Introducing #Author Fiona Glass – @F_Glass_Author

Good morning, bloggers!

I am so happy to see you on this beautiful day! (Even if it’s an unfortunate day outside, you can still greet the day with the most positive attitude! ;)  )

Today, I have a lovely guest for you to meet, Fiona Glass. If you enjoy spooky reads and things of the supernatural world, then you’re going to enjoy what she has to share…


 

If Heyer did horror…?

You could say Georgette Heyer is one of my guilty pleasures. These days she’s not rated as highly as many other writers of her generation, either for her Regency romances or her crime novels. Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers are far more likely to be raved over; Heyer seems to have rather fallen through the cracks.

But I’ve always loved her books, and have read dozens over the years. And whilst I lapped up both the romances (Frederica, These Old Shades) and the more serious crime like Penhallow, my absolute favourites are actually some of her more lighthearted books, like Why Shoot a Butler, Death in the Stocks, and in particular, Footsteps in the Dark.

All of these are full of breathless action, sarcastic characters, flippant humour, numerous interwoven plot threads, and sheer fun. Although they still have a strong crime element, they mostly lack the psychological themes of her darker crime books. And Footsteps in the Dark, in particular, is a riot, with a sinister baddie called The Monk, lots of dashing around in secret passages, and even – you guessed it! – spooky footsteps in the dark.

In Heyer’s case the book veers away from actual supernatural to a more logical outcome. But when I started writing Got Ghosts? a couple of years ago, I wanted to capture that same zany, breathless sense of madcap action and fun. In my book there really are ghosts, lots of them in fact, who inhabit an ancient English manor house called Greystones Hall, and act as unofficial guardians to its young artist owner Emily. But when a TV company come to film those ghosts, their resident medium stirs up something she shouldn’t, and chaos ensues. It’s not so much lights – camera – action, as lights – camera – inaction, as everyone bumps into something scary and all of them try to run away in different directions at once!

Even though my plot involves the sort of Gothic horror Heyer herself never went in for, I’m hoping I managed to bring some of her wonderful quirky atmosphere to my ‘haunted house’ story. You could say it’s my tribute to her, for giving me so many happy hours reading her books over the years.

If you’ve never read Footsteps in the Dark I can thoroughly recommend it, as long as you park your disbelief at the door. And if you’d like more information on Got Ghosts? then please head to my website where I have a whole page with the full blurb, an excerpt, links to various guest (ghost?) blog posts, and of course, that all-important information on where you can buy a copy!

And a big thank you to Marlena for giving me the opportunity to waffle on about myself, and making me feel so welcome.

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Fiona_teaFiona lives within stone-throwing distance (never a good idea in Glass houses…) of England’s largest lake. When she isn’t being a pane in the glass, she writes dark contemporary and paranormal fiction. This is mostly in the shape of short stories, but she’s also had two paranormal romance novels and two novellas published so far. Her latest book, Got Ghosts?, a ghostly romp involving a TV production crew in a haunted English manor house, has just been published by Fox Spirit Books. You can find Fiona lurking on the internet at her website or Twitter. Please come and say hello!

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram


Thank you so much for joining us today. Please help me in supporting today’s featured guest with likes, shares and comments. And don’t forget to check out her links and her book!

Until next time……………………… Love & Blessings!!!

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A Q&A with @Ray_Britain – Author of ‘The Last Thread’

Hello, bloggers!

Welcome to another beautiful day at Life As I Know It. I am so pleased to welcome Author Ray Britain to my site. We have the pleasure of enjoying a lovely and entertaining Q&A with this fabulous author…


Tell us a bit about yourself, Ray. You were a detective I understand?

Thank you, Marlena. Yes. I had a successful and interesting career in both uniform and detective roles. This was in the UK. I completed my career in a high rank but the investigation of crime and the camaraderie amongst detectives was my preference. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) I led complex crime investigations and I was also a police Negotiator too, on top of ‘the day job’.

Why have you adopted a pen name?

For privacy mainly, but also for family security. I locked up many criminals during my career, some of whom were unpleasant characters.

You were a police negotiator as well? That must have been interesting work.

Yes, for about fifteen years and very challenging on occasions. The full title is Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator, a voluntary role in addition to one’s day to day responsibilities. And for no financial reward, either, which often meant being ‘called out’ of a warm bed in the middle of the night to drive many miles to support police colleagues facing a variety of difficult situations.

Why did you want to be a negotiator?

To help people and because it’s endlessly fascinating. You never knew what you would be facing next. Often it was within a firearms incident where negotiators try to achieve a peaceful resolution such as a controlled surrender to armed officers. More usually, it was spending time, sometimes many hours and often in precarious situations, persuading someone to step back to a place of safety and to get them help. Less often, fortunately, it was negotiating the release of frightened hostages being held at gunpoint or other weapons.

Why did you write ‘The Last Thread’?

Like many people I’ve always wanted to write a book and the common advice is “stick with what you know”. There were other reasons too. I’m often frustrated by the inaccurate and improbable representation of crime investigation in television dramas on TV. Whatever the complexity of the crime, they’re always solved within impossible time frames and, seemingly, with the most sophisticated technology immediately available.

How did you approach the structure of ‘The Last Thread’?

I’ve worked hard to create a story that’s interesting, immersing the reader in the welter of information which can easily overwhelm an investigation whilst keeping them guessing, hopefully, right up to the end. It’s authentically grisly in describing the murder, the crime scene and the post mortem. And there’s also a complicated love interest too, so it has something to offer all crime fiction lovers.

So where in the UK is the story located?

It’s located in and around the beautiful city of Worcester, England, and its surrounding countryside. Anyone with a little knowledge of the area will recognise many of the landmarks referenced in the story.

The story is marketed as having adult content. How adult are we talking?

That’s more to do with Amazon’s guidance, which I’m happy to observe. People in relationships have sex, so why would my protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Stirling be any different? Also, a significant element of the plot has an adult theme but nothing too offensive, I hope, and reflects what happens within some relationships. In short, it reflects real life and how complex relationships can have devastating effects on people’s lives. To say more would spoil the story.

You mentioned your principle character, DCI Douglas Stirling. What’s he like?

DCI Doug Stirling is a thoughtful, reflective character who is notoriously private and has an intriguing, untold back story. He is a consummate professional who expects his people to work hard, but works harder still. Stirling’s drawn to intelligent, interesting women and if they’re attractive, then even more so, which causes complications when his private life collides with the demands of his professional responsibilities. For their part, women find Stirling attractive and interesting but are frustrated by his reserve and his avoidance of an emotional commitment.

So, he’s not one of the dysfunctional, socially ill-at-ease characters we often read about?

No. Stirling’s a good-looking, powerfully built man with a certain reputation for the ladies. He takes pride in his appearance, but is impatient of vanity, in either sex!

And are your female characters simply ‘bit players’?

No, not at all. The story has four prominent female characters, each of whom has a strong personality.

How accurate is your story to real investigations?

The day to reality of investigations is quite different from how they’re portrayed on TV with Senior Investigating Officers juggling scarce resources, with limited investigators and making tough choices about how they spend the budgets they’re allocated.

Without spoiling it for our readers, what’s it about?

Well, perhaps the easiest thing to do is to give you the synopsis:

“Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s enigmatic smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must watch as the incompetent CI Ballard who is intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location where they discover a burnt-out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. With a shortage of experienced senior investigators available, ACC Steph Tanner risks her own career and appoints Stirling as the SIO, throwing him the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation.

But, with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling has far too many “loose threads” as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation? Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Doug Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things were already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow?”

So where can I buy ‘The Last Thread’?

It’s available at www.amazon.com  – see the link below – and on all good e-readers such as KOBO, Apple iBook etc. or simply visit my website and you can buy it through there.

Sounds great, Ray. Have you started your next book?

I certainly have. I use mind-mapping software to capture my thoughts, ideas and whatever research is needed all in one place. It keeps me organised and helps avoid inconsistencies in the storylines. I particularly enjoy plotting the various twists and turns so that the reader will want to stay with the story to the end. I’ve got about 20,000 words down so far.

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About the Author:

Ray Britain’s debut novel ‘The Last Thread’ was published 17th September 2017. Following a highly successful career in policing it should be no surprise that it is a complex crime investigation story.

As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led many investigations, some of which engaged specialist, national capabilities. For fifteen years he was also a Hostage & Suicide Intervention Negotiator responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily.

In ‘The Last Thread’ Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader in the driving seat of a complex investigation with all the uncertainties and realities of modern crime investigation which will keep the reader guessing to the end.

Ray’s interests include: mountain walking, rugby, skiing, Dad dancing, reading and sailing.

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Book details:

Word count: 170,000
Genre: Thriller, Detective, Adult, Mystery.
Available: http://www.amazon.com
ISBN: 978-1-9998122-0-1
ASIN: B075CWW1J4

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Contact details:

Email:  info@raybritain.co.uk
Website:  http://www.raybritain.com/
Facebook:  raybritain@raybritain.author
Twitter:  @ray_britain

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threadThe Last Thread
by Ray Britain

A teenage boy is dead. DCI Doug Stirling is accused of pushing him to his death. Weeks later, a man is found savagely murdered in an isolated spot. Stirling must investigate. Two events seemingly unconnected, or are they?

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Accused of pushing a boy to his death, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s enigmatic smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, a man is found savagely murdered. Taking a professional risk, ACC Steph Tanner throws Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation and appoints him to lead the investigation. But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many “loose threads” as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, somehow connected to the murder?

THE LAST THREAD is a complex crime investigation written with real life experience that will keep you guessing to the end!

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Review extracts:

5* – “The Last Thread is an outstanding debut novel with an exceptional plot …”

“A crime novel with integrity and intelligence which rattles along nicely …”

“Gritty realism drawn from real investigative experience. Well crafted!”


Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with us today. Please help me support today’s guest author with likes, shares, and comments.

Until next time……………………………… Stay Creative!!

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke – @pursoot

Hello, bloggers!

Welcome to another wonderful week! I hope your weekend was exactly what you planned on it being, whether that be busy or relaxing or somewhere in between.  :)

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Author Suzanne Burke to my site. This lovely lady is quite versatile with her writing and I couldn’t be happier to share her story with my awesome readers.

Enjoy…


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Hello, everyone! Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke, coming to you from the Land of Oz.

Suzanne Burke moved from the beautiful harbor city of Sydney Australia and took the journey hundreds of miles west of the Blue Mountains to the small University Town of Bathurst, earlier this year.

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Suzanne lives with her daughter and small grandson enjoying life in the serenity of this small country community.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in Kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.
Although Suzanne now needs a wheelchair to go beyond her own home, her imagination still runs wild and free.

WELCOME TO MY FIRST VENTURE INTO THE WORLD OF THE PARANORMAL.

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BLURB:

An Anthology of Paranormal short stories. An eclectic and exciting mix of Thriller, Romance, Supernatural, Horror and terrifying Suspense.

Sisterly LoveParanormal Horror. After the tragic murder/suicide of her parents, Pippa, at just Nineteen-years of age, finds herself taking on the full responsibility for raising her fifteen-year-old sister, Emma. Emma is … more than just a little different. The body count is increasing. Nothing and no one is as they seem.

Halloween Homecoming … Paranormal Supernatural. A Halloween party is the perfect venue for serving justice on the menu. Leighton Caulfield and his Lawyer are about to get their just desserts. In a way that nobody is prepared for.

A Place So ColdParanormal Suspense. Children are missing! Time is running out. Can the stranger from Australia lead the rescuers to them in time?

SpinParanormal Thriller. Doctor Cameron Christopher is concerned that his patient Holly Daniels is caught in a downward spiral into complex Dissociative Disorder. Using Hypnotherapy he takes her back to explore when the nightmares began. Nothing in his experience as a Psychiatrist prepared him for what lay dormant … and waiting.

The Director’s CutParanormal Romance beyond time. Award-winning Director, Christopher Manning is searching for far more than a location for his next blockbuster. The emptiness that has permeated his entire life is crying out for resolution. Join him as he seeks the answers.

Mind-ShaftParanormal Supernatural. Victoria Denton served revenge swiftly and without mercy. Her future happiness seems assured. If only the past would remain where it should.

Here for your enjoyment is a brief excerpt from “Sisterly Love” Story 1.

Here’s the scenario … Paranormal Horror. After the tragic murder/suicide of her parents, Pippa, at just Nineteen-years of age, finds herself taking on the full responsibility for raising her fifteen-year-old sister, Emma. Emma is … more than just a little different. The body count is increasing. Nothing and no one is as they seem.

We enter the story midway as FBI Special Agent Frank Revello speaks to nineteen-year-old Pippa Freeman, regarding 5 Missing children …

The phone rang, startling both of us.

“Hello.”

“Hello, Pippa Freeman, please?”

“Speaking.”

“Miss Freeman, its Special Agent Frank Revello, FBI. Do you remember, I’m the …?”

“Yes, yes I remember who you are. What is it you want?”

“I’d like to stop by and ask you and your sister a few more questions. Is that convenient for you at the moment?”

“Well—no, I mean, well …yes, you can see me, but Emma is too distressed. I don’t think it’s wise to disturb her at the moment.”

“Ah, so you have heard the news?”

“I only caught some of it, and I have told Emma, of course.”

“Yes, of course. I would still appreciate you talking with me. Can we do that?”

“Very well, um—sure come on over.”

Celia was clearly intrigued, “Who was that, honey?”

“Um, that was the guy that the FBI had here when the kids started to go missing, he wants to talk to me.”

“Why on earth, why, would he want to talk to you?”

“I’m not sure, Celia, but he’s on his way over, I think I’ll have another drink.”

“Whoa, honey, do you think that’s such a good idea?”

“Why not?”

“Well, you might like to keep your wits about you if this FBI person is gonna be askin’ you questions.”

“I’ve got nothing to hide, Celia.”

“Fine—if you’re certain. I’m gonna head into town, pick up a few things we need at the store. Anything’ you want me to get, honey?”

“No. No, thanks.”

Celia grabbed her purse and car keys, and I fixed myself another drink, much smaller this time.

I hurried into my parent’s bedroom. I removed what I needed and wrapped it carefully in my handkerchief. I needed to be prepared.

I wandered out to the front porch and sat on the swing-seat. I didn’t have to wait very long. A black SUV pulled up in front, agent Revello climbed out and walked up the drive.

“Good evening, Ms. Freeman.”

“Call me Pippa, please.”

“Um—is there someplace we can sit, and talk in private—Pippa?”

“Sure, I’m sorry; my manners aren’t exactly perfect these days. Please come in, we can talk in the study. Can I get you a coffee or something cool to drink?”

“No thanks, I’m good.”

We walked through the living room and out to the study, I had not spent much time in this room since my parents’ deaths, this is where they had died. Even though it had been completely re-done, it still felt somehow wrong to be in here.

“This is where your sister found them, isn’t it?”

“How do you know, about my folks I mean?”

“We had to look at anything out of the ordinary, anything that occurred in this town, around the same time as the disappearances, began. I am very sorry for your loss.”

“Oh, oh yes. Thank you. I guess that makes sense. But, why do you need to talk now?”

“I’ll be straight with you; this investigation is fast becoming a one-way track. Nothing we have makes any sense, so, I’m clutching at straws here. We still have three missing teenagers, and the chance of finding any of them alive is diminishing fast.”

“Look, I understand that … I just don’t know how you think either Emma or I can help.”

“Like I said, I’m reaching, I’m going to tell you things that have been kept out of the newspapers; I believe strongly that your younger sister may have some knowledge that could help us. At least I hope so.”

My gut clenched and I felt sick, I didn’t want to hear what he had to say. I didn’t want my own fears confirmed. Yet I remained silent and nodded at him to proceed. It was time.

“All the kids vanished, without exception, from their own homes. Best guess is between midnight and 4.00 am. Two of those homes had expensive alarm systems, they were turned off, from inside the home.

“These young people weren’t taken unwillingly. They all appeared to be on their way to somewhere. Somewhere important enough for them to steal money from their parents, pack clothing, and leave without a word.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. I know these kids; they wouldn’t do something like that. Especially not stealing from their folks, I can’t believe that!”

“I know it’s totally out of character, for each of them. But, these are not suppositions, Ms. Freeman. These are facts.”

“Does anyone but their folks know this stuff?”

“Not until now, we kept it out of the papers and their folks won’t say a word if it means we can find these kids.

“When I say it’s out of character, I mean exactly that. These teenagers weren’t rebellious. They were all low achievers scholastically. They all were considered outsiders at school, none of them were popular, or sports-oriented.”

“Why the hell are you telling me all this stuff? Just how do you think I can help in any way?”

“I’m not sure you can, but let me tell you a little more of what we’ve discovered. Okay?.

What else could I do? I nodded my consent.

“As I mentioned, these kids were not popular, but it was the one thing they all dreamed of being. Without exception, they all used the internet, and they had rich fantasy lives online. So, we, of course, can’t be certain how much of what we have recovered is purely their fantasy. A fabricated persona they have invented online to achieve popularity.

“However, no one’s fantasy can be expected to be exactly like any other. Not in detail. There is a link; it may be nothing. But, God help me … it’s all we have.”

“Go on.”

“What we are certain of now, is, that around two weeks or so before each disappearance, people noticed a change in each of them; not earth-shattering stuff, small changes, but noticeable ones. They were happier, laughed more, went out more, and didn’t lock themselves away with the internet as much as they had been doing.

“In short, something had changed, school teachers noticed it, but as it didn’t affect their levels of ability nothing was thought of it at the time.

“Their parents seemed to feel that is was young love, or they had grown out of a stage and were just growing up a little. In every case, their folks were relieved at the change.

“We could find no connection. No common interests, no shared meetings. Nothing, until now.”

“Why—what’s happened? What have you found?”

“Two things. Firstly, they each used the same name for someone that they had either recently met, or someone that they had limited contact with prior to this time.

“They all called this…person, ‘Angel-eyes.’” He began ticking points off on his long fingers.

“Secondly, one of the kids kept an old-fashioned diary, pen, and paper, not online. The parents found it by accident, in a box at the bottom of the closet. Real names are not used. Please understand that. However, for the first time, we have a physical description of our person of interest.

“We have a couple of entries that don’t make sense, but I’ll read them to you, all I’m asking is that you listen—okay?”

I wanted to scream. No! I wanted to beg him to leave, but I couldn’t. It was past time for me to be certain.

I whispered, “Okay.”

“Thank you, here is the first entry.

January 26th. My Angel-eyes, spoke to me today, I can’t fuckin’ believe it. She spoke to me, and smiled … at me! Me … the geek! Man, it was great! I didn’t know what to say. What if this was some sort of joke? Like, you know, the popular kids can be cruel sometimes. I’m not sure, ‘cause she didn’t say much. She looked right inside me, into me, you know, and she said, “Why, Jimmy, I do believe you have grown. When did you get to be so cute?”

Or at least, I think she said it … Don’t matter any, I’m gonna dream about her smile and those eyes. I ain’t never seen eyes the color of a hot summer sky before, they are like palest, pale blue … and hair black as night, long and wavy, man she’s good on the eyes, and she noticed … me! Angel-eyes, spoke to old geeky me!

January 27th. She did it again; I wish somebody had been close by, so I can be sure I didn’t dream it. Because I ain’t sure, maybe I wanted it too much. I heard her voice. But it was like inside my head … no, that’s dumb! I mean she said the words, ‘ceptin’ her lips didn’t move, but I heard her clear. She said, ‘I’ll come for you. We need to be together. Soon—Jimmy—soon’. My Angel-eyes is so beautiful. She barely reaches my shoulder; she’s just so tiny and perfect.

February 3rd. Man, it’s so bad … Molly Franklin is missin’. Oh, man! Poor kid, she’s a little thing, quiet, like a mouse; she just disappeared like the others, nobody’s sayin’ how! She was just gone … that’s number five. What’s happenin’ in this town? FBI dudes are all over this place lookin’ and askin’ questions, man, it’s bad. My Angel-eyes says don’t worry, cause they are safe. Just like, she knows for sure, and she smiles, funny like. She visits with me every night now in her secret way. I love her so much; she says we’ll be together soon now. I have to get me some money, slowly like, so nobody knows it’s gone. This is so excitin’, and she wants me to be the first one, you know, her first man! I can hardly breathe I love her so much, my Angel-eyes!

February 14th Valentine’s day. “Angel-eyes says it has gotta be tonight, she can’t wait no more for me to be her man.

“The damn clock is so slow, I gotta meet her when everyone is sleepin’, and bring the money I been stealin’ so we can be together. I can’t wait, she came last night—in her secret way; and we just were together in that place.

“But tonight she is gonna be just mine. All mine.”

“Who, who wrote this? Which of the children?” Pippa asked.

“It was young Jimmy Dillon,

“Jimmy Dillon disappeared on the night of February 14th. He left his home after turning off the burglar alarm. His folks estimated there was about $1000.00 missing from the safe. He had no car, no license, and some of his clothes were gone as well. We haven’t found any trace of him. Until yesterday.”

“No!—Not Jimmy—it was him, that you found?”

“What was left of him. The only way we can positively identify the remains is with DNA. His folks have identified a birthmark on the torso. Please understand whoever is responsible for this is sick, and dangerously so. I will tell you just how sick—the body was mutilated. He was decapitated. Both arms and legs had been hacked off. The torso had in excess of 120 stab wounds. Preliminary workup indicates that four different types of knives were used.”

I sensed Emma’s presence before she walked into the room.

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I know! I’m mean aren’t I? Here’s where to go, if you’d like to read more:

Suzanne Burke AUTHOR PAGE AMAZON.COM
Mind-Shaft on AMAZON.COM
Twitter for Suzanne Burke @pursoot
Suzanne Burke on FACEBOOK


Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Suzanne’s world as much as I did! Please help me support this fabulous author with likes, shares, and comments.

Until next time……………………………… Stay Creative!!

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour – @AReeceAuthor

RWISA TOUR (1) (1)

Introducing Amy Reece…

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CRAZY CAT LADY

CAT SITTER NEEDED

$50 CASH—One Night ONLY

Apply in Person

653 Silverwood Ln Apt B

Rita looked from the folded newspaper to the small adobe duplex in front of her. Well, here goes. My chances of getting murdered or sold into a sex trafficking ring are pretty good, but I need the fifty bucks. Need might be overstating it, but she wanted to go to the concert and she didn’t have the money for the tickets. Her meager paycheck from her work-study job didn’t stretch much farther than covering the bare essentials. If she wanted any fun money, she had to find other ways to acquire it. She’d done it all: research studies, selling her plasma, modeling for art studio classes. Answering a jinky ad in the college newspaper was nothing. She had left a note in her dorm room telling her slumbering roommate where she was, so at the very least maybe they’d be able to recover her body. She shook off the dark thoughts and approached the house.

A tall, thin elderly woman answered the door. “Yes? How can I help you?”

Rita held up the ad. “I’m here about the cat sitting job.”

“Oh, my dear, yes. Well, come in.” She opened the screen door and stood back to allow Rita to enter.

The living room smelled musty but looked tidy, with sagging, old-fashioned furniture covered with bright, hand-crocheted afghans and doilies. Several cats raised their heads from where they snoozed on the cushions, then lowered them disinterestedly. A tray with a flowered china teapot and matching cups was set on the coffee table.

“Have a seat and I’ll pour you a cup of nice hot tea. It’s so chilly out this evening, isn’t it?”

Rita sat and accepted the cup of steaming tea while she frowned at the woman. “Were you expecting someone else?”

“Oh, no,” the woman said breezily. “I was expecting you.” She smiled as she sipped her tea. “Or someone like you. I put the ad in the paper and I knew someone would be along presently.” More cats of every color had wandered into the room. There had to be nearly fifteen cats winding their way around her feet, perching on the back of her chair, and leaping into her lap.

“Oh.” Rita nodded dumbly and fumbled with the handle of the delicate cup, spilling tea into the saucer.  “So, when exactly do you need the cat sitter?”

“Well, tonight, of course. I need to go visit my sister in Santa Fe. I’ll be back soon after breakfast tomorrow. Now, let me show you where I keep their food.” She reached forward to set her cup on the table.

“But, but,” sputtered Rita, “don’t you want to know about me? About my qualifications?”

The woman laughed lightly. “It’s only feeding a few cats, dear. It’s not rocket science. Come along.” She stood, shooing the cats from her lap, and led the way into the kitchen. “The dishes are here.” She pointed to a row of small ceramic bowls lining a dish drain. “And the food is in this cabinet. They like to eat around nine and then you can wash up.”

“Okay.” Rita nodded and counted the bowls. There were only six. “Do they take turns eating? Should I refill the bowls after the first group eats?”

“I think you’ll find one round is more than enough. Most of these are ghost cats, of course. Poor dears.”

Rita stared at her blankly. “Ghost cats?”

“Yes. They seem to be drawn to me. They just can’t move on quite yet. They’re not like dogs, you know.”

Rita didn’t know. In fact, the only thing she was sure of was that this woman was obviously insane. Ghost cats? What the hell? But fifty bucks was fifty bucks, and if she had to placate a crazy woman to get it, she was glad to. “Great. No problem.”

“Now, feel free to help yourself to anything if you get a little peckish.” She led the way back to the living room, where she picked up a small, old-fashioned train case Rita hadn’t noticed before. “Be sure to lock up after me. Have a good night and I’ll see you early tomorrow.”

Rita stood in the middle of the living room and watched her leave. “Wait! How do I—” she wrenched the door open to ask her final question, but the woman was gone. She stepped onto the porch and looked upon and down the street, noticing red taillights at the stop sign at the far end. She must have had a cab or an Uber waiting. She shrugged and closed the door, locking it as instructed. Then she turned to address the room. “Well, cats and kittens, I guess it’s just us for the rest of the night. At least she keeps this place clean. With this many of you it could really reek.” She’d eaten an early dinner at the cafeteria so she wasn’t hungry. The remote was on a side table, so she grabbed it up and found a cat-free cushion to sit on. The woman didn’t have cable, but Rita managed to find a rerun of a show she enjoyed and sat back to while away the hours until feeding time. The cats, for the most part, minded their own business and left her alone. A few finally crept close enough to sniff her, but then stalked away. She’d never been much of a cat person, so she took no offense. Feeding time went off without a hitch and the woman had been correct: the six bowls were more than enough. Cats came and nibbled, but none cleaned out their bowls. Many of the cats simply came and stared at the food without touching it. Weird. Maybe they are ghost cats.

She got hungry around midnight, but found nothing but a few stale crackers in the cabinet. She took them with her to the couch, pulled one of the crocheted afghans over her legs, and fell asleep watching an infomercial.

The key in the lock woke her the next morning. She sat, rubbing sleep from her eyes.

“Good morning! I’m sorry I woke you. How did everything go last night?” The woman set her train case by the door as she walked in.

“Um, fine. Yeah, everything went great.”

“Oh, good.” She rummaged in her purse for her checkbook and a pen. “Now, I’ll let you fill in your name. Here you go.” She handed her the check.

Rita glanced down at it, noting the spindly handwriting, but satisfied that it was indeed for fifty dollars. Sweet. Easy money. She sat up and folded the afghan and laid it across the back of the sofa. “Thanks. Well, have a nice day.” She waved awkwardly as she let herself out of the apartment. I’ll just swing by the bank and cash this, then stop to buy the concert tickets on my way home.

“Can I help you?” The voice came from the house next door. “What are you doing?”

“Huh?” Rita turned as the woman marched down her front path to confront her.

“Were you in that apartment? How did you get in? That door is supposed to be locked! Oh, I’m going to kill my husband! He never checks!”

“Excuse me?”

“What were you doing in there?”

“No-nothing! I mean, I was watching that lady’s cats for her.” She realized she’d never asked the woman’s name. “She paid me. See?” She held up the check for the other woman.

The woman glanced at the check and frowned. “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but you better get out of here before I call the cops!”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t do anything wrong! I answered an ad in the paper to come and watch that lady’s cats for the night. She paid me fifty dollars. See?” She showed the check to the woman again.

The woman snatched the check from her hand. “Nobody lives there! The woman with all the cats died two years ago! We’ve had a heck of a time getting renters to stay because they swear it’s haunted or some nonsense! Now, if you’re not here about renting the place then I’m going to ask you to leave. Now. Before I call the police.” She glanced down at the check, laughed briefly, and handed it back to Rita.

Rita took the check and looked at it to see what could have made the woman laugh. Her eyes widened as she saw it was not a check at all; it was nothing more than a piece of torn newsprint. It fluttered to the ground as she ran, the woman’s laughter echoing behind her.

 

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Amy Reece

 

Bio:

I live in Albuquerque, NM with my incredible husband and two ridiculous mutts, Greta and Sodapop. When I’m not writing, I teach high school English and social studies. I’m a voracious reader and dream of becoming a world traveler. I’m hoping to need many research trips for future writing projects. I write YA and have a 4 book series published with Limitless Publishing.

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Connect with Amy online:

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

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Until next time……………………………Stay creative!!

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour – @HowellWave

Hello, bloggers!

Welcome to another awesome day in the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

RWISA TOUR (1) (1)

Introducing John W. Howell…

LAST NIGHT

So, with nothing better to do, I figure I’ll stop at Jerry’s place and grab a couple of drinks and a burger. Usually, I don’t go there on Saturday night since there’s a crapload of amateurs taking up what would be considered prime space. I figure since this is a Friday and close to Saturday, it may be packed, but not as crazy as Saturday. It’s the kind of place where everyone minds their business. They’re there for a good time and will likely not notice me. Even so, I go through the door, stop, and have a look around, trying not to make eye contact. I hope that the ball cap and large coat will keep me from getting noticed.  The bar holds a weekday crowd, hanging on each other like they never had a date before. I tighten my eyelids against the smoke and make out four guys near the pool table, and what looks like a couple of girls fetching drinks. I search for a seat beyond the table in the back, but it seems like they’re all taken.

A guy bumps into me as I stand here. I say excuse me, and he looks me in the face. “Hey, don’t I know you?” he says.

“I don’t think so.” I make to turn away.

“Yeah, you’re the sports hero who lost all his money. I saw you on TV.”

“Naw, people always say stuff like that. I’m not him, buddy; trust me.”

He gives me a puzzled look but doesn’t want to push it, in case he has it wrong. I turn away and continue to look for a seat.

Straight ahead lies the bar, and it has a place right in the middle. I move in the direction of the empty place and look over to the other side of the room. The tables look full of happy drunks. Buckets of empties line the bar top, and the barmaid’s trying to sell more. She doesn’t have much luck since most of these people just spent their last five bucks on this outing. Upon making it to the stool, I hoist myself up and lean on the bar.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. “Whadda you have?”

“Evening, Jerry. I’ll have a Gin on the rocks with a water back.”

“Comin’ up.”

I like Jerry’s no-nonsense way of handling things. He doesn’t like small talk and gets right to business. My eyes smart from the smoke, and I wonder how Jerry gets away with letting people kill themselves, when clearly, it’s not supposed to be allowed in this kind of establishment.

“Here you go. Want me to run a tab?”

“Yeah, I would appreciate that. I intend to have another drink and then a burger.”

The guy who thinks he knows me grabs my shoulder from behind. I almost fall off the stool.

“You’re Greg Petros, the big fund manager. I knew I’d seen you on TV. You took a beautiful career in football and ran it into the ground.”

Jerry leans over the bar and lays his hand on the guy’s shoulder. “Move on, my friend. You made a mistake. This guy is nobody. Go sit down and let me buy you a drink.”

“You sure? You called him Greg.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Go get a table, and I’ll send someone over.”

The guy looks at me one more time but does as Jerry suggests. He believes Jerry’s wrong, but the idea of a free drink lets him get away without losing face.

“Thanks. I didn’t mean for you to have to jump in.”

“No problem. Gimme the high sign when you’re ready for another drink.”

“Will do. Thanks.”

“For you buddy, anything.”

I should mention that Jerry and I go back aways. When I fell on hard times, he became the only one that seemed to give a shit. I take a sip of my drink and wait for the burn in my throat, which signals the good stuff. Here it comes. I take a swig of the water and almost believe life is good. The Gin needs to get to the brain before making any honest judgment.

While I wait for the warmth to go from my stomach to my head, I check out the folks seated on either side of me. They both have their backs turned to me and sit engrossed in some discussion with their neighbor. I figure it’s just as well since I don’t want to go through that old “don’t I know you?” bullshit again. Also, I don’t figure on staying the night, so no use in getting into any long discussions about life.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband, either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still, and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but, I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that, too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

END

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john

Bio:

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 completes the story. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

 

Connect with John online:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Amazon

 

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Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

John Howell’s RWISA Author Page


Until next time……………………………Stay creative!!