I took the challenge …

Well, I couldn’t let Harvey Black, http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/#/author/4549541074,  get away with writing romance and not have my turn at writing a bit of war.  He can’t have all the fun!

Harvey had taken the challenge up from author Paul Anthony  http://paulanthonys.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/harvey-black-accepts-challenge_20.html to write in another genre and I have to say, he made a pretty good job at it.

Here’s my stab at writing a bit of war.

A Bird’s Eye View by Sue Fortin

One minute he’s walking in front of me, the next there’s the crack of gunfire and the force of the bullet propels Wilko round, his knees buckle and he hits the ground.

‘Man down!’ I yell. ‘Medic!’  I belly crawl over the stony, yellow dust of the Afghan terrain. Wilko is groaning. That’s good. He’s alive. I roll him over, looking for the blood. The top of his arm took the hit. ‘Medic!’ I shout again as I quickly pull the plastic bag containing the sterile dressing from his pocket. ‘Alright, Wilko, let’s stop that bleeding.’ I peel his fingers from his upper arm and push hard with the compress, my fingers turn red from his blood.

‘You’re a regular Florence Nightingale,’ grimaces Wilko in between muttering obscenities directed at the sniper.

‘Aren’t I just.’ I laugh along, although I don’t find the reference funny at all. Even after taking a bullet he still finds time to take the piss.

Chapman, the medic, has managed to get to us by now. ‘I’ve got it now Birdy,’ he says taking over.

I scan the terrain through the sight of my sharp shooter, trying to channel the adrenalin that is coursing through me. I can feel the sweat beading on my forehead. I sweep the gun from left to right across the area. I don’t like it, we’re too close to the crop field on our left. There’s a compound on the other side of the field, about one hundred metres away.  Something catches my eye on top of the building.

‘Sniper on the roof,’ I shout to our Section Commander.  I make another visual sweep of the compound, but this time I don’t see anything.

More crackling of bullets pierce the air. They’re firing short and the dust scuffs up just metres in front of us. I can see muzzle flashes from the trees ahead. They’ve been waiting for us. Picking their moment.  We return fire. The bullets rattle off as Smithy calls in our position.

‘We need to take the sniper out,’ shouts Lance Corporal Carter. ‘We’ll use the Javelin.’

The shoulder mounted rocket launcher was Wilko’s bit of kit. Without thinking I unstrap the weapon from his day pack.

I don’t miss the look that Wilko and Chapman exchange. They don’t think I’m up to it, that much is obvious. I ignore them and look directly at Carter, our Section Commander. After a moment’s pause, he nods. Yes! I’m given the go ahead.

‘Prepare for rapid fire, fifteen seconds,’ he orders, then turning to me. ‘Ready?’

I nod. I hope my face doesn’t betray the fear I’m feeling but nothing is going to get in my way. This is my chance to prove myself. To finally be accepted.  As I load the Javelin, a movement to the left catches my eye. The crops sway in the breeze. Just my imagination. I turn away back to the task in hand and in a heartbeat I realise my oversight.  Apart from that small section, none of the other crops are moving. There’s no breeze. I drop the Javelin and grab my rifle. Rolling over in the dirt I aim at the field and fire at the exact moment an insurgent erupts from the crops. He didn’t stand a chance. He’s dead before he even hits the ground.

More firing into the crops by the rest of the lads. Everyone is unnerved by this suicidal attack.  Another flurry of fire from the compound and I’m back with the Javelin. The rapid fire clears the way for the rocket launch. I send it on its way.

A direct hit. A small rasp of ‘yes’ sounds out from a few of the lads. Job done.

The smoke screens we let off cover us so we can regroup. It seems the enemy have retreated – for now anyway. Two Section have won their battle today. But what of my personal battle for acceptance and validation?

As we prepare to move out, the lads one by one, pass me and pat me on the back, offering words  like ‘Nice work’ and ‘Well done, Birdy.’

With his good arm, Wilko gives me a gentle punch on the shoulder. ‘Good shot, Birdy. Not bad for a girl.’

I have my validation. I’m accepted.

Love in the Wrong Dimension – Anette Darbyshire

The Blurb

Do ghosts fall in love? Jemma Haley is about to find out…. Love In The Wrong Dimension is a modern romantic ghost story.

Jemma is a trendy young woman enjoying her twenties and partying hard in London’s fashionable Camden Town.

One hung-over morning, she makes a pact with her best friend Alice, setting off a train of events that will ultimately lead to her destiny.

After an untimely accident she wakes and realises her life has changed for ever – she is a ghost…

Terrified, she goes to find Alice in the hope that, using her psychic abilities, her friend can tell her what to do next. Instead of making contact with Alice though, Jemma meets Tom, an attractive but elusive ghost, who tells her that she’s trapped in a dimension for ghosts who weren’t meant to die.

She vows to find a way out, but is torn when she develops feelings for Tom, whose own reasons for being there are darker than she could ever have imagined.

The story is moving, mysterious and romantic and will keep you guessing until the last page.

Might eternal love be possible after all?

My Thoughts

What a lovely ghost story – I really enjoyed this book.

I think I liked it so much because it wasn’t just the story of one person/ghost, Jemma, but it was the story of other ghosts too, how they came to be where they were and what was holding them there – trapped in the wrong dimension.  It was also the story of the living too. The people that were left behind, how they came to terms with what had happened to their loved ones and how they found peace.

I enjoyed the love stories both of the living and the dead and really warmed to the characters.  The story has a good plot and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would end.  I found the writing rolled along in an easy to read style and pulled me effortlessly into the story.

Think I fell a bit in love with Tom but seeing as he’s a ghost I will have to settle for the equally lovely Jack.

Anette can be found on Twitter @AGDarbyshire and Facebook

Anette has her own website http://anettedarbyshire.com/about/

Highland Fling – Emily Harvale

Description as per Amazon

Sometimes a weekend can change your life.

Lizzie Marshall left London, and her husband Max, after his affair. But running a B&B in the Scottish Highlands is not as easy as she’d hoped – and using her maiden name doesn’t mean she’s over him.  Max Bedford can still twist her around his little finger – most of the time.

Jack Drake’s getting married in two weeks, but he’s having doubts about his fiancée, Kim Mentor. A weekend in Scotland with five of his friends will cure his pre-wedding nerves – won’t it?

Jane Munroe’s too busy sorting out her friend Lizzie’s love life to worry about her won. Besides, the man she’s fallen for, clearly isn’t interested. Perhaps she should look elsewhere for love?

Iain Hamilton vowed he’d never marry again after his wife’s death, and as a forty five year old farmer, a thirty two year old woman from London is the last person he should be interested in – so why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Highland Fling is a humorous tale of love, friendship and life’s little complications.

My Thoughts

This was a light hearted look at the complications that arise from a series of misunderstandings, not saying what you want to say, not saying what you should saying and not saying anything  at all.

The story is mostly from Lizzie and Jack’s points of view, although we do see if from the supporting characters, sometimes one person at a time and sometimes from a multitude.

The reader was always kept informed of what is going on, even if the characters didn’t necessarily know. This often added to the tension and at times made me want to knock their heads together and shout things like ‘Oh, why  didn’t you just listen to what was actually said?’ or ‘Just spit it out, say it!’ The plot twisted and turned its way over several weeks with a subtle rom com sort of feel to it.

I was glad that Lizzie found an inner strength to face up to certain things. Jane was a very good BBF and although Max was the villain, I quite liked him really. One of my favourties was Iain Hamilton – I found him quietly interesting and appealing.  Jack was a bit of a tortured soul who just wanted to do the right thing but found it wasn’t always what his heart wanted. I liked his mates, they were fun and supportive but in that blokey sort of way.

An enjoyable and easy read about a group of people who found their lives closely entwined, in ways they didn’t think possible, with surprising outcomes.

Emily is on Facebook and Twitter @emilyharvale

She has her own website and blog www.emilyharvale.com


Three Steps to Heaven – Pam Howes


It’s 1961 and Eddie Mellor and Jane Wilson are in love. Eddie’s group, The Raiders, is about to make it big. They have the world at their feet and an exciting future to look forward to. Then in walks Angie Turner… The first novel in a series about The Raiders, spanning 50 years.

Pam Howes is the author of ‘Til I kissed You; Always On My Mind; a series of rock’n’roll romances. Fast Movin’ Train – a stand alone true-life love story.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this novel. It starts in July 1961, spanning five years, finishing in April 1966 and follows the life of Eddie Mellor, Jane Wilson and The Raiders, together with other supporting characters.

There is plenty going on throughout the story that keeps you hooked and I found myself really involved with the lives of the characters in this novel.  You could see them all grow and develop as the story evolved. There were some twists and turns, the pace picking up quite a bit about three quarters of the way through with an outcome that I wasn’t expecting.

It was easy to read and I enjoyed the dialogue, it was realistic and seemed to capture the era the book was set in.  It had a very ‘British’ feel to it all round.

I shall look forward to reading the following two books in the series.

Pam has her own author’s site here and is on Facebook & Twitter PamHowes1