Tag Archive: guest blogs


Morning all:

For this week’s blog we are lucky enough to have been in touch with the multi-talented Lexi Revellian.  Her books are both residing in my Kindle and having read and enjoyed both I can  heartily recommend them. They are not easy to categorise but appeal to most, with their mixture of humour, action, believeable characters and (in Remix) some really kick-ass rocking horses!! If you’ve read them, you’re probably already looking forward to the rest of this post; if you haven’t read them, you should – you’re in for a treat.

On which note, I shall leave you with the details of Lexi’s books, and hand you over to her for the rest of the post.

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Title: Remix

Genre &  format: Mystery/Romance e-book and paperback

One-sentence blurb: A chance encounter with an attractive stranger, and Caz Tallis is drawn into a search for the truth about a rock star’s murder from three years ago…

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Title:  Replica

cover for Replica by Lexi Revellian

Genre & format: Thriller/Romance in e-book (paperback coming soon)

One-sentence blurb:  Beth Chandler is replicated in a flawed experiment; Beth Two tries to survive on the run, while the original Beth, unaware of what has happened, becomes involved with the spec op hunting her replica.

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Lexi Revellian

One-sentence biog:  Lexi is a jeweller/silversmith in London, and has written four books, two of them available to buy.

Website

Blog

Twitter: @LexiRevellian

Facebook

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Writing Replica

January 2010 my bike slipped on an icy speed cushion, and I hit the kerb and broke my shoulder. That accident changed my life for a while. Unable to cycle or drive, I walked between home and work, brooding. It was bitterly cold, and I wondered what it would be like to walk those dark and icy streets with nowhere to go, particularly if people were chasing you for some reason; how someone would react to suddenly losing her place in the world, how she would survive. I’d often thought, as a single mother running a small business, it would be handy if there were two of me. These ideas merged, and I started notes for Replica; biographies for the characters, snippets of dialogue, scenes, ideas, and photographs of locations. I researched the Royal Marines – later cut from the book – and the Security Service, also known as MI5, on the internet. The internet is a godsend to writers. I’m particularly fond of Google Street View, a way of visiting places without leaving my desk. (On the subject of research, I’m lucky that my daughter is a Jitsu blue belt and can help me with fights, and one of my friends is a doctor.) It’s interesting to look over these notes now, and see how much I didn’t use.

Once I knew the start and the finish and some of the characters, I started writing. Replica’s plot is one that could go many ways. The main male character, Nick Cavanagh, wasn’t in my original plans. The man Beth falls for was to have been much nicer, a disabled Marine, one of the Fubars seconded to the government research institute where she works. But he got elbowed aside by Nick (typical of him, I may say) who began by needling his boss in a briefing, and then got more and more important in the story until he became a main POV character. I also changed the end; I realized the ending I’d been heading towards was too obvious and anticlimactic.

The toughest thing about writing Replica was caused by my decision to write alternating chapters from the point of view of replica Beth in first person, while the other chapters are in third and varying POVs. I did this so the reader would never be in any doubt which Beth he/she was reading about, and it works, but every time I got on a roll I’d have to switch POVs with a crash of gears. It wasn’t an option to write all Beth Two’s chapters in one go, either, because I didn’t know what was going to happen.

My method is to think hard about a scene or chapter (the bath, driving or walking is good for this) then write it. If I get stuck, with no idea what to put next, I find bullet points have a miraculous ability to order my thoughts. I list what could happen, what I want to happen, what frame of mind the characters are in and what they want at this point. I like bullet points.

Replica’s setting is London. I prefer to use real places, so if anyone wants to do a Beth tour of central London, it’s possible. The derelict flat she lives in is real; I trespassed there while walking to work. Slightly unnerving, as it was vandalized and inhabited by a couple of squatters. I heard a cat meowing through a locked door as Beth Two does. The flats have since been bought, finished and sold. In my mind’s eye, I have a very clear image even of places I’ve made up.

About self-publishing

I think we are incredibly lucky that, just as mainstream publishing closes its doors to almost all new writers, we have this incredible opportunity with e-publishing on Amazon for the Kindle. Anyone can offer a book for sale, and discover whether people want to read it. There are no setting up charges. I don’t think it’s a problem that some badly-written books are being published this way, as they will sink out of sight. It’s more of a problem to get readers to notice a good book…

I’ve done all the usual things to promote my books, given that I don’t have a great deal of time to spare. It’s not possible to say which work and which don’t – possibly it’s all cumulative. I have a blog and a website, I tweet and struggle to understand my Facebook page, and I go on sites like KindleBoards, Amazon forums and KUF where each of my books has been chosen as Book of the Month. Word of mouth is the best way to sell a book, no question. I use Google Alerts to try to keep track, but that doesn’t tell you everything. Publishing has so many ups and downs, it’s a mistake to take the whole thing too seriously. If in doubt, write another book.

For both my books, I’ve done everything; editing, proofreading, formatting and designing the covers for e-books and paperback (I’m working on Replica’s paperback now). Most of this I’ve enjoyed, though it’s been a steep learning curve. My covers are getting better as I get to grips with Adobe Photoshop 7.0 – its potential is vast, its instructions incomprehensible, and I love it when it’s not driving me nuts. I’m really quite hot at lettering these days.

I’m fortunate in that I have a background in design, and all jewellers are nitpicky and precise by nature and training. I love being in control of artwork, blurb and pricing, and having access to all the detailed sales information Amazon provides. I would strongly recommend going it alone rather than publishing with a small e-publisher. A small e-publisher may seem the easy option, but you lose the main advantages of self-publishing without reaping any reward in the form of publicity. There is plenty of help and advice on the internet from people who have successfully self-published, and most indies are happy to share.

Since August 2010 I’ve sold 27,000 e-books, something I’d have found unbelievable a year ago. You need luck in any form of publishing, and I’ve been lucky. It’s fantastic to think of so many people buying, reading, and enjoying stories I’ve written. That thought always brings a smile to my face.

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So there you have it, people! Thanks to Lexi for her blogpost and thoughts on publishing – and what about the rest of you. Do you agree or disagree? Are you a firm believer in small presses for epublishing or do you have other experiences to share with us? Please comment below and let us know if you do. If you want to know more about Lexi, her books, her silvercraft (is that a word?) and see the fabulous pictures of her work, do check out her website.

Lastly, if you’re about before 10th June, check the previous post on this blog for a massive multi-book giveaway on Misty’s blog Unwritten; and with that I’ll leave you. Next week’s post is still tbc but rumour has it that author Lisa Hinsley might have something interesting to put our way, so watch this space!

In the interim, have a great weekend – and see you same time next week…

JAC

Hi all:

First things first: I’m delighted to tell you that this week’s guest blogger is none other than Lexi Revellian, silversmith of no small artistry, and author of ‘Remix‘ and ‘Replica‘ which are two of my best indie finds to date.  Come back over the weekend to read what she has to say about writing and ‘Replica’….cool, huh? Watch this space!

Second – if you haven’t read ‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ and would like to, it’s being featured as part of a giveaway at Misty Baker’s blog ‘Unwritten’ so if you go and comment there, you can claim a copy of this or a  variety of other books free, gratis, and generally for the having! Don’t say I never give you anything….

Lastly: I’ve had another very pleasing review, this time from Craig at CS Fantasy Reviews so do go and have a look (and if you agree or disagree, why not leave him a comment and have the discussion?)

Here’s an excerpt from it (the most flattering bit, obv!):

“Clement’s greatest strength as a writer is her characterization. It is amazing how well she can breathe life into a character, revealing their every nuance in a minimal amount of words. The frequent point of view changes were cleverly used as well to create an even pacing throughout. The world building in this novel was also done well and believable through an almost minimalist approach.”

and he scored it 8/10, which I’m pretty pleased about; so that’s started my Thursday rather nicely. Best be getting on with my editing then…. Hope you lot are all having a good week – and do drop by again over the weekend to see Lexi’s post!

Catch you later;

JAC

Hello all –

Welcome to this week’s edition of authorly Question Time; today’s victim guest is the multi-talented Julia Lee Dean, writer of plays and novels, actress, singer and occasional go-go dancer (depending on how many tequilas it’s been this time).  She’s just had poems published as part of an anthology and has performed by own monologues at London Bites and The Courtyard Theatre.

Her theatre company, Wired to the Moon Productions, is about to put on her play ‘Limbo’ as part of the Camden Fringe Festival in August, and having read that particular script through several stages of development, I can tell you that it is unusual, funny and poignant all at the same time, so if you’re likely to be in the vicinity, check out the company’s Facebook page for more info.

Also, writers needed! Julia is looking for writers for her next show – Stand Up for Shakespeare, which will involve parodies and sketches. If you would like to be involved, please check out the details at  http://penpoised.wordpress.com

On which note, I’ll leave you with her questions…

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Name: Julia Lee Dean

Author of:Limbo’

Genre/s:  Theatre

Publication Type: Play

Available from:  www.lazybeescripts.co.uk

One-sentence summary: Michael finds it hard to come to terms with his death; especially when his widow appears to be getting it on with his best friend.

One-sentence biog: Writer, actress, theatre producer & would-be Irish speaker

Links: www.facebook.com/wiredtothemoonproductions

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 Questions:  

When you write, do you have a routine or habit?

Not really.  I don’t start a new piece of work unless the first few lines or a particular scene are going over in my mind with such insistence I can’t think of anything else.  But if I’ve got an ongoing piece of work I’m a bit more studious.  Even so, I only write when I’m in the mood.  I suppose it’s one advantage of still having the day job: I can bide my time.  I don’t see the good in forcing myself, it wouldn’t be my best work and this profession is competitive enough without turning in second rate stuff.

 What kicks off the book – a character, a situation, a plot-point?

This always makes me sound like a madwoman but most of the time it’s like I hear a voice.  Characters form in my mind and start speaking to each other, I simply write down what they say.  Obviously I get to steer the conversations (most of the time!) but if you have characters with a story to tell, all you really need is a pen and a piece of paper.

 Do you plan the plot or follow it as it unfolds? How much do you know in advance?

I usually have a general idea with what I want to happen by the time I get to the end but that vagary is only really (arguably!) permissible with longer stories.  Certainly with short stories and playwriting, you have to have a good idea of how the thing’s going to end because all the action is leading to that point and you haven’t really got the space to diverge from the main plot in the way you have with novels.  That said, my latest play, ‘Is This Seat Taken?’ was based, very loosely, on a real relationship and the ending changed a few times according to how was feeling about that relationship.

 Do you write character notes or background information?

I do but only after I’ve got the characters.  Sometimes it’s like a character will randomly walk into my mind, take a seat and wait for attention (here’s the madwoman talking again).  I am quite lazy in a way, I don’t pick up a pen until I can hear the story they have to tell.  Then I might plot out characteristics and background.  Of the two I think background is more important; the characteristics of a character will come out in what they say and how they react.  Sometimes I note them down as an act of self-discipline but more often than not I’m not that disciplined.  I suppose what I’m trying to say is that a lot of what I do is instinctive: it doesn’t all trundle neatly through the processing part of my brain so it’s actually quite hard for me for describe my writing process without sounding worryingly eccentric.

 Do you do research and how?

Yes, books and internet.  Especially if it’s a period piece.  I wrote a novel a while ago which centred around an Anglican priest on the Western Front during the First World War.  I read bits and pieces from text books but what proved most helpful was a lovely book called ‘Somewhere in Flanders’ written by Rev Leighton Green which gave me a really good insight into the daily life of an army padre.  Also the German novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ which describes life in the trenches and the thoughts of the soldiers really well.  While it’s important to get your facts straight, it is equally vital to get the sense of what you’re writing about right.  I’ve read novels and seen plays where the writer has clearly done an awful lot of research but can’t let any of it go.  It kills off the humanity of the story and what you’re left with is something akin to a school essay.  You might want to give the writer a gold star for effort but he/she hasn’t told you anything.

 Do your characters do as you intend or do they tend to run away with the plot?

They have a good go at running away from me!  Sometimes I give them a free rein to see what happens but in the end I will rewrite passages I’m not happy with.  If something I intended as a serious scene ends with the characters capering about and getting silly then I’ll get the big red pen out.  Occasionally it works quite well.  I was rewriting the opening scene of ‘Is This Seat Taken?’;  all the way through the play this guy’s going on about having children and yet there’s not a word of that in the first scene.  In the rewrite the female character, an actress, talks about a film about surrogacy she’s about to audition for and the conversation opens up.  That worked.  A lot of the time it doesn’t.

 Do you have clear visuals of places or characters?

Of places yes, though they often bear an uncanny resemblance to places I’ve lived in!  With characters I get a very strong sense of what they look like in terms of build, clothes, colouring but I can never look into their faces – I can see eyes and other features separately but never the whole face at the same time.

 When you have writer’s block, what do you do?

Anything other than writing.  I’m not into the “you must write everyday” thing.  I’ll write when I feel like it.  If it’s not happening with one piece of work I’ll work on something else until the first piece is ready for me (or I’m ready for it).  If the writing’s not happening at all I’ll sit and watch television or read a book.

 Your current work: Limbo, playing at Etcetera Theatre, Camden 19-21st August 6pm.

What made you decide to write this story?  

I wrote ‘Limbo’ about ten years ago.  I’d seen the tail-end of ‘Waiting for Godot’ and wanted to try something with two ghosts, of different backgrounds, comparing notes on life.

What element did you start with and how did it develop? 

I started with the duologue format and then added other characters.

Did anything change substantially along the way?

Nothing in particular.  I sent the play to Soho Theatre for their readers’ report.  Based on that feedback I was able to tighten the narrative and it then went onto win first prize in a local playwriting competition.

 Are any of your characters / places / situations based on real life? 

Yes, the character Agatha is based on my nan who died of cancer just as I finished my ‘A’ Levels.  Agatha knits throughout the play which was a deliberate reference to my nan.  There’s also a point in which she describes a woman serving sausage rolls at a party even though they’ve been nibbled by a cat.  That was true.  I remember standing in my nan’s kitchen looking into the kitchen of the downstairs flat in the next door house.  We thought it was hilarious.

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So there you have it; never partake of soss rolls in the Dean household – you heard it here first!

Julia and her company can be found  at the Camden Fringe with her play ‘Limbo’  and are looking for writers for her new show, hopefully to be taken to the Belfast Fringe. Further details are likely to be on her Facebook page, so do keep an eye on that – and if you’re going to see ‘Limbo’, give me a shout and I’ll see you there!

Thanks to Julia for her interview, and to you for coming back again.  Next week’s guest is the multi-talented Lexi Revellian who will be telling us a little about her new book, ‘Replica‘, and how she came to write that particular story –  so watch this space, and in the interim, have a great week!

Take care;

JAC

Guest post: Mike Rose-Steel

Morning all

This week’s guest-blog is from the desk of the inestimable Mike Rose-Steel, philosopher-poet, proofreader extraordinaire and many other pertinent things starting with p. He has kindly left with me for your delectation a small slice of personal abuse and three of his carefully sculpted poems… so read, enjoy and remember, never trust a man who can use the word “poikilothermic” in anger. I’m talking to you, Mr Rose-Steel.

Blog follows:

JAC

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Hi folks,

thanks very much to Josie for inviting me to fill in a blank space on her blog.

I’m writing this at my desk at home when I should be in my office, because the accelerator pedal on my car fell off this morning, half way up the A30.  This is normally considered to be a bad thing for pedals to do, so I have decided not to drive the car anywhere again for the time being.  This is probably a suspiciously neat metaphor for life, at some level.

I’m Mike, I mostly write poetry and short stories, and split my time between proof-reading, editing, office work, philosophy research and any other activities I can do without having to stand up.  I’ve been published occasionally (partly because I’m very lazy about sending things off), but unfortunately the marvellous Heaventree Press, in Coventry, don’t appear to have a functioning website at the moment, so I can’t link to them.  If you are in Coventry, check out their open mic nights at the Tin Angel – a really friendly, cosy event.

To fill up the remainder of this post, I’ve included three poems suitable to Josie’s general way of doing things.  Two of these were sparked by Josie sending me a random set of instructions on poems to write, so she is at least in part to blame for them.

If you want to play the game yourself (and why not post the results?) here are the restrictions that applied to each (you will notice that I have broken at least some of the rules, because police enforcement in these matters is notoriously inefficient):

On Rough Tor – write a 12 line poem, rhyming ABAB etc, on the theme of someone being in a field in the very early morning and the reader not knowing why they are there.  Mention Last of the Summer Wine.

In the waiting Room – Write a poem that includes the word “formication” (the condition of sensing or imagining that insects are crawling about under your skin) – one of Josie’s favourite words to mumble in the company of strict moralists – employing half-rhyme and at least one stanza break.  Must feature a famous TV naturalist.

Have fun!  I hope this helps you to survive during the dark night of the soul that is Josie’s temporary absence.  I am assured that this is her only seal clubbing expedition of the year, so normal service should be returned and maintained shortly.  Hand-made mittens for sale by mail order, usual contact details apply.  Wishing you an excellent weekend,

Mike Rose-Steel

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The trouble with not liking spiders


is that they creep up on you like

                                this

                on

spindly

                                legs made of

needles and rust.

 

If spiders were as big as elephants,

you could look them in the eye

and ask them to stop skirting about

in such a shifty manner.  You could say

“Why are you always running everywhere?

Why not slow down and enjoy the scuttle?”

 

But because spiders are made

of coal dust and coat-hanger shavings,

everything they see is a delirious dream

dreamt eight times, reflected in a fairground mirror.

 

The whole world wobbles

and blows bubbles on itself

when spiders try to look it in the face,

as if it were floating away, laughing itself apart

on a joke

with a terrifying punch-line.

 

So spiders don’t want to stop and chat.

They swoosh past sofas and carpets and wellington boots

and only glance at them

out of the corners of their eyes,

in case a chair lollops across the room and eats itself.

 

Being a spider is very hard work

and they never wear hats

because hats fly off when you run,

or knock against the ceiling where you are creeping

through narrow cracks in the floorboards.

 

And that’s why they coruscate about the place

as if planning to jump down your collar

like

this

and are never civilised company.

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In the Waiting Room

 

Full to his belly in twittering hairs

Our David is covering himself in scratches,

Red and long and straight, like a plough

Making its blind way north and south.

It itches, under thick skin and arms like branches

Cracking bones and sneaking in between each breath:

Ants! What if they make it into your brain?

 

Two nervous people sit watching this strange dance

In which David’s partner swims unseen

Out of pores and into the fatness of his eyes.

Night terrors, in a blue bright sky, his screams

Scatter like buttons across the emptying room.

 

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On Rough Tor

 

I am trapped in a tutu, heavy in fur and grasping a banana.

I am alone in wet grass, on a cold moor morning, getting far

down into my primitive soul.  The world is slush, slush,

a grey formless skein, unravelling into the empty hush.

 

This is the worst maze yet devised; it has no walls, no bars,

and I have a string to follow that leads into the murk and briars

tied to my left shoe – a loose unbinding messenger cut mute

by distance and my blank memory.  I am overheated in this monkey-suit.

 

I am left no bone but to follow the string, walk its wet path

in slippers of mud, hearing my own breath, rounding on air

and hope not to meet the Devil on the way, his weak eerie laughs

like dead balloons, skittled by an east wind, drowning on air.

 

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So there you have it! Thanks to Mike for his word-smithery, to you lot for dropping by, and watch this space for news of next week’s blog; in the coming weeks we hope to have guest-blogs from writers Lisa Hinsley and Mary Maguire, along with playwright Julia Lee Dean, among others.

In the meantime, take care, have a great weekend – and do drop by again next week!

Regards;

JAC

Hi all;

Just a quickie to let you know that my latest guest appearance (oooo get me) is at A Moose Walked into a Bar

Go and read of yet another incident where getting a word wrong led to vast embarrassment for yours truly…. Again!

Have a good week, all;

JAC

Morning all!

Just a quick link to tell you I have an interview up, for those who’s like to see it! Check it out at  LiteralExposure.com

…but of course, after you’ve read Barbara’s excerpt!

Have a good one;

JAC

Hi all:

This week I’ve been lucky enough to be able to show you an extract of The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters

by Barbara Silkstone.

I’ve read this book myself, and was much entertained by the updating of the Alice-in-Wonderland premise into modern gangster-ridden Miami – can recommend, especially to John Cleese fans who will empathise with Alice’s quest for her very own personal Cleese-alike….

Secret Diary is available from Amazon for the princely sum of 69 of your English pence – and if you enjoy it, don’t forget to leave a review – helps other readers know you liked it, and tells Barbara what you thought worked!

Have a good weekend, all, and watch this space for hints on who will be guesting here next week…

JAC

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The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three quarters

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters


            ~ Thursday May 13

 

Alice had never been in a court of justice before, but she had read about them in books,  and she was quite pleased to find that she knew the name of nearly everything there. That’s the judge,” she said to herself…

 

 

7:00 a.m.  “The condemned ate a big breakfast,” I told myself while I prepared a mushroom omelet. It tasted of England and made me think of Nigel and the fun times. A tear found its way into my left eye.

I washed down the last of the egg with strong coffee. “Here I come, Leslie.” I was wearing my black suit with pencil straight skirt, the collar of my gold satin blouse just showing at the neckline. My hair was pulled back in a serious black barrette and I kept my makeup to a minimum. I looked very lawyerly. I kissed a sleeping Lily and whispered “later” to Dana. I left to face Leslie and his goons knowing what had happened to Sunglasses could be my fate as well.

8:30 a.m.  A power surge went through me when I entered the courtroom. Maybe it was the Xanax kicking in or was it the mushrooms in the omelet? I looked over my right shoulder at Leslie’s lawyers; they were edgy waiting for their boss to arrive.

The courtroom was larger than I expected. It was all polished wood and money-green carpet – a theater of theatrics. My table was on the left side of the room. Leslie’s gang had the table on the right.

Ron looked hunky as he carried my set of exhibit books and laid them down on our table. There were four evidence books from opposing counsel. Each book weighed at least fifteen pounds and was full of stuff and nonsense designed to overwhelm me with useless paper work. I was thankful for his moral support and grateful for his physical strength. I could never have carried the books from my car into the courtroom in one trip.

I smiled at Ron using the eye contact for an excuse to sneak another look at Leslie’s team. Opposing counsel’s table was every bit as large as ours and crowded with disheveled lawyers. Yuck. Surely Leslie could have done better. His lead gun, Dallas Little, was the only one of the pack who dressed with any style.

George Glick was hired by Leslie to represent Algy Green. Glick weighed in at over three hundred pounds. His coat failed to button by at least a foot, and it was too short to cover his rump. Whenever he bent over, which was frequently, his trousers wedged into his butt cheeks.

“Glick is clueless. They call him Bubba,” Ron whispered to me.

Bubba? Marisol-of-the-gold-teeth dated a married lawyer called Bubba.

8:55 a.m.  Leslie arrived, wearing a suit that must have cost ten-thousand dollars. He still looked awful. The jacket hung on his bony frame. Crime or Metamucil, something was draining him. He walked over to me. “I hear you’re without a lawyer,” he smirked.

I forced a confident smile. “I know what you did.”

Leslie blanched and turned away.

“What are they writing?” said Alice.

“Why they’re putting down their own names,

in case they forget them before the trial is over.”

 

 

9:00 a.m.  A bell rang and Leslie moved to his seat. The bailiff called the Court to order and the judge entered. We all stood.

The judge was female, about fifty-five, with a stubby body. She wore a long white wig like the judge in Alice in Wonderland. Bum luck pulling a lady-judge. I’ve learned that women are usually less compassionate with other women. She wasn’t going to be sympathetic to my flights of fancy. The worst part was she was probably in Leslie’s pocket.

As I slipped into position at our table my straight skirt rose up my legs. I tugged at the hem catching my bracelet on my pantyhose at mid-thigh. I struggled to free the gold links from the tougher than steel fibers of my run-resistant hose. My every movement succeeded in tangling me with myself. My right wrist felt permanently attached to my right thigh eight inches short of being obscene.

As the true horror of my situation sank into my brain, I watched the lawyers take turns going up to the podium to announce their names and whom they represented. Dallas Little was attorney for Leslie Archer. Glick waddled up to the stand, “George Blackstone Glick for the plaintiff, Algernon Green” he said in a big, booming voice.

“And for the Defense?” the judge asked.

I was sweating. I couldn’t stay in my seat. You had to walk up and announce yourself. I edged out of the chair bent over, hobbling, wrist on thigh, and skirt way up where it shouldn’t have been. I tried to act as professional as I could under the circumstances. I flashed the judge a self-deprecating smile.

“Alice Harte. I am here today in my own defense, Your Honor. I am pro se.” I couldn’t reach the microphone on the podium, so I spoke as loudly as I could considering my face was on my stomach.

The courtroom was silent; you could have heard a lawyer drop.

The judge looked flabbergasted. “Are you mocking me?” she snapped.

“Your Honor I have a problem. May I go behind the bench?”

“The correct terminology is ‘May I approach the bench?’”

I hunched forward, pigeon stepping toward her. There were twitters of laughter in the courtroom. The judge banged her gavel. “Silence.  Ms. Harte if you are attempting to make a mockery of this court, I will not take it lightly. Now straighten up.”

The judge’s bench was a good three feet taller than my head. I waddled as close as I could and mouthed the words ‘Panty hose are stuck.’ She didn’t get it.

I figured if I could get behind the judicial platform I could take off my panty hose and roll them up with the bracelet and be done with it. The bailiff was one step behind me as I slipped around the bench and under the judge’s chair. I guessed he’d never seen anyone act that way in court before because he stood there dumbstruck and then broke into gales of laughter. The spectators joined him. The noise was so loud the judge’s gavel-banging couldn’t be heard. It was twenty minutes before they all got quiet and I felt secure enough to walk out from under the judge’s chair. I did so with all the dignity I could muster. I pretended I was Joan of Arc going to the stake.

“We will recess while the court regains its composure. Ms. Harte, I trust this is not a sign of things to come. I will not tolerate tomfoolery.”

I sat down next to Ron. “Ricky…”

“Welcome back, Lucy.”

The judge trounced back into her chambers with Dallas Little at her heels.

I turned to face a courtroom of laughing faces. The joke was on me. So far things were not going as smoothly as I had hoped.

10:00 a.m.  Thirty minutes later the judge popped back in the courtroom with no further mention of my pantyhose debacle.

The roll call of witnesses was announced. My witness list was small. Ron would be my character witness. Salli would testify to Leslie’s style of doing business. My heart froze when I heard Nigel’s name pronounced. I held no hope for his appearance. The last name on the list was my own. I would have a chance to speak my mind and clear my name.

Glick placed a revised copy of their witness list in front of me.

“Elizabeth Channing? What does she have to do with this?” Her name was two lines down from the top of the page.

“Object,” Ron whispered.

“She could actually work in my favor. ‘The Mad Woman of the Mail Slot’ might ruin their case.”

Algy Green’s name was called out. I scanned the room to see if he was there. I was looking for super-glued ears and talcum powdered hair.

Glick jumped up. “Your Honor, Mr. Green is obviously the witness coming from the furthest distance since he is coming from London. If I may ask, Your Honor, if it is possible to work around his limited schedule?”

“Within reason, Mr. Glick, can you give me a time frame to work with?”

“Yes, Your Honor, he will be here at two this afternoon. He has to fly back to England on a four o’clock flight, Your Honor.”

“He’ll be on the stand for less than an hour? That’s perfect. Ms. Harte, do you have any objection to allowing Mr. Green’s testimony this afternoon?”

I composed myself and walked to the podium. “Your Honor, I do object. I haven’t been allowed to depose Mr. Green. I have no idea what his testimony will be. That’s not fair.”

“It’s much too late for fairness, Ms. Harte.” The judge smiled. “Discovery is over.”

“But I never had a chance. Dallas Little and Mr. Glick ignored my requests. I’ve filed a Motion to Dismiss because they – opposing counsel – won’t cooperate with me.”

“I haven’t seen your Motion to Dismiss.”

“Well, I filed it with the court, Your Honor,” I extended my arms palms up in the air and shrugged.

“Well, I can’t find it… dear,” the judge said sarcastically then turned to Bubba. “Mr. Glick, are you confident you can complete your questioning in that time?”

“I see no problem, Your Honor.”

“And what about Elizabeth Channing?  At what time do you expect her?”

“I believe she will be arriving at the same time, Your Honor, but she is more flexible. She’ll be available all week.”

“Oh, great,” I whispered to Ron. “The stalking starts again.”

The judge smiled malevolently, overruled my objection and called for the first witness.

Little stood and cleared his throat. “We call Leslie Archer.”

Leslie walked to the witness stand looking like a salamander, his large pale eyes rotating in his skull. He was sworn in and we were underway.

“Explain your business with Alice Harte,” Little prompted.

“Alice Harte entered into a contract with Archer Resorts to sell golf course villas. She tried to walk away from our agreement.”

“And she is guilty of?”

“Alice Harte conspired with Nigel Channing, her boyfriend, to commit a fraud. She passed herself off as the owner of my property, Lizard Links, and sold it to Algernon Green. She kept the deposit money in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars.”

Dallas Little grasped his throat theatrically. “Five hundred thousand dollars.”

Leslie glared at me. “When this trial is over, I’m going to seek criminal charges against Ms. Harte.”

“Your witness, Ms. Harte,” Dallas Little said.

I rose and walked to the witness stand. Leslie tried to break me with his eyes. I stared back at him for all I was worth. I was a flower in the center of a hurricane. I felt strangely calm as if I’d taken one too many Xanax. I just didn’t give a fig anymore.

Hello all!

Briefly, I’ve just had another review for “on Dark Shores 1: The Lady”, from TC at Booked Up Blog – do go and have a look, and see if you think it’s fair comment. I hope you do, as it’s very pleasing! Possibly the thing I am proudest of is that she has never particularly considered herself a fan of the fantasy genre but says that reading “On Dark Shores” has made her reconsider what genres she will say she enjoys in the future – how’s that for a compliment?!

Anyway, I’m really pleased that she liked it (I was quite nervous that it might be asking for trouble to ask someone to read outside their usual genre, and would have felt quite bad about wasting her time if she’d hated it) so if any of you lot would be prepared to go have a look and, if you don’t mind, to share that or like it or whatever, I’d really appreciate it. TC’s blog is full of sterling reviews and she is to blame for a couple of my own one-click moments already (and more to come I have no doubt) so does deserve to be shared at large….

Anyway.

Smug moment aside, this is just a spaceholder prior to the main blog of the week, which hopefully will be a guest-blog from the delightful Barbara Silkstone…do come back and check later in the week!

Thanks for dropping by!

JAC.

Hey all:

This week I have been invited by Theresa Cole to do a guest blog on Fade into Fantasy.net

Please check it out there, and do leave a comment if you have anything to add!
Thanks, peeps!
JAC

Hiya all – I’m back from hols and there’s a HUGE amount to catch up on! Emails, forums, Tweets, blogs, never mind edits on Book 2 which I should start on just after Easter….it’s going to be a busy month even without all the usual day-job, home-life maintenance stuff (and this month there’s going to be a whole load of that too!)

Anyhow, this is mostly a spaceholder and to let you know two things:firstly, I’ll be guest-blogging in May and will give you more details as I have them.
Secondly, I may try to initiate a series of interviews or guest blogs with other authors, so if you have any questions you’d like added to the list do leave them in a comment for me.

Also, as you might have guessed from the title, I’m very chuffed to have received another good review, again with 5* rating, which has been copied across to both US & UK Amazons and to Smashwords.

Check it out at:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Dark-Shores-The-Lady/dp/B004S7JCYG/

http://www.amazon.com/On-Dark-Shores-The-Lady/dp/B004S7JCYG/

(Whoa! It didn’t used to do that, I’m sure, but am loving the link though it’s a bit in-your-face markety….) Anyway.

Hope you all have / had a lovely Easter, and watch this space for more bloggage next week.

Right! As Zebedee so wisely commented, it is indeed time for bed.
Night all….
JAC