Monday, 28 October 2013

Hallowe'en Book Give-away Blog Hop

 If you've popped over from Denise' Blog Hop don't run away: I'm sharing my post!. Denise' linky is bottom of page.
My contribution is a double-up jobby
I first published this in 2011 - It's a time-slip flash fiction piece. 
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 something?”

      “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 was 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 numerous 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 appeared 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,” followed by a smile, and whispered, “They come every tenth year.”


      “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.
Now, if you'd like a Kindle copy of this 17th century swashbuckling novel answer this question: who was King of England in the era depicted?  The clue lies within the book cover blurb.  All those who demand a "treat" will have their names entered into a hat: so please leave your email address!


A 17th century romance involving forbidden passion, lust, betrayal, abduction and all set within Restoration England and the royal court of Charles II.

It's 1669, and Justine Thornton's heart is lost to that of Richard Viscount Axebury. Although wise and malicious counsel from family and friends warn of his reputation as a courtly rake, a chance encounter with James Scott Duke of Monmouth causes her heart to waver and suddenly her life seems infinitely charmed. But family indiscretion at the court of Charles II turns Justine's life from one of carefree bliss to that of surviving rogue intrigues and political ambitions.

As old and new feuds take precedence at court Justine becomes party to information that cannot be allowed to reach the King's ears, for not only does she pose a threat to one of the King's mistresses, the King’s brother too will be called to account for his actions. Upon Justine’s sudden abduction the heroic camaraderie of Viscount Axebury and the Duke of Monmouth pose an even greater threat to her kidnapper, and her father the Earl of Loxton is soon face to face with an old adversary. But who will prove to be Justine’s champion, the viscount or the duke, and can the king’s mistress be toppled from her elevated position?
Please try to make every effort to visit and comment on the listed blogs.  
Everyone: sign up below 

The Second Blog Hop is Hosted by Denise (Le Aussie)

My book give-away counts here too if you'd like to acquire said book.   


Denise Covey said...

Well Francine, I'd say Charles 11 was the King of England in the time your swashbuckling novel was set. I really enjoyed the fast pace of the excerpt. Fits the creepy theme perfectly. Every 10 years, huh? Very well told. Action and dialogue very sharp.

A few of my keen ones have already posted. Mine will go up tomorrow as I have an author on my blog at the moment.

Denise x

Yolanda Renee said...

Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween!

I hope it was Charles II - he was mentioned several times in the blurb. Sounds like an intriguing book. Loved your post - and so glad it was just a short scene and no one was taken! Very enjoyable

Francine Howarth: UK said...

I'm setting aside Hallowe'en for a "trick or treat" around the world trip. See you soon!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda. I'll be taking to my broomstick on Hallowe'en. See you soon!

M Pax said...

Who is riding the horse? :) I'm not good at kings. Henry the viii and George III are about the extent of my knowledge. I know it wasn't Henry.

Hywela Lyn said...

Loved the excerpt, and the first picture, although the cover is great too!" Thanks for organising this blog hop!

Lori Crane Hess said...

Thanks for organizing the blog hop, Francine! Loved your excerpt and the picture of the cute guy on the horse!

Shannon Lawrence said...

The ending was a creepy relief. Glad his daughter was okay. Question being, did the wife's father see HER being taken when she was 10?

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mary. The warrior goes way back, before Richard the :Lionheart! ;) More pre-Roman era.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Hywela Lyn. Blog hops are such fun!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lori. Looks quite the warrior, doesn't he...I thought him fitting for the part of the abductor!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shannon. Ah, well, did he? Therein lies a mystery...

Lisa said...

Wow! That was packed with clues and intriguing details! Sounds like a true romp. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. I like also, how you have two blogs and blog hops going on, makes my head spin to think of doing that!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. My head is spinning, too! ;)


Kelly Steel said...

Intriguing! And chilling! Great spine tingling effect!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for dropping in, Kelly.


Alison Stuart said...

Well, of course, you write in my period, Francine...So I am going to say Charles II (it is set in 1669?). It's been fun :-)

N. R. Williams said...

Well...I'd say that was spooky. So Mattie can't be Amy's daughter if she saw the horsemen ten years ago at the age of ten and Mattie is now ten.

Charles II was king.

Li said...

Charles II. :-) I'd love to read the rest of it, find out who the horsemen are, etc.

Nancy Jardine said...

Oh Definitely Charles II. Thanks for organising the hop, Francine! (nice image)

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thank you for taking part, Alison. Quite a few goodies to be had along the way, too.


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for taking part, Nancy. A double whammy blog hop, you and I have a lot of broomstick flights yet to accomplish! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Li. Good to be back with the original bloggers, and nice to see familiar faces. As for the story, maybe I should put it up and let others add to it and see where it goes! Would be fun to throw a collection of authors up on Amazon as a freebie and use it to sell each and every author's works = lists of books and blurbs at the back of the book. . ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for taking part, Nancy. I'm happy to host blog hops! It's more or less what this blog is about - fun things to do. I'm happy to advertise others' blog hops, too.



Sally said...

I enjoyed reading this time warp extract - something to look forward to in the next decade.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sally. Nice to be in touch with the old FFP Gang again. ;) You could well be right about the future!


Francine Howarth: UK said...

The winner of my giveaway (((((drum roll))))) issssssssss: Yolanda Renee.

Francine Howarth: UK said...

You are the lucky dip winner, Yolanda. I'll be in touch via Amazon!

Anna Nordeman said...

Oh dear, I'm too late for the giveaway. But I am happy for Yolanda.
It took me a while to find your story, Francine. But now I've found it and read it. Fun mix of time and the All Saints Eve-theme.
Thanks for visiting and reading my story.
Best wishes,
For the benefit of other readers:
Anna's WEP-Challenge for October: Haunting

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Anna, better late than never. ;)

Lovely to catch up with the old RFW team.


Jen Chandler said...

Sorry it took me so long to stop by! This really was chilling! it makes me wonder who the horsemen are and why they come every 10 years. Ah the questions! Great job.

Thanks for reading my entry, by the way! I appreciate the comment.


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Jen, and thanks for stopping by. :)