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Opening Lines: Be Careful What Your Wish For by Lynne North

It’s Opening Lines time again!

This week I’m welcoming Lynne North to my blog with the first 500 words (exactly) of her children’s novel, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For.’

Let’s dive in…

 

First 500 words of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’

Finn O’Shea ran as if his life depended on it. This time he thought it might. He squelched along at a gallop, soaked through by the pouring rain that had begun suddenly when he was at the greatest possible distance from home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Finn groaned when he saw the first flash of lightning. “Oh no!” he said to the dark sky above him.

Lightening wasn’t good. It always chased him. The saying about lightning never striking twice in the same place had been proved wrong by Finn countless times. No matter how he zigged and zagged through the village in stormy weather, the black clouds dogged his footsteps and threw their bolts right at him. They were more used to zigging and zagging than he was, so they usually won. He had only been knocked out once, but he’d had so many jolts he sometimes wondered why he didn’t light up at night.

He veered right, narrowly missed by an almighty flash, then leapt over a huge puddle that threw itself into his path. The lightning had another try to the left, but Finn’s nifty dodge and scream still had him pelting for home. He could see the green front door ahead inviting him to safety. The sight gave him the extra strength to pound his feet, leap and dodge and fling himself head first through the unlocked door. It bashed against the wall with an alarming thump as Finn bent double, his hands on his knees, dripping water all over the hallway and gasping for breath.

Finn’s mum appeared, a shocked look on her face. She stared at Finn, then at the open door beyond him. “Oh, lightning again,” was all she said. She walked past him and closed the door, then added, “Go and get changed, then bring your wet clothes down.”

As Finn took off his soaked pants and top he thought about his attraction for lightning bolts. They didn’t aim for anyone else in the village, so why him? Once he was dry and his mum had taken his dirty, wet clothes away, he asked, “Why me, Mum? Leprechauns are supposed to be lucky. I thought we were born that way. What happened to me?”

His mum handed him a warm drink and sighed. “Well, we’re not exactly all born lucky,” she began, “though I’m not sure the Fates smiled on you at all when you were born. It was more like they had a good laugh at your expense. Your first view of the world was upside down when Mrs Ahearne, the midwife, dropped you on your head. I don’t think it did you any harm though.”

Finn rubbed his head, just thinking about it.

His mum continued. “Contrary to popular belief, leprechauns aren’t born lucky. Fortune is a blessing bestowed by the Good Luck Fairy, providing she’s in an agreeable mood, and more to the point, as long as she’s there.”

Finn frowned. His mum wasn’t making any sense…

Blurb

Be Careful What You Wish For is a children’s humorous fantasy.

Finn is a bored young leprechaun who lives a quiet life with his family and friends in the sleepy village of Duntappin. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy he soon gets far more than he bargained for.  When he least expects his adventure to begin, Finn finds himself a long way from home in dire circumstances. Home begins to seem very appealing all of a sudden. Has he any hope of getting back? This is no fairy tale…

This funny and fast moving story filled by weird and wonderful characters will turn all your expectations on their head, but that’s a good thing, because it makes them all the more amusing.

***

Bio

I am a children’s author who lives in the north west of England. I have been a prolific reader all my life, and for many years have spent most of my free time writing. As well as being educated up to degree level, I have completed courses and received diplomas from ‘The Writing School Ltd’ and ‘The Academy of Children’s Writers’. My aim in life has always been to write, and I have had a sideline of freelance writing for more years than I like to admit to having lived. This has mainly involved published articles in such magazines as ‘Prediction’. I have also completed several children’s novels. ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ was published by Ghostly Publishing in 2013 and launched at Earl’s Court Book Fair. I released something completely different on Kindle in 2014, a compilation of 13 macabre Twist in the Tale short stories, titled ‘Unlucky For Some’ and definitely NOT for children! If you enjoy scary, check it out! A short children’s fantasy, ‘Emily and the Enchanted Wood’ was released by my new publisher, Crimson Cloak Publishing, towards the end of 2015. A very different children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, was released by Crimson Cloak Publishing on St Patrick’s Day 2016. Crimson Cloak Publishing also re-released ‘Caution’ along with the sword and sorcery fantasy, ‘Zac’s Destiny’, later in 2016. At the end of 2016 my first Role-play gamebook, ‘The Chalice of Jupiter’ became a reality, with more quests to come in the future! I am currently working on my next Crimson Cloak Quest, a short companion book to ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’, and a fantasy novel for young adults titled ‘Dimensions’. I am also working as the Marketing Director for Crimson Cloak Publishing.

Links

Blog   http://www.lynnenorth.co.uk/blog/

Website   http://www.lynnenorth.co.uk/

Author page on CCP  http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com/lynne-north.html

Universal Link to Amazon: http://myBook.to/WishFor

Pinterest:  https://uk.pinterest.com/lynnenorth/be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Lynne.North.Author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lynne_North

***

Many thanks for your 500 words Lynne!

I hope you all enjoyed that. Next week we have Catherine Kullman visiting with her 500 opening words.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 


Opening Lines: The Wedding Date with Zara Stoneley

It’s ‘Opening Lines’ time. Today I’m welcoming Zara Stoneley to my site to share the first 500 words (exactly) of her romantic comedy, The Wedding Date.

So, put your feet up for five minutes, find some shade and have a read.

Blurb- THE WEDDING DATE

One ex.
One wedding.
One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.
2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.
3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)

So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.

But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!

As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…

First 500 words of ‘THE WEDDING DATE’ 

ACT 1 – THE INVITE

Chapter 1

Reasons I, Sam Jenkins, cannot go to this wedding:

  1. I’m too fat, and just don’t have time to get down to a look-okay-in-a-posh-summer-frock weight.
  2. Lemon is so not my colour (which is the colour theme – Jess knows my aversion to over the top dresses and so has gone for a theme rather than providing the type of dress she loves and I hate). Mum says it drains me.
  3. I have far too much work to do. And house-cleaning, and gardening.
  4. I don’t have a date.
  5. The last man I dated ripped my heart out, stamped on it and is going to be the best man.

Reasons I have to go to this wedding.

  1. Jess was is my best friend.

I could add ‘and my hair looks crap’ but that one is easily handled. Much more easily handled than losing the chocolate-cake-and-chips stone in weight that has very comfortably settled itself round my stomach like an unwelcome lodger who intends to stay. Healthy food is on my to-do list, it just hasn’t made it on to my shopping list yet. I mean, you have to prioritise, don’t you? And I’m not quite ready.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can be pretty determined when I want to be, and show amazing self-control (last summer I lost 5 lb in weight the week before we went away, which meant the 7 lb I put on during the week was totally acceptable), but there are times in life when only a super-size bag of crisps and a bottle of wine will do, and the last few months has been one of those times. It has also been a time for espresso martinis and bumper bags of gin and tonic popcorn.

I was dumped, and now this.

A wedding invite. Well, advance warning of a wedding invite to be more precise.

Normally I love a good wedding, who doesn’t? But, right now, cheering on any happy couple would make me feel slightly hopeless and weepy for all the wrong reasons. And this is worse. This is the worst.

This isn’t just any wedding invite; it’s from Jess. My bestie.

We’ve known each other forever. She told me some time ago to ‘save the date’ (when I was still the deluded half of a happy couple), and now she’s emailed to tell me why.

She is getting married! The invite is in the post! It will be here any day! She is excited! Dan is excited! Everybody is excited! Her mum has already bought a hat!!! The wedding is going to be A-MA-ZING!! (The exclamation marks are hers, not mine – she is excited.)

Normally I’d be pretty thrilled too – after all, I love her to bits. I want her to be happy, I truly, truly do, and she will be. But normally was the time before Liam shredded my heart, hopes, and the perfect future I’d created in my head, as thoroughly as…

***

‘The Wedding Date’ is available now from Amazon and all other good retailers as an ebook and in paperback.

***

BIO

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, Zara wanted to be James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. Writing novels means she can imagine she is all these things, and more!

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a naughty cockapoo, and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Spain.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: zarastoneley

***

Fabulous stuff! Thanks Zara.

Next week please join Lynne North for the opening lines of one of her children’s novels.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: Counterfeit! by Elizabeth Ducie

‘Opening Lines’ time is upon us! This week I’m delighted to welcome the multi-talented Elizabeth Ducie to my blog to share the first 500 words from her thriller, Counterfeit!

Over to you Elizabeth…

 

Before I started writing fiction, I spent more than thirty years in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals. I visited more than fifty countries, many of them in less-developed parts of the world. Much of my fiction starts with a location and expands to characters and their stories.

Counterfeit!, which was published in 2016, began life as a 6K word short story assignment during my MA at Exeter University. Later, I expanded it into a thriller featuring three storng female protagonists (having been influenced by The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson). I thought it was going to be a standalone novel, but as soon as I wrote the closing line, I knew it was just the start of a series. The follow-ow, Deception!, came out in 2017 and the final part of the series, Corruption!, is due out this September.  Although the storyline is fictional, some of the events, espeically in Counterfeit! are based on real situations and conversations.

Blurb

Fake medicine kills. No-one is safe.Regulator Suzanne Jones’ mission to stop counterfeiting in Africa becomes personal when a colleague buys a bottle of fake cough syrup with tragic consequences. But her investigations bring danger ever closer. In Uganda a factory burns; Suzanne’s friend goes missing; and in Swaziland and Zambia, children die.
Who is supplying the fake drugs? What is the Eastern European connection? Can Suzanne stop the counterfeiters before more people die? 

***

First 500 words of Counterfeit!

Zambia; December 2003

Kabwe Mazoka walks up the hill, scuffing his feet in the rutted and baked red earth. It’s been dry for months, but today thick clouds mask the sun and when the rains come, this will be a water course, pouring mud and stinking filth into the main street below. He turns through a broken-down gate and walks across the yard. A mangy dog, tied with rope to a ring on the fence, jumps to its feet yelping before sinking back on its haunches, eyeing him warily.

The building was painted white once. Pale flakes cluster around rusty lines where the reinforcing bars are breaking through the pitted concrete. In the single row of windows running below the flat roof, most of the panes of glass are missing.

A line of women sit in the dirt against the wall, taking advantage of the shade from the over-hanging roof. As Kabwe unlocks the shiny new padlock on the door, they rise and slowly follow him into the building. The first raindrops splash into the dust.

The downpour hits the corrugated iron roof like stones from an angry crowd. Kabwe uses a metal pole to stir the thick, creamy liquid in the cleaned-out oil drum.

The men were coming back today, bringing brightly coloured labels and delivery instructions. They would be cross if the bottles weren’t filled ready for labelling and packing. He didn’t want them to be cross again.

They’d been cross when he suggested testing the ingredients before making the medicine. They showed him pieces of paper with green stickers and words in another language. They told him to ‘just get on with it.’ So he did.

When Kabwe ran out of the glycerol used to sweeten the cough medicines, they brought him drums in a battered lorry and told him to ‘get them unloaded and stored in the lock-up.’ The drums were different from the ones he’d had previously. These were red. Last time they were blue. The name was different too, longer. They told him it was just the chemical name for the same material. He pointed to the place where warning symbols and storage conditions were usually printed. The labels had been scratched and scraped; none of the words were legible. The men laughed at him and told him to ‘just get on with it.’ So he did.

Today, the men arrive just as the last of the brown bottles is being filled. They’d been pleased with Kabwe when he managed to source these from the local glass plant. For eleven months each year, the plant makes beer bottles, then the mechanics switch the moulds and they make medicine bottles, a year’s supply in just four weeks. They need a lot more beer bottles than medicine bottles in Africa.

These bottles are rejects, slightly misshapen, no good for an automated bottling line. But Kabwe’s filling team holds bottles under a tap, one at a time, operating the pump with a foot-pedal. He was able to….

***

Buy Link: http://elizabethducieauthor.co.uk/book/counterfeit-2/

Elizabeth’s Bio

Elizabeth has been writing for more than thirty years; initially producing audit reports, text books, articles and training modules for the international pharmacuetical industry. In 2012 she gave up the day job to concentrate on fiction. She has so far published three novels and three collections of short stories. She is due to publish her fourth novel in September.

She also writes The Business of Writing series to provide a toolbox of skills, allowing writers to spend minimal time getting their business systems right and releasing them for the creative work they love. She regularly lectures at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and elsewhere.

Elizabeth believes self-publishing is an exciting opportunity and not merely the choice of last resort. In the past seven years, she has published fifteen titles under her own imprint, Chudleigh Phoenix Publications.

Elizabeth’s Links

Website: http://elizabethducieauthor.co.uk/

Blog: http://elizabethducieauthor.co.uk/category/my-blog/

Books: http://elizabethducieauthor.co.uk/my-books/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Ducie-Author-312553422131146/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElizabethDucie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth_ducie_author/

*** 

Great opening lines! 

Make sure you come back next week for some opening lines from Zara Stonely.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx 


Opening Lines: Jane Risdon’s Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Jane Risdon to my blog, with her ‘Opening Lines’ from Only One Woman.

Written in tandem with Christina Jones, Jane is sharing the first 500 words from her part of the story, Renza’s Diary.

Over to you Jane… 

It is 1968 and Renza is about to go to Germany with her family, joining her father who is working there with the MoD. She’s facing 3 years overseas and isn’t happy. Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children, move next door to her. They are over from the Channel Islands to tour and record their first single. It is love at first sight but it is short-lived. Vowing undying love and secretly becoming engaged, Renza leaves for Germany within weeks, Scott believes the band will be in Germany soon and they can meet up. Renza promises to come back to England as often as she can. Narnia’s Children tour up and down the country and one night they take the stage at St. Barnaby’s Hall where he sets eyes on Stella who has only days to live, she is convinced. Set in the UK music scene of the late 1960’s Only One Woman is sheer nostalgia: the music, fashions, the changing society of the Swinging Sixties, the Cold War, and so much more – a love triangle set in Europe, the Mediterranean, Jersey and England in the grooviest decade of the 20th century by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon.

First 500 words from Renza’s Diary (Only One Woman)

May 24th 1968 – late

What a flipping nightmare of an evening. I really thought I’d never get home in one piece. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Someone up there hates me I’m sure.

If only Selina hadn’t lost her handbag at the Top Rank, I’d have caught the last bus back from Reading and I would’ve been home on time. Instead I’d gone back with the others to look for it – thankfully it had been handed in at the cloakroom and nothing was missing. Luckily I had just enough money for the train, which I’d had to run for. Selina’s dad took the others home in his brand new car as arranged, and there wasn’t room for me as well. I reckon he could’ve taken me but Yvette refused to let me sit on her lap in the front, in case I ripped her Mary Quant stockings. Sometimes I really want to do her a mischief.

They’ve got to do something about our local station, it’s just too creepy for words. Steam from the train almost suffocated me as I crossed the bridge to the exit on the opposite platform; all very ‘Brief Encounter’ I remember thinking, in an effort to stop my mind wandering off into ‘Hitchcock-land.’ Talk about cough myself silly, and my eyes stung something rotten as I tried to find my way in the pitch black; the two over-head lamps didn’t help much, they should do something about those flipping lights, I could’ve broken my neck, or even worse, tripped over in my new pink kitten heels and broken one of them.

I slowly took the steps down to the lane beside the station, glancing around me all the while – I admit it, I was a little freaked out. It’s always deserted, and you can never be too careful. Not long ago a dangerous prisoner escaped from the nearby asylum and hid in the waiting room for days before being recaptured. Hardly anyone uses the station since the cut-backs by that old idiot, Beeching, and the trains are a bit hit and miss since they messed with the timetable, so the convict was able to wait for his twisted ankle to mend without much danger of discovery. For all I knew, another Jack the Ripper could’ve be lurking in there waiting for me to pass, that’d just be my flaming luck.

I was in so much trouble. Forty minutes later than agreed. She’d never believe me about the bag, but no other excuse came to mind as I walked down the lane. I was going to be so dead.

Oh God!

I had such a fright. Something or someone, made a noise behind me, so I stopped and listened, but I really felt like running. Some sort of night creature, silly girl, I decided as I walked on. But there it was again. Was someone behind me?

I turned and peered into the pitch dark – I’m still shaking as I write this…

***

Author Jane Risdon
 
http://wp.me/2dg55
http://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8
http://www.accentpress.co.uk/jane-risdon
 

https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

 
Only One Woman Accent Press
http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr
 
Only One Woman Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

***

Many thanks Jane.

Don’t forget to come back next week for 500 words from Elizabeth Ducie.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

 

 


Opening Lines: Simon Farrant’s Famously Ordinary

Opening Line’s blog day is upon us.

Today, Simon Farrant is joining me to share the first 500 words from his very first novella, Famously Ordinary.

Over to you Simon…

 

Hello! I’m Simon Farrant, and this is my submission for the great 500 words blog. I haven’t heard of this concept before and I think it is intriguing. I hope that you enjoy the excerpt!

My book is called Famously Ordinary about a man called James Dean!

Many years ago I met a young man called James Dean while I worked in a mobile phone shop. I wondered what it would be like to have the name of a famous person. Of course, being British, I didn’t ask him.

Fast forward to last year, and I started to write stories. The young man came back to mind; I wanted to write a horror short story for an anthology. As it happened, the anthology never came about. This was good news for me in an unexpected way because a year later I rejigged the story and this novella was born.

I hope that you enjoy it!

The Blurb:

‘James Dean is an ordinary man with a famous name. But when he sees his father die in a traumatic car crash, something in James’ subconscious snaps with lethal consequences.

Caught in the perfect storm of grief and anger, James has blood on his hands. With the famous name weighing heavily on his subconscious mind, will his conscious mind be able to save him from himself?‘

***

The First 500 words:

James Dean hated his name.

Several times a week he thought about why he didn’t have a regular name. James blamed his father; he more than likely took charge of naming him. Like most things in his parents’ relationship, his father liked to think he was ‘the man of the house’ and dominated all the decisions. He decided what companies to use for utilities, and everything else. Denise sometimes asked to be more involved, but she got nowhere.

Dean Dean, his father, was hung up on his name, but unlike his son, he tried to not let it show to the outside world. Being from an older generation, it wasn’t the done thing to let your emotions shine through. James survived school and college unscathed; youthful ignorance meant most of the kids didn’t connect to the movie star, and those who did thought having the same name as a famous person was cool. Still, he had a lot to be happy and content about. James had a nice job in the same warehouse his father worked in that paid well, a nice car he had chosen because it was what he wanted rather than just being what he was able to afford after scraping the money together to buy it, and a nice detached house with an integral garage. He could buy nice new clothes as and when he wanted, which he was grateful for because he didn’t like to wear the same clothes repeatedly. Nice. Such a small word, James thought, but damning by faint praise.

James believed his life was normal, like other successful people. Yet he aspired to be something more. His mind was always on fast forward, daydreaming. He was fascinated by the adverts on television for the RAF Reserves. That looked extraordinary; he just needed a push in that direction. He hoped Dean would dare him to apply and say he thought James wasn’t cut out for it just so he could prove him wrong.

To entertain himself when he saw someone on the street, he would often invent a story about them for a few minutes. These stories were detailed, and they came to life in his imagination when he saw them play out in his mind’s eye.

Facebook didn’t yet have a group for ‘Normal People with a Famous Name’. Maybe no one wanted to start one for fear of the unknown and the inevitable ribbings, or maybe because they just wanted to keep a low profile.  Perhaps they didn’t even pay their moniker any attention at all. Maybe James needed to see a psychiatrist to help him with his problems, but he was in denial that his mind was a swirling pit with unseen depths. In his daydream world, which he was sure was created by having the hated name, the characters he created were normal people with the curse of stupid famous names. James had always been bitter, even as a schoolboy. He hid behind a mask of fake smiles…

***

Buy Link:

Mybook.to/famouslyordinary

My social links:

Facebook.com/simonfarrantofficial

Twitter – @asfarrant

Email – simon@farrantfiction.com

Bio:

It is true, what they say; you never know where life is going to take you.

I’m lucky enough to have had a diverse experience of life thus far.
Back in 1975, yeah I’m ancient, I was born in Doncaster; a town in South Yorkshire, England. I’m proud of my Yorkshire roots.

Over the following few decades, I lived in various places. I went to university in Derby and gained a HND and a BA (Hons). Since then, I lived and worked in a few more places before finding the love of my life.
We moved in together, got married and had three kids. What an adventure; it started almost fifteen years ago. Since then, I am proud to have served as a Special Constable. I wanted to join up full time, but life had another plan. At the time, I was working for a major national supermarket as a HGV (large truck) driver, which I did for over a decade. I became ill, I think it was during 2011, but the illness never went away. Now I am disabled with various chronic illnesses, which resulted in my losing my job about four years ago.
I did wonder where life would take me next.
Mark Nye, a superb writer and a friend, asked for submissions for an anthology. I wrote a short story called Famously Ordinary. To my delight, Mark told me it was a good story. By then, I had caught the writing bug!
The anthology was never actually published, so I made it into this novella, which, I feel, is a much better story.

***

Many thanks Simon,

Good luck with your first publication.

Don’t forget to come back for Jane Risdon’s first 500 words next week.

Happy reading,

Jenny. xx

 


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