A Big Thank You, and a Little Poem

I just wanted to thank each of you for making this #ExcerptWeek the best one, yet. To those of you who shared your work with us, my heartfelt thanks. I loved reading every single excerpt, even when I got too swamped to comment. To those of you who shared what you read here, you are the heart and soul of what The Write Stuff is all about. I love each and every one of you, contributers and sharers alike. (And a double hug for those of you who were both!)

Thought I would share a little poem from Summer Magic, which I wrote after defying the odds and publishing my first book. Those of you who have followed me for a while will recognize it, but I hope you won’t mind reading again. If I have anything of import to give you all, it’s this little bit of life philosophy. Enjoy. (But take it to heart.)

Attitude Really Is Everything

You can’t!
I can.
Why not?
It’s all wrong!
It’s all right.
You shouldn’t!
I should.
You won’t!
I will.
It could be bad!
It could be good.
Its’ too late!
There’s still time.
You’re too old!
I’m still here.
You did it!
I did.

And with that, consider #ExcerptWeek wrapped up until next time! Hope you  all enjoyed it as much as I did.


#ExcerptWeek – That Darkest Place by Marcia Meara

No one else has a scheduled excerpt for this morning, so I thought it would be a good chance for me to share something a bit different with you guys. Two short scenes from my latest novel, That Darkest Place. While it is very difficult to find scenes from this book that don’t contain spoilers, I managed to include a funny one (probably my favorite little moment in the whole book, because, for the town’s premiere ladies’ man, Forrest Painter is amazingly inept when it concerns love), and a more serious one, as Jackson makes a decision guaranteed to upset his younger brother. Thanks for reading, and I hope the first one makes you smile, and the second one makes you curious.


Scene from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy, edited slightly to remove spoilers, and containing some mild profanity. Jackson Painter,  his  middle brother, Forrest, and their respective love interests are seated around the kitchen table, ready to clean up a pretty bad mess caused by the latest disaster to befall Jackson. The previous evening, Jackson had given Forrest a very stern talking to about Forrest’s fear of proposing to Bailey Hunt.  Jackson had flatly ordered Forrest to go straight to Bailey’s house, get down on one knee, ask the question, and not to come home again until he’d done so. But Jackson has just noticed that Bailey is not wearing the ring Forrest has had in his pocket for two weeks. This is what follows, told from Forrest’s point of view.

Excerpt 1 from CH 26 of That Darkest Place

Rising, Jackson spoke to Mel and Bailey. “If you two will excuse us a minute, I have something I need to show Forrest. Help yourself to breakfast and more coffee, Bailey. There’s enough for all of us.”

Jackson crunched his way down the hall to his bedroom, not glancing back even once. With a sigh of dread, Forrest followed, but as soon as he reached Jackson’s room, he knew it would have been safer if he’d stayed where he was.

His brother’s arms were crossed over his chest, brows drawn so close together, they had essentially become a monobrow. His whisper was harsh. “I can’t help noticing there’s no ring on Bailey’s finger, Forrest. Care to tell me why that is? Because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be here right now if she’d turned you down.”

Forrest’s tongue felt glued to the roof of his mouth. “Well, umm ….”

“Well what? You didn’t ask her?”

He shook his head. “No, but—”

“Don’t give me ‘but.’ Didn’t you get what I was telling you last night?”

“Yes. I did get it, Jackson. I might be a damn chicken, but I’m not totally stupid! And I was gonna ask her, but—”

“There you go again.”

Jackson scrubbed his hand over his face, and Forrest knew he’d disappointed him. He hated how that felt, especially when it really wasn’t his fault.

“Listen. I was gonna ask her as soon as I got to her house, but—I mean, then—we , ah, well, we kinda got distracted.”

“She twisted your arm again, I guess?”

“Sort of. It was more like we were both twistin’ each other’s arms, and before you know it, we were in bed again. I figured I’d ask her right afterward, except there wasn’t one.”

“Wasn’t one what? An after? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means we were hornier than we were hungry. We never left her bed, and after the third or fourth time, we fell asleep.”

Jackson’s eyebrows leapt for the ceiling, and his mouth dropped open. “Third or fourth, Forrest? Fourth?”

Sure he was on safer ground now, Forrest nodded. “Well, yeah. You know how it is, right?”

Mouth still agape, Jackson finally shook his head. “No, I don’t know how that is. I’m pretty sure I’d remember an evening like that, no matter how long ago it was. Four times, that’s what you’re saying?”

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, who counts? But the point is, you don’t stop in the middle of something like that, even to propose. I figured I’d do it later. And then we fell asleep. And then you called. And then, well … you know the rest. But I’m gonna ask her. I thought hard about what you said, and you were right. I can’t afford not to go for it, not if this is what I really want, and it is.”

He had no idea why Jackson was still staring at him, but after a long moment, his brother’s expression changed from stunned and skeptical, to affectionately amazed, and as Jackson turned to go back to the kitchen, Forrest heard him mutter, “Son of a bitch. Four!”


Scene 2 from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy. This one takes place after Jackson and Forrest have returned to the kitchen able.

Excerpt #2 from CH 26 of That Darkest Place

Jackson had hoped to talk to Forrest alone first, but no postponing this decision now. He dropped into his seat, dug out a breakfast sandwich, and popped the lid off one of the cups of coffee, aware that three sets of eyes watched his every move. Taking a long swallow of the now-cool coffee, he nodded at Bailey. “That’s my plan. Forrest, I hate to do this to you, but I don’t have a choice, here. I’m moving out.”

Forrest exploded out of his chair. “No! You don’t have to do that, Jackson.”

“You know I do. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.”

Forrest sank back down.

“Me being here at night is dangerous. That beautiful big truck out there is a neon sign, advertising to the whole town that I’m home. It’s putting a bullseye on this apartment, on me, and worst of all, on you.”

His voice dropped an octave. “I can’t be the reason anyone else dies, Forrest. Please tell me you understand that?”

Struggling with the obvious truth, his brother’s protests slowed. Stricken and miserable, he grudgingly gave in. “It’s not fair. We’re just gettin’ our lives back to normal again, and now you’re leavin’? I hate this.”

“I’m not leaving. But I’m not going to sleep here every night and let a crazy idiot take potshots at us. What’s next? Molotov cocktails? Pipe bombs? I can’t do this, Forrest. I don’t want to die at this guy’s hands, and I damn well don’t want anyone else to, either.”

“What are you plannin’ to do, then?”

“Still working on that, but I figure I can stay at different motels for a while, at least. Maybe down in DeBary or Sanford. Give the police a chance to see if they can catch this ass. It doesn’t have to be forever. Surely he’ll slip up somewhere.”

Frustration close to boiling over, Forrest glared at the table. Bailey reached for his hand, the love in her eyes, obvious. “Forrest, he’s right. If Jackson can’t be found, he can’t be attacked. And that’s safer for both of you.”

Unconvinced, Forrest scowled. “Be damned if I want my brother livin’ out of a suitcase at a cheap motel, because some lunatic is determined to hurt him. It’s not right!”

Jackson laid a hand on his brother’s arm. “No, it’s not right. It’s not fair to either of us. But for now, let’s be careful. We’ll hope for answers soon, so they can put this guy away.”

Mel cleared her throat. “Excuse me? Could I suggest something? I might have a possible solution.”


Marcia Meara, Author

This is me with my son’s dog, Happy. There are umpteen bios of me around this site, so I’m not going to repeat any of them here. Let’s cut to the chase. I wrote my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, at the age of 69, without a clue as to what I was doing. Four years and five more novels later, I’m 73, and I still don’t have a clue. And not just about writing, either. But I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life, and I plan to keep on going until I fall face down on the keyboard, or forget what words are, whichever comes first. Be afraid, World. Be very afraid.

Buy That Darkest Place Here

Follow me on other Social Media Here:

Email: marciameara16@gmail.com
Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com
Twitter: @marciameara
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#ExcerptWeek – For the Girls by D. Avery

Back for an encore is poet D. Avery, with a  selection from her book For the Girls. We are very pleased to share this one with you, especially after the popularity of her poem about chickens, from Chicken Shift.


Dream Change 

Take charge
make change
don’t let worry
become sorry
no sorrow
the morrow
always comes
spawns hope
doors to open
pull, pry
push, try.

So be scared
then pick scared up
and mold it
shape it and rearrange
but don’t forever hold it
create peace
a place
to keep
your cares
hold sacred
something you can learn from.

Always be a dreamer
in dreaming be remade
love, live
life, lift
gift, give.
Live love, live
dream a sacred change
in dreaming be remade.


D. Avery, Author

D. Avery (196?-20??) has long been a compulsive poet. Despite a very important day job educating public school children, she is often distracted by this compulsion, as well as by life’s great questions, such as “Kayak, or bike?” Though she has come to realize that nothing difficult is ever easy, she believes that it’s all good.

Click Here to Buy For The Girls

Reach D. Avery Here:

Twitter: @daveryshiftn


#ExcerptWeek – The Curse of Time by Marjorie Mallon

This afternoon, it is my pleasure to welcome Marjorie Mallon to The Write Stuff. Marjorie is sharing an excerpt from her book, The Curse of Time, and I know you guys are going to enjoy it. Thanks for taking part in #ExcerptWeek, Marjorie, and welcome to the group.


On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.


Excerpt From The Curse of Time

Puzzle Piece 1: The Invitation 

An unexpected invite,
Such a mystery,
To explore and discover,
A hidden cottage of light. 

I found it to be a mystifying situation. An unnatural stillness seemed to linger after many days of storms. Today, the sky reminded me of a painting. It appeared too perfect, too bright, too still, a picture landscape with no beginning or end. Instead, the vault of heaven spread out toward an endless grey forever, as if seeping around the edges of an untamed watercolour bleeding into the rest of the day. Even so, the sight filled my heart with promise, a ray of hope in an otherwise dull morning.

The quietness of my contemplation came to an abrupt end. I heard the sound of an envelope crashing through the mail box. I jumped at the clatter. The letter landed on the floor as the sound of a thousand crystal chandeliers echoed throughout the house. I rushed to retrieve the envelope and turned it this way and that. I couldn’t find an address label and wondered if the note had been hand-delivered. Who could this message be for?

I stood puzzling over this peculiar circumstance when out of nowhere my name: Amelina Scott appeared in bold writing. I watched wide-eyed as the final character of my surname was spelled out in a delicate font. I tore the dispatch open and inside I discovered a card printed on the finest paper with gilt edges and embossed calligraphy. There were few details, just an instruction to visit:

Crystal Cottage, River Walk, Cambridge, and the following added at the bottom as an afterthought: R.S.V.P – Not required. We promise to be welcoming when you arrive. When you’re ready, you’ll discover us…..

I shook my head in disbelief. Nothing good ever happens to the Scott’s so this invitation might look magical, but surely it must be nonsense. Weird messages from unknown sources count as dubious junk mail, the way I look at it.

I grabbed the envelope and attempted to rip it into pieces, but it wouldn’t tear. With a mind of its own the envelope curled its edges in protest. I searched in a drawer until I found scissors and tried to cut the invite. That didn’t work either. My hand ached, but the invitation endured intact as if mocking me.

Frustrated, I tried to cut the invitation again. A sputtered cursing sound filled the room even though I was alone. On my third attempt, I tore into the card with success. (I think it let me.) And once again, I perceived a noise, an angry murmur, and then nothing. Quiet descended in the room, so I threw the torn parts into the bin.

Finally satisfied that the annoying issue with the strange invite would no longer plague me, I brushed my hands together, and picked an apple out of the bowl on the kitchen counter, polished it on my jumper and then took a bite. In no time my hunger had abated, and as I chucked the core towards the bin, I registered a chuckle. I stopped, my feet rooted to the ground as a feeling of certainty filled my soul. I knew what to expect. I have no idea how I did, but I could see the image in my mind, the invitation had reformed. The invitation was playing games with me! I peered in the rubbish, and there I saw the envelope, connected in one perfect, unblemished piece. What the heck?


Marjorie Mallon, Author

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Click Here to Pre-Order The Curse of Time

To Reach Marjorie on Social Media, Go Here:

Amazon Author Page
Marjorie’s Blog
Marjorie’s New Facebook Group
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/curseof_time

I have devoted the past few years to writing over 100 reviews on My Goodreads Review Account, and on my blog to help support traditional and indie writers.


#ExcerptWeek – Tipping Point by TerryTyler

Today, please welcome author Terry Tyler to #ExcerptWeek, with a selection from her VERY soon to be published (August 7) book, Tipping Point. Terry, so glad to have you here, and I know everyone will enjoy this excerpt as much as I did. We will also do our best to share this far and wide! Thanks for joining us!


‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.


(This excerpt takes place three days after the first outbreak of the virus is announced.)

On the way back, I saw Claire hurrying towards me.

“Amy Williams says Jack’s ill, he’s really bad!” she said. She was shaking. “Vicky, I’m so scared; I let Lucy and George go down there to see her kittens yesterday, they were making such a fuss about being kept in, you know, really playing up. I thought, well, it can’t hurt, can it? They were being such a pain, and Tony was trying to work because he can’t get into the flipping office, and I thought it was safe, they said on the news that it was just isolated cases.”

And they always tell the truth on the news, don’t they? “Do they feel ill?”

Her face crumpled up, and she brought her hand up to her mouth. “Lucy’s got a temperature, and Tony keeps saying he’s tired and he feels sick. Do you think they’ve got it?”

“I don’t know, Claire, it could be anything—”

“I could kill Amy, she didn’t think to mention that Jack’d been for a drink at the Sea View on Saturday night, I’d never have let the kids go if she had! People there have got it, haven’t they? The vaccination units are up the Holt Road, I drove up to find them, and they said they won’t be here until the end of the week—I begged them to give me ours but they wouldn’t; God, how much of a jobsworth do you have to be to say no?” She put her hand to her forehead. “I tell you, I almost barged in and grabbed some! I told them about Lucy and Tony, so they probably think we’ve already got it, and it’s too late. I don’t know what to do!”

Her voice faltered and she began to weep; I put my arms around her, stroked her hair.

I remembered those two spare vials, upstairs, but, just as I was about to offer them, Claire drew away from me, took off her huge sunglasses, and I saw that her face was sweating. She looked terrified. In horror, I reached out and touched her forehead; it was red hot.

Why, oh why, hadn’t I offered them before? Because I’d wanted to believe that it was just isolated cases, too, didn’t believe that anyone I knew was really going to catch it—

“I know,” she whispered, when she saw the look on my face. “I went down to the chemist, just to see if I could get anything for the symptoms, and the girl kept giving me weird looks and ran out the back, she wouldn’t serve me. I shouldn’t have come near you.” Tears streamed down her face. “I’m sorry, Vicky, I shouldn’t have, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I’ve had my shot.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“Lucky you.” She didn’t sound bitter, just very sad. “Tony says it can’t be right that no one recovers. And we’re healthy, I always make sure we have our five a day, so I reckon we’ll get better, don’t you? I mean, it’s only like the ‘flu, isn’t it?”

I nodded. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t think she wanted an answer; she squeezed my arm, then walked away, slowly, hugging herself.

Maybe she was right. Maybe some people would recover.

“Claire!” I ran after her. “Let me do something. Anything, I can bring medicine round, get food for you, anything you want me to do. Is George okay? I can take him—”

She put her hand up, and edged away from me. “He’s been snuggling in with Lucy because she feels poorly, so he’ll have it too, won’t he? Karen’s coming up to help. We’ll be alright.”

She ran into her house, slamming the door.

At the far end of the road, the car with the loudhailer was doing its rounds.

‘The vaccination unit will be with you shortly. Please stay in your homes, and remain calm’.

Terry Tyler, Author

Terry Tyler has published fourteen books on Amazon, ranging from family dramas and a novella about three writers, to a serial killer thriller and her current post apocalyptic series, but they are all character-driven and based around the psychology of relationships. She is an avid reader and book reviewer, loves The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and is a newly converted vegan who is still trying to work out what she can actually eat, apart from hummus and vegetables. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Visit Terry’s Author Pages Here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Join Terry on Social Media Here:



#ExcerptWeek – Emerging From Shadows by Balroop Singh

This afternoon, I’d like to welcome Balroop Singh to The Write Stuff. Balroop is sharing an excerpt from her book, Emerging from Shadows, and I know you are going to enjoy it, and will share it far and wide. Welcome, Balroop!



Torrential thoughts stir the ghosts of past
Throttling pain feeds on grisly graves
Pushing past away, I continue to thrive
In the rhythm of throbbing life

Life that seems scrupulously seamless
Having sustained stormy waves
Craves for calm waters and sunshine
Nurturing the hope… clouds would subside

Swaying droplets of indifferent love
Stand sprinkled all around
The charade of connection continues
Evoking detest, dissent and disenchantment 

Sharp shards of shattered emotions
Pierce as I try to gather those sensations
Wilderness walks with me
Yet a dim, discrete light beckons…

Rise from those dumps of depression!
Bury those personal regrets deep inside!
Focus on self-healing, self-love
Only trust can keep you alive.

Miniscule moments of hope awning around
Floating like bubbles but burst without a sound
Duress of living with mixed thoughts
Flying on the wings of optimism I thrive!

© Balroop Singh.

Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a doting grandma and a dedicated wife, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer and a relaxed blogger. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. A self-published author, she has written five books and her fifth book ‘Emerging From Shadows’ was launched on 21 July, 2017.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

Buy Emerging From Shadows HERE

Reach Balroop Here:

Amazon Author Page

#ExcerptWeek – The Spy and the Lady – a Five Kingdoms short story by @DeborahJay2 #EpicFantasy

THE FIVE KINGDOMS epic fantasy series (think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings) has a new entry!

To fill in some of the gap between books 1 and 2, THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON, I have embarked on a series of short stories that I am giving away FREE to my mailing list subscribers.

THE SPY AND THE LADY is now available.

Ex-spy, Rustam Chalice, never could resist a lady in peril, and this one’s up to her pretty eyelashes.

Getting into the outlaws’ camp isn’t so tricky, but how come the rogues don’t seem that motivated by promise of a rich ransom? And why does the lady not appear enthusiastic about escaping?


“Unhand the lady, you ruffians!”

Was that pompous enough? Exiled spy, Rustam Chalice, slipped into the role of arrogant nobleman with the ease of donning a cloak. When he’d ridden into the forest clearing, he’d had nothing more on his mind than reaching a lower altitude before nightfall. Crossing paths with the motley group of armed men and their captive–a statuesque beauty—was sheer bad timing.

Or was it?

Perhaps the goddess hasn’t finished meddling with my life yet.

Rustam and the outlaws studied each other warily. On foot, the eight men presented a limited threat. Even so, Rustam’s pulse raced. The boredom of days of aimless wandering vanished in a heartbeat, and excitement zipped along his nerves for the first time since he’d been forced to abandon his old life.

A rescue attempt also promised a diversion to take his mind off a certain lady he would probably never see again.

Weapons drawn, several of the men edged toward Rustam. He flourished his sword randomly as discouragement. The magnificent black mare beneath him sidled away from the swishing weapon, and Rustam reassured her with a light touch of his hand. “Easy, Nightstalker,” he murmured. “I haven’t lost my mind, I promise.”

Two men slipped away between the straight pine trunks that rose to majestic heights above the mountainside. Another man grabbed the prisoner by one arm, as though he feared she might try to escape. Quite where he thought she would go, on foot, leagues from anywhere—not to mention the question of what she was doing here in the first place—puzzled Rustam.

One of the bandits, a particularly skinny specimen, stepped in front of the others. “And why should we do that?” he asked.

“I’ll run you through if you don’t, that’s why,” Rustam declared with another wild swing of his blade. “Your weapons are puny, and I am an expert swordsman.”

Rustam winced at his ridiculous claim, but he wanted a moment to think. He could ride away now, follow the group at a safe distance and take time to plan a rescue. Probably the sensible thing to do. But now the outlaws were aware of his presence, they would be on guard, making such an approach trickier.

Working from the inside—now that was more his style.

Nightstalker jigged nervously and bunched her hindquarters, readying a vicious kick intended to maim the two men creeping up behind her. Choice made, Rustam reined her to one side, breaking her concentration. The battle-trained mare’s hooves could be deadly from many directions, and Rustam didn’t want to anger the bandits by dispatching any of them. He wanted to get captured, not killed.

* * * * * *

If you want to read more, sign up to my (infrequent) newsletter HERE and download your FREE copy.

If you already subscribe, I will be delivering complementary copies soon.

About Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she also shares a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award and was an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release.

You can also stalk her at:






Amazon author page: http://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay




#ExcerptWeek – A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow

This morning, I’d like to welcome Judith Barrow, who is sharing an excerpt from her latest book, A Hundred Tiny Threads, which is now available for pre-order. I know you’ll enjoy this one, and will remember to share hither and yon, as you can. Thanks so much, and thanks, Judith, for taking part in #ExcerptWeek. Welcome!


Gritty family saga set in Lancashire in the 1900s and Ireland at the time of the Black and Tans.
Winifred is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother. When her friend Honora – an Irish girl, with the freedom to do as she pleases – drags Winifred along to a suffragette rally, she realises that there is more to life than the shop and her parents’ humdrum lives of work and grumbling.

Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood echoes through his early adult life and the scars linger, affecting his work, his relationships and his health. The only light in his life comes from a chance meeting with Winifred, the daughter of a Lancashire grocer. The girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting Honora’s intelligent and silver-tongued medical student brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down and she finds herself pregnant. Bill Howarth reappears on the scene offering her a way out.



… Brought back to Bill the distant memory of the day his father died.

Wilfred Howarth had given Bill a beating that morning for not getting up when first called and had promised another when he returned home after his shift. He’d said he was getting Bill used to an early rise because the following day would be his thirteenth birthday; the day he was to follow his father down the mine as a putter. It didn’t bother Bill; he’d always known that pushing the small wagons along the metal plates through the workings to the passages where the horses could be hitched up to them was to be his lot in life.

Bill remembered hearing the thump and rush of running feet on the cobbles outside his house at the same time he heard the warning siren from the mine. He’d run with the crowd before even knowing what was happening; seeing with the strain on the faces and the hearing of the sobs and cries of the women and children around him that life in the village had changed forever.

‘What’s ’appened?’ Bill caught the arm of a woman.

‘They say there’s been a flood.’ Her eyes were wild. ‘My three lads are down there. What am I going to do? I have two more bairns to bring up. Their da’s already gone; killed in that explosion last year.’ She grabbed his sleeve before dropping to her knees.

Pulled down with her Bill looked around for somebody to help the woman but there was no one; they might as well not be there for all the notice paid to them.

He dragged her to her feet. ‘C’mon. Unless we get to the gates we’ll never know who’s safe and who’s still down there.’

The management had closed the gates. The cries of despair soon changed to shouts of anger in an effort to discover what had happened. When a grey-faced man in a suit approached the crowd the silence was instant. He held up his hand to quiet them, an unnecessary gesture, before he spoke.

‘From what we can gather there was break through to an old abandoned mine that was flooded. We know some of the men are safe—’ He waited for the cries of relief to abate. ‘But we don’t know how many yet.’

Then a huddle of men, bowed, silent and trailing a thin stream of black water behind them, appeared, walking towards the gates.

Bill knuckles grated together as the woman’s gripped his hand. And then she screamed. ‘Eddie!’ She looked at Bill and laughed; a high-pitched noise. ‘That’s Eddie, my eldest.’ Then turning she shouted, ‘Where’s your brothers.’

As the young man came closer Bill saw the white tracks cutting through the black of coal dust on his face.

‘Gone, Ma. They’re gone.’ He shook his head, bewildered. ‘There was so much water–water and thick mud. One minute we were working together and then all this water came flooding through and they were gone.’

She fainted. The manager unbolted the gates and the crowd surged around her, pouring into the yard before milling around in sudden confusion. The man’s blank gaze fastened on Bill in a blink of recognition. ‘Your da was with ‘em.’ He nodded, his voice trailing away. ‘He’s gone too…’

Bill thought his feet would never move from the spot he stood in. Then he turned, jumped over the lifeless form of the woman and ran for home, shocked by sense of release and freedom that coursed through him.

He tumbled through the doorway of the house.

‘Didn’t you hear the siren?’ He held his side against the pain of the stitch.

‘I did.’ Marion didn’t lift her head from staring into the small fire in the grate. ‘I reckon someone would tell me sooner or later what‘s happened.’ Now she did look at him, her eyes narrowed. ‘And here you are.’ She slowly moved her head up and down. ‘Here you are. You’re going to tell me he’s gone, aren’t you?’

Bill nodded, a succession of small bobs of the head. ‘Yeah. The mine—’

‘I don’t want to know. All I want you to know is that you’d better make sure you’re ready to take his place as wage earner in this house.’

It had taken months to recover some of the men’s bodies. But never Wilfred Howarth’s.


Judith Barrow, Author

Judith Barrow, originally from Saddleworth, near Oldham, has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for thirty eight years.

She has BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and a MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children’s books.
She is also a Creative Writing tutor.

She says:-
My next book, A Hundred Tiny Threads, is the prequel to the trilogy and is the story of Mary Howarth’s mother, Winifred, and father, Bill. Set between 1910 & 1924 it is a the time of the Suffragettes, WW1 and the Black and Tans, sent to Ireland to cover the rebellion and fight for freedom from the UK and the influenza epidemic. It is inevitable that what forms the lives, personalities and characters of Winifred and Bill eventually affects the lives of their children, Tom, Mary, Patrick and Ellen. And so the Howarth/Pattern trilogy begins.

You can pre-order A Hundred Tiny Threads here:

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2hch4Vo

Reach Judith here:





#ExcerptWeek – Words We Carry by D. G. Kaye


Thanks for your generous invitation to share an excerpt of our books here on your blog Marcia. This excerpt is from my nonfiction-self-help book, Words We Carry – Essays of Obsession and Self-Esteem.

Book Blurb

“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.

Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.


Words We Carry – Excerpt

It’s a fact that negativity underlies our fears, and our guilt can play a big part in lowering our self-esteem. All of these traits connect with our levels of confidence, our strength of character, and our wellbeing. When we’re constantly berated and not placing ourselves in positive circumstances, our energies are drained, which can hinder our ability to maintain a positive outlook on life.

Our fears can cripple us, holding us back from living our lives to the fullest. If we can take a moment to assess the things in our lives that aren’t fulfilling us, and acknowledge what we feel is holding us back from what we wish to attain, we can begin to do some damage control. But if we choose to live our lives in the same unhappy patterns we’ve grown accustomed to without bothering to figure out the root cause of our problems, those problems become nearly impossible to overcome.

Sometimes facing our demons is hard, but that’s the only way we can grow and become stronger. If we choose to remain complacent in our unhappiness, we become trapped there, and many people’s lives remain stagnant because they fail to recognize why they’re unsatisfied. It’s all about taking the time to stop and listen, paying attention to the things that bother us instead of surrendering to them. If we can learn to take charge of ourselves and dig deep within to confront our fears and the injustices we face, we’ve made a great start, and we can then begin taking action to resolve our issues. We have to make a positive out of the negatives in order to become happy and emit our positivity, attracting similarly positive people into our lives.

Many women tend to surround themselves with negative people, resulting in damaging effects to their state of mind. We not only have the ability to inflict our own negativities, we sometimes find ourselves existing in negative surroundings because of the people we allow into our lives.

Take our moods, for example. Have you been in a great mood but found yourself in a conversation with someone who complained about everything, unable to show any happiness for any of the good things you share with them about your life? This type of negative force sucks out our enthusiasm like a leech.

This negative power can also linger from childhood. As children, we experience negative forces from incidents such as being reprimanded by a parent. In those moments when a parent is disciplining us, we immediately recoil and begin to feel inadequate about ourselves. If our actions are not explained to us with kindness, we’re inclined to shrivel back in fear, a fear created by the negative approach used to rectify our wrongdoing. Incidents such as these are the beginnings of allowing negativity to steer our emotions.

The critics, naysayers, and unhappy people we allow into our lives have the ability to drain our good energy, leaving us feeling unoptimistic, as though they have let the air out of our enthusiasm. The influence of negativity becomes the barometer for our moods. People who constantly live under this umbrella of negativity get so used to it that they may not even realize where their happiness has gone. They’ve simply adjusted to living that way.


D. G. Kaye,  Author

D.G. Kaye is a Canadian nonfiction/ memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. She writes to inspire others by sharing her stories about events she’s encountered, and the lessons that came along with them. D.G. loves to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find D.G. writing with humor in some of her other works and blog posts.

Buy D. G.’s books here:

Words We Carry
Conflicted Hearts
MenoWhat? A Memoir
P. S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy
Have Bags, Will Travel

Reach D. G. Here:

My Website
Author Page
About me

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/@pokercubster  (Yes, there’s a story)


#ExcerptWeek – Chicken Shift by D. Avery


Poet D. Avery is sharing two of her poems with us this week, and I’ve decided to start with this one, from her collection, Chicken Shift. Poem #2 will be along later in the week.  I know you will all enjoy this one, and will share it far and wide!


When Comes the Time

When comes the time, a road’s the place
The destiny some hens embrace
Chickens rise and leave the nest
To make their dreams manifest.
Their sojourn can’t end unless it begins
So they head out to look within
Pilgrims of regenerate faith
These chickens cross, they go with grace
They cross a road, they pass that test
Continue on their illimitable quest
Till comes the time when they stop, content
They know themselves and where they went.


D. Avery (196?-20??) has long been a compulsive poet. Despite a very important day job educating public school children, she is often distracted by this compulsion, as well as by life’s great questions, such as “Kayak, or bike?” Though she has come to realize that nothing difficult is ever easy, she believes that it’s all good.

Buy Chicken Shift Here:

On Amazon:  Chicken Shift
On Lulu: Chicken Shift

Reach D. Avery Here:

Twitter: ‪‪@daveryshiftn