Thursday, 29 December 2011

Happy New Year - Will it be your dream year?.

I know this is a cheating double up re-post but 3 comments! Sheesh... Believe it, you need a brand image even if you're with a publisher!!! Colour co-ordination on blogs will help in creating image and your author persona as well. Blue implies cold, red hot, pastel shades can appear bland to the eye unless a theme i.e., romantic, historical, other. Chick-Lit on the other hand needs to be sparky, perhaps even with ly tagged on, whereas fantasy and Sci-Fi is best when reflecting other-worldly influences.

BTW: don't forget I have a contemporary novel coming out with a publisher in July 2012. No idea what I'll get as cover image, but they have produced some gorgeous covers for other authors. So it's a wait and see. But hey, in the meantime my self-pubbed novels are still jumping onto peoples Kindles.



Two little words "Brand Image" and some people go to pieces just thinking about branding themselves, by that I mean selling their image as a writer even when they're lucky enough to be contracted to a publisher. Let's be honest a stomping three-book-deal and vast advance are few and far between. Small advances and tentative three-book-deals are far more common. Authors are only really in-house once their second book has sold as well if not better than their first, presupposing the first one flew off the shelves due to invested advertising by their publisher. But let's not forget author input on self-advertising, which comes naturally to those of a bent or flair for seeking attention. Of course, by their third book it is expected they will have gained a huge following. Now this doesn't always happen, in fact doesn't happen in big chunks, because remaindered book depots are testament to unsold books. If the latter happens a publisher has the choice of dropping any author once a contract is at end. Some do, hence we see books by specific authors under differing publisher names. That said, some get head-hunted, too, and are sometimes paid vast sums of money to switch publishers. This happy conclusion usually only happens to best-selling authors who regularly churn out best-selling titles. But, it's been happening to Indie (self-pubbed) authors as well. I think we all know who they are by now, and I dare say there will be other million-sellers on Amazon in the future.  

     

Love it or hate it we're all familiar with the little brown pot above. It hasn't changed! Why should it. If you love it you can't miss seeing it in a super-market because you know what you're looking for. 

Take this same principal but equate it to Hollywood and the movies! We knew exactly what we were going to get from this man when he was dressed like this. 



And in some respects he became the brand image for "Spaghetti Westerns", but that's not to say he wasn't good in the Dirty Harry movies and other memorable movies! Though as teenager I can remember drooling over him as Rowdy Yates in the TV series Rawhide. 

So, how are you going to brand you and your wares if you're thinking of going Indie? Have you thought about book designs etc?  To be honest I hadn't really given a specific image much thought. But I have now, and I'm going black chic. At least I'm hoping that's the effect I'm portraying for my latest attempts at book design for the Kindle e-market. How else can a familiar and recognisable brand be achieved?

  
Hence my book covers will be thus... see my image factory!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest & RFW Challenge!

Thanks to D. L. Hammons: Nicole, Lydia and Katie for co-hosting...



This old post is entered for the Deja Vu blogfest and doubling up for Romantic Friday Writers' Challenge "Sparkle".




If you're a Brit you'll know all about the Pantomime Season - when men dress up as Dames and Women take on the role of Principal boys. Yep, we Brits have real crazy traditions.

The thing with a Panto, is that the scripts are designed to entertain the kiddos with slap-stick humour. Meantime, double entendre roll over cute little kiddo heads and whisper in the ears of the adults, and believe it, raucous laughter then erupts while the kids scream and yell in all innocence of fun and merriment!   

So, with this blogfest, as a writer you have the opportunity to let rip with a twisted fairy tale!
How you kidnap the Seven Dwarves, turn Cinderella into a vampire, blow up Aladdin's Cave, shoot the fairy off the Christmas tree, or assassinate Santa, is entirely up to you. 

***
Start of Panto: note the names of characters!

The theme for this blogfest is Twisted Fairy Tale - 

Anyhoo, mine is a short presentation of Cinderella (see pic above) - a giggle or two will suffice! 

The ball is in full swing the clock nearing first strike of midnight.  




Starring Adverbia & Adjectivia: the ugly sisters.

--------------------

‘OMG, who is that?’ croaked Adverbia, a sugared plum immediate to mouth as angst washed over her.

‘Who, what, where?’ screamed short-sighted Adjectivia, agitated in extreme because she always refused to be seen in public wearing spectacles. 

Adverbia, now near to choking, the sugared plum stuck solidly in throat, her reply mere gobbedly-gook. ‘O ‘er tair.’ 

Adjectivia noticed Adverbia's distress and gave a resounding slap to her back.

The sugared plum gunned out of Adverbia's mouth and zoomed across the ballroom. Unfortunately, it ended up wedged in the dowager duchess’ wig, which caused much tittering from Adjectivia. 

The dowager duchess glanced about to ascertain whom had had the audacity to strike her wig a broadside. As she readjusted her lopsided hairpiece her fingers made contact with the now squidgy sugared plum, and eyes narrowed she assessed its velocity on impact and tragectory path.

Her eyes soon settled on Adverbia; yet another sugared plum gripped between fingers. 

Adverbia, engrossed in watching the beautiful young lady dancing with Prince Charming, failed to notice the dowager duchess’ looking her way. 

‘There, there, dancing with Prince Charming,' she screamed, 'can you not see her? Oh Adj do put your specs on.'





Reluctanly Adjectivia raised her specs to eyes. ‘I see, I see,’ she rallied, brow furrowed teeth bared. ‘Grrrrr, spit, damn and blast the strumpet. Who is she?’

‘If I knew why would I be asking you?’ snarled Adverbia, sucking second sugared plum.

‘I cannot imagine your asking me,  at all,‘ replied Adjectivia, fanning her face with a feather-plumed fan. ‘Uh oh, the dowager duchess is coming this way. And, oh my, that plum you near choked on  . . .’ 

Aware of movement beside her, Adjectivia turned to see Adverbia scurrying away.

‘Oh shitzu,’ she exclaimed, and sped after her ugly sister, because no way was she about to take stick from the dowager duchess, whom it was rumoured had a BDSM dungeon where she thwacked a favoured manservant. 

Prince charming noticed the commotion of dowager duchess with silver-topped sword-cane raised and looking as though about to commit murder, his dominatrix aunt already in pursuit of the ugly sisters.

He rushed across to soothe the duchess' enraged state, and copped a crack to shoulder for his trouble. Meanwhile the clock had begun striking the midnight hour. 

Unbeknown to the prince, the beautiful Countess of Makebelieve (former dancing partner heard the clock chiming) and sudden upped and fled the ballroom.

Dandini, the Prince' personal aide, ran after the countess but not a sight of her to be seen.

Strange as it seemed, several white mice were milling around in somewhat confused state at the foot of the palace steps. Stranger still, a hollow pumpkin reminiscent in shape to that of coach minus its wheels and left in the middle of the courtyard. A glass slipper too, then spied on the far side of the steps. 




Dandini picked up the crystal slipper, fondled it, and stood for moment pondering the disappearance of the Countess of Makebelieve. Why would she flee?

Ah, but come to think of it, when first introduced to Baron Noun-Hardup, the young countess had looked radiant? Yet, when the Baron’s new wife flounced toward her, the Countess of Makebelieve's expression fell ashen as though fearful of the ugly sisters' mother, Pronouncia. 

In fact, the more Dandini thought about the strangely beautiful young Countess of Makebelieve, a brief encounter came to mind. 

The young countess had to be none other than the girl Dandini had seen in the market a few days prior to the Great Ball: the blasted Get-a-Wife Ball, essentially a singles ball. 

Damn it all, the mystery countess was indeed Cinderella Noun-Hardup, the baron’s daughter from his first marriage. 

It all made sense now.

Hmmm. 

Poor Prince Charming, under extreme pressure from his Uncle to secure a would-be bride this very night had implied interest in the Countess of Makebelieve, though far from his desired choice for a life partner. 

And, of course, Noun-Hardup’s second wife had wanted the ugly stepdaughters presented to the Prince excluding the beautiful Cinders from same opportunity. 

So, who had helped Cinders make it to the ball in disguise?  Cinders, for definite, keen for the prince’ hand in marriage. 

Well, that wouldn’t happen any time soon. 

Dandini tossed the glass slipper over the palace wall. 

The sound of splintering glass to be pure satisfaction to the ear.  

Much to Dandini's consternation there was nothing but silence. 

NEVERTHELESS: Dandini turned about, sense of glee on face, and there stood Prince Charming.

'You look decidedly guilty, my dear Dandini. What pray, went over yonder wall?'

Dandini chuckled, 'The one item assured to secure a marital noose around your neck, by some do-gooding fairy godmother no doubt.'

‘Thank God, for that,’ said the prince, rubbing the spot where the dowager duchess had clobbered his shoulder. ‘I felt sure my secret obsession soon to be exposed.’

'Oh please, anytime.' Dandini stepped close to the prince, voice fallen to whisper, ‘Kiss me, Queenie.’

‘That I shall, my gorgeous six-pack Dandini, but don't ever call me that in public. Prince I am by day, Queenie by night.’

Dandini fell into the Prince’ arms, said, ‘We cannot hide our love for ever, my prince.’





‘The prince kissed Dandini with passion and intensity.

Unbeknown to the amorous bewigged young gentlemen, the glass slipper remained unscathed and safe in the hands of the real Prince Charming: Prince Rupert Charming.



Supposedly lost at sea when in fact turned into a frog by an evil witch, the real Prince Rupert Charming all the while awaiting his opportunity to reclaim his throne. Knowing only a maiden's kiss can break the evil spell, he's had no luck so far in that quest.

With the glass slipper he has a bartering tool and he knows Cinder's is kind and loving and will want the slipper back, and she'll kiss him for it, he'd bet his life on that for he knows her smitten with the bogus prince: his younger brother Quentin (Queenie) Charming.  


Having fantasised over Cinders for three years and a day of his sitting on a lilypad watching her fetch water from the well,  Rupert serenades her the very next time she passes by his royal pond! 

And Lo & Behold: the ruse works!






Meanwhile: banished from the Principality two men sail off into the sunset!   


The End.
***

Believe it, this particular blogfest did extremely well on entrant numbers for Xmas 2010 and we had a great laugh reading everybody's input. 


To see entries by other participants to the "Deja vu" blogfest go here.

To see entries by other participants to RFW's "Sparkle" challenge go here.


BTW: I did delete the original 24 comments! Only fair, methought...


Friday, 2 December 2011

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge/Blogfest



OK folks, imagine that cottage is called Fenemore Cottage and, that it's the year 1820.

I know, I know, I'm cheating this week with a snippet from opening chapter of latest historical novella, which is a Regency Murder Mystery. But honestly if I hadn't posted this I wouldn't have posted at all. I've been so busy preparing manuscripts for paperback production even thoughts about Christmas have been on hold. 

Anyhoo, this snippet is before romance gets under way. Nevertheless, the hero is definitely centre stage and the heroine has taken note of his appearance, demeanour and . . .   ;) This is in first draft mode so no sly sniggers!


Word Count = way over, but hey, it's nearly Christmas : code NCCO




Georgette drew her velvet cloak tight about her and glanced out at the forbidding moonlit landscape. She was rather glad the horses were keeping to a steady trot, because previous sense of excitement now suddenly overshadowed by angst and dread. The private drag was passing close to Abbeyfields and it was all rather silly to be feeling anxious. Adam Brockenbury could not be in residence, for she knew him to have been sighted coming out of White’s Chocolate House only yesterday, and enough engagements in London to keep him at a safe distance.

   Nevertheless, Abbeyfields itself remained a disquieting reminder of her last trip to this part of the Avon Valley.  Yes, thank God Adam was at a dinner party that very evening, and would for sure attend the grand ball of Friday next at Blenheim Palace. Should he return to Bath on the Saturday she would be long gone from Fenemore Cottage by then. 
   Aware the horses had begun too slow their pace she surmised they were on approach to the bridge, the river Avon before them. She braced herself, for it always felt as though her stomach collided with heart when crossing humpback bridges.  As the horses once again settled to a steady trot the coach suddenly lurched as though its wheels had passed over something in its path.
   Thrust sideways her companion’s head banged against the window, she likewise thrown to her left and now stretched out across the seat opposite to his. “Damnation,” he said, clutching at his head as she made to sit up straight again. “What happened?”
   “I think we shall know soon enough, for the coach is slowing down.”
   Indeed it finally came to a standstill and within seconds her companion had the door open and shouted up to the coachman. “Why have we stopped?”
   The coachman’s reply, “We rode o’er somethin’ on the highway back a ways.”      
   “Did you not see what it was?”
   “Nah, not a thing for ‘tis dark, sir, but Jim is a going to see what it were.”
   “Good God, man. A moonlit night, frost on the ground and almost as bright as day. How could you not see whatever in your path?”
   “I tells yer I didn’t see nothin’ so it must have come at us from them there trees back away, by the bridge, ‘cause twer rear wheel as run o’er it. What’er it be.”
   Her companion alighted from the coach and walked back along the highway, and although curious she decided it was best to stay in the coach and await news of what had caused the coach to lurch so badly. It seemed an age before he returned along with the coach groom who immediately clambered up beside the coachman. In silence her companion stepped aboard, and upon closing the door and retaking his seat he shook his head in the manner of no hope afforded the victim of the collision.
   “I can only guess it was not a person, for surely we would not drive on with someone left lying dead or wounded on the highway.”
   “We lay it on the verge, and I shall arrange for it to be picked up first thing in the morning.” The coach lurched and then proceeded onward. “Little harm will befall the poor creature on a night such this.”
   “May I ask what it is?”
   “A hound, and why it was out and about strange indeed. I cannot recall its ever deserting my father’s side.” 
   Her stomach tightened. Breath caught in her throat, as dread and fear gripped her. Oh no, not a son of Abbeyfields. “You live near here?”
   “Indeed I do,” his reply, his eyes levelled on hers. “I fear I have been somewhat lax with introduction, despite our having conversed in genial spirit. May I say the tinkling ring of your voice has been delightful and sweet music to the ears, unlike the caustic tones of erstwhile colleagues and clients.”
   If not in fear of who he might be she could well have laughed in coquettish manner at his bold inference, for he’d fallen asleep whilst she talking to him, instead her tongue rallied quite sharp, “And you are?”
   “Edwin Brockenbury.”
   Her heart began to race, bile rose in her throat and silence became deafening. She could not muster a word, her thoughts collided with memories, yet try as she might she could not recall Edwin Brockenbury’s face as one of those present on the night of James Brockenbury’s tragic death.
   “Does the name Brockenbury distress you?”  He leaned forward elbow to knee, hesitant in stance, his face rigid calm though genuine concern etched thereon. “Reaction such as yours is not so uncommon. My brother it seems is wont to leave a trail of broken hearts countrywide, which has rather tarnished the name Brockenbury. Hence Ranulph and I suffer the consequences of bitter tongued beauties when introduced at social functions.”
   “Broken heart, I with broken heart, and left in Adam’s wake? I think not.” 
   “Forgive me, please. I had no right to suggest or imply you might harbour bad feeling toward a Brockebury.”
   He sat back, his eyes not leaving hers for a second and it was most disconcerting. Throughout the journey air of authority and reserved calm had emanated from his very person, though his manner caring at the coaching inn or they would not now be sharing the drag. His deep timbre of voice, too, had sounded sincere and not once had it raised sense of alarm to falseness nor implied him a man of ill repute. 
   She had to say something. Break the silence. For he was obviously worried he had wrong-footed her and made bold on wild supposition. “No, please, forgive me. Suppositions are unwise at the best of times, and our journey, until the accident, most pleasant. After all, to have company on a long journey always lessens what is otherwise a tedious and lonely experience.”
   A tentative smile creased his face. “In that case, would you mind terribly if I leap from the coach at the gates to Abbeyfields?”
   “At the gates. Not be driven to the house in style?” He chuckled, a deep-throated chuckle that in other circumstances might have caused her heart to flutter. “Please, you cannot walk in these freezing conditions.”
   “I fear you are chilled enough young lady, so home with you straight away. I’ll not freeze to death trudging the drive to the house. As it is, the hound’s death has raised a needling question as to why he was where he was.”  He reached for his gold-topped cane previously abandoned on the seat beside him. She had already surmised it to be a swordstick, its dragon’s head handle ornate and curved to fit neat to palm of hand, which he promptly used to thump the roof of the drag.  “Shall you be at Fenemore for a long or short stay?”
   Her heart lurched. “How did you know I am to stay at Fenemore?”
    “You booked for a drive from London to Batheaston and I from London to Batheaston, and when I arrived at the inn it was assumed I to be the passenger for Fenemore, Batheaston. Hence your arrival coincided with and interrupted a heated argument that although I, too bound for Batheaston, it was Abbeyfields I wished to be taken to.”  A smile creased his face. “I am not sure how, but you seemed to think my intended journey was to Bath. And gentleman that I am I chose not to reveal otherwise. ”
   “So you had intended seeing me to Fenemore and then returning to Abbeyfields?” She laughed. “Oh how gallant, and now you wish to leap from the coach and abandon me.” She immediately corrected her outburst. “That sounded terribly flippant, when you must be quite worried about your father.”
   Aware the drag was slowing down with verbal encouragement to the horses from the coachman, Edwin Brockenbury once again leaned forward only this time he extended his hand. She accepted his gesture of friendship their kid gloves coming together, and not for one minute had she expected him to dip his head and kiss her gloved fingers.
   The contact was fleeting, but when his eyes levelled on hers something indefinable sparkled within and, “Good night, Lady Beaumont,” came as quite a shock. Though his smile enough to melt the coldest of lady’s heart and somehow as reassuring as were his final words. “Be assured your presence at Fenemore will not slip from my tongue.”

To read entries by other participants go here

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Blogfest Alert! Blogfest Alert!

Come on folks, admit it, we've been missing the many blogfests that used to occur with regularity, and now the Lovely D.L. Hammons, Nicole, Lydia and Katie are share-hosting with a brilliant fest. The title says it all, but go check out the details to be sure you've got the gen on what is expected of the Deja Vu blogfest.




There's no need to leave a comment. This is just a post-up notice!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

For Lovers of Fantasy Romance!


Sometimes little gems come along, and this little novella is one of those gems one feels proud to own!

When Greek myth blends with Welsh legend more than mere magic causes a heart to flutter, and the title "Dancing with Fate" is a teaser in itself.        







Dancing with fate is a delightful mixture of Greek myth and Welsh legends. A fantasy romance it is, true enough, yet it captures and enchants a reader into believing semblance of truth, for whence came the oral legend of Merlin (Myrddin), and when might such have first captured the imagination of listeners?

Who can resist a Greek Goddess whom possesses power to enchant with help of lyre and who dances in a captivating manner? No one it seems is safe from her charming engagements, but will Myrddin succumb to Terpischore and will he survive dangers that await him? Ah well, that you will have to find out for yourself by buying this lovely tale of myth, legend and romance.


Purchase Dancing with Fate 



Friday, 11 November 2011

Remember Them - A Tribute Poem!

Through ages past we danced our life from seed to journey’s end.

WE shimmied in carpets green and gold and watched through rainbow arches. WE flounced in drifts of blue and white, oft spied beneath some wooded bough. Yet, no other it would seem as wild in dance and blaze of glory. 


Why then that WE, the chosen symbol of death, of grieving, and remembrance?





A rippling breeze, a howling gale, wind-ravaged, wet and ragged, and still we stand on spidered green. 
Yet, the whispering and singing of the grasses, and leaves all hollering from the trees, none of that can temper our vibrancy. 

Why then that WE, the chosen symbol of death, of grieving, and remembrance?


Adrift in canorous water-filled holes, fluttering through bared bones and twisted metal, we've see the lifeless souls depart, from the barbarous sins of wars and wants. Yet, still we remain, in annihilations waste, beacons all aflame.

So perhaps, most blessed then are WE, the immodest among our species, who represent death, grieving, and remembrance. For when our garish scarlet hue stands proud upon lapels, WE, we are the symbol of the fallen. 

For battlefields and oceans deep are a hellish place to die. 

Francine Howarth
© 




Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Three Extra Ways to say "I Love You"



Je t’aime  (French) 
Te amo (Spanish)
Ti amo  (Italian).

The beauty of writing romance, is that one can have a French, Spanish, Italian or other foreign hero. And what better than to slip in a little love talk and convey mood of foreign lilt in the hero’s voice. It’s incredibly easy to present interpretation for reader comfort, bearing in mind a reader may not be fluent in particular chosen lingo.

Example:

In a flurry of white shirt, pink dress, and scattered underwear, their bodies came together in that wonderful sensation of woman touching man. No fear enveloped, only love as she gripped his shoulders drawing him down to her. 'Max,' she whispered, trembling in the thrill of renewed intimacy. 'I love you.'
        'Te amo. Me haces muy feliz,' he murmured, his breath desert hot across her breast.
        'Oh Max, I shall have to learn Spanish, if I am to understand you in moments like this.'
        'I said I love you, and that you make me happy.'
        'Do I?'
        His tongue languidly toyed a nipple, then his voice a husky whisper, 'Soy el hombre de más suerte del mundo,' before his lips once again brushed hers.
        'Mmm,' she sighed, 'what did you say?'
       'I'm the luckiest man in the world.'

Love can be said in so many ways, not just in words, in actions too. Like sneaking up from behind and wrapping arms around waist: hugging tight, nuzzling hair and kissing head or neck. Intimacy of touch is wonderful, yet intimacy of eyes across a crowded room can often mean more to lovers than words could ever convey. True or False?  



Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How to Get Your Kindle Book Noticed on Amazon!



This is a really short post because the solution to 
"How to Get Your Kindle Book Noticed on Amazon" 
is unbelievably simple!

You know your genre, you know what other books are out there on Amazon's Kindle store.

1) Once you've published your book to Amazon go search out a best-selling author and their latest best-selling book: in your chosen genre, of course, two if you feel inclined.

2) Purchase your own book and the best-seller on same transaction. 

3) Wait five days and check your  books page and the advertising column: "Customers who bought this book also purchased!" 

4) You should now have the best-seller posted on your book's page and likewise you should be on the best-seller's page: same advertising mode.

5) Magic. You are up there with a best-selling author. There's no guarantee you'll get huge sales from being on the same virtual book shelf but you're in with a much better chance than sitting it out  on your page on your tod!

Try it! What have you got to lose? Get friends to do the same with other big named sellers, and your chances get even better. ;)

  

Thursday, 27 October 2011

RFW Challenge/Blogfest - Haunting!



Each week Romantic Friday Writers hold a themed challenge for romance writers. This week, because it's Hallowe'en coming up, this challenge is open to all! So why not kick the dusts of time, look through the mirror at what's beyond and let your imagination take flight.  

The remit is to post up a flash-fiction piece or a poem and max 400 word count. It's a tough thing to do but it's a great way to practise honing one's work by making every word, every sentence count, yet convey a complete story/cameo within those 400 words.

Last week was my last week in the role of admin for RFW. I simply have too much going on in my writing life at the moment, but I'm staying on as a member and will post up pieces as and when I can.




As this week's theme centres around Hallowe'en, I'm breaking all the rules. Note (((cackle of laughter))) and the Devil's mark. I'm way over word count 666: code MPA.

I give you: Haunting!

“Don’t be silly, it can’t possibly have disappeared,” said Amy, kneading dough. “Who in their right mind would stop by to pinch an axe?” She paused, looked her husband in the eye, a glare of accusation. “I bet if I go out there, I’ll find it lying in the long grass somewhere.” 
     Jake threw his hands in the air, frustration evident. “I tell you I left it in the wood shed.”
     Mattie glanced up from her homework. “Dad’s right, mum. I saw him plunge it in the chopping block as I came back from feeding Jupiter.”
     Once again dough received a good pummel. “Then the chopping block is where it’s at.”
     “Was at,” snarled Jake. “O.K., fess up. Who moved it?”
      Amy's hand thumped the dough with zest. “You think I have time to waste playing shuffle the axe?”
      Jake watched as Amy panned her eyes around the kitchen, air of desperation about her. A grin spread across his face. “Lost some thing?”
      “I swear I left a damp tea towel, on the end of the table.” She glanced at her husband, hands behind his back. “Give it here.”
      He bared his hands. “Not guilty.” Laughter then rumbled from the depths. “Don’t look at me like that, I swear I haven’t got it.”
      Mattie laughed. “He hasn’t moved, mum, not an inch.”
      There was a loud thump and sound of splintered wood and the door swung open. There, in the door frame an embedded axe and blood seeming to drip from the blade.
      Jake stepped forward to shield his wife and child from a potential intruder, but none came forth. With bated breath, he wrenched the axe free and glanced back at Amy cradling Mattie to her breast. “Stay here.”
      It took but a moment to check outside, and Jake’s first thought that of Jupiter in the paddock. Much to his relief the pony momentarily looked his way and carried on grazing. He checked all around the house, and then it struck him. Smoke. He could smell smoke. He dashed back to the farmyard, an unbelievable scene before him. It could not be, could not be happening.      
      He shut his eyes, prayed it was some strange vision. But no, there were horsemen circling the yard, animal furs about their shoulders. They were warriors from another time, another place. He yelled at them. Threw stones, anything to distract them. He had to lure them away from the house, away from the burning hay barn, away from his wife and child. Not one of the horsemen noticed him, each stone falling short of its target.
      Oh no, Mattie with a tea towel in her hand. What was Mattie doing?
      “Go back, Go back inside.”
      He ran forward protesting, shouting her name, but a warrior scooped her up, cradled her to chest and before he could reach Mattie the horseman turned about and rode off at the trot the other horsemen surrounding the lead horse.
      There was nothing for it but to get the shotgun. He lunged himself through the doorway, and there stood Amy kneading dough, Mattie at the table absorbed in homework.
      What the hell had just happened?
      He glanced back at the hay barn. No smoke. No fire.
      “What day is it?”
       “All saints eve,” replied Amy.
       He kissed Mattie’s head in passing, moved to stand behind Amy and wrapped his arms about her waist. “Have I told you lately that I love you?”
      “Yesterday, I think.” She turned in his arms, floured hands about his neck and leaned into him. Their lips met in a familiar and lingering caress, until, “I love you, too.” She smiled, and whispered, “They come every tenth year.”
      “They?”
      “The horsemen.”
      “You saw them too?”
      “It’s my second time of seeing them.”
      “And you never thought to tell me when we moved here?”
      “The last time I saw them I was ten years old.”
      He glanced at Mattie. “She’s ten.”
      Mattie suddenly said, “It’s all right, dad. I belong, here.”         


That's all folks. Hope this caused a spine tingling sensation.

To see entries by other participants please go here.  

Friday, 14 October 2011

RFW Challenge - "First Love" - Blogfest: Book Trailer!

Purple Emperor Butterfly

This beautiful butterfly brings love to the fore in my latest historical novella. Believe it, although a moment of bliss occurs things are about to go awry...  Please note this novella is not yet available on Kindle. When it is I will post details on my profile blog

404 words: slaps hand for being over 400 max - MPA

She leaned further forward, better to see its wings fanned out, and in doing so a loose stone came adrift and tumbled forward. He lunged backwards, his arm about her waist and she then hauled back from the edge. “My fault in tempting you forth.” He glanced back at the parapet, his arm still about her waist in protective manner. “Damn place is a death trap.”
  “A loose stone, that’s all it was, and my fault for leaning over the edge.”
  He turned to face her, their eyes meeting as they had five years previous. All that time ago in church, and this time there was no denying something had passed between them that day, as it was passing between then now. His lips coming to hers not to be evaded, but to be enjoyed, to be savoured, to be kissed back in like manner. She sensed his hunger, her own leading her into temptation.
  She coiled her arms about his neck, and the strength in his crushed her to him. What joy, what bliss, this coming together in wild passionate embrace: and in this special place. She had so dreaded heated exchange in the arms of Hathaway and now it was perfection in the arms of Robert Lord Devonish.
  Sparring with tongues became a new delight, for she’d resisted engagement with Hathaway even though forced to succumb. His lordship was so different, so gentle, teasing and tendering her to respond fully to invasion and possession. If asked of any thing she might easily say yes at this precise moment in time, but it was over, and her lips once again free. The kiss potent, intoxicated by him, it was as though the best wine had been consumed too fast and heady paradise gained. 
  “Well Miss Napier, we seem to have a new understanding between us.” His smile warmed her heart, his eyes laughing but not mocking her. “Are you happy with this situation?” He kissed the tip of her nose. “Shall I now walk you home?”
  “Home? Oh goodness  . . . No. We cannot be seen together.”
  “Ah, your mother.”
  “Yes. Mother. She has her heart set on Hathaway, but I am hopeful he will be otherwise engaged sufficient long to change her opinion of him.”
  “How so?”
  “I’m not sure I should tell you, but if you promise, swear you will not say a word to your sister, then  . . .”        


The video will be much crisper in visuals when I post it to Youtube. 





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