The Last Thing She Said – who will believe her?

Birthdays are family time. The giving and receiving of presents, a cake maybe, and perhaps a party.

For Rose, a birthday is a day to spend in the company of her granddaughters. She likes cake, especially chocolate cake, and always has one candle on top of it to blow out. What she also does is say something, a few words. The trouble is, they don’t make much sense to her granddaughters. They listen, and forget, or so it might appear. What do you do if your grandmother claims to know the future, hears things that will come true? Each of the three sisters has to decide what to do. What if Rose really does have a gift?

Rose puckered her lips and slowly expelled a stream of air. The diminutive flame flickered for a second then died. Through the threads of smoke that lingered above the birthday cake, Rose’s pale eyes fixed on Naomi. When she spoke, her warbling voice was stretched, but the revelatory words were enunciated clearly.

‘Beware of a man named Frederick and his offer of marriage.’ Rose blinked and gave a small satisfactory nod. ‘Cut a slice for me, love.’

Naomi glanced to her side. Rebecca was poised, holding the fake ivory handle of the cake knife with a white-knuckled grasp.

‘I don’t know anyone called Frederick,’ Naomi whispered into Rebecca’s ear. She’d no plans to marry gaming geek Kyle, or any other man for that matter, at least not until she could see the benefit outshine the exuberant cost and extensive planning needed.

Rebecca pressed the knife through the layer of marble icing. ‘She’s done it. That’s all that matters,’ she said quietly.

‘What’s that?’ Rose cocked an ear towards her granddaughters. Even if Naomi bothered to ask questions, Rose, with a humorous twinkle in her eye, would likely shrug dismissively. Sometimes she claimed it was a spirit that dropped the thought into her head, other times she implied the eruption of a whispering voice was due to the revitalising energy of her birthday. The lack of consistency significantly weakened Rose’s sage advice.

On the other side of the stained kitchen table, Leia removed the plate from Rose’s hand.

‘Here, Gran, let me help you.’ She thrust the plate at Rebecca. ‘Just slice the cake. She’s had her moment.’

Her moment, as Leia put it, was something of a tradition on Rose’s birthday. The sugary-topped sponge, which Rebecca had baked that morning, the solitary pink candle and the customary extinguishing of the flame, were a necessary precursor to the miniature party. Without fail, every year, Rose, with her salt and pepper hair swept back from her face into a bun, leaned toward the candle, and spoke her words of prophecy. The only difference this time was she had said them directly to Naomi instead of to a spot on the far wall.

 

If you’re intrigued, then head over to Amazon. The Last Thing She Said is now live, available on Kindle and in print. Don’t miss out on finding out a family secret.

Three Sisters. Three Gifts. One Prophecy

“Beware of a man named Frederick and his offer of marriage.”

Rose’s granddaughters, Rebecca, Leia and Naomi, have never taken her prophecies seriously. But now that Rose is dead, and Naomi has a new man in her life, should they take heed of this mysterious warning?

Naomi needs to master the art of performing. Rebecca rarely ventures out of her house. She’s afraid of what she might see. As for Rebecca’s twin, everyone admires Leia’s giant brain, but now the genius is on the verge of a breakdown.

Rebecca suspects Naomi’s new boyfriend is hiding something. She begs Leia, now living in the US, to investigate.

Leia’s search takes her to a remote farm in Ohio on the trail of the truth behind a tragic death.

Just who is Ethan? And what isn’t he telling Naomi?

In a story full of drama and mystery, the sisters discover there is more that connects them than they realise, and that only together can they discover exactly what’s behind Rose’s prophecy.

The Last Thing She Said

Who will believe her?

Amazon

(Print and Kindle)

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Me and my flute

(I originally posted this on my Quietwriter blog four years ago).

I played in a concert last night. No, concert isn’t the right word. Far too grand. A small performance to an even smaller audience. Did it matter? Not really. I enjoyed the coming together with my fellow musicians and hearing all our hard work successfully performed.

Audience size doesn’t matter, one person, a thousand, the true joy is in the preparation and smiles when we make it to the end of the piece without glaring mistakes.

I’m a flautist. Since 8 years old my primary instrument has been the flute. I took the grades, joined concert bands, and other small ensembles though not orchestras. My latest one is a flute choir. With little opportunity to play regularly, the couple of times a month we meet is my musical fix.

I chose the flute because my best friend at the time played one. It was a fortuitous choice I would discover many years later, but at the time it made sense because I was a competent player of the recorder. The transition to flute made easier due to similar fingering patterns.

My enthusiasm increased as I was exposed to more classical music my parents, visiting the Royal Festival Hall for concerts. The flute is a social instrument, so I learnt to cope with nerves and play in school concerts and regional concerts put on by county music schools.

james galway Technically, I could call myself a grand-pupil of James Galway. My first teacher had been a pupil of his and always called him Jimmy. “I’d I seen Jimmy, yet?” she’d asked.  I did, when I was about 8 or 9, in Devon on holiday. He came to a Dartington Hall to perform a concert and I sat on the balcony, peering through the wooden railings and it enthralled me. His eyes darted about the room – if you play from memory then there is nowhere to look playing the flute, the instrument is to one side and out of eyesight. I fix on a point or shut my eyes, if I play from my heart.

Later, another teacher would suggest I only bought recordings of his earlier performance ‘before he got really famous’, because they were less flamboyant in nature. I’m not sure what my teacher meant – wasn’t that the point, show off your prowess?

Guo yoeOf course, I’ve learnt that unembellished music is often the best. My preferred flautist is now very different – Guo Yue. A Chinese born flautist, who lives in England. He’s expertise is the bamboo flute and there are no keys, just holes to cover. The music he plays is not western in style, the notes slide, drift into each other, swirling. He provided the musical accompaniment for a Channel 4 documentary on China called Beyond the Clouds. It is haunting, melancholic. Beautiful. He’s also trained to play western flutes and music, but I stick to his origins.

220px-Gu_Hongzhong's_Night_Revels,_Detail_4I could never play what he does, I have a Chinese flute, but it is so different, so basic in structure, so difficult to play.

At our concert, we played popular pieces, Irish folk, operatic arias. Our small audience sung along in places. I don’t think they’d have appreciated Chinese flute music. But that is the wonder of music, what I listened to, isn’t necessarily what I enjoy performing, and what inspires me to play is often what I don’t want to actually play myself.

 

My next book involves three talented sisters, one of whom plays the flute. Will she tackle performing?