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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

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#Murder Mystery #Book Cover #Stella Windermere # Release date December 2016

stella-windermere-cover-10-nov-2016

This is my book cover for my new Murder Mystery. Set in the town of south Wales, a murder has occurred, and amateur sleuth is just the lady to solve it!

Release date: December 2016. Stella Windermere The case of the Polish sailor

 

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON !!!

 

Here’s a short synopsis:

Port Talbot, 1970s.

When a body is found on the beachfront at Aberavon,  amateur sleuth Stella Windermere is intrigued. The police are confused as to the identity of the mysterious man. All they have to go on is an ID tag next to the body. When a well known member of the community is bludgeoned to death at a party, the mystery deepens. Quickly embroiled in the case,Stella finds that she has to use all her wits to capture the murderer, along with her new assistant, Joe.

Thanks to Jo Robinson Services at https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com for the book cover, great job! 🙂

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Short Story : The red dress

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The woman in the dress shop had told her mother it fitted perfectly. ‘This is so in now you know,’ she’d said, standing next to her in front of the ornate mirror. ‘Red is the colour at the moment, haven’t you seen it on the best cat walks?’

Her mother shrugged, pulling the dress down over Rosie’s knees. A whisper of gauze underneath, to complete the look.

‘Please mom, can I have it, please?’

The ring of the bell on the way out, the parcel tucked under her arm, a grin across her face.

*

Now, in the shade of her bedroom, she wasn’t so sure. The taffeta clung to a bosom that was still as unfamiliar to her as the teenage spots that had appeared on her face practically overnight. The dress fitted just below her waist, straining across her stomach; puppy fat and wobbly thighs hidden underneath its folds. She pulled at the thick unyielding material, supposedly meant to fit across her shoulders in a chic 50s style. She groaned, rubbing at the ugly red marks where the sleeves dug into the tops of her plump arms like a vice. Turning sideways, the patterned black and red flowers seemed to mock her, spread as they were across her back and finishing on her bottom, making her feel like an overgrown rose garden, fallen into disrepute.

‘You look lovely, Rosie,’ her mother stood in the doorway.  ‘A good choice.’ Her slim arms were folded across her chest, her jeans snug across slender hips and thighs.

She smiled encouragingly. Pushing long locks across a face that was barely lined.

For the thousand time, Rosie cursed her own well rounded body, a throwback to her father’s mum, her granny Beatrice. Why couldn’t she be long limbed too?

As if adding insult to injury, her older sister Taylor bounded in the room, the image of their mum. Taylor wore teeny denim shorts, a seersucker top and tanned legs that seemed to go one forever. She sat down onto Rosie’s bed, her limbs tucked under her like a young gazelle.

‘You look like a flowerpot!’ she giggled, exposing a set of iron braces across her gums. A sprinkle of freckles across a perfectly upturned nose and sparkling blue eyes completed fifteen-year-old Taylor’s look.  Naturally gorgeous without even trying!

Rosie turned away, her brown eyes filling up. I can’t show I’m upset; I can’t! she thought, glancing at her reflection for a second time.  If the flowerpot look was in vogue, she’d win it, hands down.

Taylor had a point.

Her mother looked at her watch, encased around a slim wrist. ‘You’d better hurry, Rosie, or Amber will be waiting. Dad’s downstairs. Come on.’

She grabbed her around the waist in a familiar hug. Rosie’s blonde hair fell across her cheek and for once she was glad that her unruly locks betrayed the hurt she’d felt by Taylor’s remark.

‘Thanks mom,’ she smiled, the remark rolling off plump shoulders.

That was her, ever the trooper, the solid one, who let everything slide, like water off a duck.

*

The party was just starting.  Music blasted from somewhere inside, mixed with the shrieks and laughter of people arriving, chatting, having fun. Rosie clambered out of her dad’s car and smoothed the folds of the dress, staring at the bows on her pumps. How she wished she’d chosen to wear the brown dress instead! Colour did not suit her, she knew that, especially not the Scarlett look. The brown one had been worn, it was an old faithful, but she felt comfortable in it.

An arm hooked under hers, and Amber smiled at her. ‘Don’t look so scared Rose; we’ll have a drink and a dance and forget all about anyone else, you’ll see. Bye Mr Gardener,’ she waved to Rosie’s dad as he drove away.

A couple of giggling girls ran past, dressed in bright colours and flouncy skirts; a flash of skinny legs in pumps.

‘I’m starting to think that the 50’s were the least flattering time in history!’ she moaned.

‘Come on, you look fine.’ Amber frowned, and pulling at her arm. ‘You know how cool Lily Anderson is, and her parents are well loaded. We were lucky to get these; everywhere in town is sold out,’ she remarked, pushing her coiffured bangs away from her eyes. Her deep blue dress looked well fit on her petite frame. ‘Trust Lily to be the trend setter of the parties.’

‘It’s okay for you. You look as if you’ve not eaten for a week! Whereas me……,’ she sighed, pulling on the off the shoulder sleeve for the hundredth time.

A dark haired boy walked up the path in front of them, hidden from view by a large rose bush in front of Lily’s house. His head was down, hands in pockets, shuffling his feet.

Why was Alex, the science nerd, invited?

‘Hey Amber, get you a soda?’ Blake Magill slid up behind them, and Amber giggled.

‘See you later, Rose,’ she called over her shoulder as they ran the path.

Great.

Now she was truly on her own. Just as she was thinking of calling her dad, Alex appeared. She could see him approach from the corner of her eye, and her heart sank.

This was turning out to be an awful night.

‘Hi Rosie,’ he stammered, looking awkward. Did she want to spend time with a geek?

‘Hi Alex,’ she answered, then stopped herself. From this angle, his eyes looked deep blue, his eyelashes thick and dark. He was wearing a baseball jacket and sneakers, a 100% improvement on the nerdy bowtie and sensible lace ups that he normally wore on a school day.

‘You look lovely,’ he smiled.

This close, he didn’t look half bad.

‘Say, why don’t we try that new frozen yoghurt place down by the pier? I can get my dad to drop us; he’s just around the corner in his shop. Then we can take a walk along the beach…. if you want to that is.’ He stammered, and in the darkening light she could see the blush on his face.

Rosie had to think. Ice cream down the pier, against an awkward party?

She smiled.

*

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Guest Author: Suzanne Bowditch — Blackwood’s Magazine

I am so honored to have a guest spot on Blackwood’s Magazine. Thank you to C.M. Blackwood ! 🙂

Good evening, readers and writers. Welcome to the second installment of Blackwood’s Magazine’s Indie Author Spotlight for October! Today’s special guest is Suzanne Bowditch. Let’s have a chat with her! Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours? I have loved to write since a teenager. I entered […]

via Guest Author: Suzanne Bowditch — Blackwood’s Magazine

Short Story: Princess Molly

My sister in law is a gifted artist. She is also a cat lover, having 4 cats who share her cottage in England with her husband Alan, a retired doctor (I say share here, because the house is very much their home as well). Molly is a gorgeous Bengal cat with superb markings that remind me of a Royal cat, one who should be lounging around, being hand fed luscious tidbits, and wearing a sweet bejewelled crown on her head.

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Photo credit

There you have it …Princess Molly is born.

Inspired by Molly, I have started to write short stories, aimed at children. I hope to have them illustrated in the future, but in the meantime I’d love to share my latest story with you.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Princess Molly and the new toy.

Princess Molly sat in her favourite corner of the garden, washing her paws. There was barely a rustle from the house. Missy was in her studio, busily painting.

Suddenly, the large rhododendron bush next to Missy’s studio rustled, and a face appeared from its depths. Jack, the large tom cat from next door, blinked in the sunlight. His large amber eyes shone in the deep green leaves of the bush. He gave a long yawn, and stretched his paws.

Princess Molly liked to avoid Jack. Her princess ways were used to someone a bit more refined, not like Jack. She turned her green eyes away, hoping that he would take the hint, and jump back over his wall.

But he didn’t. In fact, he strolled right over to Princess Molly.

‘What you up to, Molls?’ he rasped, in that uncouth, pussycat way. ‘Do you want to check out the bins in the alleyway?’

Princess Molly looked disgusted. She stood up on her haunches, and stalked back towards the house.

‘Wait up Molls; I know you’re a princess, I was only teasing. Come and see what ‘s in my garden.’

Princess Molly stopped, tail in the air. She turned around, intrigued.

‘Okay,’ she replied. Her afternoon snacks could wait a little longer.

*

Moments later she was following Jack over the stone wall into next door’s garden. She had only visited Jack’s garden a few times, preferring her own, more refined one. But curiosity go the better of her. What did Jack have in here that was so special?

Jack’s garden was bigger than hers. It had a well cut lawn in its centre, and a cut out of dirt in the middle. Colourful flowers swayed in the breeze; reds, yellows and pinks. It was a feast for the eyes, and perfect for pussycats. She yawned in annoyance, suddenly bored. Hadn’t she seen this before? She plonked herself down onto the lawn, and started to lick that unruly patch of fur on her tail.

‘Over here, Princess Molly!’ Molly looked up, startled (it was a particularly satisfying scratch). Where had that voice come from? She looked around, and spotted a tail peeking out from a small door at the end of the garden. She had not noticed that part before. She stalked over, paws avoiding the course grass. What was the mystery?

The door had a gap at the bottom. Princess Molly poked her head through the gap, pushing against the door with her clean white paws.

Beyond the gate she stopped. Jack and the voice (she was still not sure whose it was) were on top of a huge colourful thing. As she watched, Jack slid down a bright blue slide, into a pit of sand. He shook his head free of the sand on his whiskers, and miaowed. The other cat (for that’s whose voice she heard) clung onto a coiled piece of rope, next to the slide. The cat, a very furry tabby, scratched and flicked its tail, purring contentedly.

‘Look what Abigail bought me – my own playground!’ cried Jack, climbing up the slide the wrong way.

Princess Molly forgot that she was a royal, very important and refined cat. She purred, and threw herself onto the slide, behind Jack.

*

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Heidi’s Day

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Try as she might, Heidi could not get her mobile to work. She shook it, then tapped it against the steering wheel (not advisable) but there was nothing, no sound.

Zilch.

She looked up at the scene before her. The towering skyscrapers were silhouetted against the stormy sky, seeming to rise from the rocky outcrop like monsters raising themselves from slumber. The sky looked dark and ominous, forbidden and angry.

A sudden flash up ahead told her that the storm was on its way. The thunder followed, and then the rain, coming down in sheets on her windscreen.

‘I can’t believe it! Why did I listen to her? She told me that the weather would be fine, sunny even.’ She closed her eyes and opened the car door. A sudden gush pulled it out of her hands and she cursed as the handle swung onto her hand.

Stepping out of the car, she stood looking down at the beach. In this weather it looked stunningly beautiful, she had to admit. The tides hit the rocks and the foam was strong and fierce.

But she had seen this scene before, and needed it to be sunny. Oh yes, as sunny as possible. The case lay on the back seat, and she grabbed it, unzipping the contents. Adjusting the lens, she fired away quickly, taking in the scene, absorbing the inspiring beauty of the day.

‘There you are! I tried to phone, but – ‘ The voice behind startled her, and she turned to see her sister standing there. Mimi was several inches shorter than her, small and fine boned, whilst she followed their father, tall and blonde.

‘My phone is off. I forgot to charge it. What happened to the sun you promised me?’

‘Why do you want to take  sunny, nondescript photos? Your camera should reflect your character; strong, feisty and independent!’

Mimi fumbled in her pocket and held up a sheet of paper. Heidi could see the top address and the University of Melbourne printed on the top. ‘It came through this morning. I wanted to see your face when I showed it to you, so that I know you have that belief in yourself. You have the talent, Heidi to go to the top, to stretch yourself and here’s the proof –

“We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted on the Photography and Digital Prints course….”

‘ Well done sis!’

 

 

June 27 Challenge

June 1-30 challenge

Day 27 Twenty-seven Sentences

June 27, 1927. On this date the United States Marine Corps adopted the English bulldog as their official mascot. 

Write about any subject. You can write about a Marine, a bulldog, or an Englishman if you’d like. You can write about anything! But you must write exactly twenty-seven sentences. No more. No less.

Alternative: Write a poem with 27 words or syllables.

Holly

Holly stood next to the film director, a clipboard in her hand.

‘Cut,’ yelled Mr Spielberg, as she walked over to the set. ‘That’s it folks, lunchtime.’

The actors stood chatting to each other, tired after a long morning on the shoot.

‘Hey there, girl, make yourself useful and grab a bottle of water can you?’ The most arrogant actor that she’d ever encountered stared at her from behind reflective shades.

Holly shuffled off, reaching the trailer in record time. She grabbed a water, heading back.

She could hear the actor even from this distance, shouting at a young lad named Michael. Holly shuddered; he was a thoroughly despicable man! No wonder everyone called him Alf behind his back; A for a**hole.

Holly stepped into line at the lunch queue. Up ahead, the dishy new actor called Chad stood next to his female co star, a European model who’d decided to go into films.  Holly had a crush on Chad, ever since she’d seen him in that vampire film last year, where he’d spent most of the film with his shirt off. His poster adorned her bedroom at home, and he filled her dreams.

That was why she was so pleased to have got this job, working for Spielberg himself. It meant that she had a chance to ogle Chad to her heart’s content.

In front of her the little actor named Vance smiled.

‘Hey there Holly, good to see you. How long are you working on set?’

‘All summer,’ she replied, glancing over to where Chad sat next to the model. They were picking on their salads and mineral water, whilst looking at their reflections in the glass door of the trailer.

‘There she is, just the one I was looking for. Get me a salad will you, darling.’ Alf the a**hole sidled up behind her, thrusting a $50 note in her hand. ‘No anchovies,’ he smirked, sauntering away to the rest area.

Spielberg appeared behind her. ‘Hey there Mr Cage.’ he called. The actor turned at the sound of his name. After all, he was working for one of the world’s great directors.

Spielberg put his arms around Holly’s shoulders.

‘Come and meet my daughter.’

*

 

 

 

Stella Windermere: 2

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http://www.brainyquote.com

A quote from one of my favorite authors to start my day! CS Lewis wrote the Narnia books which were a revered part of my childhood.

Stella Windermere: 2

The rain had turned to a slow drizzle by the time Stella left the hairdressers. She pulled on her headscarf and buttoned up her rain mac before grabbing the handrail. The steps were cracked in places, weeds pushing through the concrete as if determined to destroy human intervention. Stella walked slowly, unsure of her footing.

‘Here missus, do you want a hand there?’ she turned to see Joe sitting in his mother’s wheelchair. He had somehow managed to park it under next door’s awning and the gap between the shops.

‘Oh hello there Joe. I didn’t see you there. Your mum won’t be too long. she just having a cut. I’m fine thought really, you have enough to do.’

‘I don’t mind, I’m glad to help the old folk.’ Joe grinned and fumbled in his coat pocket, before handing Stella a packet of chewing gum. ‘Here, these have got a new flavor Stella; apple. Try one.’

‘I couldn’t. Not with my teeth!’

She started down the steps, then stopped. ‘What are you doing later this afternoon, Joe? I know that Alfie would like a hand with the pigeons. He’s racing them up on the common.  He’d be glad of a hand, I’m sure.’

Joe’s face lit up. ‘See you later missus,’ he said, just as the door to the salon opened with a tinkling sound, and Wendy stepped out.

*

She parked her Golf on the driveway, safely tucked away from the school kids across the way. It was lunch time, and she could see groups of blue jumpers and grey trousers leaving the school grounds. Just last week, she’d spotted one of them peering into her back windshield and then try the car door; looking to thieve, no doubt. Not bloody likely!

A tinny sound from a radio came from the back garden, and she bypassed the front door, and pushed the small gate around the side. Alfie was in the pigeon coop, talking in hushed tones to someone. He stopped when he saw her.

‘Stella, love, you look a picture as usual. What have you gone for today?’ Alfie pecked her on the cheek.

‘Some sort of warm gold. That hairdresser is using me as a guinea pig for her colors, I’m sure. Morning, Bert. Is Maggie with you? I want that knitting pattern off her.’

‘Morning Stella. She’s in the kitchen putting the kettle on.’

Moments later, they were sat under a large umbrella, sipping tea and eating fruit cake.The rain had held off, and the sun was out.Drops of rain fell from the colorful potted blooms as they sat there, chatting. Marigolds, fuschia and tulips (an eclectic choice, but Stella was that way inclined) tried to outdo each other as the largest blooms. Further down the garden, potatoes and carrots sat alongside onions and silver beets, whilst huge leaves of rhubarb took up the far corner. Statues of gnomes and other furry creatures were dotted about the garden, as if guarding some rich jewels. Their dog Lucy, a sweet mongrel dog that Alfie affectionately called ‘a mutt of 57 varieties.’ sniffed around the pathway, looking for slugs.

‘Come here Luce! Look what your mother has brought from the shops.’ Alfie pulled a packet from Stella’s bag. It was bulky, and wrapped in newspaper.

A juicy bone.

*

Copyright Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Lincoln

The journey South was unbearable. For five hours he had sat looking out of the train window as the English countryside sped past. Anna had slept most of the way, and for that he was grateful. He couldn’t make up his mind whether he preferred the silent treatment or the stern glances. Anyhow, pending motherhood had certainly shut her up; she’d hardly said a word since she’d told him about the baby. He stared at her sleeping form and wondered what his mother would make of it all. That was his next port of call; Lincoln, his childhood home and the place where he felt safer than anywhere.

He had left the band back in Scotland after the last gig. Somehow, he’d managed to sing his heart out and the crowds had gone wild, especially the women. On the stage he was someone else, someone more important than a small time singer from the Midlands; one who was now tied down by a woman! He sighed to himself. Jazz had been in raptures at the crowd’s response, so had given him leave to spend time at home.

‘Go and rest that voice! Sleep in all day if you like as long as you take care of that voice; its your fortune.We’ll be on the next stage of the tour before you know it. I’ll be in touch.’

His mother had laughed when he had told her that he was coming home for a few weeks, and that he had some news.

‘Do you have a record contract yet Josh? I’ve told the neighbors how good you are. They want to see you on the telly next!’ His mother had giggled.

They’d walked the short distance from the train station. Josh could see her plump form standing in the doorway of the small but comfortable terrace house. A pang of nostalgia ripped through his heart at the sight. The street looked just the same; the row of terraces with long gardens that led down the the common beyond, and the corner shop perched on the end of the street. He walked past the lottery sign that stood in the middle of the pavement like an awkward statue. The ching! ching! sound of a till  could be heard from the shop, and a group of young lads spilled out onto the pavement.

‘Watch it lads! There’s a lady here, and she’s  in the family way.’ Anna glared at him, and her face turned crimson.

‘Josh, did I just hear right? Is Anna having a baby?’ Josh looked over his shoulder. His mother Julia was standing right behind him. In the confusion, he hadn’t realized that she’d left her post on the doorstep and walked over to greet him.

‘Er, hello mam. This is Anna.’

*

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016.

 

 

The Royal Pub

The lunchtime crowd had dispersed by the time that Josh arrived; back to their mundane office jobs, their lives on the fringes of being real as they spend their nights watching reality TV in front of a ready meal.

‘Do I dare 

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.’

One of his favorite poems from school sprang to mind; the only good thing to come out of those mundane classes, but he remembered his English teacher and the passion for literature that she had tried to instill in a classroom of uninterested pupils. At the time, the words seemed vague and unreal, but the reality of life has kicked him down again. The words resonated in his mind as he pushed open the door of the pub, set in a busy intersection off Princes street. Anna trailed behind. He barely gave her a glance as he scoured the room looking for Luke.

‘Over here, you two!’ Luke voice cut through the deep aggressive burr of a smoky Scottish pub. Josh made his way to the far corner and sat down. Luke had a pint in front of him; half full. Just like my life, Josh thought. Half baked and going nowhere…

‘I’ll have an orange juice Lukey.’ Anna spoke up and sat down on the opposite side of the table. She placed her handbag on the table and pulled out a compact, which she gazed at, ignoring him.

‘Righto, Anna my dear, be back in a minute. Pint for you Josh?’

Josh managed a smile. He looked out if the window onto the bustling street outside. From this position he could see the tall grey stone buildings that made up the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh. The gold letters of ‘The Royal’ were painted onto the pub glass; reversed letters that seemed somehow significant. Beads of condensation ran down the window making the shoppers look blurred and unfocused, as if they were aliens.

The tension inside was palpable.

Anna continued looking at her compact, completely engrossed in the task of putting on lipstick. Was she trying to wear him down? Knowing that she had the upper hand in this scenario, was she milking the situation for all its worth?

‘Well Joshie, I have news.This involves Anna as well, listen up you two.’ Luke placed a tray on the table, which held a pint and a small bottle of juice and a glass. A couple of packets of crisps were thrown down beside the drinks for good measure.

‘I’ve spoken to Jazz this morning. He wants the band to continue on its tour whatever has come up.’ He looked awkwardly at Anna, who stared back at him wide eyed.

‘Jazz has a mate down South who owns a cracking little flat. Its not that far from your mum’s Josh.’ Luke looked at his mate encouragingly.

‘He says that he can get the flat no probs, so that you and Anna can be near family, so to speak, but you can continue in the band. Anna can do what she wants there and we can carry on touring. Jazz has already booked gigs for a European tour after this one. What say you Anna?’

Anna spilled her drink.

*

 

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Poem extract from The Love Story of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot.

http://www.poetry-archive.com/e/love_song_of_j_alfred_prufrock.html#rmyyWtww3uQFCgoA.99

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