Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Post: Welcome Home

I lay awake feeling the cold air swirl around my bed and the sweat, though my skin was ice cold, prickled my entire body. Something or someone was calling me; a soft, gentle child-like voice full of pleading and wretchedness. I sat up and looked around me. There was no one there. I could see my room by the illumination of the moon that cast its light in through the large balcony windows. My room was just as it always was as my eyes swept cautiously around the walls. The wall paper still held the same complicated patterns of flowers swirling around the walls and the dark mahogany furniture stood still, like sentinels in the dark. The heavy velvet curtains blew gently with the wind that forced its way into through the cracks in the worn window frames. Nothing had changed, and yet – there was this ice coldness that filled my room and an intense feeling of fear. 
“Clara,” whispered the sweet gentle voice again and I groaned. “Clara, come, come to me.”

I put my head in my hands and groaned. No, this cannot be, I thought, my mind was racing and I felt myself shudder. The voice, it was familiar. 
“Who is it?” I cried out. “Where are you? Are you hiding in the wardrobe?”
With a sudden feeling of panic, I remembered how she used to hide in there sometimes. She would be there when I came to my bed at night, wait until I was asleep and would frighten me half to death by calling my name out in the night, making me think there was something ghostly in my room.
“Claraaaah,” the voice called again. 
“Stop it! Stop it!” I cried and jumped out of my bed, ready to run if I had to. “You’re dead! You’re dead!”
Sarah, my older sister had been dead for months now, and I had been so traumatised by her death that I had had to be sent away to recover. They had found me by her body at the bottom of the long staircase, so I was told; the one that wound its way down from the first floor landing to the great reception hall at the bottom of the stairs. Her neck had been broken and her face was contorted as if she had seen something that had frightened her half to death. I don’t remember any of it, just that I woke up one morning to be told that she was dead and I had been lying there in my bed, mutely, for days. Then I screamed and I couldn’t stop; no one knew why I was screaming, least of all me. And so it was that I was sent away to stay with my Aunt Florence in Hanley. Now I was back, my first day home since that terrible tragedy had happened in Fallowthrop Hall; I was home amongst the servants who treated me with kindness, my father whom I adored and my step mother who I tolerated for my father’s sake and all the things that made life bearable, such as my books, my paints and easel and my inkpens and writing paper. Or so I had thought. 
Sarah was gone, the sister that had made my life a misery. The days of torment were dead, just as she was. Life would be peaceful now, wouldn’t it? They said she had tripped on an old wooden toy that had been left at the top of the stairs. It had been mine and I was told not to blame myself. Apparently I must have left it there accidentally. I wanted to hug that old wooden horse that I had left there on the stairs. I wouldn’t blame myself

It was an accident. But oh, how joyful I was that such an accident should have happened. Well you would understand if you had known what Sarah had done to me most of my life. Sarah had been the beloved one in the family. She was the daughter who was beautiful, kind and endearing; the daughter who made everyone feel alive. I was the plain one whom everyone overlooked for Sarah. I hated her for the things she did to me, but I loved her too. Yet, she was not gone, was she? I could hear her, smell her and feel her presence. No, she was not gone. 
As I breathed deeply, I took a step toward the wardrobe. I had to see if she was still there, tormenting me like she used to. They had said that I would probably never remember what had happened that day and although I tried hard to remember, none of it would come back to me. I just couldn’t recall any of it. 
My hand reached for the wardrobe handle. I could hear her laughing – that sweet feminine way that she giggled that had touched everyone’s hearts. I could feel her vibrancy; even in death it haunted me. I should never have come back here, I thought. Because she would never let me live here in the peace that I had so longed for. Why Sarah, why could you have not just let me be?”
My hand was shaking as I opened the door of the wardrobe. I looked into the darkness and walked in. I couldn’t see; it was very dark. Suddenly the door closed behind me and I heard her giggling. I struggled to open the door and when I couldn’t open it I cried out to her, begging her to stop tormenting me. 
Eventually the door opened and I almost fell right back into the wardrobe with the impact of it. Relieved I stepped out of it and there before me she stood, pale and wraithlike, with her neck twisted to one side and a look of malevolence.
“Welcome home Clara,” she said.

Saturday, 4 January 2014


I trust that you all have had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and you have started on your new years resolutions! I have neglected this blog for some time, mainly due to some of life's difficulties, work and more excitingly my fantastic project The Review. So I thought I'd fill all of you in on what's been going on and what future lies ahead. I'll start from last year and explain that after forming an experimental Facebook group named The Review, with the purpose of sharing and promoting books through the medium of reviewing, I gathered a force of like-minded fellows and we created a BLOG spawned from the Facebook group with much bigger ideas. The Facebook group was mostly an interactive group where readers and authors could come together, share their favourite reviews on the group and promote themselves as a reviewer, reader or author. We encouraged people to share other peoples links and we tried to create a supportive milieu where everyone felt like they counted.  We do our best to discourage those who selfishly promote themselves by dropping by every now and then to leave a link and then pop out again only to be seen once more when they wanted to sell their book again. This is not what we had in mind and buy links are only allowed as they long as they accompany a review of their book done by someone else of course.

When we were piecing together ideas about how we wanted the blog to look and what we wanted to feature in it, we realised that we didn't want just reviews or author interviews, we wanted to make this a unique magazine style blog, covering a range of genres, although currently, we seem to be getting more requests for historical fiction than anything else! But we as a group are doing our best to change that. We have been featuring both Indie and mainstream authors and some of our more well known authors have been Patricia Bracewell and Bernard Cornwell. One of our more popular features are reviews with giveaways. We almost always giveaway a book with a book reviewed.

This coming year on The Review, I am hoping to develop the project further. We have joined partnership with Independent Book Reviews and Gingernut Books and hope to be expanding what our site can offer readers, reviewers and authors in the coming year. We have some excellent ideas tossing around between us, so look out for The Review this year, it's going to be spectacular!

So that's one pie I have my finger in, the next project I want to talk about is my current WIP The Wolf Banner which is the follow up to Sons of the Wolf. The Wolf Banner is the sequel to Sons and it is 18 months in the waiting. Basically, I wanted a new editor for The Wolf Banner and so I was recommended D Michelle Gent Services by a friend and after chatting to Michelle and sampling her work, I knew my sequel was going to be in safe hands. you can find Michelle's Editing Services here. I am hoping that The Wolf Banner will be ready for publication in April this year.

And finally, I want to remind people about my Threads to the Past blog which I shall be revamping in the near future. I have spent a lot of time working on The Review that this and my Sons of the Wolf blog have been very neglected. I hope now to amalgamate the Sons of the Wolf blog
with Threads to the Past in one new look blog which will not only talk about the Tapestry itself but also other aspects of 11thc life. This will also link in with my research for the period in which the Sons of the Wolf series is set. So I am hoping that you will join me, coming down the passages of time as we untangle all the threads that keep the past alive.