#BookReview A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing @Magpie_Richie

Title: A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing

Date Published: 12th June 2019

Genre: Non Fiction/Writing

Description:

‘A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook’ provides detailed guidance on the pillars of storytelling as well as aspects of writing that rarely feature in other books, such as writing fight scenes and world-building. At times the focus shifts away from the technical elements and considers the philosophies behind writing, ways to help you maintain focus, and methods of battling the demons of doubt that forever loom over our shoulders.

Section two explores the thriving genre of fantasy and the many facets that make it what it is, before looking at the histories of our world that so often inspire our fantasy tales.

The final part looks at the things that come after you’ve finished your story—formatting, peer-reviewing, finding publishers—and other things the contemporary writer can do to enhance their careers, such as making and maintaining a website, blogging, and marketing methods.

By the end, you’ll have a sound foundation upon which to build as well as the tools to venture on alone with courage and confidence.

Review:

This is a seriously overdue review, Richie Billing himself sent me a copy of this last year and I’ve only gotten round to reviewing it now!

I write mostly mystery but I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with fantasy but I thought there was no way I could write something like that, so I was interested to see what A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook had to offer.

Written in a friendly conversational style, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook offers advice on characters, world building and even editing.

Don’t be put off by the title A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook because there are plenty of practical tips on things like characters and plotting that are helpful to any wannabe author no matter the genre.  

What made this standout for me was not only was there loads of writing advice, there were suggestions of extra reading on writing and editing which I really appreciated. 

Like most writing advice books, not everything will work for you but writing is a learning curve afterall!

A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook is a well written and helpful book that I’m glad I’ve got a copy of on my kindle shelf for when I want to tackle a fantasy story in the future.

About The Author:

Richie Billing writes fantasy fiction, historical fiction and stories of a darker nature. His short fiction has been published by, amongst others, Kzine, TANSTAAFL Press, Bewildering Stories, Liquid Imagination, The Magazine of History & Fiction, Aether and Ichor, and Far Horizons. His debut novel, Pariah’s Lament, will be published by Fiction Vortex in Summer 2020. He co-hosts the podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, a venture inspired by the requests of readers of his acclaimed book on writing, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. Most nights you can find him up into the wee hours scribbling away or watching the NBA. Find out more at www.richiebilling.com.

#Review 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner by Mariëlle S. Smith @rararesources

Hello lovelies! Today I have my review of 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner with a fabulous giveaway (see bottom of the post) but first a little about the book:

52 Weeks - cover-image

Title: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner by Mariëlle S. Smith

Date Published: 1st December 2019

Genre: Non Fiction/writing

Description:

Are you ready to become the writer you were always meant to be? 

52 Weeks of Writing will get you cracking by making you plan, track, reflect on, and check in with your progress and goals an entire year long. 

52 Weeks of Writing will help you dig deep by offering questions and writing prompts designed to unravel whatever truths about your writing you’re ready for. 

52 Weeks of Writing will keep you inspired by delivering a thought-provoking writing quote every week. 

  • Do you struggle with setting goals that reflect your daily reality? 
  • Do you want to practise breaking goals down into manageable chunks? 
  • Would you like more insight into your writing habit(s) and figure out why you keep getting in your own way? 
  • And do you want to create a sustainable writing practice that honours your needs and desires as a writer? 

Then the 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner is for you. 

52 Weeks of Writing brings together every lesson Mariëlle S. Smith has learned as a writing coach and writer. Wary as she is of comparisonitis and unhealthy competition, this author journal and planner was designed to help writers develop and fine-tune a practice that works for them. 

If you’re ready to get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be, pick up your copy of 52 Weeks of Writing today.

You can buy your copy here: https://mswordsmith.nl/journal/

Review:

I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

52 weeks of writing has been compiled by Mariëlle S. Smith, writing coach who has managed to publish eight books since 2018 which as a person like myself who can’t even finish one seems like a huge feat!

I want to point out this book is not a how to write manual. It’s something that will help you identify what is getting in your way of writing, help you set goals and recognise when you might be setting yourself up for failure.

I found myself reflecting on what is holding me back, I still haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of it yet but I hope with the use of this book I will do soon!

There are also some helpful writing prompts along the way if you’re struggling with your creativity.

52 weeks of writing is a handy book that feels like you’ve got your own personal writing coach! 

About The Author:

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, (ghost) writer, and52 Weeks - Author Photo custom retreat organiser. In 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count. 

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mswordsmith

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariellessmith/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w

52 Weeks - Giveaway

Giveaway to win….

THREE paperback copies of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner,

TWO paperback copies of Tarot for Creatives: 21 Tarot Spreads to (Re)Connect to Your Intuition and Ignite That Creative Spark, and

ONE coaching session.

https://mswordsmith.nl/en_GB/giveaway/

New Year’s Resolutions and 2019 recap #Goals #Blogger

Hello lovelies! I know I’m a little late with these resolutions but better late than never as they always say. So I’m just going to give you a quick recap of 2019’s resolutions and how I did before I set myself some for 2020:

2019

2019’s resolutions were:

Write a little every day. 

Hmm, I sort of failed at this. I did write a lot more last year, and I also took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time since 2018 but I can’t say it paid off that much. The only thing I can say is, finally, at the very end of the year, I wrote something that I’m excited about. I’ve even started working on a sequel.

Try more genre that I don’t usually read like:

Historical Fiction,

Non Fiction,

Romance,

Fantasy,

Fairytales,

Classics

Paranormal romance.

I did pretty well with this one. I discovered my new favourite rom-com writer Rich Amooi. I also read a few books like Bonnie & Stan, The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost and The Ten Thousand Doors of January, all of which were out of my comfort zone.

Cut down on blog tours.

Ha ha. I have no idea why I put this one down. I think I’ve taken part in more blog tours than the previous year.

Set my Goodreads goal for 100 books. The reason I only picked 100 is because I got to a certain point last year where I stopped enjoying reading, I want to take my time a little more this year.

Okay, so the final count was 135 books. I didn’t slow down but what can I say? I’m addicted to reading!

Get my NetGalley feedback ratio up to 80%.

A fail on this but last time I checked I was up to 73%, not too shabby I’d say.

Attempt my first read along.

Do you know I forgot I even did this one! I participated in a read along over on Instagram to read Pet Semetary by Stephen King.

So here are my 2020 resolutions:

2020 new year wide

Get a handle on my FOMO.

So FOMO, or fear of missing out, is the bane of my existence. There were a couple of books this year I probably would never have picked up if I hadn’t been so caught up with not missing out. I have to remind myself, I can always buy them later.

Read more books from my shelves.

I own over two hundred physical books, of which I’ve read less than half. I’m not even going to count how many unread ones I have on my kindle.

Start editing my first cosy mystery.

I’m awful at editing (if you’ve read my reviews you may have seen the amount of typos that slip through the net). It’s something I’m really dreading but if I ever want to be published, I know I need to try harder.

Set my Goodreads target at 120 and carry on reading out of my comfort zone.

Finally get my feedback ratio up to 80% on NetGalley.

Sounds simple but I need to curb the urge to request books, they all look so good!

Give my blog a much needed makeover.

Yep, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for months. Maybe even a change of blog name, so people stop confusing me for other bloggers.

Take better care of myself.

My health, including my mental health, took a nosedive at the second half of the year but as usual I just pushed through it and tried to ignore it, eating my feelings and gaining almost a stone in weight along the way. I can’t do this to myself any more, especially with the risk of diabetes having over me and I need to get a handle on it.

Thank you for reading! 

Have you got any resolutions for this year? If you’ve got any blog posts about your resolutions for 2020 please feel free to link them in the comments, I’d love to read them.

#ShortStory A Hunter’s Night Off by L.J Cassidy #Halloween2019

Happy Halloween everyone! I haven’t shared one of my short stories for a while so I thought I’d share this fun little story. I wrote this in prep for NaNoWriMo which starts tomorrow and I will be taking part of, and hopefully winning (wish me luck I’m gonna need it!). Without further ado, here’s A Hunter’s Night off…

Mist hung low over the ground, making it feel like I was trapped in a cheesy old horror movie. Occasionally the wind howled, whipping up fallen Autumn leaves. 

It was the perfect Halloween night.

Well, that was if you were inside, nice and warm, not out Trick or Treating with your eight year old son on your first night off in weeks. 

I’m still trying to figure out how my husband had convinced me not only to go out but to dress up and ‘get into the spirit of things’ yet managed to wiggle out of coming himself…I swear there must have been some sort of hypnosis involved.  It didn’t help that the vampire outfit I’d chosen seemed to be made out of the thinnest material known to man, and was as much use as using a tissue against a thunderstorm at keeping the cold out. I tried pulling my cloak tighter around my body but it made no difference. I was slowly turning into an icicle.  

Next year I was dressing up as an Eskimo.

I’d been trying and failing to get Connor to go home for the last five minutes, it wasn’t working.

“Just one more house mum, please,” he whined.

We’d been at it for almost an hour and his bag was barely half full. I felt bad. This was a new neighbourhood and we’d yet to work out who answered their door and who didn’t. I could see him shivering, his own superhero costume doing little to keep out the cold. 

“Fine, just one more but then we’re going home.”

He clapped his hands together and ran towards a house at the end of the street. It didn’t look much different from the other red brick houses around it but there was something definitely off about the place. Maybe it was because every window lit up, like a beacon in the darkness, looking so inviting. I could feel my sixth sense tingling.

“Connor, maybe not that one-”

It was too late, he’d already rang the bell.

By the time that I’d marched up to Connor’s side the door had swung open. A plump old lady stood, surrounded by a golden light. 

“Trick or treat,” cried Connor holding out his bag.

The woman put a hand to her bosom.

“Oh my, aren’t you darling.”

Her eyes travelled to me. There was something in her expression that I couldn’t read.

Another alarm bell rang.

“Well, young man, I have some sweets inside the house but the bowl is far too heavy for me to carry, would you like to come in and pick some?”

“Yes please.”

Connor ran inside before I could stop him.

I let out a sigh. 

He knew not to go into strange houses, what has gotten into him?

The old woman when to close the door but I stuck my foot in.

“I better come in hadn’t I? I don’t want him eating you out of house and home.”

She let out a little laugh.

“Of course. You look like you could do with a cup of tea, warm you up a treat.”

The woman opened it just enough for me to slip in.

I expected Connor to be in the hallway, hovering over a bowl of sweets but he wasn’t there.

“Connor, where are you?”

A strange smell reached my nose, coppery, earthy, maybe.  

“Oh, he’s probably in the kitchen. That’s where I left the sweets. How about I go and get him?”

I could feel the hairs on my arms rise, every sense I had screamed that I should run.

“No, if you point me in the right direction, I’ll get him.”

I took a step away from her but in the blink of an eye she was in front of me.

“I don’t think so my dear.”

She cocked her head to the side and gave me a wide smile.

That’s when I saw her fangs.

Oh, the irony wasn’t lost on me.

“I’m afraid you’re mine now.”

My hand went to my waist, where I usually keep my trusty tools for hunting but I remember I’d taken them off, convinced I was having a night off from all that.

Her nostrils flared.

“You don’t seem that scared. Not at all like my usual prey.”

I adopted a defensive stance.

“I’m not your usual prey.”

She pounced but I was ready for her, catching her in the chest with my boot.

The vampire hissed, steam rising from her chest.

“Silver capped boots, never leave the house without them.”

“Hunter.”

“Got it in one.”

We circled each other, I kept an eye out for any weapon.

I spotted the wooden banister, if I could snap off a piece. It’d make a perfect stake.

My moment of lost concentration gave the creature the edge, charging at me. It caught me around the waist, we crashed to the ground.

I could smell it’s fetid breath, as its strong hands held me down, tearing at my outfit.

Bucking and twisting made no difference, it clung to me.

My boot had worked loose, if I could reach it…

“I’m going to drain you dry, then I’ll start on your little boy but don’t worry, I won’t kill him. I’ll turn him, make him into my son.”

My fingers grazed the back of my boot.

“Why do you creatures always insist on telling me your evil plan before you do it? I mean you could have killed me by now but no, you just yap, yap, yap away.”

It snarled.

My hand enclosed round the boot.

“Oh, I’m going to enough killing you.”

It reared back, opening its jaw wide, ready to rip my throat out.

I brought the boot up, catching it on the face. It was enough for me to wiggle out of its grasp.

I ran for the bannister, elbowing out one of the balusters.

This time when the vampire charged at me, I met it with a sharp piece of wood to the heart.

It burst into dust.

“Mum…”

I heard Connor’s voice. Quickly I shoved my foot back into my boot, readjusted my torn outfit and tried to move as much dust out of the way as possible.

He burst into the hallway a moment later carrying a huge bowl of sweets, the telltale signs of chocolate around his mouth.

“Where’s the lady gone?”

“Oh, she had to go to bed but she told me you can have as many sweets as you can fit your bag.”

His big blue eyes lit up.

“Really?”

“Really really.”

He started shoving handfuls of sweets into his bag until it was almost bursting.

“Shall we go home now?” he asked.

“Come on then.”

I held out my hand which he took, making a mental note to come back later to check there were no more vampires hanging around. The last thing I want is to settle in a new neighbourhood with a vampire nest in it.

So much for my night off.

© L.J. Cassidy 2019

#BlogTour #Review Motivation Matters by Wendy H Jones @WendyHJones #LoveBooksTours

Title: Motivation Matters by Wendy H Jones

Date Published: 21st May 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction

Description:

Has your motivation to write flown out of the window? Do feelings of self-doubt creep in and haunt your writing day? Looking for a way to beat the doubts into submission? Award-winning author and writing coach Wendy H. Jones shows you how, with 366 glorious exercises you can use to boost creativity and change the way you think and feel about your writing. Techniques that can easily be incorporated into your day, becoming part of your writing routine. It’s time to change the way you think and feel, in order to set your creativity free.

You Can Buy Your Copy Here:

https://amzn.to/2IsnOu2

motivation-matters

Review:

I want to thank Kelly over at Love Books Tours for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Motivation Matters is a fantastic book packed full of little tips and tricks to help break you out of that creative rut.

There’s 366 tidbits of advice, written in a fun friendly style that almost makes you think that you’ve got your own little personal coach, egging you on. You can dip in and out or work through them on consecutive days, it’s really up to you!

Like most writers, I struggle with procrastination and self doubt, Motivation Matters helped me step back a little, relax and not be so hard on myself.

Of course there’s going to be a bit of trial and error as you work your way through the book, not everything is bound to work for you but this book is really about helping you find out what does work.

I’d recommend Motivation Matters for anyone who needs that extra boost of inspiration to help you reach your goals.

About The Author:

Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series WendyHJones2018featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy, she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.

Twitter:

@WendyHJones

#BlogTour #Review The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk @BOTBSPublicity

Title: The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey

Genre: Non Fiction/Writing

Description:

Over a thousand sentence starts, three per day, with writing tips at the end of each week to motivate and inspire, providing kick-starts to avoid the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. Useful for any writer at any level, whether they have 10 minutes or 10 hours, to start a new project. Also an ideal tool for writing groups.

With a combination of six first-person, six second-person, six third-person and three non-specific point of view starts per week, there are plenty to choose from. Beginning at ‘Day 1’ this book has been designed to be started at any time of the year, and regardless of whether the sentences are used in order or not. With a choice of three per day a writer can select one, two or all and see where it leads them.

Add a subheading (1)

Review:

A huge thank you to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook is a great book that really gives your creative spark a boost!

As the title suggests there are 365 days worth of writing prompts. You can do an exercise every day if you want to or like me dip in and out when you need that extra bit of assistance.

Each day you’re given three lines, in a different tense or point of view which you can use to start a story. The great thing is you can use as many lines as you want, you can even change the POV or names or tense, mix and match lines from different days, there’s endless possibilities!

When I got my hands on this book I was really suffering from maybe not full blown writer’s block but I’d really hit a wall with my writing. I used a couple of the prompts and while the stories I wrote were not the best, it really helped me get back into writing.

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook is a fab little book that every writer should have in their toolbox.

Author Bio:

Morgen Bailey – Morgen with an E – is a multi-genre author, freelance editor, writing tutor, writing competitions magazine columnist and judge, blogger, and speaker.2 Morgen July 2017

Her website is www.morgenbailey.wordpress.com, email is morgen@morgenbailey.com, she is morgenwriteruk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Her books can be found at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8 etc.),

Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/morgenbailey) and wherever books can be ordered.

 

Happy New Year! #NewYearsResolutions #BookBlogger #Blogger #Resolutions2019 #amreading #amwriting #Goals

Happy New Year lovelies! As is tradition I’ll be making some new year’s resolutions today but first a quick recap of 2018’s resolutions and how I did:

Reading:

Do my first Goodreads challenge, I’m thinking of setting my goal at 60 books. (manageable I think). I actually set it at 75 but I surpassed that by reading 163 books! I’m stunned I read so many.

Read outside my comfort zone. Again I was successful with this one too! I read paranormal romance (a genre I hadn’t even heard of before). I also rediscovered my love of horror and ghost stories. I even read a book all about death and grief!

Read books that have been on my tbr list for more than a year. This one wasn’t quite so successful, I think I managed one or two.

Writing:

Take part in both Camp NaNoWriMo (the one in April not July) and NaNoWriMo again. I actually did Camp NaNoWriMo in April but I didn’t do the proper NaNo just because I was going through a lot with my dad being ill and lots of other stress. One out of two ain’t bad!

See if I can edit The Taken into something readable. Oh god I blocked my monstrosity of a manuscript from my 2017 NaNoWriMo out. It’s currently gathering dust on my hard drive! Fail on that one.

Post a short story/flash fiction on my blog once a month. Another fail. I started out with such good intentions but only to do four short stories throughout the year.

Carry on blogging! I definitely did that lol!

So I didn’t do too badly but I thought long and hard about this years resolutions. I decided to keep it simple.

2019

So my 2019 resolutions are:

Write a little every day.

Try more genre that I don’t usually read like:

Historical Fiction,

Non Fiction,

Romance,

Fantasy,

Fairytales,

Classics

Paranormal romance

(any suggestions within these genres are welcome especially fantasy or romance)

Cut down on blog tours.

Set my Goodreads goal for 100 books. The reason I only picked 100 is because I got to a certain point last year where I stopped enjoying reading, I want to take my time a little more this year.

Get my NetGalley feedback ratio up to 80%.

Attempt my first read along.

And that’s it! Wishing you all the best for the year to come!

Do you have any resolutions this year, let me know in the comments section!

bookss

#ShortStory A Cat Named Tiger by LJ Cassidy.

I dedicate this story to my mum who would have been 69 today and to anyone who has lost someone they loved too soon.

I had best wash these dishes,” said Marion looking pointedly at her daughter Heather, hoping she’d take the hint it was time for her to go.

Instead Heather picked up the remote and switched on the TV.

I’ll just see what’s on later, shall I?”

Marion stifled a sigh, as she gathered the cups and cake encrusted plates. She didn’t want to know what was on later, she just wanted to be alone. Not that she didn’t love her daughter’s company, but it was suffocating. By herself she didn’t have to pretend everything was okay, choke down cream cakes just to make it look like she was acting ‘normally’ whatever that meant. All she wanted to do was curl up under the duvet.

Her husband Pat wouldn’t have stood for this, he would have just told her outright it was time to go, in that blunt way of his. But Pat wasn’t here any more.

She could feel tears filling her eyes.

Need a hand mum?”

No, no,” she replied a little too brightly, “I’ll do us another cup while I’m at it. Tea or did you want another coffee?”

Tea’d be good.”

She managed to get to the kitchen before the tears began to run down her face.

Corrie’s on later mum,” called Heather, “d’you want me to put it in for record?”

No, she wanted to shout, I want my husband back but she daren’t say those words out loud.

Sounds good,” she replied.

Wiping her face she filled the kettle, flicking it on then plonked the dishes in the sink with squirt of washing up liquid.

Opening up the taps, she watched the bubbles rise, trying not to look out of the window that overlooked the back garden. It had been Pat’s pride and joy but now she knew it was tangled with weed and overgrown. It was where she had found him six months ago, not breathing. She’d tried her best to resuscitate him but it didn’t work.

A brain aneurysm, the doctor said. Nothing that could be done.

She turned the taps off and pick up a plate, scrubbing too hard.

A huge thump against the window made her look up.

She was staring into a pair of green eyes.

Marion let out a small scream, as the plate slipped from her hand back into the sink sending a cascade of water over her feet.

Heather tore into the room, panting slightly.

Mum are you okay?”

With a flash of ginger fur, the green eyes disappeared.

I’m fine, it was just a cat,” Marion replied, attempting a smile. “Gave me a funny turn, that’s all.”

Heather didn’t look convinced. “How about I finish the dishes off, ay mum? I’ll bring you a cuppa in, in a minute ‘kay?”

With that she ushered Marion out of the kitchen.

********

It had taken over an hour to get Heather out of the house the previous evening, having suspected that the whole cat incident was entirely in her mother’s imagination.

Marion was now back at the sink, filling it ready for her breakfast dishes when she heard the thump against the window again.

Moving slowly, she turned the tap off and looked up. The cat stood on the window ledge outside, poised to run, its green eyes glaring at her.

Marion didn’t know how long she stood there having a stare out with the cat before it sat down on the ledge, not taking its eyes of her.

Marion had noticed the ginger fur yesterday but in the early morning sun, she could make out the almost golden stripes in its fur.

Looks a bit like a tiger, she thought.

Pat always used to say, ‘easy tiger,’ whenever she was angry in a way that had always made her laugh and forget why she was mad in the first place.

The memory made her smile.

I’m going to call you Tiger,” she whispered, reaching towards the glass.

Her fingers brushed the window and suddenly Tiger bolted leaving Marion feeling a little empty.

********

It went on like that for days. She’d fill the sink and while the water went cold and the bubbles dissolved, she’d watch Tiger but every time she made a move to get closer, he’d run away.

She noticed that he seemed to be getting thinner and the absence of a tag around his neck suggested he didn’t have a home, which gave her an idea.

The next morning she grabbed a tin of tuna and spooned it into a bowl. Opening the kitchen window outwards she placed the bowl on the little ledge and ran the water as usual.

Sure enough, a minute or two later Tiger showed up. He was wary at first having not seen the window open before but the scent of tuna must have been too tempting as he was soon tucking in with gusto.

Carefully, Marion leaned over the sink and gently stroked his back, his fur was warm under her fingers. Tiger seemed to stiffen but carried on eating.

She did it again and again but he didn’t run away. instead he let out a long purr. Tiger sloped off as soon as he was finished but that didn’t matter to Marion, she felt something she hadn’t felt in a long time, happy.

********

The next day she laid out another bowl full of tuna in the morning, opening the window a little wider.

Lunchtime came and went, she’d filled the sink several times just in case but there was no sign of Tiger.

Marion left the window open until darkness began to fall and a chill began to creep into the house.

Have I scared him off? She thought.

Unlocking the back door, she went out and placed the tuna under the window just in case.

After a terrible nights sleep, Marion wrapped herself up in her dressing gown and slippers and went outside to check on the bowl.

She sighed with relief. The bowl was empty.

Picking it up she was about to go back inside when she spotted something in the tangles of weeds.

Orange fur.

Her brain flashed back to the moment she found Pat.

She rushed over to Tiger, who was lying on his side, his breathing shallow. He’d thrown up the tuna into the grass around him.

Marion picked up the stricken cat, wrapping him in her dressing gown and she shot out the front door.

Luckily the nearest vets was only ten minutes away, her slippered feet pounded the pavement and they made it in five.

She rang the bell and hammered on the hoping there was someone in.

Mum?” said Heather opening the door, dressed in her green veterinary nurse uniform, a look of shock on her face.

Tiger…sick,” she panted holding out the bundle.

Heather became all business, taking Tiger and ushering her into the empty waiting room.

Wait here mum,” she said, “I’ll get the vet to check him over.”

Still trying to catch her breath, she flopped down heavily on to the chair. She shivered realising she was only wearing her nightie.

Ninety minutes.

That’s how long she was sitting there until a very tired looking vet appeared.

Mrs Donovan?”

How’s Tiger?” She blurted out in reply.

He smiled. “We’ve flushed his system out with some fluid and we’re going to keep him in a couple of days to make sure whatever upset his stomach has gone but he’s going to be fine.”

Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. “Oh thank goodness.”

His face turned serious. “Although I have discovered you haven’t had him microchipped. We can do it for you here, it is the law you know.”

Oh, he’s not my cat,” she then explained about the daily visits.

So what did you want me to do? Do you want to keep him or shall I phone the shelter?”

One Week Later.

The doorbell was ringing. Marion opened it to find Heather waiting with a box full of cakes. She gave her daughter a big hug, taking the cake box and guided her into the living room.

A little meow greeted them.

I see Tiger’s made himself at home,” laughed Heather, sitting down on the couch next to him and stroking his ears.

Marion sat on the other side and Tiger immediately jumped onto her lap.

How are you mum?” Said Heather.

I’m grand. I’ve got someone coming out to do the garden in the next couple of days. When the weather warms up a bit we can sit out there and have our tea.”

That sounds great.”

And I’ve a book club, get out of the house a bit. Obviously not too much, now I’ve got Tiger here.”

Heather reached over and squeezed her mum’s hand.

I got a some very surprising news off that vet of yours the other day. About Tiger I mean.”

Oh?”

He is actually a she.”

They both laughed.

Well, I think a change of name is in order,” said Heather.

I agree,” said Marion smiling. “I think I’ll call her Hope.”

Copyright © LJ Cassidy

I do not own the rights to the photo.

If you see any spelling/grammatical mistakes please comment below and I will fix them. Thank you for reading xx