You know those times when I say “I have something a little different for you today”? And it usually means featuring some books I might not generally feature – a bit of erotica, a touch of fantasy, something a bit historical maybe? Ah, but not today. Today’s a bit special. I’m so delighted to welcome author Nell Peters to Being Anne – and I’ll tell you more about her great books later – with a post that only she could have written…
Hi, everyone – and thanks so much for allowing me into your lair, Anne. What a good name you have …
Last Sunday (16th) was not only Easter Day, it was my sister, Gillian’s 60th birthday. When she was born, Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) was President of the USA and All Shook Up by Elvis Presley was a big hit…
…as was Cumberland Gap by Lonnie Donegan in the UK, where Sir Harold MacMillan (Tory) was Prime Minister. He’d never had it so good (I fear only very old people like me will understand that nifty paraphrasing!)
The Spirit of St. Louis, directed by Billy Wilder, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1957 and The Scapegoat was a bestseller for Daphne du Maurier.
Easter Day that year was on 21st April – quite late – and because mums spent a couple of weeks in hospital after their confinement way back then, mother and child would both still have been on the maternity ward when hot cross buns were handed out by Easter Bunny.
Lack of teeth might have been a bit of a disadvantage for li’l sis, though.
In character as Bazil Bratt (he’s aged about 8/9 – don’t ask!), I wrote a poem about the hopping one eons ago – I rather doubt Carol Ann Duffy is overly worried:
That Easter Bunny should get the sack
He forgot our eggs, but didn’t come back
To apologise and give us the chocs
May myxomatosis rot his socks
It’s not as though he’s overworked
Just once a year the little jerk
Has to hop around delivering the loot
If he can’t manage that, then give him the boot
Gill (she hates Gillian and prefers to be called Gill, or Gilly) probably didn’t do anything special to celebrate her landmark birthday, as she’s a bit of a grumpy, agoraphobic recluse (you don’t get many of those to the pound), living alone with an overfed, under-exercised cat called Pippin – the size of his gut, he should be called Poppin.
Possibly a flying visit from her only child, and a sniff or two of the more exotic than usual flowers that I sent would be about the extent of her birthday revelries. Rather sad, but her choice.
Bazil B also wrote a poem about his birthday:
It was my birthday yesterday
and the coolest gift has come my way
A whoopee cushion! It does loud farts
and I’ve got placing it down to an art
When Granny came to birthday tea
I sat her down right next to me
The foulest noise then filled the air
(it was under the padding, on her chair)
Poor Granny bowed her head in shame
I was delighted with this game!
But as Gran turned the brightest red
My rotten Mum sent me to bed
When Anne was offering guest spots on her blog a while ago, I jumped at the chance and opted for today’s date for no particular reason. Now I realise this is the sixth anniversary of my brother-in-law’s funeral; that’s Gill’s late husband. Time gallops! Because the service was to be held near Heathrow at 10 am, we travelled down from Norfolk the day before, with the two younger boys who were still living at home then in tow. We met the older two at our hotel and had a beer or six in the garden, enjoying some warm spring weather, before the lads went off into town for a curry, and we ate in the hotel restaurant. The waitress’ face was a mask of horror, when she rushed up with our tab – she couldn’t understand how two people could have consumed so much alcohol, especially so many pints of Guinness, and was convinced a group of alcoholics had been charging their booze to us.
The good weather continued for the funeral, which never seems quite right – rain and drizzle are far more appropriate for such sad occasions. During the service, #4 son went into blind panic mode when the celebrant referred to the deceased as Geoffrey, thinking we had gate-crashed the wrong gig – Geoffrey Alan Wright was universally known as Alan, and to the boys he had always been, of course, Uncle Alan. To put it politely, #3 son had a slight wardrobe malfunction – he’d forgotten tissues and so wiped his nose with his black tie, borrowed from the OH – who seems to have quite a few, for some pessimistic reason. One less now, as that tie went into the first available bin.
Then it was over and we returned to our lives. In those six years we have clocked up four more Grands and my parents have both been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Other people have died. Gill and Alan’s daughter was promoted to deputy head, became engaged, had the most lavish wedding imaginable, honeymooned in the Maldives and separated three months later – now divorced, I believe … some sort of record?
In my effort to send everyone to sleep, I have prattled on in excess of my word allocation – my bad. Thanks again for having me, Anne … I think Bazil should have the last word:
The Bum’s Rush
The laughs and guffaws had turned to screams
When my brother was playing with chums
I rushed to his room to see why the fuss
And saw flames attacking his bum
I scooped up the duvet, to smother the fire
(He was lucky I got there so fast)
No real harm done, though his pants were destroyed
And he had blisters all over his arse
The aim of their game was to fart and ignite
But my brother’s a dense little brat
He didn’t remove his underwear
And his friends set fire to that
Anne – whoops sorry, Nell! I loved that post when I first read it, and I still do. But then, I love Nell Peters’ writing anyway – Hostile Witness thoroughly deserved its inclusion as one of my books of the year in 2016, one of very few that would have had me running to the seating area at King’s Cross to read the last few pages. You can read my full review here – but even better, do try the book! Here are details of both of Nell’s recent books, published by Accent Press – available at just £1.99 each for your kindle, buying link in the titles. Review of By Any Other Name to follow when I can squeeze in the reading….promise!
“Twists abound as love blossoms amongst the dead bodies in a genre-crossing novel with a dark undertow all its own.” Marika Cobbold, best-selling author
Emily Kelly cannot believe her luck when she is employed as companion to wealthy old Sir Gerald Ffinche. (OK, luck had nothing to do with it – but all’s fair in love and job-seeking, right?)
She soon settles in chez Ffinche and builds an excellent rapport with Sir Gerald – but it’s his son Richard who really interests her, and they quickly become inseparable.
However, it seems their happiness has enraged someone closely associated with the family, and a series of tragic events is set in motion. Subtle clues are left to incriminate Emily and when she determines to expose the real culprit, she is spoiled for choice. As the body count mounts, Emily and Richard – and the police – are perplexed. They’re clearly looking for someone who projects a mask of sanity to the world whilst being dangerously disturbed: but who?
With a whole shoal of red herrings and a plot that veers from the almost cosy to a taut psychological thriller, By Any Other Name is an enthralling, chilling whodunit.
When her husband leaves her and their sons to shack up with a younger model, Callie Ashton thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Already unemployed and struggling to hold everything together, Callie’s life goes into freefall when she stumbles across the murder of a neighbour. The killer soon becomes intent on despatching Callie too, wrongly assuming she can identify him.
Despite her new man being the officer in charge of the investigation, Callie’s in great danger – and it soon becomes clear the murderer isn’t too worried whom he kills or maims in his quest to eliminate her. No one is safe and the killer seems to know her every movement. Soon, with no resolution in sight, Callie feels she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands…but at what cost to her safety – and sanity?
Meet the author (borrowed from Nell’s Amazon author page)
Nell Peters is a pen name (taken from my parents’ Christian names) as mine is a bit of a mouthful. I am UK-based and live in a falling-down house in Norfolk with just my husband, now all four sons have flown. We have, somewhere along the way, managed to acquire six Grands – how did that happen?
Like many, my road to publication was a long and rocky one, until Greg Rees at Accent Press took me on as a crime writer, after accepting By Any Other Name – published November ’14. Hostile Witness followed in February ’16 and other books from my back list lurk on Amazon KDP gathering dust.
If you like psychological crime mysteries, my novels may be worth considering – the plots are never predictable and are designed to keep you guessing until the final few pages.