Month: December 2016

Winters Day – A must read for 2017

Winters Day by DM Wolfenden will make you laugh, cry, pull your hair out in frustration and make you want to punch the living daylights out of her antagonist. It will engage you with its humour – I dare you to not laugh out loud – and it will bring a lump to your throat with its gritty realism.

Set in modern-day, suburban Britain, these characters have depth, substance and believability. This is not a story – this is a drama and any of us might experience such issues. The author brings her characters to life with wit, heart-felt friendship and an empathy from which it’s impossible to detach.

Jolie Winters has led a troubled life thus far, seeing her mother murdered at the hands of an abusive step-father only then to watch her uncle go to prison for saving her from that monster. Past relationships have seen her drawn to sadistic partners, causing her more mental stress. Her friend and cousin, Debbie, is her saviour and takes it upon herself to find Jolie the love she craves – although Debbie’s choices are not exactly ‘boyfriend’ material and the blind dates she arranges supply much of the humour in this tale.

Jolie is devastated when a life-threatening illness threatens a beloved family member. All her vulnerabilities are exposed, and waiting in the wings is someone ready to take advantage of her again. What will it take for her to realise that this creep is using her – and not for the first time. Even Spencer, her goldfish seems to be dropping huge hints for her to get away from this twisted bloke.

The outcome will surprise you – and I’m not going to spoil it for you. Suffice to say, you should read this if you love real people, real banter and real issues. This is by no means a fairy tale, but will Jolie find her own Happy Ever After?

jolie

Available on Amazon from Jan 5th or from other stores now.

Click here to find out more.

You won’t regret it.

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Beware Snowmen bearing gifts! – A Flash Fiction Challenge

captura‘If one more kid calls me Olaf, I’m gonna give ‘em more than a flipping wind-up toy!’
‘Let it go, Tommo!’ Frank’s belly wobbled beneath the costume.
‘Ha bloody ha,’ grumbled the six-foot-two snowman at his side.
‘Just remember why we’re here. Two more hours to go. Bill the Stick has shifted everything we nicked last week. There’s a nice stash waiting for us and after a few cocktails in Mexico this’ll be no more than a bad memory.’
‘I’m not really into cocktails, but I hear you. These outfits certainly do hide a multitude of sins, or should I say valuables?’His merriment was interrupted with a tug of his snow-suit.
‘Hey, Mister, the real Olaf isn’t that fat,’ screamed a tiny boy, no bigger than the sack of presents behind the men.
‘Just give the kid a gift,’ whispered Frank. ‘Don’t arouse suspicion, his mother looks like a right moody bird.’
With a huge sigh, Tommo reached into his sack, pulled out a glossily-wrapped box and thrust it into the boy’s hand, the force sending the little lad toppling.
‘Oy! Careful there, else I’ll ‘ave you for assault. He’s only a nipper!’ A scrawny woman wearing more make-up than clothing bared her nicotine-stained teeth.
Frank quickly intervened to keep the peace. ‘Sorry, love. It’s been a long day. ‘Ere, take another couple of pressies for the wee laddie.’
‘Phew! Tommo. Where’s your Christmas spirit?’
‘Melted’ he spat. ‘Roll on closing time!’

Buster’s Nightmare – A Flash Fiction Challenge

capturaBuster’s nightmare

03 oct 2016

Another Flash fiction piece at 250 words, inspired by a ‘true’ event 🙂

Boys don’t like baths. It’s a fact.

Same goes for dogs. We hate water and bubbles. Except for Tubby, but he’s a Pomeranian, even hates sand in his paws.

 

We’re waiting for the groomer to prepare the torture chamber. Mom thinks we need pampering. What’s a Corgi to do? I refuse to get out the car. She picks me up.Embarrassing! I pull on my lead. Her response, “Okay, wee first.”

A field in front and a hairdryer behind, and she thinks my bladder needs emptying!

 

Tubby’s no help. Panting like crazy, tiny eyes bulging. He has no shame. A dog’s privates should be just that. No belly shaving, displaying his lipstick in all its glory. (Yeah, she calls it that. Sad, isn’t it?)

 

There’s Mom now, explaining our ‘needs’.

Hello!! We’re over here. Hang on…what’s that on the counter? Wow, what looooong ears. Mom, are we getting a puppy? Are we? Whoa! Where you taking him? Mr Vet, bring him back.

“Tubby, create a diversion. I’m going after him.”

“Why?”

“Because I said so. Our new brother’s in there.”

“Yay! A puppy!” He barks and chases his tail.

 

Okay, where’s he gone? Damn, he’s on that high table.

Buster nudges a chair towards the table and jumps up.

“Noooooooooooooooo!” He scurries back to the dancing Pomeranian. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Where’s the puppy.”

“Not a puppy, Tubby. A rabbit.”

“Food? And you left him behind?”

“Well, unless you want to be the next course, you better run…”

The Unmarked Grave – A Flash Fiction Challenge

capturaThe Unmarked Grave

30 sep 2016

Three hundred years and then some,

John Smith was laid to rest,

In an unmarked grave, they laid him down

Not named, not loved, not blessed.

 

The time has come to raise him

His sleep must henceforth end

John Smith, he has a job to do

Some bridges he must mend

 

He drank, he cursed, he gambled.

He thieved and dallied with whores

He fell in with the wrong crowd

And racked up debts galore.

 

Rejected by his kith and kin

He took the crooked path

To Hell he went, and stayed awhile

Not once did he look back

 

Until the Devil wooed him

And showered him with praise,

With luck, he did not take the bait

But vowed to mend his ways.

 

And now, John Smith, rejoins us

His spirit lingers long

Above the headstones of those he loved

The family he did wrong

 

His mission now to make amends

To warn the other sinners

Not drink nor greed nor lust they need

To live life as a winner

 

If family they have right now

Then they are rich indeed

No man should die alone, he chides

Because of his misdeeds

 

So, don’t take the crooked path, my friend

When the death bell rings your name

Misery and darkness reign

An eternity of shame

 

Now his spirit takes his place once more

The graveyard all aglow

The words ‘John Smith’ burst forth in script

Forevermore, his name will show.

Under The Bridge – A Flash Fiction Challenge

captura29 sep 2016
You always said I was a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, an old soul.
I think perhaps you were right, my dear.
But, no more. I’m leaving this world tonight. I’ll be a free spirit, ready to see you again.
You’ve been away too long now.
I wasn’t meant to be alone.
I promise you, I’ve thought this through.

The river, my love, is more magnificent than you can imagine.
Remember how we’d wander along the bank, arm in arm, hunting for twigs.
Then we’d run like children up the limestone steps to the bridge.
We were too old for ‘pooh sticks’ but that never stopped us.
Age was just a number.
Now, my number’s up.

You always said the river looked dark and menacing, murky and bottomless.
It’s different now.
Three feet below the surface and the city lights bounce off the water. Shards of moonlight splinter into a thousand shimmering baubles.
It’s beautiful down here.

My lungs are filling up. The instinct to thrash and kick, to fight for life, has passed.
Rocks in my pockets help to weigh me down. I planned ahead, you see.
The constant flickering of the lamplight is both distracting and comforting.
They never did repair it, did they?
Its flashing light will be the last thing I see in this world.
I’m ready now and shall close my eyes.
I’m coming, my love.
Wait for me.

Olivia Twist – A Flash Fiction Challenge

Olivia Twist – a random piece of flash fiction

29 sep 2016

It’s not every day my uncle gets married. Although, today is wedding number seven.

They’ve nicknamed him Zsa Zsa at the retirement home. The cheeky beggar even asked to change the vows.Can you imagine? ‘Do you Zsa Zsa take this woman?’

Nancy put her foot down, though. She’s a good soul is Nance. Salt of the earth. Just what Uncle needs. He’s a right one with the ladies. A bit too fond of a shapely ankle. But lovable nonetheless.

‘Ahem.’

‘Sorry, Officer, you were saying?’

‘Well, Miss,’

Uncle snorts. I haven’t been called ‘Miss’ in a long time.

‘Sorry, Officer. Carry on.’

The policeman clears his throat and glares at Uncle. ‘Well, there was a ruckus this afternoon. Setting off the alarms in Debenhams, Miss.’

‘Oh, no! Uncle, have you been shoplifting again?’

He doesn’t even try to deny it. Just stands in front of me, arms outstretched, dressed head to toe in Armani. ‘Ta dah! You gotta admit, Liv, I look good, don’t I?’

He does too and it takes all I have not to return his impish grin.

‘Not keeping it, mind. Just for me wedding. My lady likes a good label.’

The officer fidgets – I sense he’s amused – then, stony-faced, adds ‘It’s not a library, Mr. Fagin. Store policy is to prosecute. Always.’

‘Sorry, officer,’ I interrupt, the wall clock behind him counting down each minute. ‘But we have a wedding to attend.’

I shove the policeman out of the way, ‘Run, Uncle Fagin, run!’

Tainted Tokay – A Book Review

Tainted Tokay – by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balencaptura

As always, beautifully descriptive – both of the scenic locations and the wines enjoyed by the characters. I enjoyed the mysteries, particularly how the two ran parallel -the attack on the lab researcher in Paris and the ongoing mysteries throughout the Danube cruise.
The series never fails to disappoint with oodles of intrigue and endless plot twists. However, this time, I felt as though some parts were rushed through (Claude’s return to France was made out to be more mysterious than it actually was – or maybe it was just me. But the ‘hat on the hook’ and then later ‘off the hook’ with no other mention of him, made me think another unfortunate mishap had befallen him.)
On the plus side, I loved the increased character development of Virgile, seeing him stand on his own two feet.
A refreshing, fun and easy read – perfect light entertainment.

 

4 stars