Posts Tagged ‘contemporary fiction’

I’m almost done with my National Novel Writing Month manuscript, Blood Visions. It’s about Fortuna Cavalieri. After a car crash which nearly claims her life, Fortuna is cursed with a psychic link to evil. When serial killer Brandon Keys goes on his murderous rampage, Fortuna is drawn into the edges of his world like prey to a spider’s web. Every time Keys kills, Fortuna knows. She knows because her sixth sense is activated by evil; she knows because she can see him in what she calls her blood visions. Fortuna is not the only one with a psychic ability. Keys too has been blessed with the second sight since childhood – the ultimate gift for an efficient killer. Here’s an extract of the manuscript which takes place between Fortuna and Keys.

Fortuna headed for her demons. Once again she moved within the red mist and was conscious at some level that this was another vision but different this time. Instead of being taken to his house she was in the midst of the most beautiful countryside she had ever seen. All around was vibrant green with an intensity only Spring can bring. Rolling hills ended in distant blue mountains and a crystal clear sky. The heat of the sun was gentle on the breeze.

She moved towards the nearby lake. At the water’s edge the killer sat on a park bench, as though he’d come out for a stroll that morning to a ready made vista. It was his vision Fortuna was in, not her own, and she approached cautiously.

When she was a few metres away, he spoke. “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted you to see what I can create. In my mind’s eye it is always this…or the blood house; but you’re here today. That’s good.”

“What is this?” She dared not move any closer.

“Oh come on. Come round and face me. I don’t bring my knife to this place.”

She moved to the water’s edge, still keeping her distance.

“Why am I here?” she asked, trying not to be drawn into his games, but wanting to know the significance of the landscape despite herself.

He smiled, a half smile. With him there was no real happiness in any of his expressions – only cynicism and bitterness. “I know what you think of me. I know that you think that I’m a monster but you can see into the monster. What does that make you?”

She began to turn away. “Look if you’ve got me here to play games…I’ve had enough of that. I am nothing like you.”

“No? Let me tell you about this place…It is only good memory I have. Of a spring day when Walter and my ma took me to the river for a picnic. I remember the way the sunlight fell on her hair. Walter even showed me how to bait my fishing hook. I was four years old and he had left me alone…up til then. I remember my ma’s dress, flowing in the breeze. It was one good moment mixed in with a lifetime of bad moments…some recipe huh? Do you know that when I kill all the bad moments go? They take them off me. The bad moments go into them.”

“You are sick. You know that don’t you? And I am nothing like you. I know what you do to them. You torture them and kill them when they have no hope left.”

“Ah, but you are forgetting that I can see into your mind just as you can see into mine, and I see your darkest moments. Your dark moments are what makes you like me.”

Fortuna turned to him. She had nothing to hide and there was defiance in her when she answered him. “Don’t ever presume to know what is in my head…”

But he persisted in his arrogance. “Did you ever think about why your Uncle Pete stopped visiting?”

She looked away from him, and across the water. Overhead a crow cawed. Yes, she remembered her Uncle Pete, her ma’s brother. She remembered a particular night when he had stayed over, a memory so deep that it felt like a dream, difficult to recall, and blurred around the edges. She could see herself as a five year old, shocked and confused, wondering if what was happening was real. She hadn’t thought about this in a long time but the blood visions were forcing her to remember her childhood and she couldn’t shake the picture of her childhood self. What she remembered most was the way she felt, powerless and forced to go headlong into something she didn’t understand and knew was wrong.

Always the memory of her childhood had been easier to forget it. Up until this moment she hadn’t even realised she had been trying so hard to bury it. She sank to her knees, looking at him through anger and remorse. “You know about that memory?”

He nodded. “It is your black moment, the moment that defines you now. Just as my black moments…and this one beautiful moment define me. When it comes down to it, your blackest hour has controlled you all your life. Tell me Fortuna, when was the last time you had a man. Have you ever wondered why your ma can’t stand you, and why your beloved papa was so kind to you. You were decided a long time ago, just as I was and none of it is our fault.”

Fortuna got to her feet, moving a little closer to him. “Let me tell you something now. It is not what happened to us when we were children that makes us who we are. It is the choices we make every day. You choose to take away life to supposedly ease your pain. I choose to find a way to take back my power without hurting or killing anyone…”

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. That’s not how it’s going to be. In time, you’ll see this.”

She began walking away from him, leaving him, the killer, sitting on a park bench overlooking his one beautiful memory. But he wasn’t giving up so easily.

“One day you will be stuck in those black memories forever. That time is coming soon. That’s how it’s going to be. And this,” he said, gesturing at the rolling green hills and lake, “doesn’t change anything. I’m coming for you and I’ll kill you. Like those other girls, you’ll take my black moments too. Your luck is about to run out and mine will be the last face you see before you die.”

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My adult contemporary fiction novel Belonging Places is free to download today only [27 May 2014] via Amazon: http://amzn.to/1glCQyp. Here is a Q&A I did for the Fantastic Indie Authors website during a recent book tour.

What is your book about?

My book is about three women, at different stages of their life. Liliana is just out of university and leaves her dysfunctional life in the city behind for a new start in a small country village. Estelle is so into her career that she forgets she’s a mum too – there’s a huge conflict for her between career-woman and mum. Finally there’s Jill. She’s just buried her husband, her children have left home and the future for her is bleak – her adult children think a retirement home is the best place for Jill, but she has other ideas.

The thing all three women have in common is that they’ve got to find their ‘belonging place’ and that place is within themselves, in their inner knowing about how and where and with whom they should live their lives. Each character embarks on a journey to self knowledge and finds their true path. It’s very much a story that all women wWeston1-7 (1)ill relate to and they will see themselves, or parts of themselves, in the characters. 

What is the genre? 

It’s commercial fiction, but really women’s literature – though I wouldn’t rule out men being interested in the story…and perhaps learning something about the women in their lives!

What inspired you to write this book?

I was going through a rough patch and needed to make some decisions about how I lived my life. I was at everyone’s beck and call – at home and at work, and felt I was being taken for granted. It seemed I was doing everything for everyone else and nothing for myself. I had this deep sense of disquiet, like I knew something was wrong. That feeling that there had to be more…that I was more…led to me writing Belonging Places because I think it is a quest we are all on, men and women, to find our place in this world and know that place is the right place for us.

Will this book be a standalone or part of the series? (If yes, please tell us about the series.)

I’ve left it open, but have called the book Volume 1. I’d love to bring out Volume 2, and tell more stories that are important to women world over. You never know, we may have three new women embarking on self-discovery journeys because I really do think that as women, that’s what we do, we discover and rediscover ourselves at all stages of our lives, and in all situations.

What message would you like to convey with this book?

If you have a feeling of not belonging, don’t shy away from it. Acknowledge it and find out what’s causing that. We only have one life and it’s too short to put up with a situation, a job, a person, or even a partner where you feel you don’t belong. My message is that no matter what it takes, you owe it to yourself to find your belonging place.

What books are similar to this one? 

Some of Maeve Binchy’s books, perhaps Chestnut Street in that it takes ordinary people and puts their lives under a microscope, and we discover that no-one is ‘ordinary’. We all have stories to tell.

Where can readers find your book?

Amazon, ebook and print.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1glCQyp

And go to your particular Amazon bookshop. If you want the print copy, you can get it from Createspace also: http://bit.ly/1nMYZtz

Last year I had an itch that needed scratching. I had been thinking a lot about what it takes to belong; that sense of place and a feeling that says ‘this feels right to me’. And, conversely, the feeling that says ‘this is not right for you; a hundred years could go by and it still wouldn’t be right’. A sense of belonging is a feeling felt at the spiritual level that can’t be ignored, I believe.

I also believe that when something is felt on a spiritual level, and that tug is strong and unwavering, the universe conspires to let you know that there is not only something you must confront, but there is also another path for you to fobelonging places tour bannerllow. These watershed moments set you on a journey back to self.

I have a favourite quote that has been with me for years. It belongs to TS Eliot and around 25 years ago I discovered it, not really understanding its significance. Now I know that it means the journey is always towards self-discovery and back to self.

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.”

And so with something that needed to be said on my chest, I began writing Belonging Places. I broke it into three stories to represent a woman’s life stages: Young Liliana – a girl at odds with the world and moving from the desolate city to a small country town where she finds herself; Estelle the up and coming career woman and mother feeling the tug of war that most working mums confront; and Jill, the elderly lady who loses her life partner and must find her way back to herself and a new life.

These three stories will not be unfamiliar to women, indeed they may have experienced similar circumstances, patterns and, ultimately, decisions. I know I did. But the external journeys these women take are overshadowed by the enormous internal processes they undergo. Through confronting their feelings and finding the courage to change their lives, they find a way through their spiritual crises.

Once I finished writing Belonging Places, I felt much better. The itch had gone and I could look at my characters and, through them, understand my own journeys and decisions over the years. In one way Belonging Places was an intense period of reflection for me that brought with it renewed understanding of what it means to be belong. As a result, I don’t get taken in by smokescreens anymore because in writing this book, like my characters, I have confronted what I deserve, and that is the right to belong and when that is absent, the courage to step forward to find my belonging place.

 

 

Belonging Places is available through Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1qTWEsU, and beginning on 16 April it will be touring selected blogs with Fire and Ice Book Tours. To celebrate the tour I have reduced the Belonging Places ebook to half price for the month of April only. It is also available in print if you prefer to physically ‘read’ a book.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Belonging Places appeared in my Amazon reader’s e-newsletter to which I subscribe. Amazon used my book as the first example of a contemporary ebook readers might find interesting: “Are you looking for something in our Contemporary Fiction eBooks department? If so, you might be interested in these items.” And there was my book, as the first example [and also in the email subject line]. I was ecstatic to have this mention and publicity, so thank you Amazon – you get a thumbs up from me for that unexpected and welcome surprise.

If you would like to contact me, head to the Contact Me tab and get in touch, or leave a comment. And don’t forget to follow my book tour at Fire and Ice Book Tours, http://bit.ly/1hL5lAh

My new book ‘Belonging Places’ examines the universal theme of ‘belonging’, taking the reader on a journey through the eyes of three women – all at various stages of their lives.

“It’s a story that all women can relate to, and offers one answer to the age-old question: where do I fit in; where do I belong?” Maryann says.

Weston1-7 (1) small“It’s very much a healing journey for the reader and is set in real life scenarios. The issues my three central characters face are issues I’ve faced, and the women in my life have faced.”

The contemporary fiction novel tells the story of Liliana, Estelle and Jill. “Liliana Flint-Smith is young and starting out on her own. Leaving a dysfunctional family behind her and with nothing but a university degree in librarianship, Liliana moves to a remote village in the country,” Maryann says.

“Different from everyone else in the town, she must find her place in a society that doesn’t take kindly to strangers. With the help of an old woman who lives in the flat next to her, Liliana begins to find herself and discovers it was never about her changing, but about learning to be herself.”

And then there’s successful career woman, Estelle Wainwright.

“She’s burning up the career ladder and has just made editor at a national women’s magazine. Her husband Joel is also carving out his niche as an architect and, together with son Corey, is the picture of success. Or are they?” Maryann says.

“Estelle is fighting the tension within herself: work and home, career and husband, businesswoman and woman. She then has to navigate through a health crisis that will test the decisions she has made about how she lives her life.”

Our final character is Jill Bridges who’s ageing and struggling to stay afloat after the death of her lifetime partner, Maryann says.

“Her children are busy with their own lives, and she’s facing the prospect of a nursing home. But it’s her independence that makes her life worth living and she’ll be damned if she’ll bow to society’s plans for her,” Maryann says.

“She must find a way to triumph over old age and emerge into a life that still holds meaning.

“These are definitely experiences, challenges and triumphs women face every day. And that’s not to say that men shouldn’t read this book. There’s something in it for everyone, because that sense of belonging that gives us happiness in life is a quest all human beings, regardless of age and gender, are on.”

Belonging Places is available on Amazon:

In print, here;

As an eBook, here.

You can find out more about my books by visiting my website.