Sharing Work In Progress: A Romantic Thriller #NaNoWriMo #amwriting #thriller

 

 

I am soooooooooooooooo making progress this National Novel Writing Month! Three- four years after I originally started this romantic thriller, I’ve gone back to my old manuscript while I wait to hear news back on last romance novel completed last month  ‘Sacrifices’  I’ve sent out to an agent. I have my fingers crossed that I hear good news about representation!  I am happy with where  this  current story ‘In the Name of Love’ is going, I  may even have it done this this April if I stay focused. Here’s a lil’ snippet for you, as always, I have lined up a  cast of characters from all corners of the world,  and different walks of life, with diversity, romance, murder and of course suspense and thrill!

Christina’s body is found, one brutal murder, two suspects, a conviction then a re-trial six years’ later, due to advances in DNA.  Charlotte- Price-Smith  has overturned her conviction and detainment in a London based mental institution following Christina’s murder six years’ later, and a new suspect is found,  but have the police convicted the right person the second time around…even after a re-trial?

This is a romantic thriller with a killer twist! Our leading lady Charlotte,  her love interest Joseph, Detectives and Christina’s best friend Sophie Ngo will take readers on a ride…..

 

Dear Diary,

Something strange is going on. I’ve not heard from Joseph for a couple of days, last saw of  him  was a week ago. It’s now Friday night, normally we’d have plans for the weekend or at least some kind of contact. He’s not answering my texts. If I don’t hear anything I’ll drive past the house and see if his car is there over the weekend, keep an eye on what’s going on. Christina is probably up to something.

CHAPTER THREE: MURDER, MURDER

 

18.00 hours Wandsworth Police Station, south west London.

“It’s  the 10th July 2012. This interview is being carried out in interview room one, the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black, present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape, please confirm your full name?”

“Joseph Andrews.”

“And your date of birth please?”

“6th March 1980.”

“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.” Detective Black gestures to the short bald man in a grey suit to the right of Joseph.

“I’m John Davies, legal representative from Davies and Smith Solicitors, here to protect the rights and interests of Mr. Andrews today.”

“Thank you.”

Detective Black wastes no time starting his full-blown interrogation, for years Joseph has been on his hit list of local criminals to nail. Joseph is smart, and a shrewd business man he managed to keep his ass clean–until now.

“Joseph you’ve been detained, on suspicion of the murder of  Christina Andrews- Campbell. You don’t have to say anything but anything you do say maybe used as evidence against you in a court of law do you understand?”

“Yeah I understand.”

“Joseph please look at this photo can you confirm who this is?”

Detective Black slides a photo across the table of mixed-race female, with her throat slashed from ear to ear, and  multiple stab wounds to her chest, upper arm and stomach. Joseph screws up his face as he looks down at the bloody photo. Detective Black studies his reaction to the photo closely, did he flinch? Show any kind of shock? Or seem as though he’s seen it before– maybe in person if he is her murderer.

“It’s my wife, Christina.”

“How long have you been married to the late Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’

“Three years last February.”

“For the three years have you been faithful to Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’

“No comment.”

“Can you confirm when the last time you saw her alive was?”

“I told you, when you arrested me, I don’t fuckin’ know what happened to her!”

“Mr. Andrews, please just answer the question.”

I take a deep breath, and rest my elbows on the table. I look Detective Black dead in the eye.

“I’ve been away for a few days, I needed time out, the last time I saw her was last Wednesday night just before I left.”

“Why did you need to leave your wife for time out?”

“We were arguing as usual, she pissed me off, I needed some head space.”

“And where did you go?”

“I stayed over at my mum’s.”

“While at your mum’s did you have any contact with your wife?’’

“Yeah, she kept texting me, asking me when I’ll come home.’’

“Did you respond?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Why do you think? I wanted time out I was in no rush to go back.’’

“What were the two of you arguing about?”

“Just stuff, usual things couples argue about.”

“And when you arrived home last night, what happened?”

“I walked into the house, dumped my stuff down then walked into the living room and there

she was on the floor.”

“Roughly what time did you arrive home?”

“Around 8:00 p.m.”

“And what did you do?”

“What do you think I did? I called you lot!”

“Mr. Andrews, who is Charlotte?”

“Just a friend.”

“Did you have more than just a friendship with her?”

 

I think about my response carefully the police have a way of trying to trip you up. I said no comment when asked how faithful I had been to that sorry excuse of a wife of mine. They have my phone and probably worked out exactly what went on between Charlotte and me. Fuck! I should have been more careful, I can’t get out of this one.

“Yeah, yeah okay she…she’s someone I was seeing.”

Detective Black grins at me, he knows he’s onto something now. I eye him from the other side of the scuffed wooden table and await this cocky response.

“Mr. Andrews could you please confirm what you mean?’’

“My bit on the side, we were seeing each other.”

“Did the two of you have a sexual relationship?’’

He knows we’ve had a sexual relationship, the evidence on my phone is enough to confirm we’ve had a sexual relationship. “What do you think?”

“Mr. Andrews if you can please confirm your response to the question.”

I place my head in both  of my hands and run my now sweaty palms over my face.

“Yes, we did.”

“For how long did you have a sexual relationship?”

“A month or so.”

“How did you meet?”

“We know each other from college, we ran into each other on a night out.”

“Does she know you’re married?’’

“Yes, she knows and knew nothing serious could happen. Plus, she’s a crazy fuckin’ bitch it’s her you should be talking to.”

“Mr. Andrews, what gives you the impression she is crazy?”

“She is obsessed, you’ve got my phone read the messages.”

“Did your wife know about your affair Mr. Andrews?”

“No comment.”

 

Shit, my mind races as these pigs place me under the spotlight for almost an hour. For years I’ve conducted all my illegal dealings behind the London’s Metropolitan Police’s back. I’ve rarely found myself on the wrong side of the law, I’ve been too clever for that.

“Did you try to break things off with Charlotte?”

“Yes a few times”

“What was her response?”

“She would cry, bitch and bombard me with texts and calls that kinda thing.”

“Why did you want to break it off with Charlotte? Assuming you had no plans to leave your wife for her, sounds like an ideal situation having them both?”

Staring up at the yellow ceiling I compose myself before I respond. I can hardly be truthful, tell the old bill I had no plans to leave my wife for Charlotte, as I planned to leave them both and start a new life once I pulled off the narcotics deal in Amsterdam. That bitch Christina caught wind of my operation, she blackmailed me with exposure to the pigs if she didn’t get a cut, and join me in my new life in the Caribbean. That was the last thing I wanted. This was part of my attraction to Charlotte. She is the complete opposite to Christina in every way from her looks, to her attitude and motivation in life. She’s the independent type earned her own money, good job, going places…. But she’s strange, her behaviour caught me off guard at times, and she’s a walking chemist with all the pills she popped. Whatever happens I’m not going down for this shit, no way, now she’s dead that’s my ticket into a new life. I rest my gaze on the pigs, ramp up my bravado and pray they don’t smell a rat.

“No, I had no plans to leave Christina for Charlotte.” I lie through my teeth and steel myself for more lies.

“I loved her, she was my wife.”

“Really? So why the affair then Mr. Andrews?”

“Just fun.”

A pang of guilt runs through me at my reference to Charlotte being just fun, truth be known I’d fallen for her and enjoyed her company, but how can one woman be so possessive? I’d ask myself when she was pissed off that I couldn’t meet up with her, or go for dinner as planned. Then there were the mood swings one moment she’d be up, then she’d be in  low level  depression and self- pity.

“So, Mr. Andrews, if you’re not responsible for the murder of Christina Andrews- Campbell then do you know who is?’’

Detective Black stares deeply into Joseph’s large light brown eyes, willing him to answer the question.

“No, I don’t.”

Bullshit, is all that runs through Detective Black’s mind.  He presses on with his interrogation wasting no time or allowing Joseph time to think. Detective Black changes tact, to the direct approach to see what Joseph knows– will he grass anyone up? And at the same time put out a lead for him and his team to follow up.

“When was the last time you saw Charlotte?’’

“About a week ago, I’ve been trying to cool things off a bit, lie low, I had other things on my mind work was busy. All I know is, it wasn’t me, and if you have no hard evidence against me you need to let me go and stop wasting your time and mine Detective.”

“Was Charlotte jealous of Christina? She was after all your wife and the woman you went home to?

         My heart skips a beat, do the old bill have her as a suspect? Is this some kind of trick?  I sit back confidently in my chair and look from one Detective to the other. I hate the poe-poe and I’ve never been one to take sides with them, but I’ve got to get myself out of the spotlight somehow. I think quickly and see this as my chance to get out of the hot seat.

 “Yeah, course she was she’d send threats all the time to me that she’d tell Chris about us.”

“Do you think she’s capable of murder?”

“Like I said she’s one crazy bitch.”

Detective Black smirks. “This interview is terminated at 21.00 hours exactly, Mr. Andrews you will be held pending further investigation here at Wandsworth Police Station.”

“What? Are you lot mad? I’ve got nothing to do with this, that crazy bitch is who you need to talk to not me.’’

“Please stay calm Mr. Andrews, let me handle this” John Davies cuts in.

“Detective, exactly how long do you intend on remanding Mr. Andrews?”  Joseph’s  legal representative shuffles in his seat, and fixes Detective Black with a firm stare over the top of his glasses.  Detective Black does not even bother to meet John’s eye, instead he focuses in on Joseph, and holds his gaze as he responds to John.

“As you know, we can in serious crimes hold a suspect for up to ninety six hours, due to the seriousness of this case I intend to remand Mr. Andrews for the maximum time.’’

 

I’m seething, there is no way I’m going down without a fight. I stay quiet, I sit there staring from one detective to another thinking, planning and plotting my next move to throw these pigs off my scent.

***

 

21:30 hours: Wandsworth Police Station, London.

 

“Today is the 10th July 2012, this interview is conducted in interview room two at Wandsworth Police Station the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape please confirm your full name?’’

“Charlotte Price- Smith”

“And your date of birth please?”

“2nd February 1982.”

“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.”

“Ron Peters from Peters and Field solicitors, representing the rights and interests of Ms. Price-Smith today.’’

“Charlotte you’re detained on suspicion of the murder of Christina Andrews-Campbell, you don’t have to saying anything, but anything you do say maybe used in a court of law as evidence against you do you understand?’’

“Yes”

As Detective Black kicks off his questioning, he eyes the young beauty in front of him tall, blonde hair, piercing green eyes framed by dark lashes and eyebrows, the only sign that she is not a natural blonde. He can’t help but wonder why a decent looking girl like this would get herself mixed up with a hood rat like Joseph Andrews.

“Charlotte, how do you know Joseph Andrews?’’

“We met back in college years ago, ran into each other again at a party.”

“And what was your relationship like with him, back in college?’’

“Just mates.”

“Nothing more?’’

“Not then, no.”

“And now? What kind of relationship have the two of you got?’’

Detective Black watches Charlotte throw back her head and flick her blonde hair from her shoulder, she takes on a confident stance and looks him dead in the eye. She then leans forward over the old wooden table and gets up close to Detective Black. He can feel the sarcasm dripping from her body language and voice.

“He’s my boyfriend of course.”

“He is, you talk in the present tense Charlotte, for how long has he been your boyfriend as you say?”

“A month or so now.”

“Are you aware that he’s married?’’

“Yes, but he always told me he’d leave her when the time is right.”

“Did the two of you ever break up?”

“Never.”

“So, Mr. Andrews, never once tried to break things off with you for any reason?”

“You heard, no, never he loves me. We love each other, no he has never broken up with me or tried to.”

   Gotta ya!  Detective Black smiles, he knows one of the two is lying, he has a feeling it’s Ms. Over Confident sitting in front of him. The evidence he has seen on Joseph’s phone clearly shows heated debates between the pair as Joseph tried to step away from her, and the relationship. He changes pace, he places some evidence in front of her.

“Charlotte could you confirm the mobile phone number that Joseph contracts you on out loud for me please?’’

Charlotte rolls her eyes and pouts at Detective Black.

“07958 654 250.’’

“Perfect, and this is the only number he’d ever contact you on?”

“Yes.’’

“Charlotte take a look at this print out of text messages sent between your number and Joseph Andrew’s, it would appear that Joseph had in fact tried to break things off with you.” Detective Black slides four A4 sheets of paper with text messages printed out, from both suspect’s phones. Charlotte snatches up the paper and flushes.

“You were saying Charlotte? The two of you never broke up. Joseph Andrews never once tried to break things off with you?”

“He never meant it, he was just messing around.”

Detective Black resists the urge to push her further on this point, the evidence contradicts what she’s already said, he is satisfied–for now.

“Did it not bother you at any point being involved with a married man?  Did his wife ever suspect anything?’’

“No, like I said he loves me.’’

“Do you know what she looks like?’’

“Yes.”

“Charlotte do you know who this is in the photo?”

Detective Black slides the same photo he showed to Joseph across the table.

 “Yeah it’s her.”

Detective Black sits up in his chair he registers the bitter response to his question, the way Charlotte dismissed her, there was no emotion from the disturbing sight shown in the picture the forensic team took of Christina the night she was killed.

“Where were you on July 8th, what did you do that day?’’

 

I think back to two days ago, where was I? I don’t know exactly how much the police know.

“I went to work, then the gym and came home.’’

“What gym did you go to?’’

“Fit Bods in Bromley.”

“Around what time did you arrive and leave?’’

“Probably about 4:30 pm I arrived, and left around 6:30 pm.” Detective Black makes a mental note to check out the gym for an alibi.

“When was the last time you saw Joseph?”

“Last week, Wednesday night.”

“What did the two of you do?”

“We went to dinner and then made love… all night, he stayed at mine.”  Charlotte responds in a sarcastic tone, with a full blown smirk.

“Where did you go for dinner?’’

“He took me to a posh restaurant on Fulham Road, the Tiger’s Head nice Thai place you should try it, Detective.”  I lean forward and fix Detective Black with a lustful look, I’m just messing with him for fun. I watch him shuffle in his seat across the table.

“Charlotte who paid for dinner? And how did they pay?’’

“He paid, credit card.”

 Bingo, Ms. Over Confident has given me enough information for one day to cross check, already she looks suspicious her story contradicts Joseph’s in places, her body language shows no remorse for her role she played in the affair with Joseph.

“Did everything seem normal with him, last Wednesday over dinner?”

“Yes, he told me he loves me, and wants a divorce so we can get married.”

Detective Black looks Charlotte up and down crossing and uncrossing her legs under the table, twirling her hair around her finger and smiling at him. Suspect #1 for sure. Detective Black’s deep clipped voice abruptly cuts in. “This interview is terminated at 22.30 hours.”

“If you’ve not charged me you need to let me go, I know my rights.”

“Correct Charlotte we’ve not charged you, however we have the right to remand suspects in serious crimes, in your case I’d say make yourself comfortable you’ll be here pending further investigation.”

Detective Black stops the tape recording and stands up, eager to deposit Ms. Over Confident in the reception area for the paperwork to be done, and crack on with this investigation.  He smells a rat– a big one.

                                                                      ***

Three hours later I’m hunched over my desk pouring over the dozens of text messages exchanged between my two suspects. I have no doubt in my mind one of them is guilty if they hadn’t worked together to conspire, and carry out the murder of Christina. I’ve already directed my team on what leads to follow up, a drop-in call on Joseph’s mother to verify the young man’s whereabouts following his departure from the Andrews- Campbell home, further analysis of both suspect’s mobile phone usages, especially around the date and time of Christina’s murder. Tomorrow morning Fit Bods Gym will be the first point of call, to verify Charlotte’s whereabouts, and the Thai restaurant she claimed she and Joseph dined at would take a hit also.

I’ve got ninety three hours left in counting to nail someone with Christina’s murder. I consider myself a fair man, I like to check everything out in detail, it matters when it comes to presenting a case to the Crown Prosecution Service, hit ‘em with the evidence they can’t turn away is my saying.

Following the initial interview with both Joseph and Charlotte there are holes in both suspect’s stories, contradiction over the type of relationship that they have or had depending on who you believe. Not to mention a big question mark over why Ms. Over Confident decided to state that the pair had never broken up.

***

I’m a good girl the kind of girl you’d be friends with, take home to your mum for Sunday dinner– I don’t belong here. The confinement of these four walls and brown stained toilet pan is not something I can to get used to.

I sit, chain smoke, and contemplate my story for Detective Black. Sure, I may have exaggerated the truth over the kind of relationship Joseph and I have, yes, he’s tried to break up with me… I know he never meant it. We are made for each other, he just could not see it, she got in the way forever on his back about money, what time he’d be home. She never understood him like I do, and there was no way I was going to let him go. Not now we’ve come so far. I’ve invested in him–in us, waiting patiently for him to leave her I wasn’t then, and I’m not now prepared to lose out. Back in the day, she was always his fall back no matter how many other girls he dated or messed around with,  he’d go running back to her, she was the magic pussy back then and it pissed me off that she still  is or  was.

Christina and I were not exactly friends, we tolerated each other, to her I was the token middle class white girl that the boys would pay attention to. Before I revamped my looks an went blonder, my naturally dark raven coloured hair, striking green eyes and curves were what drew them in. She herself was a looker. We spoke in passing only. She was naturally Ms. Popular and decided when, where and how often we spoke back then. I was no real competition for her, but she always paid attention to me, I could tell.

Whenever Joseph and I spoke she’d look me up and down a silent warning to look but don’t touch. When Joseph and I started seeing each other all these years later I’d remember those days, when I was an outsider and how she’d look me up and down and laugh. Who’s looking and not touching now bitch?  I’d think to myself with Joseph laid up in my bed, eating my breakfast I’d prepared for him, as she was unable to manage anything but a sandwich when it came to cooking, according to Joseph. Now she’s dead, and I’m in the spotlight, but at least I still have Joseph.

***

I stay off the radar when it comes to the law, police in my view are the lowest of the low, they profile and stereotype men like me every day. People think it’s just African – American men who are prey to police. They are dead wrong, here in London, it’s no better just because they don’t carry guns and can’t bear arms against us, don’t mean the situation isn’t as bad. Now they wanna suspect me of murder, and probably dig up God knows what else as well, start asking questions over my “legitimate business dealings.”

Christina, was the biggest mistake of my life, I should never have married her.

Three hours in this cell has already shown me that the thug and prison life are not for me, there’s no way I’m going down for this no way. I’ll do whatever it takes.

***

 

12 hours later:

Gentlemen, on the 8th July 2012 Christina Andrews-Campbell was murdered, she was stabbed, strangled and had her throat slit, it was a pretty violent murder. She was married to Joseph Andrews who was also having an affair with Charlotte Price- Smith.”

I pause and look around at the team eagerly taking notes, as I point to the picture of Christina on the whiteboard.

“Here we have Joseph Andrews thirty-one years old, raised in one of south London’s roughest districts.  He has a history of dabbling in narcotics, but we’ve never been able to pin anything on him, the lucky shit, he knows how to run his businesses well.”

“Here we have Charlotte Price- Smith thirty years old born and raised in the leafy suburbs just outside of south London- Bromley by ‘mummy and daddy’, she’s a paediatric Nurse at Lewisham Hospital and is the other woman Joseph’s involved with romantically, and sexually.”

Both suspects could have possible motives for murder. Andrews wanted to leave his marriage for the other suspect possibly, Price- Smith may have been the jealous other woman, this of course needs to be proven for both suspects. So, what have you got for me?”

I take a seat around the large conference table and look around at the team for answers, I want them and fast. PC Browne speaks up first.

“Sir Joseph’s alibi can be confirmed he called round to see his mother, her statement confirms he did arrive at her home a few days before Christina’s murder, and remained with her up until his arrest.”

“Okay, could she confirm his time of arrival and his behaviour?’’

PC Browne pulls out and flips open his black note book, and reads out Ms. Andrew’s statement.

“He arrived a few days ago in the late evening distressed, he stayed with me, during the time he was here he seemed calm but withdrawn over his constant arguments with Christina. This is her statement sir.”

“Okay so, he’s telling the truth so far, what else?”

“Sir, we searched the flat Charlotte currently rents and found a handful of diaries she’d kept over the last year, we also found a collage that she’d put together with dozens of pictures of Joseph hidden away, antidepressants and various other mood stabilising medication.”

I look up and a smile breaks out across my face.

“Now we’re talking, what’s in the diaries?”

“A quick glance showed us a lot of personal thoughts and feelings around her relationship with Joseph, how she disliked his wife, talk of the kind of future she wants with Joseph that kind of –a thing’’

“They’ve been seized for evidence?’’

“Yes sir, of course.”

“And the meds? You need to find out what they are for, contact her GP get her medical records up and find out what she’s so depressed about.”

“Yes sir”

“All right, good job Browne.” PC Seller cuts in.

“Sir, we went to the gym to verify Charlotte’s alibi, the manager on shift was not around so we have the CCTV tape, and a record of her usage at the gym for this month.”

“Excellent, I want you to watch the tape let me know what you find.” “Yes sir.”

“Sir, we checked out the restaurant in Fulham Charlotte said she and Joseph went to when they last saw each other, there was no reservation so it was hard to tell if the story is true. We have the restaurant’s CCTV tape for the full week of the date Charlotte gave.”

“Excellent, with no reservation for dinner the CCTV will show if they did or did not enter the restaurant at all that week, watch it and report back.’’

My team have done good so far, we have more evidence to cross check. I stand up and walk over to the whiteboard and face them.

“Okay, fifteen hours have passed us, team A. find out what you can about the relationship with Joseph from the diaries and get a profile on her, contact the GP, we’re looking for evidence that would support a motive for murder, got it?’’

“Team B. interview Joseph again, find out how the affair started, double check the date in Fulham he and Charlotte had, when they last saw each other and when he last saw Christina alive. Check out the story on the credit card payment at the restaurant in Fulham, and watch the CCTV tape from the restaurant and let me know what you find. Everyone got that?”

“Detective Jones, you’re with me, we’re gonna pay a visit to Charlotte’s parents and interview her. Gentlemen, we’ve had a total of fifteen hours including the three hours the suspects have been in custody on this already, we have twenty- one left to nail one or both of them with something, let’s get to work.”

As his team disappear and set off to work on their allocated areas, Detectives Black and Jones huddle around the whiteboard looking at their suspects, their ties are loosened and they sip cool water deep in thought.

“What’s your gut tell you about these two?’’ Detective Black turns to Jones for his opinion. “Something’s definitely off with them, she clearly thinks they are a couple and have more than he thinks they do. Then there’s her diaries.”

Jones shakes his head and takes a long sip of his water, not taking his eyes away from Charlotte’s photo he continues.

“Shows you just how much she’s into this guy, she wants him for herself.”

“Hmm, you think she done it?’’

Detective Jones, pauses before he responds, his eyes fix on both suspect’s mug shots.

“Could be either of them they both have strong motives, we see what the diaries have to say if it puts her more in the frame than him.  If she’s twisted the story about her whereabouts and the dinner date with Joseph then she’s toast, unless something crops up on our guy.”

“Maybe they worked together?”

“Strong possibility there needs to be a link made.’’

“Well, we’ve got twenty one hours let’s head over to Bromley drop the bad news on mummy and daddy that their little girl’s a prime suspect in a murder investigation.”

Detective Black pats Jones on the back and glances at his watch, it’s 10:15 a.m. the two men leave the meeting room and head over to south east London’s pretty suburbs.

 

Thank you for reading! I am hard at work completing this project. Sometimes, it’s good to go back to your old work with a fresh mid-set, and thirst for writing. I hope all those writers who have taken part in National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo are making great progress. Let’s get a project completed all of us!

 

 

 

 

 

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New Release: ‘Sketch’ By Didi Oviatt ( YA Thriller Genre) @didi_oviatt #CreativiaPub

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Sketch cover

Wow! Talk about cover love! I am so happy to reveal this unique cover of upcoming book by Didi Oviatt, Called Sketch. Today, I also have a sneak peek for you, so be sure to read on!

Sketch

Expected Publication Date: June 2019

Genre: YA Thriller/ Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Creativia

When the body of the local girl, Misty Crawl, is found dismembered in an underground bunker, the town is thrown into a whirlwind of panic and speculation. Times aren’t exactly smooth sailing with a depression in full swing. The spaced out community of farmers pull together as one, trying to uncover the guilty party.

Thrown smack in the middle of such chaos, is a group of teens. They’re known troublemakers, but have good hearts. Although they’re innocent, the local law enforcers believe otherwise, and the true killer is lurking far too close for comfort. Will the four be able to uncover the truth before one of them pays the price for Misty’s death? Or will the brutal killer strike again, attacking the heart of the four?

*Sketch is a young adult psychological thriller. It’s a quick easy read, appropriate and gripping for mid-teens and up, with no sexual content and some bloody gore. Parent’s be advised.

Excerpt

As soon as Steven’s dad, Robert Smith, pulls down the road, they look mischievously at one another and then take off in a sprint down the steps into his basement. Steven’s always wanted to know what’s locked away down here. His father told him years ago that it was just a room full of old newspapers. But, Steven’s always known there has to be more to this dingy looking door all locked away. It doesn’t take Chloe long to pick the lock. She’s getting better and faster at it with every lock she opens. The door creaks as it swings open, and there it is.

“Holy shit,” gasps John.

“This is the best day of my life,” says Michael.

“Look at the dust on all this stuff. I’ll bet this door hasn’t been open in years! No one will even notice if we take it!” adds Chloe.

Steven whispers in fear, “I don’t know guys, my dad will kill me if he finds out.”

“No he won’t, Red, I can take him,” jokes Michael.

Staring back at them from the wall to wall metal storage shelves are two small crossbows and an open chest of arrows. Along with old war paint, hatchets, a couple machetes, rope, and one box of newspapers setting on the floor.

“What the hell was my dad doing with this stuff?” Steven asks, more to himself than the others.

Steven’s dad isn’t an adventuress man, and aside from the yearly deer and occasional bear he shoots, he doesn’t even like to get out and do much.

“The bears are getting out of control around here,” and, “we gotta’ have meat to survive,” is his logic for hunting.

He doesn’t enjoy hunting as a sport like the majority of other men and even women in town. It’s more of a chore for him. Which is only one step away from insanity, in Steven’s point of view. Hunting is Steven’s favorite thing to do with his dad, aside from throwing a football.

“Who cares why he has this stuff!?” John says, always the planner of the group. “Let’s just take it now and hurry, in case he forgot something and has to come back home. We don’t want to get caught carrying it all out of your house.”

They grab as much as they can lift and head straight for the woods. Distracted by all the cool things, they don’t even bother to glance at the newspapers in the box on the floor.

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About the Author

Didi's Pic

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Sketch, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, Justice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.

Didi can be found on her Website/Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly AMAZON!

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Book Review: 3 stars – Willow #2 (Romantic Comedy) by Daphne Hargrow

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Publication Date: February 27th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Romantic Comedy

Length: 256 Pages

Blurb

How does a woman enjoy the company of a man without committing to a long-term relationship? Easy, love him for ninety days and leave him.

Willow gave up on love a long time ago, but she hasn’t given up on sex. So, to keep her chakras aligned and life force flowing, she abides by her tried-and-true rule: love him for ninety days and leave him. Consequently, she can feed her body while protecting her heart.

Willow’s practice of purposeful detachment serves her well until she sets her sights on Kendall’s friend Josh. Even though Josh expresses interest in Willow, he wants a more traditional relationship than she’s willing to give.

Despite their apparent differences, the universe seems to have other plans for the couple as their lives become increasingly intertwined. When Willow finally decides to follow the universe’s lead, she’s betrayed by her ninety-day rule and must rethink her life plan or face the future alone.

 

Book Review – 3 stars

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Thank you to R&R Book tours for a free Author Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I recommend this book to those who genuinely like romantic comedies,  as I was reading through there were some moments that I found amusing, and at times did more than turn the corners of my lips into an amused smile. I don’t often read this genre,  but I do enjoy it. The last book I did read in this genre well over a year ago (written by a man too!) really made  me want to read more romantic comedies. I was drawn to the blurb of this book and genre as I thought, ‘this sounds funny’ and also it reminded me of the movie Act Like a Lady , Think Like a Man with the 90 day rules, in reverse!  Overall, it is well written, some areas are amusing, and the writing goes in many directions with the plot. That said it took me one month to read less than 250 pages, I struggled a tiny bit at times to connect…I closed the book, reflected for a few days and settled on 2.5 – 3 stars based on my reading experience, and the story itself. While it was an okay reading experience, some stories call you more than others, I kept reading as I did want to see how it ended up, by the end I had three main areas that I found a little difficult  1. the story line 2. reality 3. the main female character herself…. here goes! ( I do recommend this book to romantic comedy lovers to check out though).

Story line & Reality; Willow is thirty, and has sworn off love due to a bad experience maybe ten years ago with an ex, but is happy to have sex with guys for just 90 days. To cut a very long story short there is a family gathering coming  up a wedding.  This messes with her rules, her mother does not want her to attend alone, as her grandmother will nag her ( the mother) and Willow for being a ‘spinster’. To not rehash the story or give spoilers, basically Willow’s mother tells her grandmother she has a boyfriend, a man they both know to stop her nagging.  This puts Willow in a ‘situation’ as you can imagine. As she moves on from this guy, the mother tells the grandma she has a new man, which of course Willow does not. At the family gathering Willow is forced to ‘act’ with the guy for the sake of what her grandmother will think. The  guy has no idea about Willow’s rules either.

Hmmm I’m a mother and I tried to imagine telling my mum, (my son’s gran) that he has a girlfriend who she  knows, to shut her up and stop her nagging him and me about him being single. I also tried to imagine my mum telling my gran, that I have a boyfriend to shut her up too.  As I was reading I found it a little hard to imagine any mother including myself, putting their child in this situation for the sake of  trying to stop ‘nagging’ over their child being single. I had a few other areas of the story line that I found hard to connect with.

Reality:  The romance genre is battered for having stories that are unrealistic, or ‘ insta-love’ between characters.  I don’t mind a bit of insta-love as a reader or as a writer either, but the reality of  it is important. The guy Willow’s drama surrounds is a man she met a year ago, at another wedding, slept with and never saw  or heard from him for a year- he never called her. Then, one year later they meet, have sex a few times,  circumstances throw them in each other’s circle, then all of a sudden (a matter of weeks maybe) ‘he loves her’,  she does not love him, but is pushed to tell him she does in order for the drama to settle.  I found the element of reality around their relationship as f*ck buddies vs love, and Willow being pushed a little hard to connect with too. Based on reality of not seeing someone for one year, having sex a few times and all of a sudden, it’s love.

Main character: ahhhh Willow…. she came across as a free spirited girl from a wealthy background, who smokes a lot of weed which gets her into trouble, and blames her need for sex on her ‘chakras’, she meditates to detach herself from men. I just could not connect with this chick or her motives.

This is just my experience as a reader, but I do recommend you check out this book and series if you really dig romantic comedy, don’t mind insta love, and Willow sounds like someone you’d find amusing. Final thoughts 2.5 -3 stars, there are areas that made me laugh, a little, the story has many different dynamics to it to keep you reading.  However, reality, time frame, and character development are areas that could be developed a tiny bit for me to of had a 4- 5 star reading experience. 

I do wish this author a lot of success with her series and hope she finds the perfect readership for her work. Romantic comedy lovers check her out!

Meet the Author

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Daphne Hargrow is a romance writer, avid reader, and novice yogi. She has also published a few young adult novels under a different name. When Daphne is not writing, thinking about writing, or reading about writing, she watches YouTube conspiracy videos and dreams of the day when she, too, can join the ranks of the Illuminati.

Author Website https://daphnehargrow.com/

Bad Reviews- In My View They Ain’t So Bad! #MFRW

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So it’s Monday and like clockwork I woke up at 7.00a.m after snoozing the alarm a few times, with a list as long as my arm, with things I want to complete today, in order to have a productive writing day. For one we’re one week into National Novel Writing Month, I’m participating this year, while I have 20,000 words down I’m still not quite happy with all of it, I have emails to respond to, one half of a story for The Suspenseful Collection #2 to write…. before tomorrow!  And let’s not forget the ‘day job writing’ also… I’m a translator by day!

Waking up to this list,  I knew today would be busy, right on cue my five year old son moseys into my room, jumps under the covers…”mama, I’m sick.” I sigh, roll my eyes, peel his warm five year old body off me and look him in the eye, then ask what’s wrong? He  holds his legs in the air like a tent under the covers. When he was born he had complications with his legs, now it’s fine but  I take his complaints seriously. I roll over thinking ” no school looks like today’s a sick day then, some much for productivity.”

It’s lunch time, what is he doing as I write this writing response?  Dancing and singing (rather loudly) to the Lion King movie, before that it was Frozen the movie. What else has he done today, given me firm instructions to leave my desk, to play kick the ball in the garden , attacked the washing line then ran around the house with my bra on his head, pretending he’s a “pirate of the Caribbean.” Clearly, there is nothing wrong with the little shit, boy… whoops sorry. He just fancies a day off to watch Disney all day, and disrupt his mama!

So I may as well do a writing prompt as it’s clear I won’t get to focus on any manuscripts until this evening after bed time…. sighs #shoutoutallparents.

 Bad Reviews, How They Can Help?

So bad reviews? The question  and writing prompt this week is how to overcome them. In all honesty, I don’t think bad reviews are really that bad as you grow as a writer. You soon learn that you can’t, should not try to, and DO NOT EVER want to try to write to please everyone, it’s impossible. If you do that, you’ll lose who you are as a writer,why YOU WRITE and you’ll have no idea of who you actually please- your target market and actually create sales, and a readership.

I also say this as I personally feel as a writer you get to a point where a bad review, you realise does so much more than make you feel bad if you have done the best you can on your work. 1. a review is a review whether good or bad, and sometimes the odd 1 star or someone not feelin’ your work shows a genuine picture or balanced picture. 2. a bad review can cause other people to pick up your book, out of curiosity anyway. How many times have you read reviews on somethings you wish to purchase, or a new product you wish to try and noticed the odd bad one or less positive review but decided ‘I think I want to give this a try, and see for myself.’ 3. it can also allow you to see what someone did not enjoy, genuinely as  long as they are not just on a bitchfest for no good reason.

So… how could you overcome a bad review?

I feel there  is the difference between a ‘moaning’ review and a genuine less positive review that’s more like ‘ this is critique that’s useful.’ I also feel it’s our job as a writer to weed out the two. If you can do this, that’s half the job of ‘overcoming’ a bad review. If the person is just going on, and on, and on, and on about why they hated your work with no real depth to it just…. just “hatin”’ on your work, disregard it and see that they are ‘moaning’. Instead pay attention to those who seem to be more realistic in their less positive review, and see what’s of use for you to know. Even then, take what’s helpful and leave the rest and focus on writing the next book.

Lastly, try  recognise if you have just sadly attracted the ‘wrong reader’ I hate to say this, sometimes it happens. It has happened to me, and I have also been the wrong type of reader for other books. This is when the book calls you,  the cover, blurb, genre whatever…you dive in and the connection is not there. If you can recognise within less positive reviews if this is ‘the wrong kind of reader, not someone you’d hope to attract or genuinely  a target reader’ for your work, this helps you to overcome bad reviews also. It is also helpful to define for  yourself as a writer who is, potentially could be, and definitely is not a target reader for you. Within the less positive reviews.

This is my honest approach to this subject that so many of us writers lose sleep over… a bad review pifff… I don’t allow it to bug me out so much these days. I take what I need and leave the rest, and know that it’s impossible to please all, and I would not ever want to, how the hell do I stand out if I do that?

Take what’s helpful, leave the rest. Just like when your work is rejected by a publisher, or an agent or an editor requests your work …but asks you to make what you would call major changes….that you’re not really feeling. Leave it if it does not help or changes your work too much in your view in a way you’d not really want it to. There will be someone out there that will say ‘yes, gimmie that’ as it is, you just have to find them.

Lastly, don’t ever lose your confidence over a bad review, once you develop that thick skin, this is impossible to happen anyway. But on the way to getting to this place of thick skinned and unflappable, don’t beat yourself up if someone did not connect, as remember you write for those that do connect.

 

New Romance Series by Tara Gallina @TaraGallina

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About the Book

Title: Risking Forever

Author: Tara Gallina

Genre: New Adult Romance

Risking Forever: Vol 1 (The Forever Series) by Tara Gallina

My best friend has been obsessed with Sebastian since our freshman year in college. She wants him to herself, which is fine by me. He’s a paycheck, a means to an end goal. He’s temporary. But he’s also tempting—the way he looks at me, the things he says, the way he touches me… If I’m not careful, I might do something I’ll regret. ~Ainsley Belle

THE FOREVER SERIES
At twenty, Ainsley knows it’s time to follow her own dreams and not the future her that was planned for her—a future she never wanted. Losing her job couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Sebastian Gianni isn’t the ideal boss, but he has a position to fill and Ainsley is desperate. The sexy twenty-two-year-old comes from money, owns a successful business, and graduates from college in three months. He has his life together in a way Ainsley could only dream.
No wonder her best friend is obsessed with dating him. Even his ex-girlfriend is determined to get him back, although threatening him seems like the wrong approach. Ainsley would be a fool to fall for the guy, too.
By no means, should she trust him. He has more secrets than anyone she knows, which makes her wonder if the mafia rumors about him are true. It doesn’t matter that he’s a good listener, and sweet and protective at times. That playful flirty side he shares with her alone means nothing. Right?
When a kiss turns into a secret romance neither can give up, Ainsley learns the truth about Sebastian’s corrupt family and why his ex-girlfriend won’t go away. A future together is near impossible and comes with a risk that could get them both killed—or give them everything they’ve ever wanted.

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Meet The Author

 

Tara Gallina author of Risking Forever: Vol 1 (The Forever Series)

Tara Gallina grew up breathing the salty air in a small town near Clearwater Beach, Florida. The sun and sand were her playground, bathing suits and jean shorts her go-to wear.

After moving to Orlando, FL with her hubs, she left the workforce to enjoy motherhood and rekindled her love of writing. While romance is one of her favorite genres, she writes young and new adult and has a soft spot for retellings.

She has two furry writing companions who often steal her seat when she’s working: a mini shih-poo named Bella, and an exotic cat named Tigerlily but who answers to Kitty because the menfolk in the house like it better. Speaking of kitties, she is obsessed with Hello Kitty, has a pink office, thinks everything is better with sparkles, freezes in temperatures below seventy, and is happiest when visiting local hotspots like Disney World or Harry Potter with her family.

 

 

Links

Risking Forever is a serial novel and 1 of 3 volumes in The Forever Series.

Risking Forever: Vol 1 amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQ99MGF/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Daring Forever: Vol 2 amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NTRXP99/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

Claiming Forever: Vol 3 amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NV3R422/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

 

www.taragallina.com

https://www.instagram.com/tagallina/

https://twitter.com/TaraGallina/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/Tara_Gallina

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tara-gallina

https://www.pinterest.com/taragallina/

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Book Review: Justice For Belle by Didi Oviatt A Well Deserved 5 Stars @didi_oviatt #CreativiaPub

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Okay, let’s get straight to it a lot of you probably know that this author is not only my co-author, but also a girlfriend of mine. Before anyone thinks ‘of course Kim will give her five stars’, let me tell you this is an objective review, removing the fact that this author I have a professional and personal friendship with.  If I ever read anything from this author that I was not feelin’ , I’d not review it, and let her know why. (She would probably do the same to me, and one star my ass too).

I am sad I missed our chance to Skype today, so I could praise her in person.  But I emailed and told her how proud I am of her, that one day she will be nominated for and win an award in the suspense category, mark my words it will happen! A best seller is great but that’s just financial praise, to be nominated  in your category for  your work  alone can reduce a writer to tears,  and really keep you going with your writing, beyond the money for a best seller.  I will say this is the best I have read of her independent work, she is talented, creative and a joy to work with.  I am proud to have an author like this rep the suspense category GO DIDI!!!!!

 

R&R Book Tours

Book Review: Justice For Belle 5 Stars

Thank you to R&R Book Tours for a free author review copy, in exchange for an honest review of this suspense and thriller novel.

I’m not one for spoilers, y’all know this so I won’t rehash the story line for you, but what I will say is, it is rather original and unusual. The female lead is actually a best selling author- a one time hit wonder. Her inspiration came from a crime she ‘committed’ while young. It never left her, the experience and the ‘thrill’ of the crime. Anywhoo… she crosses paths with who she thinks could potentially be her Mr. Right, no this is not a romance story in the slightest. But what I love is that there is an element of chemistry between the lead male and female. As I was reading JFB, the word I would use is I was very ‘intrigued’ by the story line. I was like ‘what? An author… murderer… and she’s about to do what??’ So naturally, that kept me reading.

As I was reading I wanted so desperately to find out if this female lead would really go through with the ‘plan’, in order to turn herself from a washed up writer into a best selling author again. Hmmm, no spoilers from me! Then as the story unfolded for me, it was the ending that pushed up that 4.5 to 5 stars, because it was so unexpected!! The author really did an excellent job at leading me to suspect certain things would happen, then they did not, then something else happened. Then, the author did what she is very good at (if you have read Aggravated Momentum her first suspense novel) you’ll know, that this author is good with the plot twists, that make you open your mouth, close it, then widen your eyes in a haste to turn the next page. The ending was for me really unexpected, and then the connection between the female lead and the male lead drops…. then the epilogue was like… ‘what??, oh Mrs. Oviatt!! Really OH WOW’… then you get the ‘wow’, I liked that story feeling.

This author writes  Sci-Fi also, and  I have not read one of her books in this genre. However, her suspense and thriller writing style is quick paced, she does not mess around, you will be drawn in. She also is good with creepy characters, and building on their personality disorders. She also is a bit partial to swearing,  a bit of sex too ( not so much here but in her first novel) so, if this freaks you out skip her, and save your damn 1 star review for someone who really deserves it.

I never found any plot gaps, I hate that I really do. When it’s just unrealistic or things don’t match up in the writing.  JFB is well written in my view.

The only area I would say I would have loved development on, and this is because I believe  know that this author is capable of it is, I would have loved to know more about Belle, also the female lead’s actual history. I also would have loved to have seen the ‘court room action’, or a trial over  the conviction at the end played out.  And what about the male lead?? I say this because I know she can write a good court room thriller scene.  That said, who knows there could be part two stored on her lap top and  I need to shut up…. oh the suspense. This for me could have heighten my experience, that said JFB is still a great read, unexpected and not a ‘predictable’ suspense/ thriller.

Somebody, nominate her for an award in the suspense category one day, the way she is going, she deserves it. From reading two of her I think possibly three suspense books so far, I am a girlfriend, co-worker and a fan. Great work Mrs. Oviatt.

Blurb:

Ahnia, has a very dicey past, one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out. She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone and left to question her own sanity. Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous business move be a success? Or, will Ahnia find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin? In this nail biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem… and no one is truly safe with those they trust.

Pre-Order/Purchase Link

 Read a excerpt from the book here.

Meet The Author

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For MayleeAggravated MomentumJustice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.

Didi can be found on her Website/BlogGoodreadsFacebookTwitterInstagram and most importantly AMAZON

Didi Oviatt

 

 

New Release: ‘Justice for Belle’ by Didi Oviatt @Didi_Oviatt #CreativiaPub

Book Cover (1)

 

Blurb:

Ahnia, has a very dicey past, one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out. She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone and left to question her own sanity. Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous business move be a success? Or, will Ahnia find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin? In this nail biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem… and no one is truly safe with those they trust.

Pre-Order/Purchase Link

 Read a excerpt from the book here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her  thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, Justice for Belle, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, sun-bathing in the desert heat, along with watching the relaxing dance of a campfire plays an important part of her day-to-day lifestyle.

Didi can be found on her Website/Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly AMAZON

Didi Oviatt

 

 Read a excerpt from the book here.