Tag Archives: Shani Struthers

EVE by SHANI STRUTHERS

Shani PicI’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers back to my blog today.
Shani writes fantastically readable supernatural mysteries. Her brand new novel EVE: A CHRISTMAS STORY  is a stand-alone prequel to her Psychic Surveys series that begins with The Haunting of Highdown Hall. I also recommend her novel, Jessamine, a powerful romantic and supernatural tale.

 

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launches on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.

In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…

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Blurb

What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…

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Excerpt

As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone – something – was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide’s house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her.

Theo’s eyes widened. “Oh darling, darling,” she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide’s ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she?

She inched closer still. “Darling, your name, tell me what it is.”

The little girl’s arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.

“It’s short for Theodora. I bet you’re called something pretty.”

The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material – linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too – lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she’d stepped out of an old photograph.

“I’m here now, sweetheart, I’ve come to help. You’ve been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile.”

Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.

“Let me help you,” Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully.

She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.

Harriet – the name presented itself whole in her mind.

“Your name’s Harriet. Is that correct? It’s lovely, it suits you.”

Was that a smile on the child’s lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she’d be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?

“Darling, I’m here,” she repeated, no more than a foot between them. “I’m here.”

Joy surged – one spirit had come forward – it was an encouraging start.

Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour – fetid almost – rose up, making her feel nauseous.

“Don’t be afraid,” Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word – terror.

“I’m not here to harm you,” she continued. “I’m here to help.”

As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them – disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.

“No!” Theo shouted. “Stop it. Leave her alone!”

But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She’d been torn away, recaptured; the one who’d dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she’d piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl’s eyes – her sweet, brown, trusting eyes – when the expression changed in them they hadn’t been looking at her, they’d been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn’t be certain. She wasn’t certain either if that ‘thing’ was a spirit or much less than that – something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.

 Eve

UK http://tinyurl.com/nmnajss

US http://tinyurl.com/pe5f6db

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Author Bio

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.

Catch up with Shani via her website http://www.shanistruthers.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

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Shani Struthers: Rise To Me

shanis books
Blurb for ‘Rise To Me’
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“This isn’t a ghost we’re dealing with. If only it were that simple…”

Eighteen years ago, when psychic Ruby Davis was a child, her mother – also a psychic – suffered a nervous breakdown. Ruby was never told why. “It won’t help you to know,” the only answer ever given. Fast forward to the present and Ruby is earning a living from her gift, running a high street consultancy – Psychic Surveys – specialising in domestic spiritual clearance.

Boasting a strong track record, business is booming. Dealing with spirits has become routine but there is more to the paranormal than even Ruby can imagine. Someone – something – stalks her, terrifying but also strangely familiar. Hiding in the shadows, it is fast becoming bolder and the only way to fight it is for the past to be revealed – no matter what the danger.

When you can see the light, you can see the darkness too.

And sometimes the darkness can see you.

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I’m thrilled to be able to host fellow Crooked Cat author, Shani Struthers, on my blog today. She’s a best-selling author with a number of books to her name, including ‘Jessamine‘ and two books in the Psychic Surveys Series – paranormal mysteries that are capturing the imaginations of readers. These intriguing and exciting novels are set in our everyday world, populated characters we can all identify with, such as Ruby and Sarah; but Ruby has a gift which she wants to use to help others and this leads her into places she might regret exploring. I’ll hand over to Shani now, who has also kindly allowed me to publish below a free excerpt from ‘Rise To Me’.

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In Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, we return to the past. Ruby’s mother, Jessica, also a psychic, had a breakdown when Ruby was seven – ‘I’ve seen the face of evil,’ she said, ‘and it’s real.’ Brought up by her grandmother, Sarah, Ruby has been taught to walk in the light, to believe in the light, that the light will keep her safe. And that’s exactly what she’s done ever since she can remember. But a recent encounter changes all that. A memory from childhood, of what Ruby has seen also, starts to surface, that memory rekindled by a Psychic Surveys client and what it is he’s experiencing. Strange things start to happen, things she can’t explain. Her trust in everything and everyone around her is eroding. Even a day out at the beach turns into something deadly…

 ExcerptRise to Me 4

Swimming. Ruby was not a fan – never had been, never would be. She was a terra firma kind of girl but Cash had taken her by the hand and was pulling her forwards towards the less than blue sea. It was more of a green colour, murky, like a swamp she thought, not welcoming at all. On the contrary. It was distinctly unwelcoming.

She started to hesitate.

“Cash… I…”

“Come on,” he cajoled, clearly determined. “I’ll look after you.”

Again she had that sense she’d spoil everyone’s fun if she didn’t comply. She should just lighten up. Go with the flow.

The day might have been hot but the Atlantic Ocean was cold, bitterly so, causing her to catch her breath. Not that it deterred those around her. People were swimming, splashing and shouting at each other, so much so, the noise was deafening, immediately making her head ache. Someone splashed her, cold droplets like sharp needles against her skin and she felt a flash of rage, felt like shouting too, like cursing, screaming and lashing out.

Ruby! This is supposed to be fun!

But she couldn’t deny it; she’d had more fun at the dentist.

Cash had briefly left her at the shore’s edge and swum several strokes but now he’d returned.

“Come on,” he called. “The water’s lovely.”

“It’s not, it’s horrid. I’m going back.”

Rising out of the water, he grabbed hold of her wrists.

“Come on,” he repeated. “Come a bit further out.”

“Cash, don’t,” she said being pulled forwards.

The water, it wasn’t just cold, it had a slimy quality to it, as though it were filthy. It was filthy. Why hadn’t he noticed? Why hadn’t anyone noticed? Mothers, fathers, children, teenagers, how could they possibly want to splash about in this… this cesspit?

“Let me go,” she pleaded but he wasn’t listening to her – he was too caught up in the moment. Worse than that – he was laughing.

“Cash, I’m not joking.”

“Come on, babe, remember what I said earlier.”

Babe? His use of the word infuriated her more. She wasn’t anyone’s babe.

“Cash!”

She yelled his name at him but as she did so, the ground beneath her shifted suddenly, gave way. She plunged downwards, into the sea, her whole body immersed, her head too. Salt water rushed into her mouth and the taste was acrid. She started coughing, gagging, a reflex action but it only made things worse. She took in even more water. It was filling her lungs, drowning her. Where was Cash? Where the bloody hell was he? And how could she be falling so deep? She’d only walked out a few feet, but she was definitely sinking – as though she were an anchor, able to penetrate the sands below.

Cash! Please!

Despite her eyes stinging so badly, she forced them open, saw what she thought was a patch of sunlight. Relief cutting through the horror, she started swimming towards it. She’d break the surface soon. She’d get away from here, far, far away. Just as she was making headway, hands grabbed at her ankles and started pulling her down again. Cash, what the fuck…? Surely he hadn’t meant this when he said what they could get up to underwater. He wanted to kill her? Hands reached up further. Large hands. Cold hands. Much colder than the water. And their grip. It was like being caught in a vice – impossible to shake off. It had to be Cash. Who else could it be? He was trying to drown her! But why? Why, why, why? With all the strength she could muster, she continued thrashing, with her arms at least; screaming, unable to stop; swallowing more and more water, choking on it. Her mind became dark around the edges… hazy. It seemed ludicrous you could die surrounded by so many people, that not one person amongst so many would notice, wouldn’t respond. But no one did. Above her, where the light seemed to hover, so near and yet so far, everyone continued having fun – oblivious to her plight, her confusion, her sheer desperation. She was going to be killed. Her boyfriend was going to kill her. And still laughter rang out. Incessant laughter. Mocking laughter, as though the crowd were glad she was suffering so much. As though Cash was playing to the gallery, delighting them with his vile antics. He had duped her: lured her in; whispered words of love he didn’t mean. Hatred… she was burning with it.

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Links:

Rise To Me

UK http://tinyurl.com/n9q352z

US http://tinyurl.com/nzjz62x

highdown

The Haunting of Highdown Hall

UK http://tinyurl.com/lak4ub2

US http://tinyurl.com/l29wj78

 

shaniAuthor Links:

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

TSU https://www.tsu.co/shanistruthers

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Jessamine: a sneak peek

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Here is an exclusive and  tantalising extract from ‘Jessamine’ by Shani Struthers – a  gothic romance of the highest calibre: a ‘Wuthering Heights’ for the modern day. Click on a cover image to purchase this brilliant novel.

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The mist seemed to be getting heavier. She felt as though she was in another land entirely, a kingdom of clouds. The loch – where was it? Should she turn left now, off the path and towards it? Surely she hadn’t overshot the mark? Whilst she was contemplating, she heard voices – people shouting, two or three of them, in the distance but not too far.

Jessamin stood absolutely still, barely breathed. Were they in trouble – tourists perhaps who had lost their way? What was the best thing to do? Try and reach them or double back, raise the alarm and get help? Maccaillin had warned her about the dangers of hill walking in the highlands, how quickly the weather could turn, how easy it was to become disorientated. Perhaps that’s what had happened to them.

The shouting stopped. Had she imagined it? Surely walkers wouldn’t be out at this hour? She lifted one hand up to her temple. Her head throbbed, felt clammy despite the cold. Thinking it wise to turn back after all, she was stopped in her tracks again. There was shouting! She hadn’t been mistaken. It was coming from just beyond, distressed sounds and most definitely human, not the sound of sheep distorted.

Jessamin called out. “Hello! Who’s there? Can I help?”

As she drew nearer she could just make out the loch. It looked stagnant somehow, surreal, not welcoming at all.

“Hello,” she tried again. There had been no response the first time.

The shouting ceased. It seemed to be coming in such random bursts. But surely if she could hear them, they’d be able to hear her? If so, why weren’t they shouting back? Letting her know their exact whereabouts?

Continuing to move forwards, carefully so, the last thing she wanted to do was trip again, the silence continued. Perhaps she’d been mistaken. When she’d fallen, she had only grazed her hands, she hadn’t hit her head – she wasn’t confused although she did feel slightly dizzy. She’d call out once more, wait for a few minutes, then go back, report what she’d heard and leave it to those more skilled than her to deal with it.

Pleased with her plan, she put it into action. No reply. She waited. Even the sheep quietened down as if they were colluding with her, listening too.

She was about to turn away when a figure on the far shore caught her eye. Squinting, she realised there was not just one figure there were two and then a third. They were nothing more than shapes in the mist not looking at her but at each other.

“Hello!” She all but screamed at them this time. Her hands raised, she also started jumping up and down on the spot and waving furiously as she did so.

There was no way they wouldn’t be able to see her, they weren’t that far away. One of the figures appeared to be lying between the other two – had that person fallen and hurt him or herself? Certainly something was going on. Although they were no longer shouting, they were talking heatedly, a dark, accusatory tone to their exchange that sent shivers racing up her spine. All her screaming had made her throat sore, then the coughing started up again, a loud, retching sound; she was making a racket. But still they refused to acknowledge her. She couldn’t cross the loch and the mist was too dense to allow her to circumnavigate it. She’d get herself to Comraich. Face Maccaillin. He’d know what to do.

Backing away, Jessamin spied a fourth figure – looming over the three figures in front of him, staring at them, his hands wide as if in supplication.

“Hello!” she tried one last time.

To her astonishment, the fourth figure lowered his hands and turned towards her, albeit maddeningly slowly. Nonetheless, she was hopeful again and resumed waving.

“I’m going to go and get help. Stay where you are. I won’t be long.”

Instead of acknowledging her, the figure continued to stare. Strangely, she could make out nothing about him at all. He was more of an outline than anything else but she had the distinct feeling he was male – anger, shock and confusion rolling off him and towards her. Despite not being able to distinguish his features, she felt his eyes lock onto hers, bore into her. Searching deep within but searching for what, she didn’t know.

Instinctively, she began to back away from the loch, glad now that they were on the other side; that they too would have trouble reaching her. Wouldn’t they? Panic flared. What if they were local, if they knew the landscape well, if they rushed as one entity towards her? Suddenly she realised she didn’t want to see them, she didn’t!

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Shani Struthers: we need to talk about ‘Jessamine’.

10250224_627368490715417_4618049168164641621_nI’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers to my blog. Her brilliant new novel ‘Jessamine’ is now out. It’s a supernatural romance, full of intrigue and mystery. There’s an interview below, and please click on the cover images and links at the end for more details.

Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, Shani (pronounced Shay-nee) enjoys reading, writing, eating and drinking – all four of these hobbies keep her pretty busy. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes crafting novels too. She is the author of contemporary Cornish romance – The Runaway Year – published in 2013 by Omnific Publishing and paranormal mystery – Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall – published by Crooked Cat in April 2014. All events depicted in the latter are fictitious … almost.

 

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Interview:

What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

‘Jessamine’ is primarily the story of love, loss and acceptance, told from a subtly supernatural angle. Yep, it has ghosts in it, I just can’t help myself! But it’s not just actual ghosts we’re talking about, it’s metaphorical ghosts too, ghosts from the past, which haunt us, or perhaps we haunt them. Perhaps we cling to them, keep them alive somehow, when actually they’d prefer if we let them go. That may sound a bit airy-fairy, but ‘Jessamine’ is a very human tale about coming to terms with loss.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

There are four main characters – Jessamin Wade (note there’s no ‘e’ on the end, it is not a spelling mistake!), whose husband is dead, a death she feels wholly responsible for. There’s also Fionnlagh Maccaillin, who has returned to the village of Glenelk, in the Scottish Highlands – where the book is set – after fifteen years in the army, bearing scars that are obvious and not so obvious. Stan is his grandfather, who has also suffered a recent loss, the death of his beloved wife, Beth and last, but by no means least, there’s Maggie, who runs the village store, an enigmatic character with an ability to ‘catch’ thoughts.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

Having spent time on the west coast of Scotland, a mysterious place if ever there was one, I knew I wanted to set a novel there. Glenelk is based on the village Glenelg, which overlooks the Isle of Skye. Spectacularly beautiful, it has a haunting quality to it but a healing one too, it’s possible to feel a lot closer to something more ‘spiritual’ when out in the wilds as opposed to being surrounded by neon. These four characters need to ‘heal’ because of recent events and events in the past but first they have to find a way to ‘let go’ before moving on.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

When I sit down to write a novel, I start off with a theme usually, a title and a rough idea of how the first three chapters should be. I don’t bother to outline a novel beforehand, I find that as I write they tend to take on a life of their own and the best thing to do is just go with it – connect to the flow and let it write itself! So, in a way it’s a simple process, although there’s nothing simple about being immersed in a fictional world whilst trying to live in the real one!

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Don’t think too hard, don’t worry about spelling mistakes, grammar, how rough or disjointed it is, just sit down, write the story in your head and try and write it as quickly as possible to keep the flow. After that, you can go back and ‘sculpt’ it to your hearts content. Once ‘sculpted’, give it to a few carefully selected test-readers, get their feedback, ‘sculpt’ it once more and then find an editor to knock it into the best shape possible.

What are you working on currently?

I’m finishing up the final book in the Runaway series, my contemporary romance trio and then, from 2015, it’s paranormal all the way! As well as writing Book 3 of the Psychic Surveys series (Book 2 has just been accepted by Crooked Cat Books), I plan to do a few dark spin-offs from the series, concentrating on single case studies and making them very dark indeed! I’ve also got a reincarnation thriller I’m working on, so very busy times.

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What would your perfect day be?

I have two kinds of perfect day – one is sitting down and working on a novel, the other is a big family day out, perhaps in London or simply down at the beach, weather pending!

Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

There are lots of books/films that mean a lot to me, I could write an entire blog post just about that. But one of the most touching books/films I’ve ever read/seen is ‘What Dreams May Come’. The book is by Richard Matheson, the film stars the late, great Robin Williams. Similar to ‘Jessamine’, love, loss and acceptance are themes but Chris Nielsen, the protagonist, goes one step further, he goes to the ‘other side’ to find his wife, who has committed suicide, to save her, to bring her back from an eternal nothingness. A story of life and the life-after. It’ll make you cry!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Have fun and plenty of it! At the end it’ll be great to think ‘Wow, what a ride!’ before heading into the great wild yonder and the next adventure!

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Links:

Shani’s Website

Shani’s blog

Crooked Cat Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon US