Sunday, 29 December 2013

Diary of an aspiring writer – 2013 in review

Having spent my Saturday reading the year in review in The Times I decided it might be interesting to do something similar and see how far, or not, my writing has come this year.

I started the year promising to write a story each week and post it on my blog. This was taken on whilst at the same time completing an Open University Creative Writing course and submitting a monthly story to my writing group. Now this might sound a hard task and ridiculous to try to do whilst holding down a full time job. However the Creative Writing course and my writing group counted for well over fifty percent of my weekly stories so for the first few months all was good.

I passed my course with a reasonable grade and every so often looked at my labour of love, last year’s NaNoWriMo winner ‘Stripper of the Yard’. I decide it needed editing.

At first this comprised of correcting the spelling and the grammar and I never really engaged with the process. Then I read the most wonderful book – Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. This book completely opened my eyes to what editing was about and I realised that producing a story a week was actually not helping my writing.

Next, the thought of publishing. I knew I didn’t have any money but I had heard so much talk about Kindle Direct Publishing I decided to give it a go. I collected together eight short stories, designed my own book cover and posted it on Kindle. It took an afternoon and the full account of my trials and tribulations are on my blog.

So The Feeling Shows can be downloaded from Amazon UK and Amazon US as well as all the other regions.

I couldn’t believe it was so easy and resolved to publish my own novel this way. However I needed to get my novel to a good enough standard and that was when I discovered Scripophile.

The year ended on a high when I again won NaNoWriMo. This was in no sort measure thanks to the support of the Kent group who helped keep me motivated and pushing forward. I definitely had second book syndrome and I know it’s not as good as the first but I have 50,000 words on paper and they are waiting to be turned into something much better.

So what of 2014?

Here’s my (wish) list:-

1.      Enter Richard and Judy’s search for a bestseller

2.      Finish ‘Stripper of the yard’

3.      Look for an agent

4.      Look for a publisher

5.      If  3 & 4 don’t happen, self publish ‘Stripper’

6.      Enter a competition a month

7.      Always look to improve

Well that’s me for 2013 and looking forward to 2014.

What’s on your to do list?

I would love to know how you got on in 2013 and what 2014 is going to mean for you.



Saturday, 14 December 2013

Under the gun

She studied her feet and could see his, almost touching her’s. He was that close.

‘You think that was good enough? You think that was good enough?’ He snarled.

She didn’t look up, didn’t dare. She knew it hadn’t been good enough and she knew how angry it made him when she didn’t try. He placed two fingers under her chin and lifted her face. She looked in his eyes and could see his disappointment.

‘Get back down there,’ he jerked his head behind her to indicate where she needed to move to. She turned and walked in the direction. She walked purposely, not too slow but not too fast. She needed to gather her thoughts. Eventually she stopped and turned to face him. She couldn’t see his face in detail but she knew the scowl he would be wearing, she had seen it enough times. The scowl he had worn before, but this time it was different, this time he knew she had let herself, and him, down. She crouched down and watched as he raised the gun.

She saw the smoke before she heard the sound and she was off. Racing towards him for all she was worth. Pounding along the ground, racing, and covering the ground like a cougar. Breathing in all the right places not stopping to think just doing what was instinctive.

She screeched to a halt meters past him and turned to see his face. He head was bent, looking at his hand. He raised his head and lifted his hand so she could see the contents. A small silver stop watch. The hands stopped at exactly 11 seconds. He opened his arms and she ran to him. He picked her up and swung her round.

‘I knew you could do it.’ He said as he put her down. ‘We’re going to the Olympics and you my sweetheart are going to win the 100 metres.’

‘Oh Dad I knew we could do it.’ She said smiling and hugging him.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Key

David sat in First Class his eyes darting around. He knew the twins were on the train but that they wouldn't do anything until it arrived in London. At High Wycombe he toyed with the idea of jumping off the train at the last minute but he knew one of them would just wait for him and the other would have a head start that would be impossible to assail. He looked at the text message 'I'll be waiting by the tube entrance in a light green top'. He hoped he could trust her, but using total strangers seemed to be the only way the twins and their network could be beaten. It had been five years and they were still very much at the top of their game. Could this year be David's year?

As the train pulled into the station he hung out of the window and pulled the handle to release the door. The train was still slowing as he jumped, stumbled and then started to run. As he got to the end of the platform he nervously glanced behind, vaulted the turnstile and continued to run.

There were shouts from the platform attendants and Clare noticed the two men chasing him from the train. They were tall and wearing badly cut business suits. They looked like twins but then don't all city slickers these days? It was however less usual to see two of them chasing a third through Marylebone Station on a busy Monday morning. The first man passed by, stopped at the left luggage lockers and pushed a carrier bag into one of the lockers before rushing on. Suddenly a transport policeman appeared from nowhere and tried to block David's way. He stopped and started looking around him; he spotted Clare and rushed back to her. He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her passionately. He forced her mouth open with his tongue and the kiss lingered for longer than was probably safe for him. Suddenly there was shouting and they were bustled, the policeman grabbed David pulling him away. The man looked relived as the two pursuers were still struggling to get through the turnstiles and he was now safely in the arms of the law. The two chaser ran passed Clare but when the saw their prey they slowed down, looked at the ground, then at each other and slunk down into the underground station.

Clare carefully held her handkerchief to her mouth and spat out the small key. She hoped he wasnt in too much trouble, but for now she had the key and the next task was hers to complete.

She rushed out of Marylebone station down towards Baker Street. She knew at rush hour this would be quicker than trying to get on a tube train at Marylebone. Once she got there she bought her day travel card and quickly rushed through the turnstiles heading for the escalators, faltering only slightly, her fear of escalators holding her back for a second, her excitement of the task in hand pushing her forward. Once she was down on the platform she jumped onto the first south bound jubilee line train and pushed her way to the only available seat. She knew once they found out David no longer had the key they would make the connection and be after her quickly. Hopefully the fact he was now in police custody would slow down the twins finding anything out, but you never knew. From what she had heard they had connections in some strange places. She looked around and tried to see if there was anyone she recognised or anyone who looked out of place. The main give away would be someone looking at her, no-one made eye contact on the tube, especially not at this time of day when the only travellers were commuters. At Green Park she waited until the very last minute and jumped from the train just as the doors were closing. She rushed to pick up the Victoria line train down to Stockwell and then took the Northern line to London Bridge. At London Bridge she jumped back onto the Jubilee line and headed out to North Greenwich. She knew that all this zigzagging was slowing her down but she had more than enough time and she needed to ensure they were not following her.  Positive she was in the clear she exited the North Greenwich tube station and started walking over towards the Emirates Airline, the new range of cable cars that had been built especially for the London Olympics. This was the one place she was vulnerable. She was out in the open and she had a five minute walk to get to the cable car where they could easily see her.

She stopped in Costa and ordered a cappuccino. As she considered her next course of action, out of the window she saw one of the twins talking to a tall blonde woman. The woman was wearing an Emirates uniform and must have worked at the ticket booth, where Claire would need to go if she were to make it across. The twin wasn't looking at her and had probably not yet worked out that she had the key. Clare could just make out that he was showing the woman a photo on his mobile phone that must have been David. Just then he lifted the phone to his ear, the look on his face made it clear things had changed. He suddenly started shouting down the phone. With any luck they had not yet realised that she had been passed the key but she couldn't to be sure. She left her coffee on the table and headed towards the bathroom, just as the twin and his female companion walked in and sat down.

'We'll have to wait for the photo to come through,' the tall man muttered to his companion.

'How can we be sure that it will be correct?' The elegant woman asked.

'We have the technology to compare all his known associates with all the people in that station. It won't take long and we still have another two hours until the deadline.'

As Clare emerged from the toilet wearing sunglasses and a long floral scarf wrapped over her head, looking strangely conspicuous in her attempt to look inconspicuous, the twin's phone bleeped and both he and his partner stared intently at the screen.

'What do you mean they can't find her in the database?' he shouted into the mouth piece

'Calm down Johnny,' she gently placed a hand on his arm. 'We know what she looks like and I can keep an eye out at the ticket booth. Let's get over there now.'

Clare started to run as soon as she was out of sight of the Costa. As she approached the cable car she was relieved to see a large American lady and her tiny husband arguing with the ticket attendant. Clare rushed over to the self-service machine and purchased her one way ticket. She rushed up the stairs and jumped into the first car that came round. The couple already seated looked at her with disgust but she just waved her ticket at them, 'Spot check to ensure the booths are clean.' She quickly sat down and tried to ensure the couple were between her and any spying eyes that might be looking from the viewing platform.

Ten nervous minutes later she was off the cable car, rushing to get on the DLR and trying to remember the quickest way back to Monument. She carefully placed the cable car ticket in the see through plastic document wallet she had on a lanyard around her neck and settled down to wait for the train to trundle back into central London.

Once she arrived at the bottom of monument she couldn't believe the queue. It was 11am and she only had one hour left to finish her task. She rushed to the front of the queue but there was no way anyone was going to let her push in, no matter how French she tried to look. Just then a family came down the stairs and started to exit.

'Would you like your certificates?' The attendant asked.

'Oh yes please.' the mother of the group said, wanting the family to have something to remember their trip by.

'Oh Mum do we have to? I need to sit down,' A large red faced boy had obviously not enjoyed the walk up all 311 steps to the top of Monument.

'You can take them and fill them out at your leisure.'

The family filed out each taking a certificate as they went. Clare smiled and followed them. At the first cafe they passed the large boy, whose name appeared to be Simon, complained to such an extent that his mum gave in and took them inside for a sit down and a drink. Clare went inside and managed to grab the next table along, nearest to Simon.

'Pssst,' Clare tried to attract Simon's attention.

He turned and looked at her, opening his mouth to call his mother.

'Shush and you could make a tenner.' Clare said

 He raised his eyebrows.

'I need your certificate.'

'What certificate?'

The one you just got from Monument.'


'I just do and if you give it to me I will give you a tenner.'


'No ten.'

'No then.' He turned his back to her.

'Fine twenty.'

As his mother returned Simon was stuffing something into his pocket and the door was swinging shut behind Clare as she rushed out.

She started heading back towards the tube station and just in time spotted one of the twins queuing at the bottom of Monument. She darted in the opposite direction and headed over to Canon Street to avoid being spotted. She carefully placed the certificate in the clear plastic wallet and breathed a sigh of relief.


There was a long line of people standing facing the luggage lockers when the policeman walked David back into the station. He sheepishly stood there as the twins and five other couples all stood in a row.

'Right now David is here we can begin,' said a woman dressed in bright flowery clothes who sounded a little too jolly to face people who had been madly running over London for the last three hours.

She turned and faced a camera, 'So the final challenge is this years' scavenger hunt has now been completed and we shall see which team have won. As usual the items have to be inside the teams nominated locker before noon and we will now open them and check the details.'

'Kevin and Debbie are currently in last place so let's check their locker first.' The presenter took the key from them and opened the locker. She then took a ridiculous amount of time removing the items and displaying them for the camera. First a ticket to Blenheim Palace and a bookmark bearing the famous house's logo from the well-stocked gift shop, then an bus ticket to Thame, a train ticket from Thame to London, an all-day tube ticket and a ticket for the Emirates Airline. She then dramatically searched the locker and turned to face the camera with a look of sad disappointment.

'Well Kevin, Debbie not everything but that still gives you a good standing so far.'

'Thanks Kelly,' said Kevin. 'Unfortunately we just ran out of time.'

The theatrics were continued as each locker was opened and none of the other couples had the final item on the list.

'Finally we come to David and the Butler twins. Johnny, Steve, shall we start with you first?'

'Why not?' said Johnny smiling smugly.

'Now as we know,' Kelly addressed the camera head on, 'David and the Butler twins were neck and neck on the challenge after the last checkpoint. We have never had a tie break ...'

'I don't think we will this time,' interrupted Johnny

Kelly opened the locker and showed its contents to the camera.

'We're still missing that final item so if David has all items on the list he is the winner. If not the title goes to the twins for the sixth year running. David you key please.'

David looked at the policeman who had him in handcuffs and smiled. The policeman slowly undid one of the cuffs whilst David looked at all the faces in the crowd. David couldn't see her, he was done for. He started patting his pockets to try and waste some time.

'Come on David, no key, no win,' Kelly said.

Suddenly the crowds started to part and Clare pushed her way through. She deftly vaulted the barrier set up to keep the crowds back and rushed towards David. Steve Butler grabbed hold of her as she rushed passed him and wrestled her to the floor, but not before she had time to hurl something small and silver into the air. Whilst everyone was staring at the small woman on the floor being forcibly pinned down by the six feet tall twin, not the best image for a previous winner to display, David managed to step on the key were it had fallen. In the commotion as Clare was being dragged away he quickly bent down and popped it into his pocket.

'Right David, your key please,' Kelly said

David again felt through all his pockets before finally producing the key out of his back one.

'Let's see how you got on. First a ticket to Blenheim Palace and a bookmark bearing the famous house's logo from the well-stocked gift shop, then an bus ticket to Thame, a train ticket from Thame to London, an all-day tube ticket, a ticket for the Emirates Airline. Looks like it's a tie.'

The twins couldn't believe how David had done this, but the rules stated that if there was a tie and the previous years' winners were involved then the trophy stayed with them. A silly grin was just starting to appear on their faces when...

'Wait a minute, what's this,' the presenter turned to the camera and slowly lifted a role of paper from David's locker. 'I do believe it's a certificate to say you climbed to the top of Monument. Well done David, I don't know how you did it but you're this year's winner.'

David looked over at the Butler twins and smiled. The look of astonishment on their faces was worth more that the five thousand pound prize and the television exposure put together. As he stood in front of the cameras to accept his prize he saw Clare in the background, waving as she went through the turnstiles to catch her train home. Once on board she could count the two thousand pounds David had left in the locker for her to collect as she put the last three items needed for the scavenger hunt inside.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

NaNo – Tougher that last year?

So finally I have finished. The novel is complete and 50,650 words have been written in the last 24 days. I am very happy that I am a NaNo winner for the second year in succession but why was it so much harder this year?

Was it because last year’s story had been circling round in my brain for many years and this year’s story had only been there a few months?

Was it because I planned less?

Was it because the story is not as good?

Was it because I am a better writer now and writing without editing as you go feels strange?

I think it is probably a little of all of these. This year definitely felt like running through treacle at points and I had to force myself to sit down and write. Last year I couldn’t wait to write and would pick up my laptop at every opportunity to get on with my story.

I thought I must be miles behind this year even though my word count was above average but when I checked last year’s daily word count it was almost identical to this year’s.

To all of you that have started NaNo this year I take my hat off to you. Every word written is one that probably wouldn’t have existed without NaNo. The support on facebook and through the NaNo site is amazing and the write ins sound great even though I have yet to pluck up the courage and attend one.

The next step is to edit. I am still editing last year’s novel but this time I won’t leave it so long. As soon as 2012’s NaNo is ready to go out into the world to find a publisher I am starting editing 2013’s NaNo. I think it will need a lot more work but who knows, once I read it in the cold light of day there may be more to it that meets the eye at the moment.

Am I glad it’s over? Yes. Now I can get on with the writing I do the rest of the year.

Am I glad I did it? Yes. Even if only half the words I have written are usable I am well on my way to my second novel being completed.

Would I do it again? You betcha, Putting myself through this pain and agony each year shows me what is needed to turn writing into a career and not just a hobby.

So for now it’s goodbye but watch out. I’ll be back.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

NaNoWriMo teaches showing not telling

I am sure we are all aware of NaNoWriMo by now but if not I wrote about it in a recent blog that you can check out here.

There are many ways which people use to try and hit the 50,000 words needed to be a winner. Some do not use any constrictions which can lead to some rather stilted dialogue. Others insist on putting every characters full name each time they speak which makes no odds if you character is called Cher or Madonna but can significantly increase your word count if you are including Sir Major General Albert Santos Di Caprio. Others insist that you should never delete anything instead just scoring through and rewriting which in a way gives you double word count.

I personally want to hit the word count with something that faintly resembles a first draft and whilst I will not be adverse to changes all my don’ts to do nots if the need arises I am currently trying not to.

So how to hit a massive word count and retain something useable. Well the first rule of writing is always ‘show don’t tell’ and with my short stories I have sometimes been accused of rushing to a conclusion that could hold the reader’s attention for longer. So in the effort to attain greater word count and more showing less telling I have gone from writing this:

Abby’s mum had a stroke

To writing this:

As she sat down at the kitchen table she noticed the shopping list notepad had vanished.

‘Mum have you moved the notepad?’ Abby called into the other room.

‘Yes it’s in the top draw same as always.’

‘Did you look at it?’

No response

‘Mum I said did you look at it?’

Still no response. Abby hated it when she went into one of her sulks and was determined not to stand for it. She stomped into the lounge. As she walked through the doorway and was about to let rip she noticed her mum’s hand dangling over the side of the armchair.

‘Mum, mum are you okay?’ She rushed to the front of the chair. Her mum had a lopsided grin on her face and dribble coming out of the corner of her mouth. ‘Don’t worry mum it’s gonna be okay.’ Abby said as she grabbed the telephone and dialled nine nine nine.

And so we move from five words to one hundred and fifty four, a significant dent in my daily total and whilst it’s still just a first draft and not perfect, it holds a lot more meaning than the first sentence.

Thank you NaNoWriMo for helping me to improve my writing.

Have any of your found other ways that NaNo has helped?

Are there other ways your writing has been improved when you didn’t expect it to be?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Beware second hand laptops

'Where is it?' His gruff voice and the gun pointing at my left temple weren't helping my cognitive processes.

'I told you I don't know. Please just let me go and Ill forget all about this. This never happened. You were never here. I was never here.'

'I'm not stoopid. The boss said I wuz to bring it back or not bother comin back.' He started waving the gun around. His mood was definitely not softening.

'But what is it you want exactly?' The only way I was going to get out of this was to confuse him. The problem was if I confused him the wrong way he was liable to just put a bullet in my head.

'The boss said you had it and I had to get it back.'

'He must have given you more details otherwise I can give you anything and then you'll have to face the boss alone. How will you know to let me go?'

'Easy,' he smiled, happy he knew enough to stop me pulling a fast one. The laptop has a special mark on it and once I have checked it I will know I have the right one. Then I can take it and let you go'

How can I trust you to let me go?' Right, now we were getting somewhere, they wanted the laptop.

You cant, he chuckled. Shit I was in deep water.

'Well then we had better go and get the laptop.'

'Ahh so you do know where it is.'

'Now I know you need the laptop of course I know where it is. Youre going to have to untie me and take me with you. I have left it with a friend and she knows to destroy it if I don't come back for it today.'

'So you did know it was important. That will interest the boss.'


I had come across the laptop on eBay the week before. It was an absolute steel, a bargain I couldn't resist. My best friend, Kaye, was an IT consultant and so I knew she could fix any small problems for free.

 It had turned up a few days later and I was amazed by the condition. I switched it on and it fired up immediately with all the usual office suite applications loaded and ready to roll.

I still thought a check out by Kaye might not do it any harm so I popped it round with a bottle of wine the following night.

'So this is your bargain of the century is it?' Kaye took the laptop and the wine off me as soon as she answered the door. She carefully placed the laptop on the coffee table and headed off to open the wine and find some glasses.

'Why do you insist on still buying things from eBay,' she called from the kitchen. 'You've spent more on second hand computers and laptops that a brand new Mac air wouldve cost you.'

'But I can't afford a Mac air and you know it.'

'But you can afford to buy five broken laptops and pc's over the last six months,' she handed me a glass of wine and sat down on the sofa with the laptop in front of her.

'You know I need something that works if I'm to start off my writing career. At least these cheap ones have lasted long enough for me to start my novel.'

'And luckily I introduced you to dropbox before the first one imploded and left the hard drive completely unreadable.' She fired up the laptop and started to run some quick diagnostics. The fire alarm started blipping madly. 'Shit,' she shouted as she jumped up and ran into the kitchen. Two minutes later she re-emerged shaking her head, giggling and waving a pan of burnt pasta in my general direction.

'Well this time its gonna cost you an evening meal and a pint at Weatherspoons,'

'My pleasure.'


As I left Kayes that evening I walked slowly through the back streets towards my flat. It was only ten minutes walk but I felt weird all the way home. As if I was being watched. A couple of times I stopped under a street light and looked around, but there was no one about. It was strange. I am not usually a nervous person.

I got back to my flat and noticed the front door to the house was open. I live in a converted Victorian three story house and mine is one of the two flats on the top floor. It was unusual for the street door to be left open so I walked passed and stopped at the end of the street. I couldnt see anyone else around but a Volvo parked a little way down the street had fogged up windows. A car drove down the street and as its headlights passed the Volvo I noticed a small crack in the drivers side window and what looked like a stream of cigarette smoke drifting up into the early evening fog.

I started to head back to the flat convinced I was being paranoid when the Volvo driver switched on his lights and started his engine. I ducked into next doors front garden just as a large man in a dark suit rushed out of the house. I couldnt see clearly but he had something under his arm. He jumped into the Volvo as it pulled away and zoomed off in the opposite direction to my hiding place.

I waited a good fifteen minutes before slowly rising from behind the wall and entering the house. I tried to listen for any unexpected noises as I slowly ascended the stairs.

Jeanette, I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of another human being, especially one calling my name.

Standing there in the corridor was Mike, the guy who lived in the flat directly under mine. Been having a party?

What? I didnt think I looked that bad but maybe fifteen minutes hiding behind a wall could give you that partied look.

All the banging about upstairs. I was just about to pop up and have a word when it stopped.

I dont know what you mean. Ive been out but I did notice the front door was open.

Oh shit, Jeanette. I best come up with you. Just in case. Mike said.

We headed upstairs; the door to my flat was wide open.

Mike put his hand out to make me wait and headed towards the open door. Five minutes later he reappeared shaking his head. Sorry old girl but it looks like youve been robbed.

I walked up the stairs and stood in the doorway. I couldnt get any further. The living room looked liked a tornado had run through it. The desk draws had been turned out and the books had all been pulled of the bookcases. The cushions on the sofa had been thrown onto the floor and the old wooden arm chair had been upended smashing one of the arms. I stood in the door unable to cross the threshold. Mike put his arm around me and slowly walked me back to his flat for a cup of sweet tea and to await the police.

The police were brilliant and once I checked out my room it turned out all that was missing were two of my broken laptops. I guess that must have been what the thug had under his arm when he left the flat earlier. I dont know why I didnt tell the police about the thug or the Volvo. I knew there was nothing they would be able to do but maybe they had got what they came for. The fact this had all happened just after the latest laptop had arrived and that was safely at Kayes flat didnt occur to me until the next morning.

I had woken early and decided that a trip to the library was in order. The lack of a lock on my front door had led to a restless nights sleep, so as soon as the sunlight started to filter through the curtains I got up, showered and grabbed my notebook. My new novel needed some points researching and without a working computer the library felt like the most logical place to go. Authors must have done this all the time before the invention of the internet. How time consuming.

I pulled the door to and fastened one end of my scarf round the door handle and the other round the old iron radiator in the corridor. It wasnt going to stop another attempt on my meager possessions but it might stop the neighbourhood cat from trying to take up residence. I headed down the stairs, out of the front door, down the path to the front gate and out into the street. That was the last thing I remember before waking up tied to a chair with a thug pointing a gun at me. The lack of bump on the back of my head and a funny tickle in my nose made my think they must have used chloroform or some such thing to get me here, wherever here was. It looked like some kind of warehouse and I was sat on a chair in the centre of a huge empty space. Even if I could get out of the chair I wasnt going to make the door before the thug tackled me or shot me.

I slowly turned my head to see where the thug had gone. He was on the telephone and things didnt seem to be going to plan.

I need you to bring the car back, the thug told his unknown accomplice on the other end of the phone.

Well I can hardly take her on the bus can I? A gun in someones back tends to draw attention on public transport, he waited for an answer.

Ten minutes, dont be any longer.

The thug slowly turned towards me. Right I am going to untie you so no playing silly buggers, all right?

I nodded. I had no idea how I was going to get out of this but surely something would come up, or maybe they would just let me go once the laptop was in their possession. I didnt believe that for a minute but I needed to stay focused and keep looking for a way out.

Just then a car horn sounded outside. The thug untied my hands and pushed me from behind. I rose and started walking towards the door. I felt a nudge in my back from the gun and knew that was the signal for me to open the small door embedded the huge warehouse doors and go through. Once outside the same Volvo was parked with its back door open. I got in and the thug pushed the door shut behind me. The driver had a second gun trained on me whilst the thug came round and got into the front passenger seat.

Now where is it? The thug asked.

My, my friend has it. I prayed I could think of something before getting Kaye involved but I had completely run out of ideas.

I gave the drivers directions taking a few long cuts, hoping they wouldnt notice to try and give me thinking time. After thirty minutes we arrived there was nothing else I could do without them becoming suspicious. The thug pulled me from the back of the car and we quickly headed for the front door. The street was surprisingly quiet for the time of day and gave me no opportunities to raise the alarm.

I rang the bell and could see Kaye approaching through the frosted glass of the front door.

Hi you. Cant you wait for me to fix it? Kaye was talking as she answered the door. Hello, whos your friend?

In, the thug waved the gun at her and she backed up quickly heading towards the lounge.

I am so sorry about this Kaye, I said. This erm gentleman needs the laptop that I gave you yesterday.

Well I am sure he could just have asked. Theres no need to come into someones house waving a gun around is there?

I couldnt believe how cool Kaye was being and I think the thug shrunk back a little, like a bully being caught out by his mum.

I just need the laptop. He said.

Well its there isnt it? Kaye pointed to the coffee table on which lay three laptops.

He looked confused, three laptops.

Lets hope that the special mark is still there or your boss will be disappointed, I giggled nervously buoyed by Kayes bravado.

He walked over to the table and turned the three laptops upside down. He placed the gun on the table and went to get something out of his inside pocket. Just then he saw me look over a Kaye and he grabbed the gun.

First I need to deal with you two,

But you said you would let us go. You promised. How stupid did I sound?

Upstairs, he pointed the gun at us. NOW,

We both rushed out of the lounge and headed up the stairs. At the top of the stairs I thought he smiled to himself just as he pushed us into the spare room.

This is too easy, he said as he slammed the door behind us and quickly turned the key, locking us in. I didnt even need to find a way to secure the door, he chuckled as he headed back down stairs.

What do we do now? I asked Kaye.

Lets just wait here and hope he takes the laptop and goes. We can worry about getting out once we know hes gone.

The pressure of the previous two days dawned on me with Kayes matter of fact comment and I burst into tears. Kaye rushed over and held me.

Shush now sweetie, she held me close as we sat on the edge of the spare bed. Try and stay quiet just until we hear him leave.

A few minutes later the noise of a car engine could be heard and Kaye carefully went over to the window.

What car were they in?

It was a blue Volvo.

Well it looks like its gone. We just need to hang on in here for a while. Dont you worry, helps on its way.

I looked over at Kaye, not understanding what she meant but she just smiled and sat down next to me giving me a hug.


I must have fallen asleep as the clicking of the key in the door woke me. I jumped up and stared at Kaye.

Dont worry its the help I told you about.

Ah, Mrs. Johnson are you okay? A young police officer entered the room and turned to talk to Kaye.

Yes were fine thank you.

Inspector Fraser thanks you for your help. Unfortunately he is interviewing the suspects at the moment so couldnt come himself.

No problems constable. I guess you need my friend to come and make a statement?

Yes please.

Kaye turned to me and seeing the look on my face burst out laughing. I think she needs a good strong cup of tea first and then I will bring her down to the station if that is okay?

No problems. I will head back now and let the Inspector know everythings okay.

Kaye led me down to the kitchen and sat me onto one of the stools next to her kitchen island. I still wasnt sure what was going on and didnt know what to ask. She put a cup of hot sweet tea next to me and as I sipped it she explained everything.

After you left last night I started looking at your laptop and there were some interesting pieces of information on it. I was at college with Inspector Ross Fraser so I gave him a call and he realized it held the information of a big crime ring that had been running in the area. He decided to talk to you this morning but by the time he got to your place you had already been snatched.

But why werent the police waiting here? I couldnt believe she had given me no clue as to what was going on. No wonder she had been so cool.

A couple of officers had been hiding out in the pantry but they needed the thug to lead them to the gangs leader so they were to stay hidden unless it got too dangerous.

But I thought he was going to kill is. Surely thats dangerous enough.

Once there were two of us it was less likely he would kill us. Thats what Ross said anyway. And then they would only have been able to charge the thug with kidnap.


Talking of which we do need to get you down to the police station and make a statement.

Luckily they never need my evidence at the trial. So many other things had come to light that Inspector Fraser said he could spare me the ordeal. The day of the trial I couldnt concentrate all day and I finally breathe a sigh of relief when at the end of the day the radio news said they had all been found guilty.

Kaye came to dinner that evening and brought a gift wrapped box with her.

Its from me and Ross to stop you getting into any more scraps like this, she said as she gave it to me.

I couldnt help but smile when I opened it to reveal a brand new Mac book air. With that and my latest adventure my novel would almost write itself.



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