And they’re not even in it!

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At first, I think I’m having a flashback. I’m sitting on Cynthia’s garden bench and the sun is shining. A bead of moisture runs down the glass I’m holding.

“Cheers, Ms Hall!” Connor raises his glass to me. “Here’s to another great review of our book!”

Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.

I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.

Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”

Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”

“Marketing eh?  Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”

Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.

“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.

“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.

The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.

“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”

Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”

“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”

“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”

Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”

Was that another hint?


kindle edition cover

Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!

Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket,
written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.

Offer runs until Fri 23 August:
USAhttp://ow.ly/Px5t50vD8nT
UK –  http://ow.ly/4hwF50vD8nU
Aushttp://ow.ly/Q2Lc50vD8nZ
Canhttp://ow.ly/cUgu50vD8nV
Other countries, such as South Africa

 


And if you really want to do it properly…
although Cynth would probably add a large shot of gin to the mix!

how to mix a perfect pimms lunasonline
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You’ll Never Walk Alone

Many thanks to author and songwriter, Kevin Cooper, for his review of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. My two animal characters are thrilled to bits at the shout out he gave them. “Sound bloke this Kevin,” said Fingers when I read out the review. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Author & Songwriter Kevin Cooper

When Lucy is given a beautiful ruby necklace by Pierre, a gorgeous man she’s only just met, her life suddenly becomes more complicated. 
But the necklace isn’t Pierre’s to give and he and Lucy are forced to flee from Albie Chan, the local Triad boss. With night-club owner and would-be gangster, Big Al, also in pursuit, Lucy is drawn into Liverpool’s shady underworld via a secret network of underground tunnels. Here we meet the enigmatic Aurora, her suave yet sinister assistant, and a band of strange little people.
There’s a kleptomaniac monkey called Fingers, and an Abyssinian cat with a talent for tracking which comes in handy when an odd little jade statue in the shape of a camel turns up. A possibly-forged painting is discovered, and there’s even a cameo appearance by 1980’s pop star, Pete Burns, although these two things are not necessarily related.
Finally, when the adrenaline…

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Space Cadets #6

tardis for space cadets 6 by chris hall lunasonline
bigbig85

Previously…

“Come on, old girl!” shouts the Doctor smacking the side of the central column of the Tardis’ console which is emitting an unpleasant screeching sound as it rises and falls.

“Is everything all right? Doctor,” I yell over the noise, gripping the edge of the console to steady myself as the Tardis bucks and pitches.

“Um, yes, just needs a minor correction.” He frowns at the column and flicks a couple of switches. The Tardis comes to an abrupt halt and all is quiet “Come on, let’s see what’s happening outside.” He motions me to stand beside him, then with a flourish he taps a button on the console. A large viewing screen flashes up on the other side of the control room.

The screen is blank.

“Ah,” he says tapping on the button repeatedly. Nothing happens. The screen is still blank.

The Doctor rushes over to the doors and flings then open.

All is black.

I follow him and peer out. “Oh,” I say. There is literally nothing there. I turn to the Doctor who is rubbing his jaw. “Where’s space gone?”

“That, Jemma, is space.” He leans out of the doors looking up and down. “Space. Nothing else.”

“But the stars and…”

“I better check the coordinates,” he says over his shoulder as he runs back to the console. “Close the doors won’t you?”

I pull the doors closed. My heart thumps. “What’s happened to Harris and Stevens? Are they all right?”

“I certainly hope so.” He pulls out his sonic screwdriver and disappears under the console.

The viewing screen flickers into life showing a view of my two shipmates sitting just where I’d left them on our spacecraft. Both have expressions of extreme concentration on their faces. In the background I can see what they’re staring at. I blink in surprise.

They’re playing the ancient arcade game ‘Space Invaders’!

The Doctor reappears from beneath the console. “That should do it. We should be able to see them now.” He glances at the screen as the Tardis shudders under a sudden impact.

“No, NO,NO, NO!” he shouts.

I turn to him, not understanding what’s happening. The Tardis shudders again; sparks fly from the console. The Doctor points at the bottom of the screen the boys are staring at. “They’re firing at us!”

We watch as the little white aliens descend towards the Tardis.

The boys are firing back.

“No Doctor, they’re defending us.”

Or at least they’re trying to…

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Will the Harris and Stevens beat the aliens? Can the Tardis escape from the game? 
Tune in next week for the next episode of Space Cadets!

The #WritingMyCity book anthology

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Image: Mak1one

I came across this interview yesterday about the #WritingMyCity project in which I participated as a facilitator and writer a few month’s ago.

I was particularly excited that our little group, who are part of the Women for Change programme, got a mention. Their stories obviously struck a chord even if they didn’t make it into this particular collection.

Here’s an extract from the interview:

***

Q. Tell us about the fantastic book project ‘Writing My City’

A. There are so many people with wonderful stories but rarely a vehicle to share them. To help people do this, Cape Town libraries offered creative-writing workshops earlier this year. Now we’re launching a collection of everyday Capetonians’ stories about living in the city.

Q. The project is an incredible collaboration with local libraries across the city. What is your experience of connecting with these very diverse community hubs?

A. I was so impressed with the librarians who took on this challenge. It was heart-warming that each participating library had passionate teachers, writers and poets who freely gave their time and expertise to facilitate the workshops and to help would-be writers pull their stories together.

Q. It must have been exciting getting such diverse perspectives on Cape Town. What kinds of submissions really moved you?

A. As part of the workshops, the Women for Change Group had a chance to share their stories. I cried when I heard of mothers talking about losing their children, abuse and dependencies. I also embraced how they helped each other through these experiences as one big family.

 ***

That last paragraph is so important to me. When the ladies eventually felt able to tell me their experiences I was incredibly humbled and moved.

The collection is going to be launched at an event at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town in September. I’m looking forward to attending.

A copy of the anthology will be in more than 100 libraries across the city, so it will be available to a wide audience. Books don’t come cheap in this country. Copies of the book will be sold at the Open Book Festival in September. It will be awesome to see my words in print alongside the other 39 chosen Capetonians.

 


Read the full interview with Christelle Lubbe, of the City of Cape Town’s Library and Information Services, and Frankie Murrey, Co-ordinator of the Open Book Festival by Carla Lever on Times Live

And finally, she pulled the plug

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From my Flash Fiction Collection

And now there was nothing left of what had been her beautiful blue planet. Great Big Five sighed. She had given them chance after chance. She had very nearly deleted the entire human race in Earth Year 2018. Only that little message which flashed up after she had hit the big red button had given her pause.

Do you really want to DELETE?

No, she hadn’t. She’d cancelled the request. Sat back and watched and waited for fifteen Earth Years more. She’d watched the greedy, selfish humans squander more and more of the precious resources of her pretty planet. Barren soil blew away, the oceans turned to acid, the very atmosphere was toxic. Some of the little humans had tried to avert the crisis. They’d spoken out. Even important, influential ones had acted, added their voices. There were protests, social media campaigns, new policies agreed and implemented; the planet had staggered on, but it was all too little, too late.

Meanwhile others had been working on a plan. Done with the Earth, they would move on. Move to another planet. Their neighbour: the red planet. Clever little humans!

Never mind what they’d done to the animals and birds, the trees and flowers, the mountains and lakes. All her best work they’d left in tatters.

She had mind-melded with Great Being Nineteen. The red planet was under his jurisdiction. She had suspected he had plans. With Earth out of the way, he could move his smaller red planet nearer to its sun, into what her imaginative earthlings called the Goldilocks Zone, after one of their sweet little stories. Allow something new to evolve. He’d even let her collaborate on his project.

You have activated Planet Total Destruction. Are you sure you want to do this?

She did.

They couldn’t be allowed to spread their wicked ways.

©2019 Chris Hall

 

Space Cadets #5

black hole guardian.com

Previously…

“That’s a black hole!” I stare in horror at the viewing screen. “How close is it?”

 

[FIVE MINUTES TO EVENT HORIZON]

 

The red light starts to flash.

“Your doctor friend,” cries Stevens. “Call him!”

I close my eyes and visualize the Tardis. Nothing happens. I empty my mind then start to picture every detail I can remember of the familiar blue box. To my relief I hear its arrival over the shrill wail of the siren. I open my eyes to see Tardis materialize. The door opens. It’s the Matt Smith version of the Doctor.

“Ah,” he says, “spot of bother?” He bounds over to the screen. “Oh, I should say so!” He looks round at us.

“Can you help us, Doctor?” I stare up at him.

 

[FOUR MINUTES TO EVENT HORIZON]

 

“Let me think,” he says, tapping his sonic screwdriver absently against the side of his head. He starts to pace about.

Suddenly he whirls around to face us. “Okay. I’m going to tether your ship to the Tardis, then we’re going to travel back in time to before that thing formed.” He points at the screen.

“But it’ll be a supernova, won’t it?” shouts Stevens.

“Good point.” The Doctor waves his sonic screwdriver at Stevens. “Back to before the star goes supernova.” He taps his head again. “I’ll just need to make a couple of calculations.”

 

[THREE MINUTES TO EVENT HORIZON]

 

“Who’s good at maths?”

The boys look at me. “Jemma!”

“Okay, Jemma,” he nods. “Come with me.”

The interior of the Tardis looks exactly as I thought it would. The Doctor runs around the control console flicking switches and turning dials. He hums to himself as he works.

Grabbing my hand he takes me to the other side of the console. “Watch this screen,” he indicates a monitor with seemingly random numbers flashing up on it. “When it reaches 367.984, hit that green button.” He points to the button. “Don’t take your eyes off that screen; we only have one chance at this!” He rushes over to the door and pokes his head out.

 

[TWO MINUTES TO EVENT HORIZON]

 

“Remember, chaps. You must believe this will work. Concentrate on nothing else!” I glance up and see him touch his hand to the side of his head in salute.

He shuts the door and returns to the console. “The monitor, Jemma. Concentrate!” I hear him flick some more switches

I stare at the screen. The numbers continue to change.
I concentrate, willing 367.984 to appear.

 

[ONE MINUTE TO EVENT HORIZON]

 

I stare at the monitor.

The number I’ve been waiting for flashes up.

I hit the green button.

The Tardis is going to save us.

Space Cadets 5 by Chris Hall lunasonline

Will the Tardis save our brave Cadets?
Tune in next week for the next episode of Space Cadets!

The Story of the Storyteller

The Story of the Storyteller by Chris Hall lunasonline

The Storyteller arrived in the village wearing a broad-brimmed black hat which made it hard to see her face. She began to tell stories, her stories. She encouraged us to tell our stories. Stories of all kinds: short stories, sad stories, stories that would make you think, or laugh, or look under the bed before sleeping.

Our village was alive with words. Our stories became known far and wide. We were the ‘Village of the Stories’ – stories which we could shout from the rooftops or sing by the stream or whisper in the woods.

People came to hear our stories. They wanted stories of their own. Some learned how to tell them, but others came to steal them. They sent their spies to seek out our stories and sell them as their own.

We were disheartened. The Storyteller slipped away; her stories disappeared with her. We fell silent. Our words were hidden and our stories slept.

But then we decided.

‘No more,’ we shouted. ‘We will seek out the thieves and shame them. We will take our stories back.’

And so we did. And we hope the Storyteller hears this and returns with her stories and her broad-brimmed black hat.