Lies Love Tells is book one in the Eastcove Lies series. Each book in the series is a standalone story but set in the fictional town of Eastcove, with some characters crossing over from book to book. There is a second book in the series which is currently already released, Unveiling Lies, and I have another novel to join the series some time late this year but as of yet, it is untitled!
I first wrote Lies Love Tells at a very difficult time in my life when my much loved mum, Sharon, was terminally ill with cancer. I escaped into Saze's story as the book actually began life as a real fictional blog which I updated every couple of days. As the real blog attracted readers, and comments, I decided to take the blog down and make it into a novel - my very first one. The result was Lies Love Tells. This edition is brand new, with a different beginning and ending, and some slightly different twists. Plus, of course, it has a new cover as (I hope) I have improved drastically in my book cover designing skills since I first unleashed this book way back in 2012!
Below is an excerpt from the novel, which is written in the form of a blog (complete with comments from nice people as well as internet trolls!) and also occasional posts written in a handwritten diary...
'... Funny, dark, and so many things...' 'Kept you guessing until the end...' 'A unique book.'
Saze, that’s me!
If I impaled spark plugs into Mr Him’s brain would it jump-start our limp sex-life or turbo-boost him out of here? I may as well be the only one in the damn relationship. When was the last time Mr Him lifted a single nicotine-stained digit to hoover up? I can’t even remember and I’ve been with him for what seems like a life sentence. I’ve had his child, cleaned his stinky-walk-on-their-own-crusty-socks, endured his proclamations of insincere love, and tolerated his over-the-top affection to his “co-workers” (female of course) but where had I disappeared to?
Was I searching for something that didn’t exist? Yearning for appreciation where none was due?
I’ve moved up from a handwritten diary to this blog. It will be my diary, my venting platform, my own little secret—hell, even as I typed, Mr Him shouted up saying he wanted his blue shirt ironed. Had to stop typing as would’ve been a shame to tear Mr Him from whatever he was doing, like plucking his eyebrows or wearing himself out channel-hopping.
Posted: 19:02 0 Sazements
Dressed to Impress?
‘Do you like my dress?’ I completed what I hoped was a sexy twirl in front of the television.
Mr Him waved his pint glass at me. ‘Move out of the way, I want to make sure there isn’t a recording clash when we go out.’
‘You don’t think I look fat?’ I nervously ran a hand over my midriff. It certainly wasn’t what it had been before arrival of Daughter.
‘No,’ Mr Him answered automatically, without removing his brown-eyed stare from the screen. ‘The shoes don’t make you look as short as normal. Are you going to straighten your hair or leave it natural?’ His thin top lip curled at the word natural.
‘I like it like this.’ I shook my golden brown hair, enjoying the weight of my curls on my back.
I resisted kicking off a shoe and lobbing it in Mr Him’s direction, fearing it would bounce straight off his head without inflicting the slightest dent and instead end up stuck heel first in the wall. ‘Is my make-up okay? I’ve tried a new eye shadow and liquid liner.’
White sock clad, Mr Him padded over to me. ‘It makes your eyes look funny.’ He screwed up his round nose. ‘Are you wearing contacts?’
I huffed. ‘It’s the make-up. It’s supposed to bring out the green of my eyes. Do you think it looks awful?’ I started to panic. There wasn’t time to re-do the make-up and there was no way I’d go out without any on at all.
‘I don’t like it and I’ve changed my mind about the shoes. They’re way too high. You’re nearly as tall as me in them.’
‘So, you’d prefer me to wear flats?’
Mr Him shrugged. ‘No, some which won’t make me look such a short arse. How high are the heels, five inches?’
‘Six, actually. They’re platforms. You’re still a few inches taller than me and I’m not changing them. I bought them for this evening. I like them so you’ll have to put up with it. I can’t help it if you have a complex about your lack of height.’
‘Well, don’t ask me questions if you don’t want the answer.’ Mr Him scratched his shaven head and sloped off to the bathroom. Why couldn’t I ask my significant other for his advice? He always asked me things: where was his blue shirt; where had his socks disappeared to; if I’d been shopping; if I minded him going out. Of course the last question was completely rhetorical, no matter my response the outcome would always be the same. It’d be me tucked up on the sofa with a cup of green tea, waiting for his lordly return and once he did he always smelt of stale cigarettes tinged with perfume. Maybe I imagined the perfume tinge, wanting it to be there as an excuse for a cross-examination. Hell, a juicy argument could spawn from a perceived whiff of betrayal. Had I spent so long wondering that my wonderings had manifested?
Mr Him spent the following hour and a half preening. Eventually he emerged, dressed in the aforementioned blue shirt, rolled up to the elbows to showcase his recent half-sleeve tattoo, and slathered in enough fake tan he resembled a life sized mahogany statue.
Mr Him tapped his watch. ‘They’ll be waiting for us. I can’t believe you take so long to get ready. It’s not like you have to impress anyone.’
‘I take ages?’ I echoed. ‘I’ve been waiting for you. I don’t know why we couldn’t spend the evening together.’ I looked at him pointedly. ‘Alone. It is Valentine’s after all.’
Mr Him merely raised a borderline over-plucked eyebrow that must’ve contributed to his primping time and marched in the direction of the flat door.
‘Aren’t we taking a taxi? I don’t want to walk!’ I wailed, looking at my gorgeous new shoes as Mr Him hurried me from the flat to outside. Although the shoes were really very lovely they were bound to sprout blisters.
‘Stop your moaning. You don’t have to bloody well walk. A mate’s giving us a lift.’ I frowned. ‘I thought the lads had been out drinking since seven?’
‘Yeah, they have.’ Mr Him nodded and pointed across the road. ‘There she is!’ He waved frantically.
‘She’s picking us up?’ I asked suspiciously. I’d always thought of her as Ms Cat, on the prowl and ready to pounce. Her golden hair shone under the reflected light of the street lamp as she lifted a thin hand in response to Mr Him’s waving. ‘You told me she was spending the evening with her fiancé.’ I didn’t know why I was so irked, yet I was.
Mr Him shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. ‘He’s being a prat. She phoned earlier and said she’ll pick me up.’
‘Wonderful,’ I snarled. ‘This is looking to be an amazing evening. Did you even tell her I was coming with you?’
He didn’t answer but sauntered over the road with his hands in his pockets and a grin on his tangerine face.
When we arrived the club was bustling and loud. Mr Him slapped a drink into my hand and promptly wandered off. For the next hour I idly chatted with his colleagues, until, tired, I slipped away. The staircase to the next floor was narrow and jammed with entwined bodies. Shoving my way upwards my elbow accidentally hit the back of a man.
‘Sorry,’ I mumbled.
The man, preoccupied with the woman in his arms, ignored me.
I ascended a few more steps before my brain clicked into action. What the hell, it was Mr Him I’d elbowed! I stomped back down and jabbed him hard, this time on purpose. ‘I’m leaving!’ I shouted.
‘What?’ Mr Him turned around and swayed drunkenly forward. ‘Why?’
I pointed at the slinky-eyed feline felon. I swear if she’d had cream on her top lip she’d have licked it appreciatively. Was Mr Him thick? Was I making a fur-ball out of a single hair? Had my lazy eyes deceived me? Had I really seen my Mr Him with his arms wrapped around Ms Cat? I merely pointed at Ms Cat again, well it was either that or resort to language she would know and scratch her eyes out. Of course I couldn’t do that. I walked away and stumbled into the night air with the sea breeze gusting chillingly across the road, and waited. I waited for Mr Him to follow, to apologise and to tell me I was wrong. I waited until even my goose pimples had goose pimples upon goose pimples. I read and reread a poster appealing for information about a missing girl until I felt her name would be forever scorched into my memory. The lone walk back to the flat had never felt so long. Especially in the patent leather torture traps which had earlier masqueraded as shoes.
With blisters as large as balloons on the heels of both feet, I poured a huge glass of sparkling wine and gulped it straight down before pouring another. Taking the bottle to the bedroom I sliced the crotch of Mr Him’s favourite pair of jeans with a kitchen knife.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Posted: 23:56 2 Sazements Anonymous: U sound really bitter, U need sum professenal help. Why would anyone wanna read ‘bout your yawn of a life? SxyGrrl: Go on cut up some more clothes, the prick deserves it!
Today I am hosting a tour stop for Brake Failure by Alison Brodie, which is on tour with Neverland Blog Tours. Alison has written a fun guest post about lips, and is also giving away a $25.00 (or equivalent) Amazon gift card!
About the book:
“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you are looking down the barrel of his gun?”
An English debutante transforms from Miss-Perfectly-Correct to criminally insane as she breaks the bonds of her rigid upbringing. Sheriff Hank Gephart tries to reel her in - but she’s out of control and she’s not hitting the brakes.
What happened to the genteel lady in twin-set and pearls? And why did she shoot Mr Right?
Brake Failure is set in 1999 in the months leading up to Y2K “meltdown” when the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: "1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world."
Where would romance be without lips? Lips are where the first spark flies, when the first thrill enters the nervous system.
I’m pretty sure all my books have got lips in them; if not mentioned overtly then certainly they assume pole position on the faces of my characters. I was just thinking it was about time somebody took a closer look at lips, their role not just on a face but in the heart of romance.
BTW: I’m not talking about just the TOP lip as my title may imply; I’m talking about both of them: top and bottom.
“She licked her lips.” In Romance this doesn’t mean she’s salivating over a chocolate éclair. It means she’s giving the “come-on” to the guy. And he’d be pretty dense to miss it.
“She pouted her lips.” Your heroine could be having a tantrum, or more likely, urging the hero to do naughty things to her.
“Giving lip”. This is not as rude as it might sound. In English-English it means talking back in an offensive manner, like my heroine in BRAKE FAILURE when she refuses to be arrested.
If your heroine is from the English upper-crust and is about to do something she doesn’t want to do – like, say, get into a police cruiser just after she’s had an argument with the handsome-hunk of a Sheriff - she will have a “stiff upper lip.”
It’s not just the heroine who has lips. So does the hero. “He brushed his lips down over her neck.” Animal-esque, but, boy! does it send a tingle down your reader’s spine.
“Their lips touched.” Sometimes this is all you need to tell your reader. You don’t need to put in the whole sex scenario. Leave it to your reader’s imagination. Trust me: it’s dirtier than yours.
“As his lips pressed down on hers, she felt a flame shoot up from between her legs.” Of course, this is not a real flame. Hopefully not, anyway. Of course your character could be a fire-eater. Here is an observation from Harry Houdini which few can refute and which I suspect is the origin of the phrase “hot lips”:
“Flames from the lips may be produced by holding in the mouth a sponge saturated with the purest gasoline.”
Generally, though, lips in romance should avoid flammable liquids.
Let’s crit. some lit. Charles Dickens was an intense writer. Listen to what he had to say:
“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”
(To be honest he must have been doing it wrong; it’s actually pretty easy).
Lips can say a lot about us. Take a look at this picture. Look at the lips. They tell you immediately that this is Penelope Cruz, the famous Spanish person. If she didn’t have those lips she would not be Penelope Cruz. So lips say who you are. They also often say a whole lot more about you that the hugely over-rated heart.
Lips in Romance are best used:
1. as a complete pair
3. to show inner turmoil on the face of your heroine
4. used in a non-flammable environment
5. to kiss the hero
…and as hot, red, and moist as they need to be for the task in hand.
If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.
Three’s a crowd?
But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?
In Crouch End, not far from the studios, a man sat aimlessly watching morning television. He hadn’t slept that night, or the night before, and the mindless chatter of the television kept enough of his attention to stop his mind wandering. There were things he didn’t want to think about. He was back on leave from the army, and he knew the routine – it would take another two weeks before he could properly sleep.
But god, morning television was asinine. Top ten tips to your winter wardrobe, let’s chat to this nineties pop star who is now in a West End musical... why weren’t they talking about war, about politics? Why did no one know about the horrible things happening in other countries and what he’d been fighting for? That said, a bit much to watch whilst chomping away on your Weetabix.
He needed something to keep his mind active, he knew. He needed a distraction, a reason for hope. A new hobby, maybe he could volunteer at a charity or something. That’s what his counsellor said. He wouldn’t be confirmed ready to return to active duty unless he got his head in order.
He often felt that this wasn’t meant to be his life, that if he could follow it back to the root, that moment when everything changed, he might be living in a different place, doing something different. Instead, he had started a life of misguided gut instincts and limited choices, and here he was. A damaged soldier in a dark room, with no one to visit.
‘We’re here today at the Ruby Rooms in Camden Square...’ the perky news reporter with the scary teeth started and the man blinked at the screen, leaning forward and turning on the light so that he could see more clearly. Ruby Tuesday, they definitely said Ruby Tuesday. Which meant... that was really Mollie on screen. His Mollie.
She looked beautiful but awkward, her long blonde hair the same as it had always been, curling slightly at the ends, and her face had softened. She was wearing subtle make-up, and a smart white shirt with black trousers that made her look a little like a waitress for a catering company. Her eyes were still piercing, dark against her light hair. That shirt showed off how her figure had developed since they were teenagers, she looked womanly, warm and soft and strong. She was still as beautiful as he remembered.
He listened intently as she spoke, laughing awkwardly and looking into the camera at certain moments. It made sense she’d go into healthy cooking, her mum was terrible at feeding her. She said she’d once survived for two weeks on turkey dinosaurs for dinner, because her mum got eighteen boxes for a pound when the corner shop freezer broke. Suddenly all those memories started returning, all those moments with Mollie that he hadn’t forgotten, but stored away somewhere safe.
She had a kid, she was a mum. Well, that wasn’t surprising. She always wanted that, eventually. It was a timing thing, that was the only problem with them, back in the day. He was glad their issues hadn’t stopped her. The man ran a hand through the rough stubble on his chin and thought about it – well, he’d been the hurt party, she was the one who’d disappeared without a backwards glance or a telephone number. And if he was over it, why shouldn’t he stop by, see an old school friend? Especially when she was only down the road?
It felt like a sign. He’d been asking for a reason, a reason to turn on the lights, to leave the house, to engage his brain in any way. For the first time in the two weeks since he’d been back in the UK, Jamie MacAllister got up and actually smiled.
About the author
A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.
She's a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she'll settle for lying on the page.
Tucked away in a quiet valley, the community of Tolarenz offers a refuge and safe haven for its people, keeping persecution at bay. One young citizen—Askon son of Teral—is destined to lead them, but first he must leave them behind: one final mission, in service of the king.
In the north, leering nightmare creatures known as the Norill gather. Their armor is bone and skin; their weapons are black and crude and cold. They strike in the night, allies to the darkness. It is to them Askon marches, his men a bulwark against the threat.
For there is no magic in Vladvir.
What Askon finds when he arrives seems impossible: smoke and fire, death and defeat, and all around a suffocating sense of dread. The Norill seek something they call ‘the Stone of Mountain,’ but in the half-remembered stories from Askon’s childhood, it was always ‘Alora’s Tear’: a gem with powers great and terrible. A gem that cannot exist.
Beyond the farms, two buildings stood twice again as far from the town hall. The first was Askon’s own home. The other was the home of the falconer, Halan. Not only was Halan the last of the villagers in Askon’s tour, the two also had unresolved business.
Everything in and around Halan’s home seemed tailored to the creatures he kept. The trees were tall with many bare, solid branches to act as perches and roosting places. Wood shavings from the carpenter’s shop back in town littered the surrounding grounds. The sheer number of birds was startling. Some hopped from branch to branch along the walkway toward the door, and others, too noble to stoop to such childish games, merely watched like feathered gargoyles until Askon was out of sight.
One such creature, a sable gray merlin who had originally been perched amongst the larger peregrines, glided from tree to tree, stopping periodically to pick through the brown and white feathers at its breast. It followed Askon step for step as he app-roached the fork in the narrow walkway.
To one side was the falconer’s home and a long dock that jutted out over the lake; on the other, the pathway led to the ramshackle mews. Askon passed it by and headed for the water. The merlin swooped fluidly along the ground behind him. On the dock, a figure stared across the lakeside, watching the birds of prey circle and dive.
“Halan?” Askon called. He continued out onto the wooden planks, his steps echoing between water and wood beneath the platform.
“Askon,” Halan said. “Marten and I have been waiting.”
Halan, who was half a head shorter than Askon, appeared every bit an elf, though even he was not fully pure. The long straight hair, lengthened ears that extended out to fine points, sharp features, slight build, and brilliant green eyes made his heritage unmistakably clear.
“Aren’t they just inspiring?” He spoke with a soothing hum that helped to relax his birds. The sound had a similar effect on Askon. “Every movement is pure freedom.”
Askon looked across the water and into the sky. There, in the glare of the midday sun, winged shapes of all sizes soared in great circles above them. He thought to himself how free they did look, but remembered that they were, in a way, Halan’s captives. Askon lowered his eyes to the opposite shore. There he perceived his own measure of true freedom. The people of Tolarenz moved through their daily chores, some studying the arts and others partaking in more menial tasks. Warm pride swept over Askon. The people of Tolarenz were happy and free, and soon they would be in his charge.
“They are indeed inspiring,” he said.
Taking Askon’s meaning, the falconer turned and started back toward the mews. “You’re here for Marten,” he rumbled. “He has spent most of the day in the trees on the outside of the property. He generally prefers to associate with the peregrines. They protested at first, but I think he’s proven his worth to them.”
“Heh, that sounds like him all right,” Askon replied. “I take it he has fully recovered then?”
“He has, but you should try to keep him from being too active. His wings aren’t quite ready for full-time hunting just yet. You can take him home, though.”
The merlin, who had been watching the conversation fixedly, dove from one of the dock’s support pillars and flew in a wide circle just inches from the surface of the lake, so close in fact, that each flap of his wings sent water rippling behind him. When he had finished his demonstration of recovery, he fluttered back up and perched lightly on the leather pad that rested on Askon’s shoulder.
“Feeling better, I see,” Askon said, smiling. The bird bobbed his head in response and looked out across the water. “Thank you for your help, Halan.”
“Always a pleasure.”
About the author
Nathan spends most of his working days with the students of Genesee Junior-Senior High School in Genesee, Idaho. Whether it’s essay structure, a classic literary work, or the occasional impromptu dance routine, he strives to keep students interested in the fun and the fundamentals of the English language.
When he’s not teaching, he wears a number of hats, though the one that says “Dad” is the most careworn and cherished (it says “Husband” on the back). It hangs on a hook in a house where music is a constant and all the computers say “Apple” somewhere on their aluminium facades. From time to time it is said that he ventures into the mysterious realm called outside, though the occasion is rare and almost exclusively upon request by son or daughter.
When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.
The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it - she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.
She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hypothermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.
Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?
Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough.
Lindsey Paley is a Yorkshire girl and author of contemporary romance novels with page-turning plotlines and satisfying endings. When not scribbling away in her peppermint and cream writer's retreat (shed) she loves baking cakes, enjoying a spot of afternoon tea with friends and taking long walks in the countryside. Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is the first book in the Camille Carter series set in the beautiful Lake District and the Caribbean. The latest in the series is April Showers and Wedding Flowers and is out now.
I write every day. In summer I write in my little peppermint-and-cream writer’s retreat (garden shed) in the back garden amongst the lawn mower and the trowels, and in winter I decamp to the kitchen table. I suppose I would describe myself as a plotter rather than a pantster as I like to have an idea where my story is going and what the ending will be so I can scatter clues along the way, but that’s not to say my character don’t surprise me - they do!
One thing that I am working on changing is my writing method. I write all my novels in an exercise book long-hand and then type them onto my laptop. For me, it seems my creative juices just flow that way - from my brain, down my arm, into my pen and onto the paper. It’s time-consuming so I reassure myself that when I type my scribblings up later in the day, that’s the story’s first edit.
For me, one of the most difficult parts of the writing process is settling on a character’s name. A name bestows more than just a useful label with which to refer to a character. Not only is it the first thing we learn about a person, I believe their name also shapes what we feel about them. There are certain names that mean a great deal to me - those of my family and friends and people who have had an impact on my life, good or bad. It’s important to me to get the name right and I spend hours selecting something I’m happy with. Camille Carter has a French mother and an English father. She lived in the south of France when she was a child then moved to England with her father’s job, so she changed her name to Millie to fit in with her friends. It didn’t help much as she was always going to be an outsider, joining the school mid-term when friendships had been formed and sealed. But the name stuck, except with her family who still call her Camille.
When I was writing Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes I had a medley of Christmas tunes playing on a loop in the background whenever I needed an extra soupçon of inspiration. I also experimented with a few batches of the Christmas cake cupcakes Millie bakes to keep herself sane whilst she is snow-bound at Craiglea Manor cookery school. The warm spices coiled around my kitchen and helped the writing process but did nothing for my waistline.
Talking of waistlines, there’s no getting away from the fact that an essential part of the writing process is applying your behind to your seat and getting on with it. If you don’t do that regularly you will never type those glorious words THE END. But spending hours and hours with a pen in my hand or my fingers on a keyboard is not a healthy way to spend the day. So, as part of my writing day I make sure that I weave in some time to take a walk or a trip to the local café to stretch my legs and my imagination. I call it research as you never quite know when inspiration might strike. I’ve often found myself scrabbling for a piece of paper, the back of a bus ticket or even an old tissue, to jot down a snippet of conversation or a brilliant idea that has scorched into my mind.
Where do you prefer to write? Or, where is your favourite place to read? Do you prefer complete peace and quiet or do you crave the burble of conversation as background music to your creativity? Let me know in the comments below.