‘THE DREAM?’ A short story …

Ryan looked at his watch as he entered the bustling call centre. It was 7am and very busy… like the entrance to a superstar concert.

He recognized Jayne, his mum’s best friend in the crowd. Hadn’t she died several years before? She was chatting animatedly to her husband, Jeff.

Hang on? Hadn’t Jeff also died? Ok not so long ago… but of cancer? Ryan was almost sure.

He wished he had paid more attention to his mother’s phone calls.

Ryan walked across to look out of the window; he was obviously in a sky-scraper of some magnitude. He looked down and saw the lights of the city twinkling below. He remembered his trip to NYC with his parents back in ’99′… this building was way, way, WAY TALLER.

‘Here is your new desk Ryan,’ a stranger said.

‘There? You must be joking! It’s tiny, I’d rather have stayed where I was!’ Ryan answered.

‘You have got to learn Ryan… as I have had to,’ the girl at the desk opposite spoke.

Ryan slumped onto a seat as he had a revelation. Her name was Holly, he had gone to school with her… but this time there was no doubt. She was definitely dead!

He remembered the headlines!

‘Holly! You killed yourself! This is a dream isn’t it?’ Ryan shouted.

Holly looked up as if pleading… hoping Ryan would just shut up. She looked back to her desk, as if unable to take her eyes away from her work for more than a second or two at a time.

Ryan stood and leant across. Holly was reading a book. Despite the recent interruption and noise all around; she was purposeful, composed, serene. Ryan noticed others ranting and raving in the aisles, while several sat reading, cocooned like battery hens… soulless, anonymous.

‘I should be on my way to work, on the Northern Line with a Starbucks, reading The Metro!’ Ryan thought.

It must be a dream.

But he did not wake up.

He ran to the lift. A thousand others had already beaten him to it.

‘GET OUT OF THE WAY! LET ME THROUGH, I WANNA GO HOME!’ Ryan wailed.

The baying throng miraculously evaporated as Ryan lunged to press the ‘Down’ button. The lift duly arrived, doors opening. He took a step but there was nothing below. He fell back onto the floor behind, relieved not to have plummeted to his death.

He turned and saw Jayne and Jeff waiting. Jayne guided him back to the tiny desk as Holly sat silently philosophizing at her desk before him.

‘I am sorry Ryan. You are here to learn what you did not in life…’ Jayne said, handing him a book. It was a tiny book, like one of the ‘Ladybird’ books Ryan remembered his mum reading to him in his youth. The title was ‘Ryan doesn’t like women; He wants men.’

Ryan remembered the shame, the self hatred. The school kids who called him names as he grew up… the disapproval from society… the random strangers who had mocked him in the street. Then he remembered the pills… the slashing at his wrists.

He had taken his own life.

A voice from above said ‘Everyone is made in my image Ryan… I loved you so much. Why did you kill yourself?’

Ryan was gob smacked, dumbfounded. He could not answer.

The voice continued ‘You should have been proud. You all need to know that I love everyone. I love the whole of humanity… you will have to learn, I want you to go back to the beginning and start again…’

For more from Christian James go to http://www.globalsuperstar.co

Superstar Page

Nicola and Laura from the Orchard Book Club correctly answered that ‘Asbo’ the Chihuahua dog lives in Brighton. I was delighted to feature them to THE SUPERSTAR PAGE! http://www.globalsuperstar.co/home-1-1-1-1

You can follow the Nicola and Laura on Twitter https://twitter.com/OrchardBookClub & and like them @ http://www.facebook.com/OrchardBookClub

Are you or a family member a wannabe Superstar? Would you like to feature on the Superstar Page? Email Christian at c.j.blue@live.co.uk with the answer to the following question:

From the book Global Superstar name one of ‘rejuvenated’ stars from Hollywood’s Silver Screen who Kaine invites to the world opening of ‘Global Superspa LA’.

Amazon USA
http://www.amazon.com/Superstar-including-Superspa-Resurrection-ebook/dp/B008HSR6HW

Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Superstar-including-Superspa-Resurrection-ebook/dp/B008HSR6HW

The first chapter of Don’t Blame It On The Sunshine !

Chapter 1

May 1973

Debbie ran out of the office and along the street. She was already over twenty minutes late for a lunchtime drink with Beryl and Sandra at the Bull’s Head. Fending off ‘Rampant Ron’ the Office Manager was turning into a full-time job of its own. Even though he had met her husband, Harry, at the previous year’s Christmas party, Ron had never given up on adding Debbie to the rather dubious (considering his clouds of dandruff and comb-over) list of conquests that he insisted on bragging about to any visiting sales manager.
Harry was working nights at the rail company and the cutbacks meant she really needed her job. As Debbie tore along the road, she imagined winning the Football Pools and telling her letch of a boss where to stick his job.
It was a sunny day and Debbie felt like ‘sweaty Betty’ by the time she entered the bar.
Beryl and Sandra turned and stopped talking.
‘I’m so sorry I’m late. I know you’ve been waiting, but I got stuck on my own in the office with Ron. You know what he’s like,’ Debbie said.
Beryl held her hand up, JPS in hand, stream of smoke billowing from her nostrils. ‘Debbie! Stop NOW! Don’t you worry, love. Why don’t you and Sandra go find a table in the garden? I will get the drinks … G&T?’
Debbie really would have preferred a refreshing soda and lime but Beryl looked so like a dragon she dared not argue. Sandra grabbed Debbie’s arm and took her out into the garden.
‘Is everything ok, Sandra?’
‘Yes, of course, Debbie. We just have some news. Beryl will tell you in a minute.’
Debbie had an immediate sense of foreboding but she knew Sandra would never dare say a thing without Beryl. They made their way through the thronging lunchtime drinkers to find a table. A group stood up to leave. Sandra pounced to claim ownership, sitting down before the previous occupants had collected all their things. One of them tutted and Debbie smiled apologetically.
Beryl came out with the drinks.
‘Get that down you, you will need it,’ she said, placing the G&T in front of Debbie.
‘Here, why don’t you have one of these as well?’ Sandra offered Debbie a cigarette.
‘No thanks, Sandra. What’s happened? Please tell me.’
Debbie looked at Beryl, who sighed as if unburdening herself of a terrible secret.
‘You know Babs, don’t you Debbie?’
‘The slut,’ Sandra muttered.
Beryl glared sideways at Sandra, who shut up.
Babs was the barmaid at the Bull’s Head, but Debbie preferred to call her Barbara.
Beryl carried on. ‘Well, you know me Debbie? I don’t like to gossip, but I feel it’s best you know … She has been having an affair with a married man and I’m sorry to say this but…’ Beryl paused before stating the bloomin’ obvious. ‘Well I may as well just come out and say it! It’s Harry.’
Debbie stared back dumbfounded.
Beryl decided to fill the silence.
‘I’m sorry love but I thought it best to come right out and say it, there’s no point in messing about. Although, to be honest, from what I’ve been hearing there has been quite enough of that already.’
Debbie noticed Beryl raise an eyebrow at Sandra and it jolted her back from her thoughts.
‘I don’t believe you! Why are you saying this? What proof do you have?’
Sandra went to grab her hand but Debbie pulled away, grabbing her G&T and took a large glug. ‘I think I will have that cigarette, Sandra, please,’ Debbie asked.
‘Of course, here you are.’ Sandra opened the black and gold pack of JPS, and they all took one and lit up. Debbie took a long hard drag. She instantly felt dizzy but was not sure if it was the cigarette or Beryl’s news.
Sandra babbled on. ‘Oh Debbie, I’m so sorry. Beryl heard Alf last night talking to some of the regulars. We thought it best you knew.’
Debbie felt slightly better as she thought of Alf, the landlord at the Bull’s Head.
‘Oh for god’s sake! You know what Alf is like, he’s such a gossip,’ Debbie said.
‘I’m sorry Debbie, this time he’s telling the truth. Apparently the affair has been going on for months. Harry has been knocking off early and coming here, sometimes spending the whole evening drinking, night after night, then staying upstairs with Babs. I couldn’t let you carry on “not knowing”, not while all the time we knew.’
‘Who else knows?’ Debbie started to panic.
‘Well Brian and Nick know of course, so does Tim and Bev and Alf obviously, but you know that already. Oh, and I’m not sure but I think…’ Sandra stopped talking mid-sentence when Beryl glared at her to shut up.
Nick and Brian were Sandra and Beryl’s husbands, Tim and Bev were regulars at the pub. Beryl rolled her eyes towards Sandra before looking back to Debbie. ‘Anyway, I was talking to Alf a minute ago and apparently Babs is at the Cash and Carry but is due back any minute. I would imagine you’d like to have a word with her?’
‘How about I go and get us another drink?’ Sandra asked anxiously.
Beryl nodded, as if it was a good idea. Debbie didn’t answer. She was lost in her own thoughts. She did not want to give Beryl the satisfaction of making a scene in front of a packed pub. She remembered how she had come down to the pub the previous weekend for Sunday lunch with Harry and the kids. She felt a flush of shame. Had everyone been laughing at her behind her back? She thought of the times their children, thirteen-year-old Lindsay, eleven-year-old Mac and eight-year-old Gary were forced to be quiet when Harry arrived home from work, and how Harry complained they were always short of money for housekeeping. She thought about the times she had sat at home bored, evening after evening. What about the way he was with Mac and Gary? She found his violent tirades against them for waking him up or sometimes just asking a question difficult to tolerate. The simplest of conversations could turn into a massive row, especially if he had been drinking. And always he blamed it on being tired from the nights he worked.
‘I’ve got to go home and speak to Harry. Tell work I’ve had an emergency and will get back as soon as possible?’
‘Don’t you want to wait and have a word with Babs?’ Beryl sounded disappointed.
‘Not really Beryl, I would prefer to talk to my husband first if you don’t mind,’ Debbie answered.
‘Of course, love. Anything you need, just give me a call.’ Beryl smiled back as if she was the most caring person in the world.
Debbie stubbed out the last of the cigarette and stood up. ‘Ok, er thanks… Say sorry to Sandra about the drink.’

Read more in preview at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Blame-The-Sunshine-ebook/dp/B00B3K7ORI/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Blame-The-Sunshine-ebook/dp/B00B3K7ORI/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1364543900&sr=1-2

A review of Dissolution by CJ Sansom

I heard of Dissolution via a friend who shares my interest in Tudor history. As with others who have reviewed the book, it has similarities to The Name Of The Rose and for me, the TV series Cadfael.

CJ Sansom is a gifted writer who obviously knows his history. The book is extremely well written and researched. I thoroughly enjoyed being transported back to a world where a hunchback sleuth, Shardlake and his young sidekick Mark, investigate a brutal murder as monasteries crumble under the might of Henry VIII’s cataclysmic rule.

Deep-seated inadequacies rise within Shardlake as the prejudice he encounters along the way imbues his character with a real depth highlighting one of the biggest failings of ‘humanity’ a lack of tolerance for anyone that is seen to be different.

The plot kept me guessing right up to the dramatic climax. Leaving me to ponder… Why hasn’t the book been turned into a film of its own?

I would recommend Dissolution to anyone who, like me, sat at school totally entranced by the Tudor dynasty.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dissolution-Shardlake-Series-C-Sansom/dp/0330450794/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

A review of Blood Bound (A Gallows Novel) by Sharon Stevenson

Blood Bound by the talented Sharon Stevenson reminded me very much of the True Blood TV series but instead of sunny Bon Temps the action takes place in rainy, atmospheric Scotland.

Sarah and Shaun are wise cracking, junk food eating, hard drinking twins who have inherited the role of demon hunters. I laughed out loud at some of the quips and retorts between brother and sister as they rid the world of troublesome vampires, meddling witches and local fairies.

In a couple of places, the pace was so fast I had to do a double take! The sarcastic siblings’ sense of humour is worth 5 stars on its own!

A cleverly written book that will appeal to anyone who loves YA fiction with a bit of edge!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009JBKV96

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP !

Along with Addison Moore author of The Celestra series, I was invited by the amazing Rebecca Munro to join The Next Big Thing blog hop. The Next Big Thing gives published/unpublished writers a chance to share their work then pass it on to further authors the following week and throughout the year.

There are a series of questions to be answered, it is the same for everyone who takes part in The Next Big Thing and here are my answers:

1. What is the working title of your book?

Global Superstar (inc Global Superspa and Superstar Resurrection)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for Global Superstar came from a dream I had on the 22nd January 2011. Around the same time I was writing a family drama, (which will be out in 2013) but my dream literally stopped me in my tracks. It was so compelling, so vivid; it was all I could think about. I wrote everything down so I could remember every detail.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

YA pop/celebrity culture, prophecy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ed Harvey is the main character. He is a guy who wants to make a difference but is jaded by years of disappointment. Desperate, he enters a talent competition, where under the spotlight of television his talent and enigmatic inner/outer beauty shines out. The world falls in love; he becomes the world’s no1 superstar and joins A-Listers in a life of unadulterated luxury. His age ranges from 17 to ancient and the person I think sums Ed up is Zac Efron.

zac efron

Ed has a secret. He learnt it from another amazing woman (sorry Rebecca) who has been around from the dawn of time. The name she uses now is Daniella Avedon and she loves Ed. Their love is centuries old, primeval yet pure and their destiny is as intertwined as we need air to breathe. She is astonishingly beautiful, sexy, loving, exotic, innocent, exciting, maternal, fun yet mysterious and all men are captivated by her. It is a tall order to convey but the one that springs to mind is Penelope Cruz.

Penelope-Cruz-em-Nine

Then there is Kaine Young, Ed’s controlling billionaire manager. Kaine has a dream of living like an Edwardian gentleman in a long gone romantic ideal of croquet lawns, stately homes and aristocracy with every modern convenience thrown in. When he discovers Ed’s secret he exploits it to open a chain of Superspas. As global economies collapse, Kaine becomes a multi-trillionaire and accumulates whole swathes of prime real estate. Along with the patronage of politicians and the world’s elite, Kaine is able to achieve his dream and builds monumental super mansions across the globe. He takes over every utility and Media Company, leaving a whole underclass who are left to rot outside gated communities. The person I would think would be great in this role would be Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo-DiCaprio-leonardo-dicaprio-192798_1024_768

Teenager Lola lives outside the gilded gates in a life of tragedy and poverty. Her mother, Nicky is convinced Ed is Lola’s father but no one believes her. A further tragedy pushes Lola over the edge. She becomes angry, defensive, bitter… vengeful. She does not realise she has a pivotal role to play in the future of mankind. The person I would like to play her is Rooney Mara.

rooney-mara-69th-annual-golden-globe-awards-01

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Eve took a bite from the apple, chaos ensued… heaven retreated.

6. What is the longer synopsis of your book?

Is social media the catalyst for the end of the world as we know it? How far can reality TV go? And how does the Internet become a saviour for millions?

As global economies teeter on the brink of collapse, Ed Harvey is a young man with a prophecy. He enters a talent competition and goes on to become the world’s No1 Superstar. But can he secure a future for everyone he loves… or will it be yet another false hope?

Adam, Eve and Methuselah lived for hundreds of years… lost for centuries… the secret of their longevity is revealed to the king of TV, superstar manager Kaine Young. A MIRACLE? Billionaires and Hollywood’s elite flock to a chain of uber luxurious ‘Global Superspas’ to find out.

But when Kaine discovers an opportunity for TVs Ultimate Show ‘Superstar Resurrection’ and exhumes the dead famous. Is it a camera close-up too far, or a comeback like no other? Who would you vote for…?

7. Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Self Published at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Superstar-including-Superspa-Resurrection-ebook/dp/B008HSR6HW or

http://www.amazon.com/Superstar-including-Superspa-Resurrection-ebook/dp/B008HSR6HW

8. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Fifteen months. The original script was almost one hundred thousand words long. I edited it down to just over seventy thousand before sending it for further editing and proofreading by a well respected writer from the sfep website.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My dream, the bible, celebrity lifestyles, TV reality shows and inequality.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think the book has relevance in today’s society where the rich are getting richer, as the poor are left to flounder. Ok, the secret of eternal youth has not been discovered, but the source of how it is achieved (in the book) not only links up with modern day science but also the creation of mankind. The book also has an important message, for despite our differences; we are all the same and should unite together as one, accepting each other for what we are, not judge, hate or kill… but support, love and care.

Now it is my turn to pass the baton to next week’s talented guest writers:

Sharon Stevenson, is the author of the modern fantasy Gallows Novels, her blog is at http://sharonstevenson.moonfruit.com/ Take a look for more info about her ‘Scottish kick ass’ action packed books Blood Bound and Demon Divided and also read her latest book reviews. You can follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chettsgenie
Riley Banks is the alter ego of journalist and author, Rebecca Byfield. As Riley, she has written the unputdownable erotic thriller, The William S Club, while as Rebecca, she weaves history and fiction in The Vampire Origins. Through her blog http://www.rileybanks.net/rileys-blog.html she shares her journey as an Indie writer and also reviews. Her twitter address is https://www.twitter.com/rileybanksbooks
I am really looking forward to hearing what they have to say on the 9th in the next instalment of The Next Big Thing . . .

A bit about me…

Apparently, I was nearly born in the car on the way to the hospital.

‘Always in a rush!’ my mum would say.

I guess she is right, I’ve always been dashing to get somewhere, anywhere. I am rarely late, always striving to make something of myself, hoping everything will turn out right. Some things have, others fizzled ‘n spluttered, a few turned into a nightmare. I think if there is a lesson to be learnt, it is to take time to enjoy the small things along the way.

Last year I did something I had always imagined doing, but never thought possible. I finished writing a book. Even better, I have another on the way. Contrary to my usual mantra, both took me a long time to write. Often working until midnight, more often way after – I should now apologise to my employers, who put up with a lacklustre, sometimes grumpy worker first thing in morning, especially before his coffee. One morning after a nightmare tube journey, no time to zoom into Prets then finding the kettle broken, I almost made a cappuccino from the steam coming out of my ears!

gsblue

All I can say is the book is me because I put all of me into it and I switch between feelings of ridiculous elation to plunging insecurity about it. I have only recently set up this account because I was invited to do the Next Big Thing Blog Hop by the lovely Rebecca Munro.  Here is hers from last week http://justagirldancingwithearth.wordpress.com/

Mine will be tomorrow.

Happy New Year!