This has qualified it to go through to go through to their RONE awards. It's a huge surprise as I'm in the steamy category - well I never!
My fellow author Susan Clayton Goldner is also in the running , but for the much more respectable mystery category for her novel, Redemption Lake.
Voting happens during next week (21st - 27th May).
Apparently anyone can vote, after registering, but only once. I'm hoping as many of you as possible will go along and vote and coerce your family and friends to do the same. It would be amazing to get through to the last five.
Don't worry about finding a link. I'll be all over social media throwing them around like confetti, next week. Maybe some will be left over from 'THE' wedding!
The second thing on my mind is my new novel.
I've been asked on a few occasions if I'm writing a second novel. Yes, I am...sort of. It's going painfully slowly. I know what I want to write, I have a good idea of the plot and characters but life and time don't always play fair. I also have to admit I am a terrible procrastinator.
However, thanks to my friend, author Paula Martin, it does now have a title. I really needed one to focus on and despite throwing various ideas around nothing worked. However I have settled on...
'Summer's End'. I love it- it's perfect for the story.
The first chapter has been re-written quite a few times now, so I'm feeling a little happier with that. The book has a long way to go yet, I'm probably only a quarter of the way through the first draft. However here is an excerpt from the beginning.
What do you think?
Lyn narrowed her eyes and peered across the grassy expanse of the outer bailey. Were her eyes playing tricks on her, or was a man leaning against the castle wall, near the ruins of the medieval chapel? He was motionless, and seemed to be gazing out across the sea.
The castle had closed over fifteen minutes ago, and she’d watched the remaining few visitors heading past the stark ruins of the tall stone tower towards the exit. She was positive all the visitors had gone.
It was probably a trick of the light. In the past few minutes, ominous black clouds had rolled in over the bay, and it was difficult to see anything clearly in the gloom.
She squinted again at the shape in the distance. When the figure started to walk slowly along the wall toward the headland, she knew she hadn’t imagined him. But why was he still here? Hadn’t he realised the castle closed to the public at six o’clock?
Cupping her hands on either side of her mouth, she called out, ‘The castle has now closed. Please make your way to the gate.’
The man continued to walk. Obviously he hadn’t heard her. The only thing to do was to set off in his direction, and ask him to leave the castle grounds.
A rumble of thunder reverberated in the distance as she jogged across the grass. She waved to try to attract the man’s attention but doing so caused her to stumble over a clump of grass. Regaining her balance, she checked the ground in front of her. When she raised her head again to continue running, she frowned.
The man had vanished. She screwed up her eyes, scanning the length of the wall, but there was no sign of him. Confused, she swivelled in a half-circle. She’d only taken her eyes off him for a few seconds. Where on earth was he?
Another clap of thunder made her jump. At the same time, cold drops of rain fell on her head. Any minute now, the heavens were going to open, and she’d soon be drenched.
She wavered in indecision. Should she continue running to where she’d last seen the man in the hope of finding him? Or should she return to the café and tell Tom there was still a visitor somewhere in the castle grounds?
A cold gust of wind made her shiver, and whipped long strands of her dark hair across her eyes. As she struggled to push them back, the rain, already coming down more heavily, plastered them against her face.
Most of the outer bailey was now lost in the misty half-light, and she’d get soaked if she continued her search. Instead, she turned back toward the café, just as a jagged flash of lightning illuminated the area.
She blinked in surprise when she saw the man close to the stone wall of the Great Tower. How had he managed to get across from the outer wall so quickly?
But at least she could keep him in her sights now. He was walking toward the Master Gunner’s house, the eighteenth century building which housed the museum and café. Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to be in any hurry, even though the rain was hammering down.
Shivering as water soaked her thin jacket and dripped down her face, she increased her pace. She expected to close the gap, but somehow the man seemed to keep the same distance away from her. Maybe that was simply an optical illusion, created by the driving rain in front of her.
As he reached the wooden picnic tables in front of the house, she assumed he would turn left toward the exit. Surprise jerked through her when he continued walking to the house.
A light shone from the café window. She knew Tom was in there. He’d arranged to meet her, having promised to show her how to cash up the day’s takings. If the stranger had gone in there, he’d be able to deal with him.
Lyn ran the last few yards towards the café. After pushing the door open, she stopped for a moment while catching her breathe and shook the rain from her hair.
Tom stood by the counter and looked up, smiling at her. “At last! I thought you’d got lost.” His smile faded and he frowned. “You’re wet through.”
Lyn took a gasp of air. “Not lost, but trying to follow a visitor, or one of the actors, who’s still in the castle. He came in here a few seconds ago.”
Turning her head she surveyed the small room. “Where is he?”
Tom looked at her blankly, a look of puzzlement in his eyes. “No one has come in here, only you. I’ve not left here for the last hour or so. Are you sure you saw someone?”
Her shoulders slumped and she leaned against the window ledge. “He came through the door as clearly as I did. There’s a man around her somewhere, who doesn’t realise the castle is shut for the day. I saw him wandering over by the curtain wall across the headland but lost sight of him. Then I spotted him walking this way.”