Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Author Spotlight: Toni Allen

Being Richard by Toni Allen

Kindle .99c sale 12th – 18th Sept

A contemporary paranormal mystery/thriller about an immortal whose quiet life is disrupted.

Being immortal has never been easy.

Some people are born immortal – some are made immortal.

Towards the edge of Surrey, near the Hampshire border, lies the rural village of Elstead. If you follow the River Wey westwards you’ll arrive at Thundry Meadows, an ancient sacred site dedicated to the god Thor. It’s a place of beauty and mystery, where the river runs clean and owls hoot in the night. Over two and a half thousand years ago a man was born there, Sunbeerka, son of the swamp lord; bred to be sacrificed to Thor if the tribe was ever in danger, his destiny to give his life for the sake of his people. Some spirits refuse to die, and Sunbeerka lives on, quietly, near his birth place in Elstead.
He isn’t lonely, but being immortal has its downfalls. The recurrence of loss, the memories, and the continual need for a new identity before everyone questions why he looks so young. From the start he knew that Richard Ridley didn’t feel safe; dying in infancy, and apparently unloved. He has no intention of being Richard. But then a man turns up claiming to be from the Special Investigation Department; and he’s forced to take on Richard’s identity, or be locked up - forever. All the department wants is for him to help them find other immortals – or do they?

He’s terrified at having his life controlled by others, but can’t rest until he’s discovered why Richard’s short life upsets him so much. Defying the department’s instructions, he sets about investigating his history. Uncovering Richard’s past proves dangerous, even for an immortal.

The little ones were always easy to spot. A vigil of small black headstones, tucked away at the back of the cemetery, their teddies and trains weather beaten; the gold faded. Twilight and rain drops shrouded them in pathos, but come dusk the solar lights would flicker on, permanent candles used as protective sprites to ward demons away from these precious spirits. Such short lives, their pasts a heartbeat in time, their names etched in granite to live on forever. If I was lucky and could find someone suitable I would be able to help him live on far longer than his grieving parents ever imagined.
I wasn’t interested in the girls; and knew to avoid the ones with cherubs and angels. It was also best to avoid the ones with recent gifts. Steven Johnson may well have passed over in 1975, but the plastic Christmas tree; that would have endlessly chimed out silent night until its batteries ran down, warned that someone still cared, and cherished him.
A train rumbled past, heading south out of Ash Station having dumped its weary commuters back to Surrey. They would dice with the barriers and tail back of irritated drivers, all walk home fast to be away from the wind and threat of further rain. Their perfume and after-shave hitched a ride on the wind and dropped its heady scent on the wet grass. I could envisage the women click clacking past men in suits, high heels dodging puddles as they strained their backs to stay proud and upright while carrying heavy briefcases in the pursuit of equality. The men would duck their heads down and plough on, up the road and past the front of the church, searching for a key to a front door, and home, and comfort.
I turned back to my task and spotted Richard Ridley; wondered if he was a good enough contender for my attention. Born in 1979 he’d died three months later, much loved and missed by his devoted parents; who could only afford stone and not tough granite. I crouched to read the inscription. Lichen painted it green and although he was age appropriate I didn’t feel like sharing my life with someone that sad. It felt sad. He felt sad. Not that I was sad, that was an emotion I’d long since learnt to set aside. No, the boy had no history, no love, no - I sighed and jotted down his details. He was perfect.

About Toni Allen
Toni Allen is the author of the Jake Talbot Investigates mystery series, which began with Visiting Lilly (2014) and continued with Saving Anna (2015). She is currently working on the third book, Finding Louisa, due out in 2017. As a photographer of note, a columnist, and an acclaimed tarot reader and astrologer, Toni draws on her extensive experience as a psychic to bring personal awareness of the paranormal, from both the believer and non-believer's point of view, to her Jake Talbot Investigates series. Toni has had numerous non-fiction articles published, and won awards for short fiction and poetry, including a first prize awarded in a competition judged by noted mystery writer P D James. She's the author of two bestselling books on tarot, The System of Symbols: a New Way to Look at Tarot, which is now also published in Italian by Spazio Interiore; and Sex & Tarot.
She lives in Surrey, England, where she happily includes pink grasshoppers in her macro-photography.
Visit Toni's website www.toniallenauthor.co.uk

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