Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Cover Reveal Enigma II Fighting The Man

Book I and II Free for short period on Smashwords


When first published by the amazing Red Haircrow we used one of my own paintings of the inimitable Silver as the cover
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When the sequel Enigma II Fighting the Man was released Red designed the amazing cover for it, which I am very fond of
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When I got myself off my backside and got Book III Friends and Lovers ready for publishing Red suggested a revamp of the current covers before the reveal of the Book III one. So he started by designing a stunning new cover for Book I
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This was a definite improvement on the first cover, and I thought it fitted well enough with the Book II cover - until I saw Red's ideas for the new one. So...here goes. This is the brand new cover of Enigma II Fighting The Man
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Of course, the model can't encapsulate the fool wonder of Silver, he's much closer and suggest one of Silver's greatest loves and skills - his dancing.

If you are interested in reading Enigma I and II, they are currently free in the lead-up to the release of Book III on 6th December and for a short while after. So, if you haven't got to know Silver and River yet, or if you want to take advantage of the beautiful new covers then head on over to Smashwords and pick up your FREE BOOKS. You won't regret it.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Boy Behind the Window Chapter Ten: A Trip to Town


Ace dressed quickly in t-shirt and jeans, and hurried downstairs. There was no one in the hall, so he headed to the kitchen. The smell of coffee stirred his stomach and he went straight to the percolator.
“Why don’t you sit at the table, darling?” Mrs Richmond headed him off smoothly and directed him to sit.
“I’m perfectly capable of making myself a cup of coffee,” Ace grumbled.
“Why do we have to wait until Ace has coffee?” Logan protested, then subsided. Ace could imagine his mother giving Logan a stare. Other people had talked about mothers’ stares although he had, of course, never seen one himself. He’d never seen anyone’s stare.
“Now, you’re sure you’re up to this,” Mrs Richmond said, setting a cup of coffee on the table in front of Ace, and directing his hand to the mug. “It’s a big responsibility, taking care of your brother outside.”
Ace’s ears pricked up. What did she mean? Oh God, she wasn’t going to send him out into the world with Logan and Nick, was she? What would they do to him without his mother there to temper them.
“What do you mean?” he asked sharply. “I don’t want them to take care of me. I don’t need anyone to take care of me. I don’t want to go out with them.”
“Believe me,” Nick said, “I don’t want you to go out with us either but it’s either that or we don’t go and I need to.”
“Need to what?”
“Just get some stuff done.”
“Why can’t you just do that and leave me here.”
“Because I’m going out,” Mrs Richmond said, in her “don’t’ mess with me” voice. Ace might not be able to see her stare, but he could certainly hear the tone of her voice and had learned all the subtle differences and exactly how far he could push before he got to this stage. Clearly his brothers had been having this conversation with their mother for quite some time.
“That’s okay. I’ll be fine up in my room. I don’t come down here very often anyway.”
“You cannot stay in the house on your own.”
“Why not? I hardly ever see you anyway.” Ace couldn’t help the touch of bitterness that crept into his voice and was unprepared for the sharpness in his mother’s when she replied.
“That’ hardly my fault. You shut yourself away upstairs and half the time I don’t know I even have another son.”
Good grief, she sounded for a minute as if she wanted to spend time with him. Then he remembered all the times she’d sent him scuttling up to his room whenever anyone came around. If an unexpected visitor arrived Ace was expected to make himself scarce pretty damn quick, even to the point of her practically throwing him up the stairs. She might be feeling guilty about not spending time with her son but that certainly didn’t extend to other people. Oh no, whenever anyone who might – God forbid – judge her, was around Ace was hidden away, tucked safely into his attic room, isolates; for his own good; somewhere he couldn’t hurt – or draw attention to – himself.
So why now was she pushing him out into a world he was unprepared for? Why was she forcing him into the company of the two people in the whole world she knew he was least safe with?
“Please don’t make me do this.”
“I thought you wanted more independence,” Mrs Richmond said, placing  bowl in front of Ace and putting a spoon in his hand.
“I do…just not with them. I wouldn’t mind going out on my own.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t do that.”
“I could. I have my stick, and--”
“Please let’s not go there again. It’s not going to happen, so let that be an end to it. I’m fed up of all of you this morning. Finish your breakfast, then get out of my sight until teatime.”
“Don’t take it out on me,” Ace grumbled and was glad he was unable to see stares because he had a feeling he was the focus of three of them.
The journey into town was conducted in silence. Initially, Logan had repeatedly kicked the back of Ace’s seat, but Nick got pissed off with him for possibly damaging the upholstery and when he threatened to drop Logan off in the middle of the lane, Logan subsided.
Eventually, the car came to a halt and Nick said, “Okay, rugrats, get out.”
“What? Here? You’re leaving me on my own with him? Mum’ll kill you.”
“Mum will never know,” Nick growled, “Not if you want to keep your balls. Now get out.”
“Where are we?” Ace asked.
“Bus depot. You can walk in from here.”
“No way. I’m not getting out. You can’t abandon me here with him.”
“Quit whining and get out. Dump him in a cafĂ© somewhere. He’s always whining on about being independent.”
“I’m not doing that. Mum’ll kille me. Besides,” he continued in a smarmy voice. “I’m not allowed to be left on my own. I’m too young. Mum would have a blue fit.”
“I told you, if either of you speak a word to Mum I’ll make you wish you’d never been born. Now get the fuck out of my car.”
“I’ll tell Mum you swore.”
“I’ll tell Lucie you’ve got an STD.”
“You wouldn’t.”
“Try me.”
With a huge sigh, Ace let his brothers’ argument wash over him and kept the hell out of it until the slamming of the door startled him. Next moment, hid own door was wrenched open and Logan practically dragged him out.
Suddenly, Ace found himself standing on the pavement, listening to Nick’s car zoom away.
“Stay here,” Logan spat. Sit on a seat and don’t move. I’ll be back.”
“What? Wait. Logan, wait. I can’t…. Logan?”
All Ace heard was the rumble of traffic and footsteps running away.
“Logan get back here and tell me where I am. Logan.”
There was no answer. Ace was alone in a place he had never been and no way of getting his bearings. Dammit. Although it was true he wanted to be independent he did need some assistance. His stick would help keep him safe so he wouldn’t fall into a hole or get run over, but he couldn’t just walk either. He could wind up anywhere, and even if he got lucky and walked straight into town his chances of finding either brother were slim at best. So he sat.



Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Boy Behind the Window Chapter Nine A Sleepless Night


It's been a while but I keep forgetting to post these snippets. I hope you forgive and bear with me. It's been an adventure writing about Ace pre Haze. Many of the things that were resolved are now unresolved and he has a lot of growing to do so I have to make him less wise and more immature. Not that Ace was ever immature. I suppose he had to grow up fast considering all that was going on around him, Anyway, here is the next installment A Sleepless Night

Despite the pain medication, Ace didn’t sleep well. It wasn’t just his shoulder that kept him awake, though. He couldn’t stop thinking how messed up his family was, and how messed up his life was. James had a point when he said Ace was way too ready to excuse, explain and forgive. He knew what was happening was wrong. He knew he should get angry and fight back – but they were his family, and despite everything he loved them. It was hard enough getting through the day without being constantly at war. And he knew that’s what it would be. If he started making a fuss over the way he was treated – by everyone really – then he’d have them all on his back, all the time and he’d get nowhere fast. No, it was easier to keep the peace. All he had to do was keep his head down for a couple of weeks, then he’d be back in school and wouldn’t have to worry until Christmas. If he was really lucky he might be able to persuade them to let him stay at school…or better still go to James’.
Ace sighed. That was the other thing causing him to lose sleep. James. James had always been Ace’s best friend. They’d bonded since the day they started at the school when they were five. At that time, James still had a little vision and he insisted Ace was a fairy. He also insisted on following him everywhere and holding his hand whenever he could. Later, Ace realized that part of it was fear.
James’ family had sent him to the school for very different reasons his own family had. Ace had been send to Brookwood Academy For The Visually Impaired because it was the best boarding school his parents could buy. They could assuage their guilt by telling themselves and their friends that they were doing everything they could for their flawed offspring. At least, as it was an exclusive school, he’d be mixing with the right kind of blind children, with families who wouldn’t judge them on their failure to make perfect children. Maybe they’d expected him to make friends with a blind prince or something.
James, on the other hand, had parents who genuinely wanted him to do well in life and be as independent as he possibly could. They’d chosen he school not for how much it cost but on what it could actually do for their child. They looked at results not the roll. Mrs Richmond tolerated Mrs Thomas because the family was wealthy and influential. She didn’t like her. She didn’t like James either, because he was everything Ace wasn’t. Fearless, brash, wild and uncaring. Sure he got hurt. He was always nursing bruises at best, but he truly lived. In fact, he squeezed life by the throat until sheer joy burst out, then he rode it as far as he could before he fell off. Just by being his friend, Ace found himself basking in the shower of sparks he left in his wake. Mrs Richmond would drop dead on the spot if she found out half the things Ace got up to with James.
All of this made Ace smile, but it started to go off the rails a bit when he thought about visiting James for his birthday. He wanted to go. Oh hell yes. He was counting the minutes, but…. Recently, James had got kind of… weird. Sometimes, Ace could sense James staring at him, and he’d go quiet and kind of…intense. Then there were the hugs. James had always been tactile, but recently he’d been holding on just a little too long to be entirely comfortable. Sometimes, James’ voice would get husky or kind of wistful and the things he said seemed to have more meaning that Ace could catch.
It was all very confusing but also…troubling. The problem was, that when James did all these things, it made Ace feel weird. Kind of fluttery inside. Hot and tingly. All the boys talked about sex. Hell, they were nearly sixteen. Some of them claimed to have actually done it, but Ace wasn’t sure he believed them. Next year, they’d be allowed to go down to town unaccompanied by teachers, as long as there were at least two of them and he’d heard there were plenty of girls more than willing to teach the blind boys a thing or two. He’d never really taken part in those conversations. He wasn’t interested in sex. In fact, he’d begun to worry about that a little. Was it normal for a sixteen-year-old to not think about sex all the time?
Only, now he was thinking about it. He was thinking about it a lot. Dreaming about it. He’d caught himself in daydreams, with his hand wandering over his body, and woken in the morning to a damp bed and memories of blue eyes. The problem was, he wasn’t dreaming of girls. He was dreaming of James and he had a pretty good idea James was dreaming about him, too.
He knew what gay was, of course. He wasn’t stupid, and there were a few relationships at the school. There always were at boys only schools, or so he was told. He’d tried to tell himself that living and working so closely with boys of all ages, who really understood his life and the struggles he had to achieve things others took for granted, made it inevitable that he would think of boys “in that way”, even if he wasn’t gay.
So what if he was? Would it really make a difference? He was a freak anyway, so would it be so much worse to be a gay freak? Well…yeah it would. Nick and Logan would be totally unbearable and what if his parents threw him out on the streets? How would he survive? Without school what would he have? Would James’ parents take care of him? Or would they hate him, too. Just because they were so open and sensible about James’ blindness, and just because they were nice, didn’t mean they’d accept James being gay any more than the Richmonds would accept Ace.
A loud hammering on his door startled him out of a light doze. “Get up, fag. We’re going out.”
Ace sat up, his heart hammering. Had he talked in his sleep? Had someone overheard him? Did someone know?
The hammering came again. “Get your stupid arse dressed. We can’t go until you’re here. Just do it.”
Thunderous footsteps raced down the stairs and Ace fell back, shivering as his racing heart slowed. It was just Logan. Logan and Nick always called things like ‘fag’ and ‘gay’ just because he had long hair. He must never let them know they were right.

The Boy Behind the Window Chapter Nine A Sleepless Night


It's been a while but I keep forgetting to post these snippets. I hope you forgive and bear with me. It's been an adventure writing about Ace pre Haze. Many of the things that were resolved are now unresolved and he has a lot of growing to do so I have to make him less wise and more immature. Not that Ace was ever immature. I suppose he had to grow up fast considering all that was going on around him, Anyway, here is the next installment A Sleepless Night

Despite the pain medication, Ace didn’t sleep well. It wasn’t just his shoulder that kept him awake, though. He couldn’t stop thinking how messed up his family was, and how messed up his life was. James had a point when he said Ace was way too ready to excuse, explain and forgive. He knew what was happening was wrong. He knew he should get angry and fight back – but they were his family, and despite everything he loved them. It was hard enough getting through the day without being constantly at war. And he knew that’s what it would be. If he started making a fuss over the way he was treated – by everyone really – then he’d have them all on his back, all the time and he’d get nowhere fast. No, it was easier to keep the peace. All he had to do was keep his head down for a couple of weeks, then he’d be back in school and wouldn’t have to worry until Christmas. If he was really lucky he might be able to persuade them to let him stay at school…or better still go to James’.
Ace sighed. That was the other thing causing him to lose sleep. James. James had always been Ace’s best friend. They’d bonded since the day they started at the school when they were five. At that time, James still had a little vision and he insisted Ace was a fairy. He also insisted on following him everywhere and holding his hand whenever he could. Later, Ace realized that part of it was fear.
James’ family had sent him to the school for very different reasons his own family had. Ace had been send to Brookwood Academy For The Visually Impaired because it was the best boarding school his parents could buy. They could assuage their guilt by telling themselves and their friends that they were doing everything they could for their flawed offspring. At least, as it was an exclusive school, he’d be mixing with the right kind of blind children, with families who wouldn’t judge them on their failure to make perfect children. Maybe they’d expected him to make friends with a blind prince or something.
James, on the other hand, had parents who genuinely wanted him to do well in life and be as independent as he possibly could. They’d chosen he school not for how much it cost but on what it could actually do for their child. They looked at results not the roll. Mrs Richmond tolerated Mrs Thomas because the family was wealthy and influential. She didn’t like her. She didn’t like James either, because he was everything Ace wasn’t. Fearless, brash, wild and uncaring. Sure he got hurt. He was always nursing bruises at best, but he truly lived. In fact, he squeezed life by the throat until sheer joy burst out, then he rode it as far as he could before he fell off. Just by being his friend, Ace found himself basking in the shower of sparks he left in his wake. Mrs Richmond would drop dead on the spot if she found out half the things Ace got up to with James.
All of this made Ace smile, but it started to go off the rails a bit when he thought about visiting James for his birthday. He wanted to go. Oh hell yes. He was counting the minutes, but…. Recently, James had got kind of… weird. Sometimes, Ace could sense James staring at him, and he’d go quiet and kind of…intense. Then there were the hugs. James had always been tactile, but recently he’d been holding on just a little too long to be entirely comfortable. Sometimes, James’ voice would get husky or kind of wistful and the things he said seemed to have more meaning that Ace could catch.
It was all very confusing but also…troubling. The problem was, that when James did all these things, it made Ace feel weird. Kind of fluttery inside. Hot and tingly. All the boys talked about sex. Hell, they were nearly sixteen. Some of them claimed to have actually done it, but Ace wasn’t sure he believed them. Next year, they’d be allowed to go down to town unaccompanied by teachers, as long as there were at least two of them and he’d heard there were plenty of girls more than willing to teach the blind boys a thing or two. He’d never really taken part in those conversations. He wasn’t interested in sex. In fact, he’d begun to worry about that a little. Was it normal for a sixteen-year-old to not think about sex all the time?
Only, now he was thinking about it. He was thinking about it a lot. Dreaming about it. He’d caught himself in daydreams, with his hand wandering over his body, and woken in the morning to a damp bed and memories of blue eyes. The problem was, he wasn’t dreaming of girls. He was dreaming of James and he had a pretty good idea James was dreaming about him, too.
He knew what gay was, of course. He wasn’t stupid, and there were a few relationships at the school. There always were at boys only schools, or so he was told. He’d tried to tell himself that living and working so closely with boys of all ages, who really understood his life and the struggles he had to achieve things others took for granted, made it inevitable that he would think of boys “in that way”, even if he wasn’t gay.
So what if he was? Would it really make a difference? He was a freak anyway, so would it be so much worse to be a gay freak? Well…yeah it would. Nick and Logan would be totally unbearable and what if his parents threw him out on the streets? How would he survive? Without school what would he have? Would James’ parents take care of him? Or would they hate him, too. Just because they were so open and sensible about James’ blindness, and just because they were nice, didn’t mean they’d accept James being gay any more than the Richmonds would accept Ace.
A loud hammering on his door startled him out of a light doze. “Get up, fag. We’re going out.”
Ace sat up, his heart hammering. Had he talked in his sleep? Had someone overheard him? Did someone know?
The hammering came again. “Get your stupid arse dressed. We can’t go until you’re here. Just do it.”
Thunderous footsteps raced down the stairs and Ace fell back, shivering as his racing heart slowed. It was just Logan. Logan and Nick always called things like ‘fag’ and ‘gay’ just because he had long hair. He must never let them know they were right.