“What was it then? What were they eating?” I said, looking at my own food and salivating.

I just filled my mouth with lush roasted potatoes when she said, “Just lots of pieces of flesh. Pink flesh.”

I spat my food out again into the napkin. I could see that she was repulsed by the recollection.

“That is why you freaked out.”

Read, Watch, Listen 4

Before I start my holiday I thought I would do one of my update posts regarding a good book, TV show and podcast that I am currently enjoying. I am a book lover and hoping to read a whole book in the next fortnight as well as reporting back on my travels around Europe.

It is worth noting that a few of us bloggers have clubbed together to start a monthly set of articles about greener living and widening knowledge about climate change. I will look forward to plenty of engagement with these posts as we need to start an open dialogue about tackling climate change.

Back to the books…

Five Tuesdays In Summer By Lily King

After impressing me with her brilliant ‘Writers and Lovers’ which I previously reviewed, I was intrigued to see her set of short stories being published and quickly snapped it up.

Although I am not far in, I already like the strong personalities coming through is these heartfelt stories. From a bookseller’s love for his employee to a widow escaping on a seaside holiday with her daughter, the settings are fairly varied and definitely intriguing. More to come on this later on.

Love Victor (Disney Plus)

Love Victor – Disney Plus

I love Becky Albertalli’s books so it was no surprise that I have fell in love with this series on Disney Plus. In its third and final series, I was happy to see Steven Canals directing an episode too (the writer of Pose FX).

The brilliant Victor (played capably by Michael Cimino) has explored his sexuality in a sensitive way and the surrounding characters are fun, interesting and well acted. The soundtrack is cute and the whole feel of the show is supportive, entertaining and feel good. Produced by the actor who portrayed Simon in the ‘Love, Simon’ movie, Nick Robinson also pops up occasionally.

Making the Cut Podcast

Podcast Link

Davina McCall and her partner, Michael Douglas, have presented this fascinating podcast ever since lockdowns began. They cover everything from TV shows to make up, fitness to theatre and comedy to travel.

They only mention things that they like so you won’t hear negative reviews here. I discovered Ted Lasso because of these two and their life hacks are useful indeed. Davina talks a lot about gut health and Michael gives great insights into history and documentaries.

I am a massive fan of this brilliant podcast and totally recommend checking it out. Their relationship is great and you feel like you are part of the conversation in every episode.

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