In a way, I feel sorry for Katy. I imagine she had a tough upbringing and was left to fend for herself long before maturity found her. Even now, aged twenty-six, she makes some pretty bad decisions and seems unable to protect herself or plan any sort of future. I expect her outlook on life will change soon, but whether that change will be for the better remains to be seen.

Katy is one of the two women in my short story, Gruesome in Golders Green. The other woman? I’ll let you meet her when you read the story.

I’ve always liked the alliteration in the name Golders Green, which is a London suburb that borders Hendon, where I grew up. I enjoyed adding another G-word to create my title. ‘Gruesome’ fits the story perfectly.

My familiarity with north-west London led me to choose it for my setting and helped me to write the story. Google Maps also played a part in adding to my knowledge. So did Wikimedia Commons:

Rotherwick_Road, Golders_Green

Rotherwick Road, Golders Green. © Todd Keator / Rotherwick Road, Golders Green / CC BY-SA 2.0

The only other research I did for the story revolved around Katy’s lifestyle and UK police procedures.

Gruesome in Golders Green is the first of eighteen fabulous stories that comprise the two-volume anthology, Dark London, published by darkstroke. All proceeds will go to two charities: Centrepoint and The London Communities Foundation.

The first volume will be released on 25th June and the second on 2nd July, but both can be pre-ordered now. Click on the pictures if you dare!

Dark London, Volume TwoDark London, Volume One

I’m author number seven out of the eighteen who have written stories for Dark London, the new anthology to be published by Darkstroke.

Dark London Authors

I’ve long thought of my lucky number as twenty-five. Why?

  • I was born on 25th August.
  • The house I grew up in was at number 75 (25 x 3).
  • I came to live in Israel on 25th October.
  • When I was 25, I lived at number 25.

However, seven is a rather special number in Judaism because:

  • The menorah (the 7-branched candelabrum) has been a symbol for Judaism for about 3000 years.
  • The festival of Sukkoth, which involves eating (and sometimes sleeping) in booths, as a reminder of the years when the Israelites wandered through the desert, lasts for 7 days.
  • Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Torah, includes parading around the synagogue 7 times.
  • The wedding ceremony includes 7 blessings.
  • The festival of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah, is celebrated 7 weeks after Passover, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt.
  • The shivah, the period of mourning, lasts for 7 days.

 

Ruth&David'sSukka

Inside a Sukkah (booth)

I couldn’t be author #25 because there aren’t 25 authors in the anthology, but I’m happy to be #7, and I imagine one of the characters in my short story is, too.

Publication will be this summer. I’m excited!

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s visitor is Luciano, who has popped over from the pages of Torn, the debut thriller by friend and author Karen Moore.

Luciano is writing to his estranged English wife, Hanna, to explain his reasons for keeping the identity of his family business a secret.

Carissima Hanna

I’m writing this letter because it’s the only way I can apologise for all the hurt I’ve caused you. I feel compelled to explain myself. We never really had an opportunity to discuss the situation properly, with you leaving Sicily so suddenly.

This situation is all my fault. I should have been honest with you from the start. But I was so scared that my family situation would make you run a mile. I couldn’t have that, Hanna. I wanted you too much, and I know the feeling was mutual. I have never felt such chemistry with someone and will never do so again, of that I’m sure.

Even my family took to you, although they had their doubts about welcoming a stranger into their midst. Our relationship was probably doomed from the start. We came from such different backgrounds – you, from your upright English middle-class, well-educated family, and me … well, brought up in the family business. For me, this is a way of life, one from which there is no escape and impossible to challenge. If I tried to do so, I would dishonour my family and curtail any hope of reaching old age. You will no doubt find this difficult to accept.

I did think about telling you, but it never seemed to be the right time. And the longer I left it, the harder it became. In the end, it was just impossible, and inevitable that things between us would turn out badly.

 

Sicily

But what a price I have paid, Hanna. Happiness with you and Eva, the chance of a family life of my own. Maybe if I had told you the truth earlier, you would have understood, even learned to accept it and stayed with me. But I doubt it. That would have been too much to ask of anyone. We would never have had those years of intense happiness, years I will always remember with such fondness. Losing you is like a physical pain that rips through my body each passing day. But I have no choice. My only consolation is knowing that you’re safe and far away from this life.

Finding out the truth the way you did must have been unbearable. You did the right thing, getting away from here as fast as you could. My dilemma was trying to protect both my families. The darkest day of my life was letting you go.

Perhaps now you understand a little how difficult all this has been for me and how deeply I regret all the hurt I’ve caused you. You will always have a place in my heart.

Forgive me.

Luciano

Torn by Karen MooreAbout Torn

Like any mother, Hanna would do anything to protect her small daughter, Eva.

When she discovers that her husband, Luciano, is not all he seems and their blissful life on the island of Sicily is threatened, she wastes no time in seeking refuge abroad. But just as they are settling into their new life, Eva disappears.

In a race against time, Hanna is forced to return to Sicily and face the dark world of organised crime in a bid to secure her daughter’s safe return. She must also confront the truth about Luciano’s business dealings and their horrific consequences.

But will Hanna succeed in getting Eva back and bring Luciano to justice, or are the stakes just too high?

Find Torn on Amazon

About Karen Moore

Karen Moore, authorKaren Moore is passionate about all things noir – crime, mystery, thrillers – and writes in that genre.

She has been writing all her life, mostly for work purposes, and is now delighted to be able to spend more time developing her own creative work.

Her debut novel, Torn, is a dark tale of intrigue and betrayal set in Sicily and North Wales. She is currently working on the sequel.

Karen worked as a tour guide across Europe, North America and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. She has lived in France and Italy and is now based in Cheshire, England.

You can find Karen on Facebook and Twitter.

Letters from Elsewhere

Well, well, well! I didn’t think this feature would return, but here it is, brought out from the woodwork by eighteen-year-old student, Dan, who is keen to show us a letter to his younger sister, Sharon.

Dan has popped over from the pages of Revelation, a new novel by friend and author, Jo Fenton. In fact Revelation was released just three days ago.

Dear Sis,

Thanks for your letter. It’s great to know that I have one family member who cares about me. I can’t talk too freely here for reasons you understand only too well. How is Dad? Did he see my last effort?

I was too upset to say much when I last wrote, and I had a bad headache, which I’ll explain more about today. I think I just mentioned that my friend, Rick, was found… I can’t even write the word. My hand’s shaking so much, but you can probably see that from my writing. I hope it’s not too illegible.

They still don’t know if it was accidental or if someone hurt him on purpose, but he was such an amazing person. Why would anyone like that have enemies?

Becky’s trying to find out more. I think I told you about her last term. She’s pretty cool, and a good friend. I found out we’d met a while back through a national Jewish youth weekend. Somehow she remembered me. I’ve no idea why. I don’t usually stand out in a crowd. As you know, I’m usually the quiet, geeky one in the corner.

Anyway, to go back to that day, Becky reminded me that I was the last person to see Rick alive, and I freaked out and went for a long walk. It was so cold that day, and it started to snow. I slipped and hit my head on the ground. As you know, I’m not good with the red stuff, and I passed out on top of everything.

I came round to find this bloke squatting on the ground next to me. His name’s Alan, and he’s very kind. He’s some sort of religious leader, and he’s into Kabbalah – you know – Jewish mysticism.

You remember we were told in Hebrew classes that no one can start learning that stuff before the age of 40? He thinks that’s a load of rubbish, and that everyone should be able to access it when needed. He wants to help me, and told me about his group when he took me to the hospital to get my head stitched.

I’m not sure if it’ll help. There’s a hole inside me the size of a glacier and twice as cold. I can’t breathe sometimes.

The only time I felt like this was when Mum passed away. It took well over a year before I began to feel anything close to normal again, and I dread each anniversary, birthday or Mother’s Day. I know you feel the same. Dad never seems to care. He’s too busy with his blasted business.

Maybe in a year I’ll begin to feel normal about this too, but that feels a lifetime away, and the only way I’m going to get through this is with you and Becky, and perhaps with this guy Alan (who, I’d better add, is not my type. Excuse the small writing here – hopefully too small for his lordship to read.)

Look after yourself. I hope you’re okay. The phone situation here is crap. 1 phone between 46 people. Maybe if it’s quiet one evening, I’ll be able to give you a call. Don’t hold your breath though.

Love Dan.

If, like me, you’re left with a lot of questions, who know where to find the answers.

About RevelationRevelation by Jo Fenton

Manchester, 1989

A student, Rick, is found dead in halls of residence.

His friends get caught up in the aftermath: Dan, who was in love with Rick; and Becky, who is in love with Dan.

Their fraught emotions lead them into dark places – particularly a connection to a mysterious Kabbalistic sect.

Will Becky discover who killed Rick in time to save her best friend?

Find Revelation on Amazon.

Jo’s two previous books are also on Amazon: The Brotherhood and The Refuge.

About Jo Fenton

Jo FentonJo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age and, at eleven, discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer. She now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her family and is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and two reading groups.

You can find Jo on social media at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Last week, we joined a trip to our neighbouring country.

Egypt 2020

Our happy guide

This was our second visit to Egypt. Thirty-five years ago, David and I toured the country on a limited budget and completely alone. This time, we travelled in style and with a group. Both trips were amazing, although they couldn’t have been more different; I’m still writing an article about the differences.

Karnak

One of the few photos from 1984. In Karnak.

Back at home, I caught up with a series of emails from people I was at school with. Some of them are retired and talk about having time on their hands. I’ve never been busier. Here are a few of the items on my to-do list:

  • Finish Egypt article.
  • Finish editing short story for darkstroke anthology.
  • Finish editing new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Choose new title for new version of Neither Here Nor There. (Hard)
  • Start submitting new version of Neither Here Nor There.
  • Work on new novel – crime genre.
  • Lots more.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Valley of the Kings

If you want to see any more of our photos, some of them are available on Facebook for all to see at:

The others will appear when we have time.