Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Virtual Book Tout & #Giveaway for Evolved by Archer Miller

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Evolved by Archer Miller. Please leave a comment or question for Archer to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your chances of winning.  Good Luck!



The Science of What If? By Archer Miller

Even if fantasy is not counted, science fiction is split into a number of fragmented sub-genres. At least one list had 48 separate sub-genres under the heading science fiction. Something I believe they should all have in common is, of course, science.

Holding on to some reasonable contact with actual science creates a feeling of plausibility for the reader that make the suspension of disbelief easier to maintain. Doing this, however, places a burden on the writer to do his (or her) homework. You must start by asking questions such as: Is faster than light travel a possibility? Are their Earth-like planets out there somewhere? What is a black hole? Are there parallel universes? And so on. Then you must find the answers.

Two of my favorite writers were exceptionally good at this. Robert Heinlein asked questions like: Is it possible for man to live forever? What would it be like to settle a new planet? What is the basic nature of man? How can we overcome our limitations? These became central themes to much of his work.

Anne McCaffrey wrote a 22 book series after asking the question: Are dragons possible and how? She also asked how would a human society, under extreme duress, reorganize itself after being cut off form its past and its technology.

Douglas Adams simply asked: What is the answer to life, the universe and everything? Which we now all know is 42. He also postulated that in an infinite universe anything is possible.

These and other "what ifs" are the jumping off points to great fiction. But it isn’t enough simply to ask the question. As writers we must find a possibility where the answers also exits. Like Heinlein I like to ask what is next for mankind. When and where will be take the next evolutionary step and what are the possibilities. The answer MUST be based on actual science in order to get the reader to buy in.

This is the quality that drives my good friend and writing partner, Skip Miller, up the wall. Every time he presents me with an idea for what he calls a simple little story, I start picking it apart and asking those irritating questions. It isn’t that I dislike his ideas. It’s simply my job to ask.

So next time you find yourself stuck for a great idea for a story start asking yourself questions that start with “What if?” Then go do your 
homework and find the answers.  


Evolved
By Archer Miller

Publisher: Epitome Press
Release Date: October 30, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 436 Pages
ISBN: 978-1943212057
ASIN: B0769F41CJ

Buy Links:  Amazon | Smashwords | B & N | Kobo

* On Sale for $.99




About the book: 

Humanity has spread to the far reaches of space with The Golden Door, a planetary colonization monopoly, selling off every desirable and not so desirable planet to desperate settlers.

Each new world comes with new challenges, and to meet that challenge the children are evolving.


When Pieter, and other gifted children like him, become the target of government research they must fight not only for their lives but the future of their kind.


EXCERPT

Pieter’s eyes opened, but it was an exercise in futility. There was nothing but darkness for him to see. He knew he was awake because of the lancing pain running down his back and across his chest; the cover on his head was stifling and smelled of sweat and blood. He was upright in some sort of chair but he was unable to move. The back of the chair was straight and hard, and he was bound to it with his arms pinned behind his back. He struggled to breathe. His chest was stretched as his shoulders pressed into the chair behind him. A cry of pain rose in his throat, but he clamped his mouth tight to hold it prisoner.

As he gasped for air and strained to ease the pain in his chest and back, a voice from beyond the pain alerted him to another presence.

“Suka is awake.”

“Good. I want this suka blyad to remember this.”

With no way of knowing or seeing its approach a hand struck his face, slamming the back of his head against the hard chair. He could stop the scream, but not the tears that rained from his eyes.

“Little boy want to play,” the voice taunted him.

Something hard crashed into his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs. He tried to breathe, but was unable. What do they want from me?

A second fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head to the right.

“Don’t kill him,” the first voice warned.

“I won’t. But he’ll wish I had.” 

His gut roiled and something dark and cold escaped from inside him. Words that frightened him to say,

“I could kill you,” he hissed.  What he considered doing was against everything he believed. To kill was to violate the fifth commandment and would damn him for all eternity.

“I don’t doubt you could. But if you do you will never leave this room alive and your entire family will be killed. Is that what you want?”

Pieter paused while their eyes locked. Something feral had been awakened in him. “Nyet.”

“Good. That’s settled. We’ve made arrangements to hold you in a secure place, and in a way that will protect our people. You understand the necessity for this, Pieter?”

“Da.”

“Good. I’m glad we had this chance to talk. Someone will be along soon to move you to your new room.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Archer Miller emerged from the East Texas hill country and set his sights on finding the life of which few of his contemporaries dreamed. In 1974, he migrated to Boulder, Colorado to enroll at the Naropa Institute – now known as the Naropa University, a tiny Liberal Arts college founded by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder, the Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987). Rinpoche was enormously influential in spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

Archer earned a degree in herbs and creative writing. He was a four-year Letterman on the Varsity Competitive Meditation Team.

After graduating in 1978, he took a year off to hike the Jack Kerouac literary trail. He became a top freelance gun-for-hire with dozens of ad agencies across the south and southwest. As a way to deal with the proliferation of Disco, he took up Zen Archery.



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Book Tour & #Giveaway for The One Apart by Justine Avery




Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for The One Apart by Justine Avery.  Please leave a comment or question for Justine to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!



The One Apart
by Justine Avery
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller



Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he's lived before.


Tres is about to be born... with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he's too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.





Tres felt his body abruptly drop around him with overbearing weight, encapsulating him once again.

The mental images, the overpowering memories, finally faded. Only an ominous stillness remained.

Every cell within him began to twitch, infusing with energy—even as he felt immobile. Every joint, tendon, and bone ached under the pressure of being alive.

A deep sadness engulfed him. He pondered possible reasons. And, just as quickly, he was distracted by the presence of his own simple thoughts.

Thoughts. He realized his own thinking.

This mind—certain of its own newness—desired to explore, feel, do, be. Tres opened his eyes—tried to open his eyes. He found his eyelids fused shut.

He opened his mouth. Thick, warm syrup seeped inside his swallow. Intense fear washed over him, even as he knew exactly where—and how—he was.

Oh, no.

Tres was aware, more aware than any had ever been. In this moment, he knew everything—and yet, nothing.

He was beginning again.



Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.






Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!



Spotlight & #Giveaway for To Marry A Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday

To Marry a Texas Outlaw
By: Linda Broday
Men of Legend, Book #3

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pub Date: November 7, 2017
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Length: 386 Pages
ISBN: 978-1492630234
ASIN: B01N39EZ0F




About the book:

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw

Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.


Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right—and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.




An excerpt from To Marry a Texas Outlaw
by Linda Broday

Lawmen surrounded the wagon and forced them to stop.

“Morning, gentlemen,” Luke drawled. “Mind getting out of our way?”

“We’re looking for a woman.” The old sheriff had a crooked nose that must’ve been broken countless times.

“The only one I’ve seen is—”

“Me. His wife,” Rose interrupted and gazed with what she hoped was adoration up at Luke. “Don’t be shy saying it, sweetheart. But it’s still sort of new, I reckon.” She cupped his jaw and turned to the riders. “You see, we were married two weeks ago and we’re on our honeymoon. My darling sugarplum promised to take me to Fort Worth.”

She pressed her lips to his in a long, searing kiss. He didn’t respond for a moment, then shock and thrilling tingles rippled over her as he kissed her back. When she parted her mouth, he slipped his tongue inside as bold as you please. His hand curled just under her breast and sent waves of aching hunger through her.

“Ahem,” one of lawmen said. “We need a word if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, dear sir, but we do mind,” she murmured against Luke’s mouth. “Very strenuously.”

“Damn, woman,” Luke whispered. “Aren’t you overdoing it?”

“Me?” she argued low. “What was the tongue for?”

“Added effect.” His eyes held a devilish gleam.

“Sorry, ma’am,” another of the posse tried. “Give us a quick word and we’ll be on our way.”

Luke raised his head. “My wife Rose is very…passionate. Why are you looking for this other woman?”

“She murdered her husband last night, mister.”

Rose gasped. “My heavens, how horrible. Did she shoot him?”

“Oh no, ma’am, nothing that tame,” said the lawman with the mole. “She gutted him.”

“Where did this take place?” Luke asked, nuzzling Rose’s neck.

“Doan’s Crossing.”

Rose stiffened in panic.

“Careful,” Luke whispered. “Just a little longer.”

“Do you know her name by chance?” Rose asked quietly.

“Josie. Josie Morgan,” the man answered. “From the description, she’s the spitting image of you, ma’am.”

She shivered even as Luke’s arm tightened around her. Could she have done something like that? Was she a murderess?

“If we happen to spot her, we’ll report it to the first lawman,” Luke promised. “Now, if you don’t mind, we have somewhere to be and my wife, bless her sweet soul, is a very impatient woman.” He winked at the posse. “You fellows remember what it was like to be newly married, don’t you?”

A murmur of agreement came from the group.

Rose glanced down and her heart pounded to see the duster had slipped, exposing a big portion of her bloody skirt. Slowly, so as not to draw the lawmen’s gaze, she tried to tug the shield back into place.

“Say, don’t I know you, mister?” One of the lawmen in the back, a younger man, moved forward, staring at Luke. “What’s your name?”

Rose held her breath as Luke’s hand inched slowly down toward his Colt. Desperate to draw the riders’ attention, she loosened the top buttons of her dress and moved the fabric aside. “My goodness, I’m so hot!” She touched her cheek with a fingertip and drew it painstakingly down the long column of her throat, past her collarbone and into her cleavage. The young lawman swallowed hard.

“Name’s Jones. I’m from Tascosa,” Luke drawled. “The town’s wild and woolly but it’s where I met my beautiful Rose and tied the knot.”

“I never thought I’d ever find such a handsome man to give me a second look.” Rose batted her eyelashes. “Ours is a match made in heaven.”

“I must be mistaken.” The young man turned aside, mumbling to himself.

The hawk-nosed marshal leaned over. “There’s a lot of blood on your dress, ma’am. What happened?”

Panic raced through Rose. “Blood? Oh, good heavens no!” She forced a giggle. “This is nothing but red mud. My mama always complained about the North Texas red dirt and was never able to get it to wash out of anything.”

The marshal’s white brow lifted in apparent skepticism.

Luke quietly added, “My wife likes to make love in the…uh, creek. It’s really embarrassing to talk about.”

She patted his vest. “Sweetheart, these men don’t have time to be gossiping like that! They simply have to find that Morgan woman before she kills again.”

The men shook their heads, chuckling, but one leaned forward for a better view.

“Sorry to have held you up.” The old sheriff touched the brim of his hat and the group galloped off, kicking up a cloud of dust around the wagon.

Luke jiggled the reins and the team began to move. “What the hell was that back there?”

Her spine stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Attacking me like that.”

“Wait one minute. If I recall, you didn’t appear to object.”

“You enjoyed every second of that,” Luke accused.

“And you didn’t?”

Luke glanced back to check on the lawmen. “Where did that performance come from?”

“I noticed a spark of recognition in that young one’s eyes and I knew I had to save you. He was a step away from arresting you.” She thought he’d at least be grateful for her efforts.

“Don’t ever try to save me again.” Luke’s voice held a sharp edge. “I’ll only get you hurt—or dig you a grave.”

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Find Linda Online:
Twitter: @LBroday
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1204489.Linda_Broday





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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Promo Blitz for The Hypnotists Daughter by Brittany Raschdorf



Welcome to my stop on the Promo Blitz, presented by RABT Book Tours, for The Hypnotists Daughter by Brittany Raschdorf.  Please leave a comment or question for Brittany to let her know you stopped by. 




The Hypnotists Daughter
By Brittany Raschdorf

Publisher: Koehler Books;
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Genre: YA Thriller
Length: 277 Pages
ISBN: 978-1633934016
ASIN: B075RP99C8



Purchase Links: 







Though things look beautiful to the naked eye, when you look between the cracks of fame and fortune, things aren’t always what they seem.

Prosperity Baxter (Peri) is selling her soul for fame – figuratively of course. Everyone who is anyone in Hollywood has gone through Jameson Frye to get there. Peri has a once in a lifetime meeting with him, set up by her father Harris Baxter, the biggest name in hypnotism on the entire West Coast.

But in the movie industry, you don’t get something for nothing. Peri pays the ultimate price before she is thrust full speed ahead into her new acting career. The manager Jameson sets her up with, bad-boy HUDSON GREGOR, is known for his amoral reputation. Peri learns early on that Hudson is not to be crossed. But when secrets begin to surface as the scenes from the horror film she is starring in begin to dredge up memories she was never supposed to remember, she will have to learn to rely on him.

Lies, cover-ups and an unthinkable initiation all leave her desperate for answers.

Prosperity is determined to find out if there is enough good in this world to overcome the evil she sees everywhere she looks – even in her own eyes.

Recent Praise for The Hypnotist's Daughter:

"A shocking debut that leaves us pondering the origins of evil and the power of memory." -- J.C. Sasser, author of Gradle Bird

"Raw and hypnotizing. This is the first chapter in what promises to be an unnerving and mysterious series." -- Peter L. Harmon, author of The Happenstances . . . young adult book series

"A triumphant debut novel from Brittany Raschdorf." -- Charlotte Bowyer, author of His Frozen Fingertips


"Imaginative ride into the fantasy realm" -- Meisha Camm, author of Brewer Archives






About the Author   

Brittany Raschdorf is a devoted mother of two who lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with her husband and their two dogs. Growing up, Brittany was always tethered to a book, only putting them down occasionally to play in the mud or roughhouse with her brother. She knew deep down she had a passion for words—it was the way the black jumped off the white and landed in her soul as she read. But it wasn’t until she began to write that she truly came alive. And it wasn’t until she became a mother that she realized she had a story to tell.





Contact Links




RABT Book Tours & PR

Blurb Blitz & #Giveaway for The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Welcome to my stop on the Blurb Blitz, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for The Christmas Carriage and Other Writing of the Holiday Season by Alice Jane-Marie Massa.  Please leave a comment or question for Alice to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  Good Luck! 


The Christmas Carriage and Other Writing of the Holiday Season
By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Publisher:  Alice Jane-Marie Massa
Release Date: November 28, 2016
Genre: Short Story Collection
Length: 102 Pages
ISBN: 978-1540573162
ASIN: B01N0KYRPE





About the book:

​To celebrate holiday reading, author Alice Jane-Marie Massa invites you to join her on a snowy, imaginary carriage ride featuring her holiday memoirs, short stories, essays, and poetry from her book, THE CHRISTMAS CARRIAGE AND OTHER WRITINGS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

​Spanning from Thanksgiving through the new year, this collection includes her remembrances of Hoosier holidays in the 1950s and 1960s.  "The Christmas Carriage" (set in Milwaukee) and "The Puppies of New Year's Eve," along with stories about a military family, two holiday weddings, and a homeless person will warm your heart this winter.  From "Zoe's Christmas Eve" to "Snow Dancers," Alice's poetry provides merry and memorable reading for both adults and children.

​With a beautifully festive cover, this book is one you will want to wrap as a holiday gift, as well as a book that you will want to keep beside your chair while you settle into the sparkle and joy of this holiday season.

​For additional information about ordering this 101-page book in either print, electronic, audio, or braille versions, please visit the author's web page:
http://www.dldbooks.com/alicemassa/

​Alice also invites you to visit her weekly blog:
http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com




EXCERPT

For at least three decades, Mrs. Nevando's Christmas wish was to have a carriage ride through the city on Christmas Eve.  She never mentioned this wish to her husband:  the idea seemed all too frivolous.  Twelve years ago, when she sat beside  his hospital bed, Mrs. Nevando dozed periodically and dreamed of a Christmas carriage ride.  Each of the past twelve Christmases that she endured with the memories of her deceased, beloved husband, the 74-year-old woman still entertained the thought of  a carriage ride, but then routinely dismissed the notion.  "An old woman riding in a carriage alone on Christmas Eve!  What would people think?" she often found herself wondering aloud--well, in an audible whisper.

In mid-December, Mrs. Nevando was in her usual mode of declining all holiday invitations although she was not receiving as many as she had in earlier years.  One son was somewhere in Europe, and the other son was on the East Coast.  Of course, they knew their mother was a Midwestern girl--old girl--who did not care to join the masses at airports during any holiday season.  After she wrote e-mails to both sons and a few other family members, Mrs. Nevando found herself exploring the website for the city carriage rides.  Although she read that carriage rides were available on Christmas Eve, the cost was too expensive for her taste.  Nevertheless, she reasoned that one carriage ride was certainly way less money than an airline ticket to Italy or even to Boston. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Although Alice Jane-Marie Massa has lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for over 25 years, growing up in the rural Indiana town of Blanford (with a population of approximately 400) influenced the subject matter and style of her writing. After earning master's degrees from Indiana State University and Western Michigan University, Alice, still a Hoosier at heart, taught for 25 years, including 14 years of teaching writing and public speaking at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Having retired from teaching English and grading stacks of student papers, she now focuses on her own writing.

Alice invites you to visit her blog: http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com, where, since January of 2013, she has posted weekly her poetry, essays, memoirs, or short stories. Her writings on Wordwalk frequently focus on her Indiana hometown of Blanford, her four guide dogs, her Italian ancestors, and writing. Additionally, some of her writing pieces have been published in Indiana Voice Journal, Magnets and Ladders, Dialogue, Newsreel, and The ACB Braille Forum, as well as in the anthology Behind Our Eyes: A Second Look.

Away from her desk, Alice enjoys reading, container gardening, and the television program Jeopardy. Since March 21, 1990, Alice's guide dogs have added sparkle, spirit, and independence to her life. Currently, most of all, she is grateful for her long walks with her fourth Leader Dog, Willow (a black Labrador), who is following very well in the amazing pawprints of Alice's beloved first three Leader Dogs—Keller (a Golden Retriever), Heather (a Yellow Labrador), and Zoe (a Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix).



Can I just say YUM!


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Book Blast & #Giveaway for Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blast, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby.  Please leave a comment or question for Sylvia to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecoper form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above. Good Luck!

Prosecco Christmas
By Sylvia Ashby
Pot Love, Book 3

Publisher:  Sylvia Ashby
Release Date: November 2, 2017
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
Length: 274 Pages
ASIN: B076X7VTVK


Buy Link:  Amazon


About the book:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.

She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.


Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?


EXCERPT

Predictability is key in having an uncomplicated birth, I realise.

Joslyn, a young and tall American lady at the antenatal classes, even tried to use an ancient Japanese fortune-telling device – omikuji to predict the correct birth date for her child. I checked it on the internet and omikuji is basically a paper strip with a prophecy written on it and can be found at shrines and temples throughout Japan.

Only Joslyn wasn’t in Japan, but in England and we don’t have many shrines and temples around. So she made do with a free omikuji generator online. She got “uncertain bad luck”, “uncertain good luck” and “middle bad luck” and was quite hysterical for the rest of her pregnancy. I don’t think she scheduled a Caesarean either.

‘Giacomo, could you give us a hand with the wine? I want to pick some good Prosecco. You stay in the car, darling,’ Mum chirps towards me as she hurries out. ‘We won’t be a mo.’

‘I’ll come with you,’ I cry after her. I don’t fancy spending the next half an hour alone in the car. Mum’s “moments” can be anywhere up to an hour at a time.

I open the car door and put my foot out. I step right into a puddle which soaks my boot with German efficiency.

‘Great.’ I groan.

I turn in my seat and try to get out of the car avoiding the puddle with my other foot. Hopefully, it’ll be warm inside Marks & Spencer’s so my boot will dry out fast. I manage to step over the wet patch and slide out of the seat when a Braxton Hicks hits me so hard I double over in pain. I close my eyes, breathe and pant for a few seconds. Hot sweat flushes down my body and soaks me all the way down to my, already wet, feet.  This contraction is particularly strong. It makes me grip my stomach, huddle my shoulders and shiver against the strong December wind.

I really wish I was at home, in bed, and not in a supermarket car park braving the wind. “I’m pregnant and in pain!” I want to shout after Mum who’s just disappearing through the supermarket’s sliding doors. Next to her is Michael, who is still tapping on his phone and not looking where he’s going.

‘You all right, love?’ I hear a man’s voice from close proximity. I look up. It’s the man I saw this morning collecting donations by the M&S front door. The one with the Rudolf jumper and Santa hat. He’s looking at me with an open interest.

‘I’m fine, thanks.’ I straighten up and brush my hair back. ‘It’s Braxton Hicks,’ I explain. ‘It’s not the real thing.’

The man doesn’t look convinced. He shakes his green donation bucket, making it rattle thoughtfully.

‘Braxton Hicks, uh?’ he says. ‘It’s doesn’t look like Braxton Hicks to me.’

I glare at him, irate. Why does everyone around me think they are childbirth experts? Mum, Michael, now this man in a ridiculous reindeer jumper with a donation bucket.

‘I’ve just been to the hospital,’ I inform him, ‘where I was thoroughly examined,’ “by a nurse with a uterus” I almost add but stop myself. ‘They assured me these are Braxton Hicks’.

‘Right,’ the man doesn’t waver. ‘Who did you say examined you?’

Honestly! Why does this man think I have time for chit-chat when I’m in so much pain?

I lean back against the car for support. I feel quite faint all of a sudden.

‘I can’t remember,’ I tell him breathlessly. ‘And does it really matter anyway?’

The man shakes his donation bucket again.

‘I think they might have got it wrong.’

‘Maybe.’ I force myself to nod politely. ‘What makes you say that?’

‘That wet patch on the front of your jeans is a pretty big telltale,’ he says, eying my legs.

I look down.

‘Oh, my God!’ I squeal. ‘My waters broke!’
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT - she's written it all!

She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe - London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.







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