I don’t usually blog on Wednesdays, but as wonderfully talented author Shelley Wilson was having a book launch tomorrow, I had to bring you her book and made sure it was available for you. So, here it comes.
The Last Princess by Shelley Winter
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her family is murdered, she’s faced with the challenge of staying alive.
As a young woman in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival of the pirates and the Vikings. Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she’s determined to survive at any cost.
Finding allies in the unexpected and enemies closer to home, Edith clings to her dream of returning home one day to reclaim her throne and to exact revenge on those who harmed her family.
Extract from The Last Princess
‘It’s too far for them to travel without us,’ my mother protested.
There weren’t many women who could admonish their king and get away with it, but Mother wasn’t your usual woman. She was strong and capable, an equal match to my father’s bravery and flair.
‘Nonsense. Kings have been sending their children on pilgrimages for years without issue.’
‘The girls aren’t on a pilgrimage though, are they, my love? They’re simply parading themselves for the good of our kingdom in the hope of snaring a suitable husband.’
Father dismissed her comment with a wave of his hand and snatched up his goblet of mead, draining the contents in one gigantic gulp. He threw his arm out and a servant jumped to attention, immediately filling the empty vessel.
‘We’ll be all right, Mother,’ I said in a bid to quiet the unrest etched into the queen’s brow. ‘We’ve got Edmund and lots of soldiers with us.’
A trusted friend of my father’s, Edmund was an elderman, and it landed on his shoulders to serve the king in any capacity. At the moment, it was my father’s wish to send his three daughters across Northumbria on a “husband-grabbing rampage”—Mother’s words.‘I’d feel much happier if one of us were accompanying them, that’s all.’
My father rose from his elaborate throne and approached his wife, tucking a loose curl of her hair beneath her veil and kissing her gently on the forehead. My sisters always looked away when our parents were loving, but the exchange fascinated me. I hoped that our husband-grabbing rampage bore me a spouse as loyal, and handsome, as my father.
Although marriage at a young age wasn’t what I’d hoped for myself, I understood the commitment we, as heirs to the crown, needed to make to secure the future of our realm. At seventeen, I should have been wed long ago, but Father had grumbled over every suitor who stepped through the doors of Bamburgh fortress and into his court. It was at Mother’s insistence that we now embraced the task ahead.
‘They’re good girls, strong-willed like their mother.’ Father chuckled and cupped Mother’s chin in his hand, raising her head so they were looking into each other’s eyes. ‘They have Edmund and my best guard, but I doubt they’ll need them. I saw Edith practising with a sword when she didn’t know I was watching.’
Father winked at me as Mother rolled her eyes in dismay.
‘When will you start to act like a lady, Edith?’
I shrugged and tried to look suitably mortified for my mother’s sake, but I was elated that my father, the king of Northumbria, thought my skills with a sword were enough to keep us safe on the road. My private lessons with Edmund were paying off.
‘Go. All of you, gather your things as you leave at first light.’
My sisters and I shot off in all directions, excited to get back to our chambers and start packing. As the eldest daughter, I could take the largest luggage chest, which meant at least two good dresses for the journey, whereas my siblings would have to entertain suitors in the same old dress. I could have cut back on the lavish jewels and slippers and let them pack more, but I wasn’t that nice when it came to my sisters.
Being only two years apart in age from one another, my sisters had bonded so much that it was difficult for anyone to break through into their confidence. I’d tried over and over as they were growing up, but they always saw me as the older sister, able to come and go as she pleased. Over time it was easier to ignore, tease, or annoy them as I saw fit, something my father found amusing but our mother discouraged at every opportunity.
‘Try to act like a princess, Edith,’ she would tell me when I’d hidden their slippers or put a spider in their bed. ‘One day you will be a queen, and a queen doesn’t drop a leech into her siblings’ bathwater.’
It was unheard of for a daughter to succeed as heir, but as our father had only produced girls, it rested at my feet to take up the mantel of queen should something catastrophic happen to the king.
Father had spoken to me at length about it only recently, calling me into his private study, which contained hundreds of scrolls—or lessons, as Father liked to call them. He showed me a map of the kingdom and where our boundary lines met with Mercia, the centre of England.
‘One day all this will belong to you, my daughter.’
I’d traced my finger along the map, outlining Northumbria from east coast to west, a sense of pride and passion rising through me. Losing my father was not something I wanted to contemplate—he was an amazing man and an even better king—but the thought of ruling our beautiful land was too tempting to push those wicked thoughts from my mind.
‘I thought only sons could rule, Father.’
‘Nonsense. If I will it, which I do, then you will succeed me when I die.’
‘But the eldermen might object.’
‘They wouldn’t dare defy the ruling of their king.’ The power in his voice thundered around the small room, and I knew he was right. Nobody would have the strength of character to argue with him, apart from my uncle.
Being the king’s only brother, Aelle didn’t cower like the other eldermen. He stood up to my father and tested him. Although Father always bellowed his dissatisfaction at being challenged in his court, I knew he secretly enjoyed sparring with his younger brother. They had a similar relationship to me and my sisters—they loved each other one minute and wanted to bury each other in the vegetable garden the next.
‘What will your first act be when you become queen, Edith?’
I’d pondered his question for a moment as I studied the map on the table.
‘I’d invade Mercia, then Wessex, and become queen of all England.’
He roared with laughter and swept me into a warm embrace that only a father can give.
Shelley is an English multi-genre author. She has written nine young adult/middle-grade supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six motivational self-help titles for adults.
She is a proud single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. Shelley loves travelling in her VW camper searching for stories. She also enjoys paddle boarding, Tudor and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
Her latest book, The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books.
Today I bring you a treat. I know many of you are fans of Teagan Geneviene’s blog and her books. For those who don’t know her yet, she is a true magician! She starts with the germ of an idea for a story (sometimes a character and a historical era, a scene, a song) and then asks the readers of her blog to participate and suggest objects, ingredients… whatever might be relevant, and “Abracadabra” the magic is served and an incredible story is born.
Many of her readers (I included) had been asking her to turn these stories into books, to be able to enjoy them more fully and keep them in our collections. After some insistence, she finally agreed, and now some of her stories have become books. And she has done it again! Here she brings us a fantastic (in more ways than one) story with some of my favourite characters (not all human either)! So, you’re all invited to the book launch party!
Oh, and she asked me to choose one of the Real World things, and being a psychiatrist, I could not resist and had to choose Carl Jung’s mysterious Red Notebook. Jung was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst born in the XIX century (1875). At first, he was a close ally of Freud but later he moved away from psychoanalysis and founded analytical psychology, which caused a rift between them. He introduced many psychological concepts that have become well-known, like archetypes, the collective unconscious, introversion and extraversion, synchronicity, and the notion of the psychological complex. And that’s enough from me. Here comes Teagan Geneviene and Hullaba Lulu.
Lulu and Friends by Teagan R Geneviene
Hi, Olga – it’s wonderful of you to host me to announce my novella, Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure.
Since you followed this story in the serial version, you know this is a “dieselpunk” story. It has a 1920s aesthetic with retro futuristic technology, a dash of magic, and some creepy settings, along with a crew of misfit characters. Lulu is a snarky, but good-hearted flapper. She and her friends get into all sorts of trouble (often due to Lulu’s clumsiness). They travel on a magical train to a lot of “sideways” places.
At the back of the novella, I included a list of Real-World Things. You chose Carl Jung’s Red Notebook. So, I’m sharing that entry and a related snippet from the novella.
Carl Jung’s Red Notebook, also known as The Red Book, is a red leather‐bound folio manuscript written by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung between 1915 and 1930. It comments on his psychological experiments and is based on manuscripts first drafted by Jung in 1914–15 and 1917. Despite being nominated as the central piece in Jung’s body of work, it was not published or made otherwise accessible for study until 2009.
The Red Notebook comes into the story not long after Lulu meets the mysterious Valentino. Here’s a snippet:
The right-side page bore a hand drawn map. I gazed at it in sudden inspiration. I grabbed the notepad where I penciled the letters of the Ouija board to which the planchette pointed moments before, Y, T, I, C, C, I, T, N, A, L, T, A. My eyes went back to the map. I spat out the piece of saltwater taffy that as still in my mouth.
Valentino reached the desk in a single step. He didn’t even flinch at putting his hand into the aura. He picked up his travelogue. He snapped it shut and the nimbus burst. The noise of tiny pops repeatedly assailed my ears, like a string of lady finger firecrackers. Bits of ectoplasm showered down in sparks.
I tried to take the book from him, but he held it tightly to his chest. He gave me a derisive look that was probably meant to make me stop. I desperately wanted to get another look at that page. The only thing I had been able to make out in the handwriting was a name. Lauren.
“Lauren was my mother’s name,” I hissed into his ear, not wanting Gramps to hear.
“I know, but save it for later,” he whispered back as he twisted away from my hands.
Video Book Trailer
Olga, thanks again for letting me visit. You’re the kitten’s ankles!
Here’s the rest of the information for Hullaba Lulu.
Cover and Blurb
Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is a wild and wooly 1920s fantasy story. Lulu, the heroine is inspired by the song, “Don’t Bring Lulu,” from 1925 ― so are her pals, Pearl and Rose. My Lulu loves to dance, and freely indulges in giggle water. She snores and burps and says whatever she wants. Lulu is a snarky but good-hearted flapper. The song’s inspiration stops there, but the story is just beginning.
Travel with Lulu and her friends on a magical, dieselpunk train that belongs to the smolderingly handsome and enigmatic man known only as Valentino. They get into all sorts of trouble, usually due to Lulu’s clumsiness. It’s an intense ride through a number of pos-i-lutely creepy settings, including “sideways” versions of Atlantic City and the Cotton Club. At every stop and in between, Lulu ends up creating chaos. There’s no telling where they’ll end up. No, Lulu! Don’t touch that!
Lulu’s the kind of smarty, breaks up every party,
Hullabaloo loo, don’t bring Lulu,
I’ll bring her myself!
Throughout October, Hullaba Lulu is at an introductory price. The eBooks are only 99¢. For those who boycott Amazon I made a Kobo eBook too.
While it is not exactly a companion volume to any of my Roaring Twenties stories, I’ve written a 1920s slang dictionary. I’m careful to use slang in a context that makes it understandable, but you might enjoy having Speak Flapper. It debuted at #1 in its category at Amazon. Here’s a review from Annika Perry atGoodreads.
Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene’s work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest (of the USA). Teagan most often writes one kind of fantasy or another, including the “Punk” genres, like steampunk, dieselpunk, and atompunk. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or an urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy. There are no extremes in violence, sex, or profanity.
Her talents also include book covers and promotional images. She makes all of her own. Teagan is currently exploring the idea of offering that service to others.
All of the books by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene are available at her Amazon Author Page.
The whole tour has been wonderful, so I recommend it to check the rest of the posts, but just in case you’ve missed them, I’m including here Robbie Cheadle’s post as it also includes her fantastic review (and as I belong to one of her review groups, I know how good her review are). Thanks, Robbie!
Thanks so much, Teagan, for this opportunity and for this wonderful post! Good luck with the launch! And of course, thanks to all of you for reading, liking, sharing, clicking (you have no idea what you’ll be missing if you don’t), reviewing, and remember to keep smiling and, above all, to keep safe!
When Teagan Geneviene, blogger and writer extraordinaire, announced she was launching her new book (another one of her serials that finally becomes a full-fledged book), I had to join in the launch. I won’t say this book is one of my favorites (it is!), because I love them all, but Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam goes beyond the three objects contribution of bloggers and readers, and many of the readers of the blog have become characters! Yes, I am one of them, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy, and will leave it to Teagan herself to explain it all.
Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam is ready to fly to your shelves!
Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene is now available in book form (Kindle and paperback). If you think you’re too old for a tale about faeries, it also has a dark side. For those who read the serial version at Teagan’s Books (blog), she added a little something to the ending that you haven’t seen.
Here’s Teagan to tell you a little about the story, as promised.
Olga, thanks so much for hosting the launch of my launch of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam. It is a tale of faeries written for whimsical grownups, but suitable for children ages 8 and up.
In 2017, readers of my blog,Teagan’s Books, named many of the fairies (or faeries, as I prefer to call them). The characters are not based on the real people. They are just a way for me to recognize the people who followed Thistledown. Many people used a “fairy name key” based on their initial and month of birth. I remember completely discarding the chart to nameRiver Mindshadowin honor of you.
Thank you, thank you. I am humbled and honored! And it was such fun!
River Mindshadow is a young faery who speaks her mind, and she’s loyal to her friends. That ended up getting her expelled from school, along with her friend, Bedlam Thunder. River has a knack for understanding how people think. She also has a counterpart who lives in a dark, colorless world that is parallel to bright and beautiful Thistledown. Her name is Rotten Soulfire. Although River and Rotten look alike, but their attitudes are at once similar and opposite. Also, Rotten Soulfire is part of a rebel group in the colorless world.
Here’s the Book Blurb
Thistledown ― Midsummer Bedlam, by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene is a wildly whimsical tale of faeries. It was originally written for a grownup audience, but it is suitable for children ages eight and over.
Thistledown is a world of color and light. It has faeries, hummingbirds, and ancient books of magic. Bedlam Thunder is a misfit faery who is afraid of heights. She is also a seer who has terrible visions of a parallel world devoid of color and brightness. The hate and darkness of that colorless world is seeping into Thistledown. Will Bedlam and her friends be able to save their home?
Thistledown ― Midsummer Bedlam, with its radiant creatures and faeries will lift your imagination to new heights.
Universal Purchase Links
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This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
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I was intrigued by this book from the moment I saw it…
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
“Feverishly hot”–PAULA HAWKINS
“The wittiest and most fun murder party you’ve ever been invited to.”–MARIE CLAIRE
A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends
“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.
Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.
“This riveting, brutally hilarious, ultra-dark novel is an explosive debut by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and heralds an exciting new literary voice… Delicious.”
“You can’t help flying through the pages..”
–Luke Jennings, author of Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle
“Strange, funny and oddly touching…Pretty much perfect…It wears its weirdness excellently.”
“Who is more dangerous? A femme fatale murderess or the quiet, plain woman who cleans up her messes? I never knew what was going to happen, but found myself pulling for both sisters, as I relished the creepiness and humor of this modern noir.”
–Helen Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of American Housewife
“Disturbing, sly and delicious, Braithwaite’s novel compels us to consider the limits of loyalty and the insidious weight of silence.”
–Ayobami Adebayo, author of Stay With Me
“Braithwaite’s blazing debut is as sharp as a knife…bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place.”
–Publishers Weekly, (starred review)
“A gem, in the most accurate sense: small, hard, sharp, and polished to perfection. Every pill-sized chapter is exemplary. Where others waste ink and trees, Braithwaite can conjure fully-detailed settings and characters with a finger snap. Of these, all shine. One dazzles. Tell Shirley Jackson that the Merricat Blackwood of the 21st century lives in Lagos, her name is Ayoola, and she is so obliviously/adorably/hilariously/heartbreakingly wicked, she’ll make you cry tears of all flavors.”
–Edgar Cantero, New York Times bestselling author of Meddling Kids
“Sly, risky, and filled with surprises, Oyinkan Braithwaite holds nothing back in this wry and refreshingly inventive novel about violence, sister rivalries and simply staying alive.”
–Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew and Ways to Disappear
About the author:
Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self-published work.
In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.
In 2016, she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize
Thanks to NetGalley and to Atlantic Books (Doubleday) for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
The title of this book hooked me. The fact that it was set in Lagos, Nigeria, made it more attractive. I could not resist the cover. And then I started reading and got hit by this first paragraph:
“Ayoola summons me with these words —Korede, I killed him. I had hoped I would never hear those words again.”
Told in the first person by Korede, the book narrates her story and that of her “complex” relationship with her younger sister, Ayoola, beautiful, graceful, a successful designer, beloved of social media, irresistible to men, the favourite of everybody… She’s almost perfect. But, there is a big but, which you will have guessed from the title. She is a serial killer.
This is a short and very funny book, although it requires a certain kind of sense of humour on the part of the reader. You need to be able to appreciate sarcasm and dark humour (very dark) to find it funny, but if you do, this is a fresh voice and a different take on what has become an extremely popular genre recently, domestic noir. I kept thinking about the many novels I had read where I had commented on the setting of the book and how well the author had captured it. There are no lengthy descriptions in this novel, but it manages to capture the beat and the rhythm of Lagos (a place where I’ve never been, I must admit) and makes us appreciate what life must be like for the protagonists. Because, although Ayoola is a murderer, life goes on, and Korede has to keep working as a nurse, she is still in love (or so she thinks) with one of the doctors at the hospital, their mother still suffers from her headaches, Ayoola wants to carry on posting on Snapchat, the patient in coma Korede confides in needs to be looked after, the police need to be seen to be doing something, and there are more men keen on spending time with beautiful Ayoola…
I found Korede understandable, although I doubt that we are meant to empathise with her full-heartedly. At some points, she seems to be a victim, trapped in a situation she has no control over. At others, we realise that we only have her own opinion of her sister’s behaviour, and she has enabled the murderous activities of her sibling, in a strange symbiotic relationship where neither one of them can imagine life without the other. We learn of their traumatic past, and we can’t help but wonder what would we do faced with such a situation? If your sister was a psychopath (not a real psychiatric diagnosis, but I’m sure she’d score quite high in the psychopathy scale if her sister’s description is accurate) who kept getting into trouble, always blaming it on others, would you believe her and support her? Would you help her hide her crimes? Is blood stronger than everything else?
I loved the setting, the wonderful little scenes (like when Tade, the attractive doctor, sings and the whole city stops to listen, or when the police take away Korede’s car to submit it to forensic testing and then make her pay to return it to her, all dirty and in disarray), the voice of the narrator and her approach to things (very matter-of-fact, fully acknowledging her weaknesses, her less-than-endearing personality, sometimes lacking in insight but also caring and reflective at times), and the ending as well. I also enjoyed the writing style. Short chapters, peppered with Yoruba terms, vivid and engaging, it flows well and it makes it feel even briefer than it is.
If you enjoy books with a strong sense of morality and providing deep lessons, this novel is not for you. Good and bad are not black and white in this novel, and there is an undercurrent of flippancy about the subject that might appeal to fans of Dexter more than to those who love conventional thrillers or mysteries. But if you want to discover a fresh new voice, love black humour, and are looking for an unusual setting, give it a go. I challenge you to check a sample and see… By the way, the date of publication varies according to format and location, so it might not be available yet depending on where you live…
Thanks to NetGalley, Doubleday, and to the author for the opportunity, thanks to all of you for reading , and remember to like, share, comment. click, review and keep smiling!
It’s my pleasure to bring you a new book by a writer and blogger whom I met online but who’s been a constant presence and a friend throughout the years. I’ve enjoyed many of her books, and I love her blog, that offers advice (on health issues, writing…), entertainment, and promotional opportunities, not only to writers but also to artists, musicians, etc. I have had the pleasure of reviewing and translating one of her books and I hope you’ll enjoy her guest post as much as me. And here, without further ado, I bring you the wonderful, Sally Cronin!
A huge thank you to Olga for hosting this episode of my misadventures at work in my twenties. As I read the posts, I realise that I attracted trouble wherever I went, but I have to say it was a great deal of fun.
Odd Jobs and Characters – Car Crash and Crystal and meeting Sherlock Holmes by Sally Cronin
After I left the department store in the middle of Liverpool, I was appointed manager of a crystal and gift shop in Lord Street, Southport, which is where we had bought our first home.
It was at the north end of this mile long main street, and we sold high end gift items such as Moorcroft pottery, and our own cut glass crystal glassware from the factory in the Lake District. All the glass was classified as ‘seconds’, even though there would only perhaps be a small bubble in the glass, or the cut might not be completely standard. However, the prices were terrific, with at least 40% of the normal retail price. I still have some of the glasses that I bought 34 years ago, and I was lucky enough to get another 10% discount making them very affordable.
Going to work was very easy. I walked out of our gate, then a brisk five minutes down the road, and unlocked the shop door. I really enjoyed the next 18 months, but was then offered the opportunity to manage the three shops that had now been opened, with the other two being in York and Norwich. I would also spend time in the Lake District as marketing manager to oversee the running of the factory shop, and to develop a tour around the glassworks for visitors. This meant that I was away most of the week in one capacity or another, and I was given a large estate car to carry stock between the various shops.
On one occasion I had brought down a consignment of crystal to the Southport shop, picking up David from home, with the intention of delivering stock to the York shop and then spending the weekend exploring that very old and lovely city. We had set off down the motorway, which was busy with a Friday getaway, and because there was a great deal of commercial traffic, I was in the centre lane doing a steady 60 miles an hour and overtaking the trucks, and I was just in the process of passing a large articulated lorry, when it suddenly veered out into the middle lane without signalling, and hit my car.
I was being pushed out into the fast lane, where traffic was moving considerably faster and there was nowhere for me to go but forward. I hit the accelerator and managed to disconnect from cab of the truck and pull in front of it; then on to the hard shoulder, where I came to rest in a state of shock. It was only then that the driver realised what he had done, and he too pulled onto the shoulder behind me. Thankfully David was not hurt despite the passenger side door being badly damaged, and once I established that, I was out of the car and heading back to the lorry where the driver was hanging onto his wheel, waiting equally white-faced for one very angry woman charging up the hard shoulder towards him.
It was probably just as well the police arrived shortly afterwards to make sure none of us needed treatment or that other road users were impacted. David by this time had managed to open his passenger door and join the discussion.
The car was still driveable, although only having had it a couple of weeks; I was not looking forward to having the upcoming telephone conversation with my boss. After we had exchanged insurance details, and given our statement, which to be fair the lorry driver corroborated, we continued on our journey. However, we could hear the tinkle of broken glass from the back of the car, and knew it was going to be interesting unpacking several boxes of expensive glassware and removing it from its tissue paper wrapping. Thankfully it was insured, and we were unhurt, but it made me paranoid about overtaking trucks for a very long time.
I loved the job, especially in the summer months in the Lake District when I would tour most of the other tourist sites to deliver leaflets and take theirs to display in our own factory. The tour was now set up and we were about to begin accepting visitors, when I got a phone call from a gentleman who requested a private tour of the factory. It was unusual, but since we were not officially open for a few days, I agreed, and he made an appointment the next day.
It was 1984 and a new series of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes had been recently released on Granada Television, but I had not seen any of the episodes. However, I immediately recognised the man who arrived for the guided tour as the actor Jeremy Brett, because he had played Freddie in one of my favourite musicals… My Fair Lady.
We spent an hour watching glassware being blown, cut and put through the acid baths, before ending up in the crystal shop attached to the factory where he purchased one or two items. I could understand now why he wanted a private tour, as he was very well known and unlike today, stars tended to be a lot less keen to be photographed and approached by fans.
It was one of those encounters that you always remember, and I went on to watch several episodes of the series before we left to spend two years in Houston, Texas…Where I am ashamed to say I name-dropped shamelessly.
I have not as yet used Jeremy Brett as a character in one of my stories, but he is tucked away for a rainy day. As for the car crash… some events are better forgotten.
My thanks again to Olga for her generosity in hosting this guest post.
All the previous posts in the series can be found in this directory with links to my host’s blog https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-odd-jobs-and-characters/
About Sally Cronin
My name is Sally Cronin and after working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition.
I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released ten others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.
My latest book – What’s in a Name? – Volume Two.
Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.
I received the news that one of the writers I follow in Triberr, fellow member of ASMSG and who always shares information about local events and anything writerly (she lives not very far from me in the UK, although I’m yet to make one of her fabulous- sounding events), Catherine Green, is launching a new book. And as she’s never visited my blog, I thought this was the perfect occasion to introduce her work here. Do not miss the official launch party in Facebook and you’ll have the opportunity to partake of presents and merriment.
BOOK LAUNCH – Eye of the Tiger (A Redcliffe Novel) – book 4 –
Stone used to be a normal human. Then she fell in love with a vampire, met his
identical twin werewolf brother, and her life fell apart spectacularly. Meeting
Detective Jack Mason, and his brother Danny, brought about a powerful change,
and Jessica’s magic was released. Now, in Redcliffe book 4, she must learn to
control her ethereal animal familiar, who lusts after the alpha werewolf, and
will stop at nothing to use her human mistress as a tool… Or is that a
The Redcliffe novels series follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as
she meets a man and falls in love, only to discover the hidden werewolf secrets
of her close friends. Who knew the Cornish coast could be so deadly?
Eye of the Tiger (A Redcliffe Novel) – available
in bookshops, libraries, and online now!
As you know I regularly review books for Rosie’s Book Review Team and in this case, this novel came to me both directly through the author’s husband and it was also one of the novels on offer in Rosie’s group. As the launch was on the 11th of April, I’ve tried to time it to coincide with the date. I’ve also included a guest post by the author that will be of particular interest to the writers of the genre, although I’m sure the readers will be intrigued to read the ins and outs of the process of creating a serial killer novel.
REMNANTS Author: Carolyn Arnold Series: Brandon Fisher FBI series, Book 6
All that remains are whispers of the past…
When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.
With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?
The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…
What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:
Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on.Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.
A bit about the author:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
The world seems to be uniquely fascinated and captivated by the mystery of serial killers. What motivates them to kill, and why do they choose certain people to be their victims? As fiction writers, we need to harness that intrigue, but we also should be very careful not to allow our work and characters to become cliché. That feat is certainly a tough one—especially since most stories have already been written!—but it can be done. It’s all about making your work extraordinary by creating your own distinct slant and personalized voice. And let’s not forget that it’s up to you to make sure your storytelling is superb.
But there’s even more to it than good writing and coming up with a unique motivation and method of operation (MO) for your serial killer. You also have to know how your investigator is going to realistically look at the case. You want to portray your main character—for example, an FBI agent—as following and working through the investigative process the way one would if he or she was living and breathing. If you don’t, you risk losing your reader, not only for that book but possibly for future ones, too.
So where do you begin when you want to write this kind of fiction? Let’s start with what constitutes a serial killer. The basic definition requires a series of three or more killings that, due to characteristics such as an MO, can be attributed to one individual.
From here, the serious authors do their due diligence to educate themselves both in the mindset of a killer and the investigator, as well as in accurate police procedure. They should search online and reach out to real-world contacts for direction and feedback. As they do this, they’ll come to see a basic formula and start to recognize common terms and phrases, such as cooling-off period, trigger, organized, disorganized, hunter, sexual sadist, and the list goes on. As they dig even deeper, they will start to understand all that is involved in building a profile, as well as how and what information the investigator needs to compile a solid lead.
While writing serial-killer fiction takes a lot of research, it is very rewarding. As an author, you provide entertainment to many readers, it’s true, but you are also shining light on a dark part of society. You are going beyond the surface of the horror and providing some clarity into these heinous crimes and the minds of those who commit them.
And you’ll be wondering what I thought about the book…
Thanks to Rosie Amber, to the author and her husband for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily choose to review (before its official launch).
I read thrillers often and although until recently I’d been reluctant to read books belonging to series that I had not followed before, I’ve found myself reading a few books in this category and enjoying them. Sometimes we might feel particularly attracted to a story line but wonder if we’ll enjoy a book where we’re missing much of the background. Rest assured; although your experience might be different to that of somebody who’s followed the characters from the very beginning, that shouldn’t put you off.
In this novel, the sixth in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, the story is complex and intriguing. The setting, Savannah, Georgia, where some body parts are found in the river crossing through an old plantation. New remains keep appearing and the details of the cases point at ritual killings. Things get more and more bizarre and the plot twists and turns like the river itself.
Most of the book is narrated in the first person by Brandon Fisher. As mentioned, I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, but there are quite a few clues as to past events in his life (he was married, lost a child, was in a relationship with a member of the team, Paige, that ended…) and in that of other team members (his boss almost died in a recent case, Paige is now in a new relationship…) and we get a good sense of the dynamics within the team. There are some chapters written in the third person but narrated by Paige, and also by other unnamed characters (that we soon realise are involved in the crime). The author spins the story with these different threads, managing to maintain the intrigue and mystery despite the alternating viewpoints and complexities. She is also very adept at making the characters sound genuine, using professional terminology and achieving a high degree of accuracy on the procedural side of things, ensuring that the authentic details serve the story rather than slowing it down with endless descriptions that distract the reader from the plot.
There is plenty of action, clues to follow, puzzles to be solved, and an interesting explanation behind the crimes. (As I want to avoid spoilers at all cost, I won’t talk in detail about it, although as a psychiatrist, and one who has worked in forensic psychiatry for a number of years, I must say one of the aspects of the explanation is controversial within the profession [the diagnosis is included in several classifications of mental disorders although disputed by clinicians] but very popular in books and movies.)
The book is easy to read, a page-turner and difficult to put down. Brandon Fisher is not the typical hero: he doubts himself, wonders often about his personal life and questions his decisions, worries about his partners and his boss, has a weak stomach and gets queasy in the scene of violent crimes. He can be reckless at times, has a sense of humour, and is good at convincing people and reading them, gaining their trust. I wasn’t totally convinced that what he does at the end fits in with his behaviour and comments throughout the story, but it is understandable that being exposed to extreme risks and dangers would make anybody reconsider his or her life. The book can be enjoyed in its own right, but I’m always curious about the background of the characters, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed coming to the book armed with the knowledge of the previous novels in the series.
The local characters vary between the local police, who do not play an important part, the relatives of the victims, that are depicted sympathetically and given their own touching stories, and the characters linked to the current case. Some of those make brief appearances, whilst we know how the minds of others work and we see events from their points of view although we only find out their circumstances later. This works well for lovers of mysteries as we suspect and rule out many of the characters and keep wondering until the end.
In sum, a solid police procedural novel, well researched and constructed, for those who love complex stories and who don’t mind gore details.
Thanks so much to Rosie and to the author for providing me a copy of the book, thanks also to Carolyn Arnold for her informative guest post (I’m taking notes), thanks to all of you for reading and don’t forget to like, share, comment and of course, CLICK!
Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will remember Marie Lavender, author extraordinaire who’s written and published many books, and who also is a strong supporter of other writers. She got in touch with me and I knew you’d be interested in her new book, part of the series Heiresses in Love. With Valentine’s Day so close, I was sure you’d still be in the mood for great romance.
Marie has also been kind enough to talk about her inspiration for the series and how it developed, something that, as both a reader and a writer, always fascinates me. But, first things first. Let’s read a bit about the novel:
Upon Your Love (Series Heiresses in Love, Book three) by Marie Lavender
The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…
Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?
Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?
Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?
Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.
But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…
Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?
And, here an excerpt, so you can get into the atmosphere:
The neigh of a horse brought her out of her reverie and she looked over, but her mare stood quietly beside the stream. Adrienne’s instincts nagged at her and she stood up, her ears on alert. The clomp of hoof beats came to her on the swift afternoon breeze. Was the rider coming from the estate or perhaps it was simply a stranger? In any case, a sense of unease grew in the pit of her stomach and she reached down to unearth a small dagger Gabriel had gifted to her two summers ago. She kept it in a sheath around her thigh. Gabe had always said that if she didn’t have a sword on hand, it was best to have something. And she couldn’t agree more.
She clucked her tongue to alert Persephone and led her quickly by the reins under the cover of the trees. The rider was closer now and her mare shifted uneasily, blowing a breath out of her nose. She must have heard the approaching horse as well. “Shh. It’s all right,” Adrienne whispered, stroking her neck. She tied the reins to a tree and waited.
When the rider appeared from the forest, she couldn’t see him clearly. It was a man—that much she was certain—but the lapels of his dark coat and the thicket of limbs brushing her face kept her from placing his identity. He had dark hair and was tall, his body lean and muscled. She watched as he got down from a fine, black stallion and led it to the stream for a rest. The man took a drink from his cupped hands. He wiped the remnants of the water from his chin, and then seemed to search the area nearby. She shivered. Was it possible the man had been tracking her? If that was the case, her dagger would certainly come in handy. Adrienne crouched on alert, spying through her vantage point in the trees. From behind, she observed as the tension eased from his shoulders and he sighed.
A frisson of unease ran through her again. Taking it as a sign, she confirmed he was still faced away before she quietly eased out of her haven. Stepping up behind him, she lifted her dagger to his throat. A smile of grim determination danced over her lips as he stiffened.
“Who are you? Why are you here? Are you following me?”
“What if I was?”
Fine shivers moved along the surface of her skin, caused by the deep timbre of his voice.
“I would have to ask for your reasons, Monsieur.”
“I haven’t come to kidnap you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he sighed. “I didn’t expect you’d be prepared. I commend the effort, of course.”
She frowned. The compliment threw her for a moment, but she then brushed it off. Surely, he ridiculed her, and thought he could overtake her somehow. She shook her head. He would be gravely disappointed.
“You will state your reasons for your presence and your identity, sir.”
“And if I don’t?”
“You will regret it, of course.”
“Indeed? Do you intend to harm an unarmed man?”
She scoffed. “Unarmed? No, I doubt that. With the way you appeared to be tracking me, I am sure you’re quite armed.”
“Right again. What will you do about it?”
She shrugged. “This is Bellamont land. You’ve clearly trespassed. If I must, I will drag you straight back to the house. You know, I believe the foreman has a Winchester sporting rifle. He can be quite formidable when he puts his mind to the task.”
“I’m sure,” he murmured.
“What say you then?”
“I say, Mademoiselle, that you have no idea who you’re dealing with.”
Before she could open her mouth to take him to task, she felt a blow to her arm and the numbing pain caused her to drop the knife. Everything else happened in a blur. As he turned, he caught her leg, which caused her to collapse. But, before she landed, he grasped her up in his arms. He was too close, she thought. Panic threatened inside of her, but she fought it by degrees. She was a fighter, not some idiot who would succumb to a man’s power. Gabriel had taught her many tricks, as had her father. She forced herself to go limp so that he’d pull her closer. She let her eyes drift closed and pretended to have swooned.
“Mon Dieu,” he whispered.
Then she unmanned him with a swift rise of her knee. He coughed out a grunted response, releasing her.
She retreated from him, intent on finding her dagger, but did not see it. The leaves in the grass crunched beneath her hands and knees as she struggled to her feet. She would have to rely on the resources of the forest to save her if he pursued further. Somehow, she doubted he’d be able to. She turned and her mouth dropped open as she looked at her attacker.
His dark hair had fallen over one eye and he was hardly doubled over in pain. No, he scowled at her now and he seemed quite well. She’d missed her target, she realized. His identity shocked her further. She felt quite stupid for not recognizing him, even from behind. But, why had Christian tried to attack her?
“How…,” she whispered.
“You are not as fast as I, Mademoiselle.” Then he laughed, but there was no mirth in his expression. His eyes seemed darker suddenly. “You little brat,” he bit out. “You almost had me.”
She sucked in a breath and, when she saw him advance, she backed away. But, it effectively put her back right up against a nearby tree. She cursed. Christian closed in, blocking her in with his arms as he braced his hands on the tree trunk. Her breaths came out in harsh pants and her stomach had fallen somewhere at her feet. Dear God, what would he do? She jerked her arms out to break his hold, but his muscles were like the ratlines between the shrouds of a mast in a ship’s rigging. Solid. Struggling with his obvious intimidation of her, she managed, “Why are you trying to kidnap me?”
Some of the arrogance left his face. “I’m not. I thought we already established that.”
“Then why… this?” she asked, weakly. And why couldn’t she breathe? His clean, male scent caused her to feel lightheaded. No, she thought. That just had to be terror.
“I wanted to get you alone so that we could continue our plans. I didn’t mean for you to see me as a threat. I certainly didn’t expect a dagger at my throat.” He reached out and cupped her face, stroking the line of her jaw gently with his thumb.
Adrienne gazed into his nearly black eyes. She thought she saw a hint of admiration and something more, perhaps desire, in his gaze.
“P… plans?” she stammered, annoyed with the hypnotic effect he had on her. And what was that strange, but wonderful scent coming off him? She detected cologne which contained a hint of fresh pine. But then, she’d smelled it before, both in her room and at the Broussard’s engagement party. Even though the fragrance was pleasant, she tried to ignore it.
“Our matchmaking endeavor, chére.”
“Yes, that. Did you forget?”
She cleared her throat. “No, of course not.” Her resolve returned in full force then. She slapped his hand aside and sidestepped him. Stalking away to locate Persephone, she unearthed her mare from the brush in no time. When she returned, he still stood there, watching her. She shivered again.
Mon Dieu, she thought. Why was this happening to her? Why did the man tie her in knots?
As I mentioned, I asked Marie about her inspiration for this series, as I knew you’d be as curious as me about her process, and here is what she said:
Origins of an Epic Romance
When the Heiresses in Love Series first came to me, I really had no idea that there would be more than one novel. Fate stepped in, however, and the muse led me to where I am today, with four series and 25 books published.
In 2002, a seed of an idea materialized in my head. The image of a couple arguing about the man’s actions was so clear. I could see every detail – the room, what the people looked like, what they wore, and what the heroine felt in those moments. It played like a movie in my mind. From there, the notion became a Victorian maritime story set in France – Upon Your Return. Years later, when the novel was finally finished and even once there was a book contract involved in 2012, I thought it was a standalone.
Then one day, out of the blue, I couldn’t get another image of my head. It was a young woman stowing away on board a clipper ship. Suddenly, I just knew. This was the same ship, La Voyageur, which was mentioned in the first book. I called the new novel Upon Your Honor. The series began to take form, and it became a story about a family spanning generations.
The third book, Upon Your Love, came to me not too long after that. I always knew Gabriel’s sister, Adrienne, would get her own story. She was compelling with her fearless take on life and her impish antics. But I didn’t know the half of it.
Suddenly, in the middle of her tale, other characters, previous ones as well as new ones, wanted me to tell their stories too. I remembered the feedback from some reviews for UYR and UYH. Readers wanted more; they needed to know Fara’s origins – her parents and what made her uncle so harsh, as well as other details. So, I honored those requests. Meanwhile, more revelations came to light. Characters we knew from the other books had important journeys to take, as did Adrienne, and it became a natural evolution to adjust the historical romance story to include a family saga.
So, the Heiresses in Love Series came to be, an empire of sorts, a period drama with suspense, passion, love, as well as many truths about the human condition.
Soon, I realized that this – not just the act of writing – was why I write. I write to tell a character’s story to the best of my ability. I write for my readers too. Beyond that, I always learn more about people, and about myself in the process.
It’s quite a rewarding journey, and I love every moment of it.
As you can see, Upon Your Love is Book three on the series Heiresses in Love and I was sure you’d be interested in the rest of the series, here are the links:
And, of course, a bit of information on Marie herself and links so you can follow here everywhere:
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.
Thanks very much to Marie Lavender for this opportunity to present her new novel and for letting us into her inspiration and her writing process, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!
I finally published the prequel in a few places last week and it’s FREE, hopefully in most places by now . If you find it is not, could you do me a big favour and report that you’ve seen it free elsewhere? That will make them change the price. Thanks!
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret
How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.
Dr Mary Miller is a young psychiatrist suffering a crisis of vocation. Her friend Phil, a criminalist lawyer working in New York, invites her to visit him and consult on the case of a writer accused of a serious assault. His victim had been harassing him and accusing him of stealing his story, which he’d transformed into a best-selling book. The author denies the allegation and claims it was self-defence. When the victim dies, things get complicated. The threshold between truth and fiction becomes blurred and secrets and lies unfold.
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is the prequel to EscapingPsychiatry a volume collecting three stories where Mary and her psychiatric expertise are called to help in a variety of cases, from religious and race affairs, to the murder of a policeman, and in the last case she gets closer than ever to a serial killer.
If you enjoy this novella, don’t forget to check Mary’s further adventures. And there are more to come.
Here you can check a preview live:
But as I promised you to publish the whole of the story in my blog, here is Chapter 6. But don’t forget to download the story, to tell people about it, and if you like it, to review it too if you can.
6. The Surprise
Phil had always considered himself a keen observer and used to joke with Mary that he was an amateur psychologist. It was true that such skills as he had were very useful in his line of work. He watched Ryan and Mary’s interaction on the drive back to New York. He’d secretly wondered if those two would hit it off, but worried that asking directly would scare Mary off. She didn’t take interference in those kinds of matters too kindly. Still, once they had dropped Ryan off at his apartment, on the way back to his, Phil asked Mary, “So, what do you think?”
“What do I think about what? Your boss’s place is amazing, although I wouldn’t say I necessarily liked his guests or the highly artificial lifestyle. I doubt anybody there has expressed their true feelings even once in the whole weekend. Well, perhaps one person.”
“Are you talking about…”
“Lance. I think you were too far away, but a woman seating opposite us made some pretty unkind comment about Miles Green and he became quite angry and gave her a piece of his mind.”
“Oh…I thought you were talking about Ryan.”
Mary smiled. “Ryan always speaks his mind, it seems. Even when it would be to his advantage not to. I like him.” Phil wondered what his expression was like, because Mary looked at him and shook her head from side to side. “No, no, don’t you start trying to pair me up with Ryan. It will never work. I think we might get to be good friends but I can’t imagine it going anywhere.”
Phil sighed and looked at Mary before manoeuvring to park the car. “I could try to fix you up with Lance, but I know he’s in very high demand. It might be difficult.”
“Oh, don’t go around trying to fix me up with anybody, please. And, are you insinuating that Lance is too good for me?”
“No, of course not! You’re far too good for him, but you know that certain girls only go after the flashy individuals.”
Mary looked at Phil sideways but eventually smiled. Phew! He’d got a reprieve.
“Well, I’ll finish packing and I should get going. I’m working tomorrow. Thanks so much for having me. It’s been interesting.”
“I’m sure it will carry on being interesting. And I’m sure Percy will want your help in future cases, if not this one.”
“I think Oliver Fenton is a lost cause, at least in regards to a possible assessment. Not to worry. It’s better that way. I wouldn’t have liked to have to go and give evidence about him. I suspect I would have done more harm than good to his cause. Although perhaps that’s not necessarily bad.”
Phil accompanied Mary to the train station and they said goodbye before Mary got on the train.
“Thanks again, Phil. And keep me posted on any news.”
“I will. Of course I will. And don’t forget to give me a call once you get home. Let me know you’re well.”
They kissed and Phil watched as Mary walked down the platform and climbed into a carriage. He went back home wondering why Mary was so stubborn about relationships. It was true that perhaps his personal example hadn’t done much to encourage her to try but…
The next few days at work were incredibly bizarre, and Phil hardly had any time to think about anything that wasn’t work related. On Thursday evening he decided to avoid another after-work drink to unwind and went home. He had to stop to do some food shopping on the way, as he had hardly spent any time at his apartment since Mary left, other than a few hours to sleep. He had a shower, ate something, and as he was going to turn the TV on, decided to phone Mary first. He wanted to know what she’d made of the news. She answered quickly.
“You’re not on call or anything, are you?”
“No, no, don’t worry. I’d been thinking about you. I was reading an interview with Oliver Fenton yesterday, and yes, I couldn’t help but think about you, Fenton…well, the whole firm.”
“Well, there have been a few changes.”
“Really? Are you at liberty to talk about it?” Mary’s voice sounded mocking.
“You’re in Percy’s confidence, so I guess it’s OK. The truth is it will all be common knowledge soon, although I doubt you’d hear about it yourself.”
“OK, OK. You got me intrigued. Tell me the news.”
“Lance… You’ll never guess. Lance went and—”
“Left the firm.”
Phil was flabbergasted. How on earth had she guessed?
“Did you know? You must have known. You’d never in a million years have been able to guess such a thing. It took all of us by surprise! Did Ryan phone you?”
“Ryan? He doesn’t have my phone number. No, of course not.”
“How did you know, then?”
“You should already know I have a crystal ball. That must have been a shock for everybody.”
Phil was intrigued, but suspected that the more he asked, the less likely he’d be to get a straight answer. It might be better to just carry on with the conversation and perhaps it would slip out. He knew he was clutching at straws but he couldn’t think of anything else to say to convince Mary to spill the beans.
“Yes. Absolutely. And the way he did it, too. He just turned up quite early on Monday, walked into Percy’s office unannounced, leaving the door open, and said that he was quitting. That he’d made a mistake and he cared too much for ethics and morality to carry on playing games. That he didn’t want to side with the rich and powerful any longer. And he walked out. Percy was left there, opening and closing his mouth like a fish. It was a sight!”
“I would love to have seen it. And what’s happened with the case? Who has taken the lead?”
“Percy doesn’t seem prepared to let any more surprises come his way and has decided to take charge personally. His name was already on the papers anyway. Of course, that means that the rest of us are running around him, carrying and fetching like headless chickens. But still…”
“Will he have enough time to prepare?”
“There’s a month left until the official date of the trial, but with the change in the team he was talking about asking for an adjournment. A couple of weeks or so.”
“Yes, that would be handy. And how is everybody else?”
Phil was on the phone to Mary for a few more minutes, but she kept him distracted talking about all kinds of things, never referring back to Lance or her mysterious knowledge. Perhaps next time.
Just in case you’ve missed the previous chapters and prefer to read them in my blog, here are the links:
If you’re intrigued and you haven’t caught up with the three others stories I’ve published featuring Mary and Phil, I just wanted to remind you that Escaping Psychiatry is available for only $0.99until the end of February. Rather than give you the description, you can have a look a read and preview it directly from here:
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