Pirates and Promotions: 2013 365 Challenge #126

Family Martin on the Barrel Train

Family Martin on the Barrel Train

I’d like to say I feel rested and refreshed, after having a day off from blogging (the last post was pre-scheduled to give me a breather) but having been out all day with the kids today I’m actually pooped! As a result today’s will be a short post.

It’s a bank holiday in the UK tomorrow, meaning I miss a nursery day (the day when I catch up with all things writing), so the next few posts might be a bit on the light side too.

We had a good day today at what the kids are calling New Farm (West Lodge Rural Centre), with Daddy this time. They held a Pirates and Princesses day for the bank holiday, so we walked the plank, had pirate faces painted and took part in a fancy dress competition (daughter did, anyway!). I thought she should have won a prize (of course!) and realised how glad I am that beauty pageants and all that aren’t big in this country. I’m such a competitive person, I’d be awful. My daughter was just fine that she didn’t win, but I felt hard done by because I thought she made a smashing pirate!

Pirate Amber

Pirate Daughter

My last free Dragon Wraiths promotion on kindle finished today. I did a 2-day promotion this time, rather than just one, and made it to #16 in the ‘coming of age’ ranking and #77 for Paranormal Romance. I don’t know if that will lead to sales, but it’s a nice feeling in any case.

We’re visiting family tomorrow, so hopefully I might get five minutes to finish reading my current book – Reckless Rescue by Rinelle Grey. I’m really enjoying it, although it wouldn’t be my normal read. As far as I can tell in an ebook (this is my first full-length novel read on the iPad rather than in paper form) I’m only a few pages from the end. But as it’s 8.15pm already and hubbie, dog and I haven’t eaten yet, I’ll just about have time to cook dinner and write my Claire installment before I collapse with exhaustion!

Today’s one of those days when I wish I hadn’t played the Takeaway Pizza card on Tuesday (we only have one a week!). Actually, they probably don’t deliver on Sunday anyway… Chicken stir-fry it is then. I wonder if I can convince hubbie to do it…


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


The sky went dark. Claire looked up, surprised, wondering if the shock had affected her vision. A tiny cloud masked the sun, temporarily plunging the beach into shadow.

“Claire, are you okay, you look dreadful. Who was on the phone?”

“Dad. My sister… He said Ruth’s back in hospital and we have to go home.” She drew in a shuddering breath and ran her hands through her hair. “What am I going to tell Sky? Look at her, that’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”

Both girls watched as Sky tipped water into the moat round her sandcastle, flicking some up at Jeff and giggling as he threw seaweed at her.

“Tell her Ruth misses her and wants to give her a cuddle.”

Claire looked gratefully at her best friend, knowing she would have blundered in with the truth. That’s why Kim will make a brilliant parent and I wouldn’t. She picked up the phone to see if her Dad was still connected. He wasn’t and she called him back.

“Sorry, Dad, phone got cut off. Tell Mum we’ll be home in three hours depending on traffic.”

Her father assured her he would and wished her a safe journey. Even that many extra words surprised Claire and, for the first time, she wondered how her parents felt about Ruth’s illness. For all their distance they had still brought Ruth into the world. It must be terrible to consider that she might leave it before they did. No parent should ever have to bury their child. Another good reason not to have any.

“Sky, sweetie, can you come here for a moment?”

The little girl looked up, her cheeks flushed from sun and excitement. Claire’s stomach tightened. Life is too cruel.

Sky ran up the beach and threw her arms around Claire. “I love you, Auntie Claire. Don’t say it’s time to go, please. I’m having so much fun.” She pouted. Claire thought of all the times that pout had irritated her, and wished she could take them all back.

She’s just a child. We make them grow up so fast. She’s got nearly a century of life ahead of her to do as she’s told, feel the pressure of the world on her. Why couldn’t I let her have more fun now? Before this. She shook off the thought and pulled an approximation of a smile onto her face.

“Grandpa just called, poppet. Your Mummy really misses you and wondered if you would like to go home for a cuddle.”

Sky’s face froze as the words settled and she decided how to react to them. Claire could almost see the thoughts competing for primacy: Sky’s desire to stay and play with Jeff versus her need to give her Mummy a hug. Claire’s breath caught in her throat as she waited to see what Sky’s response would be.

“Why don’t we meet up with you guys next weekend, Sky? You could show me and Jeff around one of the places you like to go to.” Kim’s voice cut through Sky’s internal deliberations.

Like a gust of sea breeze blowing away a cloud, Sky’s face cleared and she clapped her hands. “The Farm, we could go to the Farm.” Then she smiled at Claire. “Yes please, I want to go home and see Mummy. You’ll stay for a while, won’t you Auntie Claire?”

Claire thought about her sister in hospital and Sky going home to an empty house. “Of course I will, darling. As long as you need.”

Sky settled into Claire’s lap and wrapped her arms around her neck. Claire nuzzled into the soft blonde hair and let it hide her tears.