Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Jane Charlesworth

Letters from Elsewhere

My visitor today is Jane Charlesworth, who has come from the pages of Rebellious Cargo by Susan Lodge to share three days from her journal, written whilst aboard the naval frigate HMS Serena.

The Aegean Sea.  Thursday 19th May 1803.

I felt like one of the cheese barrels when I was taken aboard the naval frigate today. Except that I have the feeling the cheese is viewed by the ship’s captain as a more welcome commodity. 

Captain Marston has shown little respect for my profession, my gender or my predicament and has made it clear I am a tiresome interruption to his schedule. His irritation I suspect is partly because my ship had managed to outmanoeuvre his attempts to track me down for the past week. The possibility that I would know these waters better than he is an impossible concept for him to swallow.

The stench and sounds of the ship bring back such horrors from a year ago.  However disagreeable this Captain is, I pray he runs a disciplined ship. The last time I was the guest on one of His Majesty’s ships, the weasel in command showed only concern for his position on the admiral’s list, causing him to turn a deaf ear to the conduct of the most prestigious of his company.

Captain Marston has orders to enlist my services and deliver me to Malta.  He will not tell me what awaits me there. I had presumed we would be going back to England but he tells me that is not the case.

Damn, Marston! How dare he treat me with such disregard after his orders have come via the Prime Minister himself, demanding my assistance.  But why me?  I cannot fathom why they had to track me down. Surely they have other code breakers nearer to home who could see to their needs.

I cannot sleep. The nightmares have returned and I lay staring at the ceiling as the ship’s bell rings out every half hour, punctuating the long night.


Friday 20th May 1803

I found a dead rat in my bed – of the furry kind.  I know who is to blame.

Juvenile midshipmen like their jokes, tiresome as they are.  Cross and Anderson are no more than boys thrown into a man’s world. Their leadership of hardened sailors almost comical to witness.   Although, when the French attack, there will be nothing comical about it. Just tears, maimed bodies and talk of honourable conduct.

My cabin is adequate and I take comfort that Celine is installed next door. Thank God, she had the common sense to masquerade as my maid – although the thought makes me smile. As an ex-slave her memories must be stirred by the thought of sailing into the unknown. She is much bolder and far more beautiful than I and does not have the temperament of a servant. I found that out years ago when my father first rescued her from a life of hell. But she is my responsibility and I must keep her safe.

The food is plenty, but challenging at times.  I fear my teeth will loosen with the consistency of the beef and the ship’s biscuits.   Although the latter, with their unique texture and density, are handy things to tuck away in a reticule thereby turning it into an effective cosh. I swear I may be tempted to land mine quite forcibly over a certain Captain’s head next time he casts that disdainful look my way.


Saturday 21st May 1803

I have just finished decoding a document that the Captain retrieved from a French ship a week before I arrived on board.  It has taken me longer than normal. I am out of practice. But the satisfaction of being able to deliver the results to the man who thinks I am such an encumbrance was most gratifying. He was surprised at my success.  He finds it hard to believe that my late father, England’s top code breaker, had the temerity to pass on the family skill to a mere daughter.

Now I have a new worry. Celine has encountered trouble, I am sure of it.  I have never seen her eyes so cold, her face so haunted, especially when she thinks I am not watching her. She has a secret and I feel saddened and alarmed she has not chosen to share it with me.

The Chaplain has taken a thorough dislike to me.  Why? I have no idea.  I do my best to keep out of his way, but I will not be cowed by the pompous oaf.  God’s representative he might be, but he distributes little comfort to anyone. And he has selected Celine and me for unwarranted and unnatural disfavour.  However I have no time to worry about him as I have been summoned to the Captain and from the sound of his voice it is not to discuss the view of the clear night sky.

About Rebellious Cargo

Rebellious Cargo by Susan LodgeJane Charlesworth, daughter of England’s foremost code breaker, is the only person thought capable of deciphering a vital government document. But when a naval frigate is sent to enlist her services and transport her to Malta, Jane is horrified. Haunted with terrible memories of an earlier voyage, she has no intention of putting herself under the protection of the Admiralty ever again.

Anxious to be at the forefront of the action as the peace with France crumbles, Adam Marston is livid when his ship is diverted to collect a reluctant blue-stocking whose accusing eyes and insolent manner hold nothing but contempt for him and his orders. Sparks fly when captain and code breaker find they have different ideas on how to handle a French attack, a malicious chaplain, and boisterous midshipmen.

Duty and desire collide as they approach Malta, but Jane is determined that her judgment will not be clouded by Adam who, once he has despatched his Rebellious Cargo, will sail out of her life again. But, as the ship docks, Jane’s life becomes a nightmare and she is forced to gamble that Adam is the only person she can trust.

As passion battles with duty, will future orders throw them together or tear them apart?

About Susan Lodge

Susan LodgeSusan was born in England’s West Country and spent her first years amongst strawberry fields, caves and orchards. Leaving home at eighteen she headed for London and embarked on a career in the Civil Service – gaining a Science degree along the way. So what is she doing writing historical romance? It is probably something to do with the ports and cities of the South where she has lived and where you can still feel the echo of the Georgian period.

A short story published in a national magazine was her first success which spurred her on to finish and seek a publisher for her novels.

Susan loves spell checks, piano, swing dance and musical theatre. Her ambition has always been to travel into space, but she needs to write a best seller first to fund the excursion.

Please visit Susan Lodge’s website, where you can find out more about her books.

Other links: Twitter- Susan Lodge @pagehalffull


Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Sarah

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s visitor is one of the cleaners at the Tower of London. She’s called Sarah, but where she comes from, in the soon-to-be-released novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London by Jennifer C. Wilson, she doesn’t even have a name. On top of that, she’s the victim of a specific prank played by the ghostly residents of the Tower. This puts her in the unfortunate position of having to clear up the mess left by people she doesn’t even fully believe in, so it is perhaps only fair that she should be allowed to tell her side of the story.


JenniferCWilliams Tower of LondonI am writing this to you formally, because although I fear it may spread and make me look a fool, this needs to be documented. I know we have discussed a couple of incidents informally in the past, but this summer it has gone a step too far.

You were there, the morning I radioed about the Bloody Tower, but I will say again, I did not touch that display. Everyone knows I hate that building, and I am the last person who would mess with anything in there. Add to this the number of spilled drinks I have had to deal with in the vicinity of the Bowyer Tower, and other displays being moved about overnight, and it simply is no longer funny.

So I ask again: do you know of any reason why somebody is trying to scare me? I’ve been subjected to weeping, wailing, rattling chains – it is time to investigate this properly, and establish who is behind this malicious campaign.

And don’t you dare mention the word ‘ghost’. I am a grown woman, and although the history of this place hasn’t always been pleasant, I refuse to accept that 1) there are any spirits hanging around, or 2) even if there were, they would be wasting their time on me. It would also imply a particularly childish sense of humour, one which does not sit well with those who supposedly still walk among us, if you believe the rumours. Which I do not.

I have sought advice in the writing of this letter, and am therefore asking you, in an official capacity, to look into these events, or I will need to reconsider my position here, and take the matter further. I have worked here for ten years, and never in all my time have things been as bad as this.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Kind regards,


Well! Are you intrigued? I certainly am.

About Kindred Spirits: Tower of London

JenniferCWilliams Kindred Spirits-Tower of LondonA King, three Queens, a handful of nobles and host of former courtiers…

In the Tower of London, the dead outnumber the living, with the likes of the Howard girls, Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, rubbing shoulders with one man who has made his way back to discover the truth about the disappearance of his famous nephews.

Amidst the chaos of daily life, with political and personal tensions running high, Richard III tries to take control, as each ghostly resident looks for peace in the former palace, where privacy always was a limited luxury.

With so many people wanting so many things, will they all find the calm they crave?

Kindred Spirits: Tower of London is released by Crooked Cat Publishing on 27th October, and is available from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

About Jennifer C Wilson

JenniferCWilliams in Leicester CathedralJennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online.

Jennifer blogs at

Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Hannah

Letters from ElsewhereI’m delighted to welcome Hannah, who seems to feel she has to plead her case with you. She is the almost mother-in-law of Jen, main character of recently released Taming Tom Jones by Margaret K Johnson. But she’s more than that, as you’ll see.

Over to you, Hannah.

Dear Reader

I know what you think – that I should tell Jen the truth. Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I care too much about her, and I fought so very hard to keep her in my life after what Luther did.

I don’t remember being so angry with my son before, ever. I could hardly take in what he was saying to me, standing there in his wedding clothes, unable to look me in the face. It was as if he was six years old all over again. Five. I know it was you with that pea shooter, Luther; don’t lie to me. Martha saw you, behind the wall.

I wanted to shake him; to take him by the lapels of his expensive morning suit and make his teeth rattle. I wanted to yell. How could you do such a thing to that wonderful girl? I’m so ashamed of you!

But then he began to cry; great choking sobs that forced me to comfort him. Because after all, I was his mother, and whether it was his fault or not, he had lost his Jenny. She would not be marrying him that afternoon. She would not be moving in to that new home the two of them had spent months locating. She would not be having his children.

But there and then, while I held him in my arms and let him weep, I decided I would not lose touch with her. I’d loved Jenny from the very first moment Luther brought her home to meet me, and she would be – had to be – a part of my life still.

I have to go out, I told him as soon as he began to pull out of my arms, and I wouldn’t tell him where I was going, even though I think he knew. I left him with his best man and I went to Jenny’s house and forced Marcia to let me see her. It was the best thing I ever did, and now, even though my son isn’t the father of her child, I shall be its grandmother in every way possible. I look forward to that so very much.

So please, if you have any mercy within you, don’t say anything to spoil it. Let us be. In life, there is a time to speak up, and a time to stay quiet. This is a time to stay quiet. Trust me.

With my good wishes and my thanks, in expectation that you will do as I ask.



About Taming Tom Jones

Taming Tom Jones coverJen’s partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, she’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son.

Jen means to tell Michael about the baby right away, but then he comes home on a brand new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment is lost. Is Michael having an early mid-life crisis?

Jen decides to do some detective work about Michael’s exes in an effort to save their relationship, and embarks on a journey that will take her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba. But she has no idea of the can of worms she’s about to open.

Why do all Michael’s relationships break up? And what’s the big secret he’s hiding?

Taming Tom Jones can be bought at Amazon.

_DSC2275_ppAbout Margaret K Johnson

Margaret K Johnson began writing after finishing at Art College to support her career as an artist. Writing quickly replaced painting as her major passion, and these days her  canvasses lay neglected in her studio. She is the author of women’s fiction, stage plays and many original fiction readers in various genres for people learning to speak English. Margaret also teaches fiction writing and has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Norwich, UK with her partner and their bouncy son and dog.

Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Jacques Forêt

Letters from ElsewhereMy guest today comes straight from the fictional village of Messandrierre in the Cevennes. He’s a local Gendarme called Jacques Forêt. You can get to know him via these excerpts from three letters he wrote to his father in Paris.

Jacques’s creator, Angela Wren, includes other excerpts from Jacques’s letters on her new blog. And you can also find Jacques in the cosy crime story, Messandrierre – or rather, you will be able to once it’s published at around the turn of the year.

1 Grande-rue
February 2008

Jacques Forêt …papa, keeping in touch would be so much easier if you used the laptop I brought for you and maman when I was home last month. I know tinkering with your precious English Norton in the courtyard is more interesting than getting involved in modern technology, but it would help me a great deal if you could at least try.

I was up on the col at the weekend on my BSA and the engine failed again. It was a long 10k walk home and mostly in the snow. It’s been very cold here…


March 2008

Jacques Forêt2            …Messandrierre? What can I say? It’s much the same, papa. I’m beginning to think the village is always the same. Delacroix and the Rouselles are still feuding and I doubt that they can even remember the origin of the issue that really sets them against each other. The Pamiers keep themselves to themselves, and I’ve realised that life here just meanders through the seasons. So very, very different from Paris.

            I’m really sorry to hear that Francis has been made redundant. That’ll make things very difficult for them and the boys. I’ve still got the money from the sale of my place in Paris. It’s sitting in the bank doing nothing except earning interest and, as yet I’ve no intention of investing in a property here. Francis and I have had our moments over the years but I wouldn’t want see my little sister and the boys in difficulty. So, if you can papa, have a quiet word when you next see Thérèse and let her know she can come to me for help if she needs to and I’ll call her tonight and say the same thing even though it will be useless. But if she hears it from you she’ll take notice.

 June 2008

Jacques Forêt3             …I knew I shouldn’t have said anything in my last letter. And I suspect it is maman that really wants to know. Well, her name is Beth and she was staying in one of the chalets on the edge of the village. She’s funny and clever and easy to talk to and vulnerable and shy and she’s English. And it’s complicated. Perhaps we should keep that last bit to ourselves eh? I don’t want maman making assumptions and jumping to the wrong conclusions and then worrying about me. And, just for the record, Beth is nothing like Madeleine. She’s back in England now and it feels as though there is whole in my life. We’re keeping in touch. Well I’ve messaged her a couple of times. I’m not sure where this might go but…

…give my love to maman and tell her that I’m relieved that she’s beginning to feel better. I had no real idea the long-term prognosis was not good until your last letter. Make sure you tell her I’m all right and that I’ll come home as soon as I can.

Your only son,

About Messandrierre

Sacrificing his job in investigation following a shooting in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a rural gendarme. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover Beth becomes a victim?

About Angela Wren

Having completed a twenty-year career as a Project and Business Change Manager, Angela now works as an Actor and Director at Doncaster Little Theatre and has been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. Her work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout her adult life.

She enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of her stories are set in France where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.

Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Leah

Letters from ElsewhereFictional characters sometimes do uncharacteristic things when their authors pull the right strings. That’s how I can bring you Leah today. Take it away, Leah. Ah, that means… let’s hear from you.


Dear Readers,

It feels very strange for me to be writing this letter. Usually, we keep ourselves apart from all the infidels who haven’t yet learned how to live as G-d wants us to. I feel blessed to have been born into a righteous, G-d-fearing family, who brought me up to fulfil all six hundred and thirteen of G-d’s commandments – or rather, those that apply to women.

Now I have a family of my own. I was lucky enough to marry at sixteen. My husband is a good, studious and pious man. He gets up very early every morning to lay tefillin and pray before going to study in the yeshiva, where he spends long hours. I get up early, too, of course. When I’ve said my prayers, I have to tend to the children and the flat and help my mother in her grocery store.

Bli ayin hara, I have three wonderful children and with G-d’s help I will have many more. I feel so proud to be able to fulfil the commandment: Be fruitful and multiply. My eldest is a boy. He has beautiful long flowing hair, which I comb every morning and tie in a ponytail. I will be sorry when he reaches the age of three and has to have it cut short, but I’ll also be proud to see him become a real boy with peyot, and wearing a kipah and tzitzit, a boy who is old enough to do good deeds. The other two are girls; I love them all.

My life has changed so much and so quickly. Not so long ago I was a young girl, playing, studying and helping my mother with the chores. Truth be told, I never did study much. It was hard for me to concentrate. I was never like my friend, Esty, who thought deeply about the things we learned. I remember her trying to discuss them with me, but I wasn’t really interested.

May G-d forgive me for mentioning Esty’s name. I can’t help thinking about her sometimes and wondering why. She was so pretty and clever. How could she have done such a stupid thing?

I saw her the other day in the Interior Ministry office. I’d gone to register the birth of my little one. I was just wheeling out the babies, my son holding onto the pram, when she called my name and I instinctively turned round. I was shocked at what I saw. She stood there, in the hallway, wearing a man’s clothing – trousers and short sleeves. She knows what a sin it is to do that, but she did it anyway.

I just stood there, transfixed. I couldn’t talk to her, of course, but I should never have turned when she called my name. Fortunately, my son called to me and I turned back to him and we continued to the lift. I don’t know what I’d have done otherwise. She could have become a light to the women of our community, I know she could. She was clever and wise, but she threw it all away. I’ll never understand why.

Well, I must go. The baby needs a feed and I have plenty of chores to do before the Sabbath. Life is good, thanks to G-d.

A peaceful Sabbath,

Neither Here Nor There

Neither Here Nor There CoverSo much more than a romance, this is a tale of transformation in an exotic setting. Esty’s life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world. But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream.

Neither Here Nor There is available from Amazon, Smashwords and elsewhere.

Miriam Drori

Me with Neither Here Nor ThereMiriam Drori was born and brought up in London and now lives with her husband and two of her grown up children in Jerusalem.

With a degree in Maths and following careers in computer programming and technical writing, Miriam has been writing novels and short stories for eleven years. Two of her short stories have been published in anthologies and others have been published online. Neither Here Nor There is her first novel.

Miriam began writing in order to help raise awareness of social anxiety. Since then, the scope of her writing has widened, but she hasn’t lost sight of her original goal.

Bullying Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Beth

Letters from ElsewhereHave you ever written a letter you didn’t send? I have… once or twice. I didn’t know how the letter would come out when I started it. But when I finished and read it through, I knew it was too revealing. No, I’m not going to tell you the details, but I will let you read the letters (or notes) that Beth didn’t send or give to her mother. Three failed attempts to tell her mother what she couldn’t say. I think they speak for themselves, but there is an explanation below.

Three crumpled sheets, tear stained and blood spattered, escape from the bottom of a torn bin bag…




Once Removed

Once Removed: CoverA silent cry for help…

Suspecting self-harm, newly qualified teacher, Abriella Garside, risks everything for a troubled pupil. An incident with a craft knife and unexplained injuries are not enough to secure help for the girl.

Unsure whether Beth is being bullied or has problems at home, Abby tries to win her trust and the two begin a friendship. But has the teacher gone too far?

In the midst of Abby’s own complicated life, Beth disappears. Rumour and suspicion ignite, fanned into an inferno with Abby at its heart.

Two lives hang in the balance.

Once Removed is available in digital and paperback formats from:

Once Removed: Banner

Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Dr Deeds

Letters from ElsewhereWe’ve probably all received a rejection letter at some time in our lives. Most of us have probably received several rejection letters. But I doubt any of us has received a rejection letter quite like this one. It’s written by a certain Dr Deeds, who comes to us from Scott Perkins’ novel, Howard Carter Saves the World.

Deeds LetterheadDear Applicant:

The admissions committee has carefully reviewed your application for admission to our Egregious Engineering program here at Arkham Tech and found you very much lacking any actual qualifications. After much consideration, we regret to inform you that we think you seriously have got to be kidding us.

We are aware that this message may come as something of a disappointment to you, but probably not since you must have been aware of how woefully and hilariously underqualified you were for the program.

Your application was lackluster at best and your dossier is simply lacking any of the qualifications we look for in a candidate. Where are your extra-curricular activities? No Zombie football? No after school work teaching maniacal laughter to school children? You presented not one single example of your willingness to build alarmingly large robots to set loose upon the screaming populace in an orgy of wanton destruction! Your school transcripts are completely devoid of laboratory explosions or attempts to replace the faculty with mindless automatons.

Furthermore, you made no attempt to poison, blackmail, or bribe the admissions committee in any way. Not one of our loved ones was kidnapped and held for ransom, and no one in the committee reported so much as a breathy phone call in the dead of the night. There’s just no evidence presented in your packet that you have a meaningful desire to achieve your evil aims by any means necessary.

You apparently don’t even have an amusing accent or a really good maniacal laugh going for you.

Yours in the Mad Sciences,

Dr Villainous Deeds, PhD

P.S. We have found that you are, however, perfectly qualified to join our Disposable Minions Initiative. Please find that application enclosed. We look forward to performing unethical and dangerous experiments on your brain while giving you hilariously menial tasks to perform around the lab.

About Scott PerkinsScottPerkins

Scott is a writer, artist, humorist, and puppeteer.

His debut novel Howard Carter Saves the World is the story of a boy, his mad science teacher, giant robots, alien puppets, secret agents… the usual “coming-of-age” stuff. It was published in the US and UK in April 2015 by Crooked Cat Publishing.

He may or may not write from a secret island lair somewhere in Washington State, where he lives with his wife and an astonishing assortment of puppets.

Sometimes he’s serious, but he tries not to let it happen very often.

Scott blogs at: Pages to Type

Howard Carter Saves the World is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Oh yes…

The poor, rejected applicant probably applied in response to this recruitment poster:


Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Nairn Malcolm

Letters from ElsewhereToday I’m happy to welcome Nairn Malcolm to my blog. Nairn is an escapee. He’s had a hard time getting away from that evil author, Nancy Jardine. But I’ll let him tell his own story.

Hello Miriam. I’m glad to come and visit you because I’m quite intrigued about these CATS that my creator, Nancy Jardine, often speaks about. There are loads of you CATS who write for Crooked Cat Publishing out there in the real world, but it’s just as well for me that this is a virtual visit since Nancy Jardine has made sure that I’m not at my mobile best. Actually, she’s not my favourite person right now, because of the way she’s treated me, so it’s great to escape from her clutches for a little while—otherwise who knows what she’d do to me next.

And please don’t dare ask if you can take a photo of me for your blog because that answer is a definite NO. I’m not usually a vain guy but she’s really done a number on me…at least at the beginning of my story. I mean, come on! What guy wants to meet the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen when he’s looking like a splodged advert for a hospital emergency department?

I generally like to make a good impression when I meet new clients, or potential business contacts, but Nancy Jardine made that darned near impossible. In fact, I’ve more than one bone to pick with her…and said bones are presently about as sensitive as my ego.

I thought that the guys in contemporary romantic novels were all about making the lassies swoon with their dashing good looks and impeccable stylish dress but that’s not what Nancy had in store for me. Oh, no, I had to be the untypical highland hero in her novel Take Me Now. Granted, she gave me a restored castle and all of those lovely methods of travel for the debonair contemporary hero —like my floatplane, jet and catamaran— but she also made sure I couldn’t manoeuvre any of them. Though, I guess it could have been worse if she’d popped me into my kilt. That would have made me into a real spectacle if it had fallen off. Ahh! Forget I said that in case she writes a new scene into my story, thinking it would amuse Aela Cameron.

 I just bet she had great fun writing those first chapters where she made me seem like a comatose idiot in front of Aela when she came for an interview. Making Aela the only person I could employ as my general factotum—office help and general driver of all my vehicles— was cruel when I wasn’t in any shape to complain about it. And you know, I don’t even think Nancy Jardine realised just how embarrassing it is for a guy to meet a woman who is so dazzling when he’s not at his best.

Though I guess towards the end of my story Nancy at least made the situation a bit better for me, because by then I’m a lot more like myself. It’s just as well that Aela Cameron has a great sense of humour, isn’t it? Did I mention that Aela’s also the best DIY detective ever who helped solve the mystery of my unknown saboteur?

Mmm. I think it’s time to say goodbye to you in case I divulge all of my secrets in Take Me Now. It’s been nice to meet you, Miriam.

Lovely to meet you, too, Nairn. So glad you were able to get away for a bit!

About Take Me Now

TakeMeNow - Nancy JardinePatience isn’t Nairn Malcolm’s strong point when he finds himself and his business mysteriously under attack. He needs a general factotum immediately— someone with exceptionally varied skills who can ferry him around, help him keep his business running smoothly and be available to him 24/7. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who arrives at his Scottish island castle for an interview to be so competent… or so incredibly attractive.

Aela Cameron’s range of talents is perfect for Nairn’s current predicament. She loves transporting him all over the globe, adores his restored castle, and is thrilled with his hectic lifestyle. Dangerous situations don’t faze her, in fact they make her more determined to solve the mystery of Nairn’s saboteur. She’s not into passing flings—yet how can she resist her new boss as time runs out on her temporary contract?

Can Nairn persuade Aela she’s the woman for the long haul as the mystery is solved?

About Nancy

(who really isn’t evil at all. I know – I’ve met her.)

NancyJardineNancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series). All historical eras are enticing and ancestry research a lovely time-suck. She regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebook is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds. Grandchild-minding takes up a few (very long) days every week and any time left is for reading, writing and watching news on TV (if lucky).

Find Nancy at the following places

BlogWebsiteFacebookLinkedInAbout MeGoodreadsYouTube book trailer videosAmazon UK author pageRubidium Time Travel Series on Facebook

Twitter: @nansjar — Google+ (Nancy Jardine)

Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Dirk

Letters from ElsewhereThe moment has finally come for the first post in my new series, in which chacters pop out ANiW Final Coverfrom fiction to meet you. While in some of the later posts, characters will introduce themselves directly, in this first post, you will observe from the sidelines as Dirk writes to Eleanor.

Dirk has come from A Nightingale in Winter by Margaret Johnson. Over to you, Dirk.

Dear Eleanor

You won’t believe this, but I’m writing to you from prison! That is, from a stable I’ve been imprisoned in. But I must explain. After I left you and Kit, I caught a train to get closer to the line and stayed overnight in a pension.

The next day, I arranged with the landlady to leave my belongings there for a few days and set off on foot towards the Front. Idiot, I can hear you saying, and you’d be right, but not for the reasons you think. You see, I’d gone only about three miles or so, when I came face-to-face with a battery of French soldiers. The commanding officer demanded to know what I was doing, and didn’t believe me when I told him I was a reporter. At least, I can only assume he didn’t believe me, because they slung me in here, and just laughed when I demanded to be let out. I think they’ve had more than a few drinks now, Eleanor, and have forgotten all about me. I can hear them singing and laughing, and my head is starting to ache like crazy. I think I might explode if I don’t get some water soon. Hold on a minute while I try hammering on the door again.

Well, I’ve got some more fine splinters in my hands now, but at least I finally made them hear me and managed to beg for some water. They even threw in a crust of bread! Now I suppose it’s just a question of waiting the night out. Not that I fancy sleeping in this filthy straw much; I’m sure I can hear rats scurrying about. No, I don’t think I’m going to risk it. I’ll sit on this bucket instead and think about you going about your work.

I’ll bet your patients feel safe just knowing you’re around; after all, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of your ministering hands, don’t I? You’re such a professional, unlike me. Four hours as a war correspondent, and I get arrested and locked up. My dad would laugh, and that isn’t something he does very often. Still, we can’t choose our parents, can we? Although they can choose us sometimes. For some unknown reason, sitting here feeling sorry for myself I suppose, I’ve been thinking about my mom and dad a lot. I think I may have told you on The Sussex about being adopted and how mad I was with them both when I found out they’d been lying to me.

Maybe that’s why I wanted to be a journalist. I’m certainly hungry for the truth. Not that it’s doing me any good right now. Everybody told me I was crazy coming out here, and maybe they were right. Though if you get this letter at all, it will mean that I haven’t been shot at dawn for being a spy, so I’m bound to be in a more optimistic mood, and the thought of the letter you’re going to write to me in reply will keep me going. I want to hear all about the dreaded Sister Palmer and Kit of course, but most of all about you, since you’re my angel of mercy.

Anyway, that’s all for now, it’s practically dark, and I must rest before I drop off my hay bale. Maybe I’ll have to take my chances with the rats after all…



PS: The French finally saw sense and let me go after two days with dire warnings about what they’ll do to me if they catch me again, so I’ve decided it might be safer to head to the British lines. They have to be a bit more reasonable there; after all, you and Kit are British. I’m trying to keep from thinking about Sister Palmer!

Anyway, I don’t have an address for you to write to at the moment, but I’ll let you have it as soon as I do. By the way, I’m busy writing down a blow-by-blow account of my ordeal in captivity in case it comes in useful in the future. We writers never miss a chance!


_DSC2275_ppMargaret K Johnson began writing after finishing at Art College to support her career as an artist. Writing quickly replaced painting as her major passion, and these days her canvasses lay neglected in her studio. She is the author of women’s fiction, stage plays and many original fiction readers in various genres for people learning to speak English.

Margaret also teaches fiction writing and has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Norwich, UK with her partner and their bouncy son and dog.


A Nightingale in Winter is available from Amazon UK and elsewhere.


Other News

  • Remember to read my posts in the English Informer about everyday life in Israel.
  • I’m on Claire Stibbe’s blog today with a scene from Neither Here Nor There. I’ll update this post with the link when I know it. Edit: here it is.