Here it is (*drumroll*)…the Prologue to Creeping Shadow (Book One in The Rise of Isaac Series)

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for (actually it’s the moment I’ve been fretting about and preparing for all day!) here is the prologue to Creeping Shadow. It’s 2261 words in length so grab a biscuit or a mcmuffin (or something of the equivalent) and pleeeeasseeee have a read! Everyone who does will win the unicorn award (though this may not be an actual, physical award you’ll know deep down that you’re a beautiful unicorn and that’s surely award enough?) It also has it’s very own page on my website so you can also find it here. Enjoy!

The Girl in the Road

Ten Years Ago

Alison gripped the steering wheel tightly, her wedding band pinching her skin as it caught on the

leather. A stream of headlights briefly illuminated the beaded droplets hitting the windscreen and

the view beyond was momentarily distorted before a squeal of wiper blades cleared the glass.

Heavy clouds curtained the sky, casting the world into dismal tones of blue and grey. The

traffic trundled along at a painfully slow rate and the glaring red of brake lights intermittently

punctuated the gloom. Alison leant her cheek against the window to see how far she was from the

turning.

Thump.

She ignored the noise and squinted in an attempt to improve her vision.

Thump.

She gritted her teeth in concentration and slowed to a halt as the car in front of her stopped

dead.

Thump.

Oliver, that’s enough,” she said, resting a hand firmly on her son’s knee as his dirty

wellington boot kicked out towards the glove compartment once more.

He grinned and she raised an eyebrow at him before releasing his leg.

Alison turned her attention back to the road, digging her nails into the soft material of the steering wheel. Sirens cut through the monotonous hum of idiling engines and flashing red and blue lights caught her eye in the rearview mirror.

A fire engine blared its horn as it passed on their left and Oliver sat bolt upright in his seat,

watching it go by. An ambulance followed it closely and stopped a few hundred feet up ahead of

them.

Alison edged forward as the traffic began to move once more. She spotted the turning and

keenly pressed her foot down on the accelerator.

The car in front swerved onto the other side of the road, revealing a chaotic scene beyond it.

An overturned vehicle lay in the middle of the tarmac surrounded by the emergency services. A

police officer was guiding the traffic around the devastation.

“What happened to that car Mummy?” Oliver asked quietly.

“Someone’s had an accident,” Alison said softly, catching a glimpse of a man on a stretcher.

A sick feeling stirred inside her stomach as she indicated and quickly turned the car down a

narrow lane.

Trees crowded over the road, casting the lane in darkness so she flicked on the headlights to

banish the shadows. They drifted along the winding lane until the sound of sirens faded into the

distance and they left the main road far behind.

The rain suddenly gave way to a heavy fog and Alison braked, causing the wheels to skid on

the mess of dead leaves that littered the ground.

Her heart fluttered and she took a shaky breath to calm herself.

“You okay?” she asked, glancing at Oliver but he was distracted by something ahead of

them.

“There’s someone out there,” he whispered, leaning forward in his seat and narrowing his

eyes.

Alison snapped her head back to face the front. She watched as the fog lifted, revealing a

solitary figure beneath the bowing trees that encaged the road. The woodland swayed and leaned

from a blustery wind but the person remained perfectly still, watching, waiting.

“Who’d be out in this weather?” she mumbled as she manoeuvred the car away from the

roadside to give them a wide berth.

The mist descended once more so that a swirling cloud of white swallowed the road and the

figure disappeared behind it.

“I think he’s waiting for us,” Oliver said in a quiet voice.

Alison went to respond but was silenced by a flash of purple light. It radiated throughout the

mist, momentarily illuminating the curling tendrils of the fog as they moved across the road.

She slowed the car to a halt with a low squeal of the brakes, thumbing her wedding ring

instinctively. She swallowed in an attempt to dislodge the lump that had risen in her throat.

“Mum, what is it?” Oliver asked in a hushed voice, a look of fright registering in his eyes.

Alison worried at her bottom lip with her teeth and didn’t answer.

“Perhaps we should go back,” she whispered after a moment, not removing her eyes from

the road.

Just as she pressed her foot to the clutch, the fog swirled and the figure emerged. The man

strode toward them; he was tall, dark and shrouded by shadow. The headlights cast an eerie glow in the

mist around him but his face remained obscured beneath a hood. He raised his hands towards the

car and purple fire ignited within his palms, flaring at them threateningly.

A breath caught in Alison’s throat and she lifted a trembling hand to her mouth, her fingers

brushing her parted lips. He closed his right hand, extinguishing the flames that flickered in his

palm, and beckoned for her to exit the car.

Alison tentatively reached for the door handle.

“Where are you going?” Oliver asked in alarm.

“Just lock the car when I get out,” Alison said, her voice shaking as she undid her seatbelt.

Every fibre in her body advised against it, but she was drawn toward the man with a

desperate and hopeful longing that she couldn’t ignore.

She fumbled to tuck her long, blonde hair into the hood of her raincoat and exited the

vehicle.

“Mummy don’t leave me!” Oliver cried, scrambling after her across the driver’s seat.

Alison shut the door firmly and pressed the button on her key before he could follow. A click

sounded as the car locked and she fumbled the keys into her pocket.

The mist clung to her skin as she turned towards the road and a gust of wind flung her hood

back so that her hair whipped around her face in a flutter of blonde strands. The rain drummed

against the tarmac and the trees creaked and groaned as the wind bent them to their limits.

She blinked out into the darkness, her eyes falling on the figure. The man turned and walked

away causing the mist to snake around his body as he cut a path through it.

Wait,” she called urgently, hurrying forwards.

She glanced back, not wanting to stray far from Oliver but the man’s presence drew her

onwards. He stopped at the side of the road and waited, his stance hauntingly familiar to her.

Her heart hammered as she approached him. “William?” she asked quietly, her bottom lip quivering.

She could sense his gaze on hers, though his features were still concealed beneath the

shadow of his hood. The man turned abruptly and strode into the trees. He pressed his palms

together to smother the last of the flames and was instantly swallowed by darkness.

“No,” Alison breathed then bolted after him.

She stumbled as her foot caught on something. She looked down and a gasp escaped her

throat.

It was a child. She must have been around six years old, the same age as her son.

Alison dropped to her knees beside the girl and pushed a mop of blonde hair away from her

pale face. Her eyes were heavy with dark circles and her lips were a worrying shade of blue. She

wore only a thin, summer dress that was soaked through to the skin.

Alison pressed two fingers to the girl’s neck and found the steady beat of a pulse. She

glanced back to the road, hoping to see the pinpricks of headlights heading towards them. She

cursed when she saw none and rummaged in her pocket for her phone. It was dead, though she was

certain that it had been fully charged.

“Dammit,” she hissed, staring at the girl as she decided what to do.

Alison gritted her teeth and lifted the child into her arms, sparing a last, hopeful glance back

toward the trees as she turned to her car.

She hurried over, awkwardly retrieving the keys from her pocket and opening it with a click.

She wrenched the back door open and laid the girl across the seat. The child groaned and Alison

relaxed marginally. She was still alive.

Oliver was craning over the passenger seat to look at her. “Is she okay?” he asked, his eyes

wide in alarm.

“I think so, but we need to get her to a hospital,” Alison said, keeping her voice as calm and

level as she could manage.

Alison shut the back door and returned to the driver’s seat. Oliver was still looking around at

the girl.

“Get your seatbelt back on,” she instructed, pulling him around to face the front.

He strapped himself in and she accelerated down the road.

***

Alison sped into the hospital car park and stopped outside Accident and Emergency,

throwing Oliver a quick smile.

“Here we are. Let’s go. Put your raincoat on,” she said.

Alison scooped the girl off of the back seat and rushed towards the entrance whilst Oliver

splashed his way across puddles behind her. She sprinted through the hospital doors, nudging

people aside as she went. She skidded to a halt at the front desk, her wet shoes squeaking on the

floor.

The receptionist sprang to her feet and pressed a button on the console in front of her. “What

happened?” she asked as a shrill buzzing sounded in the ward behind her.

“I found her in the road. I don’t know if she was hit by a car o-or,” she stuttered, thinking of

the man who had led her to the child. “She’s unconscious!” Alison blurted, adjusting her hold on the

girl.

The woman gave a sharp nod and turned expectantly at the sound of a squeaking wheel. A

short man appeared, hurrying towards them with a hospital trolley.

“Lay her down here,” the man instructed.

Alison gently placed the girl on the mattress. She leant over her, brushing the wet mop of

hair out of the girl’s face. She stepped aside as the man pushed the trolley back into the ward.

Alison gripped Oliver’s shoulder firmly and gave him a half smile. She felt tears spring to

her eyes and wiped them away with the back of her damp sleeve.

“Are you alright, Mummy?” Oliver looked up at her.

“I’m fine, Olly.” She sniffed then lifted Oliver into her arms, kissing his cold, wet cheek.

“Where can we wait?” she asked the receptionist.

“Down the hall and to the left.” She gave them a sympathetic smile as Alison nodded and

walked away.

***

Alison hadn’t had to wait long before police had shown up to question her. At first they

seemed suspicious but, once she had taken a breathalyser test and answered their questions, their

attitude had softened towards her. She had neglected to mention the figure in the road. In hindsight,

she wasn’t sure whether it was right to protect a man on the assumption that he was her husband.

Just over an hour had passed and they had heard nothing.

She was unable to keep Oliver occupied any longer and his boredom was beginning to show.

His damp clothes were sticking to him which was only contributing further to his already

aggravated state.

Muuum, when are they going to let us see her?” he moaned.

“Not much longer, Olly,” she said with a sigh, running her fingers through his hair.

“We’ve been waiting for hours.”

“Don’t exaggerate. I’m sure we’ll hear something soon,” she said. “Why don’t you draw a

nice picture for her?”

“Mmm, okay!” he said with renewed enthusiasm and returned to the table in front of him,

reaching for a pencil.

Alison sat back in her chair and anxiously picked at the pink nail varnish on her fingernails.

The once-busy waiting room had diminished to a sparse few who were slowly called away until

only one remained. She picked the last stubborn flake of varnish from the tip of her index finger and

brushed the remnants from her knees absentmindedly.

“Would you like to see her now?” a voice spoke.

Alison looked up to see the receptionist smiling at her kindly.

“Yes,” she said, jumping to her feet.

Oliver grabbed his picture and hurried to keep up as the receptionist led them down a

corridor.

When Alison opened the door, the girl was lying in bed. Her eyes flickered open as they

entered the room and Alison’s gaze locked with the child’s bright green irises. Something instinctive

stirred inside her and she sensed an attachment to the girl that she couldn’t explain.

“Hello, sweetie. I’m Alison, how are you feeling?” she asked.

She moved to the chair beside the bed and took the girl’s small hand in her own. She

blinked at Alison but didn’t answer.

Oliver climbed up onto the bed, knelt next to the girl, and offered her the picture he had

drawn. She sat up, reached for it and unfolded the page then a smile pulled at the corner of her

mouth. Alison stifled a laugh as she caught sight of the drawing; it was a pink unicorn with a machine gun

for a horn.

“I’m Oliver. What’s your name?” her son asked the girl.

“May,” she said quietly.

“Is that your name? May?” Oliver asked excitedly.

“May,” she repeated, looking up at Alison with a wide-eyed gaze.

She smiled and the little girl smiled shyly back at her.

“What else do you remember?” Alison asked gently.

May shook her head. “Nothing.”

“What about your parents?” Alison tried.

May shook her head, tears gathering in her eyes.

“That’s okay.” She squeezed her hand reassuringly.

“Where’s your family?” Oliver asked.

“I don’t know,” May whispered. “I can’t remember anything.”

 

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think (I’m dying to know!) If you like my writing maybe you would like to subscribe to my mailing list? You will be the first to receive updates on my series as well as cover reveals, blog tours, publishing dates, tips, tricks and much more! Click here to subscribe

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How to complete a novel in progress

First things first – DON’T GIVE UP! Full stop. Exclamation mark. Hashtag!

If you’re reading my blog then you probably aren’t at the stage of giving up completely but I can imagine you teetering on a tightrope with your arms swinging wildly. So I say again don’t give up!

Writing a novel is hard. If it was easy everyone would do it! But you’re not everyone. 
  

If you’ve gotten this far then your novel is almost certainly something that you have felt or still do feel incredibly passionate about. If you’ve lost that sense of excitement try to list three things that got you feeling that way in the beginning. 

Here are three of mine for my novel Creeping Shadow:

1. The fantasy world I fell in love with – magic, a lethal curse, a death-defying task, forbidden love! (I still get excited about these things now!) What drives you is your passion. Find it! Name it! Put a ring on it!

2. Mystery – I am a big fan of twists and one of the things that drove me towards the end of Creeping Shadow was ‘the big reveal’. I couldn’t wait for my characters to discover that big shocker at the end! It’s a good technique. If you don’t have a twist then how about just a bit of a suprise? Have a think about your characters and storyline, is there any details you could hold back until the end? – whatever you do the end needs to be climatic afterall it’s what the rest of the story is leading towards!

3. And perhaps the biggest factor of all – my characters. I LOVE my characters. Love love love! Think about yours (particularly your protaganist) and ask yourself how you feel about them. If the answer isn’t that you want to shout their names from the rooftops, hire out a town crier to tell everyone about them or bring them to life frankenstein-style and marry them in Las Vegas (too far?) then you need to do some serious character development. Some people benefit from character profiling but I personally just take time to imagine them in different scenarios. I think about the most exciting moments in my story and play out the scenes, heightening the stakes and even imagining terrible things happening to them and their loves ones (I know, I know I’m an imaginary murderer) but try it! It should really tug at your heart strings when those characters mean something to you and it’s helped me come up with some fantastic moments I can adapt for my novels!

So if you’ve given this a go and you still feel like giving up on your novel then you’re probably in a pretty dark place by now (finger on the dial button for takeaway? Angrily stroking your cat who, let’s face it, has had enough of your pestering? Watching your go-to feel-good film and sobbing loudly thinking you could never come up with a story as good as that one?) – believe me when I say I’ve been there!

But what you need to do (and by all means take time to scoff that takeaway, try to win back your pets love and skip back to the start of that comfort film amd watch it again before doing this) is continue writing, one word at a time. If you’re stuck trying to fill a gap between one scene and the next just skip it! You can fill it in later. I’ve done this countless times and, trust me, when you go back to it at a future date you’ll find it easy to fill that space. Just focus on getting a first draft done. Focus on getting to the end. Don’t worry about how well it reads, the spelling, the fact that you mentioned a character walked into a scene then forgot about them for three hundred pages! Don’t worry! The first draft is made for fixing.

And the final resort:  Write the end of your book and work backwards. (That’s right break all the damn rules!)

The middle is always the hardest. You’ve run out of gas from you’re high speed, super exciting beginning that you’ve had cartwheeling inside your mind forever and you can see the end in the distance like a tiny dot on the horizon. But this is not a race. That dot can be closer than you think. So, if all else fails, write the end and I bet you it will spark a hundred new ideas for the middle.

And one final thing to encourage you…

The moment that you finish your first draft feels like this:

  
That’s right…still don’t wanna finish it? More fool you…More. Fool. You.