A relatable story full of suspense, with psychological twists and turns in every chapter.
Dawn Foster lost her 18-year-old son, Ben following a tragic accident and a few months afterwards her husband Gary left her. Then, quite by chance, Dawn discovers her son’s ‘lucky stone’ concealed in the pocket of his favourite jacket. She carries the treasured stone with her everywhere, even keeping it under her pillow at night. The day after the discovery, Dawn’s life suddenly begins to take a series of inexplicable turns that leave her suspecting she has some form of stress-induced amnesia. But soon she is forced to face an even more frightening explanation that leaves her doubting more than just her memory. With her son dead, her husband gone and life quite literally out of control, how will Dawn ever be happy again?
Meet the AuthorSian Turner
I am a UK author based in East Sussex and am a long-standing member of Shorelink Writers. My first two novels were historical fiction stories, but I now write magical realism (contemporary novels with a paranormal/supernatural element).
SHADES OF DELIVERANCE MEETS THE WALTONS… Simple’s life is a painful nightmare. He is one huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child. He suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family. Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape. Will they ever discover the joy of freedom?
Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide. It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.
Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it. She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time. I was trying to think of the worst she could do.
It was cool inside the cabin. Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made. She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench. She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement. I knew better than speak first. I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up. Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel. ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind. Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’
I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.
Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady, if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’
‘Course not, Gran.’ My voice came out as a whisper.
‘Simple was hurt real bad. I couldn’t just leave him…’
This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heart-warming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.
A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.
More about the author, Jan Sikes
I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. Many summers, I won the highest award possible from the Hobbs, NM Public Library for reading the most books. There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story. Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivalled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment. In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done. Wrong! The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain. I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.
As a lifelong lover of horses, I looked forward to reading this story, the equine equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. Beautifully written, this touching and romantic tale of the love and longing between Cinders and Satin reminded me that love really can find a way and will conquer all…
The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her.
She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening? Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil.
An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…
Eventide, the last story in Mae Clair’s terrifying trilogy reminded me of a Victorian melodrama, all dark and very mysterious.
The dual timeline ramped up the tension and stretched my nerves so thin, I thought they would break. But I loved the way the past seemed to mirror the present and that they combined at the end in one breathtaking chapter…
Perfectly written and calculated to give anyone nightmares, these books should probably come with a health warning for all those of a nervous disposition!
I loved the part when Madison tackled the weeds in the flowerbeds of her new house, something I love to do to relax my mind. Mae Clair described it all so well too, but the peace wasn’t to last. The tension returns as Madison feels she is being watched, and things begin to happen…
The ghosts start coming out of the woodwork and in no time at all this story becomes icy with terrifying chills coming in quick succession.
Eventide is one of the best ghost stories I have ever read!
Throughout the previous volumes the fantasy aspect of this epic has gradually built. In Journey 8, that fantastical element comes to the fore. . Emlyn and her companions search for the fabled Lost Library. The entire world is at risk, so they hope answers will be there. However, a new complication arises and the fate of one Deae Matres hangs in the balance. . Meanwhile Arawn, who tore the Veil between the worlds of the living and dead, tries to make an evil alliance with a long dead king who was known for his ruthlessness. . Remove the limits from your imagination and join Emlyn and company on this extraordinary adventure.
Dead of Winter Journey 8
This story moves on to another part of this intriguing world and opens with Emlyn and her companions Zasha and Hallgeir exploring the newly found Library, trying to find out why Osabide and two of members of the Deae Matre have disappeared. And as this magical Library seems enormous, not an easy task.
When Hallgeir reappears, he brings with him the ancient watcher, Haldis.
The one who has been watching their progress all this time. Was she the reason they were here? Or the reason the library had vanished all those years ago?
As Haldis recounts her story, Emlyn was reminded of the magic that linked them. But whose side was the magic on, and did it still have plans for them all?
Emlyn grows uneasy as she listens to their conversations and the decision that involves herself, realising that they are deciding her future and that of her own special gift.
Ripples of unease and mistrust begin to circulate, were they all being manipulated into making the biggest mistake of their lives?
I cross the old wooden bridge
A time machine to the past
Each step could be the one
To trigger the magic
I am halfway across, looking back
I can see nothing,
clouds, mountain tops, no bridge
My footsteps vanished,
alongside the old wooden planks
I walk on, praying
Please let the next step take me home
The clouds ahead looked thinner
Started to clear
I could see the most amazing buildings
Blue and white
Gripping the rail edge to move on
A white shroud stole my beautiful vista
I was alone,
nothing but wooden planks ahead of me
That’s when I heard a small voice
Do you want your old life?
I couldn’t stop myself from yelling, yes!
Then turn around. If you have faith
The bridge will appear
Would you take that step back
With nothing to see but clouds?
I hear a voice telling me to run A hollow sound here in the darkness Held by a disembodied voice Telling me there is no touching where you are going No interfering You will not be calling any place you see, home That is the place you left behind You will be given a chance to earn your way back You will take nothing from this place The darkness pulsed around me like a living entity I thought of those waiting for me to come home Jack, my husband What have I done, why must I run? I feel the rain on my skin, a memory Jack’s whispered voice, here in the darkness Maggie, you must come back, I miss you A new voice nagged at the back of my mind You liar I am being pushed into the light It’s not a place I remember Strange faces, a woman tries to wave me away Telling me I don’t belong here Tears on the face of a small child pull me forward She needs my help, her home is filthy Her tear-streaked face a charcoal smudge Her tiny hand clutching a red ribbon…
Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperately trying to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.
So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.
But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own.
But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break . . .
About the Author
Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin, won the 2015 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard and Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series, was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the U.S. Her D.I. Marnie Rome series continues with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing, Come and Find Me, and Never Be Broken. Fragile is her first standalone novel.
Reading this book, I saw the gothic shades of Rebecca that another reader mentioned and felt a connection in my heart to Jane Eyre, a beautifully illustrated book I loved, even though it gave me nightmares when I was a child.
I was fostered and it wasn’t always pleasant, so reading parts of Fragile brought back so many poignant memories, permanent reminders of the fragility of human life.
They shouldn’t have mentioned Rebecca, for all the time I was reading I expected to find traces of the old-fashioned romance that would soften the menace. There was menace all right, but it was sneaky, masquerading as something completely different.
As I gradually became immersed in this story, I identified with Nell, having been in similar circumstances. I remembered feeling lonely, invisible, and as helpless as she did, constantly wondering when life would turn in my favour.
Will Nell’s story have a happy ending, or will the raw, emotional memories persist, poisoning everything they touch?
When Karen and Mick Curtis attend a demonstration of clairvoyance for the first time, Karen is singled out by the medium, Rae Cordelle. Rae has a message from Karen’s son David, who passed over to the spirit world many years before. The message shocks Karen and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking her previously happy relationship with second husband Mick, David’s stepfather.
Stevie Turner’s latest was a great escape read, and by the second page I had to find out what this psychic was going to tell Karen, and then I became absorbed and wanted to just keep reading.
Karen and Mick’s happy life was shaken and stirred after a chance outing to a clairvoyant’s public show where Medium Rae focused her attention on Karen, offering her a message from beyond from Karen’s deceased son – gone missing years before. Rae offers Karen her card, inviting her to contact Rae to learn more if she chose. What mother of a missing child wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to connect with their missing/dead child?
What Rae reveals to Karen sets the tone for the journey to seek out what happened all those years ago when David just a boy then, completely vanished – never to return. The search to find David’s never been found body ensues, and as clues develop and possible suspects for David’s death appear, a great strain weighs between Karen and Mick’s marriage.
Turner always has rich characters who draw us into her stories. I also enjoyed how the story carried through with a tiny crumb given in each chapter, leaving me anxious to turn to the next chapter while still kept wondering – Who the heck killed David – until near the very end. I also enjoyed reading in this genre, which is not a usual one for me. If you enjoy a shorter book with all the meat of a story wrapped up nicely, you will no doubt, enjoy this book!
Hoping for a message from her son David, who disappeared years ago, Karen attends a Spiritual meeting with her husband, Mick and through the medium, Karen receives a message from her son.
This message shocks her and sends her on a journey of discovery, shaking the foundations of her marriage.
Her husband Mick is not a believer in these things and aggressively refuses to believe that David blames him for his death. This was a classic misunderstanding, for Mick is David’s stepfather.
Right from the beginning, I hoped the child would be found alive.
I found myself wondering what I would do in those circumstances. The message would have to be convincing, like something no one else would know, for there are many so-called mediums out there who prey on the vulnerable.
I don’t understand what drives people to these meetings, surely it must only bring more heartache?
It was particularly distressing to witness the destruction of Karen’s marriage, although the husband’s attitude didn’t help.
The author has done a brilliant job of creating a devastating story and believable characters, sometimes a little too realistic!
The medium in this story and the story itself, are remarkable and very believable, especially the effect this discovery had on the parents of the missing child.
Finding David isn’t very long, but it certainly packs a punch…
About the Author
Stevie Turner is a British author of romantic suspense, humour, paranormal stories, and women’s fiction family dramas. She is a cancer survivor, and still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. Those two boys have now grown, and she and Sam have 5 lovely grandchildren.
One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and her novel ‘A House Without Windows’ gained interest in 2017 from De Coder Media, an independent film production company based in New York. ‘Finding David’ reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. https://writers.coverfly.com/profile/writer-d3b3affc7-6104#accolades
To quote reader Roberta Baden-Powell, ‘I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and find your books the best so far. The style you write in has given me a new perspective and a renewed inspiration in reading once again.’
Kate Devereau wakes up in hospital in this exciting sequel to NINE LIVES, unable to speak or move after the brutal attack by her ex-husband. Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge the misery of her dark and disturbing past. A past that conceals a web of painful secrets. Can she gradually piece her shattered life back together? Or will she discover that her nightmare is far from over.
Detective Inspector David Snow looked down at the unconscious woman on the hospital bed in front of him. They had done a good job of cleaning her up. She lay still, like a religious statue in a church, her pale skin the colour of finest marble, the gentle rise and fall of her chest the only sign that life still clung to her body.
So different to the other wrinkled and dirty body he had looked at earlier. An old tramp found dead in the hospital car park, bundled into a filthy army coat and wedged under a car. A simple case of neglect had taken on a more sinister tone when they found the tramps head cut off and shoved down the back of his trousers.
They knew little about her, and he wondered again what kind of woman she was. Now the blood and dirt had gone, she looked to be an attractive and middle-aged woman bordering on the ordinary, apart from her unruly hair, which seemed to crawl across the pillow like the roots of a willow.
Alone with the unconscious woman, Snow had an excellent opportunity to study her. In all the years since his wife’s death, he missed looking at a woman. He liked to imagine what kind of person they were. If they were kind or cruel, bossy or timid, but for once, there were no clues on this woman’s face. A slight determination in the set of her jaw gave him pause for thought.
According to Michael Barratt, the man who brought her here, her name was Kate Devereau, and she was an artist. Snow wondered if she could be the murderer, due to the amount of blood present in the cottage where Michael Barratt had found her. As an estate agent, he had been arranging to have the cottage ready for Miss Devereau to rent and had no idea why she had found it necessary to be there.
It was all a little mysterious, compounded by the fact Michael Barratt looked as though he had been barbecued. His clothes were burned black in places, apart from his jacket, which was clean and several sizes too small and most likely didn’t belong to him. The back of his head and hands were raw and blistered, suggesting there were extensive burns to his body.
The estate agent kept asking after Kate, offering no explanation for his condition. He had no answer for what had happened to her either, except to say her health had not been good for a while. If it hadn’t been for all the blood, it would seem innocent enough.
So why didn’t Snow believe him?
Given the state of him, Michael Barratt was in no position to convince David Snow of anything. He was always suspicious of everyone involved in his cases, and Snow couldn’t help but suspect Michael Barratt. The man was hiding something, for, despite his obvious devotion to the unconscious woman, something didn’t feel right. He must know more than he said.
There had to be more to this case than these two people. The death of Miss Devereau’s brother Danny had opened this case several weeks ago. Perhaps someone had an axe to grind? Someone cruel and malicious, hell-bent on exacting revenge?
Snow walked over to the window, more for a change of scenery than to escape from the body of Kate Devereau. It was getting dark outside, and the lights in the car park were coming on, one by one. With visiting time approaching, more cars were arriving, and he prayed nothing else would happen. He was tired, but not looking forward to his retirement next year. His life seemed empty now, what would it be like then? He didn’t want to retire; he liked his job. It gave him a reason to get up every morning.
The idea that this woman may never regain consciousness was unsettling. He wanted this case solved and put away as soon as possible. The doctors could find no medical reason for the coma, or so they said. They had found sedatives in her system, but they should have worn off by now. Her heart was fine and no sign of a stroke. Either she didn’t want to wake up, or she was faking.
Maybe if he pinched or touched her, took her by surprise, would she open her eyes? For whatever reason, and he couldn’t think of one, he couldn’t do it. He could hardly blame her for faking. Why weren’t there more people in her life?
He remembered one of his earlier cases, involving one Gillian Anderton and how she had completely fooled them into believing her story. If it hadn’t been for his sergeant, Jim Harris, she would still be free. Snow tended to suspect women a lot more these days, just in case.
Samantha Cameron managed Miss Devereau’s art but was only a business contact. Judging by the barbecued boyfriend, someone thought well of Kate Devereau, but how did she feel about him? So many questions, which would never be answered if she didn’t wake up.
He looked back to the bed, hoping to see her open her eyes, but nothing had changed, she hadn’t moved at all.
What kind of woman are you, Kate Devereau?
I really enjoyed writing this second book in my DI Snow series and would love to hear your comments!
Saw this picture this morning and it really fascinated me. I know it’s probably not real, there is some jiggery pokey going on, but as I get older I like the unreal, or at least, what seems to be, so I will keep on looking for new and amazing things…
Anyway, back to what I wanted to talk about today.
I have been thinking about one of Anita’s books, Simple …
It has long been one of my favourites and the picture at the top reminds me of the central character, a huge bear of a man called Simple. He loves to be in the forest and seems to be at home among all the towering trees, away from all the people who torment him because of his size, his slowness, and his stutter.
I thought I would print an excerpt to introduce him to you properly…
Gran stormed across the clearing, bending to pick up a stick from the ground without breaking her stride. Simple, sitting against the wood pile, was in for another of her beatings. I yelled for him to run, but he didn’t hear me. Lost in one of his daydreams I guessed.
I watched in silence as Gran repeatedly swung the stick hard against the side of her son’s head. There were no words to describe Simple’s pain, or the pain of watching. He probably didn’t even know what it was for and I hated her for making me feel all the things he couldn’t say. He didn’t move or look her in the face, not until she let the stick drop from her bony fingers did he feel safe enough to close his eyes. He slowly put his hands to his battered head, blood pushing its way through the gaps in his dirty fingers…
I know I edited this book so you could say I am a bit biased, but I don’t think so. I really love the story, even though it has savagely cruel elements, involving hatred and violence. But all of these elements are finely balanced with so much emotional determination and caring by Simple’s sister, Leanne that you get torn every which way as you read it.
This book is a roller coaster of a read but one that has been very hard to categorise. Mainstream publishers really couldn’t figure out what to do with it. They loved it but…
There always seems to be a but, doesn’t there?
I would love to hear if you could love it as much as I do…
Here is the latest review for Simple…
5.0 out of 5 starsLife’s Choices
Simple is a story told by a young girl living in the woods with her family, which is made up of mostly harsh characters, who are contrasted by Simple, and then later Amber. It’s a story of love and loss and family and living with the decisions we have made. I had a very hard time putting this book down. I got the majority of it read in one day because I just had to know what all the mystery was. It snags you right away, and holds you tight for the ride. There were some harsh moments in the book, as well as some gems that made me think about life. Overall, what a great book! Well written characters, good depth of detail, and a driven plot.