What Lurks Beneath (Part 1) 

Today I have the first in a two parter that I wrote for Halloween. It originally started as a flash fiction piece but has evolved into much more.

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The heart of Autumn surrounded us now. The leaves rustled in the bitter breeze that stings my cheeks and makes my eyes water.

I thought agreeing to this trip would be a good thing, I’d imagined a cosy cabin, log fires, long walks and early nights. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First there was no heating save for the log fire, which also was the only source for heating water, the cabin was old and dusty and looked like it had been picked up from some cheesy Halloween film and put in the middle of this forest. I’m glad I wasn’t here alone otherwise I’d have turned and left by now.

There was however, a beautiful lake which on a night like this shone with a moonlit glow. It looked incredible, inviting.

I’m sure I could see things moving underneath it’s surface but it was clear the atmospheric effect of this cabin was playing tricks with my mind.

I could hear the others playing Monopoly in the main room. Louis loudly declaring how much he was kicking everyone’s arse on the property front, Sarah laughing because despite him owning everything he was broke and she wasn’t and then Ryan who just laughed at them both. My Ryan, the diplomatic one, never caused a scene, always the voice of reason and the one I was head over heels in love with.

Ryan and I had been together now for almost 2 years. We had met through random chance at a college fair when we were in our last year of school. This week was my 18th birthday and this trip was meant for me. Ryan knew I didn’t do massive parties or huge celebrations. Coming to a quiet romantic cabin with our best friends was the perfect gift.

At least it should have been. Leaving Louis to find and book a place may not have been the wisest of ideas. His version of comfort was quite different from mine. Despite this place though I was having a nice time, I just didn’t relish showering in the luke warm water or waking up to know I needed to de-frost the kettle before I could have a morning cuppa.

We were booked for a week and this was our 3rd night. I had to admit though this place was growing on me. It was my birthday tomorrow and we were going to have a barbeque if it wasn’t raining. The last few days had been sunny but cold, perfect walking weather. Louis and Sarah decided a barbeque would be a great idea, I have to say it did sound nice.

I excused myself and went up to bed. I wanted an early night so I could get up for a jog in the morning before everyone else awoke. Running through the surrounding forest with just the birds for company was relaxing. I could happily do this everyday rather than at home where I had to navigate roads and cars on my morning route. Living in the middle of a big city meant we didn’t have places so full of nature like out here.

I felt the alarm vibrating under my pillow, I must have slept great because I don’t remember anything from when I got into bed until now. I reached for my thick dressing gown while attempting to stay hidden under the cover. I grabbed it and quickly whipped it on, then slide my feet into my furry slippers.

I snuck out of the room and made my way to the main living room. Now that we had started to make our presence felt I could definitely see the charm in it. The kitchenette stood off the the left, a simple row of cupboards, cooking stove, fridge and other essentials. To the right a massive open fireplace and an arrangement if mismatched chairs, a sofa and some bean bags. There was a gorgeous real wood coffee table that had two tree trunk legs. To either side of the fireplace was wood stacked up to the ceiling as well as smaller piles scattered around the room, Windows sat next to the tall wood piles. The floor was made from wooden floorboards with thick worn rugs in random colours scattered about. In the centre of the back wall was a huge door and coat rack. I could see the moonlight just hitting the trees. It was still pitch black outside.

I walked over to the fire and added more logs, stoking it to bring up the flames. Thankfully the room wasn’t as cold since the embers had burnt through the night. I filled the kettle and switched it on, grabbing one of the mugs and popping in a teabag and some sugar. I walked over to the one of the windows near the fireplace. This view looked directly over the lake, it looked even more stunning than the night before.

I heard the kettle click off and went to make my drink. I shoved on some wellies, put my thick coat over my dressing gown, grabbed my mug and headed towards the lake. I sat on the bench that sat near the waters edge. Despite been dark the moon let off enough light that I could see easily.

I was sat contemplating the day ahead. Finally 18 years old. Old enough to drink and vote. A proper adult now. Due to start university in a weeks time. Life was good.

It was then I heard the whispers. At first I thought it was just me. I’d have put it down to the wind but there wasn’t even a small breeze this morning. It was still and silent. The whispering seemed to get louder, more frequent. I couldn’t make out any words. I looked around me but I couldn’t see anyone. I then got up and started to walk around the lake, staying in the light. I could hear the whispers getting louder now and tried to follow the sound, it led into the woods. I hesitated following, I mean I was still in my pj’s, who knows what else is out here. But still, I followed.

I came to a small clearing surrounded by the most beautiful wildflowers, the moon shone down into the centre. Everything seemed to sparkle.

The whispering had stopped now. There was no sound not even a bird.

“Hello Juliet” a voice said. I turned around, nothing was there. I couldn’t see anyone. Shadows hiding from the moonlight concealing what lurked in the darkness.

“Don’t be afraid Juliet, we’ve waited a long time for you” the voice spoke.

“Who are you? Where are you?” I replied, my voice shook with nerves. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would jump out of my chest. My hands had gone clammy. I was more than half tempted to to run back to the cabin but something compelled me to stay.

“Juliet, we are the people of the forest. You will see us when your eyes allow us to be seen” the voice said.

“What do you mean? My eyes allow you to be seen? What are you ?” I replied.

“Everything will be revealed in time Juliet. The question you should ask is not who are we, but who are you” the menacing voice replied.

“What do you mean? I’m a human of course. What else could I be?” I had no idea what was going on, were the guys playing a trick on me? Not exactly the way I wanted to start my birthday.

“You my dear child are not pure human, there are things in this world that have been kept from you. But now as you celebrate the day of your birth old magic will pump through your veins. When you are ready to know everything come back to this spot. We will be here waiting. You are not ready yet, don’t fight it when you feel it” the voice faded as it finished it’s words, I knew that whatever it was had gone.

I went back inside confused, sitting on the sofa in front of the fire my body started to warm up. What on earth did it all mean. I’ve never felt normal, at least not in the way that people seemed to look. My father has always kept secrets about my mother,  my heritage and what happened to her. Did this have something to do with her?

I jumped as Ryan put his arms around my shoulders, I hadn’t even heard him come out of the bedroom. “Good Morning birthday girl. Happy birthday” he said, kissing my cheek.

To be continued…..

Emma-Louise Smith x

Other bloggers who have written a small Halloween story…

J.E Kennedy – The Sven Lands

Cassandra Jones – Ghostly Writes Anthology Free E-Book

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Blog Tour: The Forgotton Room by Ann Troup


Blurb…

Can the past ever be forgotten?

As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.

Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…

Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?

The chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Child and The Silent Girls. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Claire Mackintosh and Tracy Buchanan.

Review…

I was really intrigued by the blurb of this book. I love a good thriller. The story didn’t take long to get into the more ‘thriller’ aspect and you got the vibe there was a lot more going on early on. 

Maura was likeable enough and I could certainly sympathise with her but I have to admit I didn’t seem to gel with her. I don’t know if it’s because I felt in some ways I was coming into a story that had already started.

I enjoyed the story, there were a lot of twists and turns and I didn’t see the murderer coming at all. However, the pacing really got me. I think it was probably just me but I felt like the story went on forever. So much had happened that I felt it dragged on a bit. I hit 75% and couldn’t believe I still had so much more to go. That been said I would recommend it. Ann definitely has a great flare for this sort of genre. The book was enjoyable and unpredictable. 

I would rate The Forgotton Room 4/5 stars. Despite my pacing issues the book has everything you would want from a great thriller. 

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x 

Book Tour: The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes {Guest Post}

Blurb…

Love happens when you least expect it…

Jodi is panicking. It’s only weeks until her little village in Devon holds its first ever festival and everything is falling apart.

Desperate to avoid disaster, she brings in notorious party planner Christian to save the day. Although she wasn’t prepared for just how gorgeous he would be!

Men are off the cards for Jody and surely Christian is the last man she would ever date? But with tensions rising – along with the bunting and home-made scones – she’s about to find out…

Guest Post…

The Power of Procrastination

It’s safe to say before giving birth and changing jobs my whole working life had been deadline driven. My career as a radio copywriter was filled with daily, heck, hourly deadlines. From when a script must be written by, to when it needed to be approved by, to when it needed to be recorded by, to when the audio needed to be approved by the client for it to go to air. And it wasn’t a case of one client a day, we’re talking multiple clients, multiple account managers, multiple demands to have stuff done yesterday. I thrived on it. Procrastination was a dirty word. It meant not getting stuff done. And stuff needed to be done.

Fast forward five years and how times have changed. Since becoming an author I’ve become quite the procrastinator. You see there are deadlines, but they’re not the kind that require you to plan your day out in order to meet them. It’s more… if I write just over one thousand words a day I’ll finish the book with enough time to go through it two more times to ensure the plot holes are tidied up, the grammar probably won’t kill the copy editor and the spelling is checked.

It leaves a lot of time to twiddle my thumbs, but is that twiddling of thumbs actually procrastination? I think not, for it’s during those times of putting off writing when I get my best ideas.

Recently I was standing in the shower longer than usual and it came to me that my hero in Christmas at the Second Chance Chocolate Shop needed a good emotional reason to hate Christmas, and not the amusing one I’d initially considered going with. I walked out of that shower cleaner and with an idea.

When I’m at the absolute end of a deadline my house turns into a tip. Everything is ignored in order to get the words to my editor. But in the initial stages you could eat off my floors. Toys are in the toy box. Dishes done and put away. And when I do sit down at my laptop it’s with a scene planned in my head. A scene that has played earlier in my head as little bits of toys and cat fur are sucked up the Hoover’s tube.

You’ll also find my legs a touch more toned (which means not really toned at all) during this period, as there’s no better way to procrastinate than by telling yourself you need to go for a walk to avoid writer’s bum. Also known as avoiding the daily word count. So you wander round, get your exercise in, and during that time characters accompany me on my walk and chat to me about their needs, desires and what irritates them about the world. Those walks fill out my characters, make them more real to me. Changing them from strangers into friends.

Procrastination. Not such a dirty word after all. Without it I’d be staring at a blank page.

(PS – previous to writing this, I’d convinced myself I really needed to go down to the fruit and veg shop to buy bananas. And that’s where the idea for this post came from.)

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt {Review}

Today I have a review for the book A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt.

Blurb…

 Welcome to Thornwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…

Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy chaos of the busy vicarage.

After several years away from home, Anna returns for Christmas… and an important announcement from her father. As much as she once loved the village, coming back is hard and puts Anna’s social capabilities to the test. 

Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, she heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!

Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?

Review…

I have read a few of Kate Hewitt’s books before and always enjoyed them. A Vicarage Christmas was no different.

This book has elements of mental illness in it, specifically social anxiety and I found it interesting to read about. How it affects the characters and the decisions that Anna makes because of it. 

Anna is a really easy to like character, I sympathised with her completely and really felt for the situation she was put in and also the guilt she felt.

Simon is a really good guy and it was really good getting to know him, I’d quite like a book from him perspective which delves into his past. 

There are elements of sadness in the book but every moment is well worth reading. I was left feeling warm and cozy when it was over.

Kate has such a smooth writing flow that you can easily get through chapters and not even notice. 

I would rate this 4 stars and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a lovely Christmas read.

You can grab your copy here.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

It’s A Family Thing: Jay-Jay Playbus Books by Sue Wickstead {Review}

Welcome to the first Mummy and Toddler joint review. Today we are reviewing the books Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus and Jay-Jay and His Island Adventure both by Sue Wickstead. Both are children’s books for age 3+

Sue was generous enough to send us these copies to review when she found out how much Alexis loved to read. It’s so nice to share my love of reading with my children.

We read The Supersonic Bus first and really enjoyed it. We learnt all about how Jay-Jay had transformed from an ordinary bus into a super Playbus. 

Alexis really enjoyed this book, especially when Jay-Jay had all the toys put inside for the children to play with. 

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this book she said “she enjoyed it very much and liked the bus”.

We then read the Island Adventure book. This was a great story about Jay-Jay traveling to an Island on a Ferry and meeting new children. Alexis loved the pirate theme of the book and very enthusiastically kept saying “yarr” all the the way through.

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this story she said she “wished she had a Playbus” which even as an adult I can sympathise.

As an adult reading these books I found them enjoyable. They were interesting and educational without been too in your face about the lessons they taught. I was a little worried that Alexis may lose interest as they are a little wordier than her normal book but it wasn’t a problem, the stories were entertaining enough to keep her fully engaged.

We both really liked these books and will definitely be reading more by Sue. 

For more information;

Sue’s Author Page

Original Playbus Page

Sue’s Website

Sue is a supply teacher and has worked with children for over 20 years, it was through her charity work with The Bewbush Playbus Association that she got inspiration for her Jay-Jay series. 

You can find Sue’s books for purchase here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise and Alexis x

Clipped Wings By Jennifer Gilmour {Cover Reveal}

I am excited to share with you the cover for the 2nd novel from Jennifer Gilmour, Clipped Wings

Blurb…

The silent chorus.

Just imagine you thought that you had met the man or woman of your dreams. This person was charming and you thought they were the one or perhaps that this was fate; it was just meant to be.

But as the months go by things start to change. Their behaviour towards you isnt the same, they are more critical, more particular about your appearance, what you do, how you do it, who you see. Time goes by and you feel isolated from your friends and family because that behaviour has now changed to threats, maybe violence and you feel that your identity is all but gone. But still you stay. Where would you go? Who would help you? You are not worthy.

But you are.

A group of survivors have spoken about their own experiences. In their own words they show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, unfortunately, a surprisingly common problem in todays society.

The message of this book is one of courage, as with courage comes awareness and an ability to understand what has happened to you and take the steps needed to become a survivor yourself. 

Clipped Wings will be available later this month. Don’t forget you can also read Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour. 

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x


The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle {Review}

​A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Today I bring to you my review of Molly Ringle’s The Goblins of Bellwater.

Blurb…

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. 

Review…

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this via NetGalley and I have to admit when I requested it that initially it was the gorgeous cover that dragged me in. Once I read the blurb I just had to read the book. I seem to have a bit of a thing for books featuring Goblins. I find them really interesting and full of fantasy.

The Goblins of Bellwater proved to be a book full of Magic, Intrigue, Bravery and Sadness. When I say sadness I mean it in the best way. 

Following the story of Skye it’s so easy to feel sorry for her, suck in a situation she cannot control and more importantly cannot discuss. Skye choses actions she knows are wrong but is compelled to do and she feels such sorrow for the situation she puts others in.

Livy is someone who would die for her sister, she’s at a loss now to help but once she finds a way she stops at nothing to break the spell. Facing the biggest challenge of her life and putting all her trust into something unknown she shows courage and bravery.

Kit is a great guy, I instantly liked him and felt bad for him stuck under the curse. Building a life around the complexities of such it’s great to see him let others in and to let himself find love.

Grady is a cool guy who just wants to help. He ends up stuck in a situation which is equally as frustrating as Skye’s. Together they find a way to endure what is happening to them, their reliance on each other ultimately saves them from the prospect of a life of misery. 

I liked how all the characters developed over the duration of the book, each learning about themselves on the way.

The Goblins as much as I dislike them are so fantastically written that you cannot help loving to hate them especially Redring.

I thought the story was magically, and beautifully written in many ways. It completely sucked me in with the vivid details and descriptions. 

Molly’s writing style flows so naturally and she created a world I wanted to be part of. I found it really hard to put the book down as I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. The pacing is perfect, nothing felt too drawn out or equally rushed. I feel like I want to read it again just to get back into the world.

The Goblins of Bellwater has definitely earned a place on my Top 10 of 2017.

5 star all the way.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and it’s currently under £4 on kindle. An absolute bargain. I’m going to hunt down the rest of her works!

To find out more about Molly and her books you can find her here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise x

P.s look at this beautiful cover.

Writing TN Set Up

I finally got my writing TN set up completed. A while ago I bought a second hand Meadowgate TN from someone who had customised it with ink droplets and it was perfect. 

I finished setting it up yesterday when my friend Kirstyanne brought me a NaNoWriMo insert for it. 

(I’ll drop shop links below).

I have put in it;

  • A NaNoWriMo insert
  • A general writing insert full of prompts, info, ideas etc
  • A insert with chapters and writing info for my current work in progress
  • A tasks and notes insert to track everything I need to do.
  • My writing journal

I also have some cheetsheets and resources tucked in the back pocket.

I am so happy with it, not just how it functions but the style of it. 

Now for the links.

Leather TN from Meadowgate Leather

NaNoWriMo insert from BugzPlanning

Lined inserts from Paper Trail Notebooks

Task Insert from The Punk Planner

Pumpkin clip from Stitch and Weave

Ravenclaw Dashboard from LalaPlans

Accessories from The Royal Planner

All cheat sheet and resources are from Megg Geri and Eva Deverell

Thanks for reading:)

My Writing TN Set-Up

I finally got my writing TN set up completed. A while ago I bought a second hand Meadowgate TN from someone who had customised it with ink droplets and it was perfect. 

I finished setting it up yesterday when my friend Kirstyanne brought me a NaNoWriMo insert for it. 

(I’ll drop shop links below).

I have put in it;

  • A NaNoWriMo insert
  • A general writing insert full of prompts, info, ideas etc
  • A insert with chapters and writing info for my current work in progress
  • A tasks and notes insert to track everything I need to do.
  • My writing journal

I also have some cheetsheets and resources tucked in the back pocket.

I am so happy with it, not just how it functions but the style of it. 

Now for the links.

Leather TN from Meadowgate Leather

NaNoWriMo insert from BugzPlanning

Lined inserts from Paper Trail Notebooks

Task Insert from The Punk Planner

Pumpkin clip from Stitch and Weave

Ravenclaw Dashboard from LalaPlans

Accessories from The Royal Planner

All cheat sheet and resources are from Megg Geri and Eva Deverell

Thanks for reading:) 

The Stationery Geekette x

Changes Afoot…

Hey Everyone, 

Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent of late. Truth is I’ve been extremely overwhelmed with some changes in my life. So I thought I’d update you all on what’s been going on and what will happen going forward. 

As many of you know I have a sister blog Read, Write, Inspire this is where I post everything book related such as reviews and writing related such as NaNoWriMo. I will be keeping both blogs but you may find this one updated a little less than the other.

Aside from all the reviews I will be doing, I have also been doing Beta Reading projects for authors which has kept me busy. I have been writing my own novel and preparing for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

On top of that I am undertaking a Level 3 Diploma in Fiction Writing and…I’ve started doing a Masters in Law at Open University. 

I have also been asked to be a Board Director for the charity I Volunteer for. 

All these things plus raising 3 children and looking after a house as well as running my own business has been a lot to adjust too especially since it all happened within a 2 week period. 

Time to devote to my blogs will have to be less but I will still keep updating. 

You may find more productivity and student based posts on here as well as my reviews for PR Kits and such though I won’t be sticking to a schedule. I am aiming for once a week. 

If anyone has any tips on juggling the student and family life I would really appreciate you dropping them below as I can use all the help I can get:).

As always thank you for reading and your patience. 

Emma-Louise x