Tag Archive: Kindle

Hi all:

In memory of indie author L.C.Evans who recently passed away, we’re trying to raise awareness of her books to help offset the medical bills with which her family have been left.

To that end, the Indie View is running a giveaway – if you buy one of L.C’s books, you can have a free copy of one of the books listed, and be entered in the draw to win all 40.

It’s running today, the 24th, and if anyone would like to take part, the link is here:

And if you click on the bit in bold halfway down it should take you to the page where the freebies are listed,

And if you could tweet, FB, blog or otherwise spread the word, you’d be helping to try and ameliorate the circumstances of the loved ones LC left behind. I know she’d appreciate it.

Please have a look – she was an award-winning author so amongst her various books there may well be one you’d be interested in.

Thanks, all:


Loving this review and the comments – but not at all intimidated by it, ohhhh nooo….

Thanks so much for the review, AF – now all I have to do is hope and pray the next one won’t let you all down….

Hey all:

Just a brief blog – check out

The Smashwords Top Ten Bestsellers in Epic Fantasy List

This morning I found that ‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ was up at no. 8, which was very exciting – so I came back to it this evening and would you believe that it’s up to 7th place?

I suspect that this is mostly because it’s free at the moment and I went in to put the price back up to 50% off – but I might leave it another day now, and see if it goes up any higher….

HOW cool is that though?! Exceedingly chuffed!

And as always, if anyone would be prepared to RT on Twitter or Facebook, I’d really appreciate that.

Thanks for your support, all – you know I wouldn’t have got this far without you.


Morning all!

And hope you’re all having a decent weekend….

I’m quite glad the week is over – everything is really busy at the moment, I’m doing edits on Book 2 in all my spare time, and got caught up in the train uproar on Thursday night, so my (usually 1hr) journey home actually took best part of 6 hours, leaving me getting in so late I had 3h sleep before having to get up again and start my Friday commute! Yuck!

However, in better news,’ On Dark Shores: The Lady‘ is just this minute up to #7839 in the whole of the Kindle Store – get me! I’m really pleased, even though that will probably last all of ten minutes…. but to be in the top 10k is quite cool, so though I guess I’ll be back down again by tomorrow, I thought I’d record the moment! The editing of book 2 is going apace (in part thanks to said train journey) and I’ll be unveiling the new and improved blurb once all the votes are in.

But that’s quite enough from me – let’s get on to what you’ve really come here for!

This week we are lucky enough to have a guest blog from none other than Lisa Hinsley! The challenge I set Lisa was to write a fairy story as it would have happened if she herself was the heroine. With her tendencies towards the horror genre, it was never going to be light and fluffy, but I think that you’ll enjoy the following – Snow White it ain’t!!

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About the author:

Lisa C Hinsley was born in Portsmouth in 1971, and grew up in England, Scotland, and America.  Recently, her novel What Alice Sees placed as runner-up in the 2010 UKA Opening Pages Competition. Her novel Coombe’s Wood finished in the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2009 and was awarded runner up in the all-genre Book of the Year Awards 2008 on Arts Council website YouWriteOn. Now listed on Amazon Kindle, Coombe’s Wood has sold over 2000 copies. 
Check out her website at http://lisahinsley.weebly.com for her blog, links, and all the latest on her various works.

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Lisa rolled over in her bed and wished her mother dead. She couldn’t believe she’d had the nerve to try and make her eat the kidney in the pie. Yuck! Who eats such horrible stuff? Oh yes, her mum and dad. She let out a huff and pulled her pillow over her face.

How dare she? Mum should eat horrible stuff, like roasted grasshoppers or fried grubs. She saw that on a documentary on the telly. See what she thinks of eating things that make her want to gag. Lisa rubbed at her knuckles where he mother had rapped them with a fork. Persuasion, her father called it. Lisa called it abuse.

A loud bang from downstairs sounded, and Lisa threw the pillow aside and sat up, curious. There was a second bang followed by a short sharp scream – her mother! Lisa jumped out of bed and opened her door and crept to the top of the stairs. A group of small dumpy men with long scraggly beards had her parents surrounded.

“Where’s the girl?” one of them asked, and poked her mother with a short sword.

“Oi, lay off my wife. What do you think you’re doing?” Her father shoved the blade aside.

Three of the dwarfs pressed swords into her father’s side.

“Ow, that actually hurts. Those aren’t toys, you know.” He sounded scared, and Lisa tried to see a little better what was going on. Who were the dwarfs, and where on earth had they come from?

“Where’s the girl? Your daughter?” the one she thought was the leader asked. He had a funny accent.

“What daughter?” her father answered. “We don’t have a daughter.”

“I don’t think I believe you…” the dwarf thought for a moment, then said, “Take them through. They’ll tell us where she is eventually.”

Her parents were shoved towards the coat cupboard. At the last moment, her mother glanced up to the stairs at Lisa. It was enough. Two of the dwarfs came back into the house and closed the cupboard door. There was a gleam in their eyes as they climbed the stairs. Lisa jumped up and ran for her bedroom, but they were faster. Next thing she knew, as she grabbed desperately at the handle, something hit her on the back of the head.

Everything went black.

Lisa opened her eyes to find herself in a large sunny room. All around her were other children, laughing and playing.

“Urgh…” Lisa touched the back of her head where the dwarfs had hit her.

“Oh, hello.” A blonde girl noticed her moving, and came over. “You’re new, aren’t you.” She said it as a statement. “Don’t be scared. You’ve come to… child heaven.” She grinned widely. “But you’re not dead,” she added quickly.

“Where am I, then?” Lisa sat up. She was on some sort of fancy day bed, covered in rich, red velvet.

“You’re in another world,” the girl whispered. “Oh, sorry. I’m Liz. I came here last week. I’m waiting for my family to be assigned, should be very soon now.”

“Family, what are you talking about?” Lisa was more awake now, noticing the bars on the windows, even through the thin curtains.

“None of the adults can have children. So they take children who need a family and bring them here.”

Lisa checked the room for the door. She found it – and one of those warrior dwarfs. “But I have a family,” she muttered.

Liz shrugged. “But I’m guessing they didn’t treat you very well. Are they horrible?”

Lisa didn’t answer.

“Anyway, here you’ll get parents who treat you like a living god.” She smiled. “Hungry? You can order whatever you fancy. But there’s already piles of things to choose from.”

Liz helped Lisa off the daybed, and took her to a table covered in cakes and sweets. Lisa’s tummy grumbled, she’d gone to bed without any dinner. As she munched on a cookie, she wondered about what they’d done to her parents. Would the guard know what happened to them? Maybe they were sent back.

“Um, excuse me?”

The warrior dwarf clicked his heels to attention.

“What’s happened to my mum and dad?”

The dwarf waved a hand as if her question wasn’t important. “Why would you want to know about them?”

“Because they’re my parents?” She was getting angry. Why wouldn’t anyone give her a straight answer? “I want to see them. Now!” she shouted.

The dwarf cleared his throat. “You’ll see them… tomorrow.”

She knew he was making it up. Not to worry. She’d wait. Eventually she’d find out what happened to them.

Days passed. She had a tummy ache from eating too many sweets, and a strong craving for her mother’s homemade soup. She slipped out to use the loo, and as she sat there, allowing a few tears to fall, closed up inside the toilet cubicle, she heard a noise – two of the dwarf guides.

“Oi Bert, another of the parents kicked it last night. Need you to help me drag the body up from the dungeon and toss it out in the lake. The crocodiles will make short work of that one – nothing left but skin and bones.”

Lisa poked her stomach. She’d grown noticeably rounder since she came here. Too many sweets and cakes, and not enough exercise. She missed her bike as well. A sob threatened to escape, and she clapped a hand over her mouth in case the dwarfs heard.

The other one was speaking, “…Fine, Norman, I’ll help. But then you need to help me get the next sacrifice up the mountain.” A sacrifice – what?

“Okay, that’s a deal. Do you know where I can get any more heat protection? Mine’s shot, and it’s blooming hot on top of the volcano. When the chid is squirming, you have to have the protection wrapped all the way around.”

Lisa started, her eyes wide. They were sacrificing them, the children, into a volcano – like she learned in history. She had to do something! The dwarfs left the room, and the moment she judged it to be safe, she leapt off the toilet seat and fled the room.

But back in the main chamber, where all the children lolled around on comfy sofas and beds, surrounded by toys and food, Lisa realised how close their guards stayed. There was no way she’d be able to make a grand announcement to the other kids, so she went to William and whispered in her ear, “We don’t go to new parents. They’re sacrificing us to the volcano.” She nodded her head towards the window. Beyond the bars, a plume of smoke rose from the nearby mountain.

William shook his head. “You’re wrong,” he whispered back.

“I heard two of the dwarfs talking about it, just now in the loos. They didn’t know I was there.”

“I’m not so sure…” No doubt he was thinking about his mystical future parents.

“Then stay. My parents are in the dungeon, just as yours probably are. To be honest, I don’t care what you do. Just pass the message along. Goodbye.”

Lisa didn’t wait for acknowledgement. She made her way to the edge of the room, and waited for her chance to escape. It didn’t take long. Maybe William believed her. Maybe he simply wanted to give her a chance with what she believed. Either way, he’d climbed up on top of a table laden with creamy cakes, and toppled everything over. There was an almighty crash and a yelp from William, and the guard who usually stayed by the door ran over. This was her chance. She opened the door, wished William good luck, and slipped out of the room.

She stood out so badly. No other children were wondering about, so she ducked behind a statue and the tapestry behind that was hung from the wall and tried to figure out what to do. She had to look like one of them. A dwarf would make the most sense, as she was about the same height. Her mind made up, Lisa crept out from behind the tapestry, and searched for a weapon. She didn’t have to go far. The walls were adorned with all manner of weaponry. She grabbed what looked to be an ancient club, ripped it off the frame it was attached to and hid back behind the tapestry. Making sure she had a view of the hall, she waited for a solitary dwarf.

Many came in twos and threes, and she had to stifle a yawn as she waited. But then one rounded the corner. Lisa made sure no others came around the end of the corridor and jumped out, first startling the dwarf, them popped him on the head with the club. He rubbed his head, a curious frown on his face.

“Go down,” she muttered and cracked the club over his head a second time. This was enough, and the dwarf toppled over. Quickly, before anyone else came, she stripped the dwarf and dressed in his clothing. Rubbing her hands on the floor, she wiped the dirt she’d picked up on her chin. It was the closet she’d get to a beard. Hopefully they weren’t born with beards, and she’d be dismissed as a young one. Finally, she pulled his cat on, wrinkling her nose at the stinky smell, and dropped the tapestry over him. Hopefully she’d have enough time before he woke up or was discovered.

Now disguised, Lisa walked around searching for stairs going down. She half ran, half walked, trying every door she found. Some were locked, and she fretted, what if the one she wanted was locked, and she’d already gone past it? But as she took a left into  a new passage, she spotted a rounded door, different to all the others. Her heart quickened. It had to be that one, she knew it!

Lisa ran down the hall and tried the door, it opened to reveal stone stairs descending down into darkness. Bingo! She thought and quietly closed the door behind her.

Oh no. Lisa tried not to start crying. The smell down here was overpowering – poo, pee and death, all mixed up together. The first thing she saw was the prison cells. Gaols, she supposed they’d actually be called. They were small, with iron bars on three walls, a long row of them on each side with a corridor running down the middle. Someone had thrown straw down, and the adults had gathered this up as a makeshift bed. All of the cells were full, and all of the adults were staving. A small noise escaped her, and suddenly dozens of pairs of eyes turned her way. Halfway down, she recognised her parents, but they were different. While she’d been upstairs getting fat on sweets and cakes, they’d been starving to death.

“Mum, dad, it’s me,” she whispered, and stuck her fingers between the bars.

“Lisa?” her father replied, his voice weak. “Is it really you?”

Lisa nodded as she tried to hold back the tears. They both looked so sick. In the cell next to them, where the occupant probably hadn’t moved in a fair few days, a grub crawled slowly over. Her father grabbed it as soon as it was close enough.

“Darling, I have some food for you.”

Her mother obediently opened her mouth, and he put the grub, still wiggling, into her mouth. Lisa tried not to gag as her mother chewed and swallowed. “Thank you dear,” she said, he voice so weak it was almost mute.

“Where’s the key, I’ve got to get you out.”

“They keep it down the end. Be careful, there’s always one of those dwarfs guarding them,” he said, his eye on another grub.

Lisa didn’t want to see her mother eat a second maggot, and took off down the end of the cells. As she rounded the corner, she stopped dead. The key was hung from a hook above a sleeping dwarf. He appeared to be in a deep sleep, muttering and twitching as some dream played out. She thought of her parents, the volcano, and home. Her mind set, she tip toed forwards.

“What do you think you’re doing?” A hand lashed out and grabbed her by the wrist.

She cleared her throat in and in her best deep voice said, “I’m helping Bert get the bodies out to the lake. Need to open the cell.” Her heart beat so hard, she wondered if he’d hear it, if that’s what would give her away.

“Lazy git. Should be doing it himself.” He squinted at her. “You new, haven’t seen you about.”

“Umm…” she thought for a moment, had to come up with something reasonable. She recalled the conversation in the bathroom and said, “I’m Norman’s nephew. New to the job.”

“Ah, fair enough. Well if you’re here, I’m off of a break.”

With that, he released her wrist, stood up and stretched. Before she could say another word, he’d gone.

Lisa reached up a second time, unhooked the key and ran back into the main room. Moments later, her parents were free. The three hugged of a second, but only for a second, they were still in so much danger!

“What do we do now?” Lisa asked. “How do we get home?”

“Well first, we do this.” Her father took the key from her and handed it to the couple in the next cell. “Free yourselves, and hand it along,” he said, then grabbed Lisa and her mother by the hand. “I know where we came in. That’s our best chance of getting home.”

Her dad certainly seemed to know where he was going. He led them out of the dungeon, up a corridor and down another. Finally he stopped in front of an ornately carved wooden door. “I’ve been dreaming of escape, of this door, of going home.” He stoked Lisa’s cheek, and then her mother’s. Come on.”

He opened the door to reveal a cupboard. The three glanced at each other, this was the right place – the portal.

“This has to be right, yeah?” Lisa asked.

“Has to be. Looks right.” Her father scratched at his beard.

“Will it take us home?” her mother asked.

“Could take us anywhere.”

“Dad,” Lisa tugged on her father’s sleeve. “Anywhere is better than here.”

With that, the three of them squeezed into the small space. After a quickly mumbled prayer, her father closed the door.

“Do you think that’s long enough?” her mother asked.

“I’ve no idea.”

“What did they do when they took you over?” Lisa asked.

“Closed it and reopened it, and voila, we were somewhere else. What about you?”

“I don’t know. They knocked me out.”

Her parents exchanged a sad look.

“I got a bump on my head, you two were starved, priorities!” she said, just as her mother usually said.

“Open it,” her mother said.

“Go on, Dad.”

“Here goes nothing.” Her father squeezed his eyes shut and opened the door.

“Oh my God, we’re home!”

“Don’t swear, Lisa,” her mother said, but she had a big grin on her face.

“Go open the cupboards,” her father told Lisa.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“All of them.”

Lisa ran around the bedrooms, opening all the doors, wedging them in place, and found her mum and dad in the kitchen. Everything was open. Even the kitchen cabinets.

Suddenly, Lisa breaks down in tears. “I’m sorry mummy. I wished you dead, and that you had to eat grubs because you made me eat kidney.”

“Oh sweety, it wasn’t your fault,” her mother said and cuddled her close. But not close enough to hide the look she gave her father. An accusatory glance, a glance full of blame.

“How about I make a promise,” her mother said. “I won’t make you eat any more kidney.”

“Okay Mum.” Lisa made her own promise at the same time: that she would never, ever wish her mother dead.

Unless she made her eat something else yucky. Then Lisa might just close a door. Or two…

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So there you have it – don’t cross Lisa unless you have a penchant for crawly foodstuffs…..

Thanks to Lisa for her fairytale, and to you lovely people for dropping by! Next week’s guest blogger is still tbc but in the weeks ahead we can look forward to something from the pen of MTMaguire, author of ‘Few Are Chosen’ and assorted others from the worlds of poetry, prose and theatre. Cool, huh? – hope you’re enjoying these blogs as much as I am!

In the meantime, have a great week – and do drop by next week for our next guest spot!

Take care, peeps!


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…


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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.

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:


(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….

Look what I found this morning!


I wonder if they tweeted it? They have 60k followers on Twitter!

Mind, last week they recommended a book called “Jesus Potter and Goblin Tales”  – am in august company methinks…

This is only a placeholder for the toc.ncx guide blog which is mostly written but I just need to check through the links and make sure they’re correct, so do watch this space!

Have a good Friday, all!


Hey all –

‘On Dark Shores: The Lady’ just got a 5* review on Amazon.co.uk

Review reads:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Oh, you’re just teasing us,
18 Mar 2011
By Gingerlily (Ireland) – See all my reviews
This review is from: On Dark Shores: The Lady (Kindle Edition)

This book feels like its not nearly long enough, and I can’t wait for the next part to come out. It’s great fantasy, quite dark and gripping.
Most of the action takes place in one small town, it’s a very intense and claustrophobic setting, but near the end it starts to open up and you get a feeling of all sorts of wider story happening around the little knot of characters that you have got so involved with.
Don’t read this if you want light and frothy stuff – there is some violence in it that would be distressing if it were described in any detail – it isn’t or I wouldn’t have been able to read it!
There are all sorts of suggestions left here for the next book, and very few threads are tied up, there is a sample chapter for the next book at the end, but I didn’t read it as I wanted to wait for the full book to come out. When it does I will be pouncing on it with great anticipation.

How cool is that?! I’m really pleased….

On Dark Shores: The Lady is available for Kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com as well as on Smashwords for other ereaders or reading on the PC – the sample is free to download…

Main blog will come later in the week, when with a bit of luck I’ll detail how to convert a word file into a fully-functioning ebook WITH toc.ncx file…

Watch this space…!


“On Dark Shores” Sample 1….

Morning all!

During the course of my edits, I have had to cut various parts of “On Dark Shores” because they were flashbacks or other backstory. In most cases leaving them in slowed the story down and, as my editors pointed out, the important bits could better be told in a few sentences that kept up the pace.

Although both editors were right, knowing a bit of the backstory might enrich the novel for you so rather than throw them away, it occurred to me that I could do a quick edit myself and post them up by way of a taster of the story and an introduction to some of the characters; however, do be aware that  these are the bits that have NOT been curated by editors / proof-readers and beta-readers – just myself!

Correspondingly, (and hopefully for your pleasure) here is the first of  the samples. As always, all comments welcome!



“I’m sure you see my problem,”  Copeland drawled, toying with the papers on his desk. “If I let you have more time to pay the money back word would get around, and every ne’er-do-well in town would be begging for the same. It would be very bad for business.”

“Sir, I’m not one that finds it easy to beg, but if you say so, I’ll beg. My cargo was ruined in the great storm, when some fool of a sailor left the hatches open.”  Striding over to the window, agitated, the Captain did not see the smirk which passed across the moneylender’s face. “Please, let me have more time. If you take my ship my son and I will be without a home, without a livelihood and without honour. The Black-Eyed Susan is my life; I’ve sailed in her forty years, man and boy. My son was born aboard her and my wife, God rest her soul, died there not three days ago.” He turned back stiffly. “I’m begging you, sir; give me a little more time. I’ll pay whatever you ask….”

Copeland was not listening to the Captain; he was picturing the Black-Eyed Susan. The ship was sleek and fast and, with his own man at the helm, would pay him well for all the trouble to which he had gone to get hold of her….

The silence grew. Captain Vansel’s face was gaunt with grief and loss; anxiously running one hand through his greying hair, only iron self-control kept him going. The doctor had sworn that a very expensive treatment would cure his wife’s illness; that the treatment had failed so spectacularly was incomprehensible to the Captain – though less so to Copeland  who had suggested the scheme in the first place.

“My dear Captain, if you didn’t want to part with the boat, you shouldn’t have put her up as security for the loan. Your allotted time is up; give me the money or leave at dawn tomorrow. Those were my terms, and as you have failed to make your payments you leave me no choice.”  He opened a drawer, took out a penknife and began to pare his nails. “Are you still here, Captain? I do assure you, there’s nothing further to be said.”

“Mr Copeland… another month… a week… I beg of you…”

“Blakey!” The door opened to reveal a bear of a man. “Ah, Blakey, the good Captain here was just leaving. Until dawn, Captain.”

“No, Copeland! My ship! My good name! Not for my sake, but my son’s, I beg you -”

“What ship? What good name?” Copeland enquired smoothly. “You forget yourself, Captain; as of five minutes ago you’re possessed of neither.”

“You leech! You damned-”

Copeland returned to his tattered leather chair as the Captain’s voice broke off into an abrupt hiss of breath. Another day, tediously like every other. It would be refreshing to have someone actually pay the whole sum on time for once; still, though novel, it would hardly be profitable. No, these tedious little scenes were simply another part of his everyday affairs, and the price of his occupation.

He paused to listen. The Captain, if he had any sense, would resign himself to the inevitable and leave. Blakey was a man whose job appeared to be remarkably well-suited to his natural temperament, and he had dealt with many a similar scene before this. No, to judge by the muffled thumps and thuds in the stairwell, the Captain had more determination than sense – and less money than either, like so many of Copeland’s clients.

The moneylender turned to look out of the window at the bloody sunset. “The doctor did his job well; and it seems that Able Seaman Hardy has done as required. However, I don’t recall having it recorded anywhere that his sabotage of the cargo should offset the money I loaned him; and besides, as the new owner of the Susan, I can scarcely let that sort of thing go unpunished…”

A short time later, Blakey knocked on the door. “What do you want me to do with the Captain, Mr Copeland?”

“Leave him somewhere near the ship; we wouldn’t want him to be late in leaving tomorrow. Oh, and ask around until you find our good friend Able Seaman Hardy.”

“Yes, Mr Copeland. Do you want to see him?”

The moneylender stretched one hand in front of him and examined the pink little nails absently. “No; precisely the reverse. I don’t want to see him. And I think it’d be for the best if no-one else does – unless he can be persuaded him of the benefits of silence, of course.”

“Right you are, Mr Copeland.” The bodyguard grinned crookedly. “I can be very persuasive when I need to be.”

“That’s why I employ you, Blakey. Now, I believe you have business to attend to…?”

Copeland listened to the bodyguard’s heavy tread as he dragged the former Captain over his shoulder and hauled him away to regain consciousness elsewhere. An efficient man in his own way, Blakey, but lacking in imagination.  Still, Copeland mused, seeing what the man was capable of without it,  it was possibly just as well.

Blakey made his way down to the docks in the gathering dusk, slinging the Captain down in an alley on his way to the Black Cat brothel where he expected to find the man’s crewmember. He was mildly surprised that the man was still unconscious but, hurrying off, he did not notice  the greyness of his face nor the frothing sound of the Captain’s breathing as it slowed to a stop.

Dawn approached, and the crimson sky was stark against the white sails as the Black-Eyed Susan slipped silently out of the harbour. On her deck lay the body of her Captain, grey and cold; and at her tiller a slender dark-haired boy, half-blinded with tears and rage, turned one last look on the town and vowed vengeance for the death of his father.

= = = =

On Dark Shores is available from Amazon US and UK – see appropriate link below




The times they are a-changin’……

I was chatting to a friend the other day – my sister went to college with her so she’s about my sister’s age (which is to say about a decade older than I). We got to talking about books and writing, and she told me that she too is in the throes of polishing her own story, which is more fiction than fantasy. She is submitting it to all sorts of publishers and agents and was getting the most encouraging letters gushing about her story in terms that made it clear that they hadn’t even read the damn thing – and of course when she looked into it further, it became clear that the publishers in question were vanity publishers. I asked her if she had considered self-pub, and the following conversation was something of an eye-opener to me.


Since the iPad came out a year back, I’ve been really interested to watch the growth of awareness of ebooks in the UK, but I am always aware that it is difficult to tell when it’s only your own growing knowledge and what is general knowledge; but as far as I can tell, very roughly it’s been along these lines – in London, at least!


Spring 2010: ebooks? Whohellhe?


Summer 2010: Apparently you can read books electronically on the iPad, you know. Like pdfs or something.


Autumn 2010: Have you seen all the ads around the Tube and on the telly for the Kindle?


Winter 2010; I’m getting an iPad / Kindle for Christmas. Can’t wait!


And by January 2011 (ie now) Waterstones are putting out their own ebook-specific newsletter, a lot of people are discussing agency pricing and ebooks are taking off slowly but surely. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before you start getting a regular ebook review in one or other of the big papers if there isn’t one already, as the Times (to name only one) did a review of the top ten bestsellers of 2010.


So in London at least, ebooks are getting more accepted. You see people reading Kindles on the train, the Tube, the bus all the time where this time last year it was something of a novelty. There are adverts on the telly for Kindle, and most of the big publishers are bringing out books simultaneously on both media. Fairly main-stream, I thought; then I went back ooop North at Christmas and of course they haven’t had the saturation you’ve seen in the South. As always, London leads the wave because London has the information and the disposable income; no-one bothers to plaster the North with Kindle posters with the result that they might see the odd advert on the telly but there seems to be no real recognition of the sort of step-change that is going on.


My lot are fairly bookish and they were all giving paper copies at Christmas. I got a Kindle for Christmas and none of them had seen one before or knew anyone else who was getting one for Christmas. Apple managed to cover the whole country but Kindle, bizarrely, appear to have missed a significant chunk out. Oh, they’ll get there in a few months – summer will see them as Kindled up as the rest of us – at least the more techtastic ones with the spare income to actually buy it in the first place – but it was an interesting check to my views.


These were further drawn back when I talked with my sister’s friend. Only ten years older than me and living more centrally than North, still she was not particularly  knowledgeable about ebooks or epublishing; in fact it took me ten minutes to explain the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing. POD was something she hadn’t heard of and ebooks seemed intangible and basically a step  up from a blog, I suspect; she was interested to hear what I had to say but knew that she wanted to be traditionally published by a “proper” publisher.


I told her about my own research into it; how my partner used to work in the bookselling industry and where there used to be hundreds of new books published every year, now there was hardly a tenth of that number, and a lot of those seem to be by reality stars or popsters or other people who have had their fifteen minutes’ fame and want to cash in on it while their name is still recognised. In my view, in hard economic times, the chances of being picked up by a publisher are small and by all accounts the chances of being given the time to build up a following are minimal. A literary friend talked of her colleague who had been picked up by a publisher and had books on the shelves of every bookshop in town for maybe six weeks; after which the publisher decided it wasn’t selling fast enough and pulped the lot, leaving the author stuck in a contract with no books to sell. Another author tells of an editor agreeing to publish the book if she changed the ending to an anodyne happily ever after which would have totally changed the character of the book, destroying the whole point of it.


Now, I don’t think my story is by any means flawless – that why it’s in the process of going through an editor and a proof-reader before being released to my beta-readers – but I would be seriously cross if they carved it up in a manner that meant they missed the point. So far all my edits have been great, carving off the excess or superfluous bits and tautening up the action. But that said, neither do I expect to be an overnight success – in six weeks if I’ve sold twenty-five copies I’ll be chuffed, not least because I don’t have much in the way of time to spend publicising it. I wish I did but alas the day-job has to pay the rent so the day-job wins on that front, especially in a time of cuts and down-sizing.


So for me, all the downsides of trad publishing overmounted the plusses – and when I knew that self-publishing seemed to be such a viable option, I went for that instead. I’ve never submitted my stuff to an agent, so it’s not a case of having been turned down by everyone else; I just did the research and thought that I could envisage my little story pottering along in Kindle-form and selling the odd one here and there; hopefully eventually selling enough to pay for itself and for the paperback form that will follow afterwards. I don’t have much time full stop so devoting time to the writing and the editing and the input and the formatting is proving difficult, never mind the publicity; but I have always known that if ever I am to make my mark on this world (and that’s not a given by any means) – that IF I ever do, it will be via my writing. This seems the simplest and most logical way to start undertaking just that.


I also think that the advent of ebooks is a complete game-changer and I want to be in on it. All my instincts are telling me that if I can just get a foot in the door at the right moment, it may be that I can go part-time with the day-job, or even go onto writing full-time and really put a bit or work into my writing. I think ebooks are going to go as far as mp3s have, and I think if you can make a name as someone whose books have been edited, proofed, properly formatted with a full active Table of Contents, and all the other technical quirks required by Kindle, Apple and the rest; if you can do that NOW while the market is in its early days, then the possibilities are very good. So that’s what I aim to do; to make my books as professional as anything you might find in a bookshop or from a trad publisher. (Of course, all I have to do now is magically find an extra couple of hours in every day, but that’s by the by!)


A year from now, my sister’s friend and I will be coming back to take stock of progress. You can’t really draw direct comparisons, of course, but it will be really interesting to see how each of us fares. It may be that she is agented up, with a contract and the first hardcopies rolling off the press and hitting the shelves at bookshops across the country, while I am still lurking on Twitter saying “Anyone want to buy a book?!”; or it may be that my ebooks are flying off virtual shelves to the extent that my hardcopies will be merrily rolling off the POD printers, who knows?


At all events, I think it’s going to be fun – hard work, granted, but hopefully fun too – finding out.



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