Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dear Bainbridge – Chapter Six – by Georgina Ramsey

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Bainbridge cover

(* Chapter Five was posted on January 28th 2015)

You heard him, didn’t you? You heard Stan promise to take me to the great house. But watch this. Watch me try and get him to go through with that promise now; it’s useless.

“Stan?”

“Yes.” He darts all over the street, bouncing from foot to foot and sniffing at bits of rubbish. He kicks a frozen blob of chewing gum into the air, “Goal!” and runs around in a circle. It lands on an old woman’s head. She rummages around in her nest of hair, but unable to dig it out, shrugs off whatever hit her.

I take a deep breath. “You promised you’d take me to the great house, remember.”

“Yeah, yeah… did you see what I did then? Did you see how high I booted the gum?”

“Stan?” I say through gritted teeth.

“Yes.” He jumps on an empty drinks carton. It pops. BANG! The old woman jumps, but she can’t see us.

“Stan, will you behave! You promised you’d take me.”

“And I will.”

See, I told you so. That’s all I ever get from him. He never listens to me. Look, he’s off again. He has no awareness of danger and what is classed as socially acceptable behaviour. Now look at him; he’s ferreting in a bin. He’s a complete nightmare, like an uncontrollable kitten. When did I turn into a parent?

All we – the very odd couple – seem to do is walk round in circles together. I’ve been with him now for weeks. Weeks! And things don’t change. It’s the same thing every day: we wake up, he bounces off the walls with excitement, we wander, we argue (most days), we make up, he sings, I cover my ears, he sings some more, we go back to bed, and then the whole saga is re-played the following day. Stan seems to have a rather nonchalant attitude to everything; I’ve never met a creature like him.

Jumping onto a greengrocers’ display outside a shop, he merrily skips across the fruit and veg, pretending to be a pirate.  “Ahoy there, matey,” he cries out, using a banana as a galleon.

“Stan, get down from there, now!” I scold, as I pace about. My head’s beginning to throb and I’m feeling dizzy.

“I’m untouchable, Bainbridge.” He swings along bunting, his tail swishing from side to side. “The world is my oyster. Now I have my very own bodyguard I can do whatever I like and, more importantly, whenever I like.”

“Why me?” I quietly question. “Why me?” I slump down in front of a crate of pears and rest my head on my paws.

Stan jumps down from the display. “What’s up?” he asks. His eyes are darting all over. I know he doesn’t really care; I could say anything and it would go ‘Whoosh,’ straight over his head in a flash.

“I thought you were going to help me,” I say, sniffing. “I only left the cemetery to find my old home. I didn’t want any of this.”

“Any of what?”

“This wandering about, aimlessly, looking for nothing!”

“You’re just grumpy, Bainbridge. Didn’t you sleep well last night?” He doesn’t wait for me answer. “Hey, look an eggshell!”

“Stan!” I stand up, frustrated. “That back alley you sleep in—”

“Excuse me!” He leans forward, pointing a finger into my chest. “I prefer bolthole in the city actually.”

“Whatever.” I wave him away; I’m in no mood for word tennis. “It’s damp, smelly and full of suspicious characters.”

“What?” Stan’s voice trembles; he looks hurt, really hurt, by what I’ve just said. “But it’s mine,” his voice wobbles some more. “It was the first place I ran to after my death.” He swallows hard. “It was dark and I felt safe. There were other rats there too… at the time.”

“And where are they now?”

“Well, they’ve moved on. I’m all by myself.”

“Exactly. It’s time to move on, too, Stan.”

“No. They only left because their family or friends did.” He scratches his neck.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

“Yes!” He turns away from me, and begins rummaging in a box underneath the display table. With a mouthful of fruit, he explains, “I couldn’t tag along with them. I had to stay behind.”

Now I feel sorry for him. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, Stan.” I pat him hard on the back. Falling from the box, he lands flat on his belly on the pavement; a grape flies from his mouth. He stands up, coughing, and brushes himself down. I ask, “Why don’t you have a new start?”

“Where?”

“I don’t know,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. “Let’s find a place together.”

“Like flatmates?” His eyes twinkle.

“Er… no… I mean… when I said ‘together,’ I meant I’ll help you find somewhere new… but I’ll help you settle in, and then maybe you could show me how to get to the great house, like you promised.”

“Alright.” His voice is subdued and the twinkle in his eye fades quickly. “I can take a hint, Bainbridge. I know when I’m not wanted…”

“It’s not like that, Stan. I—“

“Come on,” he sighs. ”Let’s go house hunting!”

“Or mouse hunting?” I laugh, slapping him on the back.

“Now’s not the time for jokes, Bainbridge,” he says, shaking his head.

We walk down many alleys and he dismisses them all. They’re too small, too big, too dark, too light, too smelly, not smelly enough, too noisy, too quiet, too empty, too cluttered, too—

But then, we find ‘the one.’ That twinkle resurfaces in his eyes. “I like this one,” he beams, spinning around on the spot, surveying it’s…er.. beauty!

“Really? This one?” I ask, looking around, wincing, at the smell of damp and the sight of litter blowing about. “Well, yes… I… er… I see why you like it…  it’s… it’s very nice, Stan.”

“And it comes ready furnished,” he squeals, darting from corner to corner. “Wow! Look. You can sleep in this.” He jumps onto a wooden crate.

“Okay,” I reply, tentatively, “for now.”

Dragging over an old newspaper in his teeth, he says, “You can even use this as a mattress, if you like… after all, us ghosts still need our home comforts.”

A laugh of disbelief leaves my lips. “Great!” I shudder at the thought. “So where are you going to sleep?”

“In this.” He jumps into an old shoe box and begins scratching in the corners.

“It looks a bit wet, Stan.”

“And your point is?”

“Nothing.” My nose wrinkles.

“It’s perfect.”

Trying to smile for his sake, I can only respond with, “Isn’t it just!”

He signs on the dotted line and moves in straightaway. We stay up talking for hours, and it reminds me a bit of being in the cemetery. But then… my eyes begin to feel heavy. I yawn. My lids close, just for a few seconds. I am fighting the tiredness. When I open them again, Stan is still wittering on, “… so I told them there and then that…”

My eyes close once more, this time for a little longer. I can hear Alwen’s beautiful voice singing, and I can see Myrtle smiling. She is waving and calling my name. “Bainbridge… Bainbridge…”

“I’m here, Myrtle. I’m right here.” I smile.

“What? Who’s Myrtle?”

“Eh?” I jump up.

“Bainbridge, I’ve been calling you.” It’s Stan. I blink slowly in disappointment. He sits himself up on his makeshift cushion made from a split tomato, and states the obvious. “You nodded off there, mate. You—”

Suddenly, there’s a hiss from the shadows. “What’s that?” I ask, trembling.

Stan gasps in horror, throwing his paw over his mouth. “That’s him,” he whispers.

I whisper back, “That’s who?” and snatch a stick off the ground for protection. It’s tightly clamped in my mouth, my teeth chattering on it.

Stan edges towards me, “That’s Dave, the cat who’s after me.”

“It is?” I question in a muffled voice.

“Yes. How did he find us here?”

“I don’t know.” I gasp; the stick falls from my mouth.

Eyes, glowing in the moonlight, look directly at us.

Chapter Seven will be available to read from 28th March 2015

Indian Summers

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Did you watch Julie Walters’ amazing new drama on Ch4 last week? Are you as excited as I am for the next part tonight? It portrayed 1930s India as rather beautiful, productive, vibrant, colourful, humid, bustling, yet at the same time segregated and culturally imposed. It certainly didn’t romanticise the period. and that’s what I liked about it. I was hooked from the credits.

I have an author, Malika Gandhi, to thank for my interest in ‘Indian Summers,’ and thanks to her, I will be filling up my Sky box with each and every episode of it. I shamefully new nothing – absolutely nothing – about Indian history a while ago, but then I came across her book, titled ‘Freedom of the Monsoon,’ and was enthralled. I actually studied History at  A-level, so it’s not that I was ever intentionally ignorant to this element of the past. No, it was never pointed out to me, and sometimes in life things have to slap you in the face before you realise their existence.

‘Freedom of the Monsoon’ is all about hope. anger and violence. It’s rather gritty and it’s certainly illuminating. It’s set in 1942, when, according to the author, ‘death and sacrifice are knocking on India’s doors. Mahatma Gandhi has demanded the Raj quit India for good. The Indian people want their country back,’ so the British Raj has to go. It’s a chaotic book, full of tragedy, but in the midst of confusion there is a love story between the lead characters: Dev and Pooja.

This is a great book to read after you’ve digested ‘Indian Summers’ and the author hopes you will ‘share the determination that dwelled in the hearts of the Indian people as they fought hard and long, sacrificing all they loved along the way.’ In this book you can’t fail to find a bond with Pooja, Dev and their enduring love story, and it stirred a mixture of emotions within me. At times I laughed, at times I cried, but it was the ending that really tugged at my heartstrings, leaving me with a sense of guilt that this part of history has been downplayed – that’s my opinion anyway. But ‘Indian Summers’ and ‘Freedom of the Monsoon’ will refresh, or push, this into people’s consciousness, and that’s never a bad thing.

‘Freedom of the Monsoon’ is well written and I loved the way the author translated culturally specific words throughout. I found myself immersed in the plot, and inwardly fighting for the characters to come through the other end, but throughout, the writer introduces twists and turns that will leave you wanting to read more, and wondering whether they will ever get their happy ever after. I honestly, truly cannot recommend this book enough. Ms Gandhi is a talented writer; her words flow with ease.

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Fifty Shades of… ‘great, I’m sure, but I’d rather have a cuppa!’

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I’ve tried – and I mean really tried – twice to get ‘into’ E. L. James’ loin-sizzling book, and I’ve come to the conclusion there must be something wrong with me because I didn’t feel so much as a fizzle. Not even a slight twinge! That said, I only managed to reach Chapter 5 before my eyes bled with boredom and I hadn’t enjoyed a single swoon. I felt cheated. Countless friends and acquaintances promised me, ‘The best read of my life!’ with this book. One even claimed, ‘It’s such a sweet romantic story when you get into it. It’s all about real love, you’ll see.’ Real love? If that’s the case, I’d rather have a bar of chocolate, a steaming cuppa, and sit and watch an episode of Casualty with a tricky tracheotomy procedure than attempt to read that drivel again. Real love, my arse!

cup of tea

I see nothing erotic or romantic about visiting my local B&Q for ‘supplies,’ and then skipping home to pin my partner to the bed with gaffer tape and cable ties, so I can whip him senseless with strawberry laces… and quite frankly, it borders on disturbing too. I’m not a prude, believe me, but why? In what way does this kind of thing ever meet the definition of ‘romance’?

Then there’s the characters. Oh my! Where do I begin? Well, that Anastasia is a one-dimensional wet sap, and I kept hoping she would grow a pair of hairy bollocks and stop gushing over this creepy lecher called Christian Grey. I mean, the man himself, what’s he all about? Stalker, that’s what! The plot is weaker than Granny’s piss after a night on the lash, and it truly is more tedious than a dry Ryvita. I just don’t get it. Yet it seems to have been revolutionary in some way or other. If it gets more people reading, that’s a good thing, and I certainly applaud E. L. James for the success she’s had with it. But I worry young adults are being shaped into thinking it’s a literary masterpiece and are putting too much emphasis on the level of social change it’s creating. It has supposedly been liberating for women all over the world. You know, like those other famous ‘things’ in history that the youth of today talk about frequently, such as the vote for women, equal pay, the miniskirt, the pill… and now, yes, that book! God help us if this is what we have been hunting for over the past couple of decades. Really, ladies? Look back through history, and there you will find some truly inspirational women. I beg you NOT to see Anastasia Steele as a pioneer. She is a work of fiction who gets her jollies from being whipped and hogtied!

 

 

A review of Tabitha Ormiston-Smith’s ‘Professor Tomlinson’s Last Experiment’ by the Book Gremlin

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prof tomlinson

This, I believe, is Tabitha Ormiston-Smith’s first attempt at science fiction writing, and what a triumph. It may only be a short story, but they say good things come in small packages, don’t they? And this little beauty was practically perfect in every way. It’s ideal for a short commute to work or a tea break, when you have maybe fifteen minutes to chill, because for that brief time you’ll delve into the eccentric world of Professor Tomlinson, taking a snapshot of his life.

The writer’s choice of language sets a cracking scene from the start and her level of skill is such that she’s able to move you into the plot quickly. I found my head crammed with a weird blend of chaos and scientific order, knowing something must be about to go wrong, but also wondering about the Professor’s level of brilliance and the realms of possibility. It’s a very understated read, but could quite easily be the makings of a weird, but beautifully written, film of fiction. I just cannot criticise this story. It was fantastic. Short and snappy, but filled with detail and charm, and just what I needed. I have read other work by this author and will continue to do so as she really knows how to engage with her audience and her work is never a chore to read.

When I picked up my Kindle to begin reading this it had been some time since I’d read a short. I’m not averse to them, but I do find myself often struggling to form any sort of bond with their characters because they are often over before they start, so I was initially dubious about how much ‘The Last Experiment’ would grab my attention. But it did, and by the bucket full. In fact, I just didn’t want it to end. A brilliant read.

New realease *** MUSINGS – BOX SET ***

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musingsGet all of these books in one handy box set for the unbelievable price of $1.99 (£1.49)

Water’s Blood by Elaine Calloway.
In the Elemental world, there is a rule: Never mate with humans.

Ever Shade by Alexia Purdy.
A dark twist on faeries. For Shade, a chance meeting with a powerful Teleen Faery warrior who wields electrical currents and blue fires along his skin, has her joining him on a treacherous mission for the good Seelie Faerie Court across the land of Faerie.

Vaalbara Visions and Shadows by Michelle Horst.
Shaken by the ruthlessness of the enemies she faces, Alchera learns she can really only trust one, her guardian.

Deadline by Judy McDonough.
Caroline’s life is on track. She’s about to get her nursing degree and she’s engaged to rich, handsome Trevor. But, before they get married, Trevor wants Caroline to spend the summer in Louisiana, getting to know her father, who’s never been in her life.

Witchwood Estate books 1 & 2 by Patti Roberts.
After twelve years away, Seventeen year old witch, Alexandria Santorini, is going home to Ferntree Falls to claim her inheritance – Witchwood Estate – the home she grew up in, and where her parents were brutally murdered.

Laura’s Locket by Tima Maria Lacoba.
A short story about a silver locket, a mysterious young man and a fated meeting. When eighteen-year-old Laura Anne Dantonville goes on her end-of-school trip to Italy, where she meets the mysterious—and devastatingly handsome—Philippe.

Nathaniel Teen Angel by Patricia Puddle.
After accidentally possessing a young man’s body, Nathaniel finds himself in the arms of the beautiful girl he’s supposed to be guarding. Though he didn’t intend to break God’s rules, his wings are burnt off and he’s dumped naked in the freezing ocean, and not just for kissing Eloise, but for wanting more.

The Transient by M W. Russell.
She never believed. Not in ghosts, not in friendship, and especially not in love. When Melodie Gibson moves half way around the world to upstate New York, her entire world turns upside down. Living in a quirky castle turned bed and breakfast, she finds herself confronted with someone watching her every move.

The Making Of Marea by Scarlette D’Noire.
A true vampire romance story. When the sexy vampire Delano sets his sights on Marea a young ex-slave girl he gets much more than he bargained for.

Accepting the Moon by KS Haigwood.
There is a new Alpha Wolf in town, and she is about to change everything.
Mena had all she wanted in life: a nice house, money, a successful husband who treated her like a queen. That was, until she found out her marriage was all a lie.

The House by Karli Rush.
New Adult – A young couple goes on their first date together, to an old abandoned house. It is known throughout this small college town that it’s haunted, and insanity once ruled the woods where this eerie house resides.

Not Juliet by Ella Medler.
This novella is intended for mature audiences only. Riella Smith, an unconventional Romany Princess, travels to Tuscany on the trail of her father’s challenger, to delay him and prevent unnecessary bloodshed and humiliation.

Sex, Lies & Corned Beef Pies by Georgina Ramsey.
Mae Ophelia Ball is a desperate, penniless student, who in a moment of madness is prepared to do anything – well, almost anything. She puts her moral conscience to one side and sets herself up as a phone sex operator, in order to earn a few extra quid.

Dance Of Chaos by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith.
Lazy, frivolous, conceited and totally self centred, Fiona MacDougall is not an asset to the workforce. When she applies for a transfer to the Infotech department of her company, she does so only in order to get an afternoon off work

Amazon.com link: http://www.amazon.com/Musings-Box-Set-14-Authors-ebook/dp/B00T0Q4KTM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon.co.uk link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Musings-Box-Set-Fourteen-Authors-ebook/dp/B00T0Q4KTM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8