Sue Barnard - novelist, editor, poet, RNA member, lady of letters. Believes that an immaculate house is a sign of a wasted life.
With the exception of guest posts, all work on this blog remains the copyright of the author. And, quite frankly, it's very noble of her to take the blame for it.
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Friday, 27 November 2015
EVE - a guest post by Shani Struthers
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming my friend and fellow-author Shani Struthers as my guest. Shani (whose name is pronounced to rhyme with "brainy", and the resemblance doesn't end there!) is the author of the superb Pyschic Surveys series of novels, of which the latest - or rather, chronologically, the earliest - was released earlier this week. And for today only, you can buy the e-book versions of all her books for a princely 99p!
(Mine too, for that matter - just click on the book covers on the right...)
Thank you for hosting me
on your blog today, Sue! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story
launched on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the
popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team –
Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is
loosely inspired by a true event.
In my fictional re-telling,
Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of
what happened 100 years before…
you do when a whole town is haunted?
In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market
town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall
whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on
and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community,
refusing to let them forget.
In 1999, psychic investigators Theo
Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival
how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The
past taints everything.
Hurtling towards the anniversary as well
as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the
atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the
spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle,
fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in
the most dangerous of ways.
They’ll need all their courage to
succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall,
who shouldn’t even be there…
Here, to whet your appetite, is a brief extract:
turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone - something
- was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide's house.
Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront
it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading
into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught
her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial:
a little girl, staring at her.
widened. "Oh darling, darling," she whispered. She took a step
forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier:
Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide's ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was
closer still. "Darling, your name, tell me what it is."
girl's arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching
although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.
short for Theodora. I bet you're called something pretty."
had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material - linen perhaps? Nothing
special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her
boots were brown too - lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine
but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her
hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed
to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she'd stepped
out of an old photograph.
here now, sweetheart, I've come to help. You've been here for such a long time.
Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile."
Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.
me help you," Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As
glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at
such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be
close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.
the name presented itself whole in her mind.
name's Harriet. Is that correct? It's lovely, it suits you."
Was that a
smile on the child's lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she'd be able to reach
out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?
I'm here," she repeated, no more than a foot between them. "I'm
- one spirit had come forward - it was an encouraging start.
their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with
confusion as something sour - fetid almost - rose up, making her feel nauseous.
be afraid," Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now.
No, not fear, that was too tame a word - terror.
not here to harm you," she continued. "I'm here to help."
words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of
them - disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.
Theo shouted. "Stop it. Leave her alone!"
But it was
no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She'd been torn away, recaptured; the
one who'd dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her
forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing
difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result
of the pounds she'd piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication.
Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute,
before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something
else. The girl's eyes - her sweet, brown, trusting eyes - when the expression
changed in them they hadn't been looking at her, they'd been looking beyond
her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn't be certain. She
wasn't certain either if that 'thing' was a spirit or much less than that -
something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving.
Something, she feared, was insatiable.
Shani is a Brighton-based author of
paranormal fiction, including the UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One:
The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also
available, and Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story - the
prequel to the Psychic Surveys series - was released in November 2015. Shani is also the author of Jessamine, an
atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and
described as a 'Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.'
Psychic Surveys Book
Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.
All events in her books
are inspired by true life and events.
Catch up with Shani via
her website www.shanistruthers.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.