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.”

Being Watched – My New Book

The story starts with a bike ride. This is the only picture I could find.

This is a small excerpt from my forthcoming YA mystery book. I hope you like it. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I was keen to get into the YA genre as I enjoy reading YA stories a lot. Inspired by a range of authors, I decided to try my hand at something mysterious but still grounded in genuine drama.

I simply couldn’t look her in the eye. I shied away from her gaze as I tugged her up from beneath the scratchy hedge that had protected our falls. With a cut lip and some already visible bruises, I was feeling worse for wear. She had a bump on her cheek and a few grazes, but seemed to have come off better than I had. It was difficult to get back to reality and regain our focuses after such a traumatic event. Glancing back over my shoulder, I could see the house looking almost unchanged. It seemed to stand more erect than before apart from the shattered windows of the conservatory and the door that was hanging off its hinges. It blew in the wind and banged loudly every second or two. It’s rhythm was awkward and seemed to resonate within my chest. She looked at me and caught my eye. We had survived something that only we could ever understand. Nobody would even believe us if we told them. It all started that day when I suggested we look for her stupid blue scarf. But it was not her fault. Far from it. It needed to come about in this way. I can remember everything right from when we got together that morning to cycle into the woods.

 

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Chapter One

 

It was quite a sunny day and we were enjoying a ride over to the neighbouring town where we wanted to get some new trainers. Mum had given me some cash, with strict instructions to get ones that would last a long time rather than just ones that looked good out and about on the streets. She had reminded me that training shoes were for exercise and fitness and not just for showing others how much money I could waste. I was not as bothered about looks as she thought, but I did want to make sure that I got my favourite brand. Siobhan, however, was also interested in checking out a new shop which apparently everyone was talking about. By everyone, she must have meant her girly friends, as I knew nothing about it. It was one of those new shops that sold stuff at a reduced rate from outlets that belonged to big chains and she had her hopes set on buying cheap trainers and still having enough money left for a brand new pair of cut price designer jeans. I suppose we both had brands that we liked and so we had a similar reason for going to town that day. We just had not planned on getting interrupted. By interrupted, I mean starting a sequence of events that would lead to us being swept into a bush, grazed and washed out, lucky to still be in one piece. But that was all yet to come months later.