I’ve just finished reading Sam Llewellyn’s mystery-in-a-garden The Sea Garden, and loved it.
As I say in my Goodreads review, I’m a complete sucker for any kind of mystery involving gardens (Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Savage Garden, Thornyhold), and this was no exception.
The present-day heroine Victoria uncovers a skull in the ancient, rambling and mysterious garden she and her husband have just inherited on an island off the Cornish coast. When the skull vanishes again before she’s had a chance to examine it properly, she sets off on an investigation of who it could have belonged to and why it was buried there. And uncovers a whole furniture-store of closets full of family skeletons and secrets in the process.
The writing was every bit as good as Mary Stewart at her best and the unexpected humour reminded me of Dorothy Dunnett. Since those are two of my favourite authors it’s hardly surprising I liked this.
The ending was perhaps a little too melodramatic for my liking, but it fitted well with the ‘gothic’ feel of the book, and with the historical elements, and it tied everything up very neatly.
I’m hoping Mr Llewellyn will write more books in a similar vein, that I can look out for and devour.
Excellent news today – I’ve had my first short story in ages published over at the Library of Rejected Beauty.
The Library does what it says in that wonderful title – collects stories and other assorted creative content that have been rejected elsewhere, often multiple times, but which the creator still considers to have some worth or beauty.
In my case that was ‘Fearful Symmetry’, a short story I wrote for a contest years ago, and have had no luck placing anywhere, perhaps because it’s told in second person point of view which can be unpopular. Basically, it tells the story of a dark and dangerous forest during a thunderstorm, but with a unique twist at the end. And the quote about tigers is something my own Mum used to say to me when I was a small child, which gives it a personal touch as well.
I’ve always loved the hot, steamy and vaguely threatening atmosphere I managed to conjure up in the story, and I’m delighted to say that the Library of Rejected Beauty liked it too. You can read it over at their website, free, today by following this link. I hope you enjoy it. At the very least, you may never feel the same way about curtains again!
Could it? After all, police officers are there to uphold the law, not bend it to their own devices or desires. However, the more often I read about cases like this, where an undercover officer had a relationship with a woman, whilst operating undercover using an assumed identity, the more I realise that that ain’t necessarily so.
And this is exactly the sort of background I was thinking of when I wrote Necessity’s Door, just over three years ago now. Back then, details about cases like this were only just beginning to creep out of the woodwork, but they were there if you knew where to look. I didn’t reproduce them exactly (my hero is gay, where this case involves a heterosexual relationship) but they provided suitable inspiration for all sorts of ‘what if’ scenarios involving undercover police and just how far they would/should go to maintain their cover.
Including, it seems, lying to the people they were sleeping with about the fact that they were police.
It all goes to show that however outlandish a writer’s plots, real life almost always manages to be another shade darker, and to surprise us in all sorts of ways.
If you’d like to read Necessity’s Door for yourselves and see where I took the inspiration and ran off with it to, then it’s still available as an e-book on Amazon US or UK. Happy reading, and don’t forget – however unlikely it sounds, the book is based on fact!
I’ve been remiss lately in reporting on new books from various friends, colleagues, writers and publishers. Top of the list are two new releases from Fox Spirit – African Monsters, and Things in the Dark.
The latter is the latest in the Fox Pockets series – a wonderful collection of small, beautifully produced volumes containing some excellent stories. You may remember my own Boyfriend From Hell turning up in the Fox Pockets Shapeshifters anthology. Things in the Dark looks set to continue the trend with “a collection of strange, scary and sometimes humorous tales considering all manner of … things in the dark” – eighteen stories involving the weird and wonderful. You can find it on Amazon and if it’s anything like as good as Shapeshifters was, it’ll be well worth the effort.
African Monsters is “a fantastic anthology featuring many African writers at the forefront of the new wave of Speculative Fiction tapping directly into the deep and rich mythology of African cultures…” according to Ivor W Hartmann, the editor of another of Fox Spirit’s Monsters series. This collection also features a heap of stories from authors including Margret Helgadottir and Joan de la Haye. And the cover is simply gorgeous. Get a copy here and see for yourself.
Filed under Books, fiction, News
My novel Gleams of a Remoter World is now out of contract and will no longer be available from Riptide Publishing or other sources. I’m really sorry if you were hoping to buy the book and just missed out, but do keep an eye on what else I have available, and/or coming along in the next few months. Don’t forget my new paranormal comedy romance Got Ghosts?, which will be published by Fox Spirit in 2017. It might seem like ages away but the time will soon fly by!
Filed under fiction, News
My novel Gleams of a Remoter World will be out of contract in a week or two. If you’ve been meaning to grab yourself a copy and either putting it off or forgetting, then this could be pretty much your last chance to get your hands on it. Even better – the Kindle edition is only 99p at the moment!
Head over to Amazon UK now, or pop along to my website to find out more.
Filed under fiction, Writing
Great news – the anniversary issue of In Flight Literary Magazine has gone live today, complete with my short story A Walk in the Park.
The title of the story is a bit of a double-edged sword. You can take it literally, because the main character Samuel does indeed go for a walk in a city park at the end of the tale. But it’s also ironic. Samuel’s life has become very much not a walk in the park, not easy or pleasant, not a stroll through flowers and trees. Instead, the modern work ethic and being utterly divorced from nature have blighted his life, pushing him to the very limits of his endurance.
The story itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park either as you might have guessed by now! But I’m hoping it’s poignant and thought-provoking enough to be enjoyable. Here’s a little snippet to whet your appetites:
“…Samuel couldn’t remember the last time he’d left his desk for lunch, or walked to the local deli or felt the fresh air on his face. The air in the office was stale, recycled so often that every atom had died. Samuel’s nose and throat ached, and his eyes were red and tired. He missed the sunlight on the trees, and the simple joy of walking through the streets…”
Go here to find the rest of the story, which you can read for free. I hope you like it!