Barry Asks a Favour — an audio story

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There are favours, and then there are FAVOURS.
A cup of sugar is fine, but I’ve always thought that the loan of a lawn mower was a bit too much. It’s all a matter of degrees. You might be happy to do any favour asked of you, or you might have limits based on who was doing the asking.
Boris lives by a strict code, so when Barry asked a favour, he did not hesitate, even when Barry pointed out the danger.

 

 

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Bright Red Car – an audio story

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Retrieving lost items is often a matter of waiting for them to turn up, which they almost always do — almost. I sometimes think that particular objects hide on purpose. Maybe they are forcing me to not make a fool of myself, who knows?
Losing things is also a red flag for me — a kind of ‘something is wrong with the way your consciousness is working, you’d better slow down, or you are going to find yourself inside one of your stories’.
Susan’s dilemma is slightly different from mine. Her ‘loss’ was forced on her, and now she MUST find a way to retrieve her ‘lost’ possessions.

 

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Fly Away Home

It isn’t every day that you get to come home.

I didn’t expect to find her. I wasn’t looking, but isn’t that always the way?

She can run fast and I can fly, which makes for an interesting combination.

There will be a surprise wedding (not mine) and some time on a train. A visit to the house I grew up in and a quandary about sleeping arrangements. A ride in a horse and cart, and tea in a coffee shop.

And of course, there will be dancing.

Drinking after hours and a mad, barefoot dash for freedom.

All these things and a full heart, then I have to go, but she will wait for me. Wait patiently for me to fly away home.

FLY AWAY HOME a novella, coming in 2019

You Must Remember This – a novel

I loved her the first time I saw her, and that’s all you need to know.

She had hair the colour of rich Belgian chocolate, and recently cut it shorter only to grow it longer again, just for me. A short stay in hospital had left her looking a little pale, and her lack of makeup was not disguising her beautiful complexion. She smiled at me and spoke enthusiastically about different coloured foods. She didn’t see me, not really, and I was determined to change that. Nothing was more important in my life. She was wearing an exquisite gown that showed the curves of her petite body to perfection. She left early with her friends, and I sat in a daze, wondering what had just happened.

It was Scarlett Holmyard who triggered my fitful imagination. It was Scarlett Holmyard who gave my life meaning when things were at their darkest.

I still have the souvenirs. Random memories that, if you put them all together would look like the remnants of a shredded photo album. Fragments of photographs are floating on the water or stuffed down the side of a sofa. Each piece tells a story of adventure, close encounters, triumphs and pure excitement.

I cannot explain the feelings I have when recalling them — the frustration, the hope, the confusion, the anger. Scarlett is the most important person in my life, but I don’t know that yet. She’s that person that you catch sight of out of the corner of your eye. She’s the one whose name you struggle to remember, the torn photograph with not enough detail. She is my nameless champion, my never wavering hero, and I’m the one who is doggedly searching for her.

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Sam loves Scarlett, or at least that is what everyone keeps telling him. After the bloke in the stolen car slammed into Sam at a Tee intersection, everything changed. A head injury, a stay in hospital followed by a stint in rehab and Sam is no closer to regaining all his memories. His distant past is clearer than his recent present, and Scarlett belongs to now. Can Sam fall in love with Scarlett — all over again? And what of the bloke who ‘hit and ran’? Will Inspector Blank work it all out, or will Sam have to be his own detective? For many months, while Sam works on his recovery, there will be numerous tram journeys and frequent visits to Dr Doug, the therapist chosen by Scarlett to help to bring her Sam back to her. Who is the bloke in the brown shoes and why do Sam and Scarlett decide that blackberry jam is a good way to put closure to their uncomfortable adventure? Sam Bennett faces his biggest challenge to date — finding his Scarlett.

Publishing date: February 20th 2019

Now available for pre-order.

New Book: BORIS and the Rising Sun Hotel

So BORIS has an official launch date, December 22nd 2018. This will be the cover for the audiobook and the middle bit is the book cover. It is available now for pre-order.

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Boris lives in the KEEPER OF SECRETS universe.
Susan encounters him in the first book of the series and in SECRETS KEPT we get to know a bit more about him.
He is always there when Susan meets with ‘Backdoor Barry’, silently doing his job. Sometimes lipreading the mute old TV set, sometimes tending to his bartender duties. A quiet observer of everything that goes on at the Rising Sun Hotel.
When I finished the second book in this series, I couldn’t help wondering what was happening in Boris’ life when we were not around. Has he been a part of Barry’s adventures? Was he around when that chair acquired its famous bullet hole? Does he have a romantic interest?
As you can see, these questions needed to be answered.
Boris is more than just a bit part player in Susan Smith’s adventurous life — Boris has a life of his own.

DECEMBER 22nd 2018

New Book — Slightly Spooky Stories Too

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Finally, after three years of work, we have a publishing date for SLIGHTLY SPOOKY STORIES TOO — October 24th 2018.

The poster is not the final book cover, but the photo (by my son Matt) will feature prominently. Matt did the photo for the first book in this anthology series, Slightly Spooky Stories in 2015.

The eBook, paperback and audiobook will all be released on the same day.

There are 25 stories and the book is slightly longer than the first book.

Three years in the making. The follow up to the non-award winning SLIGHTLY SPOOKY STORIES is a collection of stories that leave you wondering. A tennis match with a difference, an older man who just wants a bit of quiet time, a business that specialises in retrieving memories, a party game that goes wrong, a visit to the doctor reveals an unusual diagnosis, a young girl and her hero dog, small birds show their appreciation, money attracting money, dodging a bullet, the power of dancing in the dark, the magic of old books, the significance of a red dress, a deadly writers competition and a cop with a long-term plan. Twenty-five stories that will give you goosebumps or have you wondering.

Slightly Spooky Stories Too

It takes a long time to gather together enough Slightly Spooky Stories to fill a book — more than two years in this case.

I have no control over their appearance — they just appear when they feel like it. Sometimes they come in clumps and other times they pop up infrequently.

I put them into a folder and forget about them. Something made me check the word count and I realised that this second collection was a lot bigger than the first.

SLIGHTLY SPOOKY STORIES has been a moderate success as an eBook, which was disappointing, but it found a new life as soon as I turned it into an audiobook. It consistently fights for the number one spot among my audiobooks (ten now at the time of writing).

I am about two-thirds of the way through recording SSS2 and the ebook is only days away from going up.

I think you are going to enjoy this collection of stories and I know that I have enjoyed recording them.

As often happens when I return to stories I have written a long time ago, I’m amazed that I wrote them. The words sound like mine, but I’m pleasantly surprised to find out what happens! I know that sounds strange, but it happens all the time.

Amazingly, after all this time, I still get a buzz out of writing.

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When It Snows

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So, what do you do when it snows? You kiss someone, of course.

It helps if you know the person, and it smooths the process if they like the idea of being kissed, but either way, it is an opportunity that must not be missed.

I grew up in a part of the world where it snows every forty years or so.

My mum told me about the imperative as mothers do and I’m sure she was smiling as she noticed the look of wonder in my young eyes.

“But what if it’s a boy?” I said.

“He won’t mind,” was my mother’s reply.

“But I might,” I said.

“You’ll just have to summon up the courage,” was my mother’s insistent reply.

Of course, as I grew older I realised that this urban imperative was grouped in with ‘If the knife hits the bottom of the birthday cake you have to kiss the nearest person’, and ‘if you make that face, and the wind changes you will stay like that forever’, but the story about the snow had not come to the front of my conscious mind until I was walking to the train station with William. We didn’t have to walk together, it was just that we were leaving at the same time — an unusual occurrence.

I liked him, he was funny and shy and respectful, which set him apart from most of the testosterone males in our office, but I’d never thought of him in that way — the way of pressing lips together with the possibility of the warm sensation of a gentle tongue.

The street was empty as people sought shelter in cafes and doorways.

“It’s snowing,” I said a little too loudly as I threw back my head and let some of the frozen wonderfulness collect on my eyelashes.

“It’s been doing that since lunchtime,” said William. He seemed bemused by my declaration.

“I suddenly remembered, I have to kiss you. I may have left it a bit late, but it’s snowing, and I have little choice in the matter,” I said.

He looked at me and scrunched up his eyebrows the way he does when someone says something outlandish. I ignored the judgement of his eyebrows and pushed him up against the stone wall. He weighed a lot more than I thought he would so I had to use all my strength to propel him, and at the last moment he stopped his instinctive resistance and bumped, rather heavily into the wall. He let out a tiny sound, and I covered his mouth with mine.

We held our lips together for what seemed like a long time, and I could feel the warmth of his body which contrasted with the coolness of the snow that continued to fall on our united bodies.

Eventually, I pulled away as I realized he couldn’t because of his position against the wall. Part of me wanted to see who ended the kiss first.

I looked up into his eyes, and they were smiling at me. I smiled back.

He took my hand, and we walked to the station where his train arrived before mine did.

“Brief Encounter,” I said, and he smiled as he got into the carriage.

He watched me standing on the platform, snow gathering in my hair, as his train pulled away.

My mum had a point, ‘when it snows, you kiss someone, of course.’