20170506_165705

Yin Yang

Yin Yang

She was my mirror image.
My life in reverse.
We were the Moon and Stars. Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Fire and Ice. Throw any damn cliché you like into the mix and that’s what we were.

Emmy was born two moments after me. This made me her big sister by practically nothing. I came out of my mother’s womb yelling and she came out grabbing my ankle. Apparently.

Mom says we always did everything in turn. When I ate, Emmy puked. When Emmy puked, I shat. When I didn’t cry Emmy bawled.. ad infinitum. We were difficult. No question.

Even when Emmy and I, (Sharlene by the way) grew to our teens we continued on that far flung vein of opposition. I passed English Language, she flunked it and passed Math instead. When I joined the Hockey Team she joined Junior Basketball. When we liked boys? No Problem! Because Emmy never liked the same boy as me. It just seemed like our differences were endless.

When Emmy died a year ago I thought my life would end two minutes later.
It didn’t.

It didn’t even end a week, or a month later. I continued to breathe whilst Emmy was buried in dirt where her lungs must have dried up and collapsed like crumbling rock. There are times I wish that I had died instead, or with her. I know that’s morbid, but Emmy and me, we belong together even though we are two separate people.

If I told you the whole story about Emmy and me, you’d think we were two peas in a different pod. I’ll let you decide on that anyway. I just need to get it down, out, where it doesn’t hurt me anymore.

In 2004 Emmy and I were watching different shows in different rooms on two different TV’s. See? We couldn’t even agree on watching the same show together. Then I heard a bang through the wall which sounded too much like skull knocking on hard floor. I jumped off my bed and ran from my olive bedroom to her deep purple one.

She was lying there, twisted, like someone had picked her up and dropped her from the ceiling. I can’t really remember what happened next but there was a lot of noise and just a few hours later Emmy was in the ITU fighting to live.
Whilst inside I was fighting to die.

She had contracted Meningitis. The disease went straight to her brain and we were told that the next twelve hours would be critical.

Well one decent thing I can say is that Emmy ‘mentally’ died watching her favourite stupid reality show. She also died in clean underwear which is something she used to worry about. The following morning after her death she was due to receive a badge of honour for helping primary care children with ‘special needs’ learn to read. Her badge was collected anyway and placed inside her coffin. I remember how much I wanted to tear out my heart and put it inside with her.

The most horrible thing about Emmy’s death is that I am still alive. And those things she left behind? Boy they really sting! Maybe you don’t need to know about them but I’m telling you anyway because it’s Emmy’s most final mark on the planet.

It’s a long long list that reads like ‘The Ending of Emmy.’

A half sucked lolly pop stuck to her pillow. Two paranormal books, dog-eared, scattered on her bed (subjects I hate, but finished for her.) A pair of new heels to collect for the prom. A prom dress to collect from the laundromat. A boy who can’t take her to the prom. (I’d go with him but, meh, he’s not my type.) A promise to me that she’d pay me back $5 (I forgave her for skipping out on that.) A half finished sketch of a horse (why did she love those stinky animals so much anyway?)

The one that hurts me most is that promise! Crazy?
A promise that we would never leave each other alone.
God, Emmy, you failed that one miserably.

So a few times over the course of that year I tried to end my life, but each time I tried I was saved or I was too freakin’ scared to go through with it. Then came the pills, they kept me awake and shivering at night and helped me to forget how to live during the day. But that wasn’t exactly kosher in the real world because the world only responds when you sit up and pay attention to it.
Live by the rules.

Anyway, I couldn’t get my act together afterwards, and fourteen months after Emmy’s death Mom had a nervous breakdown. Dad had an affair.
In the end I was a complete basket case, written off as Emmy’s ‘poor disturbed twin.’ Could I blame Emmy for all of that? Well, I could, but I don’t. I too kinda lost my life in a tragic way, but you know what really stings me the most?
The fact that I can’t join my sister.

And why?

Because Emmy would kick my ass on the other side. I couldn’t die because that would make us the same, and we never ever were. I would do anything to swap seats with Emmy. To leave her a damn list called ‘The Ending of Sharlene.’ She could finish my books, suck on my lolly pop and leave FIVE GODDAM DOLLARS INSIDE MY COFFIN!

But that wasn’t the script. And I know I shouldn’t be mad with her because she didn’t write it.

Emmy you suck but I love you from the bottom of my soul to the furthermost galaxy.

Let’s face it. We were always going to be opposites, she and I. Always. And perhaps my ending will be her new beginning.

I figured that the life of a twin is strange, but nothing can change that we are yin, we are yang.
We are fire and ice.
Light and dark.

My twin Emmy.

yinyang

20170506_165705

Goodreads Giveaway – The Whitechapel Virgin

The very popular book site Goodreads.com is hosting a ‘giveaway’ of The Whitechapel Virgin. To enter all you need to do is click on the ‘Enter’ button and add your delivery details. The contest runs for a month so you can enter anytime up to June 20th when Goodreads will pick one winner, the competition ends, and they will receive a free paperback.

I want to thank to Goodreads for their continued great work with publishers and authors, and also to the amazing people who have enjoyed my work and continue to support me.

Goodreads Giveaway Link below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Whitechapel Virgin by Carla Acheson

The Whitechapel Virgin

by Carla Acheson

Giveaway ends June 20, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

 

20170506_165705

A new gift, a new novel in the works…

bookimageAlas, it’s been a while since I blogged about my own writing activities, hence I think it’s about time for a little update. And whilst I beg forgiveness from my faithful readers if I may, I’m extremely excited to announce that I have been steadily working on my third novel in the past six months.

I cannot reveal the title for the book itself as yet, but I can confirm that it is another work of historical fiction and is set both in the Victorian and Edwardian period.

How does that work I hear you say?

Well the book follows the story of the lives of two women who are connected by one tragic circumstance. The parallel narrative follows their separate journeys in both era’s which ultimately leads to the truth – one bitter secret buried in time.

And let me tell you what I noticed this time around too. My previous novels were set in the Victorian era so this time I observed quite a few changes. My new heroine, for instance, appears to naturally sound much more ‘loose’  and relaxed in her attitude. Thoughts seem to be less…‘What should I not do..?‘ to ‘What can I do..?’

This may be a subtle change but evidently a big one for repressed women of that time.

I discovered how in the Edwardian period women began to not only dress in fewer layers of clothing, (allowing them to feel a lot less restricted, I’d imagine) but to think and act a little more freely too, as they embraced the unfolding benefits of voting rights and unopposed viewpoints.

These revelations came about quite naturally in the writing process itself, and only in working through my novels could I fully appreciate the changing conditions for women as the years passed by.

I will have more news on the progression of the novel in the coming weeks, including a cover reveal and a possible book blog tour for UK readers who all follow my previous works. The publication date is currently set for late May or early June on Amazon globally, and is a stand alone novel, and not a sequel to either of my previous titles The Last Gift and The Whitechapel Virgin – the two books which I can say have really changed my life and I cannot regret a single moment of the effort I put into them.

And lastly, a huge thank you to my friends who support me, both near and far. Without all the feedback, encouragement and motivation you guys give me I would still be on chapter one!

Watch this space!

 

20170506_165705

Review: Someone New by Zoe Miller

This review is based upon a pre-publication copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley.com

‘Someone New’ is a well-structured story which covers strong relationship issues such as obsession and trust. It ultimately begs the question.. ‘Do we really know a person inside out?’

Young and attractive Grace unexpectedly finds happiness after ditching her intensely clingy ex and meeting the ‘new-agey’ and spiritually inspiring Danny McBride. But after just six weeks of their euphoric time together a tragic bike accident kills her perfect lover and Grace is left to pick up the pieces, as well as try to understand what exactly happened that fateful night.

Aside from Grace’s story we are given a parallel narrative from her sister Lucia, the enviably brilliant and organised career-woman whose life with her wealthy and handsome husband is already too perfect enough to change, or is it? Lucia’s story throws an interesting angle on the core value of the ‘perfect’ marriage and paves the way for some unexpected deep-rooted maternal desires to come to the fore.

Additionally, we also gain insight into the tangled emotions of Matt, the cop who is helping Grace with her subconscious fear that Danny’s death was not merely an accident. As Matt comes to learn more about Grace and her seemingly perfect late lover, he helps her to unveil secrets about him she would never have believed. Matt too is forced to confront his own insecurities about the woman he loves who is slowly slipping out of his grasp.

The unfolding plot in ’Someone New,’ evolves at a steady pace allowing the reader to come to know the characters and how their lives become entangled together as they work through their inner-most fears and desires.

I enjoyed reading this novel. I felt the writing style was fluid, easy to read, and the story held my attention throughout. Even though the characters were fictional they were well depicted enough to feel chillingly real.

4/5 stars.

Goodreads

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Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

Leavingtime

Reality and the spirit world collide together in a compelling story.

This is the first novel I have read by author, Jodi Picoult, but I’m very glad that I did. Leaving Time brought tears to my eyes more than once, and if it is possible to have some kind of emotional attachment to a story, this one did it for me.

The story is told in more than one narrative viewpoint. A decade after a fatal incident at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee occurs, three characters set out to solve the mystery of missing person, Alice Metcalf.

We have Jenna, Alice’s thirteen year old daughter, Virgil, a down-and-out Detective, and Serenity, a fallen from grace TV Psychic. Quite an oddly eclectic bunch to string together, but somehow Picoult effortlessly weaves together the fabric of their lives, hopes and fears in an astonishingly authentic way.

Through reading her mother’s journals, Jenna attempts to find out how she disappeared and why she had abandoned her. At least two thirds of this book will teach you about the behaviour of elephants through Alice’s viewpoint.. I particularly loved the portrayal of how elephants interact as a herd, and how they grieve for their young. I found that I lost myself in most of this text. Whilst I realise that some reviewers disliked this part of the book, for me it was an eye-opening revelation and almost a dedication to their memory, inducing pity and highlighting the sad plight of their cruel mistreatment by humans.

From the Author’s Note, we can see that she undertook a huge amount of research in exploring these animals, hence I felt that the chapters did not detract from the story, but enhanced it in a way that skimming over the surface would have been the difference between a profound and deeply rooted story to one that merely lies flat on a bed of freshly mown grass.

As the trio finally come to the end of their search and the threads of the story are wrapped up, a major plot twist  is revealed which I did not see coming, and though you might have to suspend disbelief in order to fully appreciate it, Picoult’s writing is so competent; it works!

One of the best reads I have picked up in a while.

5/5 stars
Available on Amazon