Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May's Featured Author is AlinasVoice!

FTLOW: So Alinas, tell us a little about yourself.
AlinasVoice: I’m about as ordinary as you can get, I married my teenage sweetheart, celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary on 4th May and turn 43 (how OLD?) on 8th May, I have two teenage children and a job at the local village shop – it is, on the face of it, a bland and boring existence. But then… there’s the other side of me, creative me, who indulges in art, decorating cakes, and writing stories. I’ve been writing since ‘about’ the age of 12.

As a child, I was shy, spent a lot of time on my own and was far from academic - my reading and spelling skills were appalling. Then a wonderful American lady called Nancy Blake, who was a friend of my parents, offered to help me with my reading, and it proved a turning point in my life. She introduced me to Dr Seuss, sat reading with me for hours on end and then, when my love of reading turned into a love of writing; she and my English teacher were the only ones who read my stories and encouraged me to continue.

I’ve been continuing (for them and me) ever since… I just turn up the music (Rob Dougan, Muse, Take That, Owl City, The Feeling, 30 Seconds to Mars or Josh Groban, depending on my mood), shut myself away and write… mainly fantasy, with a strong hint of romance and Sci-fi elements. Oh yes, and occasionally, I write some extremely BAD poetry!

FTLOW: Why should people read your work?
AlinasVoice: You should read my work if you enjoy stories that deal with aspects of the paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. I take my inspiration from music and the things I see around me, and I enjoy twisting facts about science and nature into people or situations that are definitely NOT ordinary and species that I would love to be real.

FTLOW: What are you currently working on?
AlinasVoice: Currently, I’m working on Lifelights, the first story in a series, about a species that was created from energy during Earth’s formation. The other books in the series (so far) are Light Revolution (formerly Butterfly Days), which is almost finished but also needs serious editing, 21st Century Light, Chemical Light and New Age Light. I hope to have Lifelights ‘Amazon ready’ for the kindle soon.

FTLOW: Is there a place where people can veiw your writings or contact you?
AlinasVoice: Some of my writing (including the BAD poetry and a few short stories) can be read by visiting www.thelifelights.co.uk (this address takes you to the latest revision of the first 8 chapters of Lifelights on WEbook, as I’m still waiting for my hubby or son, the computer geniuses, to sort out a ‘proper’ web-site!)

You can also contact me through WEbook or by e-mail at sue@thelifelights.co.uk

Thank you Alinas for spending time with us. And thank you so much for reading about this incredible aspiring author!! Make sure to check out her other writing. You won't be disappointed. :) So without further ado, here's something to get you salivating.

Lifelights – Chapter One

Slamming the front door behind her, a cold slice of toast gripped between her teeth, Mara hurtled down the driveway, slipping, as stones skittered underfoot. In the near distance, crows whirled skywards; startled by the rattling and sputtering echoing across the Yorkshire Wolds. It was, pretty much, the same as any other morning.
Late again she thought.
That was the trouble with having your own ‘private’ bus stop only a minute from your door; timing was all too easy to underestimate. Thank God the bus was such a relic, announcing its approach with plumes of black smoke, followed by the occasional cough from its exhaust; otherwise, she’d easily miss it, frequently.
The bus driver greeted her in the same way he’d done for the last four years, his mood ever cheerful, and infectious.
“Good morning pretty girl. You okay today?”
“I am Mr. Thompson… and yourself?” She asked.
A rotund man, who appeared well past retirement age, he shrugged, giving a noncommittal grunt as he took her fare.
Taking a seat, Mara sighed; this was the low point of her day, evening and the company it offered, a long way off. She leant her head against the cool glass of the window, staring out at misty, chalk strewn fields; it was an artist’s dream, hedgerows crisscrossing the landscape, adding to the impression of a giant patchwork quilt. The bus’ racket faded, becoming nothing more than background noise, the journey an oasis of calm within her day, over far too quickly.
As a white sign welcomed them to Beverton, Mother Nature succumbed to suburbia. New buildings encroached outwards all the time, further and further from the medieval heart of the town, with its twin market squares and mellow stoned Minster, in stark contrast to the glass and steel of its descendants. The Tea Cosy Café, as its name might suggest, also came from another era, its Victorian opulence a stone’s throw from the town’s major attractions; Mara knew she was lucky to be working there.

Warmth and the scent of baked sugar, vanilla and cocoa greeted Jennie, the owner of the Tea Cosy, as she backed through its door, carrying a tray of bread and sandwich fillings. She looked as cool and fresh as Mara felt hot and sticky.
“Hmm, smells good darling.” She said, sniffing the air.
Possessing a near encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Beverton and a genuine interest in people, Jennie made working at the Tea Cosy a pleasure and could easily convince its customers to sit a while, eat more than they intended to and, most importantly, keep coming back. Business was booming, and Mara wondered if the owners of the franchise coffee shops, in the centre of town, knew what they were missing.
Rushed off her feet, as the demand for full English breakfasts flowed seamlessly into orders for morning coffee, the first break of the day didn’t arrive until 10.30. It was a chance for them to sit across from each other and catch up; Jennie constantly chatting, trying to coax Mara out of her shell, her employee listening in silent admiration.
It was difficult to tell, but she supposed that Jennie was about ten years older than her, taller and a natural beauty, though she played it down, a simple ponytail showcasing her elegant features. She exuded the sort of confidence that only comes with age, and to top it all, had an innate thoughtfulness that never failed to surprise, especially now. Reaching under the table, Jennie drew out a long, brightly wrapped present and an envelope, pushing them across to Mara, meeting her look of shock with a sly smile.
"I've told you before; I've got a good memory. Bet you thought you'd gotten away with it didn't you?” Jennie said, “Happy Birthday Mara."
Mara continued to stare at the present, blinking back tears. She should have expected this. Why didn’t I? She wondered; she always does remember.
"Go on then, open it. I’ll let you save the card for later, but don't do what you usually do with presents and stare at it for ten minutes, we don't have time this morning." Jennie teased, “After all, Tommy Tourist will be back before you know it, and Pious Pete and the rest of the Church council are booked in for lunch.”
After struggling with the tightly knotted ribbon, Mara carefully peeled back the wrapping paper to reveal a necklace, nestled within layers of tissue. It was something she would have picked for herself.
"Oh Jennie, it's beautiful." She said.
"I thought so." Jennie agreed, "Come on, let me put it on for you and see what it looks like. I thought it perfect for your colouring."
It scintillated against Mara’s pale skin, as Jennie fastened it in place, after handing her a mirror. Sparkling beads, in varying shades of blue, were strung onto a darker blue cord, picking up her eye colour exactly and bringing out the blue tones of her thick black hair.
"Thank you Jennie." She said, their hug feeling somewhat awkward, her emotional barrier in danger of collapsing completely now.
But then the café door opened, ending the moment, as Jennie went to get an order pad, leaving Mara to clear up their break-time debris. The man who walked in was tall with a lean frame and dark brown hair. Nothing out of the ordinary, except, for a moment, she thought she recognised something about him as she made her way back to the kitchen.
"Did you see that gorgeous man?” Jennie said, fanning herself with his order slip as she came through a minute later. “I didn't think they made them like that any more. He's enough to make my knees go weak." She giggled.
"No, can't say I did.” Mara said, “But then, I didn’t get a good look at him; I was too enamoured with my new necklace. And anyway, I've never met a man who weakens my knees, so I'll have to take your word for it."
"Oh, no you don't." Jennie said, "You really have to see this one for yourself. You, darling, can take his order out."
"Okay, but I warn you now; men in general don’t impress me." Mara said, rolling her eyes. She knew it was pointless to argue, and anyway, she was curious.
Expertly balancing the tray in one hand, she carefully placed the tea and cake in front of him; feeling shy, as if he knew exactly what she was doing; she still couldn’t get a good look at him though. His face was angled away from her, bent towards the newspaper he was reading. He barely acknowledged her presence and her pathetic attempt to ogle him wasn’t helped by her eyes choosing that precise moment to blur over; the effect disorientating. All she could see was an out-of-focus face that seemed to shift around oddly in front of her.
Thankfully, the irritation was fleeting, all thought of their new customer disappearing as the lunch time rush began.

By the time she got home it was gone 8pm. Once through the front door, Mara locked the rest of the world out, before kicking off her shoes. She didn’t bother with the lights as she hung up her coat, and anyway, the Lifelights would arrive in a moment, flying towards her from every corner of the cottage, transforming the darkness with their effervescent light.
Vivid balls of energy, the size of two pence pieces, they appeared, moving with graceful speed, always in groups of four. Red, blue, green, silver and gold, their colours glowed, fluctuating as they swarmed around her, teasing her with their gentle, heated touches, fizzing against her skin, re-energising weary nerves. She could feel the day’s tension draining away from her, as she basked in the sense of belonging they offered. Arms outstretched, love swelling inside her, she let the moments slip by, before picking up the carrier bag of goodies that Jennie had given her and heading into the kitchen, the Lifelights moving alongside her. It was on days like this; special days, that she was most thankful for their presence; they were the closest thing to a family, and friends, she had.
Jennie had excelled herself. The bag she’d sent her home with contained a bottle of red wine, a homemade lasagne, a green salad and a chocolate cake; complete with fudge icing, a candle and the number 22 marked out in white chocolate drops; delicious.
Smiling, even as tears once again threatened, Mara dutifully lit the candle, making the customary wish as she blew it out again, before going to put her feet up. The Lifelights fussed, arranging themselves around her, along the arms and back of the sofa, some nudging at her hands, pushing them aside, so they could nestle in her lap.
“You’re very persistent tonight, aren’t you?” She whispered reaching for the envelope Jennie had given her earlier; she expected the usually bawdy card, deliberately picked, in the hope of causing maximum embarrassment or, perhaps, a hastily smothered, wicked laugh.
A moment later, sharp pain sliced across her right index finger. Mara cursed. Paper cuts stung far more than their size warranted; instinctively, she sucked on the wound.
“Mara.” She heard the man’s voice clearly; it sounded urgent.
Freezing, her heart raced with sudden fear, her gaze darting to every corner of the room.
“Mara…you’re hurt.” The voice persisted.
The Lifelights shifted now, behaving strangely, their lights flickering; as if they too could hear the voice. Mara sat bolt upright, looking around the room, moments stretched out, and she knew there was no one there, she could hear where the voice came from; it was in her head.
“Answer me Mara.”
Were the Lifelights finally communicating with her? Mara gasped at the thought, the idea sending her pulse rate higher, adrenalin spiking, sending shivers of excitement racing along her spine and raising the hairs along her arms. It has to be, she thought, at last.
Closing her eyes for a moment, she drew in a slow, steadying breath, before focusing her attention on the Lifelights again. Their movements appeared graceless, their colours flashing. They’d never behaved like this before.
"I'm fine thank you. It's just a small cut, it will soon heal." She said, trying to swallow saliva that wasn’t there. She held her finger up to study the paper cut, trying to pretend that she didn’t feel silly, talking to herself. “Who are you?” She asked, perhaps too casually, all things considered.
“A friend.” The voice said, its pitch lowering, definitely friendlier.
"I don't have friends." Mara whispered before she could stop herself.
“Oh, I think you do. You just haven't opened your eyes to them yet.” The voice said.
It sounded amused, she thought, aware of an indistinct accent, but it was more than just a voice; she could feel it somehow. His words were layered with a confusing mass of emotion, brushing against her mind; her skin tingled; there was something almost physical about it.
"What do you mean?" She asked, not quite knowing what to do, enjoying the strange sensation of his voice and yet completely freaked out by it at the same time.
“Only that you needn’t be alone any more; that part of your life is over Mara.” The voice said, “I’ve found you again.”


  1. Oh my! I loved...LOVED that snippet. I demand more! I am going to check out your links. I like these featured author bits. It gives me new stuff to read and new authors to meet. :)

  2. Thanks Cherri, I'm SO relieved you liked the first chapter! I've finished this story, but took all but the first 8 chapters down from WEbook because it needed so much work on it. To be truthful, I'm only 'really' happy with chapter 1, but I WILL get there with the rest of it... eventually!

  3. You have me hooked just by this. I would love to read more. You have an fresh idea here :) I love it! Nice to meet you AlinasVoice!

  4. Pleasure to meet you AlinasVoice! I truly enjoyed your piece here. I hope to one day see this one shelves!

  5. Thanks Nina and Lucy - nice to met you too. As for seeing it on the shelves... I've just promised Ree Vera that I'll try sending out query letters for this story/series before I go down the self-publishing route. Guess it's worth a try! :)

  6. Hey there AlinasVoice. I have actually come across your P2F submission on Webook and gave it a five :D

  7. WOW! Thanks Rue! You just made me VERY happy! :)

  8. Hi, this weekend is pleasant for me, since this time i
    am reading this impressive educational paragraph here at my residence.

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