Archives for posts with tag: novella

Hi all:

I’ve been in a somewhat nostalgic mood and have been looking back at some of my early posts and writings. Although more recently I’ve been publishing books that I have written not so long ago, to begin with I started by publishing books that I’d written over the years but had been ‘for my eyes only’ until then. I still have some that I haven’t decided what to do with and a pile of unfinished stories that I must go over again, but…

In exchange for the translation of one of her novels (and I’m enjoying the job enormously, but I’ll tell you more when all is finished), Paloma Caral has revised two of my early works in Spanish ‘The Man Who Never Was’ and ‘Twin Evils?’. She’s still hard at work with ‘The Man…’ but finished ‘Twin Evils?’ (that I’ve called ‘Gemela Maldad’ in Spanish) and now I have a new sparkling version of the novel in Spanish. As I also created new covers to go with it, I thought just in case some of my more recent readers don’t know anything about the novella, I could tell you a bit about it.

 Twin Evils? by Olga Núñez Miret

Twin Evils? by Olga Núñez Miret

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill?  When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? ‘Twin Evils?’ is a New Adult novella (under 60 pages) that begins like a fairy tale, talks about friendship against all odds, tragedy, romance, and has a touch of the paranormal. Fast paced and entertaining with intriguing, mysterious and ultimately lovable characters it will make you feel good but leave you wondering. If you have plenty of imagination and love a compact and fulfilling read, try it out!

And as a sample, I leave you the beginning of the novella:

Hilda’s friend, Ruth, was the prettiest and loveliest girl in town. Her blond hair was fine and silky, her eyes blue like sapphires, her mouth red like coral. She would have been chanted by the poets of old if she’d lived in a different time. Ruth was the pride and darling of Yorktown. And she was clever enough, and generous and kind. She had it all.

Ruth had a brother too. Max was her twin, but hardly anybody would have guessed that they were related. He was very tall and thin, his hair was thick, curly and black like coal, his eyes grey like slate, and his mouth had thin lips that hardly ever smiled. He was the black sheep of the family, and Ruth and him were known as ‘the angel and the devil’ by the population.

Hilda had known them both all her life. They were the same age, and, in fact, their families were friendly before they were even born. Their parents used to go out on double dates and they got married on a double wedding. They lived in contiguous houses and it was as if they were all members of the same family. Hilda had always felt that it was her duty to befriend Ruth and Max. The task had been very easy with Ruth, she was friendly with everybody, but Max wasn’t an easy boy. As a child, when they played together, he used to torture animals, insects, fight with other children…Ruth always shied away from him, she couldn’t bear any type of violence, but Hilda wasn’t squeamish, and Max had always assumed that Hilda approved of what he did. She told him many times that she didn’t like his behaviour but he insisted that her words were only a pose. Max was always as nasty as he could be towards his sister. He put dead animals in her bed, maggots in her food, ruined her dresses…Once Hilda stopped him when he was about to set his sleeping sister’s hair on fire. Ruth woke up with the discussion and slapped him when she heard what he was about to do, but he only laughed. No threats from Ruth, no warnings from his parents, no punishment from his teachers made any difference to him.

The summer of the twins’ seventeenth birthday, Max had given everybody a break by deciding to go camping with some other youngsters. They had had two weeks of peace, and the two families had been preparing the twins’ birthday party at ease, in perfect tranquillity.

“Hilda! Hilda!”

“Oh no, he’s back” Hilda’s father, Steph, mumbled under his breath.

“Hilda!”

“Go to see what he wants, before we all end up deaf or mad.” Mandy, Hilda’s mother, ordered.

“All right, all right. I’ll go.”

“Hilda!”

Hilda marched into the garden feeling like a martyr. The sacrifices she had to make to keep the peace! Max was restlessly running up and down his garden. He opened his mouth and began:

“Hi…Oh, you are here.”

“Yes, Max. Here I am. Do you always have to be so noisy?”

“Shut up! I must show you something.” He grabbed Hilda by the arm and dragged her over the fence.

“Be careful, will you?”

“Sorry. Come, quick.”

Hilda and Max entered the house through the back door of the lounge, opening into the garden. Hilda said hello in passing to Max’s mother, Eleanor, and his father, Patrick. Ruth was sitting in her room, with the door open.

“Oh Ruth, how…?”

Max pushed Hilda into his room.

“Don’t talk to her. You aren’t here to talk to her. You’ve come to see something.”

“When will you grow up, Max? I’m your sister’s friend too, and…”

“Stop it, please. Look…”

Max switched the lights on. His room was painted in black, walls and ceiling, with strange cabalistic inscriptions and devilish drawings. It was always dark inside. Once he made light, he took his T-shirt off and showed Hilda his back.

“What do you think?”

Hilda was speechless. It was an incredible tattoo. A black eagle, with spread wings, attacking a white dove. The eagle’s beak was dripping blood, and the red colour of the tattoo was very intense, quasi pulsating. The dove had blue eyes and was carrying a branch of wheat. The eagle’s eyes were grey and the wings looked shiny and iridescent. It was an extremely vivid tattoo. And the meaning was too clear for Hilda to be able to ignore it. Max always called Ruth ‘the white dove’. It was horrible.

“Why did you do that, Max?”

“There was a guy incredibly good with tattoos nearby. It’s my own design.”

“I’ve noticed that.”

“Why don’t you like it? Isn’t it good?”

“It’s good. Real good. But, what does it mean?”

“Mean?…Nothing. It’s only a tattoo.”

Max tried his most innocent expression, but it didn’t come natural to him. Not convincing at all.

“I don’t like the imagery.” Ruth said.

“Imagery. Lovely word. I love how you talk, like a book.”

“Bye Max.”

Ruth turned her back on Max and stepped toward the door.

“Wait, wait! I have another tattoo!”

“If it’s like this one I’d rather not see it, thank you.”

“Oh no, it’s very different. Guess where it is.”

Ruth had stopped and turned to look at Max, but shook her head and carried walking.

“I’m not interested in games, Max. I have things to do.”

Max ran to the door to prevent Hilda from leaving.

“Come on…I’ve been away for two weeks and you haven’t even asked me how it was or how I am, or nothing. I’ve missed you, you know? And you don’t even care enough to ask.” He whined.

“You haven’t asked me either. You only came shouting…”

“OK, I’m sorry. I just had to show it to someone or I would have exploded. I haven’t showed it to anybody.”

“Is it a surprise then?”

“Yes, yes. You won’t tell, will you?”

Max and his secrets. Hilda had been selected as his official confidant many years back and she had never managed to get rid of the privilege. Although, Max never quite confessed everything. He always kept something to himself. That made things slightly easier for Hilda. Sometimes. Sometimes it made them worse.

“You’ll have to show your parents. They’ll find out.”

“I will, soon…But keep it quiet in the meantime, OK?”

“Fine.”

“Now, guess where I have the other tattoo.”

Here the link in Amazon. At the moment is available in Unlimited too but that might changes shortly…

http://bit.ly/1xSh8tU

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

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Hi all:

As you know, apart from a writer, I’m also a reader and when I have time, I read. I’ve been reading many indie books of recent and being a writer I know how important it is for writers to get reviews for their books. I also try and share them here and see if people who might have missed them find the books interesting.

Today I bring you two short and very different reads. One is a distopian YA novella and the other one a non-fiction book about relationships.

The Ivory Tower

The Ivory Tower

Review of Kirstin Pulioff’s ‘The Ivory Tower’

A sharp, shiny and precise jewel of a dystopian novella.

I read The Ivory Tower very quickly some time ago and have finally managed to catch up with a review. This dystopian story is brief but hides a good punch. I’m always in two minds with regards to shorter stories. On the one hand I want to know more, but on the other hand, the best of them are like perfect jewels, nicely shaped, shiny and precise. Sharp with no rounded edges. I suspect some of that precision and the effect might be lost if they were longer.

The Ivory Tower is one of those stories. The reader is given some details but not the full story behind the situation or the reasons why the characters live as they do. And that makes you think and imagine. It also works because when the main character finds herself in a situation that she cannot quite understand, you are in her shoes and as astounded as her by what happens. The sense of menace and threat increases as one reads and the writing helps create an atmospheric and intriguing tale. Although there are no unduly lengthy descriptions, the reader knows where s/he is. And the ending…

If you only have a little time and want a good story (not a feel good story, though) go and grab The Ivory Tower, quick!

http://www.amazon.com/Ivory-Tower-Kirstin-Pulioff-ebook/dp/B00FJ3A58A/

After "I Do!" A Marriage Map

After “I Do!” A Marriage Map

After “I Do!” A Marriage Map by P.J. LaRue Common sense advice about relationships, from the heart.

Before I write the review I must confess something. I’m not married and I’m not in a relationship at the moment. I’m not sure if that qualifies me more or disqualifies me completely from writing this review, but I’ve already warned you. If you want to read on, it’s up to you.

Having said all that, I have to confess I loved the book. Like all advice, one can take it or leave it. And Oscar Wilde already told us that the thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. That one should never use it oneself. I don’t agree although understand the sentiment.

P.J. LaRue explains her reasons for writing the book. She is aware of the statistics on the survival of relationships and observes that although her marriage seemed to have many numbers for not working, it has (so far for over thirty years). As people kept asking her and her husband for the recipe, that got her thinking, and as she is a writer, she thought she’d write a book about it.

The author’s advice is common sense, but not for that less valuable. She reflects on what she calls ‘Starter Marriages’ and observes that if there is no true commitment to a relationship from the beginning you might as well not even bother. If you’re going to give up at the first hurdle, don’t get in the race. She also emphasises the importance of communication, true communication, and she highlights the elements she thinks are necessary for such communication to exist: honesty, be open, listen, never trash talk, don’t play games, whisper sweet nothings, choose your words carefully, change requires self-awareness, change takes effort, compromise, tone, body language, golden rule and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Other than ‘whisper sweet nothings’ I’d say they are very good principles to follow in any communication, but even more important when the communication is with your loved one.

If the advice is sound, as I say, what I found more touching (and it is a touching book) was how the author uses her own relationship as a yardstick and example of both the things to do and the possible pitfalls, the type of problems that relationships experience. She is candid and honest when talking about her personal difficulties and the trials that they have had to go through (and they’re still coming to terms with).

It might be that some of the ideas exposed in the book (yes, I’m talking about her stance on sex in relationships) might sound old-fashioned, and she herself acknowledges that, but just because something is old or has been said before it doesn’t mean it is wrong. You can always decide what parts of the advice you think should apply to you, but if you can be as selfless and insightful as the author is after you read it, I guarantee you will have a much better chance at making your relationship work.

http://www.amazon.com/After-Do-Marriage-Map-LaRue-ebook/dp/B00LIGL9FK/

By the way, very recently I’ve joined the BTS-e Magazine team of reviewers (I’ll let you know when my reviews come up and give you a link to the magazine), so I leave you links to it for you to check and explore.

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, if  you’ve found it interesting, like, share, comment and of course CLICK! Ah, and if read any books and enjoy them, remember to review and recommend them to your friends!

Hi all:

As you’ll remember, I’ve been talking for a while about the new novella I was planning on publishing, ‘Family, lust and cameras’. I published a post with a sample of the beginning of the novel and I even shared the image I wanted to use for the cover, asking for suggestions and people seemed to be quite keen and had great ideas.

Well, after so much talking, it is finally here! It has a fair bit of the psychological thriller too, but there is voyeurism, obsession, technology…

I leave you the final cover, the description, some comments from advance readers, and just in case you fancy reading a bit to get a better idea, the link to the sample post.

Family, lust and cameras by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal. Designer

Family, lust and cameras by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal. Designer

(The cover, by my friend and designer, Lourdes Vidal, is her first. I think she’s done an excellent job (although I took the picture!). And just in case you’re curious, she has a website with all the other things she does: www.lourdesvidaldisseny.jimdo.com)

Family, lust and cameras.

Do you enjoy watching? Do you think it doesn’t harm anybody?

What would happen if your life became The rear window? Pat thought she’d left her past behind and started a new life. But one doesn’t get rid of voyeurism, obsessions and family quite that easily. Sometimes one has to adopt drastic measures to survive the harassment of a man, particularly a man like Herman. And this time Pat is determined to win, whatever the price.

In this world where technology dominates our lives, we’re never alone and privacy doesn’t exist, this novella more than a work of fiction is a warning about the dangers that haunt us in our own homes. How far would you be prepared to go to get revenge from somebody intent on controlling your life?

Author and psychiatrist Olga Núñez Miret brings us another story where the character’s motives and the inner-workings of their brains will keep you guessing. Brief, tense and with no flourishes, the story will keep you reading non-stop till the end. If you’re fans of ‘Psycho’, ‘Peeping Tom’ and ‘Single White Female’ and are fascinated and repelled in equal degree by ‘Big Brother’ this adult story will get you hooked.

Some readers where very kind to read it and provide me their opinion in advance of the publishing:

Christoph Fischer

“Family, Lust and Cameras” by Olga Núñez Miret is a fantastic psychological thriller about the boundary breaking interest that her step brother Herman displays for our protagonist, Pat.

For some readers the issue of sexual desire between step siblings might be edgy but for me it is handled just right and it adds more than just a minor element of sensationalism to an already strong and fascinating plot.

It has been a while since a book has had such an immediate impact and almost hypnotic spell on me. Pat is brilliantly drawn as a strong and outspoken character but so is her step brother. The dialogue between the two of them is sharp, honest and explosive and compelling to read.

Pat has escaped Herman once before but now that he has found her she agrees to meet him to negotiate. She likes her new life, lover and job and has a lot to lose.

There is a little more to the story as it unfolds, which adds further to the reading pleasure. The author has a background in psychology and easily breaks her characters down with analytic ease and excellent empathy, making this an intellectual feast as well as a wild entertaining ride.

Magnificent and Olga Núñez Miret best so far. Highly recommended.

Natasha Johnstone

Before you read this book, know that this author is a psychologist, so messing with your mind is easy for her.  This is a story where “big brother” is literally Pat’s half brother. Obsessed and deprived he watches her every move and listens to her every conversation. He sets an elaborate scheme to get her to move in with him and participate in his love of voyeurism. This tale is disturbing as the female character plays his game and does the complete opposite of what you’d expect from her.  There are twists and turns at every corner. I compare this novella to a car accident. You don’t want to see it, but yet you can’t look away. It is gripping, unique and very well written. Five stars for corrupting my innocent little mind is not enough for this book.

Family Dysfunction Indeed! (Yelle Hughes)

You have a woman, who has a stepbrother that she grew up with when their parents died in an accident. Herman, the stepbrother had some serious issues. He took his relationship with his stepsister to an entirely, whole new level. He was manipulative, perverse and quite handy with technology, which made him equally scary.

Pat, the confused sister, didn’t know what to do. She felt sorry for the only family she had left and unfortunately indulged her demented brother. As I was reading, I felt an array of emotions and practically yelled at Pat to stop being so damn gullible. But, once I read the entire story, I felt how trapped she felt in this crazy relationship.

I don’t want to give out any spoilers but, I will say the ending was perfecto!

If you are looking to read a thriller that is hard to imagine what will come next, this is an excellent read.

Ms. Nunez did a great job of describing these character’s personalities, the scenes and begs the reader to ask the question, “What would I do?”

A Wonderfully Creepy Tale (John Dolan)

Pat McKenzie has a serious problem, in the shape of her stepbrother, Herman …

The author spins a wonderfully creepy tale of voyeurism and sexual obsession. You find yourself frequently in the heads of the main characters, and that is not a healthy place to be, as sexual mind-games are played out and normalcy recedes ever further into the distance. Expect your skin to crawl during certain passages.

Ms Nunez Miret’s narrative is tightly controlled, building to a Hitchcockian climax. You will never quite be able to think of your webcam the same way again. Sick, sick, sick individuals – I loved it.

And here the link to the previous post:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/work-in-progress-family-lust-and-cameras-what-if-rear-window-took-place-inside-your-own-house/

Links:

Amazon:

http://bit.ly/1jBZZZt

Kobo:

http://bit.ly/1nBzTOo

Barnes and Noble:

http://bit.ly/1nZZ76Y

Thanks so much for reading, special thanks to the advance readers for their comments and if you’ve found it interesting, remember to like, share, comment and of course CLICK!

 

As you all know, I’m a writer and I’ve always loved books and reading. Unfortunately I don’t always have time to read as much as I’d like (for pleasure rather than for professional reasons, although when you’re a writer, reading other people’s books is always informative as well). Recently I’ve finished reading two book, a romantic novella with a paranormal touch, ‘Believe’ and a Young Adult story also set in the realms of fantasy (or maybe not. Bigfoot anybody?). I thoroughly enjoyed both reads and I thought I’d shared the reviews with you.

Believe by Mia Fox Cover

Believe by Mia Fox Cover

Believe (#1, Chasing Shadows Series)

Romance, Grief and a Love that Survives Everything

I came across ‘Believe’ through a sample posted in Wattpad and the beginning of the story hit me like a bomb. The different voices, the changes in rhythm and twists and surprises and the transitions form sweetness and everyday life to tragedy made me want to keep reading.
‘Believe’ is the first in the ‘Chasing Shadows Series’ but rather than starting slowly and building up the tension, we hardly have time to get to know the characters before we are thrown into emotional turmoil and deep waters.
Ella suffers a huge loss and the author shows great skill at capturing, through inner dialogue, the depth of sadness and desperation she experiences. Despite her sister’s attempts at restoring normality and comforting her, Ella wants her boyfriend, Nate, back. And it seems he does not want to leave her either.
Is this love beyond death? Or a manifestation of grief? Ethan, the therapist/resident assigned to her case when she finally collapses, has issues of his own. What will their meeting do for both of them? Is it fate?
The story is gripping and intriguing and the writing vivid, sensual and focused on the internal workings of the minds of the characters. As a reader I found it difficult not to empathise and share the feelings of the characters, their doubts and insecurities, and also their excitement.
I recommend ‘Believe’ to readers who enjoy an emotional rollercoaster and being thrown into the internal universe of the characters. Only one word of warning. The book ends up on a cliffhanger and I know some readers find that frustrating. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next book.
If you want to have a look:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IVXZ5AS/

Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again by Simon Okill

Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again by Simon Okill

‘Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again’ by Simon Okill

Movie waiting to happen

I had read the previous incarnation and incursion of Simon Okill’s into the world of Bigfoot and Big Beaver. I saw that the author had written a young adult version of the novel and of course I had to read it. Much of my original review still stands and I’ll include the parts that are relevant, although I must admit that I prefer this version. Why? Although the story is still humorous, it has become also more complex, and the characters are more nuanced. We have added elements to the story (the aliens and the fact that Duane’s affinity for the Bigfoot is fully explained now and he even has special powers) and the characters are more fully-fledged. Although it is classed as a young adult book, I think adults will enjoy it as much, if not more, than younger readers, especially as many of the cultural references might be more familiar to people of a certain age.

I am not a genre reader. I don’t read a particular type of novel (or even only fiction, although it is my predilection) exclusively and I normally see what tickles my fancy at the time of choosing a book, although once decided I’ll usually stick to it.

I like comedies and humour but rarely buy books that are exclusively humour. I probably watch more comedy films than I read comedy novels.

One thing that struck me as soon as I started reading Simon Okill’s new novel was how much it felt like a film. From the establishing of the setting (‘Big Beaver’) and the characters (female sheriff still pining for the boyfriend who left five years ago for unknown reasons, large donut eating deputies, lascivious female bartender, young Native American chief with wise sayings, hunters and crackpots) in the first few pages you feel as if you’d walked into Big Beaver and are an observer (when not a full participant. I must say I sometimes thought I could smell the Bigfoot) in all the shenanigans taking place. It made sense when I read that Mr Okill had written a number of scripts. He has a knack for it, that’s for sure.

You have a mysteriously disappeared youth (that like Peter and the wolf had pretended to be abducted so many times that nobody believes he’s gone missing), bizarre crimes (Bigfoot breaking and entering to have a bath and leaving a variety of sweet foodstuffs there), FBI investigating team (hot female agent and the return of the Big Beaver prodigal son) and some set pieces you’ll never forget (alien abduction by Swedish-looking and lusty aliens from the planet Abba).

And of course, you have the Bigfoot. Although narrated in the third person this is an omniscient narrator who gets in the heads of all character, including the Bigfoot. If the human characters keep defeating your expectations (they’re all familiar types but keep surprising you), the Bigfoot are (at least to me) completely unexpected. Loveable and romantic, civilised and wild, they are not far from the noble savage ideal…only a bit hairier.

If you like out-of-the-ordinary comedies, have a soft-spot for lovable and unwise characters and long to submerge yourself in an unexpected world you’ll feel right at home in Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again. Imagine ‘American Pie’ or ‘There’s something about Mary’ in a small mountain-town setting, with Bigfoot, and you might get a vague idea of what the book is about. If you fancy that image and are looking for a series that promises never ending entertainment, what are you waiting for? Go on and buy the book!

If you want to read more about it:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5Y2AWU/

Thank you for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it and are interesting in the books, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

Hi all:

I mentioned recently I was working on a variety of books. I’m working on my Young Adult Series (I’ve finished the draft of novel 2 but want to review and write novel 3 and translate before publishing), I have a romantic book nudging me to be written, but I’ve decided the next one should be Family, lust and cameras a novella about surveillance, voyeurism and psychological mind-games I wrote a while back. I’ve finished the translation and I’m editing at the moment and a friend is creating a cover for me. I hope it should be ready for publication within the next couple of months or so.

I’ve shared a small sample before but I thought I’d leave you something a bit more substantial. See what you think.

Flying cameras. Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Flying cameras. Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The parcel was planted on my desk, brown and seemingly innocent. It had my name on it, my job denomination (Sub-Editor) and the office’s address. I picked it up, weighted it, shook it…It was too big to be a CD. My heart started beating very fast, and my hands trembled. What I’d been fearing, had happened. Herman had finally got hold of me.

I jumped when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s just…which one of these do you prefer?”

Matt, one of the graphic designers, had been working on the cover of the anthology we were getting ready.

“I…Which one do you prefer?”

“I’ve made them both. I don’t know.”

He looked at me. He was a short, funny looking guy, all head and eyes.

“Is that a CD?”

I was still holding the parcel in my right hand.

“No, it’s a DVD.”

“Anything nice?”

“I think it’s a family video I’ve been waiting for. Do you know if any of the viewing cabins are free?”

“I don’t think there’s anybody there at all this morning. Which one…?”

“Oh…the designs…I like them both. Ask Alan. Or choose yourself. We can always use the other design when we publish another anthology.”

“OK. I hope you enjoy the movie.”

“I’m sure I will…”

He left and I added to myself “not”. I walked fast to one of the viewing cabins, the one on the further and more retired corner. I didn’t want to get interrupted or seen. I had to be completely sure. Once there, I opened the parcel. There was no note of any kind. Only a DVD. I switched the TV on and the DVD player. I watched the disc being swallowed by the machine. And after a few blank seconds, Herman appeared on screen. He looked thinner and paler than last time I had seen him, if that was possible. His hair was long, greasy, and he’d acquired some grey hairs. He looked tired but smiled, toothpaste-ad style.

“Hi, Pat. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other, hasn’t it? Over three years now. Of course, you’re the one seeing me though, I can’t see you. Not yet, anyhow. Or do you think I can?…It wasn’t in very good taste what you did to me. Pack your things and go when we were having such good fun. And send me an e-mail. So impersonal! ‘Don’t try to contact me. Leave me alone or…’ I’ve been wondering ‘or what?’ all these years. That’s not fair. I’ve been bored stiff all this time. Watching our last video. Do you remember it? Here is a selection.”

The screen went blank for a minute and the next images were of a couple, naked in a narrow bed, having sex. Herman, the male in the tape, seemed to be performing for the camera, trying to make the action as visible as possible. Only when approaching the climax did he seem to lose the control and forget about the performance. The woman was hardly visible until the end, when Herman just laid down next to her, caressing her abdomen and kissing her nipples. Herman seemed to suddenly remember the camera and grabbing her face made her sit.

‘Smile at the camera.’

I looked at the blank screen. My image looking at myself from the gulf of three years made me blush and feel humiliated. But it hadn’t finished yet. Herman walked in front of the camera and sat down.

“I hope you enjoyed it. I did. You didn’t give me much of a chance to ask you, actually. But, I’ve been thinking of better angles for the camera. It would be more interesting if you were on top next time. I’ll phone you this morning. Just to discuss the details. Bye. I’m happy I’ve found you finally.”

I went back to my desk and sat down. I put the DVD on the top drawer, the one I could lock. The white phone looked harmless and pure. I could not think or do anything. I contemplated the possibility of leaving the office and going home. Maybe I should have emigrated. But I felt drained of all energy. I just waited for the phone to ring. And it did.

“Hi Pat. It’s Cal here. Are you busy tonight?”

“Tonight?…I don’t know. I’m waiting for a phone-call. I can’t tell you yet. What were you thinking of?”

“Intimate dinner, movie, sex…The usual.”

“I’ll give you a call when I know what I’m doing.”

“Are you all right? You sound a bit…strange.”

“I just feel a bit tired. I’ll be all right, Cal.”

“OK. Don’t forget to phone. You know I have many admirers cueing…”

“I’ll phone you later.”

“Pat…It was only a joke.”

“I know, darling, I know. Sorry, I’m just not myself today. Speak to you later. Thanks for phoning.”

Cal…he was such a sweet guy. How could I explain Herman to him? How could anybody explain Herman to anybody else? If he would just disappear…

The phone rang again. I let it ring a few times, until Tina, the girl in the contiguous office came in. Always fashionable clothes, impeccable make-up, carefully arranged hair…Heart of model.

“Oh, I thought you weren’t in. I was going to answer it…By the way, somebody phoned earlier. Herman…somebody or other. He said he’s your stepbrother. I didn’t know you had any family.”

“We haven’t talked to each other for a long time. I’ll tell you the story some other day.”

I picked up the phone and watched Tina leave.

“Hello. Pat McKenzie here.”

“Hi Pat. Herman Stenson here.”

I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t anything to say.

“How are you? Surprised?”

“Nothing you do surprises me, Herman.”

“You probably thought you had got away with it by now.”

“I didn’t think, I hoped and prayed. What do you want?”

“OK, forget about niceties, hey? It’s only me, it’s all in the family, I understand. What do you think I want?”

I didn’t answer. I wanted to put the phone down on him, but I knew that wouldn’t make any difference. I’d grown up with the bastard.

“I want you to come and see me, Pat. I’m living here too. I moved once I found your address. I’ll tell you where I live.”

“I don’t want to know.”

“I have a very nice place here.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Oh, come on, Pat, be fair now. Have I gone to all this bother to find you for nothing? You must come and see me. I must show you my new video system, cameras…I can tape anything now.”

“I don’t want to…”

“All right, I’m not going to carry on playing Mr. Nice Guy. If that’s the way you want it that’s the way it’ll be. You will come to see me or I’ll send a copy of our tape to your boss and to your lovely Carl Tom…whatever.”

“Cal Tomlinson. What makes you think I’m bothered about that?”

“The sub-editor of a serious intellectual magazine, on educational matters, star of a porn movie. I’m not sure it quite goes with the job.”

“It isn’t a porn movie.”

“I know what it is, and you do too, but do you think anybody else knows? Nobody would understand that. And I’m sure Carl wouldn’t either.”

“Cal.”

“I couldn’t care less what his name is. Unless he wants to star in the movie…although…no, let’s keep it as it was.”

“WHY DON’T YOU SIMPLY FIND SOMEBODY ELSE TO…” I suddenly dropped my voice because I realised that probably Tina and half of the office where hearing me by now. “…fuck?”

“It’s a little bit more than that, love. Come to see me and we’ll talk about it.”

I wrote down his address automatically and put the phone down.

Tina entered my office as soon as I finished the call.

“Are you all right? I heard you shouting.”

“I just…Family matters.”

“Tell me about it.”

“My step-brother, Herman. My dad died when I was very young, only five and my mother re-married a man whose wife was in a psychiatric hospital for life, she was so crazy. He had a son, Herman. A couple of years older than me. Always a bit weird, never socialised much or had any friends…Weirdo. He spent all his time watching the TV, with video-cameras taping everything and the rest of the time with his computer. When he left High-School, where he never did too well, apart from computer-sciences, he got a job designing web-pages and other programmes for big companies. Our parents died in a train-accident just as I was finishing High School. I got a job and went to college but I still lived in the same house with him. He became practically a recluse, doing his job from home, shopping via Internet or the TV, and having no life outside. He grew very controlling and extremely bizarre and I couldn’t take it. I left.”

“Oh.”

“Yes. I didn’t keep contact, but he’s found me again.”

“Oh…He sounds really strange. I hope he doesn’t create any trouble for you.”

“I won’t let him.”

“I’ll leave you to your work.”

“See you for lunch.”

“Sure…”

That was an extremely sanitised version of reality. If Tina thought he was strange she should have known some of the more exciting details. Like the fact that when he was twelve he managed to taped our parents having sex and he kept on playing the video over and over again. He invited me to a session too. My mother and his father kept encouraging him to do things outside, even tried buying him a car, but he sold it and bought more equipment. When our parents died I never noticed any difference in him. Not a demonstration of feeling, nothing…He just moved to our parents bedroom, with all his TVs, monitors, computers…I spent a couple of months with my aunt Rena and when I went back to the house he had painted and redecorated the whole place.

“We need to look forward.” He said.

We had the money from our parents’ life insurance policies, and Herman was making a lot of money with his work, but I still took a job in a nearby shop. We used the same joint account and he never had any comments to make about my expenses. But he still spent all of his time at home and never went out. He paid a cleaning lady to look after the house but he was the only one allowed to enter his room.

Alan popped his face in my office.

“Hey, dreamer, we must go to the meeting about the projects for the new magazine. Come with me.”

I followed him aimlessly, happy to have an excuse to switch off Herman. But Alan had to ask. He is a terrible gossip.

“Then, whom were you shouting at on the phone? I hope it wasn’t one of our clients.”

“My stepbrother. Herman.”

“Your stepbrother? Where did he come from? You never mentioned him.”

“I wanted to forget he existed.”

“I see…But, is he…attractive?”

Alan was always trying to find the man of his life. I smiled at the prospect.

“No Alan. He’s nobody’s type.”

We spent the rest of the day in a marathon meeting. We couldn’t leave to go for lunch and we had sandwiches brought in from the café nearby. I was tired but I felt sorry when the meeting ended. Because that meant that I’d have to decide what I was going to do. I found a note from Tina on my desk.

“Your stepbrother phoned a couple of times. He said he’d be waiting for you. He’ll cook dinner.”

I picked up the phone to dial Herman’s number, but I didn’t. I knew it wouldn’t work. I’d have to face him sooner or later, although if I waited too long he might just manage to destroy my life. I phoned Cal instead.

“Hi.”

“Hi Pat! When are you coming?”

“Sorry Cal, I don’t think I can. I should have phoned you earlier but I’ve been trapped in a meeting. Listen, I must go to see someone.”

“Who?”

“You don’t know him.”

“Him?”

Oh Cal, for Christ’s sake, don’t start.

“Herman, my stepbrother.”

“Your stepbrother? I didn’t know…”

“I don’t get on at all well with him. I thought I’d never see him again but he’s found me and I must go and see him.”

“Why?”

“I must.”

“Can’t you just come over after?”

“I’ll try, but don’t wait for me. He can talk nonstop sometimes.”

“Do try to come. I love you.”

Cal could be very sweet sometimes, but I wasn’t in the mood.

“I’ll speak to you later.”

I put the phone down. If he asked me once again if I loved him…Poor Cal, he’d had a very unhappy childhood, he’d been physically and sexually abused by his father, and he was very insecure and needy. I loved him my own way, but he was too intense for me sometimes.

As I was leaving, with the DVD in my handbag, the phone rang. I picked it up and without listening I said:

“Yes Cal, I love you.”

“Do you? That’s sweet. What are you doing still there? I’ve been waiting for hours. You don’t want me to get impatient.”

“I couldn’t care less, Herman. But, I’m on my way.”

His house was on a residential area, expensive, exclusive, and very quiet. I rang the bell of the large Frank Lloyd Wright style house. Pretty.

Herman opened the door and moved to one side to let me in. He was wearing a track suit and he looked worse than in his tape, although his hair was clean and shiny. Once he locked the door, he gave me a hug and tried to kiss me on the lips. I moved my head back. He tried two or three times and finally gave up.

“All right, all right. All in its due time.”

“It will never be its due time.”

“Don’t be nasty. Just come over, have a seat.”

The house was really nice, but I didn’t care.

“What do you think?” He asked after he’d sat down on a white sofa in the living room. He made a gesture for me to sit but I didn’t. He came over to my side and pushed me onto the sofa opposite his and separated from it by a glass table.

“About what?”

“The house…me…”

“It’s big, expensive, nice…I’m sure somebody else got it for you. You don’t have any taste.”

“You aren’t doing yourself any favours by saying that. Don’t forget I like you.”

I looked at him and then at the floor. I wanted to strangle him.

“Like me? Then leave me alone.”

“I like myself more than I like you. And I want you…”

“You only want my body. Why don’t you find somebody else? I’m not that good at sex. Why don’t you try with a professional, or…anybody else? Why me?”

“How long did we spend going through that last time? An eternity. You know the answer. It’s not sex what I’m interested in. It’s…”

“Voyeurism. Pure and simple. Watch. You want to watch. Watch everything somebody else does. All. But not only somebody else. You want to watch yourself doing things.”

“Yes. What’s so strange about that? Don’t actors do the same?”

“Actors have a life! You don’t! They are performing! They have normal lives outside of their career. You don’t have a life. Come on, Herman. You told me that the only real pleasure you experience is through watching. Although that’s a lie. I was with you, don’t you remember? I know…”

“Of course I experience physical pleasure when I ejaculate. I’m human. But…” I coughed slightly and he looked at me, dead serious, before continuing. “But it’s nothing compared to how I feel when I see myself in film and I see my performance, and I see your face, and your expression when you watch and…”

“Cut it. I don’t want to listen to that. I’m too old for all those pre-adolescent fantasies. I don’t know why you can’t grow up and behave like an adult. You and your masturbatory fantasies. It’s disgusting.”

I saw him pale and shake. He was trembling like a leaf and he stood up and left the room. I heard him being sick in the toilet. I went to the kitchen, well equipped and spacious, and prepared some coffee.

When he came back to the room I had left a cup of coffee in front of his seat. Herman looked at me and sipped the coffee slowly. His voice changed and he became the sad little boy I remembered, always picked on by the older boys.

“Why do you…? My God, Pat…Sometimes you talk as if you didn’t understand anything. As if you hadn’t enjoyed it too. Pat…why are you like this? You know what I need. I really can’t live without it. I tried when you disappeared and I realised you wouldn’t come back. It didn’t work. I didn’t want to watch myself making love to other women. I couldn’t make love to other women. Fuck. Whatever. I can’t…Is it so hard to help me a little? You know you can do whatever with my money, I don’t care. You don’t need to work. You can…”

“Stay all day home so you can watch me. I know the story. I’ve heard it before. I’m not a bird in a cage, Herman. I’m a woman.”

“You’re a bitch.”

“Whatever…Why don’t you get treatment, Herman? You are not well.”

“I’m fine. I might have alternative sexual interests, but that doesn’t make me mad.”

“You never go out of the house Herman. You don’t enjoy anything unless you see it on a screen. That isn’t alternative, that’s abnormal.”

“I don’t care what you call it. I’m happy that way. Let’s stop talking about me, Pat. I know you aren’t interested in knowing what I’ve been doing, so tell me what you’ve been up to.”

“I  thought you knew everything. Don’t you?”

“Yes. The only thing I want to know is why you left me that way. You went out in the morning to work and never came back. I got worried. I phoned Sue, from your office, and she told me you’d handed your resignation in and you hadn’t been to work that day. I thought…I don’t know what I thought. When I…Better, look at this.”

Lens aperture Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lens aperture Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it (or been intrigued by it), please like, comment, and share. Oh, and I leave you a link to a preview of my new YA novel, so you can also CLICK!

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1145728

 

 

Hi everybody:

Have you given up on love? Are you a hardened cynical who believes romance only happens in movies and books? Do you have to be romantic to fall in love at first click? Lilith is a librarian who despises romantic novels and thinks chick-lit is overrated. And then, she is cajoled into using social networking sites and things change drastically. Click Me Happy! shows you what a difference a click makes and asks  you, the reader, to choose the ending. Will it be cruel disappointment or happy ever after? With three endings to choose from and a light but warm heart, Click Me Happy! is sure to make you smile and even sigh with contentment. Be the author! You know you want to!

My romantic novella, Click Me Happy!, is finally here on paper. Thank you for reading and sharing! And of course, don’t forget to CLICK!  (And if you do, let me know which ending you choose!)

Clickmehappy(without logo)

In Create-Space:

https://www.createspace.com/4414492

In Amazon:

myBook.to/ClickPaper

And just in case, here is the e-book version:

http://viewBook.at/B00DK02JT2

Olga Núñez Miret

Hi all:

You’ll remember I posted the beginning of a YA novella that I was getting ready for publication, ‘Twin Evils?’ a couple of weeks ago. Well, it’s finally available in Amazon, and to welcome it and introduce it to everybody I thought I’d leave you the description, another taster, and the book cover. And of course, the link….

I hope you enjoy it and you go and check it out!

Twin Evils?

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? Why didn’t she behave her own age?  When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? Unfortunately they were right and “something” happened.

‘Twin Evils?’ is a Young Adult novella (approx. 40 pages) that begins like a fairy tale, talks about friendship against all odds, tragedy, romance, and has a touch of the paranormal. Fast paced and entertaining with intriguing, mysterious and ultimately lovable characters it will make you feel good but leave you wondering. If you have plenty of imagination and love a compact and fulfilling read, try it out!

And now, if you remember the previous extract, the two families were preparing a party…

At the party Max was wearing black denim trousers and a black T-shirt. He didn’t listen to his mother about wearing something ‘nicer’. With the final details of the cake, Hilda and her family got to the party quite late, when all was well on the way. Max was in the hall, and seemed to be anxiously waiting for Hilda.

“Hi Hilda. It’s ludicrous. You must see Ruth’s dress. It’s so…disgusting…I can’t even talk.”

“That’s something that doesn’t happen to you very often. Happy Birthday Max.” Hilda kissed him on the cheek, but he grabbed her by the arms, hugged her, and planted a kiss on her lips.

“Nice” He said with a smile.

“If it weren’t your birthday I’d slap you. My parents have your present, but I guess you’ll open them later. Where is your sister?”

“Inside, licking the teachers’ bums.”

Hilda pinched his bottom, and when he laughed, she slapped him on his behind too.

“More, more…I love it…Be kinky with me, will you, Hilda?”

Hilda couldn’t avoid blushing, and to cover it up she turned around.

“Shut up, you pervert. I am going to kiss your sister. See you later.”

Ruth was being petted and admired by all the adults. Her dress was somewhat infantile for her age. The pink ribbons and the white lace made her look younger, and her long hair done in locks was excessive. For once Hilda agreed with Max. It was too sweet and syrupy for her own taste. Ruth wasn’t very developed as yet, but she was far too old for that. Most of the other girls in the party were wearing short dresses or tight trousers, but Ruth…Hilda looked at her own flowery dress. Simple, normal…She intruded to kiss Ruth and tell her about the presents. Ruth replied that she’d be out soon. Hilda left her to her admirers and went outside.

“So, what’s your opinion?”

Max was next to her again.

“I agree with you completely. I think your sister is far too old for that kind of dress.”

“You see? I am not always wrong.”

“You’re seldom right, though.”

“I’ll get you a drink. Seldom right. I like it.”

Max returned shortly with a soda.

“No punch?”

“You don’t want to drink that punch.”

“But your father is a real expert at mixing it.”

“Not today. I’ve tried it. It’s too sweet for me, and I know you don’t like drinks that sweet. He used peach instead of lemon. Bad choice.” Max said.

“I don’t like peach. OK, I’ll trust you on this one.”

Max bowed and went back to his corner, to “observe”.

Steph and Patrick were the appointed cooks of the barbecue, some people began to dance, the cake was brought in and the candles blown, mainly by Ruth while Max stayed behind, the twins opened their presents…There were more gifts for Ruth than for Max. Ruth got jewellery, clothes, perfumes…Max got some records, books, computer games…Hilda gave Ruth a pair of earrings she liked and Max an Ouija board. He was thrilled by it.

Ruth gave one of her lovely speeches to thank everybody for their kindness, her family and Hilda’s in particular for making it ‘such a special birthday’. When she finished, Max stood up and said:

“I am not as good with speeches as my most adorable twin sister, but I decided to share something with you. I hope you like it.”

He climbed up on a chair, turned his back on the guests, and pulled his T-shirt up. Most people were simply amazed by it, but Ruth fainted and both sets of parents got very distressed. Hilda heard the comments of a couple of students in their same course:

“What’s all the fuss about? It’s a fantastic tattoo. What’s all the fuss about?”

“Maybe they hate tattoos. It might be against their religion. Or it’s some family thing…I don’t care.”

Patrick and Steph took Ruth inside and laid her on the sofa. She recovered shortly after and asked Hilda, who was looking after her:

“Why did he do that? Why did he choose that drawing? It’s a threat, isn’t it?”

“He did it all for effect. He felt nobody was paying him enough attention. I didn’t realise what he wanted to do with it. He’d showed it to me when he came back from camping and he said that he’d show it to your parents, but not when. I should have imagined…”

“You couldn’t have known. He’s too devious.”

As the night went on, the behaviour among the young people became more and more bizarre. Hilda couldn’t understand what was happening. They became very loud, some began fighting, many were sick…Even Ruth seemed not herself, dancing madly and then becoming sick all over her dress. It wasn’t normal. Something was going on. Hilda looked at Max. What had he done? He was smiling, like the cat that’d eaten the cream, and he was looking at the punch…She had to confirm her suspicions. She went to get a glass of punch. Max pushed her before she could drink it and spilt it all on the floor.

“Sorry.”

Hilda held his arm tight and looked him in the eyes.

“What did you put in the punch, Max? I’m not daft, you know?”

“No…” He opened his mouth to deny it, avoiding her gaze, but she took his chin and made him look at her. He gave up. “OK…only some whisky, vodka, and a few pills.”

“What type of pills?”

“Amphetamines, Es…Nothing too dangerous. They’ll all be fine tomorrow. It’s funny to see the adorable Ruth sick like a parrot. Lovely.”

“You’re nasty, Max. Very nasty.”

Hilda rushed to her parents and explained the situation. With the help of the other adults still at the party, they got rid of the drink and took the worst of the girls and boys home. None of them seemed to require medical attention. Hilda left the house without a word for Max. She was mad at him. He had endangered everybody. OK, he might have been angry because Ruth had dominated the party, but…How could he be so nasty and mindless? And, did she want to be friendly with somebody like him?

Twin Evils cover11

Link:

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and check the novella out. And please, spread the word!

And on Friday, guest author Eduardo Perellón!

Hi all:

I mentioned that I’m working on a YA series (and I’m in the process of translating it to Spanish) but as an introduction to that I’ve decided to publish (within the next few weeks) a YA novella that I wrote some time ago. It has a touch of the paranormal and a bit of romance although that is not yet evident in the little taster/teaser I enclose.

I hope you enjoy it! I’ll keep you updated on its publication.

And without further ado, here it is:

Twin Evils?

Hilda’s friend, Ruth, was the prettiest and loveliest girl in town. Her blond hair was fine and silky, her eyes blue like sapphires, her mouth red like coral. She would have been chanted by the poets of old if she’d lived in a different time. Ruth was the pride and darling of Yorktown. And she was clever enough, and generous and kind. She had it all.

Ruth had a brother too. Max was her twin, but hardly anybody would have guessed that they were related. He was very tall and thin, his hair was thick, curly and black like coal, his eyes grey like slate, and his mouth had thin lips that hardly ever smiled. He was the black sheep of the family, and Ruth and him were known as ‘the angel and the devil’ by the population.

Hilda had known them both all her life. They were the same age, and, in fact, their families were friendly before they were even born. Their parents used to go out on double dates and they got married on a double wedding. They lived in contiguous houses and it was as if they were all members of the same family. Hilda had always felt that it was her duty to befriend Ruth and Max. The task had been very easy with Ruth, she was friendly with everybody, but Max wasn’t an easy boy. As a child, when they played together, he used to torture animals, insects, fight with other children…Ruth always shied away from him, she couldn’t bear any type of violence, but Hilda wasn’t squeamish, and Max had always assumed that Hilda approved of what he did. She told him many times that she didn’t like his behaviour but he insisted that her words were only a pose. Max was always as nasty as he could be towards his sister. He put dead animals in her bed, maggots in her food, ruined her dresses…Once Hilda stopped him when he was about to set his sleeping sister’s hair on fire. Ruth woke up with the discussion and slapped him when she heard what he was about to do, but he only laughed. No threats from Ruth, no warnings from his parents, no punishment from his teachers made any difference to him.

The summer of the twins’ seventeenth birthday, Max had given everybody a break by deciding to go camping with some other youngsters. They had had two weeks of peace, and the two families had been preparing the twins’ birthday party at ease, in perfect tranquillity.

“Hilda! Hilda!”

“Oh no, he’s back” Hilda’s father, Steph, mumbled under his breath.

“Hilda!”

“Go to see what he wants, before we all end up deaf or mad.” Mandy, Hilda’s mother, ordered.

“All right, all right. I’ll go.”

“Hilda!”

Hilda marched into the garden feeling like a martyr. The sacrifices she had to make to keep the peace! Max was restlessly running up and down his garden. He opened his mouth and began:

“Hi…Oh, you are here.”

Yes, Max. Here I am. Do you always have to be so noisy?”

“Shut up! I must show you something.” He grabbed Hilda by the arm and dragged her over the fence.

“Be careful, will you?”

“Sorry. Come, quick.”

Hilda and Max entered the house through the back door of the lounge, opening into the garden. Hilda said hello in passing to Max’s mother, Eleanor, and his father, Patrick. Ruth was sitting in her room, with the door open.

“Oh Ruth, how…?”

Max pushed Hilda into his room.

“Don’t talk to her. You aren’t here to talk to her. You’ve come to see something.”

“When will you grow up, Max? I’m your sister’s friend too, and…”

“Stop it, please. Look…”

Max switched the lights on. His room was painted in black, walls and ceiling, with strange cabalistic inscriptions and devilish drawings. It was always dark inside. Once he made light, he took his T-shirt off and showed Hilda his back.

“What do you think?”

Hilda was speechless. It was an incredible tattoo. A black eagle, with spread wings, attacking a white dove. The eagle’s beak was dripping blood, and the red colour of the tattoo was very intense, quasi pulsating. The dove had blue eyes and was carrying a branch of wheat. The eagle’s eyes were grey and the wings looked shiny and iridescent. It was an extremely vivid tattoo. And the meaning was too clear for Hilda to be able to ignore it. Max always called Ruth ‘the white dove’. It was horrible.

“Why did you do that, Max?”

“There was a guy incredibly good with tattoos nearby. It’s my own design.”

“I’ve noticed that.”

“Why don’t you like it? Isn’t it good?”

“It’s good. Real good. But, what does it mean?”

“Mean?…Nothing. It’s only a tattoo.”

Max tried his most innocent expression, but it didn’t come natural to him. Not convincing at all.

“I don’t like the imagery.” Ruth said.

“Imagery. Lovely word. I love how you talk, like a book.”

“Bye Max.”

Ruth turned her back on Max and stepped toward the door.

“Wait, wait! I have another tattoo!”

“If it’s like this one I’d rather not see it, thank you.”

“Oh no, it’s very different. Guess where it is.”

Ruth had stopped and turned to look at Max, but shook her head and carried walking.

“I’m not interested in games, Max. I have things to do.”

Max ran to the door to prevent Hilda from leaving.

“Come on…I’ve been away for two weeks and you haven’t even asked me how it was or how I am, or nothing. I’ve missed you, you know? And you don’t even care enough to ask.” He whined.

“You haven’t asked me either. You only came shouting…”

“OK, I’m sorry. I just had to show it to someone or I would have exploded. I haven’t showed it to anybody.”

“Is it a surprise then?”

“Yes, yes. You won’t tell, will you?”

Max and his secrets. Hilda had been selected as his official confidant many years back and she had never managed to get rid of the privilege. Although, Max never quite confessed everything. He always kept something to himself. That made things slightly easier for Hilda. Sometimes. Sometimes it made them worse.

“You’ll have to show your parents. They’ll find out.”

“I will, soon…But keep it quiet in the meantime, OK?”

“Fine.”

“Now, guess where I have the other tattoo.”

Thank you for reading, and of course…feel free to guess…I might or might not reveal the location of Max’s second tattoo…

Ah, on Friday guest author Judith Priay!

JOINT GIVEAWAY WITH MARY MEDDLEMORE

I promised I would be writing about this wonderful giveaway we have organised. WE as in Mary Meddlemore and I. “Who is Mary Meddlemore?” you will ask? Excellent question, as questions go. Mary is a character. And a writer…Or something like that.

Mary is also writing in her blog about the giveaway and the process of setting it up and all. Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s writing as we were both going to post on the same date, so I haven’t seen her post. But if you check, she might explain it more and better…

Here is her blog page:

http://marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

So, what’s the story? Mary and I met through a group of writers. ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). I was happily Tweeting about all kinds of things, but doing a fair amount of retweeting about other writers and the founder of the group (R. Grey Hoover, great man) contacted me and there I was…a member of the group. We have a variety of fora, one being Facebook, where people post about their writing, interesting stuff they’ve come across…you know…(By the way, if you want to check the webpage of the group, here is the link: http://asmsg.weebly.com/index.html   Plenty of useful stuff.) Somehow Mary and I got talking (or messaging), and got on like a house on fire. Yes, we live very far away from each other, in different time zones, completely different climates (luckily for her), and we’ve never set eyes on each other (only our avatars or some pictures) but what does any of that matter? We shared the joys, the frustrations the misunderstandings, the hopes and aspirations, the gossip, the ups and downs, and we enjoyed each other’s companies. If nothing else comes out of this writing thing, meeting Mary and some of the other wonderful people I’ve come across along the way will make it well worth it. (I would add some nice sentimental music here, but you should see how difficult it was to just do a sound post, so…sorry…).

Through chatting about writing we discovered we had published in Amazon around the same time (in October 2012…it seems years now!) and therefore chances for using our free giveaway days were running out. And, hey presto! Light bulb! Why not combine the giveaways? Yes, our writing is quite different, but that should make it far more interesting. Mary was working on her new collection of short stories The Seven Sheep (it’s fabulous, but don’t take my word for it! Download it! It’s free from the 10th to the 14th January!) and wanted to give all her books away. She’s a truly generous soul. I started with my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’ but then thought…I should give the Spanish version away too…And…Maybe we should make it half a dozen, so why not add one of my novellas?

We had some comings and goings and thankfully Mary organised our blog/webpage for the giveaway. Although you can choose to go to each one of the books and get them, why make life difficult for yourself? If you follow the below link, you can click on all the books and download them to your heart’s content. If you’re not in Amazon.com we have the ASIN of the books and they should be available in all Amazon stores (beware of time zone differences.) Not only that. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, Mary has also added the link to download the Amazon PC e-reader App, so you can always read them in your computer.

http://freestuffolgamary.wordpress.com/

And Mary kept going with her writing and editing, and I kept investigating how to promote our giveaway and sending information to Mary (who had sent me information before. We’re like explorers in an alien planet trying to understand the language and laws of this book marketing thing) and started pestering people and posting things on websites…and of course, here…

Now, the time has nearly come. From the 10th to the 14th of January Mary and I are giving away 6 books. Sci-fiction, short-stories, novellas, family sagas, humour, absurd, magical, tears, laughter…Why? Because we love stories, and without stories we’re nothing.

Or as Mary writes in her introduction to The Seventh Sheep:

“Stories cannot be contained. They can be labeled and sorted into categories, but readers read and make of them what they will and so it should be.

Stories have wings. They fly where they want to.

Stories are the soul of mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the story is “intellectual/literary” or just fun, whether it is meant for children or adults etc., all stories contain the same story elements, namely: characters, settings, actions (or non-actions), consequences of actions or non-actions, story moments and a story line etc.

Whether you read just for pleasure or whether you study a story, the story elements invade your being, because your life, is a story too. Stories merely mimic human existence, because being human, human authors cannot think of anything outside their “human” capabilities.

Extraterrestrial intelligence will be elegant, complex, internally consistent and utterly alien.

Carl Sagan in Cosmos

 

Stories bring extra experiences, because when you read, you get to “know” thousands of “characters”. There is no way that you could ever “know” so many “real” people intimately. Thus, reading automatically widens your perspective.

Stories can also bring awareness if you “read/notice ” yourself, or others  or specific familiar circumstances in a story.

Awareness brings the possibilities of change, if it is wanted or needed.

Each story is experienced and interpreted differently by every single reader and so it should be, because you are all unique.

The gifts of stories are immense!”

Readers, here are our stories. Please help us share them with others! If you have any ideas of how to spread the word, please leave a comment and we’ll be on your eternal debt!

And thanks for reading!

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