Friday, 1 March 2013

Book Launch - How Do You Spell Love?

Now... it's time to launch my novel How Do You Spell Love? published March 1st by Crooked Cat Publishing. Here's a bit about the book-

Make A Wish…
Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this. What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?
Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend Rob is increasingly distant.
When the developers win the battle and move into town everyone’s life is turned upside down.
Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.
Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of his own, so things could get really complicated.
Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious ways…

You can buy the book on:

Crooked Cat Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Here's a little taster of How Do You Spell Love?

Chapter One
Kat shivered and retreated to the cover of the shed for shelter against the strengthening wind. She should have known better than to wear sandals to an allotment in the middle of the night. The earlier heat had long receded to be replaced by a distinctly unseasonal chill in the air.
She couldn’t help wondering for about the hundredth time exactly why she’d agreed to go along with her friend’s crazy idea to come down here. OK, something needed to be done but was this really the answer? Shifting from one foot to the other in an attempt at getting the circulation going again, Kat felt another shiver work its way up her spine. She didn’t really believe in all this stuff but, well, any port in a storm, as they say. Plus, as Summer was her boss as well as her friend, she’d felt obliged to tag along and offer support. Not that she had a clue what she was supposed to be doing but Summer, as she knew only too well from working with her at the store, never shied away from dishing out instructions and taking complete control.
Shoving a handful of lavender into a bag, Summer straightened up. “OK, I think we’re about ready.” Then, walking across to where the bonfire had now been reduced to a mound of glowing embers, she nodded and grinned. “Yes, we’re definitely ready.”
Kat smiled unconvincingly. Summer might have been ready but she most definitely wasn’t. Suddenly wishing she’d never agreed to any of this, Kat allowed her gaze to drift first to the left, out across the emptiness and semi darkness, and then to the right, towards Summer. She shivered again. This place was beyond creepy.
“Summer, can I ask you something?” Kat shouted across the allotment from her perch just inside the shed door where, for some reason, she felt a tiny bit safer.
Straightening up, left hand on her hip, Summer nodded. “Sure.”
“Why the sparkly top? It just seems an odd choice for what we’re about to do.”
“Silver is a colour that’s said to be sacred to the moon and helps reflect away negativity.” Glancing across the allotment site to where a crane and some scaffolding towered above the perimeter fence, Summer added, “And let’s face it. We have lots of negativity to get rid of around here thanks to Harson Field Developments.”
The meadows that bordered one side of the River Luis which ran through Luisborough would, before long, be dotted with five bedroom, three-bathroom executive homes; despite the best attempts of the town’s inhabitants and a lengthy protest campaign. The locals had objected in their hundreds but the housing development was still going ahead. Regardless of the fact that it was ruining a gorgeous piece of land where people walked their dogs; families played with their kids, and couples, mostly in the first throes of dating, would stroll hand in hand in the early evening light, lost in their own little worlds.
Adding to this, Netherton Meadows was also a flood plain for the river, a most scenic part of Luisborough – widely accepted to be one of the prettiest market towns in Yorkshire; the river walkway being a key reason why. But in spite of it all, commerce and the needs of the planning division at the local council had won out. The homes were being built, like it or not.
“Right, let’s get started,” Summer announced. “OK, Kat?”
Now that the time had come, Kat felt the numerous doubts which had been hovering around the edges of her mind gain momentum all of a sudden. Combined with nerves which were already bubbling around inside her stomach, it was no wonder she was experiencing a growing tide of nausea. This was completely new territory to her. Could they cause harm doing this? Would she be struck down by powers unknown for dabbling in things it was probably wiser to not get involved with?
Summer peered from under the fringe of her bright orange hair. “You’re having doubts, aren’t you?”
Kat was silent, choosing to opt for avoidance tactics – story of her life – by staring up at the moon between the clouds. The bright globe must have been almost full it was so round.
“Don’t be daft. Honestly, it’s perfectly safe. I know what I’m doing.” Summer walked across and flung a reassuring arm around her. “Now, can you remember the words or do you need your crib sheet to remind you?”
“I can remember the words,” mumbled Kat, reluctantly as Summer dragged her across to the bonfire. “God help me, I can remember the words.” After all, it wasn’t every day that you had to memorise an ancient spell about to be cast by your best friend and boss. Who just happened to be a practicing white witch.
“So this spell is supposed to ward off evil intensions or something like that, is it?” quizzed Kat. “Do you really think that chanting some spell can save Netherton Allotments from the developers?”
“It’s got to be worth a try, hasn’t it?” Summer enthused. “They’ve managed to get the land right next door to these allotments, despite all of the campaigns and appeals. No doubt their next stop will be to expand over onto this land. Nobody here wants to see the town lose its allotments as well as the river meadows to some posh executive housing estate.”
Kat sighed. “OK, so what do we do next, then?” She was eager to get this over and done with, not just because it was about to tip it down, or because she was a little scared of the whole idea of spells and witchcraft – no matter how well intentioned. The thing she was most uncomfortable with at that particular moment was just how utterly creepy the allotments were in the middle of the night. Strange how a place could have such a different feel to it in the darkness. The sheds loomed like large traps waiting to swallow you up and the usually pleasant clinking, clattering sound of the various bird scaring devises designed to protect the crops – from plastic bottles on sticks to assorted CDs tied to string – now sounded eerie and much louder than usual. In the gathering wind they were making a veritable cacophony.
Summer had become a good friend since Kat had been forced to move back to Luisborough. She’d also offered her the voluntary post helping out at the Save the World, better known as The STW, charity shop in town. OK, so the job didn’t pay anything but it provided a welcome escape from her parents home, where thanks to little money and zero prospects, she’d had to return to live.
Helping out at the shop also gave Kat a link, no matter how tentative, with the kind of work she wanted to do. Saving the environment, helping nature, doing her bit for the future of the planet. Those were the dreams she’d held close throughout her three years of studying for her environmental science degree. But now she’d finished her course and was back at home. No dream job on the horizon, just the charity shop and part-time work in the local deli to fill her days. And Nathan was gone too. He’d been the love of her life. It hadn’t just been her university degree that had ended a few months ago. It had, to all intents and purposes, been life as she knew it.
Summer, having drawn herself up to her full height of almost six feet, was now standing, right arm outstretched, the first finger of her hand pointing as she steadily turned in a circle.
Once she’d made a full three hundred and sixty degrees and slowly lowered her arm, Summer caught sight of Kat’s look of confusion and smiled, “You’ve heard of the magic circle, right?”
Kat nodded, huddling closer to the bonfire.
“Well, I’ve just drawn my own version. Performing magic within a circle offers me protection and improves concentration. My gran always says that, in a way, when you’re in the circle it’s like you’re in the zone. You know, a kind of link between the regular world and the astral one. Want to try and draw your own?”
“No, thanks,” Kat muttered, goose bumps steadily working their way up her arms. “I’m fine over here.”
“Well, I’d like your help soon. I’m going to set out some of these herbs in a circle on the ground, after which I’ll need you to pass me the two bottles of essential oil that are on the table in the spell shed.”
As Summer emptied her bag of assorted leaves onto the ground and crouched down to carefully arrange them into a circle, Kat headed for the shed. She had to admit, she’d been pretty impressed by the spell shed. On the outside it looked just like any of the other sheds on the allotment site but inside, well, that was a different matter entirely.
Thanks to the fact that Summer had inherited her “gift” from her gran, on her dad’s side, neither of her parents practiced the art, nor approved of Summer doing so. And Summer’s live-in boyfriend Rob wasn’t exactly keen on having strangers traipsing through their tiny flat for appointments with Summer during which she would cast spells to help them with everything from fertility problems to money worries or, reportedly the most popular of all, searching for Mr Right via a Lunar Love Spell. Because of all this, Summer was forced to practice her magic craft from her allotment. She had two sheds on her plot – one normal and one very special. Inside the walls were painted a soothing lilac, a silver and purple rug did a great job of hiding the wooden floor and a wooden table and three chairs were, somehow, crammed into the small space. A heater, run from a special battery powered generator device, stood in the corner. On one wall was the altar. This altar, Kat had to admit, was utterly beautiful. It consisted of a mirror with a wide, deep shelf positioned below it. On the shelf was an array of colourful crystals, several candles, a silver ornament of a dog and a bouquet of white flowers. The shed also smelled heavenly. To Kat’s untrained nose there were hints of lavender and burnt candles but she sensed there was probably much more to it than that. It was, in truth, the most welcoming space she’d ever been in.
“Kat! Have you got the oils yet? I’m waiting.”
Once a few drops of the oils had been scattered over the herbs and leaves on the ground, Summer stood up. “Right, now, step into the circle with me; hold my hand and we’ll recite the verse together.”
Nodding and reluctantly pulling the bit of paper Summer had given her earlier from her pocket (because her mind had just gone totally blank and she’d forgotten the words) Kat stepped into the circle.
Was it just anxiety that had sent a delicate shiver all the way up her spine? Must have been. It couldn’t be anything to do with entering the magic circle, could it? No, of course not. Kat pushed such thoughts from her mind and squinted at the piece of paper, trying to make out the words in the faint light.
For the next few minutes they stood together quietly chanting an incantation that would, according to Summer, cast a spell of protection for the allotments. When they were finished, Kat felt an amazing sense of peace and calm envelop her and found herself unwilling to leave the little sacred circle drawn on the ground by Summer.
“Is that everything?” she asked, stretching as though she’d just awoken from a blissful sleep.
“For tonight,” Summer answered. Then, as big drops of rain began to splodge onto the soil all around them and lightning flashed across the sky, she added, “Quick, let’s get cleared up and off home before we get soaked.”

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