About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cinderella. What comes after The End. Or Three months after the happy ever after


Three months after the happy ever after

So Cinderella married Prince Charming and they all lived happily ever after. The End.

Three months after the wedding, Cinderella sat in the dining room of the palace. Alone. Again. Her husband, Prince Charming, or Albert as he now insisted on being called, had left at the crack of dawn to go hunting.  This time it was for deer. The previous day it had been hare and the day before that... She couldn’t even remember the day before that. The three weeks previously, he had been touring the country for some charity or other playing polo. In fact she couldn’t even remember the last time he had had breakfast with her.

She tapped her fingers on the table trying to think. Oh, the honeymoon, that was it. They had spent two weeks on the beach, walking hand in hand on the sand, sleeping under the stars, doing things couples in love did on their honeymoon.

The thing was, as soon as they got back to the castle things changed. Albert threw himself back into his life there, the hunting and riding and fishing and affairs of state. It turned out he really ran the country and not his father King Wilberforce. Not that that was a problem, as Cinderella knew that he would end up doing it anyway, she just hadn’t envisaged it been so soon.

Oh, and the polo. She’d dare not forget the polo. She was beginning to think he loved his horses more than he did her. Maybe he married her simply to avoid the arranged marriage his parents wanted.

She finished her breakfast and wondered what she should do today. She was tired of sitting on a chair trying to read or sew or do what princesses did all day long. Which apparently was nothing. Actually, she corrected herself that was Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Maybe she should go down to the kitchen and make herself useful. She could make dinner perhaps. She picked up her plate and cup and headed through the double doors at the end of the room.

There was a shriek and a crash as something was dropped then hastily picked up. “Your Highness,” the voice said. “I was just coming to get those.”

“It’s alright I have them. I need to go to the kitchen anyway.”

“Oh... you can’t go to the kitchen. Cook’s in a right tizzy and the place is a mess and...”

“Then it sounds like she needs the help.” Cinderella handed her cup and plate to the servant and picking up her skirts ran to the kitchen. She laughed to herself over what Queen Gertrude would say if she saw her running. Well too bad. She was in a rebellious mood this morning. She pushed open the kitchen door and stood there watching. Tizzy was not the word. Chaos was more like it.

Smoke billowed from one of the ovens. Flour covered every available work surface and the floor. The sink was piled high with burnt or dirty pans and dishes and Cook was screaming at the top of her voice.

Cinderella coughed loudly and silence descended like a stone.

“Your Highness,” Cook spluttered. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to help,” Cinderella said. She grabbed one of the aprons and tied it on before Cook could say another word. “And it looks like you need it.” She moved over to the window and flung it open. “Get the door open too. Let some of this smoke out.” She turned noticing the kitchen staff just standing there. “Do it!” she said putting her hands on her hips.

“You heard Her Highness,” Cook said. She clapped her hands. “Move!”

The door was flung open along with the rest of the windows. Cinderella nodded in approval. “Right Cook. What can I do to help?”

“Oh I couldn’t ask you to do anything...”

“You didn’t ask. I am offering, nay insisting on helping. If I have to spend another hour sat in that solar on my own reading I will go spare. I know kitchen work. Let me help.... besides the more of us there are the sooner it’s done right.”

Cook nodded. “Especially with this ball tonight in your honour.”

Cinderella nodded. She had actually deliberately forgotten about it but wasn’t going to say as much. It had been dubbed the ‘let’s show off the new princess to the surrounding kingdoms’ ball by the King which had put her right off the idea from the outset. She looked at the table where the pastry was going horribly wrong. “May I?” she asked.

Cook nodded. “I can never get pastry right.” She watched in amazement as Cinderella turned the mess in front of her into 28 perfectly formed apple pastries. “How did you?” she asked.

Cinderella smiled. “Practise,” she said quietly. “Maybe we could trade tips sometime. I love your beef casseroles but can never get the meat tender enough.”

Cook smiled. “Sounds good to me.”

Cinderella wiped her hands on her apron. “Now... do you want me to do the meringues?”

“If you don’t mind Highness. Then I can get on with the roast.”

Twenty minutes later Cinderella finished the meringues. “Now Cook what can I do? The sink or the oven?”

"Either ... Ma’am,” Cook finished awkwardly. She dreaded to think what Queen Gertrude would say. Even Prince Albert was likely to be annoyed about this. But Cook wasn’t about to argue with royalty. She valued her job too much.

Cinderella moved over to the oven dropping to her knees and pulling out the shelves.

By the time the oven was clean and spotless two hours had passed. Cinderella was covered in soot and ash and dirt. Her blonde hair was dark and her face had black streaks on it. She had hummed as she worked, happy to be doing something other than reading or being alone.

The rest of the day flew past. She was rearranging the shelves in the larder, when a bellowing voice behind her made her jump.

“CINDERELLA! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?”

She took a deep breath and turned round wiping her hands on her apron. “Albert,” she said blushing under the dirt covering her face. “I was cleaning the oven.”

He moved over to her. “Have you any idea what the time is?! Outside. Now.” His tone was curt leaving no doubt that she should obey.

She took a deep breath and removing her apron followed her husband into the garden. The air was cool after the heat of the kitchen. She turned to him. “Have you quite finished ordering me around like a scullery maid?”

He put his hands on his hips and glared at her. “Is that not who I am speaking to?” he said sharply. “Look at you... you’re, you’re filthy!”

She looked down at herself. “It’ll wash out. What’s the problem?”

“Problem?” He yelled. Then he took a deep breath and lowered his voice. “The problem, my dear Elle, is you seem to have forgotten who you now are. You no longer work in the kitchen.”

Cinderella’s eyes narrowed. “No I don’t do I?”

“So do I have to remind you of what the wife of the heir apparent does?”

“Feel free!” she snapped. “No actually let me tell You what the wife of the heir apparent does all day long. She gets up – Alone. She has breakfast – Alone. Then she retires to the solar where she sits Alone all day long with her book. Sometimes she does cross stitching. Other times, if it is not raining, she takes a walk around the palace gardens. Alone. Then finally its dinner time. In a huge hall where no one speaks except to say pass the salt please. Then she sits alone again in her room until it’s time to go to bed.”

He looked at her. “And your point is?”

She shook her head. “Do I have to spell it out for you? I. Married. You! Not your palace or the solar or the book I seem to spend more time with. I have not eaten with you in days. The last time we had breakfast together was on our honeymoon. These days you spend more time with your horses and polo ponies than you do me.”

He huffed. “You don’t ride.”

“You never asked! How do you know what I do or do not like doing?”

“Fine!” He turned round and faced across the palace garden. “What do you like doing then?”

“I cook,” she said decisively.

“Cook!?” Albert spluttered. “That’s what servants do.”

She glared at him. “I cook and I sing and I ride,” she said. “And if I want to do so then I will.”

“And you clean,” he said looking at her.

“And clean!” she finished. “Come here.” She grabbed his hand and dragged him into the kitchen. She broke off a corner of one of the meringues she had made. “Here.” She shoved it in his mouth. “I made this.”

Not expecting it he nevertheless ate it. “Wow. You made this?” he repeated reaching for the rest of it.

Cook nodded. “She did Sir. And the pastries and she helped with other bits too. She’s gifted with her cooking if you don’t mind me saying so.”

Albert looked at Cinderella. “Doesn’t mean you can keep doing it though.”

She shook her head and stormed out of the kitchen. She picked up her skirts and ran through the main door into the corridor which led to the ballroom.

“Wait!” he called knowing full well the guests were already arriving which was why he had come to find her in the first place. Although the kitchen was the last place he had looked. Indeed it had been the last place he had thought to look, having expected her to have more sense than be there. He set off after her, calling her name over and over.

Cinderella ignored him. She didn’t want another lecture. Not from someone who had barely spoken to her in days. She ran fast not paying attention to where she was going. She suddenly burst through a door into a room full of people in wigs and ball gowns. “Oh,” she gasped sliding to a halt but not before she crashed into someone sending them both crashing to the floor.

The person turned over and scowled at her. “And who are you?” he asked.

King Wilberforce hurried over to them. “Herbert, I am terribly sorry,” he said, offering the man a hand to get up. Then he looked down at the scruffy woman by his feet. “And you young lady can go and pack your bags.”

Cinderella snorted. “Certainly. I’ll go do it now, Father.” She pulled herself upright.

King Wilberforce looked at her. “Elle?” he asked looking at her closely. “What are you doing girl? You are filthy!”

“What was I doing? Working actually. I cleaned the oven, did the dishes, rearranged the cupboards in the pantry...”

Albert ran in behind them, pulling himself up short. “Father,” he said. He looked at his wife and then at his father. “There was a problem with something in the kitchen and Elle was sorting it out. She’s a hands-on person and decided to show them what to do.”

Wilberforce looked shocked. “A princess working in the kitchen?” he spluttered.

Albert nodded. “She helped cook tonight’s banquet,” he said proudly. “My wife is an excellent cook. Now if you will excuse us, we need to go and change.” He wrapped an arm round his wife’s waist and led her from the room.

Cinderella looked at him. “Did you mean that?” she said quietly.

He looked at her. “It’s the truth. You are an excellent cook. Now the question is are you just as good a rider?”

“You’ll never know,” she said. “I’ve been told to pack my bags and leave.”

Albert laughed. “Oh well. Been nice knowing you.”

A cough came from behind them. They turned to find Queen Gertrude standing there. “Don’t pack,” she smiled. “He’ll get over it. He told me to do the same thing once, when he found me actually daring to clean the bath myself.” She looked at them. “We have wronged you by not allowing you more freedom to do what you want.” Then she looked at her son. “And you have been neglecting your wife. She should not be spending so much time alone! When was the last time you actually spent any time together?”

Albert looked at his wife and then down. “I don’t know.”

Cinderella rolled her eyes. “Four weeks, twelve hours, thirty six minutes and counting,” she muttered.

Gertrude looked at them. “You do realise that if you want a happy ever after you have to work at it,” she said wryly. “It doesn’t just happen the way it does in books. Now go, spend some time together, finishing the fight and making up. Then we will see you, properly attired in an hour or so for dinner.”

The young couple nodded and Albert slid a hand into that of his wife. “You’re a mess!” he told her as he led her to the stairs.

“At least I don’t look like a dressed up puppet,” she shot back.

They started up the long winding staircase made of marble.

“You’re the one who got caught sliding down these banisters last week.”

“And you’d know how? You’re never here!” She paused then looked at him. “But at least I don’t wear tights and think they are breeches.”

“Mine don’t have ladders in,” he retorted.

“Huh!” she hissed. “Well at least mine fit!”

He glanced down. “Yeah well. Not my fault if they shrunk in the wash. Least they are clean.”

She scowled. “I’d like to see you clean an oven and not get dirty.”

He pushed her into the bedroom and shut the door behind them, shoving a chair under the handle. “Have you finished?”

She shook her head. “No. You leave the lid off the toothpaste, the loo seat up, your shoes in the middle of the floor...” She broke off as he clamped his lips firmly onto hers. When he finally broke the kiss she looked at him. “And your kissing needs practicing.”

He smiled at her. “Does it? You need a bath.”

“So go run me a bath then,” she whispered. “And maybe you could join me. After all you do stink of horses.”

Albert smiled. “Maybe tomorrow we both will,” he said. “Assuming you can fit me into your busy Alone Schedule.”

“I think I can do that,” Cinderella said.

“Good,” he said kissing her again and sweeping her into his arms. “Because we have a happy ever after to work on.” He carried her into the bathroom, shutting the door firmly behind them.

The End

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kicking Eternity by Ann Lee Miller



Blurb:
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?


Review:
Four lives interwoven in a beautiful backdrop, are what you find in the pages of Kicking Eternity. A little slow at first, it gathers pace, leading the reader through various twists and turns before the final page. Suitable from YA upwards, it’s a great summer read. 




AnnLeeMiller.com
Facebook Author Page: Ann Lee Miller
Twitter: @AnnLeeMiller

Amazon buy link: US
                           UK

Note: Anyone who leaves a comment will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity. If you don't want to leave your e-mail address, you may request your free book at AnnLeeMiller.com.



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Future Savior bk 3 Evacuation by Jennifer Hartz



bk 3
Blurb:
Faith… it seems to be revolving around everything I do and it is a hard lesson to learn. I have to have faith that I can save my brother. I have to have faith that my friends scattered all over Meric will survive. I have to have faith that all of Shaw's secrets are coming to an end. I even have to have faith in my own abilities.

The evil tyrant Leticia has sent out her dark priest Neamiah to persuade the people of Meric that she is god. The people must take her mark or die. My greatest test of faith lies ahead… I have to prove to the people of Meric that Leticia's claim to lordship is false and that the Creator is the real God.

Review:
As expected this is another heart stopping read from the pen or rather keyboard of fantasy author, Jennifer Hartz. Evacuation carries on from where Resurrection left off. Even more action, and wonderful Biblical parallels lead our band of friends from one adventure to another in their quest to defeat the evil one. Perfect for a summer's read, Evacuation is not one to be missed.

buy link:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

77,7,& 7 take two

Well I got tagged again :D but I don't mind. Donna tagged me from her entry.

Go here for the previous tag

1. Go to page 77 of my manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs.
And again I haven't tagged anyone cos whenever I do no one joins in. But if you do please let me know where you posted so I can come and read it :)


This time I bring you the relevant section from Wednesday's Child.


He shook his head. “Me thinks the lady doth cheat.”
“I am so not cheating.”
Liam’s hand came up to cup her face, and Jacqui caught her breath as his other arm slid around her waist.
She moved her hands to his waist, her touch so light, but centering his focus fully on her.
Her body was soft under his fingers, and as his lips brushed against hers, jolts of electricity pulsed through him. He pulled her against him, her softness melding with his firmness. Her scent filled him, and her touch reverberated through him, sending his mind spinning. He’d thought a kiss was a kiss, but this—how could it be so different?
Conscious thought left him as he deepened the kiss, possessing her, tasting her, until as the fireworks from the carnival exploded overhead, showering them with red, green and golden stars, he totally immersed himself in what she so freely gave.
When Liam broke the kiss, Jacqui leaned against him. Having her in his arms felt so right—for a few moments he’d felt whole again.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Covers for the rest of the series.

I got the final four covers for the rest of the Monday's Child series. Nicola has done a fantastic job on them. Thank you so, so much. :)

Here are the covers with the provisional blurbs.

  
Senior prosecutor for the CPS, Niamh wakes in hospital after an accident with no knowledge of who she is or what happened. A tall man in a fire-fighter’s uniform sits beside her holding her hand. Jared claims he's her husband. Is he really? Or is he after something else? 

First on the scene at the accident, Jared Harkin is devastated when his wife no longer recognises him. Determined to help her remember, he sets about wooing her all over again, only to find this time around he has a rival

Does her current caseload have anything to do with the fact her brakes were cut or is it just coincidence she was threatened hours before the crash? Will she regain her memory before the person trying to kill her succeeds?


Patrick Page’s fast paced life as an intelligence officer for the British Government—or spook as his brother affectionately calls him leaves him little time for romance. The one girl he really loved walked out on him twelve years ago and he’s never looked back.

Eleanor Harrison, a librarian spends her days living a double life, regretting the past and paying the price for committing what she feels is the unforgivable sin. When she needs help, Patrick is the agent assigned to protect her. Can she keep her secret from him or will it destroy the fragile friendship they now have?



Aaron Field is a farmer. When his field is hired by the church for a bonfire party he is little prepared for the way it turns out. He swore off parties and bonfires several years ago. More concerned with losing the farm than anything else he has little time for church.

Meaghan Knight is a farmer’s daughter. It’s her job to make sure the bonfire party runs smoothly and if that means ironing out the kinks in surely Farmer Field then that’s what she’ll do. When she finds out what’s really behind his attitude, she is determined to help him no matter what the cost



Kiera Steele is taking a well-earned rest from the small bed and breakfast she runs in Headley Cross. She and a few friends hire a boat and go a cruise around the Solent when a storm blows up and the boat gets into difficulties. 

Blake Trant is a lifeboatman. Being called out to a dangerous rescue is nothing new for him. But this time he finds his heart in danger rather than just his life. Can she ever feel the same way? Or will yet another dangerous rescue end the relationship before its had time to begin?


77, 7 and 7



I was tagged by fellow Pelican Marianne Evans

1. Go to page 77 of my manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs.


So here is the said passage from my upcoming release Tuesday's Child.


Blurb:
Tuesday's Child tenders direction...
Deaf from the age of five, Adeline Munroe now runs the local dolls hospital with her best friend Jasmine and constant companion, hearing dog, Ben. Haunted by visions, she 'sees' each murder either as or just before they happen.
Detective Sergeant Nate Holmes is investigating the herbalist serial killings. Things are complicated when he falls for one of the witnesses. As more women die, and Adeline becomes the prime target, is time running out for them both?



By the time Ben told Adeline there was someone at the door at seven fifteen, the kitchen no longer resembled the bomb site it had been all afternoon. The flour had been cleared off the surfaces and floor, batter wiped from the cupboard doors and Vianne’s face. She even picked the remnants of the egg shell from the sugar bowl.
She opened the door and let Nate in out of the rain. “Hey.”
“Hey. Something smells good.” Nate entered the house, shedding his wet coat.
“Thank you.” She took the coat and hung it on the free standing coat rack set in one corner of the hallway. “This is soaked.”
Nate nodded. “I was outside all afternoon at a crime scene. Uniformed officers got the call this morning, and we spent the afternoon talking to the neighbors in the hope of finding something useful.”
Adeline held his gaze. Sorrow filled his eyes again, this time seeming to permeate to his soul. She should have called him, but one thing after another had come up and… “The Herbalist?”
“Yeah. He made sure this one died. She was only fifteen.” He took a deep breath, raw emotion crossing his face. “It doesn’t matter how many of these I do, I never become immune to it.”

You can read Marianne's excerpt here


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Knowing: A series of gifts by Tammy Hill. Book launch


Knowing:  A Series of Gifts 



Book trailer: HERE

Book Synopsis:


Ember Matthews has a gift...
Sixteen-year-old Ember Matthews is tired of being the person everyone else wants her to be. Although she is nervous about moving to a small town and leaving behind the comforts of her old life, Ember welcomes the opportunity to escape the mistakes and pain of her past. Ember truly wants to change, but when faced with temptation and peer pressure from some new friends, she finds herself slipping into the same old patterns.  As she reconnects with God, Ember begins to realize that she is no ordinary teenager. She sees things that no one else sees, and knows things she has no business knowing.  Will Ember learn to use her God-given gift, or will the burden of her calling be too much for her to carry?

Readers Reviews:


“This book is well done on all fronts. I highly recommend it to the general audience, but especially for teens.” –Carol B.
“What a refreshing and insightful look into the life of one with such a special gift. This read will not disappoint.” –Michelle F.
“I couldn’t put it down!”-Heidi M.
“The book is terrific!”-Gina D.

Book Specs:


YA Christian Fiction
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Creation House; First edition (June 5, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1616389265
ISBN-13: 978-1616389260
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.5 inches

 

Author Photo:




Author Bio:


Tammy Hill is a homemaker with a love for reading, photography, and writing who grew up in the South. She and her husband were stationed throughout the U.S. and Germany with the Army. A few years ago, they decided to trade an ordinary, comfortable life for a full life in Christ. This book is just one of the many exciting results of that decision. They now live with three of their six youngest children and two poodles in the South of France.

Social Media:


Official Website:  

Facebook:

Twitter:

Blog (Official Launch Page TBA):

Goodreads:

Google+:


Anyone who purchases this book from any retailer and posts his or her email address in the comments section will be entered to win a Kindle (proof of purchase required).  I will announce the winner on my blog  on June 6th.