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Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Helen

Letters from ElsewhereWelcome to another letter from elsewhere, brought to you by Helen from The Forgotten by J.V. Baptie, due to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 13 June, this year. Over to you, Helen.

August 6th 1970

Dear Mum,

I’ve tried a few times to get you on the telephone, I hope everything is well at home. Not much new to report here. I’m sorry I missed Carol’s wedding. Did she get the card I sent?  The training is going really well at the police college and I couldn’t miss it. We’re training with the male police officers too and it’s quite strict. Once this is over I’ll be looking into missing persons.  How exciting!

I hope I didn’t let Uncle Bill down too much by turning down his lovely offer to work in his practice. Truthfully, I wasted two years after university working in Wimpey because I couldn’t face working in there. I think we both know if I had accepted that job I’d never have applied for the police.  There’s a few other things I need to tell you but it’s best to tell you them in person.

Talk soon love
Helen xx

Ah, now I’m wondering about those few other things…

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The Forgotten by J.V. Baptie, yet to be covered.

About The Forgotten

Newly promoted into CID, acting Detective Sergeant Helen Carter has a lot on her hands. When a body is found in an abandoned cinema, no one in the team has seen anything like it before and when the business card of an ex-cop private detective is found, the case takes a chilling turn.

As the body count mounts, can Helen find the killer while her own life is falling apart?

About J.V.

JV Baptie.

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J.V. Baptie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she is also an actress and has appeared in a variety of children’s shows and stage plays. JV lives near Edinburgh where her novel is set.

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You can find J.V. on her website on Facebook and on Twitter.

Categories
Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Jackson

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted… I have much pleasure in…. My guest today is someone I feel I know intimately. That’s because I edited the book he comes from: Purgatory Hotel by Crooked Cat author, Anne-Marie Ormsby. And that’s why I’m having difficulty introducing him – because, between you and me, I’m not sure I really want to meet him.

Ah, here he is! Welcome to the blog, Jackson. Do tell us what disappointed you today.

D,

You came down for breakfast late today, only a few minutes but I noticed.

You wouldn’t look at me. Why?

You wore that Lolita book cover t-shirt that I bought you, and I always feel like you’re communicating with me when you wear it. Or if you are reading a book I gave you, I feel like you must be thinking about me.

You looked tired, like you didn’t sleep all night, had you been crying?

I couldn’t bear it. I just wanted to get up and pull you up into my arms, and make you OK again, like it didn’t matter anymore about anything else. It just mattered that I hold you then, at that moment, that I let you know how much I love you and that everything would be fine and I didn’t care who knew it.

When you left I hoped you would look at me for just a second, just turn your beautiful eyes to me, just long enough so I’d know you’d seen me, just one look is enough to let me know you are still mine.

But you didn’t look at me, you just mumbled a goodbye and walked out.

And I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Like I’d actually lost you, you had finally gone, the spell broken, the dream over.

But it’s me that’s under your spell isn’t it? It’s me who’s trapped, my soul tethered to yours forever.

Some days I feel like you’ve been dragging me around for centuries. Me forever your shadow, ghosting you in silence.

But some nights when you look at me, and you truly see me, it’s like that first moment we saw each other. It’s all new again and I’m more alive than I have ever been, every nerve electric, my heart clattering in my chest, banging out your name.

If only you had looked at me this morning. Just for a second.

It rained all day and I felt like I had lost you.

But I’m always losing you. Every day. Every night.

Please come back to me, please.

 

Jackson

Thank you for that, Jackson. Erm, nice meeting you.

Readers, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. But Jackson is not what he seems from this letter. I think he’s very selfish and inconsiderate, but that might just be me.

Purgatory Hotel by Anne-Marie OrmsbyAbout Purgatory Hotel

Dakota Crow has been murdered, her body dumped in a lonely part of the woods, and nobody knows but her and her killer.

Stranded in Purgatory, a rotting hotel on the edge of forever, with no memory of her death, Dakota knows she must have done something bad to be deposited among murderers and rapists. To get to somewhere safer, she must hide from the shadowy stranger stalking her through the corridors of the hotel, and find out how to repent for her sins.

But first she must re-live her life.

Soon she will learn about her double life, a damaging love affair, terrible secrets, and lies that led to her violent death.
Dakota must face her own demons, and make amends for her own crimes before she can solve her murder and move on.

But when she finds out what she did wrong, will she be truly sorry?

You can find Purgatory Hotel on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

About Anne-Marie Ormsby

Anne-Marie OrmsbyOn a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost. Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both. She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday. In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication. She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books. Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher. Anne-Marie moved to London in 2008 where she lives to this day, amidst books and DVDs, with her husband and daughter.

Anne-Marie Ormsby can be found on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Categories
Books Israel

Why Hillel?

During the month of December, my publisher, Crooked Cat Books, has been offering a free ebook each day and very kindly donating to a charity chosen by the author of that book. There have been some very worthy charities in the fields of cancer, dementia, children in need and animal welfare.

Neither Here Nor ThereSo, why have I chosen a charity that helps young people who have decided to change their lifestyle?

First of all, it fits my romance, which is free today: Neither Here Nor There. The heroine has just left the closed haredi community in which she grew up and has to learn to cope in the outside world.

But mostly it’s because I’ve realised how difficult that transformation is. Children have no choice in the sort of family they’re born into. If they then come to the conclusion, by themselves, that the only lifestyle they know isn’t for them, they need a lot of help before they can fit into the new lifestyle.

I stress by themselves, because Hillel stresses it, too:

We believe that all people have the right to choose the lifestyle they want, and we therefore never try to convince anybody to change their lifestyle – we only help those who have already made an independent decision to become less religious.

I believe Hillel does a very important job. Thank you, Crooked Cat, for donating to them today.

To download my book for free today, go to the Crooked Cat Books website, click on the little Father Christmas and use the coupon code to ‘purchase’ the book. (If the Smashwords page looks strange, go back, right click the link and choose ‘Open link in new tab.’)

Categories
Books

The Many Misconceptions of Domestic Violence

I’m delighted to welcome a fairly new member of the Crooked Cat community of authors, Isabella May. Her brilliantly-titled novel is out next week. Over to you, Isabella.

Why I Wrote ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’

When my fellow Crooked Cat author, Miriam Drori, invited me to feature a guest post on her blog, I knew it could only be about one aspect of my multi-faceted, up-coming debut novel, ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’: Domestic Violence.

All of which ties in nicely – for want of a better word – with the subject of Miriam’s first non-fiction book with Crooked Cat (published last month): Social Anxiety.

[Miriam: Social Anxiety Revealed, for anyone who doesn’t know.]

But first a little backstory, if I may, courtesy of my book blurb:

Pavlova Book CoverKate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Contrary to the way domestic violence is often portrayed…
Many victims (men, as well as women) are living a double life. And I don’t just mean a double life in terms of masking what is going on behind closed doors and acting ‘normally’ in front of family and friends, work colleagues and acquaintances; I mean a full-on, in your face Double Life that would suggest their entire life is Just Perfect in every single way. I know because I have been there. That’s why it was so easy, and so important, to write Kate Clothier’s story, to hopefully help others recognise their mirror image, to hopefully inspire them to wake up, smell the coffee and get the heck out.

We need only look at high profile cases of DV to see this.
And here I mention no names, but there have been numerous accounts of the relationships of the rich and famous taking on a very different nature once the front door is slammed shut and the luxury velvet curtains drawn tight. From actors to pop icons, chefs to politicians, no stone is left unturned when it comes to physical and mental abuse. No amount of money or privileged upbringing can act as a harbour. 

A violent partner isn’t violent all of the time.
One of the biggest myths when it comes to DV is that an abusive other half is constantly on the attack, be it with belittling words or fists. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth (although of course, I acknowledge in some cases, the violence can be incessant). Understandably, this makes it harder for somebody like Kate to flee. The ego will come up with excuses, many ridiculously ‘plausible’. In Kate’s case, antagonist Daniel might lob a plate of food at her across the kitchen… just a couple of times a year because he expected meat and two veg instead of salad, or pinch her calf beneath the shield of the table cloth whilst tucking into Sunday dinner with her parents in quiet response to her announcement she is off on another business trip… but only because he will ‘miss her so much’ and only once in a blue moon. The perpetrator might take to ‘gas-lighting’, enervating the diminishing self-esteem of their prey slowly but surely. Subtle manipulation is another tactic, all too oft employed like a wolf in sheep’s clothing; in particular the perpetrator might threaten to take their own life if the victim as much as hints that they will leave. Indeed the abusive mind is a labyrinth, diverting to avoid dead ends, twisting and turning until its goal of ultimate control has been achieved.

Domestic violence has no ETA.
Unlike the precious cargoes of books Kate sells to her overseas clients for her living, Daniel’s unpredictability can be viewed as equally damaging as any constant lashing out. Kate is perpetually stepping on egg shells; she’s flighty and nervous, full of procrastination and self-doubt. Her perpetrator is King of keeping her right where he wants her: unsure and terrified, less likely to leave him, more likely to stay.

Ultimately though, we need to get to the root cause of victimisation.
Here’s where I’m more than aware that ‘Pavlova’ could cause a little Marmite Divide; for this is a novel which dares not only to straddle genres, but to inject a little humour into the proceedings. And take it from me: comedy is one essential coping mechanism in any abusive relationship. No, not in the heart of any action, but as a general means of self-preservation, as a diversion from the hell that is daily life.

However, being self-aware of what is going on is one thing, understanding the spiritual journey we took to get there is quite another. Yet, it’s the only way to bring permanent change into our lives. There’s an intricate chemical reaction going on between the abused and the abuser. Until we address that with empathy, for both sides, we’ll keep on repeating the pattern – in all areas of life. This is my take on the subject anyway. It won’t sit well with everybody, but it is high time we delved deeper, unwrapped the layers of the onion to see what is at the heart of the things projecting out before us. If my words help just one person to do that, they’ll have been worth the blood, sweat and tears.

And that’s as much as I’m going to say about that. To find out more, you’ll just have to order the book!

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!

Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel has already been submitted to her publishers: watch this space…

Thank you, Isabella, for that thought-provoking introduction to your novel.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

Categories
Books Social anxiety

The Sad Tale of the Facebook Live Video

As you may have seen from the edit of my precious post, Facebook lost the live video I made yesterday.

But today I made another video (not live) which appears below. Make sure you have tissues ready…

 

Categories
Social anxiety

Cover Reveal

I’m delighted to be able to reveal the cover of my non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, which is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on August 22.

Here’s the cover:

Cover

I’m very excited that this is going to happen, and in only 48 days!

In the meantime, if you want to read more about social anxiety, please visit my other (new) blog, which is here.

What’s in the book?

  • A detailed, organised description of social anxiety and everything connected with it.
  • Quotations from many different people who have experienced social anxiety, showing the wide variety within it.
  • Humour – yes, even that.
  • Much more.
Categories
Books

Double Anniversary

Sorry about the recent quiet from within the walls. I’ve been editing and writing and thinking about a new cover and…

But I couldn’t let yesterday’s double anniversary go unnoticed.

Three years ago, my first novel, NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, was published by Crooked Cat. Seven years ago, my metastory, called NO MIDDLE, was published online. Here it is:

Strawberries

No Middle

His eyes lit up. “You’ve made soup. And strawberries. Mmm. What’s the main course?”

“Sorry, I didn’t get round to making a main course.”

“No main course? You wouldn’t write a story like that, with a beginning and an end but no middle.”

When they finally broke in, the smell drew them to the kitchen. On the table, beside two empty soup bowls, lay two dishes of rotting strawberries.

***

The novel is here.

Neither Here Nor There